Qigong and You: The Perfect Match

By Laura Freix

Do you struggle with seated meditation?  Are you always on the go?  Do you find yoga poses too challenging due to poor flexibility or excess weight?  Qigong could be the answer. 

I was invited to attend a qigong class for the first time several years ago.  I knew very little of qigong at the time, and because I had always been more of a hardcore exerciser, I felt like I wasn’t actually doing anything; but, at the same time, I noticed that I felt calm and energized when I was done.

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 What you may not understand about exercise is that you want to feel really good when you are done.  In contrast to the “no pain, no gain” mentality that is so pervasive in our society, this feeling is an indicator that your body loves what you are doing.  Too many people push their body into stress mode when exercising often resulting in injury and other symptoms associated with stress.  Are you one of them?

 So what exactly is Qigong and what can it do for you?  Qigong (pronounced “chee” “gung”) is the ancient art of energy cultivation.   One of my mentors, Francesco Garripoli, prefers the distinction that qigong is the art of energy activation.  Given that energy cannot be created or destroyed, I like this focus as we are activating the energy that already exists within us and around us.

 Tai Chi is perhaps more well-known in the West, and is a form of qigong that has its roots in the martial arts. Practicing qigong can be especially beneficial for boosting health, vitality, internal power, and mental clarity.

 I like to think of qigong as a moving meditation, and bring that focus into my teaching style. Helping my students focus on what my mentor, Roger Jahnke, OMD, calls the three intentional corrections: “lengthening the spine, deepening the breath and clearing the mind or visualizing healing.”

 The mindfulness aspect of the practice is far more important than the number of repetitions or the precision of the physical movements.  There are other qigong masters that demand far more precision from their students, but that is not my current focus.  I believe, as Roger does, that your own personal practice is your best teacher. As an energy healer and life coach, I would have to agree that you are the foremost expert on yourself. Developing this muscle within yourself supports healing and personal growth.

 I have taught students who struggle with the idea that there is no right way to do the practice, and I am happy to work with anyone who seeks more precision, but encourage all to bring home the movements that speak to them.  As Roger states, in his book The Healer Within, “All forms were originally created by someone, why not you?”  I love the freedom this mindset invites into your personal practice.  If you are doing movements that you enjoy, you are more likely to continue the practice.  

 My students often ask how often they should practice Qigong, and my first answer is that any practice is better than no practice at all.  That said, to reap the greatest benefits, it is good to put this type of self-care practice at the core of your life, by making it a non-negotiable part of your day.  You can realize results in as little as ten to fifteen minutes a day.

 For health improvement, you may want to consider lengthening your practice and doing your chosen form multiple times a day.  Experiment with different times of day, to see which times work best for you.  For disease intervention, start slowly and build up both repetitions and the number of practices you do in a given day, as you gain strength.  If you are just starting out, start slowly and build gradually depending on your level of fitness.  Nothing in qigong is supposed to hurt, so if that is the case, ask for a modification from the instructor or modify the movement to avoid pain. Honor your limits.

 By now you may be wondering how qigong promotes healing.  The gentle movements promote the circulation of blood and oxygen, or Qi, in the body, delivering oxygen and nutrients into the cells.  The deep breathing causes the diaphragm to descend, stimulating the lymphatic system to carry toxins and waste out of the body, supporting your immune function.

 The combination of gentle movements and slow relaxed breathing shifts the nervous system out of stress mode and into the parasympathetic state of rest and healing.  This has the power to shift your brain’s neurochemistry and move you into an alpha state of awareness.  What’s really exciting about this is that it all happens automatically during a qigong practice.  Healing doesn’t have to be hard:  qigong cultivates the body’s natural ability to heal itself.   What may be surprising to those unfamiliar with mind-body practices, is that even visualization of the movements can produce benefits.

 Studies have shown that qigong can reduce anxiety, blood pressure, and physical pain.  In addition, practicing qigong regularly can improve mood, sleep, and overall well-being.  Increased energy is another benefit of the practice.  There are literally thousands of studies that have been done involving the benefits of Qigong,  feel free to explore the detailed research resources available through the Qigong Institute for more information.

