Tag Archives: yoga

new year

One Way to Approach the New Year

As this new year approached and I was inundated with suggestions to leave my troubles in 2017, look ahead to 2018, come up with a resolution for the new year, and be excited about it, all I could feel was the need to be left alone.

The last six months of 2017 were horrendous for my family. My 86-year-old father underwent heart surgery on August 1st and due to medical malpractice, suffered a brain injury. Before this, he was a healthy, strong, intelligent man who went to the gym three times a week, completed the New York Times Sunday Crossword Puzzle, and rode a tractor almost daily through acres of farm land. His heart is now as healthy as can be. His brain is not. Although he has progressed a great deal from being unable to walk, talk, eat, and control his bodily functions, our family has been through pure hell taking care of him. He and my mother now live with my family.

So, when faced with the anticipation of a new year, I simply felt stuck in the hardship of 2017. How can I not be? It’s still happening. So I wanted to put this off.  Could we just wait another six months for a new year? I’m just not ready.

So I turned to thoughts of yoga: love, light, peace, and truth in body, mind, and spirit. And that was my turning point.

New Years Day passed without a thought. I celebrated without the need to have discovered my resolution. Daily tasks were carried out in plenty of time. The house was transitioned back to normalcy from all the decorations, baked goods, and Christmas music.

What I had to remember is that this year has been difficult for me. And 2018 will continue to be the same, at least for the time being. In addition to the events surrounding my father’s injury, I have lived with anxiety and depression since the age of 19. I turned 50 last year. In fact, my 50th birthday celebration was brought to a screeching halt by what happened to my father. It’s been a struggle to keep my anxiety and depression at bay.

So I gave myself a break. A big one. I removed this huge need to identify what I desired for 2018 and gave myself the time and space to let it come to me. I created an opening to allow its entrance.

On January 1st, while scrolling through my Instagram feed, it flew right in. I saw a word I hadn’t seen in a while and had forgotten about: Sankalpa. This is a Sanskrit word in yogic philosophy that refers to a heartfelt desire. It is an intention or a resolve to do something. It comes from deep within and is often an affirmation.

new year

On January 2nd, I taught a yoga class using this idea as my theme, informing my students that they had one of four options:

1.) Use a resolution you’ve already created and transform it into a Sankalpa.

2.) Create your Sankalpa during class today.

3.) Be open to receive your Sankalpa if it is not easily coming to you.

4.) None of the above.

I had already chosen number three and I still haven’t been able to put it into a concise phrase, but I now know what I want this year. I want yoga. Not just the physical practice of yoga but all of the spiritual healing and connection that comes with it. I want to feel as much love and peace as possible every day, in every moment. I want to be able to surround the sadness I feel for my father with light and transform it into joy. I want to be true to myself and allow the time and space needed for all of this.

I can do it. I know I can. And I’m in no hurry.

 

Wonderful Places Where Yoga Heals

Project Balance

“Our Mission is to bring mind-body wellness to the children and families of our community through partnerships, education and outreach.”

Yoga 4 Change

“Yoga 4 Change is a non-profit organization that achieves meaningful change for veterans, incarcerated individuals, vulnerable youth, and those dealing with substance abuse. Our purpose-driven yoga program enables us to heal and empower these under-served populations, creating healthier, safer communities, one class at a time.”

The Recovery Village 

“Our patients reside in beautifully designed, private and semi-private rooms with comforting accommodations and amenities. We provide a rare retreat for our patients with a serene landscape and top-notch amenities to promote a healthy recovery environment.  Our full continuum of care reaches past your stay at our residential facility, ensuring continued success in your future.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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. Needing lower back pain treatment is often one of the reasons people start a yoga practice. But a safe and modified yoga practice is essential in this case, or the pain 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

best laid plans

Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men…

Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men…

This last week approaching my book release date (which, by the way, is not happening tomorrow) has reminded me of a section of my book about contrast. Things can’t always go the way we expect and we have to try and be okay with it. Easier said than done, yes. But certainly possible. And easier on the stomach.

best laid plans

Here is an excerpt from Chapter One of my book, In So Many Words, not coming out tomorrow as originally planned.

“Out of all the books we studied, there is one that changed my life and continues to resonate with me. Along with The Bhagavad Gita, we read one of its companion books, Poised for Grace, by Douglas Brooks. First of all, who would have thought that I would read The Bhagavad Gita ever in my life? Not me! But now, it serves as the basis of many of the decisions I make and the way I feel about difficult situations. In fact, there is a note in
the margin of my companion book which actually reads…This is the meaning of life! It doesn’t matter if it is the meaning of life for you or anyone else. It is for me and that’s perfectly fine. Perception is relative. I wouldn’t have accepted that concept ten years ago.
The Bhagavad Gita, among many other teachings, discusses the need for contrast. There is evil in this world. Horrible things happen. People do unspeakable things. Those things make us angry, sad, and discouraged. But, in actuality, we NEED those things. We need to feel and understand the contrast between good and evil, happy and sad, right and wrong. Imagine if we lived in a utopia, always feeling bliss and divine connection. We
would never know the opposite, therefore never really knowing the grace of divinity. We must feel the contrast in order to know what feels good to us and what does not. Without it, that land of perfection eventually shrivels away and is lost completely. We need free will in order to make choices. It is kind of a system of checks and balances. In my Kula, we concluded the following: Without knowing what you aren’t, you cannot know what you are.”

women

Five Women. One Book. Namaste.

Five Women. One Book. Namaste.

In So Many Words arrives November 4, 2016 on Amazon and Shanti Mom For One.

A little bit of stress has tainted this process, but when I get beyond the stomach aches and the insomnia, I realize how cool this is really going to be. It will be so fun to call myself an author.

And when I take the time to watch these videos again and again, my soul rests. With MaryAnne especially. Sit in a room with her for five minutes and your troubles melt away.

What an honor to be trusted with Donna’s most intimate thoughts. I admire this woman immensely.

There is no one else like Kate. No one. Fire and rain all in one beautiful package.

women

Too bad you didn’t get to see Mary on video. You could learn a thing or two from her.

poignant

Poignant Moment Defines My Kula

The following is a poignant excerpt from my book, In So Many Words, being released next Friday November 4th on Amazon and Shanti Mom for One.

One day I arrived at yoga in tears. I hated doing that and almost turned around to go home, but I knew better. No matter what, being in yoga, even if I didn’t move a muscle could only make me feel better. I came straight into the office where Kate was greeting her students and of course, she immediately embraced me and asked what was wrong. Well, there was nothing wrong. Nothing is really wrong when you are depressed, anxious, being pumped with hormones, and trying to get through it all. It just is what it is and you can’t explain it to anyone else. My body was in shock, I’m sure. Kate, who had recently studied Reiki, said, “I’ll do some Reiki on you,” and laid her hands on my shoulders and back. Then Mary arrived, saw me hunched over the office counter, and without a word, laid her hands on me as well. While the tears still flowed and the angst remained, my hopes of victory took over. I got through class with little movement and more tears, but I did get through it. The sacred space and the loving touches enveloped me. These women once again wrapped me in their love and told me it was going to be okay.

Before it was all over, my body had endured a total of 53 hormone shots, over a period of two months, in my abdomen and both hips.”

53-page-16