Lynne’s Blog

Spring 2022!

Spring has a way of lifting spirits.  The reawakening of nature and the extension of daylight revitalizes my mind and heart.  The emerging life all around is a reminder of our connection to all of life and of how precious it is.  It is only the belief that we are not connected that creates the conditions that breed mistrust and conflict that causes much suffering.

I wanted to use this post to remind us of the joy of feeling connection to life.  Recognizing that we are adding to either the joy of connection or the pain of separation by every thought and action we take is a lifelong undertaking of mindfulness and understanding.

One of the joyful sounds that announce spring in the Pacific NW is the awakening of the frogs in the evening.

Listen to the frogs here

This mid-March morning, the woods around our home were alive with an influx of newly arrived migratory birds.  I heard, and then saw, redwing blackbirds, and many robins adding their voices to the new dawn chorus.

Listen to the birds here

Please click here for my next Zoom class offerings.  They will be my last set for awhile.  Then let yoga convert and influencer, Margaret Hoolihan bring a smile to your face with the following clip.

Click here to watch

Lynne in Frog Pose at Frog Pond

A LITTLE MORE ZOOM

There will be three more weeks of Zoom Yoga after which I will be taking an extended break for Spring/Summer projects and travel.

If you are planning to zoom in and are not currently on the Zoom email list (not the same as this mailchimp list) please email me to let me know so that I can send you more information and announcements as they arise.

Gentle Yoga:
Monday   10- 11:30  AM  PST  (9-10:30 Alaska time)
March 21, 28 and April 4
Details here

Level I/II Yoga 
Wednesdays  10- 11:30  AM  PST  (9-10:30 Alaska time)
March 23, 30 and April 6
Details here

Cost:   $12 drop in,  $30 for 3 or more classes.   Payment may be by Paypal or check written to me and mailed to 5961 Everson Goshen Rd.  Bellingham, WA 98226

50% of all proceeds will be donated to  World Central Kitchen  #chefs for Ukraine

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Support Ukraine

If you are looking for ways to help support Ukraine please open this link that was sent to me from a friend in Moscow, Idaho.  It came to her directly from a friend in Kiev.

https://supportukrainenow.org/

At the time of this writing I have not opened every tab but felt it best to get this information out to as many people as possible as quickly as possible.   The tab “read info from the source” under media has links to local and national print media in Ukraine.  Here is a link for a crowdsource fundraiser for the ” Kiev Independent” newspaper.

GoFundMe:  https://gofund.me/fc38a86a

Reading the articles brings you to the front line horror and humanity taking place now.

Some items in the support link are beyond my scope and I’m not inclined  to join the foreign legion, but perhaps this will spark an idea or inspire you to help in an out of the box way.

And please join me and millions of others in daily mediation for Peace. Mediation alone will not save lives, but it will inspire action from a peaceful place rather than from the chaotic, confused state of mind that drives the actions of desperate despots.  Just because the majority of people on the planet do not YET believe that we are all connected through ONE MIND, doesn’t mean it is not true.  Science and humanity as a whole, are not yet sophisticated enough to pick up on the finer energies of thought that drive us all, but it is making inroads everyday..  As we put our minds on Peace, we strengthen and contribute to its ability to access all seemingly separate minds.

Love and Peace,
Lynne


Here is a copy of an email sent via another local friend from Energy Medicine Yoga for a daily world meditation.  

Like so many people around the world, we cannot just go forward as if everything is the same.  Everything is not the same.

We cannot just get up, brush our teeth, drink our coffee, go about our days, when we know our brothers and sisters in Ukraine are fearing for their lives.

We must do something.

Some of you will donate money, or resources, to help support Ukraine. Others will write letters of protest.  Others will withdraw participation in events that are sponsored by or promoted by Russia.

Remember, the Russian people are also our brothers and sisters.

It is the fearful, despotic dictator who, instead of dealing with his own inner demons, has decided to thrust the world onto the brink of war.

We need to strengthen the field of resolve, peace, and reconciliation, so we do not descend any further into madness.

We are taking a cue from our Mother Ship, The Eden Method, and promoting the work of peaceful prayer with Lynne McTaggart. She is holding global intention groups each day.  She is encouraging people around the world to hold the same intention at the same time for 10 minutes every day: 9 am PST, 12 noon EST, 5 pm UK, 6pm Europe.