 Practicing with others can also be very healing.  When a group of individuals come together to share these ancient forms, an amplified field is created that enhances the benefits for all involved.  In China, there are even hospitals based solely on the healing principles of qigong.  

 Qigong is a metaphor for life.  With practice you can access an inner peace and calm despite any chaos going on around you.  It’s not about how long you practice, or what forms you practice, but how you practice. As my first teacher often shares “If you have a smile on your face, you know you are on the right track.”

 If you are interested in discovering what qigong can do for you, I invite you attend one of my classes at Rise on Tuesday evening or Friday morning. If you are interested in life coaching, that incorporates radical self-care as a central theme, Schedule your FREE Discovery Call today. You can find out more information about Laura at her website: https://www.iembracewellness.com

Meet Dante Baker

We are so pleased to have Dante on our staff.  Dante has a wealth of knowledge about the human body, fitness and healing.  See his certifications and training in his bio on our team page.  

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“I have often been asked by people who start to get to know me,” How did you start your spiritual journey?” I normally start by saying that my mom (Beverly Nickerson) introduced me a wide spectrum of healers, practitioners and spiritual teachers at a young age. When I was a teenager, she would have Shamans from Peru give healings and psychic readings inside of our home to people from the DC area. I was fascinated by their craft and how many people’s lives they would affect in a positive way. After watching these Shamans perform such magical healings on their clients, I constantly wonder if those same clients ever learned how to heal themselves once the Shamans when back to Peru. I wanted to educate those same people different method of self healing which inspired me to learn Qi gong, Yoga and Meditation. That is what keeps me teaching here at Rise Well-Being and I hope to share my practice with you.”
 

 

Meet Lisa Jackson

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Lisa is an author, functional nutrition and functional medicine trained health coach, yoga teacher, and retired Registered Nurse with the mission to “Inspire, Educate and Empower” individuals to heal from within.  She teaches movement classes, leads workshops and Lunch 'n Learns at Rise.  We are honored to have her as part of our team.  Lisa teaches Movement classes every Wednesday at Rise including: Carpe Diem Dance, Street Clothes stretch and Yoga.  All her classes will be offered for a $10 promotional drop in fee in the month of May.  Please stop by to try out a class with her.

 

We asked Lisa to answer 2 questions:

What am I passionate about?  I am passionate about healing healthcare and healing the healers. We do this by creating wellbeing, by learning to feel happy, grounded and joyful, regardless of the chaos surrounding our lives. I'm passionate about meaningful connections with people and witnessing personal growth and wellbeing. I love all aspects of my job from sharing joyful movement to music classes at Rise (Carpe Diem Dance and Street Clothes Stretch) to reflective vinyasa yoga to functional medicine and nutritional testing and coaching. We are all unique individuals with unique needs and challenges. My business is about helping individuals create custom plans to meet their health and wellbeing goals. I also love to do corporate presentations and programs utilizing my Wellness Inspired Network. I love to collaborate with exceptional practitioners for my own wellbeing and to develop references for my clients.  

 

What do I like about being at Rise? Community and connection is vital to our wellbeing. Being a solo practitioner, I can get stuck in my "geek mode" spending hours at my computer doing coaching and/ or research on behalf of my clients. It is so important for me to do daily exercise and my yoga practice, yet it can be a challenge to prioritize self care over work. Rise is a special place to come and leave my phone and emails behind. The ambience is immediately welcoming and nourishing. The practitioners here are special and offer services not found in a gym or yoga studio. This is a wonderful place for self discovery. Lisa and Marcia have spent a great deal of thought and intention in every detail to create a natural oasis. They welcome whole wellbeing and are generous with participating practitioners. Lisa is passionate about creating a conscious business and that positive energy is palpable here. 

 

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Lisa Jackson, RN, CHC, RYT-500, AFMC

Lisa’s book, Savvy Secrets: Eat, Think & Thrive is a self health book offering her Seven Steps to Optimal Health.

