Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Aparigrah; non possessiveness

We, as a culture, constantly hold on to what we have and yearn for more. We
want more friends, knowledge, control, and just more stuff in general. But, as
we learn from the yoga sutras, specifically from the yama of Aparigraha or non
possessiveness, we need to let go in order to change and evolve, and to create
space for the new. On our Facebook page, Sarah G., from Yoga International, says
this beautifully: “Let go of who you are to create space for who you can be.” If we
constantly hold on, we don’t get to cleanse. Can you imagine if you held on to every
germ you picked up on the subway? You would be a mile thick with grime! But we
shower often to cleanse ourselves. Aparigraha is similar, teaching us to loosen our
grip on the things we clench to with white knuckles.

As a true life example, I use my mother, one of the strongest woman I have ever
known, because she is constantly allowing the people she loves to go. She is a
physical therapist and I remember watching her read the obituaries to see if any
of her patients died, whether it was from the previous week or years before when
she had last seen them. I was also there when her mother died, and when her father
died, and I remember when I decided to go to Kazakhstan and then move to New
York City. This woman who birthed me and, like any mother, would have loved for
me to be close, never asked or sent out that wish, but instead always supported me
fully on my path.

Mothers are constantly committed to karma yoga, a yoga practice to give
unconditionally; we see this with one of the first things a new mother does--breastfeeding.
Milk has the unique quality of containing the best that the mother can
offer, even at the expense of her own health. In the case of calcium, for example, the
infant is assured an adequate supply since the mother’s milk will contain sufficient
amounts of the mineral even if she herself is malnourished. In the book Diet and
Nutrition: A Holistic Approach by Dr. Ballentine, he shares with his readers that milk
is the symbol of the willingness to give, to sacrifice, which is where the expression
“the milk of human kindness” comes from.Surrendering our own health is an extreme example, but it illustrates how onesurrenders to a greater calling instead of holding on. Change is difficult and often
times it is easier to hold on to the old because it is something familiar to us; a
mother doesn’t know how her child will grow up, a new job may not be as secure as
the old one, or moving forward after someone dies is not easy. But change gives us
space to become who we can be.

Yes, you can have a dramatic change to practice Aparigraha, but you can start in
a simple way by looking at your words. Allow speech to assist you in accepting
change by being less possessive. For example, instead of saying my daughter, can
you call her by name and let go of the title? Or can you let go of saying my job, my
business, my friends? In our speech we harbor this possessiveness and continue to
breed on our attachments.
One challenge that we do during our BambooMoves Warrior Advanced Practitioner (200 Hr Cert.)
program is to see how many times we can say something to show non
possessiveness. When I was getting married a few years ago, instead of always
saying, “my fiancé,” I introduced him by name. It was amazing to see how confused
people got when I wasn’t possessing him, but just stating his name. Often another
person would interrupt and say, “This is her fiancé.” Another example, when looking
for your shoes, try asking, “has anyone seen the shoes that I wore today?” Or, in
response to where do you work? Often I respond, I teach at a studio in Queens,
instead of calling it my studio. To dive a bit further, when getting physically hurt,
instead of saying, “I hurt my toe,” you might say, “The toe is hurt.”” Start by changing
how we look at the stuff around us, the body we have, and the mind we have, in
order to begin to loosen these grips. This loosening allows us freedom to have faith
in Ishvara and the practice of Aparigraha.
This month, the BambooMoves 8 Limbs Challenge, is to see how you can change
your speech by becoming aware of how often you use possessives. Some days try
not to use possessives and on other days observe and keep a tally how many times
you use “my” or “mine.” Facebook us and share your thought of this challenge.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

September Focus -Brahmacharya- Walk the Line

Walk the Line

Offering our senses to a higher purpose brings vitality and clarity.

