An amazing week at the Ashram - so full of wonderful programs and incredible learning, plus having the opportunity to teach - all added up to a beautiful week for me!
Richard Miller, the creator of the iRest yoga nidra training that I took a few months ago, Molly Birkholm, who was my teacher for the iRest training and who is co-founder of Warriors at Ease, and Sat Bir Singh Khalsa, a researcher and professor at Harvard, provided a week rich with information, insight and inspiration.
The Symposium on Healing Trauma might have been a heavy and depressing backdrop. Yet each presentation was filled with hope and lightness and sharing of research and practices that show yoga and meditation work and can help so many people who are desperately trying to find ways to cope with trauma.
From the veterans that Molly works with, to the young women trafficked in Nepal that Molly and Richard are working with, to the people of all walks of life being studied at Harvard and elsewhere by Sat Bir and others on his team - the data is solid and the positive impact that yoga and meditation are having on people's lives is undeniable.
Interestingly, we learned that all of us have faced trauma of one sort or another. When a car suddenly swerves in front of you and you barely miss being in an accident, there is trauma to the nervous system as your body is thrust into the 'fight or flight' mode of survival. There are physical indicators such as increased body temperature, sweating, increased heart rate, quickened breathing, tensed body to name a few.
When we wake up late, skip breakfast, run down the stairs panting and out of breath, to catch the train or get to our car and then fight traffic or stand body to body on the train with our heart still pounding, rushing to get into work and then experience the anger of a boss or team members waiting for us to be in a meeting - those are also traumas to our body.
Many of us daily live trauma filled lives and don't even realize it. We accumulate all of those traumas and wonder why our lives feel so stress filled. One of the main contributors to major diseases is stress, and the other is lifestyle.
Studies show that the most common complaints about health are chronic fatigue and stress. The most common causes of fatigue are heart trouble, diabetes, kidney infections and glandular disorders. The yogis teach that most of these symptoms could be easily removed with a natural diet, relaxation, breathing and Yogic exercises.
To hear Molly share about leading yoga with Vets who have limbs missing and to experience the gentleness she approaches each yoga practice she teaches is witnessing an angel among us. To listen to Richard speak in a calm and soothing voice, while sharing the wisdom that comes with years of experience, we felt an outpouring of love from a man we had not met before, but who made us feel so comfortable, relaxed and familiar.
Sat Bir has devoted his life to his research, in an effort to provide validation to those of us in the West, of what yogis in the East have known for thousands of years.
The icing on the cake this week was my getting to teach a 3 day course on the Essentials of Yoga, with lectures and a customized yoga classes for the participants. It was a wonderful experience! I also taught two regular yoga classes and enjoyed every minute of the teaching.
I loved sharing with each of the students in the course, Swami Vishnudevananda's condensed essence of Yogic teachings, designed specifically for those of us in the West.
He called his five principles for physical and mental heath, as well as spiritual growth,
the 5 Points of Yoga:
Sending You Love from the Bahamas.
Thank you for taking this journey with me!
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