When she is not coaching, or speaking, you can find Lisa joyfully sharing Carpe Diem Dance or playing with her two grandchildren. She is the mother of four adult children and believes, “Optimal health should not be a secret.”

Meet Rita Maximilian

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Rita’s Wellness Tip

Wellness has been a loaded buzz word the last few years. On the one hand it is a good thing as it is now on everyone's radar. On the other hand though it can be overwhelming as there is so much information out there giving us anxiety as yet another thing we should be doing to be whole and happy. My recommendation is to do some research, talk with wellness practitioners, ask friends what they are doing and then decide what works for you. Choose activities that will nourish your body, your mind and your heart/soul/spirit also. Choose ones that are easy to keep and ones that resonate with you and your lifestyle. Wellness and well-being is a whole person experience and it's best if practiced daily. Always be kind to yourself about these activities, be open minded that they might change as you change or your circumstances change. We learn and evolve every single day of our lives so our wisdom of what we need should do as well time to time. 

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All that said, one of my favorite practices the last year or so has been my morning check in. As soon as I wake up, still in bed, I take a few deep belly breaths, place one hand onto my heart the other on my belly and greet my body. I would say to myself: "Good morning belly, good morning heart, good morning legs good morning [FILL IN HERE with any part of you that needs a greeting]. Thank you for carrying me, my insides, my outsides, my thoughts, my feelings. I am grateful for your strength, your unique beauty, your perfection to keep me going. I love you and I appreciate you, lets have an amazing day". I change it up as I feel every single morning. It takes about a minute, while I also use  my deep breathing to scan my body. If you have more time (I have a four year old who now might sleep later than me so this minute has been getting a little longer) enjoy more time checking in. Give gratitude to your body, send love to it, appreciate it no matter what. And with that deep appreciation from the morning on, you can have a good start followed by other mindful practices throughout the day. Good luck! 

Meet Mike Cummins

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Michael is a continuous learner with a focus on self-development. He practices and studies Kundalini Yoga, the Qabalah, Jungian Psychology and A Course in Miracles. Each of these disciplines provide practices, insights, tools and techniques that he uses with others to enhance their learning and development.

Mike tells us, “Several years ago, a life-changing event put me on the path to be of service to others. I had a successful career, beautiful home, wonderful friends, and a great family, but I started to feel that something was missing. One morning, I was working out to relieve stress (mostly from feeling that my life was out of alignment), and I suddenly thought, “There has got to be a better way.”

It was in that moment that I realized that my life thus far was based on “what I was supposed to do.” In other words, my life decisions were made based on external motivations. An unmistakable clarity arose within my thoughts and inspired me to develop an “inside-out” way of living.

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I immediately started to reflect on my life and my gifts. While I’m an engineer by training, I am also an empath and have strong intuition. I’ve known about my gifts since I was very young, but never understood how they could be used. During my reflections, the urge to dig deeper and truly understand who I am resulted in the realization that, at work and in my everyday life, I most enjoy helping other people to be successful.”

Mike also has his own coaching business inspiring you to live and work with purpose. Learn more here: visiontoactions.com

Meet Ingrid Czintos

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Ingrid is a Wellness and Transformational Coach, Meditation and Mindfulness Teacher, Bodyworker, and Energy Healer. She marries her extensive knowledge from working with the body for over 20 years along with over a decade of mindfulness meditation practice to facilitate people’s understanding of their unique mind-body connection. 

She says, “As a bodyworker, I have seen and lived the truth in the mind/body connection, witnessing firsthand the cost to those who neglect the small, and sometimes big, signals their body sends. I believe that awareness of our unique mind/body connection creates the foundation for health to arise, in all its forms, throughout the entirety of one’s life.” 

