Personal Wellness Strategies

Yoga and Wellness Strategies

Yoga Glow - July 19, 20 & 21 at Satya Yoga in Rhinebeck NY

juice_image The middle of the summer is the most ideal time to cleanse. After the partying from the holidays is over, and before we head into the dog days of summer's end, why not lighten up and reaffirm your commitment to your practice and a healthy lifestyle?!

Why cleanse?

Almost every culture in the world has a custom of fasting or cleansing at least once a year. If you think about how you change the oil in your car every 3000 miles in order to clean the built up residues and plaques out of the engine to make your vehicle run more optimally, then apply the same logic to your own body when contemplating a nutritional cleanse or juice fast. Like different makes of cars, human body types have different needs vis-à-vis cleansing. Some people might benefit from longer more austere cleanses, while others might be able to hit the reset button with just a couple of days of eliminating unwholesome ingredients from their diets. We have selected a 3 day protocol for this Yoga and juicing workshop, which should be approachable to most body-types/doshas. You will only be juicing for 2 days (Saturday July 20 and Sunday July 21). We recommend preparing for the cleanse & Yoga workshop by eliminating toxic elements from your diet for at least 3 days prior.

Don't live in the Rhinebeck, NY area? Contact sarah@yoginicuisine.com for information on lovely places to stay in the Hudson Valley for the weekend!

Check out the whole cleanse course here

http://satyayogacenter.us/

 

 

 

 

Maya Tulum Retreat Featured on WillyBMum.com Blogspot!

Guest Blog Post by Sarah Willis, Founder of SVARAyoga.com

FunTimes_Tulum

Hi my name is Sarah Willis. I am a Mother of a 1-year-old Son, and an advanced certified Yoga teacher. I host a Yoga retreat in the beautiful Tulum Mexico every year. I have traveled to the Yucatán in the South Eastern part of Mexico since the 90s, and the magical beauty of this ancient paradise captivates me and draws me back again and again.

MY STORY

...Read it live on WillyBMum.com

Willy B Mum's Libby Hobday

Dr. Eden Fromberg Talks Yoga

Dr. Eden Fromberg , pictured executing a fancy-looking Yoga pose called Ashtavakrasana, a Gynecologist and Doctor of Osteopathy who was featured in the Rikki Lake / Abby Epstein film, "the Business of Being Born," talks about the importance of  Yoga for proper joint function and respiratory function, and how it relates to our neuromuscular core. Fascinating! Read the article from TheDO Magazine.

‘Self-OMT’: Yoga boosts patients’ structure and function, DOs say

Dr.Eden Fromberg in Ashtavakrasana

“Yoga helps the joints move through their various ranges of motion,” says Eden G. Fromberg, DO, the director of a yoga studio in Manhattan. (Photo by Mila Radulovic) 

BY ROSE RAYMOND / STAFF EDITOR

The patient, an editor, had suffered from years of unexplained sciatic back pain and leg pain. After visits to physicians and physical therapists proved unsuccessful, he ended up in the Manhattan office of Lillie M. Rosenthal, DO.

“Nothing really helped,” she says. “And he came to see me, and about two months after seeing me he was maybe 50% better.”

Dr. Rosenthal, who is board certified in physical medicine and rehabilitation, was helping the patient by providing osteopathic manipulative treatment. After a few months, she suggested that the patient add yoga to his therapeutic regimen. He hired a private instructor and his condition rapidly improved. After just a month of OMT and yoga—one session per week for each—he said he was 90% better.

“It’s really dramatic because the chronicity of his problem was so frustrating for him and me,” she says. “We just really wanted to get him going. So the combination of OMT and yoga is great.”

Yoga as a physical activity has become increasingly popular in the U.S. Roughly 20 million Amerians practice yoga, an increase of 29% from 2008,according to a 2012 study released by Yoga Journal. Some of these yoga practitioners also receive OMT. Major studies examining yoga practice and its impact on OMT patients have not been conducted, but Dr. Rosenthal and other DOs say yoga can provide many benefits to them.

‘Self-OMT’

Because many yoga poses work the muscles in a fashion similar to OMT, Dr. Rosenthal refers to yoga as self-OMT.

