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be careful

Be Careful Out There Yogis; Your Body Needs You…

Be Careful Out There Yogis; Your Body Needs You…

As I picked up one of my favorite magazines and started to flip through it, I was so excited to see an eight page article about yoga. Wow! It had lots of information, beautiful graphics, and even a map showing all the yoga studios in the area. But as I read it, I became more and more disappointed.

This ‘beginner’s guide’, in my opinion, was actually quite intimidating in itself. The information was overwhelming. The graphics were gorgeous, yet not comprehensive. The map was helpful, yet furthered my concerns.

But enough about the article. I am really not here to criticize the magazine or the article’s author. It really was a nice article and any exposure yoga receives is good. And this magazine has always been one of my favorites and still is.

What I want to do, as a Certified Integrative Yoga Therapy Instructor, is take it back several steps and offer my own ideas about starting or continuing a yoga practice.

be careful

  1. Put safety first. Know your body and it’s limitations. Honor it. Practice the type of yoga that allows helpful and safe movement in your body, not the type that forces struggle and strain. Muscle spasms in the back often lead people to start a yoga practice. But a safe and modified yoga practice is essential in this case, or the spasms can become worse. One of the best ways to do this is to use props like blocks, bolsters, straps, blankets, and the wall. Use what you need to stay safe and feel good.
  2. Look for classes with descriptions using words like gentle, modified, slow, and well…beginners. Even if you are returning to yoga after a previous practice of intermediate, advanced, even power yoga, there is obviously a reason you took a break. Enter your new practice gradually and give yourself time to work back into it. And by all means, if you’ve never done yoga before, a gentle class suited for beginners is a must. And what’s even better is a Beginner’s Series, where you can learn the postures in detail.
  3. Do YOUR yoga. Even if you don’t know what that is yet, you do know your body, so honor it. All of your postures will look different from someone else’s and that is perfect. Your yoga. Your mat. Your choices.
  4. Try out a few different instructors and stick with the one who actually gives you instructions, cues, corrections, modifications, and positive feedback. Unfortunately, we are a dying breed. But we are out there and we want to help you.
  5. Breathe. Your body will thank you for it. It will actually move more easily and be open to new postures if you give it oxygen. Inhale deeply to open and lengthen the body. Exhale long and slow to settle into the posture. It will take a few reminders but practice will make it perfect.

be careful

I’ve been doing yoga for 13 years now and have been certified for almost two. I was lucky enough to learn from the very best instructors in this area. When people take my class for the first time, they say things like this:

  • no one ever told me I was doing that wrong
  • you are just what I was looking for
  • I’m so glad you give instructions and corrections
  • I’ve never been sure how to do many of the poses
  • your voice is soothing and makes me comfortable
  • it feels like coming home

This list isn’t for bragging. This list tells me that I’m doing what I was trained to do. Teach yoga in a safe, positive, and friendly environment. Allow my students to practice at a level and pace suited to their needs.

I teach yoga four times a week at three different locations to a variety of ages, genders, levels, physical abilities, and personalities. My job is to serve all of them, as best as I can.

So, I ask all yoga instructors and students…please be careful out there.

And call me if you need me.

Libby Blumberg, RYT 200

904-521-7097

libby@shantimomforone.com

be careful

be careful

be careful

TBT…important stuff

Of course, the news of Robin Williams’ death has stayed with me. But not only because he had such amazing talent, but because of the circumstances of his death. When my husband told me that he committed suicide, I did not believe him. I said, ‘That has got to be a hoax.’ I really wish it had been. Then learning the way he did it shocked me to my core. There are no words to describe the hopelessness he must have felt.

I have felt hopeless, depressed, like there’s no way out. I have felt like I would never be happy again. I have cried uncontrollably, thinking I would never stop. I have had panic attacks that rocked my world. I have even thought for a millisecond that it might, just might be easier not being on this planet. But never, have I ever, considered killing myself. It is so foreign to me. It is beyond my comprehension.

However…I get it. I have felt the feelings that don’t have an explanation. I have been on the treated side and untreated side. I know that I will never go untreated again. So I get it. If you are clinically depressed and you go untreated, I can see how there would be no other option. It is miserable, horrible, painful, uncontrollable, and hopeless.

My depression and anxiety began in 1987. I did not agree to treatment until 2001, when I had my first panic attack. Fourteen years!! I was offered medication in 1987. No way! Not me! I just figured I was crazy and that was it. I can’t say that I was miserable for fourteen years, but I could give you numerous times in my life that would have been a lot easier, happier, and a lot less painful, had I been treated. I could say that I waisted 14 years of my life, but I wouldn’t dare. I am who I am and that’s it.

Even after I began treatment and felt like it changed my life, I still felt embarrassed and frustrated about being on medication. I was determined to get off of it some day. I only told certain people about it. It was a deep, dark secret.

What a joke that is now! I shout it from the rooftops! It’s so freaking hereditary! My grandmother had it. My father had it. Two of my brothers have it! My poor nieces have it! Geez! It just is what it is.

I’ll never forget my therapist from 2 1/2 years ago telling me that I should look at depression as a separate entity that I can talk to.  I decided to take it a step further and get really pissed off at it. I wrote a message on a bright pink sticky note that I wanted to picture here, but it kept coming up as a featured photo. Didn’t quite want it to be the first words displayed. It simply said, “Fuck you depression. Get out of my life.” My Dad told me he did the same type of thing back in 1959 when he dealt with the same issues. I will keep it forever as a reminder of the control I have over it.

This other quote is something I pulled off of Facebook. The part that especially resonated with me is the very first line. “…please resolve never to ask them why.” In my experience, depression is just like any other horrible disease. I don’t think anybody ever asks, ‘why do you have cancer? or ‘why do you have diabetes?’. If you suffer from depression, you have a serious disease. You need help. You need treatment. Just like any other disease. You do NOT need to be embarrassed or ashamed. You are NOT alone. You are NOT crazy.

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I can recognize depression in other people. I get better at it all the time. I try to make a point to ask them how they are doing. I even sometimes dare to say something like, ‘you seem sad.’ Sometimes I even offer to be a friendly ear if they ever need to talk. I don’t mind sharing my experiences with just about anyone. I am never afraid of what they will think of me. It’s just not an issue. I am who I am and I am proud that I am beating this disease. Those of us who understand it have a responsibility to reach out to people who may still have questions. This disease often causes horrible and unthinkable things to happen. Let’s all agree to step forward and do something about it.

Maybe some of this could have saved Mr. Williams. Maybe not. The only thing I know for sure is that he is not suffering anymore. I will have to be ok with that.