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Ingrid stumbled upon mindfulness, or insight meditation, over a decade ago during an extremely challenging period in her life. She explains, “My husband, a software specialist, had been out of work for over a year and a half, and as a massage therapist I was working day and night to make ends meet. When he was laid off, as many others were during that time period, we never imagined it would be close to two years before he was back at work. Desperate for a break, and knowing I needed to fulfill continuing education credits to maintain my massage therapy license, I signed up for an advanced massage workshop. Five days before the workshop began I was contacted by the facility and notified that not enough people had signed up for the workshop, so they had canceled it, but that I was welcome to take another workshop offered during the same time frame. I selected a workshop called -Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation - thinking to myself…hmmm, that sounds relaxing. Little did I know then that in ten years’ time, I’d have attended over 10 silent retreats and be teaching meditation. My life was permanently altered by that twist of fate.” 

By teaching evidence-based mindfulness techniques that increase our awareness of our unique mind-body connection, and leading personalized mind-body discovery coaching sessions, Ingrid empowers her clients to connect with their body’s innate wisdom and deep internal resources for healing. 

Her mission is to inspire, guide, and support people in uncovering their unique “Truth”, using the conduit of their own bodies, to connect them to their innate source of light, energy and power, so that they can naturally create a life that uniquely reflects their vision of abundance, joy, and health.

Meet Tammy Cummins

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One of my best qualities and values is compassion. I began a lifetime of work with or for underserved individuals beginning in high school. By age 15, I was volunteering full time at a summer camp for mentally handicapped and abused children. I continued this work until I started college. As an young adult, I founded a non-profit organization: Loudoun County Road Runners. Through this organization, I helped raised over $100,000 to help the Loudoun County's Abused Women's Shelter. Over the past 7 years, this organization has raised an additional $100,000 to assist combat veterans recovering from PTSD. Most recently, I retired from the Veteran's administration where I worked almost exclusively with the drug addicted population. I considered it a privilege and hope I helped many find their way to recovery.

Desmond Tutu stated my life's philosophy best when he wrote:

" God's dream is that you and I and all of us will realize that we are family, that we are made for togetherness, for goodness, and for compassion."

I love this dream.

Tammy Cummins is a health and wellness coach and educator. She writes credentialing materials for her fellow coaches as well as providing group and individual education/coaching on issues of mind-body wellness. Tammy specializes in imparting knowledge and practices that promote greater happiness, manage stress and improve health. You can learn more about Tammy Cummins at: www. thehappiness.coach

Meet Robyn Wolf

Life is one big journey … Life is years of self-discovery … the time for constant learning, change and growth.

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I began my journey as a medium a long time ago, when I was a small child. But like so many others, I shoved my gifts down my throat so as not to be ridiculed by my peers. Things changed when my mom became gravely ill. I questioned death. Why did she die at such a young age? She was a good woman, so why? 

All my questions forced me to read many books and to take various workshops. I worked with the best international evidential mediums. I began seeing and hearing Spirit. I can remember sitting in my kitchen or hiking in the woods, and I would smell her perfume. And if I sat very quietly, I could hear her speak to me. I would feel her brush her hand against mine, her lips kissing my cheek. Today, I speak to my mom with ease and converse with her daily, knowing that she is always walking beside me.

I am just one of many mediums who communicate with our departed loved ones in the Spirit World (Summerland) by means of mediumship. I am an evidential medium & psychic. To me, there is nothing better than connecting you with your loved ones in the Spirit World (Summerland), or sharing guidance and/or assistance when you have specific questions about your life path. Through mediumship, I can help people to heal from the loss of a loved one.

Communication with the Spirit World is available to each one of us. Our departed loved ones still want to see us, talk to us, be near us. They, believe it or not, miss us more than we miss them. We are still going on with our daily lives, hugging & kissing their loved ones – but they are souls with no physical body, and they can only watch and do various things to get our attention. It is not uncommon for our departed loved ones to flicker lights on and off, move things, leave coins for us, and so much more. A medium can bring you wonderful & loving messages.

All of us – me and you –can sit in the quiet of our own homes, in our own space, and meditate, reaching out to our loved ones in the Spirit World and know that they are always with us. And if we pay close attention, we can even feel their breath and we can hear their words. How healing is that!