“There are several fascia-release techniques that mimic some yoga poses,” she says.

Yoga practitioner Jim Preddy, DO, also describes the practice as self-OMT.

“Yoga focuses on breathing and manipulation of the ribs and spine. These things are very central to all of our OMT theories,” says Dr. Preddy, an emergency physician in Las Vegas who also teaches anatomy to yoga instructors.

Patients may preserve the effects of OMT for longer by doing Locusts, Rabbits and other yoga poses, he says.

“Doing yoga might change how often you need to receive OMT,” Dr. Preddy says. “It might prolong the benefits that you’re getting.”

Dr. Rosenthal agrees. OMT patients can build on the progress they make by using yoga to keep the body in good structural alignment, she says, and yoga helps to strengthen the muscles, improve flexibility and unwind the fascia.

Yoga may be of particular help to patients with back pain, says Eden G. Fromberg, DO, who is AOA board certified in obstetrics-gynecology and the director of Lila Yoga, Dharma & Wellness, a yoga studio in Manhattan.

“When I was in college I had a book called Yoga and Medicine,” she says. “I remember clearly where it said what would help you the most for back pain. They did various studies, and they said yoga helps more than anything else on the list. Osteopathic manipulation was not on the list, but chiropractic was.

“Yoga won hands down above everything else as helping back pain. I was aware early on that you can’t just put your hands on people and then say, ‘OK, you’re fixed.’ They’re going to slide back into their old patterns if they keep moving in the same way. Changing their movement patterns is essential, and there are different ways to do it. But I always did it through yoga, so of course I saw the connection and would often steer people in that direction.”

Yoga styles explained

Wondering which yoga style promotes relaxation and which focuses on flexibility? Here’s a brief overview of some of the most popular styles.

Hatha yoga: Many yoga styles fall under the umbrella of Hatha yoga, which is described by Yoga Journal as a physical discipline focusing on sequences of poses and breathwork.

Iyengar yoga: Developed by B.K.S. Iyengar, an influential nonagenarian yogi, this style focuses on alignment. Classes tend to be more slow-moving; practitioners hold poses for longer times. Students are encouraged to use props such as blocks and straps for assistance with poses.

Vinyasa yoga: A faster-paced style in which students transition from pose to pose quickly and focus on flowing postures and rhythmic breathing. This style provides more of an aerobic workout and encompasses other fast styles such as Ashtanga yoga and Power yoga.

Ashtanga yoga: Emphasis is placed on breathing and nonstop transition from pose to pose in this faster style. Students work through six different sequences of poses, each more difficult than the last. When a student masters the first, or easiest, sequence, he or she graduates to the next one. This system allows students to progress at their own pace.

Power yoga: This style is Ashtanga yoga’s Western cousin. Power yoga teachers focus on the “workout” aspect of yoga; students rapidly progress through pose sequences designed to strengthen the upper body and improve flexibility and balance.

Bikram yoga: The brainchild of yogi Bikram Choudhury, Bikram yoga is characterized by a 100-plus-degree practice space and a set sequence of 26 poses designed to work the muscles and cleanse the organs. The room is heated for the purpose of releasing the body’s toxins.

Viniyoga: This is a gentler style of yoga that focuses on breathing and relaxation. Sequences and classes are often tailored to meet individual needs; for instance, children are prescribed different poses than adults.

Sources: Yoga JournalWebMD.com

—Rose Raymond

Dr. Rosenthal talks about another patient, a new patient with recurrent intermittent low back pain. She had been to many physicians over the years, but the patient says yoga helped her the most.

“It’s pretty amazing,” Dr. Rosenthal says. “We always think, ‘The doctor’s going to fix me,’ but that’s not necessarily always true. We can help and direct people, but that was her experience.”

How yoga helps

Just how does yoga bring these benefits to patients? Like OMT, yoga focuses on movement and structure, DOs say.

“Yoga helps the joints move through their various ranges of motion and can also coordinate the activity of the respiratory diaphragm and the deep neuromuscular core,” says Dr. Fromberg.

