500YTT FALL

I just completed my 2nd session of the Himylayan Institute 500 Yoga Teacher Training – this was the fall session. This session was about Yoga and Health; mine and my students. As always, your health is in your’s and your doctor’s hands. This writing is in no way medical advice, but it is what I have taken away from this teacher training session. I offer you my findings and encourage you to follow much if not all of the yogic path, wherever that leads you.

I enjoyed this session and got through it without the anxiety I experienced in the summer session. I believe this stress was due to Covid and not being able to go out at all. What a difference it is to get back to some normalcy! I continue to be cautious, wearing a mask and keeping social distance. 2 things resonated with me during this session that I will touch on here.

1 – Negativity bias – I wrote on this and this post may be accessed by clicking on the name. Here is a little recap:

“The Negative Bias states that we remember the negative events of our life more profoundly than the positive. They seem to make a deeper impression or samskara. Our spirituality comes into play when we are present and conscious of our actions and thoughts. Only when we are aware can we steer our thoughts to positivity and love. This is where the Gratitude Journal  comes into play. Reminding ourselves of the beauty of our past. Being present in nature. Recognizing beauty and love everywhere. Our warm sun, shade giving trees, pollinating bees, people who hold the door for you at Wawa! That last one is my favorite. Did you ever notice how happy people are at Wawa?” I work on gratitude every day and I am more lienient with myself and others. Being present in my life helps me remember this lesson and gratitude to turn it around to love and positivity.

2 – Takotsubo Syndrome (Heartbreak Syndrome) – There are documented cases where lack of blood flow occurs in response to mental stress and intense emotions. Stress and heart disease are thought to go hand in hand. Stress is known to….

  • increase blood pressure. I have experienced this in the dentist’s chair. A technician noticed my stress and took my blood pressure as I was sitting waiting for the dentist. The top number was over 160 – my normal number is 118 to 120 or lower. I have never seen this number before or since. I know it was due to the stress I experienced waiting for the dentist.
  • increase cholesterol – I do not need this as I already am battling high cholesterol. Working on lowering this with my physician.
  • increases blood sugar – my blood sugar registered pre-diabetic a year and a half ago as my anxiety became an issue. I was just retested after following my Yogic practice for the past two years and my blood sugar is down. I am no longer pre-diabetic. Keeping a check on this with my physician.

Yoga has decreased the stress response in me, hopefully decreasing my risk of heart disease. A visit to your doctor and a blood test will lead you to where you need to be or go with regards to your health. Yoga and meditation counter mental stress, as I understand it, by emphasizing our breath, relaxation and equanimity of mind.

Here is a slide from my studies at the Himalayan Institute with

Dr. Carrie Demers, MD – There are many studies out there for your reading entertainment:-)

Himalayan Institute training, Fall, 2020, with Dr. Carrie.

Can Yoga improve your lifestyle in so many ways from your mind to heart to body? In my personal opinion, YES.

In conjunction with eating wholesome nutritious food, regular exercise, healthy relationships, and yoga (breath, relaxation, meditation), I believe we can prevent and reverse many health obstacles. I know that I am benefiting from this lifestyle. You will have to try it. Let me know how it goes. Contact me for a yoga practice.

In Doctor Carrie’s words, “When we live well, our heart is happy!”

The Negativity Bias

Here is a prayer my sister, Maryann, sent to me in my 50s which hit home. Please enjoy this humorous and lovely prayer that planted the seed for my positivity journey. ❤️

I suffered from every ailment mentioned in this prayer but I did not know how to heal myself until I studied yoga. I noticed I was surrounded by negative people and life seemed like one continuous bitch fest! This negative bias led to ailments prolific in old age, anxiety meds😩 and therapy. 🧐 This negative turmoil led me to seek a better life. A more positive and happier one. My Yogic Path! Here are some stops along the path….

  • Therapy! Everyone could benefit from this at least once in their life. 👍 An objective and positive therapist. They are not all equal. Check around for your best fit and remember that they work for the betterment of you.
  • Self study-svadhyaya. 🤗. And letting go. Journal and get that bull down on paper then tear that paper up and let the bull go! That memory has taken up enough of your time!
  • Gratitude🙏🏼 for everyone and everything. Journal ✍🏻 and come back to loving your life.
  • Tapas. Working at my recovery. 🌟 it’s a lot of work but only I can do this.
  • Asana practice. I have strength I did not know I possessed. 🧘🏻 ok well I suspected.
  • Meditation. 🧘‍♀️ love love love making space for new energy.

I have grown in many ways; too many to count.

Yoga has given me many avenues to let go of worries and negativity. Yes, I waiver and get on the soap box complaining about some incidental subject. I now recognize this negative road and get off it. There’s always someone who wants to drag you down that road with them but don’t go. Your actions, not preaching, can help turn them around. It may not. You have to decide if they are to continue in your life. Everyone has their own journey.

Last week in my yoga teacher training class I learned about the Negative Bias. What a blessing! It’s not just me. It’s science! Over 60 years of samskaras.