BY Irene (Aradhana) Petryszak ON November 7, 2013

Brahmacharya (moderation of the senses), the fourth of the five yamas (restraints) described in the Yoga Sutra, counsels us to live a life of balance. Though most commentators translate brahmacharya as “celibacy,” its literal meaning is “walking in the presence of the Divine.” In Vedic culture, brahmacharya referred to the first of the four stages of life, that of a student—the practice of celibacy helped students to remain clear and one-pointed in their studies.

Though most commentators translate brahmacharya as “celibacy,” its literal meaning is “walking in the presence of the Divine.”
For modern-day yoga students, brahmacharya guides us to regulate, but not repress, our senses—to find that fine balance between fulfilling our needs and indulging to excess. The sages tell us that the senses follow the mind like worker bees follow their queen. So when we set an intention and focus our mind on it, our senses gather together to support that intention. But keeping that focus when our untamed senses are tugging at our mind every which way is no easy task. My first attempt to practice brahmacharya taught me not to underestimate the power of sensual urges.

Leap of Faith

When I started yoga some 30 years ago, I had a deep spiritual hunger. So I jumped at the chance to do my first purashcharana practice—repeating 10 malas worth of a certain mantra for 125 days—even though it came with strict requirements: no alcohol, no drugs, no sex, no meat, and no eggs. Little did I realize what I had signed up for.
Although the no sex part threw me a little, I figured it would be easy—after all, I had just moved into a yoga community that encouraged and supported celibacy. Abstaining physically was hard at first, but not as hard, I soon found out, as controlling my racy mind. Instead of listening to what my teachers were saying in class, my mind wandered merrily among memories of past pleasures and fantasies of future ones. I would be sitting in front of a teacher taking notes when a forceful wave of sexual energy would rush through me, leaving me embarrassed and red-faced. Oh my god, can he read my mind? I wondered, looking sheepishly away. Can he tell what an awful student I am? I had no idea my mind was so preoccupied with sexual thoughts! Stopping the outer activity made me acutely aware of its strong unconscious hold on me.

The effort to maintain the practice created a fire within me, bringing old unresolved issues to light. Friends remarked on how radiant I looked, but inside I felt like I was dying. And the truth, I later realized, was that my old self was dying, opening the way for a new self to be born.
Not wanting to break the practice, but not knowing how to handle the energy, I turned to food for comfort. Bread and butter in any form became my solace. A friend doing the same practice and battling the same urges left me a thick piece of homemade bread slathered with butter on my desk one day with the note: We may be getting fat but we’re getting pure. “Fat but pure” became our motto.
The effort to maintain the practice created a fire within me, bringing old unresolved issues to light. Friends remarked on how radiant I looked, but inside I felt like I was dying. And the truth, I later realized, was that my old self was dying, opening the way for a new self to be born. But at the time, I only felt inner torment and anguish. Self-doubts gnawed at me. Thoughts of leaving consumed me. Emotions of all kinds surged through me. I found it almost impossible to continue. Long fast walks up steep hills had little effect—so I ate more bread and butter.
Determined, I kept doing the practice. Slowly I began to understand that energy is just energy, neither good nor bad—whether it manifests as waves of sexual desire or emotions like anger, sadness, jealousy, love, or joy. By not resisting or judging whatever surfaced, I learned I could observe it without identifying with it—and eventually it would fade away.
 The glorious 125th day came and with it I felt an inner lightness, a clearing, as if some deep spiritual knot had been loosened. I had gained 20 pounds but shed a layer of darkness that had been smothering me since childhood. Inspired, I decided to do another purashcharana. This time, I didn’t need to indulge in so much bread and butter.

The inner touch of the Divine—that sweet quiet calm clarity of the inner Self—fed my deeper hunger in a way that sensual pleasures could not. In the past, the more I indulged sensually, the more I wanted. But once I learned to control and channel my sensual energy for a higher purpose, I felt more alive, more clear, more joyful.