‘Our intention is that peace be immediately, completely and permanently restored in the Ukraine with no further loss of life and that the country maintain its sovereignty as an independent, democratic nation.’

May we all rid ourselves of our demons.

May we all find peace within

So we may all find peace everywhere…

In deep, prayerful hope,
Lauren and the entire EMYoga team

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Communing with Community

I.26-I.28  (paraphrased)   Isvara (the indwelling Spirit, God) is totally free of conflict, the unexcelled seed of knowledge, unconditioned by time.

Dearest Friends,

Lately I’ve been contemplating the distinction between intelligence and knowledge,  perception and vision.  Intelligence relies on perception, is wavering, changing, expanding and contracting.  It utilizes the 5 senses and methods that are measurable in the world of matter.  Knowledge, or knowing, relies on vision which is what we “see” with our eyes closed. It is stable and doesn’t waver with circumstances.

A former student and friend wrote to me recently mentioning how much she appreciated the community that my former yoga studio brought together.   She remarked “…So many wonderful people that shared the space together.  I still yearn for that feeling.”   I believe that feeling is the knowledge of oneness that we open ourselves up to through the silence we share.  After a really good savasana, no words are needed.   Communion, (union with the community) is the most natural outcome, with no seeming effort required.

In that moment, we feel free of conflict, we “know” we are one.  In that moment we are more identified with Spirit than ego in ourselves and we can en ‘Vision” the same in others.  The kicker seems to be to sustain that knowledge in time and space.  We, or speaking for myself, I know that I, have a pile of conditioning to undo.  But I’m up to the task.  I mean really, Savasana every day, how hard can it be? (Surprisingly hard at times!) I hope you’ll join me and that we will commune once again.

Love and Namaste,

Lynne

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The 21 Day Restorative Challenge

Dearest Friends,

As we all begin the tentative journey back to “normalcy” I’m reflecting on the highlights that brought joy into my Covid staycation life. My top four were: learning to play “Here Comes the Sun” on my ukulele, adopting two furry and neurotic four legged friends (our cats Lilah and Tony) connecting with friends and family via zoom and taking the 21 day restorative yoga challenge.

The 21 day challenge was one that several yoga communities promoted and practiced to help assuage the stress of the Covid shut in. The effects were so helpful and profound for me that when my high school girlfriends reconnected via Zoom to support each other through some major losses and health concerns they agreed to give it a try. Since the group (the 6-pack 😉 had varying degrees of yoga experience we practiced the simple but deep practice of Chair Savasana (see photo) with slow deep breathing for 20 minutes each day. I wanted to add some extra encouragement so I sent a text each day with a benefit that one can receive from doing the practice. My hope is that you will feel inspired to try this. The benefits are truly unlimited since the deeper we go, the broader is our capacity to experience them. There doesn’t have to be a crisis or pandemic in order to take this challenge. Can you really ever have too much joy or peace of mind?

The description of the posture and the 21 benefits and inspirations are shown below. I hope that it will encourage you to take the challenge.

It was such a thrill to see many of you from around the country, and a few from outside the country, in Zoom classes this past year. I have been contemplating what to offer in the fall and would love to hear some feedback from you. If there is interest, I would like to offer zoom classes one or two mornings a week, probably in 6 week sessions with some breaks in between. One morning would be a gentle level class and another morning would be a mixed level 1-2 with more active options. Being Zoom, the classes are more follow the leader than hands on so they are best for those who already have some in-classroom yoga experience.

I do not intend to travel beyond driving radius for weekend workshops going forward. I will be offering some intensive classes through other venues on Zoom as well as some teacher training and will have more details in coming newsletters. I will continue the winter Yoga In Paradise retreats for the foreseeable future most likely at Mar De Jade. The February 2022 retreat is currently full with a short wait list. Please let me know if you would like to be added. I continue to look for a local option for retreats and hope to be able to offer some in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

I am deeply grateful for our encounters. Whether we have shared one class or many decades of them, they have left an imprint on my mind and heart.

With much love,
Lynne

THE 21 DAY RESTORATIVE CHALLENGE

Download the 21 Day Restorative Challenge as a PDF here.


