self-care

UZIT at Ronald McDonald House

By Lori Bower and Marcia Miller

IMG_0814Meet Mary (not her real name), a past resident of the Ronald McDonald House.  She was staying there to support her critically ill grandson, her daughter and her other two grandbabies.  Her young grandson had been a patient at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, for several months. Mary was visibly shaking, anxious, exhausted and so overwhelmed by her family’s situation that she was not sure she could continue to help. She had been trying to hold it together for her family but that day on a scale from 1 to 10 her stress was “off the charts.” We were in an Urban Zen Integrative Therapy session together.  First, I listened in order to gauge her needs, and then I made a plan. I offered her an essential oil and put her in a restorative pose called legs-up-the wall to address her exhaustion. I gave her reiki, a breath awareness practice and a body awareness meditation. Mary began to calm down and her shaking subsided. Toward the end of our session she began to cry and said she had never had the chance to cry. She had been so focused on taking care of everyone else she had forgotten what it felt like to be taken care of. She looked relaxed and was even smiling when we finished our time together. Mary was surprised and delighted to experience what a difference 20 minutes had made in the way she felt and at that point she was refreshed and ready to go back to the hospital to help her family in whatever way they needed. Read More…

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Practicing with Rodney through Tough Times

Rodney_MokuRodney Yee and his yoga DVD helped me through one of the most difficult times in my life. I had become addicted to cocaine and had decided that I needed to find sobriety. I declined help at any rehabilitation centers as I knew my addiction was one that I needed to conquer on my own. I could not be trusted to be around anyone who had the same problem I had. I was a manipulative drug addict with a heart as cold as ice.

I had a yoga DVD of Rodney Yee and started to practice with it daily. Faithfully every morning I settled on to my mat, focused on my breath and moved my body along with the cueing from the DVD. I had never done yoga before but explored every pose that I could and watched the more difficult poses with no thought that I would or would not explore those poses later. I think I just assumed that one day I might give that crow pose a try, but for today…..I will just do all I can do. There were days that I actually got on my mat more than once as a way to take my mind to that place where I began feeling secure, comfortable and welcomed.

A long story short, this little DVD led me to where I am today in my yoga practice, and although I am just scratching the surface of this journey I could not have been happier to be allowed to take a workshop with the amazing man who actually helped me through my sobriety. Every day of my life that man was with me, leading me to a place that was far better than any cocaine high I had explored.

He has no idea the impact he has had on my life, and at the end of the workshop he asked for one more person to help with adjustments in his and Colleen’s open class. I could not help but raise my hand. I knew I was way out of my league but could not pass up the chance to actually spend a few more hours learning from these two brilliant teachers.

I may not be the only one Rodney has helped via his DVDs. Everyone has a story….I may never get the chance to thank him for being with me every day on my road to sobriety, but I send love and light when I think about that journey and how I made it through.

MokuJacquie is an RYT-200 and currently enrolled in the 300-hour Teacher Training program at Yoga on High, deepening her knowledge and understanding of yoga practices and philosophy in workshops lead by some of the best teachers in the country. She teaches a deep-release yoga class at Yoga on High and a slow flow yoga class at Grow Yoga. For her full bio, please click here.

Join Rodney Yee for his teacher training workshop: Yoga Practice and Therapeutics September 14-16 at Yoga on High. Or, try Rodney and Colleen’s Urban Zen open class Wednesday evening, September 14th.

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Self-Care for Social Change

Social change requires change agents who are energetic, inspired, grounded, rested and relaxed. We need people who can go all in for the long haul in work that is often demanding and frustrating as well as exhilarating. Exhaustion and despair are the enemies of compassion and inspiration. People drawn to social change have often been affected by trauma or a deep challenge in their own lives or the lives of their loved ones. They have a personal understanding of some limit in our culture such as racism or the inability to provide for the poor and are uniquely attuned to the needs involved. In order to be effective in the way they want, they have to be awake and healthy enough to do it over time. They have to have time to care for themselves before they can effectively care for others. Read More…

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Spreading Suffering

Reiki8

I’m going to tell you a little story. It’s a story of spreading suffering versus spreading well-being. For many years I have been practicing meditation. At some point it went from being a personal practice to part of my professional work. And, along the way I added many other pieces to what I consider my self-care puzzle—all parts of a whole that I felt were necessary for the expression of the full picture. I thought I had pretty much figured things out.

Then my professional and personal life began to grow. I changed my habit of waking up at the same time, very early, to meditate. I began to squeeze it in, usually on waking, but sometimes later in the day. As a practice, I’ve found some meditation somewhere in my day is OK, and certainly better than no meditation. Though many teachers might say otherwise, my personal experience is that, as long as meditation is a priority in my daily life, varying the time of day of my practice can work for me. The problem was that at a very stressful time in my life, I allowed it to be less of a priority. And there was the slippery slope… Read More…

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Black Abyss

In the movie version of my life, a close up of the blood-shot eyes of Tom Cruise or Johnny Depp will open the scene and the camera will pull back to show a limping and cowering wretch pull himself up to the front desk at Yoga on High. My tear stained face contrasting with the effervescent YOHI goddesses. My closed fist slowly opens to reveal crumpled paper that only hours earlier was a pristine gift certificate to Yoga on High.

The front desk goddess smiles and cheerfully intones, “You must be here for the Urban Zen class. Please take off your shoes and you may go into that room now.” Ominous music plays as I work my crumpled body and mind through the passage. Once through this mysterious portal, powerful beams of light and dancing fairies transform me to the box office star everyone lined up for days to see.

Some artistic license must be taken to make the movie fit the right demographics, but my introduction to Urban Zen was more dramatic and life changing than the Johnny Depp version.

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The True Nature of Self Care

Be the Change. As much as Gandhi’s words have become, perhaps, overused, I still feel warm-hearted when I see them with a pretty photo backdrop as a friend’s Facebook share. They are heart-centered, uplifting by nature. And yet I remember when it was first suggested to me in a yoga class, some 20+ years ago, that my yoga practice benefitted the entire planet, I doubted it. I wanted to believe that it could, and it even felt really good to imagine that it could. But, when my mind considered it, it made no sense. When I looked at the idea with the focus of a magnifying glass, it fell apart – my little mind, my little world, my little self. “Practicing yoga is selfish,” I heard my little mind say. How could this practice that I thought was so selfish benefit the world? Even as I couldn’t see that it did, I decided that, for a while each week, I could be selfish. Read More…

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