Acquire a New Taste

The sages say the way to deal with a baser urge is to replace it with a higher one. In Swami Prabhavananda’s commentary on Narada’s Bhakti Sutras, he explains that it is like putting a smaller magnet into the force field of a larger one. When we do this, the lesser magnet loses its potency. The same is true for us. Instead of fighting our weakness, promising to give it up, only to fail miserably each time and feeling more and more worthless, we can turn it over to a higher source. This is the premise of Alcoholics Anonymous. But it originated with the ancients.
In Ramakrishna and His Disciples, Christopher Isherwood tells how Ramakrishna advised a student who had trouble with alcohol to offer his first sip to the Divine Mother and then drink it as her prasad (blessing). Ramakrishna didn’t tell him to give up drinking, because that would have created a struggle for his student. He simply said to think of the Divine Mother first, which brought a new level of awareness to his action. Though it took time, by doing this, the man slowly changed his attitude. He became filled with devotion and wanted to offer the best of himself to the Divine Mother. He never got drunk again. This is brahmacharya—walking in the presence of the Divine—at its best.

Find the Balance

Although I initially struggled to rein in my sensual urges during my first purashcharana, the more I opened up to a relationship with the Divine, the more I felt satisfied on a deeper level, and the less control these urges exerted over me. The inner touch of the Divine—that sweet quiet calm clarity of the inner Self—fed my deeper hunger in a way that sensual pleasures could not. In the past, the more I indulged sensually, the more I wanted. But once I learned to control and channel my sensual energy for a higher purpose, I felt more alive, more clear, more joyful. And I discovered I could more fully enjoy sensual pleasure in moderation because I was conscious of what I was doing. I had found the balance point.

By gathering our senses and channeling them in a controlled conscious way for a higher purpose, we stop wasting energy. Our conserved vital energy becomes transmuted into a more refined potent healing energy called ojas, which gives us physical stamina and clarity of mind. And when ojas is conserved, it becomes even more highly refined as tejas (splendor; brilliance).
The sages say we are meant to enjoy this world and all it has to offer. Any sensory pleasure in moderation is fine. But when the senses control us rather than us controlling them, we get in trouble. The question to ask is this: To what extent do we let the senses pull us outward in their endless pursuit of satisfaction, and to what extent do we rest the senses in the clear quiet calm of our inner Self? Have we found a balance between the two?
You don’t need to commit to a 125-day practice. Just a 5- or 10-minute relaxation before you indulge in your habitual escape or pleasure can make a difference. That’s how I reined in another out-of-control sensual pleasure—chocolate.  But that's another story.

Gain Vitality

According to the Yoga Sutra (2.38), when we become established in the practice of brahmacharya, we gain vitality. By gathering our senses and channeling them in a controlled conscious way for a higher purpose, we stop wasting energy. Our conserved vital energy becomes transmuted into a more refined potent healing energy called ojas, which gives us physical stamina and clarity of mind. And when ojas is conserved, it becomes even more highly refined as tejas (splendor; brilliance). As Reverend Jaganath Carrera writes in his commentary: “It is not simply that we will have more energy, but the quality of it will be more subtle, stable, and healing. It is the kind of energy that others will feel in our presence, naturally radiating like light or heat.” It is this precious vital force that allows a great spiritual master to transmit subtle energy to a student during initiation, awakening the process of inner transformation. And it is this same energy that will allow us to realize our highest Self.


Irene (Aradhana) Petryszak
Honesdale, PA
About Me
Formerly a senior editor of Yoga International magazine, Irene Petryszak served as the Chairman of the Himalayan Institute from 1996 to 2008. She holds a master’s degree in Eastern studies and has studied and practiced yoga for 30 years in the United States and India under the guidance of Swami Rama and Pandit Rajmani Tigunait. She teaches meditation and yoga philosophy at HI.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

August: Asteya

 The month of August is Asteya: non-stealing. I find this such an interesting idea in yoga because it is also in the religion which I grew up in, Christianity. In the bible, though shall not steal. But in the bible it talks more about properties, such as: another man’s wife (in many translations of the modern day bible women seem to be property), an animal of a neighbor, or other items that one possessed. However in yoga it includes things plus time, energy, happiness, and so much more.