Although the delivery methods vary, yoga and OMT both affect the body’s structure to improve function, Dr. Rosenthal says.

“Yoga almost cements what OMT can do,” she says. “It’s a beautiful adjunct of something active and something passive, which reminds the body and the mind of the same thing, which is keeping flexible, being in your body, releasing tension and really changing the postural habit.”

Darcy G. Thomas, DO, says she thinks of yoga as a tool she can give patients so they can more actively work on their recovery. Dr. Thomas, a family physician who specializes in osteopathic manipulative medicine in Arlington, Mass., and teaches yoga, encouraged a patient with back problems to try yoga, and he was elated to find an activity he could do on his own.

“This had been a recurring event in his life, pulling out his back,” she says. “He had started yoga classes and was really seeing the benefits, and he felt for the first time that he had a tool to deal with this problem that had continually been happening.”

Consider style, teacher

For all its virtues, yoga as a fitness tool does have drawbacks—mainly that inexperienced practitioners can hurt themselves by straining their muscles, says John Kepner, the executive director of the International Association of Yoga Therapists in Prescott, Ariz. For instance, more older people now attend yoga classes, but they might not be suited to the fast-paced yoga that is popular in many gyms.

“So you get into a Power yoga class, and it’s a gym, so they can encourage people to practice too hard,” he says. “That’s how people get hurt in yoga. They push too hard. The key is to go to a class that’s appropriate for you.”

It’s not uncommon, Dr. Fromberg says, for yoga students to suffer tendon and ligament strains. She suggests students pay attention to signals of pain or fear coming from their body during yoga practice and check in with an instructor to make sure proceeding won’t cause injury.

“A good teacher can help a student learn what proper alignment is,” she says. “But the student also has to cultivate a degree of self-perception and inner awareness.”

Dr. Preddy

Jim Preddy, DO, gives yoga teachers an anatomy lesson. (Photo courtesy of Dr. Preddy)

Although none of the physicians interviewed for this article said OMT patients would necessarily need to be more cautious than the general public when practicing yoga, several noted that it’s good for all yoga practitioners, OMT patients included, to be aware of different yoga styles and the varying experience levels of teachers.

“You know when you get a DO, you have someone who’s had at least four years of medical school, who has a license to practice in his or her state,” says Ronald V. Marino, DO, MPH, who teaches yoga in Babylon, N.Y. “Yoga teachers are not credentialed and certified in the same way. So you can have someone who’s had a two-day course in yoga teaching, and then you can get people who spend their lives immersed in yoga. You need to be aware of your teacher’s expertise and skills.”

There are the different styles of yoga to consider as well, says Dr. Fromberg. For instance, Vinyasa yoga and Ashtanga yoga are generally faster and more aerobic, while Iyengar yoga is more focused on alignment.

“Because Iyengar is more methodical and alignment-oriented than Vinyasa-oriented styles, it’s often safer and more accessible for a novice,” she says.

Smaller classes, where students can receive more individualized training from teachers, are also ideal, Dr. Fromberg says, and she has recommended private instructors for patients with severe injuries.

Some patients may not be able to afford private lessons. Dr. Rosenthal notes that an advantage of yoga is it can be done at home.

“You don’t need fancy equipment, you don’t necessarily need a gym,” she says. “You can get a video from the library for free and do it at home.”

It’s also beneficial for physicians to learn some of the yoga poses in order to better understand patients, Dr. Rosenthal says.

“It would be valuable for doctors to educate themselves on a couple of basic poses so when patients say, ‘I’m in yoga, and I’m doing a Downward-Facing Dog,’ you know that there is weight bearing on the feet and the hands,” she says. “Or simply ask the patient to demonstrate it.”

And Dr. Preddy suggests DOs try yoga themselves before recommending it as a therapeutic option for their patients.