– “Samskaras are the impressions created in our minds and thoughts by our actions. … These habits, or samskaras, then begin to play a huge role in our personalities: motivating our thoughts, communication, actions, and even how we view the world. And these samskaras can take the form of being either negative or positive.” You have to love Wikipedia🌟🌸🌜

The Negative Bias states that we remember the negative events of our life more profoundly than the positive. They seem to make a deeper impression or samskara. Our spirituality comes into play when we are present and conscious of our actions and thoughts. Only when we are aware can we steer our thoughts to positivity and love. This is where the Gratitude Journal 📘 comes into play. Reminding ourselves of the beauty of our past. Being present in nature. Recognizing beauty and love everywhere. Our warm sun, shade giving trees, pollinating bees, people who hold the door for you at Wawa! That last one is my favorite. Did you ever notice how happy people are at Wawa?

Here is a link to Wikipedia and the definition they provide for this study. Enjoy! https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negativity_bias

Enjoy your family and friends to the end. Or don’t. Most of all, enjoy you as you create new, beautiful and positive samskaras.

Namaste 🙏🏼, Barbara

SAUCHA – PURITY

The first of the five observances, Niyamas, is Self-Purification or Saucha. Saucha means purification; cleanliness. This self-purification or cleansing involves the body and the mind.

Today, cleanliness is exaggerated due to Covid 19. It’s like living in a sci-fi movie. When you are ill, you may lay in bed a few days without attending to your daily hygiene. We can’t wait to feel better and jump (or walk carefully) into the shower and feel like “yourself again.”

This speaks to your mental and emotional health? When we look better, we feel better. There are also those roaming minds that keep us awake at night. Mark Twain is credited with this quote: “I’m a very old man and have suffered a great many misfortunes, most of which never happened.”

Many of us live in our minds and imaginations. We worry about what may happen and what did not. The moment has passed! Wasting time on what was and what will be is a waste of our energy.

I have been taught and I believe that we are our own doctors first! It is up to us to manage our gut, heart, and brain which are key to samadhi; the Hindu final stage of bliss and union with the divine.

The connections between Saucha and health are evident. During the Civil War, the greatest contributor to death was hygenial ignorance. How to clean a wound or sterilize instruments was non-existent.

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There are many techniques used by yogis:

  • The neti pot for nasal cleansing. I use this religiously through allergy seasons.
  • Candle Gazing
  • Diaphragmatic Breath
  • Water
  • Tongue scraping
  • Eating healthy
  • Exercise
  • Meditation
  • Reading spiritual texts and reading up on all that is mentioned here.

This is YOUR practice. Check out everything and you decide what is best for you.

Today, we are wearing masks and keeping our distance from family and friends to keep Covid 19 away. How depressing this year has been for many. Keeping our mind active is a life saver. There are many things we have had to adjust in our lives. We did it! We are amazing. Pat yourself on your back. Go ahead! I’ll wait.

In Ayurvedic medicine it is believed that some foods remain in our system creating disease. The Ayurvedic diet is based on the principles of Ayurvedic medicine which focuses on preventing disease. There are many articles available online for you to check out so you may decide what is best for you. Here is one I found informative: https://www.ayurveda.com/resources/articles/ayurveda-a-brief-introduction-and-guide

Journaling, knowing yourself, allows you to purify your thoughts, your speech, your words. Ahimsa, being kind to yourself and others. Keep a gratitude journal when negative thoughts come into play. Stay present for your practice. Seek therapy if you feel overwhelmed during these trying times. Join a yoga class online. Visit the Himalayan Institute for a retreat or take a course or two. Take time for you.

Tapas (the stick-to-it attitude) that nudges us awake each day to prepare ourselves physically, mentally and emotionally. Maybe you pray or meditate. Maybe you stretch or check out a yoga class. Reading an uplifting book before your children wake or preparing dinner in a crock pot. Asanas show us how strong we are and meditation helps clear our minds to receive enlightenment. We prepare clean foods so we can take care of ourselves BEFORE we get sick. Walking on an elliptical (there are so many exercise tools for practically nothing on Facebook Marketplace or at a Saturday yard sale.)

Go to your doctor for a physical before starting any program.

Most of all, we take it easy on ourselves and this love spreads to those around us.

“Let others take care of their responsibilities and I will take care of mine.” My life saving quote. Don’t look to others to make you happy or whole. Know your boundaries. Be kind. Look inside to your divine being who is waiting there for you to discover your beauty.

It is up to you to develop your plan of self-care. Check out all that is available to you and be good to yourself. Saucha!

Check out these two books and have a wonderful week! My Yogic Path, Barbara

pages 104 to 1170

Week 1 “This week notice where your body is sluggish…Purify yourself through diet and exercise… and the space around you…sluggishness becomes lighter as you purify.”

“Purity asks that we make full and honest contact with the moment so there is nothing lost and no regrets.” p114

page 227

Saucha has been called the aim of the entire system of yoga. “The sages say that saucha is not only the foundation for bodily health, it is also the doorway to deeper and more tranquil states of meditation.” How to practice yoga is embodied in this text.