Tag Archives: yoga

Grounding and Self Soothing

Grounding and Self Soothing

A quick note to self with some grounding practices. First, Max Strom as recommended by Therese Smith. I call this 4-6-8 breathing.

Second, the University of Rochester Medical Center 5-4-3-2-1 technique for coping with anxiety and to reconnect to your body and to the earth.

Slow, deep, long breaths can help you maintain a sense of calm or help you return to a calmer state. Once you find your breath, go through the following steps to help ground yourself:

5: Acknowledge FIVE things you see around you. It could be a pen, a spot on the ceiling, anything in your surroundings.

4: Acknowledge FOUR things you can touch around you. It could be your hair, a pillow, or the ground under your feet.

3: Acknowledge THREE things you hear. This could be any external sound. If you can hear your belly rumbling that counts! Focus on things you can hear outside of your body.

2: Acknowledge TWO things you can smell. Maybe you are in your office and smell pencil, or maybe you are in your bedroom and smell a pillow. If you need to take a brief walk to find a scent you could smell soap in your bathroom, or nature outside.

1: Acknowledge ONE thing you can taste. What does the inside of your mouth taste like—gum, coffee, or the sandwich from lunch?

Prioritize Yourself, Attend to your Internal State

The techniques to deal with TMS as described by Dr. John Sarno are described Alan Gordon

iRest practices that include listening to meditations on this page and Body Sensing. Feel the earth, feel your feet. Ground your electrical charge into the earth.

Contact water will ground a dangerous electrical charge: take a warm shower, wash your face, wash your hands, take a drink of water.

NYTimes article on Cutting as a form of self-soothing.

Quotes from Carl Jung.

Inner Resource – iRest

Inner Resource – iRest

We all have hardwired within ourselves an Inner Resource that we can call upon in every moment. This Inner Resource is a powerful ally that enables us to remain grounded, self-controlled, at peace, in harmony, and at ease within ourselves; it helps us respond to each and every situation we encounter throughout our lifetime.

The Inner Resource is unique to each of us; a powerful companion of unchanging stability; a foundational stone in our practice of yoga, meditation and iRest that supports true health, healing, resilience and well-being.

Richard Miller, PhD
Link to free, downloadable mp3 meditation


Happy Birthday, Trish!

Happy Birthday, Trish!
Patricia Pascual Yoga

Birthday Collage for Trish

Patricia Pascual celebrated the Grand Opening of her new Yoga Studio in Rohnert Park, and her birthday, with a party. I have a really hard time finding places in Sonoma Mountain Center (formerly Agilent) so it took me 45 minutes of trying doors, talking to security, walking around buildings and driving to finally find the place. By then, it was 9 p.m. and I was too cranky to take off my shoes and find a place in the studio. Anyway, happy birthday, Trish!

How to Stop Suffering

How to Stop Suffering

Like trees, our physical body is changing. It’s born, grows, stabilizes, declines, and will die. But what about ‘this,’ in which our awareness of these facts is arising? Various names have been designated as pointers to ‘this’ — concepts like God, Pure Awareness, the Unconditioned, Pure Being, or the Great Mystery.   These concepts are pointers to the ineffableness that comprises our unchanging essence.

Suffering arises when we refuse what’s changing.   It’s never the event that causes suffering, but our attachment, aversion, or feigned neutrality to it.   What’s astounding is to realize that suffering, attachment, aversion, and neutrality are changing movements within a vaster background of unchanging essence.   When we’re willing to shift attention from foreground to background, we realize ‘this’ that’s always present, but all to often ignored and forgotten.

So what happens when we relinquish attending to the ever-changing foreground movements of our body, senses, and mind -— to sensations, emotions, and thoughts -— and instead turn our attention to realizing ourselves as the unchanging, which has no defining characteristics,   is outside of time and space,   is never in need,   yet is one of the most vital inquires we can make during our lifetime.

Richard Miller, Ph.D

Anusara Yoga Meredith Rom

Anusara Yoga Meredith Rom

Photo of Meredith Rom by Meredith Rom

Photo of Meredith Rom by Meredith Rom

Yoga One opened a new studio in Santa Rosa and offered free classes for a few days. I checked out Meredith Rom‘s Anusara Yoga class because I had read about their recent scandal in Southern California.

I knew this style emphasized flow and feelings of love. Meredith moved through the room with fluid grace and gently connected with each student, quietly asking about injuries and introducing herself by name. She asked us to create an intention for the class and suggested love, compassion or beauty. We briefly chanted OM and went through several rounds of down dog, plank and cobra to open up the front of the chest. While the postures were mainstream for an introductory class, the vibe was distinctive. Very loving, both toward the inner self and the all the people in the class.