Chair Savasana
Lie on your back on the floor with your lower legs resting on a folding or other chair and raise your head a couple of inches on a pillow, folded blankets, or thin yoga block.  Optional, but wonderful is to put some weight on the shins, heavy blankets or a bolster will do. Place a soft cover the eyes.

Practice deep full breathing.  Work up to a count of 6-2-6-2, Inhale 6, pause 2, Exhale 6, pause 2. Stay with it for at least 5 minutes or as long as you can without strain. Then let go of the breath and relax deeply.

BENEFITS OF THE 21 DAY CHALLENGE
COUNTING DOWN FROM DAY 21

PHYSICAL BENEFITS
21. Elevating the legs slows the heart rate

20. Elevating the legs rests the heart.
Elevated legs and weight on calves assists venous return blood from the legs to the heart, easing the heart’s work of pumping the blood back to it from the lower extremities

19. Raises HRV (heart rate variability – variation in the time between consecutive heartbeats) which is associated with “rest and digest” (not fight or flight), and improved sense of well-being.

18. Establishes parasympathetic nervous system dominance or the Relaxation Response.
Creates parasympathetic dominance in the nervous system. The combination of the breathing and the posture as mentioned in 19, trains the nervous system to readily return to a relaxed state, even after stressful events.

17. Provides optimum oxygenation of cells.
From the book Breath by James Nestor who recommends the technique of breathing to the count of 5.5 seconds in and out as the most optimally efficient breath. (Lynne rounds to 6 for ease of counting) “breathing slow, less and through the nose balances the levels of respiratory gases in the body and sends the maximum amount of oxygen to the maximum amount of tissues so that our cells have the maximum amount of electron reactivity”. He cites case studies of cancer not being able to thrive in a high oxygen environment.

16. Regulates/balances blood pressure,
Elevated legs is the first asana in a sequence for balancing blood pressure. It subtly raises BP so, in addition to being good for low blood pressure, it also starts an inner reaction with the baroreceptors. They inform the body that BP is rising and to send out the chemicals to lower it. Along with slow deep breathing this can reset high blood pressure to lower BP over time.

15. Two benefits! A warm moist eye pillow or cloth will help with dry eyes.
The slow massage of the diaphragm on the abdominal organs enhances optimum digestion, assimilation and elimination.

14. This is a quote from my inspiring teacher, Judith Lasater. “Over the last years I have realized that taking time to do nothing is not a luxury, it is a necessity for me to be able to do the work I love, to feed my closest relationships by offering them my best self, and simply to stay physically healthy.”

MENTAL BENEFITS

13. Recognize and master the four mind states. Although slightly different in yoga philosophy, western science recognizes four brainwave frequencies with various functions. Yoga by definition is “calming the whirlpool of the mind.” This practice begins the slowing down and observation of these states. We will break them down over the next four days.

12. Brain waves slow down from the Beta or arousal state of engaged mental activity with the outer world and senses, to the Alpha State of non-arousal, reflection or meditation. This is akin to Dharana or mindfulness meditation.

11. Samkhya Yoga calls the quieting of the 5 senses Pratyahara. Literally it means opposite attraction. The outward attraction of sensory gratification begins to gradually turn toward the attraction for peace of mind as we relax into the alpha mind state.

10. With deep rest and practice, we can consciously discern the transition from Alpha to the next slower brainwave Theta. This is akin to what Yoga calls Dhyana, contemplation. It is a very imaginative and positive state of mind and is like the feeling when one has just before falling asleep.

9. From a Scientific American article entitled, What is the function of the various brainwaves? “The ideation that can take place during the theta state is often free flow and occurs without censorship or guilt. It is a very positive state of mind. To stay in the state of theta for an extended periods of say, 5 to 15 minutes can be extremely productive and a period of very meaningful and creative mental activity.”

SPIRITUAL BENEFITS

To me, spiritual benefits are those that brings us peace of mind and a sense of kindness and love toward others and ourselves.

8. The slowest brain waves are called Delta and are experienced in deep dreamless sleep. With practice (like this chair Savasana) even this state can become more available consciously. It is the most deeply healing state of mind and body. In this state we experience deep peace, and it is the state where yogis say we are indeed one. Here we do not perceive our differences, only our connectedness in peace and as peace.

