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Research Shows Gratitude Improves Mental Health & Wellbeing. Free Beginner Yoga Series & 20% OFF All Pranayama Classes.
Interestingly, if you execute a search for the word gratitude, some of the top results are links to research by academic institutions such as Harvard Medical School. Research has been conducted on the beneficial effects of gratitude on our health and wellbeing and has shown that by expressing gratitude, you decrease the focus on negative emotions and report improved mental health. Gratitude research has also shown long lasting positive effects on brain scans.
After a temperate October, we have transitioned into the cooler days and nights of Fall - the perfect time of year to take stock of the year's inventory. To the best of our ability, we take an honest inventory to reflect on our gains and losses. What are we ready to let go of and what do we want to take with us into the new year?
I taught a sequence for anxiety in my monthly restorative class this past week. The supported version of Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Formation Pose - shown below) was included in the sequence. I adapted this week’s sequence of poses from BKS Iyengar’s Book,Yoga: the Path to Holistic Health. The original sequence is about 2-3 hours long - perfect for a therapeutic session, but I adapted this one to make it accessible to all levels and to fit into a 75 minute class.
Ahhh! The shift into late summer and early fall is finally upon us. August was a heat wave! I had the opportunity to take some time away and visit with family and friends at the beach. We have been hunkered down in our remote rural Virginia farm location for almost the entirety of the past two years and it was a relief to enjoy of a change of scenery and a cool ocean breeze. I was literally going to melt.
The spring is a powerful time of year. We watch in awe as green sprouts out of the ground and buds burst on spring-blooming trees. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the spring is governed by the Liver and Gallbladder. The Liver is our decision maker. If the Liver is not functioning well, we lack the ability to make clear decisions. In TCM, the eyes are the external organ of the Liver, so we might encounter vision problems, if our Liver is out of order. The Liver is not only related to our physical vision, but also our metaphorical vision. When someone has difficulty envisioning the future or has no vision for her life, we look to the Liver to bring about change.
We just passed through the first New Moon of the New Year. New Moons are always potent times to set intentions, but particularly the first New Moon of the New Year. This past year felt particularly destabilizing and I have absolutely cherished my yoga practice, as it keeps me steady, clear and grounded in the present. I pay fairly close attention to what is going on around me, but as a yoga practitioner, one of the disciplines of the practice is to not get pulled into the drama - the ups and downs of everyday human existence.
As we have talked about in previous articles, summer is represented by the Fire element which is our passion, joy, creativity and the quality of our relationships. This period of time of social distancing makes some of these aspects of summer challenging but we must keep these important qualities at the forefront during these fleeting months. For example, now is a great time to dig deeply into connecting or reconnecting with what brings you joy; to discover or rediscover some areas of life about which you are truly passionate.
New Sequences, New Teachers, New Free Live & Recorded Yoga Classes & Membership Definitely Has It's Benefits
We are all feeling the pain of being apart right now, even though many of us are blessed with the ability to teach and participate in our classes online. It is a very different world and it looks like it has the potential to remain in this evolved state into the foreseeable future. I don’t have a crystal ball but I do not think we are going back to where we were. The yoga studio where I teach has already decided that we will be online at least through the end of August. It is certainly unsettling AND it is giving us an opportunity to change, to innovate, and to get out of a rut.
Halloween has always been a favorite celebration of mine. I love coming up with a costume and actually creating something beautiful or scary to wear. I teach yoga this Halloween so I have had a lot of fun turning my creativity towards designing a sequence of poses that are in the Halloween theme. My sequence includes poses like Skeleton Pose, Full Moon Pose, Zombie Pose, Rabid Dog Pose, Headless Headstand Pose, Frankenstein Pose, Swarming Locusts Pose, Dead Bug Pose and of course Corpse Pose. You can see a link to the traditional names of these yoga poses here.
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