We are immortal. How crazy and wonderful is that!?! Our body dies a physical death. But our soul! Our soul moves on to a greater place. A place where we continue learning, where we continue growing and living. Life is continuous and never ending.

 

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Do not stand at my grave and weep, 
I am not there – I do not sleep. 
I am the thousand winds that blow, 
I am the diamond glints in snow, 
I am the sunlight on ripened grain, 
I am the gentle autumn rain. 
As you awake with morning's hush 
I am the swift-up-lifting rush 
Of quiet birds in circling flight. 
Do not stand at my grave and cry, 
I am not there – I did not die.

~Mary Frye

I am looking forward to teaching workshops and leading meditations at Rise Well-Being. They have a wonderful, beautiful and comforting space. I am excited to help you learn how to raise your vibration so you may speak to your own departed loved ones. And to help you with mindfulness meditations, to live your life in the moment, letting go of what happened earlier in the day or what might happen tomorrow. 

 

 

 

Meet Jason Unger, photographer

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When I was a kid I was introduced to the world as a place that needed to be explored.  I had no idea why I felt compelled to see as much as I could, but I enjoyed every moment of it.  As I got older I found my love for photography and it became a way for me to express myself.  I never took a formal photography class, but continued to learn as much as I could from anyone that would teach me.  Fifteen years ago I found myself looking for a career change and I became a flight attendant so I could see the world.  Today I am still a flight attendant as my full time job and have been taking pictures while on layovers and vacations all over the world.  I am lucky to be able to say that I have been to 48 states and over 30 countries.  Most of my trips I was accompanied by my camera so I could capture the moments in my life that I never believed as a child I would ever be afforded to have.  I always kept these pictures to myself or shared them with a few people from time to time, until about a year ago when a friend of mine told me that my pictures were great and that I should be doing something with them.  Its been an amazing journey so far, and this is just the beginning.  

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As I have traveled the world I have learned first hand how truly lucky we are to live in the United States and are able to take for granted things that most people in the world could only dream of.  I’ve always tried to help out in anyway that I could, for that reason I have decided that I am going to be donating 25% of the proceeds of all my art to charity.  The first charity that I am going to be donating to is one that believes that no child should die from a curable condition.  If you would like to learn more about this charity you can go to their website www.faithbasedaid.org 

If you would like to see more of my work you can view my website www.ungeronthego.com or checkout my instagram: Ungeronthego.



Why Ferment?

Recently fermented foods have been popping up at farmer’s markets, health food stores, and even traditional grocery stores. Why should you introduce fermented foods into your diet?’

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Since the time of Hippocrates (470-360 B.C.) it has been understood that “All disease begins in the gut.” If disease begins in the gut, it is probably to our benefit to have a healthy gut to help us ward of disease. A healthy gut leads to overall better health.

One way that good gut health is achieved is by including fermented foods in your diet. Fresh fermented foods contain probiotics. They are alive with good bacteria and yeasts that help to populate your gut and fight off bad bacteria. These gut microbes act as a digestive aid, helping to break down some foods and making their nutrients more available to the body. Research has shown that good gut microbes bolster the immune system and can enhance mood. Certain lactobacilli are being recommended by researchers to supplement other treatments for osteoarthritis and osteoporosis and to increase bone mass density. Those microbes need to be nurtured and supplemented.

The fermentation of vegetables is officially called lacto-fermentation. The “lacto” in the name refers to the lactobacillus strains that are active in the fermentation process. In the right environment, microbes in the atmosphere create lactic acid which is a natural preservative for food. The microbes pass into your system when you eat the food. Pickles, sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, and yogurt are a few of the more common foods you may recognize that contain lactobacilli.

Although you may buy fermented foods, it is easy and inexpensive to create some delicious ferments yourself. Cooking from scratch gives you more control over your ingredients and the length of time, and therefore the density of microbes in your foods. One can add a variety of flavors to sauerkrauts and other fermented vegetables, for example, which leads to a diverse menu full of flavor and good gut health. In Benefits of Traditional Fermented Foods, Dr. Jyoti Prakash Tamang laments that fewer and fewer people possess the traditional knowledge to create fermented foods from scratch. Despite the health benefits, because there are limited providers of fermented foods in the marketplace there is a decline in biodiversity of micro-organisms. Eating a variety of fermented foods will increase the biodiversity in your gut and give your gut more tools to improve your health. 