One of my favorite quotes is from Swami Sri Yukteswar (Indian yoga master in the late 1800s) “In shallow minds, schools of restless thoughts are greatly disturbing. In oceanic minds a whale of inspiration creates hardly a ripple.”

7. Mastery of the mind comes as we learn to make the locus of control of our actions the calm deep (spiritual) level rather than the agitated superficial level. Simply put, pause and take a deep breath! Another favorite quote from the Buddha: “Stop stirring yourself up.”

6. Moments of stillness between breaths stretch into moments of silence. A quote from Mother Teresa: “God cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. Notice how nature, trees, flowers, grass grow in silence, see the stars and sun and moon, how they move in silence. We need silence to touch souls.”

5. Develops qualities of compassion and understanding toward others and self. There have been some very cool studies on meditation and the neuroscience of compassion. When we focus on those in need of healing while practicing, areas of the brain that are related to compassion light up and become more robust. A great article from UW-Madison “Brain can be trained in compassion” (go to neurosciencenews.com and search for article)

4. My yoga teacher, Father Joe Pereira describes an aspect of this practice as “developing the disposition of dispossession” or the ability to let go of negative attachments, resentments and grudges. Hand in hand with the development of compassion, is the ability to forgive without which it’s difficult to really let go.

3. The practice of Savasana is ultimately to help us release our fears, the most universal of which yoga calls Abhinivesa, the fear of annihilation of our existence. By relaxing deeply we gradually experience the feeling of letting go of tensions and attachments on the physical, sensory, mental, and emotional planes. We may even experience moments without breathing yet feel very comfortable. This practice asks “what is it that still exists beyond all of these layers?”

2. There is a beautiful Buddhist practice called the loving kindness meditation. Traditionally, you would say this affirmation for yourself first, then for a friend, then for a stranger, and then for a difficult person. It is both a healing and a forgiveness practice. You can read it aloud or repeat it mentally at the end of the session.

May (I, you, all) be filled with loving kindness
May you be well.
May you be peaceful and at ease.
May you be happy.

1.  CONGRATULATIONS ON GETTING TO DAY ONE! This is the completion of the 21 day challenge and potentially the starting day one of an ongoing love affair with this practice of Self discovery. Here is a highlight of the benefits:

Physically: Deep breathing and relaxation reduce inflammation;
Mentally: Deep slow breathing and restorative posture reduces anxiety and depression;
Spiritually: the protocol brings resilience, hope and strong connection to the Atman (the indwelling Spirit)

With deep love and gratitude for each and every one of you. – Lynne

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MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR

Book I Sutra 28:  The mantra AUM is to be repeated constantly, with feeling, realizing its full significance.

This sutra, along with a quote from Paramahansa Yogananda whose meditation lessons I studied for many years, had me flummoxed for some time.  Yogananda would say, “if you are going to read for one hour, then write for two hours, and meditate all the time.”  I thought, well that’s just impossible, until slowly over time, the practices of Iyengar Yoga, meditation, and music among others, began to work their magic on body and mind.  The significance of AUM or slowing down the mind (brain waves) is gradually realized.

From a scientific standpoint, brain waves are measured in 4 states going from the most active state to the most relaxed and then unconscious state.  (Yoga masters claim to remain conscious in every state.)  “Lives lived in quiet desperation” are those where minds barely stray from Beta, the highest frequency state of mind.  The locus of control of the mind comes from outside stimulus which can be anxiety and stress inducing if not tempered by other slower mind states.  Oscillating between high mental activity Beta and dropping from exhaustion into the slowest brain wave, Delta or dreamless sleep, is a cycle that many repeat day after day.  It’s hard to feel the wonder of life when bouncing between these two poles.

Whenever I visit India, I am amazed that amid the chaos, crowding and cacophony there is much generosity of spirit.  Children call me Auntie and invite me to their homes for tea.  People ask, with the characteristic Indian head bobble, “Where you are from?” and inquire after your needs.  Ritual, meditative practices and chanting are part of lifes’ daily rhythm and evident everywhere.  These practices coax the mind into the slower states of Alpha and Theta.  Among overwhelming obstacles there is mystery and peace.

