Katie's Yoga

Inspire Your Neighbor

"Write it on your own heart that everyday is the best day of the year."

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

References 

Children's Yoga: 

 

Lisa Bragaw, PharmD

Co-owner of Zen and Now Wellness Center, Niantic, Connecticut   

Phone: (860)-235-0119 or (860)-739-2625

Lisa@zenandnowct.com  

 

Dawn E. Salerno

Mystic Arts Center, Mystic, Connecticut.

Phone: (860)-536-7601 x209

Dawn.salerno@mysticarts.org


John Campion

Treasurer of Black Point Beach Association, Niantic, Connecticut

Phone: (860)-912-0327 or (860)-739-8161  

E-mail: john.campion@blackpointmensclub.com

 

Jennifer Dahlgren, MS, RD, E-RYT 500 hr. 

Owner of Pradipika Yoga Studio, Clinton, Connecticut. 

Phone: (650)-799-0499 

Email: jenniferdahlgren@yahoo.com

 

Jennifer Clark, MSW, LCSW

Founder of Inner Peace, CT with a specialization in anxiety and depression management 

Phone: (860)-917-0790

Email: clarkj367@yahoo.com 

 

Tricia McAvoy, E-RYT 500 hr. 

Blissworks Yoga and Healing Arts, New London, Connecticut.

Phone: (860)-303-1995 or (860)-448-9642

Email: tricia@blissworksyoga.org

 

Emily King

Ocean Community YMCA, Mystic Connecticut.  

Phone: (860)-536-6691 or (413)-652-1076

Eking@oceancommunityymca.org  

 

Heidi Waddell

Westerly Community Yoga Center, Westerly, Rhode Island.

Phone: (401)-207-9108

E-mail: hcwaddell2911@gmail.com

 http://www.linkedin.com/in/heidiwaddell

 

Ed and Jessica Lilienthal

Crescent Beach Association

July to August 2011, Tuesdays Hour of Power and Thursdays Vinyasa Flow.

Phone: (860)-861-2841

E-mail: elilienthal@mac.com 

Subjective outcomes included “improved focus, strength, flexibility, and balance; improved sense of self-awareness and pride; and improved ability to calm themselves.”Girls ages 14 to 17 who had suffered traumatic abuse attended a yoga class twice a week and showed “significant decreases in depression, anxiety, dissociation, and intrusive/avoidant symptoms.” (A. Bortz, PsyD, RYT and K. Cradock, LCSW, RYT). 

In The Yoga Tradition, Georg Feuerstein, Ph.D., describes the ancient sages as “seers (rishi) who ‘saw’ the truth, who perceived with the inner eye the hidden reality behind the smoke screen of manifest existence.” Today’s discerning Westerner wants a little more proof. We have been taught to rely on empirical evidence, clinical trials and statistically significant results. This “proof,” along with those ancient texts written by the rishis, is available to us now.

SYTAR, the first Symposium on Yoga Therapy and Research, was held in Los Angeles in January to further define the field of yoga therapy, share research results and discuss methods for further inquiry.

My interest in being there was to learn about current research on the benefits of yoga for children. Experience has shown me that yoga is an excellent system for promoting healthy development and can be an incredibly effective means of facilitating wellness in children. It is noninvasive and its “side effects,” including improved self-esteem, emotional equilibrium, more energy and the ability to self-calm, are completely benign if not totally beneficial. Nearly a quarter of the abstracts submitted for the symposium focused on children and adolescents. The very same benefits subjectively seen in my experience have now been measured and reported.

Children who practice yoga may not only be better able to regulate their emotions, manage stress and calm themselves, studies now show that they may also choose better foods to eat and engage in more physical activity than children who do not.

Whether over- or underweight, body image issues and poor eating habits plague our children today. Studies shared at SYTAR suggest yoga may help.

One study examined the benefits of yoga for adolescents with eating disorders. These teens attended yoga classes as part of their psychiatric day treatment program. Typically suffering from a lack of self-esteem, nearly 75% reported an increase in well-being. They used the words “relaxed,” “calm,” “energized” and “more awake” to describe how they felt after class. (M.J Fury, MA, RYT, and L.C. Kaley-Isley, PhD, RYT)

A case study on anorexic adolescents found that “focused breathing (pranayama), movement sequences (asana), meditation (dhyana), and alert relaxation (yoga nidra)…reduced starvation-induced stress, safely reintroduced physical activity for a weakened body, minimized fatigue and… corrected distorted self-perceptions.” (Susana A. Galle, PhD, ND, CCN, CCH, and Tomas E. Silber, MD)

Other studies on children and adolescents included at SYTAR looked at anxiety, depression, trauma, mood regulation, sense of well-being, self-esteem and “increased wellness.”

R. Fridholm concluded from a small sample study that a systematic use of breathing exercises, yoga postures and guided relaxation “provided useful strategies for emotional regulation for children with autism spectrum disorders.” Subjective outcomes included “improved focus, strength, flexibility, and balance; improved sense of self-awareness and pride; and improved ability to calm themselves.”