Contributor: Liane Paulson, Wow Wow LLC. Liane will be offering an Introduction to Fermentation at Rise on Saturday October 13, 2018 from 1:30-2:30pm. Sign up for this or another workshop through her website at www.wowxtwo.com. She can be reached at wowxtwo@gmail.com.

Bob McMillan's Well-Being Tip: Move!

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“To restore life to your life, to defeat aging, to regain the youth you still possess,

 get your body in motion.”

— from  Act Your Age , an essay by George Sheehan.

 

The author of that quote is right of course. If you don’t move your body the way nature intended it to move, your muscles will shrink and lose their strength, your bones will get brittle and become easy to break, your blood will pool like a stagnate pond, your joints will get rusty and squeak like ancient hinges. And your breathing will become shallow as your lungs lose their elasticity.

But when you do move your body, and take care of yourself like nature intended, your muscles will fill out and gain strength, your bones will get stronger, and you will move with the the power, fluidity and grace of a well maintained race car . . . A jungle cat on the prowl . . . A thoroughbred playing in a “horse country” pasture.

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That’s what you need to come alive, feel alive and stay alive. That’s what Health, Fitness and Personal Energy is all about. That’s how you stave off chronic illness and stay independent as you get older. That’s how you awaken the Fountain of Youth within you and energize the Flow of Life.

So, whether it’s yoga, dance, pilates, weights, running, walking, or whatever your choice of movement may be, you must get your body in motion . . . Your well-being depends on it.

Bob McMillan is a Senior Fitness Specialist (NASD),  blogger, speaker and workshop leader on the subject of Health, Fitness & Personal Energy for Active Seniors. His blog is at www.thecomealiveproject.com.

Losing weight (and fat) without "Exercise"? Part 1

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Recently, I’ve come across 2 studies which show that people have lost weight without adding vigorous exercise or changing their eating habits.  In this blog post, we will explore what lifestyle change has been proven to bring about this unexpected weight loss. The addition of adding a Restorative Yoga class once or twice a week has a positive impact in many ways, but weight loss (and fat loss) was a surprise to me!   

In Restorative Yoga, participants use props such as blankets, bolsters and blocks to support their bodies in relaxing poses and hold these poses for 5 to 15 minutes. These positions are designed to allow the body to completely relax and rest, while helping people increase flexibility. This deep rest supports a healthy immune function and healing in all systems of the body.

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In one study conducted by the National Institutes of Health, 2 groups of people were followed for 48 weeks.  One group performed a simple stretching routine, the other participated in Restorative yoga.  The results showed that both groups lost weight but the Restorative Yoga group lost almost twice as much weight and interestingly, lost 2.5 times the amount of subcutaneous fat (abdominal fat) as the group that did the stretching.  Researchers were not able to explain why but theorize that it could be the reduction in cortisol, the stress hormone.  Higher levels of cortisol contribute to weight gain especially as belly fat. Yoga is known to reduce the stress hormone cortisol.  This study is important too for encouraging those with limited mobility because of weight or other factors who may not be able to participate in more rigorous forms of movement to try Restorative Yoga. 

At Rise, we love pairing our Restorative yoga classes with sound healing or Reiki to amplify the relaxing and healing experience.  Currently, we have several Restorative yoga classes on our schedule each week.  There is Restorative Rest with Sound Balancing, Restorative Flow with Reiki, Deep Release with Healing Sound, and Restorative Rest.   Check out the schedule. Join us for a class!

 

-Lisa Goodwin

Meet Pamela Warner Rosenthal

Yoga plays to both my loves, community, "sangha," and the love of nature.

Human beings seek the connection with one another. We look for recognition, eye contact, approval and praise.  Yoga teaches us to look within ourselves for these things as well.