One magical mystery happened in 2005 while visiting Rishikesh in Northern India, known as “the yoga capital of the world”.   The ashram of Maharshi Mahesh Yogi which was made famous by the Beatles studying there in the late 60’, is walking distance from the heart of town.  My traveling companions and I decided to make the pilgrimage.  The center had long been closed and was fenced in with only caretakers, squatters, and monkeys living on the grounds.  We were disappointed that on arrival, there was no apparent way to enter.  Suddenly, out of nowhere, a small beguiling sadhu walked up and, not speaking English seemed to be offering his assistance.  With a combination of gestures and our singing of Beatles tunes (of which he showed no familiarity) he got the idea that we wanted to enter the Ashram.

He led us to an opening where the fencing had been pushed up to create a space large enough to crawl through.  The overgrown grounds still held the allure of the past.  Meditation buildings with domed individual chambers above sleeping quarters were built of river stone from the nearby Ganges and surrounding area.  Everything was beautifully arranged to encourage the journey to inner spaces and peace of mind.

Our gentle sadhu guide stayed with us and quickly endeared himself with his sweet smile and innocent demeanor.  At one point, we decided to practice some yoga on the rooftop platform of one of the meditation huts.  To our surprise, our guide stripped down to his dhoti cloth and started to do asana alongside us.  His natural simplicity and purity shone through the practice.  It was a joyful moment!

We ended our day with some silent meditation overlooking the Mother Ganges.  Then our guide led us back to the opening in the fence.  As my friends and I huddled to gather some rupees for him, he slipped away, as quietly as he appeared.

My hope is that we never lose the feeling of wonder and the magical mysterious experiences that occur when we least expect them.  Slow down, stay open and receptive to the little joys and inspirations that arise from a receptive mind and heart.

Namaste and much love,

Lynne

For an excellent synopsis of brain waves read, “What is the Function of the various Brainwaves” linked here.

 

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A Thrill of Hope

If ever the world was weary, this is the time. Universally there has been pain, frustration, fear and grief wearing us down in 2020. Alongside this is the universal message of peace and good will that is celebrated in numerous traditions worldwide at this time of year. Many great teachers, saints and sages perpetuate the important lesson that without inner peace or peace of mind, world peace will always be elusive.

One of the upsides of the “stay and safer at home” mandates has been a surge of downloads of meditation apps.

 “According to a new report from app store intelligence firm Sensor Tower, the world’s 10 largest English-language mental wellness apps saw a combined 2 million more downloads during the month of April 2020 compared with January, reaching close to 10 million total downloads for the month.”

This brings a great thrill of hope to my mind and heart. From my experience, if one sincerely practices meditation, one cannot help but to experience less internal conflict, more peace of mind and the desire to extend that into the world. A question arose in my mind one day during a particularly peaceful practice.  “Does Peace have a cause?” Or is it an underlying universal state that is revealed when we settle down and calm our minds? To me, it feels like an inherent gift of the Divine, perhaps it is our original nature. It is never imposed upon us because, well it is PEACE and would never be inflicted against one’s will. We are free to cover it over with all of the world’s distractions for as long as we choose.

A very simple and time tested meditation practice is repetition of a word. One with meaning to you is the most helpful when training the mind. Repeating it mentally one time while inhaling, and twice while exhaling has been shown to benefit higher heart rate variability (HRV). According to Harvard Health Publishing, “ Over the past few decades, research has shown a relationship between low HRV and worsening depression or anxiety. A low HRV is even associated with an increased risk of death and cardiovascular disease. People who have a high HRV may have greater cardiovascular fitness and be more resilient to stress.”

I use the mantra “Hari OM” (the divine word) on inhale and “Shanti, Shanti” (Peace) on exhale. A word or phrase from your faith tradition or simply the word One in a sincere practice will garner the many benefits of meditation. There are many paths to peace of mind and from the many the great hope is that we will find our common good.

Peace on Earth, Goodwill to All,
Namaste and Love,
Lynne

 

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Father Joe Revisited

Greetings Friends of Yoga,

As summer wanes and the saga of 2020 continues, strategies for coping with the shorter days and more time indoors are more important than ever.   I recently took an 8 day online pranayama and meditation course with Fr. Joe Pereira from his lockdown position in Vasai, India.  The sequence has been a godsend for these times and has become a daily must for me!  The daily program is one hour but taking any one or two of the practices in the sequence daily will provide much needed peace and courage of heart.