Non stealing is related to not taking someone else’s time. For example, how many times have you been late to meet a friend, a boss, and your partner/spouse? This may not seem like a big deal being five, 10 or 15 minutes late. In yoga it a form of not being truthful with the words being shared (satya) or not respecting the person that one is meeting because we are stealing their time as they wait. The person who is waiting could be doing something, could be resting or could have planned accordingly knowing the person would be 15 minutes late.

Asteya, also relates to not taking someone else’s’ happiness. The other night I was pondering this with my husband after a night out with some friends. I was observing the emotion of jealousy and felt like because we didn’t see each other all week, when we were out with friends and he was happy and having a good time, I couldn’t go there with him. The lack of connection we had during the week, created a space for theft to come in and want to steal his happiness. Observing this, the thought and emotion in the middle of it being created, allowed me to step outside it, let it go and left space for a wonderful night of fun with friends to take place.

Not only as a wife to I use Asteya often but also, as a studio owner. Sometimes, it is very easy to get caught up in, “that was my idea” or “I did this” and stealing someone’s thunder. I see this happen often due to the ego desiring attention or kudos. For instance, sometimes, I can come up with an idea and the team at the studio carries it out differently than what I would have done. First one could say, I wanted it done this way, and only this way. Stealing the creative juices from one. But the idea was created and became a living project, which ended in successes, no matter how it was done. In the beginning of being a manager myself, I would want to say “I’m so glad I thought of that” but the project manager made it come alive and carried it through, so praise is due to the project manager. Therefore, releasing that it was my idea at all and celebrating the process and outcome the manager created.

 In yoga, we work with 5 bodies, these ideas of asteya are within these 5 bodies, not just the physical matter body. We look at our actions through energy, where the mind goes energy will follow. So, if I am feeling jealous, or taking someone’s happiness, my energy is in a dark place. But as we become more aware of our thoughts, they become controlled more and more and the monkey mind is lessened. Leaving us to be content and happy on a much deeper level. Therefore, we get to enjoy time with our loved ones and to celebrate in someone doing something great, like carrying out an idea or project. Yoga is such an amazing practice; practice this month with us with ASTEYA. Allow yourself to observe and see how asteya currently is involved or not involved in your life. Many Blessings, Suzanne Scholten

Friday, July 18, 2014


Recently I was in Bloomington, IN teaching 12 students for a 200 Hour BambooMoves Teacher Training. It was hosted by the yoga studio Know Yoga Know Peace. So true, right? If one knows the full practice of the 8 limbs of yoga, they know peace. We find true peace because we listen to our intuition, our gut, our inner guide. No longer the social norms. We start to ask why is this, this way? Or why do we want to have a lot of money? Or why do we want to eat fast food or food with no nutrients in it? Or why do I want to watch this TV show? Or why do I want to go to a Yoga class? Why do I feel this way when I do something and another way when I choose something else.

Have you ever stopped to listen to the Om's before class and after class? Did you notice that the OM in the beginning of class was a little off tune? Were you then able to hear the difference at the end of class? This a prime example of how deeply we are all connected on an energetic level. Its not like you talked to you neighbor in class or we practiced during class to be on pitch but because we practiced together we connected energetically and it came out in the sound of the omnipresence, the OM

We are universally connected to the earth, wind, water, fire, ether and through these elements; we are connected to one another. In the book, The Yugas by Joseph Selbie & David Steinmetz through the teachings of Sri Yukteswar & Paramhansa Yogananda it speaks of where human kind is today and where it will be again. Notice, again, a place we were once, a deeper understanding and a true connection. It states: Today, unfortunately, mankind generally turns a blind eye to exploitation, inequity, and injustice. But, according to the insights of Sri Yukteswar, by the end of Dwarpara Yuga mankind will learn that the well-being of others is essential to each individual's happiness; as a result, the exploitation, inequity, and injustice we see around us today will gradually come to an end. But we need to have action now, this seems so simple and yet we still struggle and follow these social norms of family, friends, and culture.