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My goal for the time spent with my students is that they be present and comfortable in their  physical body. I work to engage and implement their breath in a way that keeps them present in this time we spend together. The yoga mat represents a place where we safely come to unite the body, breath and spirit within each of us. It does not have to be a mat, it can be a chair.  What is important is that it be a place to create a moving meditation of breath, recognition of self and knowledge of what best serves us.


Pamela Warner Rosenthal

RYT 500Prime of Life Yoga (POLY)--Certified Instructor

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Dante's Well-Being Tip

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“As human beings, we all have a need to connect. Connection is a part of our wellbeing and we all need to manage how we connect with ourselves and others. In my experience, people come into our lives with lessons that we need to learn in order to grow internally. If we do not learn these universal lessons, then we find ourselves connecting with certain types of people that may not meet our needs and can debilitate us from serving from our hearts. Our nature is to give freely but if certain basic human needs are not met then we may find ourselves behaving out of our loving nature. I recommend sitting in a silent room, closing your eyes, take several long deep breathes to relax your mind and imagine people who are close to you in your life right now. Once you have a clear image ask yourself, “Do we both bring the best out of each other?” If the answer is no, then contemplate how you can improve the relationship or if you need to let it go. Imagine the relationship improving in a way that brings you both joy, love and fulfillment.  Cultivating a healthy relationship with the people you are around the most is important to your own wellbeing. Once you practice this simple meditation/contemplation, you will recognize how much joy you will bring into your life.” 

 

Dante Baker

Meet Marni Sclaroff

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After graduating from Art School in 1996, I moved to California and took my first yoga class.  It was love at first breath. 

For most of my childhood and through my teens and twenties, I struggled with severe depression and eating disorders.  As difficult as it was, I never lost hope that there was something that could help me feel more “at home” in my body, and my life.  I was fortunate to have a mother who was wise and open minded, and who brought me to Reiki healers, sound shamans, and other gifted teachers who taught me how to listen to my own intuition.

After finding yoga, I dedicated my life to learning, practicing, and teaching this powerful practice of living well.  Over the years, I have developed a deep sense of reverence for the body’s natural healing capabilities, and for the heart’s wisdom.  I have learned how to manage my own energy in ways that honor my vitality and natural rhythms. This is what I teach, as this is what I know.

In 2000, I received a Master’s Degree in Art Education, which helped me to more fully understand the art of teaching, and soon after I completed a 300 hour yoga teacher training with Sharon Gannon and David Life.  I am also certified in two other schools of yoga, as well as Thai Massage and Ayurveda for Self-Care.

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In 2012, I gave birth to my son and daughter-twins.  They have become my greatest teachers, and are my daily reminders of what really matters.

Yoga is the invitation to live awake.  It opens the doors to a more elegant relationship with the Mystery.  It teaches us how to embody our values, and how to make art with our lives.

Learn more at www.marnisclaroff.com

Well-Being Tip: Laughter is good medicine

Did you know laughing is good for your health? Laughing triggers the feel good hormones, endorphins and serotonin, that create feelings of euphoria, love and happiness.  These endorphins can also suppress pain.  So laughter can be great pain killer as well as an antidepressant. The positive effect of laughter can even help prevent serious illness by  improving the immune system.   Laughter increases immune cells and antibodies to strengthen its ability to cope with viruses and disease. There are so many benefits….Laughter is an antidepressant, pain killer, stress reliever and a great way to make friends and strengthen bonds. And best of all, it’s free!  

Drumming for joy and well-being!

The health benefits of drumming are many: reduced stress, tension and anxiety, increased immune function, alleviate chronic pain, help with depression and more.   We tried out some drumming with guided (Nia) dancing on Tuesday evening August 21.  We found it to be exhilarating and fun.  Each drum had its own vibration and association with a different energy center in our bodies.  It was interesting to see which drum we were each drawn to.  We plan to make this a monthly activity and have scheduled another one for September 11.  Mark your calendars!  See for yourself the joy we experienced.