Girls ages 14 to 17 who had suffered traumatic abuse attended a yoga class twice a week and showed “significant decreases in depression, anxiety, dissociation, and intrusive/avoidant symptoms.” It was further reported that “the girls overwhelmingly noted that they felt happier, more relaxed, less stressed, and more at ease in their bodies on the days they practiced yoga than on the days they did not.” (A. Bortz, PsyD, RYT and K. Cradock, LCSW, RYT)

Perhaps one of the more interesting studies, submitted by Molly Kenny, MS-CCC of The Samarya Center in Seattle, Washington, suggested that the physical act of balancing might improve self-esteem in teens. The positive effects of “balance training” on the subjects’ concentration and attention were “immediately observable,” and she proposed that the effects on self-esteem might become more apparent over time.

The scientific community recognizes measurement tools used in these studies. Research in the field of yoga therapy, however, is largely exploratory at this time and warrants further investigation. Many findings were inconclusive. Yet this first symposium is a landmark. It will likely contribute to the widespread acceptance of yoga as a viable system for preventive health as well as the treatment of specific health conditions. More evidence is now available to support what many of us know to be true from our own practice. This may convince those who have yet to experience its benefits to give it a try.

It seems simple. Children are suffering from a lack of connection to their own bodies, their environment and the food they eat. Yoga facilitates connection. It’s easy, low cost, accessible and anyone can do it. And now it’s being proven effective.

More and more teachers and other interested adults are sharing yoga with children. Kids have a natural tendency to share what they are learning when they get home, so this is an easy way to get the whole family involved. Parents may be practicing yoga themselves, and kids are always interested in what their parents are up to.

Another way is for children’s yoga teachers to invite parents in for a first and/or last class of a yoga session. A child’s aunt sitting in on a kids class said to me, “They are doing real yoga poses! That is great.” I’m not sure what she thought, but now she knows what she can practice at home with her niece. Family classes are another great way to help everyone feel an increased sense of well-being while learning a practice they can enjoy at home. With wide age ranges and levels of ability, family classes can be challenging to teach but also especially rewarding.

Adenia Linker, Hyde Park mother of nine-year-old twins and longtime children’s yoga teacher, involves the parents of her yoga students by sending home a newsletter every few weeks. It’s a simple one-page letter with a picture and description of a pose learned that week and an inspiring quote along with a new children’s yoga book, a Web site or some other resource that may interest parents.

The more parents, teachers, doctors and other professionals working with children understand the practice of yoga and its benefits, the more likely it is to be seriously considered as a therapy.

In an era of children acquiring conditions and diseases previously unknown in childhood, proper breathing, exercise and deep relaxation may be the powerful healing force needed. Yoga resonates with children. ”They love the practice, and they love how they feel afterwards. With all of the research and “proof” now available, it may well be just what the doctor orders.

 


The Path of Unconditional Happiness    Michael A. Singer (Author of The Untethered Soul) 9.30.07

 The highest spiritual path is life itself. If you know how to live daily life, it all becomes a liberating experience. But first you have to approach life properly, or it can be very confusing. To begin with, you have to realize that you really only have one choice in this life, and it's not about your career, whom you want to marry, or whether you want to seek God. People tend to burden themselves with so many choices. But, in the end, you can throw it all away and just make one basic, underlying decision: Do you want to be happy, or do you not want to be happy? It's really that simple. Once you make that choice, your path through life becomes totally clear.

Most people don't dare give themselves that choice because they think it's not under their control. Someone might say, "Well, of course I want to be happy, but my wife left me." In other words, they want to be happy, but not if their wife leaves them. But that wasn't the question. The question was, very simply, "Do you want to be happy or not?" If you keep it that simple, you will see that it really is under your control. It's just that you have a deep-seated set of preferences that gets in the way.

Let's say you've been lost and without food for days, and you finally find your way to a house. You can hardly make it to the doorstep, but you manage to pull yourself up and knock on the door. Somebody opens the door, looks at you and says, "Oh my God! You poor thing! Do you want something to eat? What would you like?" Now the truth is, you really don't care what they give you. You don't even want to think about it. You just utter the word "food." And because you really mean it when you say you need food, it no longer has anything to do with your mental preferences. The same goes for the question about happiness. The question is simply "Do you want to be happy?" If the answer is really yes, then say it without qualifying it. After all, what the question really means is "Do you want to be happy from this point forward for the rest of your life, regardless of what happens?"

Now, if you say yes, it might happen that your wife leaves you, or your husband dies, or the stock market crashes, or your car breaks down on an open highway at night. Those things might happen between now and the end of your life. But if you want to walk the highest spiritual path, then when you answer yes to that simple question, you must really mean it. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it. It's not a question of whether your happiness is under your control. Of course it's under your control. It's just that you don't really mean it when you say you're willing to stay happy. You want to qualify it. You want to say that as long as this doesn't happen, or as long as that does happen, then you're willing to be happy. That's why it seems like it is out of your control. Any condition you create will limit your happiness. You simply aren't going to be able to control things and keep them the way you want them.