(Photo: Fr. Joe and Lynne at KRIPA headquarters in Mumbai, India,  1998)

Many of you are familiar with his work as we were fortunate to have him facilitate several yoga workshops in Anchorage in the 90’s and early 2000’s.  For those unfamiliar,  here is a brief synopsis of his work.

Fr. Joe is an Indian Jesuit priest who began taking yoga classes with BKS Iyengar in 1968 after becoming intrigued by a remark by the violin virtuoso Yehudi Menuhin that he was, “his best next violin instructor”.   Fr. Joe’s calling as a priest working closely with Mother Teresa melded with his yoga training in developing a ministry for alcoholics, drug addicts, sex workers and people living with HIV/AIDS.  In 1981, he and a recovering addict in his parish started the KRIPA (Grace) Foundation.  It has since developed into one of the largest NGOs in India with 30+ centers throughout the country and offices in Germany and Canada.

Jim and I were fortunate to have stayed for several weeks in two of the centers in 1998.  After one of Fr. Joe’s visits to our home, he and Jim cooked up the idea of installing a solar powered water pump for one the center’s that was running out of stored water due to loss of power to the pumps.  That is another story, but our time staying at the centers was so rich in experience and the palpable power of yoga and love to heal, “the poorest of the poor” (M. Teresa) and the “poorest of the poor in health” (Fr. Joe) that it left an indelible imprint on both of us.

You can join Fr. Joe LIVE later this month via Zoom.  Here is the information.

Courage of the heart
Offering with Fr. Joe Pereira
hosted by Leigh Anne Milne  Senior KFIY teacher, British Columbia, Canada

Join Fr Joe from your own home as he guides us with yoga and love.  Fr. Joe has a way of weaving spiritual teachings into practice, drawing the listener into a meditative mind.

A recording of this workshop will be made available for seven days following this event for those who are registered participants.

September 25th, 26th, 27th (Friday, Saturday and Sunday)
6 AM to 8 AM PDT
$105 Canadian

Register here: https://app.acuityscheduling.com/schedule.php?owner=11376885&appointmentType=16304489

I am assuming that it will be a condensed version of the 8 day program, but don’t quote me!

Here is the link to the 8 day recorded program and a pdf of my class notes. This class is being offered free of charge although  I do not know how long it will be accessible.
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLRgQZ_3cSzqufsf2iZfOkXFUlWKgg6fCe

If you decide to take this RECORDED class, please consider making a donation to KRIPA Foundation: Kripafoundation.org

My notes on the sequences are included below.   Fr. Joe’s rapid delivery, accent, and use of Sanskrit may be challenging for some.  There are a few phrases I did not catch and some that I’m not confident I got right.  I have interpreted and translated from my understanding of the concepts in the hope of adding to your understanding.

 

 

 

 

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2020 Vision

What more can 2020 throw at us? There are so many issues converging at once. I have genuine hope that we will access the strength of spirit and community to find and implement some lasting solutions. Setting the pandemic aside, the issue at the forefront of this moment is racial equality, justice and reconciliation. Abraham Maslow famously said, “ When you only have a hammer, everything looks like a nail”. I pray that this is the moment we set the hammer aside as the main tool used to nail racial inequality. Long lasting solutions will require every tool we have. I for one, have so much to learn but I know I am capable of learning if I have the right tools in my toolbox. I love Emmanuel Acho’s “Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man”. If you haven’t already checked it out, visit https://youtu.be/h8jUA7JBkF4

Here are two more resources that I found helpful:

Talking about race: from the National museum of African-American history and culture https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdwBCXn2Wl8

Trevor Noah on George Floyd, Minneapolis protests, Ahmaud Arbery, and Amy Cooper https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v4amCfVbA_c

I’d love to hear of other resources that you have found helpful.

Yoga classes in America have yet to become a bastion of racial diversity. I have had only a handful of black students over the years. My eyes and heart were opened by one beautiful black student in the early 90’s who told me one day over lunch how she never entered a room without first scanning everyone in it to feel if there was any danger to her. It should not have been a shock to me, but it was at the time. I never had to experience that level of heightened alertness simply because of the color of my skin.

