Online Yoga, QiGong and Yoga Therapy: how does that work?

With yoga studios and public practice spaces closed, I have taken my classes and sessions online. Like many teachers and therapists, I am using Zoom.

I am grateful for all that the Zoom platform offers. It is a medium through which we can boost our health and well-being. Please continue reading to learn more about the benefits possible through online engagement.

  • It makes it possible for us to continue learning, teaching, and healing together, while respecting social distancing.
  • We save travel time. No traffic!
  • We can practice in the comfort of our own homes. This gives us a feeling of safety. It also brings positive energy into our living spaces.
  • As a student or client, it is possible to turn off your video for privacy. You can still see and hear the instructor/therapist.
  • In group classes, participants can see and engage with one another, and socialize before and after class.
  • Transmission of energy, warmth and intimacy flows beautifully through this medium.
  • We can stay connected.

My students tell me that in-person will always be their favourite, but that Zoom Live is the next best option. Watching a recording of even the very same class loses the immediacy of being together, even while apart!

Sheltering at home and really, really, really, missing physical contact?

We all have different needs in terms of touch. Many introverts are thoroughly enjoying their solitude during our coronavirus situation, and other people are keenly missing being able to hug and be hugged by their loved ones. 

It’s a conundrum, but I have something that can help.

My students have reported that they really appreciate the tapping, cupping and self-massage practices of QiGong, more than ever. We combine smooth breathing, loving intention, and caring touch, as we awaken our circulation at the beginning of a typical session. Self-massage is very soothing and nourishing; it feeds the soul as well as the skin and deeper tissues. 

Here is a link to a short video that will guide you through these practices, so you can find out for yourself. Take a moment before and after the practice, in order to feel into any shift you may experience. 

Please copy and paste this link to watch the video and try it out for yourself: https://youtu.be/-f0si0XLplU

 

 

Covid Chronicles: lockdown, or sheltering at home… what’s in a word?

In a few short months, we have tumbled down a rabbit hole into a completely different world than the one we knew.

Under current circumstances, a return to the way things were is not viable. And longing for the past is not a wise use of our energy; it is better to face what is right here in front of us. Even if it is a big unknown.

When we think of ourselves in “lockdown”, we contract ourselves and imagine ourselves imprisoned and limited. When we think of ourselves as “sheltering at home”, we can soften. We feel a little safer, and we have the possibility of slowing down and reflecting. We have the possibility of looking at new ideas, and at new ways of being. One perspective feels like punishment, and the other feels like an invitation.

The gifts of sheltering at home include simplifying and slowing down. We can reconsider our choices and priorities; we can re-examine and re-instate our core values. We can step off the dizzying merry-go-round of producing and consuming. We can rest, heal, and renew.

And most importantly, we can practise being kind. Kind to ourselves, and kind to all other beings. We truly are all in this together. We are all “sheltering at home” on our beautiful and generous planet Eart

Finding Peace and Release in a Covid-coloured World

Sometimes, the best way to respond to strange and bewildering circumstances is with a poem…. especially one that transcends time, and gives language to our current situation.

Try not to resist the changes that come your way.
Instead, let life live through you.
And do not worry that your life is turning upside down!
How do you know that the side you are used to
Is better than the one to come?

Rumi

I’m experiencing information overload these days; perhaps you are too? I’ll keep my message short, and hopefully sweet.

Peace. This is the #1 best medicine to cultivate, and to experience. We can weather anything that is happening around us, and to us, as long as we have peace and steadiness within.

How can we cultivate peace? The quickest and easiest way it through our breath, which is always available to us. When we slow and soften our breath with loving kindness, every part of our body-mind-spirit self calms down. We clear out anything that has been piling up inside, and we restore a nourishing flow. So simple!

I invite you to try a short experiment. It involves placing your hands lovingly on your body, and gently breathing into the feedback of your touch. Try three to five breaths in each of the following locations. When you are finished, sit quietly and notice how you feel. (You can do this exercise lying down.)

  • your navel area
  • your upper chest, just below your collarbones
  • back of your waistline
  • the sides of your ribs
Smile softly, and enjoy your peaceful state. Repeat as often as needed. I’ll be breathing alongside you.
May we all taste peace within.
May we shine brightly for ourselves, our loved ones, and for all of creation. Blessings!

Care and Feeding of The Joy Body

This post’s theme is the care and feeding of your Joy Body. In Yoga Therapy, we call this the anandamaya kosha, the body where bliss and joy circulate.

What is a Joy Body and do I have one?