“You can really only evaluate what’s going to go on with your patients by trying it out,” he says. “Not everybody can run, but everybody can swim and everybody can do yoga.”

rraymond@osteopathic.org

Eli's Book Selections, pt. 1 - Atma Bodha

I have the most amazing 1 year-old boy. His name is Elias. He is starting to toddle everywhere. He is a total cuddler and wild man at the same time. We have carpeted staircases with bookshelves running along the wall next to the stairs. Eli likes to pick books off the shelf sometimes. He came across a very miniature Hindi English dictionary that I got at some point during my travels to India. Eli is fascinated by it. He takes his chubby little fingers and tries to separate out the pages, and he makes a low consonant sound while looking intently at the tiny book. He is sure to be fluent in Hindi soon after he masters English. Today, my son picked out the following books from the shelf:  

“Atma Bodha” – Self Analysis & Self Knowledge” By R.S. Mishra, M.D.

“Aghora II” By Robert Svoboda

“Ramakrishna and His Disciples” By Christopher Isherwood

 

I think he is trying to tell me that I need to venture back to my roots. Classical and Tantric Yoga study is what inspires these texts, all a bit heady, but chock full of rich, sometimes hard-to-digest, wisdom.

 

When I was first introduced to the world of Yoga, it was through the cult of the beautiful flexible body. I went far into the discipline of Yoga Asana, and worked night and day to carve out a new shape, and near mastery over the movements of my muscular-skeletal system.  I also meditated hard in Vipassana courses, depriving myself of sugar and carbohydrates so I could feel light and pass less gas as I sat on the holy main hall floor in the dead of winter. My intrigue was further piqued by the Sanskrit mantras that typically opened and closed the classes I attended daily. I was 24 years old and had got bit big time by the Yoga bug.

 

Since then my studies and teaching stints have taken me from NYC to LA to India to Croatia to Mexico. And I’m still going back to most of those places to teach and see colleagues who have become dear old friends, as that’s what happens when you find yourself in a Satsang (Sanskrit for a group of like-minded / hearted individuals) of people who are practicing intently together.

 

“Atma Bodha,” a text by Shankaracharya, dated at around 800AD, describes the exalted liberated state of the union of Atman and Brahman, or the end of dualism. I had the great privilege to study this text in depth with amazing Yogi, Richard Freeman in 2007 over the course of a 60 hour advanced teachers’ workshop with other serious students and teachers. “The soul appears to be finite because of ignorance. When ignorance is destroyed the self which does not admit of any multiplicity truly reveals itself by itself.” Shankaracharya goes further to say that the Yogi must give up his likes and dislikes in order to be united with peace. I have played with this idea since it was first introduced to me. Here’s the process I went through: “why should I give up what I like?” I first asked myself, somewhat defiant. The idea of giving up what one doesn’t like is a bit easier, naturally, but then something interesting begins to happen when we consider giving up the story of our personal preferences. For example, if I really don’t like avocados, which as I child I didn’t, then I should be free not to eat them, right? But what if I decided to try one anyway. And what if it has been so long that my tastes have changed. I take a bite of guacamole, and I go, “man, this is great!” Now what do I do? Some way that I have defined myself, that I have become attached to defining myself according to, is no longer true! I tried the avocado, and despite what I thought I liked, it’s now good to me. So this is mostly a teaching about non-attachment. It also throws us up against the notion of being attached to our definitions of ourselves. Another story that I used to tell myself was that I would never be able to do Padmasana (the lotus pose), or Hanumanasana (split pose). I just wasn’t built that way, I thought. Then I tried 2 years of daily Ashtanga Yoga and Jivamukti practice . . . you guessed it: now I can accomplish both postures. So cool!  So a tip of the hat to Shankaracharya is in order, who in one of the final slokas of the treatise, says:

By hearing, thinking, and meditating, the light of the Self is kindled. Once this light of Self is kindled, the individual “I” becomes free from all impurities. It begins to shine forth as the Universal “I,” in the same way as gold shines when it is purified by fire.

Shankaracharya 

The applied lesson for me this week: Physical Yoga practice is purification for the bones, organs, nerves, muscles. Still this is not enough. I must use my mental faculties to meditate, to stay on the point. The asanas are the departure point for igniting the light of the true Self, who is indivisible and without a second. Back on the meditation cushion, I am going back, folks. Thank you Elias, thank you Shankaracharya, thank you Richard.