I was especially touched by her guidance as we slipped into a brief moment of shivasana. Meredith said, “Connect with your inner core of goodness.” Wow! This is so different from the Catholic indoctrination “You’re not good enough for God. You came into this world stained with original sin” and the repetitive chant at Mass, “Lord I am not worthy that you should come into my house. Say but the word and my soul shall be healed.” Catholic children are taught that they are, by definition, stained and unworthy.

This Anusara Yoga proposes a profound shift. I found two really interesting posts by Meredith on Elephant Journal.

  1. 10 Ways to Know if Yoga is Working
  2. Her review of several powerful books and an elite class for yoga teachers

Tip number 5 in the second link above is a quote from Mathew and Terces Engelhart’s book, Kindred Spirit.

I make powerful requests as an exercise in worthiness and remember that “no” doesn’t mean anything. I build my self-worth by making powerful requests and get at least one “no” everyday.

I am starting to see it is important to keep the concept of worthiness in my mind. It’s not just what I put into my body, it’s what I hold in my mind too. I am learning that toxins are not limited to food and beverages. Consciously choosing loving thoughts is as important as choosing to breathe into the discomfort in yoga. I am going to continue to check out Meredith Rom’s Insights.

Richard Miller – iRest

Richard Miller – iRest

Meditation invites us to release internal conditioned patterns of emotion, belief and localized identification so that our attention is free to abide ever more frequently in simply being. Being is the portal that supports the blossoming of our innate open heartedness, compassion, love and connectedness to ourselves, and the world around us. Living as being opens us to wonder, delight and astonishment, revealing how we are the Mystery, incarnate.

The Importance of Tone

The Importance of Tone

I just got back from Zumba class at the cheapo gym. I wasn’t the oldest, and I wasn’t the fattest. It was more like an aerobics workout with an leader who could actually keep time to the music. (You would be amazed at how many aerobics instructors can’t keep time. Like it is elevator music in the background.) But I may have been the only one wearing dance shoes. I got them because they are required at the other place I take Zumba.

Last November in a OMG-my-birthday-is-in-a-month moment, I signed up for the “$100 for all you can eat in a month” at the expensive, tony Pilates studio called, ahem, Tone. I am so cheap, I got my average per class cost down to less than $5.

It is run by a Phillipina who sets the Tone. She is not a natural beauty (which is how they describe Michelle Obama) but her energy is irresistible. She looks 40ish which means she is 50ish, her long black hair flying like a witch when she leads Zumba. The room is packed. Max occupancy is 40, she squeezes in 44 because the receptionist and the other teachers want in also. Monica is a dance-and-movement teacher and the owner of the studio. I took her 6 a.m. Yoga class on New Years Eve (20 other women were there) and the class was held in the dark with a cluster of candles in the center of the room. This weekly class has 3 weeks of normal wakeup yoga and the fourth week is restorative (so totally feminine witch). This was the restorative and it was held in near silence, in the candlelit midwinter dark. Monica gave a quiet sermon about the end of the year and the start of a new one, renewal of spirit, renewal of love, renewal of commitment. “Joy in everything, all the time. Take a candle when you leave.” Talk about setting the Tone!

But Monica’s Zumba class is full of energy. Sherisse works for Monica, she also teaches the Pilates class at the cheapo gym and at city Park & Rec. Sherisse is black as ink, wasp-waisted and highly trained in dance-and-movement. She was at the front of the class along with her dreadlocked friend, also with a dancers shape. The Zumba class had some Latin rhythms, but many hip-hop songs as well. I tried to follow the moves, and the other white ladies didn’t look much better than I did, but Sherisse and her friend — wow! It all made sense when I watched them dance. Yes, they are trained dancers, but when they did the “urban” dances my eyes popped. It was so beautiful and strong!

I was in the back of the crowded room, trying to be invisible, but I was under the skylight and the beam of noontime sunlight illuminated my, um, blonde hair. In the mirror I could see that I looked radiant and dumpy at the same time. Halfway through the class, Monica paused between songs and waved to me, “Hi, Anet!” she said.

Frankly, I’d rather be invisible. But the energetic music really boosts my mood. Monica has set up Tone as a dance-and movement studio so the floors are bowling alley perfect, hence the requirement for clean dance shoes. Most of the people spend most of the time on the floor doing Pilates and Yoga, so the floors and mirrors have to be impeccable for the experience to be spiritually nutritious. So that is why I have dance shoes. And why Monica’s class is so popular.