Ayurveda is the sister science to the yoga which is how yogis are assisted in finding balance. When we are staying connected to our true self we feel the place of peace, and our OMs unite we are demonstrating a higher level of consciousness or connection, than just our typical verbal and physical ques. The material things we chase after, may give one joy for a moment but always end up in a place of dissatisfaction through sadness, jealously and emptiness. However, when we listen to our intuition and allow the space to be there and to feel the connection we start to find a true sense of peace. This intuition allows us to be present and to understand those around us. Yoga is a practice of Ahimsa, (compassion) and it comes from this place of intuition, where we are all united and we can see ourselves in one another.

On November 20, 2012 the Dalai Lama said an amazing quote, "If every 8 year old in the world is taught meditation, we will eliminate violence from the world within one generation. It is exciting to think that Yoga, Tai Chi, Reiki, Acupuncture and other holistic practices are becoming more mainstream. It is a life practice to open us up to the internal truth. We do not have to wait thousands of years to find our own truth and reap the benefits of finding a connection to our neighbors and family. We can start now by practicing the full practice of yoga, the 8 Limbs. Patanjali has been translated into every language to give us tools to follow. For example, Patajali gives us many examples, but I will share 2 sutras pertaining to how we can let go of the voices around us and go inward to hear our intuition of the true Self.  The Sutras translated by Sri Swami Satchidananda book 2 vs. 7 and 8 are the following: Attachment is that which follows identification with pleasurable experiences and Aversion is that which follows identification with painful experiences. Therefore, start to let go of these experiences that make you externally happy or externally sad and start following the truth within you, your intuition. 

Be a regular practitioner to release the attachments and aversions. It is practice that allows us to  hear, feel, and see the truth. 

Many Blessings, Suzanne

Friday, May 2, 2014

Hypnosis and the Eight Limbs of Yoga by John Mongiovi, Certified Hypnotist (republish)

Hypnosis and the Eight Limbs of Yoga
by John Mongiovi, Certified Hypnotist

As a hypnotist, I often teach workshops on self-hypnosis and other topics at yoga centers, and some participants have asked if there are similarities and relationships between hypnosis and yoga. Usually, someone in the group points out that hypnosis seems similar to “yoga nidra,” the deep, trance-like state that yogis experience during meditation. In both yoga nidra and hypnosis, the body is intensely relaxed and the mind highly focused. The comparison doesn’t end there; in his landmark book Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis in Medicine, Dentistry, and Psychology, Dr. William Kroger points out that there are great similarities between hypnosis and the eight “limbs” of yoga that are set forth in the Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali. This brief comparison explores the relationship between Yoga and hypnosis.  

There are many ideas about the precise meaning of the word “yoga.” Literally, it means to join, bind, attach, or unite. In popular use “yoga” has come to mean, as Webster defines it, “a Hindu philosophy that teaches a person to experience inner peace by controlling the body and mind.” That sure sounds a lot like hypnosis! The Yoga Sūtras, dating back to approximately 200 BCE, are 196 aphorisms that form the basis of Yoga. The sutras are divided into eight “limbs,” sometimes called the “eightfold path.” They are summarized here, with their analogies to hypnosis.  My interpretations differ somewhat from Dr. Kroger’s, but credit must go to the master for making the initial comparison:

1st Limb: Yama is restraint, self-control, discipline, ethics, and integrity.  

2nd Limb: Niyama is the regular and faithful observance of rules and practices.

These first two limbs of yoga are analogous to the ideal mindset for someone approaching hypnosis. As with most methods of mental healing, success depends partially on the positive expectancy that any person who has a sincere intention and dedication to the process can achieve results.