I’m currently reading The MindBody Code by Dr. Mario Martinez, subtitled, How to change the beliefs that limit your health, longevity and success. One of his main premises is that the cultural foundation of our beliefs has not been emphasized enough and that it is the link between cultural anthropology and psychoneuroimmunology in how our beliefs effect our health and well being. He argues that we all suffer from archetypal wounds of shame, abandonment and betrayel that are unique to our specific culture. We are seeing how a heavier burden of these wounds are inflicted on people of color in our society.

He continues to say that:
– Honor heals Shame
– Commitment heals Abandonment
– Loyalty heals Betrayal

He offers exercises, clinical studies, and evidence of positive outcomes from applying these principles. That sounds like a recipe for reconciliation to me or at least a start. It will take practice on a personal and collective level. MLK declared, “demonstration must lead to legislation for there to be reconciliation.” I’m excited about the possibilities to grow as a culture and as a democracy.

My yoga teaching schedule is on hold until further notice. The website workshop page will be updated as we evaluate our health and safety requirements moving forward.

I wish you all good health and well-being. Please take care of yourselves especially in enclosed places with groups of people.  We now know that, ”it’s the air we share” that is the main culprit in the transmission of COVID-19. I just heard the heartbreaking fact that 400 healthcare workers have literally sacrificed their lives to treat the infected. We wear the mask to protect them, your families and ours. And of course to look this cool!

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Yoga, the Stress Response, and a Healthy Immune System

We can’t really know certain things by talking about them alone.   Love, happiness, grief are only truly known through experience.  No one needs to hear a verbal definition of stress right now.  One new virus has given us all the experience we need.  As yoga practitioners, I know that you have had the experience of the well being, calm and inner peace that yoga can provide.  If you are on this mailing list, I don’t have to sell you on that.  But it may be a time to strengthen your resolve to practice in order to help get you and your loved ones through this trying time. (This too shall pass).

Why yoga for the immune system?  The immune system includes the tonsils, adenoids, thymus gland, lymph nodes, bone marrow, white blood cells, spleen and appendix.  Immune cells are circulating constantly throughout the body and some are stationed permanently in organs and tissues.  A competent immune system needs healthy skin, lungs, and gut which all rely on a healthy circulatory system.  Immune cells travel through the blood stream and lymphatic system.  The heart provides the pump for blood circulation, but the lymph system has no such pump and must rely on our daily movement to circulate properly and deliver immune cells to their proper checkpoints and target sites.

Yoga asanas move the body in every direction, stretching not only muscle but also skin and organs.  They squeeze and soak the tissues providing healthy circulation of nutrients, hormones and immune cells to every part of the body.  Committing to as little as 10 minutes of daily asana practice that includes a pose from each class of asana (standing pose, forward bend, backbend, twist, side bend, and inversion) can improve circulation and range of motion.  Practicing as little as 10 minutes 3 times a week can provide improvement in overall posture and thus circulation.  I happen to live with someone who is proof of the latter and will probably agree with me!

Perhaps even more crucial in these times is to mitigate mental stress with deep breathing and meditation.  How we react to stress has more influence on immunity than the stressful event itself.  Shallow, agitated respiration is read as danger in the body.  Studies have proven over and over, as I hope has your own experience, that deep, paced breathing and relaxation break the stress response and stimulate the relaxation response. The stress response triggers the adrenals, suppressing the immune system and causing one to feel as if everything is a crisis.  Taking some deep breaths breaks that cycle and brings about the dominance of the rest and digest response.   A 5 minute daily practice (2 minutes of full deep breathing and 3 minutes of sitting ENJOYING the quiet effect) can be a life changer, and maybe a life saver.  Of course these would be the minimum daily dosages.   When you have time for more, the benefits will multiply…but please DON’T stress over it!

Stay well, Be Well

Love,

Lynne

 

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Memories of Mom

 Lynne and her 4 siblings collaborated on childhood memories and Lynne delivered this eulogy at their mother’s celebration of life.

I think we can all agree on two things about Mom, Lil … that she loved to laugh, and that she exceeded our expectations on her longevity!

And those two may actually have a lot to do with each other. We know that laughter is the BEST medicine and mom always took her minimum, and often maximum daily required dosage of laughter right up to her last waking day.