You have to give an unconditional answer. If you decide that you're going to be happy from now on for the rest of your life, you will not only be happy, you will become enlightened. Unconditional happiness is the highest technique there is. You don't have to learn Sanskrit or read any scriptures. You don't have to renounce the world. You just have to really mean it when you say that you choose to be happy. And you have to mean it regardless of what happens. This is truly a spiritual path, and it is as direct and sure a path to Awakening as could possibly exist.

Once you decide you want to be unconditionally happy, something inevitably will happen that challenges you. This test of your commitment is exactly what stimulates spiritual growth. In fact, it is the unconditional aspect of your commitment that makes this the highest path. It's so simple. You just have to decide whether or not you will break your vow. When everything is going well, it's easy to be happy. But the moment something difficult happens, it's not so easy. You tend to find yourself saying, "But I didn't know this was going to happen. I didn't think I'd miss my flight. I didn't think Sally would show up at the party wearing the same dress that I had on. I didn't think that somebody would dent my brand-new car one hour after I got it." Are you really willing to break your vow of happiness because these events took place?

Billions of things could happen that you haven't even thought of yet. The question is not whether they will happen. Things are going to happen. The real question is whether you want to be happy regardless of what happens. The purpose of your life is to enjoy and learn from your experiences. You were not put on Earth to suffer. You're not helping anybody by being miserable. Regardless of your philosophical beliefs, the fact remains that you were born and you are going to die. During the time in between, you get to choose whether or not you want to enjoy the experience. Events don't determine whether or not you're going to be happy. They're just events. You determine whether or not you're going to be happy. You can be happy just to be alive. You can be happy having all these things happen to you, and then be happy to die. If you can live this way, your heart will be so open and your Spirit will be so free, that you will soar up to the heavens.

This path leads you to absolute transcendence because any part of your being that would add a condition to your commitment to happiness has got to go. If you want to be happy, you have to let go of the part of you that wants to create melodrama. This is the part that thinks there's a reason not to be happy. You have to transcend the personal, and as you do, you will naturally awaken to the higher aspects of your being.

In the end, enjoying life's experiences is the only rational thing to do. You're sitting on a planet spinning around in the middle of absolutely nowhere. Go ahead, take a look at reality. You're floating in empty space in a universe that goes on forever. If you have to be here, at least be happy and enjoy the experience. You're going to die anyway. Things are going happen anyway. Why shouldn't you be happy? You gain nothing by being bothered by life's events. It doesn't change the world; you just suffer. There's always going to be something that can bother you, if you let it.

This choice to enjoy life will lead you through your spiritual journey. In truth, it is itself a spiritual teacher. Committing yourself to unconditional happiness will teach you every single there is to learn about yourself, about others, and about the nature of life. You will learn all about your mind, your heart, and your will. But you have to mean it when you say that you'll be happy for the rest of your life. Every time a part of you begins to get unhappy let it go. Work with it. Use affirmations, or do whatever you need to do to stay open. If you are committed, nothing can stop you. No matter what happens, you can chose to enjoy the experience. If they starve you and put you in solitary confinement, just have fun being like Gandhi. No matter what happens, just enjoy the life that comes to you.

As difficult as that sounds, what's the benefit of not doing it? If you're totally innocent and they lock you up, you might as well have fun. What good does it do to not have fun? It doesn't change anything. In the end, if you stay happy, you win. Make that your game, and just stay happy no matter what.

We thank author Michael Singer and Publicity Director Jeffery Anderson for sharing this article from the new book The Untethered Soul.

 

Chants and Mantras

Om Shanti - Peace

Hari om hari om - The divine being

Hamsa - Natural sound of our breath

Om jothi - light

Loka samasta suhkino bhavantu - May all beings everywhere be happy and free

Fun Yogi Fact

Namaste means thank you for doing yoga with me. It can also mean the sunshine in my heart sees the sunshine in your heart.

Benefits of Yoga

Body - Strength, flexibility, body awareness, anatomy, stillness, balance, breath exercises. 

Mind - Concentration, focus, attention, a peaceful, relaxed state, self-expression, stress management tools, creativity, self-esteem, self-reflection. 

World - Environmental awareness, respect for the earth and animals, language development, social interactions, peace, connection, wonder, exploration. 

Natural Yogis

Children are natural yogis. They move their bodies in ways that feel good to them, almost effortlessly, without a thought of why they are doing it!  Yoga will ensure children have a lifetime of exercise, joyful bodies and minds and health and strength. 

Music and Sound

Music and sound therapy together with coordinated hand movements can develop concentration, breath coordination, communication and motor skills. Studies have shown repetition of certain sound patters produce a calming and healing effect on the nervous system and mind.

Inner Power

You have the power to be anything you want to be! :)

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