Everyone and every sentient being has a Joy Body. You know it through its presence. When you are awed by beauty; when your mind and spirit are elevated; when you feel your heart glowing with love; when you feel expanded and connected to all; when you feel whole and full. It is a state of bliss.

Can I grow my Joy Body?

Of course you can! Think about the things that bring a smile to your face and a spring to your step, and do more of them more often. Do something to feed this body every day. Perhaps it is travelling, spending more time with loved ones, volunteering for a cause you are passionate about, music, dance, yoga, art, prayer, meditation, cooking, gardening, being in nature, receiving or giving a massage….the possibilities are endless.

But I’m so busy with work, daily life and duties….how do I find the time?

I believe that we can all find 5 minutes a day to sit or lie down quietly to connect to our deepest Joy. You can concentrate on what you love, an inspiring memory, object (like a candle flame or your heart center), spiritual role model, a beautiful sunset, or your breath. Breathe smoothly and gently, and tap into the feelings of peace and joy that arise. Feed this with your breath, and imagine your bliss spreading out in waves to every organ and every part of your body and mind. Exhale to clear your channels, and inhale Joy to fill every cell right down into its nucleus. Warning: 5 minutes might easily stretch into 10 or 15!

What are the benefits of feeding the Joy Body?

A healthy Joy Body optimizes every cell of your physical and spiritual being. Bliss nourishes your nervous system, your immune system and the harmonious functioning of all your organs. It reminds us of our true nature, and builds our resilience on every level. We can meet life’s challenges with more ease and creativity, instead of getting bogged down and stuck. We become more buoyant and more radiant over time. Icky stuff slides off more easily instead of clinging.

FYI, a radiant Joy Body can be contagious!

People, animals, plants and situations around you will start waking up to their own sparkle. Things will flow. Think of it as a Super Power that can help make this world a better and sweeter place for all. And now, how many ways can you think of to feed your Joy Body?

 

Psoas Love

photoIn my experiential anatomy classes, I often ask students to write a love letter to an orphaned or neglected part of their body. The purpose is to shift the relationship into one of appreciation and joy. Because that’s where the magic happens……

Here is a recent letter of my own, as I continue my personal journey of deep listening.

Beloved Psoas,

We’ve been together for a long time. I thought I knew you, but now I realize I was just scratching the surface. I see you with new eyes, I listen to you with new ears and I feel you in new ways. You are teaching me so much.

You have been very patient with me. Thank you for being there and never giving up on me.

I thought you were all about strength and core stability. I have flexed you and stretched you in oh so many ways, always looking for an optimal balance of strength and freedom. Now I am learning about how to release you. Time to let go.

You are my tenderloin, my filet mignon, my Chateaubriand. This is a most succulent cut of meat: it is juicy and delicious. I humbly apologize for misunderstanding you. I have spent years toughening you up and overworking you. I am truly sorry. Please forgive me.

I have inadvertently saddled you with a lot of tensions. I didn’t know any better. I’ve held you tight during lunges and backbends, and I’ve stuffed anger and fear into your fibers in an effort to armour myself against emotional and psychological attack. Thank you for shielding me and holding me together while I worked things out.

I see that a new level of intimacy is called for, and it’s time for me to take loving care of you. I am grateful for the inspirations and resources that are presenting themselves to open the way.  Over the last few days I have been introduced to the concept that your nature is to be soft and quiet. Some people call you the “muscle of the soul”. How beautiful is that! It speaks to your wisdom and power, and to a new paradigm.  As I take a few baby steps towards understanding you better, and allow you time and space to soften, you reward me with such generosity. You gift me with a sensation of quiet, juicy spaciousness in my groins and deep abdomen. Tending your softness, I explore ways to move my thighs without disturbing my pelvis and lumbar spine. It feels so free! When I stand up, my legs feel like long ribbons that pour down from above. My quads feel longer and I feel sleeker. Walking feels fluid. My breath and mind are peaceful. I want to feel this way all the time.

I confess to feeling a little nervous about all of this too. I’m scared of losing our newfound sweetness together, and of falling back into old habits. One change sets off a cascade of other shifts and adjustments….what will the future hold? I already feel stirrings of connections to old holding patterns in my back just behind you, and I am noticing how different you are on the left and right sides. I’m excited to hear what my organs and nerves will have to say about all of this.

I sense we are embarking on a long, deep journey together. I’m sorry that it’s taken me this long to find you. Please forgive me for the pain I’ve caused. Thanks for keeping me safe all these years. I love you and bless you.

yours in Love,
Karusia