She also inherently knew a truth that I believe comes with wisdom, that there are IMPORTANT things in life but very little that needs to be taken SERIOUSLY. She could laugh at herself and frequently did. In fact, in our last conversation on the telephone she did just that.

My call woke her up and she was disoriented. “What happened to me?”, she asked. Cindy had mentioned that this could happen and how to prompt her to feel safe, so I responded, “Nothing happened mom, you’re in your room. Do you see the family photos on the wall?” She said, “ oh yes, I see my daughter”. I said, “yes and soon someone will come to help you get dressed, and then Thom will come for a visit and take you out of the room for awhile”.

She paused and then said with a laugh, “Well I guess I’m just NUTS!” And we both started to laugh so hard that my husband Jim caught the vibe from the other room and started laughing too.

Mom liked to make others happy. From surprise birthday parties to surprise gifts, to fun family vacations we, her children , benefited from her desire to make us happy. Just one of many stories is from my younger sisters, Julie and Margie. It was a hot summer day in July , about the time when they were in middle school and some vacation boredom had set in. They were out in the yard talking to a teenage neighbor who was out sunbathing. Mom came out with a big brown grocery bag. She, reached in, took something out and hurled it at Julie. The bag was filled with snow balls that she had kept in storage in the freezer from the previous winter. You can imagine what happened next, the unarmed neighbor may not have appreciated it quite as much as mom and the girls did ;-).

Mom was resilient. All of us at one time have commented that mom was such an inspiration in her ability to never complain. She would pick herself up and take charge of her life despite having MS or in the face of the difficulties and adversities she faced in her lifetime.  I recall one conversation from when mom found herself middle aged and single. She said, I’m going to travel. I want to go to Hawaii and China and I’m going to date for a while but within 5 years I’m going to meet someone for a serious relationship and remarry. She did all of those things! (the latter, more than once!)

Mom could be endearingly spacey.  When she finally got her first cell/ flip type phone, she was caught in frustration trying to get it to respond to her commands. Julie looked up and was able to clear up the problem by telling her, “Mom, that’s the TV remote.” Well who hasn’t done that right?

Mom was creative. She played piano and cello, and brought an artistic sense to our home and childhood. The first house that I remember living in, in Hales Corners had a basement play room. It was your typical cement brick walled Midwest basement with exposed pipes. Mom spruced it up with a hand painted mural depicting the counting nursery rhyme. See if you remember this: One Two….buckle my shoe, three, four…shut the door, five, six…Etc. Did I mention, that mom was a kindergarten teacher?

And, If you happened to be on the Christmas Card list, you may remember her hand drawn cards with our cut out heads attached (an early version of Jib/Jab) that we all loved until the ‘tween years when they were EVER so embarrassing.

Mom was supportive. She encouraged our individual interests and studies and celebrated our successes. From dance, to travel, to horses, to swimming, to scuba, to starting a business she was our cheerleader. I can remember several times being woken up after my bedtime because there was a program that mom thought would inspire me to further pursue a current hobby. I remember getting excited watching Juliet Prowse dance on a late night program. Sadly, the dream of professional ballerina did not pan out for me.

Mom knew when to set boundaries. We didn’t get away with being rude, or lazy. Household chores were always part of the weekly routine with a family of 7. The want ads were on display the year we each turned 16. We WOULD find a job.  Although we may not have been grateful at the time, we all grew up to be independent and self reliant as a result.

Mom was a beautiful woman. Lilian Fuss, Kosikowski, Cole, Geisler says it all. She was never long without male admirers or attention. Right up to our wonderful friend and her beloved companion Thom. She didn’t come off as needing the attention, she enjoyed it, but her genuine ability to make her companions feel happy in her presence and her delight in them, drew them to her.

Was she perfect? No, but who is? And today, we’ll forget any imperfections, because we want to remember her and send her on her new journey lightly and unencumbered by heavy thoughts. Let’s take a moment in silence to send her our unconditional love, and know that she is both receiving it and sending it back to us. (Moment of Silence)

Mom was fun. And she loved to Laugh. So, although we’ll have lots of tears today, we’ll soon remember the laughter and join together in that laughter in the memory of our mom and friend, Lilian.

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