3rd Limb: Asana is placement of the body in the correct posture and sitting still.

4th Limb: Prānāyāma is control of the breathing.  

In hypnosis, posture and breathing exercises facilitate the deep relaxation that is often associated with, though not always necessary for, the induction of hypnosis. Posture and breathing also serve to misdirect the attention. In hypnosis, when attention is diverted by mental focus on automatic motor movements (like breathing or muscular twitches) or automatic sensations (like tingling or floating), the conscious mind is kept busy and out of the way, allowing beneficial suggestions and imagery to imprint upon the subconscious mind.

5th Limb: Pratyahara is withdrawing thoughts from the outer world.

Pratyahara resembles the “depersonalization” that occurs in hypnosis and allows one to experience thoughts, feelings, and actions from a new perspective. Depersonalization takes place to some extent when you feel like you are outside of yourself, or like you are watching yourself act, without control over your actions. It happens to some extent when you are daydreaming and suddenly feel as if you could not move, even if you tried, though you don’t care to try. Depersonalization can be positive. In some situations it brings a burst of insight, a sudden expansion of mental perspective (“Eureka! I never seen it that way before!”), or an emotional shift (“Suddenly I just feel great, and I can’t explain it!”) that seems to fix the problem automatically and permanently. Depersonalization can be spiritual. Kroger points out that the goal of nirvana, the state of complete liberation, is strikingly similar to the depersonalization and other dissociated states that characterize hypnosis.

On the other hand, depersonalization can be negative, as when it is the result of trauma or prolonged stress. To some extent, a person who has automatic bad habits or compulsive worries experiences some degree of depersonalization by not having conscious control of their behaviors, thoughts, and feelings. In such cases, the goal of hypnosis is to orient the person to their own identity in a balanced and positive way.

Hypnosis can be a powerful tool to achieve depersonalization when needed, or to stop it when undesirable. Hypnosis influences this aspect of the mind so effectively that many well-known phenomena of stage hypnosis rely on it. For example, it is the epitome of depersonalization and disassociation when a subject is made to forget his own identity and assume he is another person, or is made to lose control or feeling in part of the body.

Kroger writes that the first five limbs of yoga involve the creation of a favorable mental attitude of expectancy, which is necessary to approach and induce hypnosis. In summary of these five: First we take account of our personal motivation (yama) and commit to the process (niyama). Next we focus on postures (asana) and breathing (pranayama), which facilitate the trance state. The misdirection of attention resulting from mental focus on posture and breathing facilitates withdrawal from the outer world and focus on inner thoughts and sensations (pratyahara).  

Kroger compares the last three limbs of yoga (dhāranā, dhyāna, and samādhi) to the responses that occur during hypnosis:

6th Limb: Dhāranā is concentration. For example, a person might focus attention on particular parts of the body (kinesthetic), a mantra (auditory), or an image (visual).

7th Limb: Dhyāna is to hold stillness in the mind, without the willful effort of single-pointed attention that characterizes the previous limb of dhāranā.

During the induction and deepening phases of hypnosis, posture and breathing (like limbs 3 and 4) serve to misdirect the attention and facilitate trance. Now, with the subject in hypnosis, concentration on certain tactile, auditory, or visual stimuli again keeps the conscious mind busy so that positive suggestions can influence the subconscious mind.

Like the single-pointed concentration that characterizes dhāranā, constantly pulling the mind back to focus on a certain thought, image or feeling, repetition is an elementary principle of hypnosis. The mind chooses its subjects of thought automatically, and redundancy (repetition) gives it more bits of positive information from which to choose. When positive information outnumbers negative information (like worries and negative self-talk, for example), it becomes more likely that the positive thought or emotion will become chosen automatically and unconsciously. In hypnosis the positive information that is repeated with concentration and effort at first (like dhāranā) eventually becomes automatic and effortless (like dhyāna).

8th Limb: Samādhi is a profound state of ecstasy and peace that comes from feeling at one with higher consciousness.

Yoga is more than stretches, poses, or exercise; it is a path by which an individual may achieve overall physical healing and balance. There are different types of yoga, but they all achieve their effects by helping the person to achieve union with a higher state of consciousness. Likewise, the real magic of hypnosis takes place when the mind is lifted from its previous state to a higher plane of thought. When a problem is seen from a new perspective, a paradigm shift from the previous state to a new state can be achieved, physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Many people approach their problems by struggling against them. For example, the smoker feels engaged in a mortal battle (literally) with cigarettes, or the overeater has a love-hate relationship with sweets (they love the sweets, and hate themselves for giving in to them). However, the Law of Reversed Effect asserts that the harder you try to do something, the less chance you have of success, because the unconscious mind that the thing against which you struggle actually has power. In both Yoga and hypnosis, healing is not achieved by focusing on the suffering, or by empowering one to struggle harder, but instead by raising the mind to a higher plane. In practical terms this means leading the subject to experience the thoughts and feelings that will accompany the goal once it is achieved. For example, to stop smoking it is usually far more effective to think about how good it feels to have energy, lung capacity, peace of mind, and self control than to focus on the damage caused by smoke and nicotine, or the shame of addiction. My point is not to equate samādhi to overcoming, but to illustrate that in both hypnosis and yoga, the ultimate goal is achieved when the subject is lifted to a higher state of consciousness.

This is only a summary comparison of two very complicated subjects, but I hope that it can in some way benefit those who are involved in the practices of yoga and hypnosis. When we consider the parallels between ancient systems of healing such as these, it reminds us that we are one human family, all with the same goal of human health and happiness. If we follow these universal prescriptions for balance and healing, we are bound to think, feel, and do better!

Kroger, William S. Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott, 1963.

© 2014, John Mongiovi, CH – All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Parkinson's from an Energetic Place

I have been practicing yoga since my dad got me a $.25 book at a book fair. He got it to assist me on healing my asthma. It has "healed" allowing me to get off all my steroids, medications, and minimize the wheezing when running.

Now we are at a point where dad needs to get into yoga and deep breathing. He was diagnosed with Parkinson's several months ago and I have been on a mission to see what I can do as a yogini. Parkinson's effects the auto immune system. Currently no scientist or doctor knows what causes Parkinson's and the symptoms are different per each individual. I see this in our Dance for Parkinson's sponsored by Mark Morris class on the 3rd Friday of each month. Each person is effected differently or has different complaints, so as a daughter, trying to empathize with what my dad is going through is difficult because I ask people and everyone says different things; different aches and pains, side effects, different ways of coping, and how many years they have had it. 

After many weeks of doing online research which had many words but didn't say much, I reached out to a taro card reader. She is an intuitive as well, so she deciphers what the cards say with intuition and a deep understanding of what the spirits say. For those of you not into energy work, please don't be riled. When one meditates, there is a space which causes a deep understanding from within. This is the spirit that I am referring too, and with this inner wisdom exposed I can understand and decide much easier than before I meditated. During my session I asked the cards, where does PD come from? And the session focused around control, not being able to let go, not having faith, and having fear.

I know I am stepping out on limb here as many people, especially those with PD, get angry that I am addressing this topic regarding their physical alignment of health from a taro card reading but as western science doesn't know any more than this, really, I might as well try other information that has helped me before. The cards showed how one needs to have outlets to express the voice, their sexuality, their artistic side, and be able to have a sense of freedom. Also there a stong hold with the emotion fear. The cards also addressed the sense of faith and having hope.

These findings are interesting. Apana vayu is the wind that allows us to eliminate, to let go. Its home is the pelvis the place of our 1st charkra. The chakras, the 7 main energy wheels of the body along the spine, we the muladhara chakra. This is the pelvic floor, our container floor. If this area is strong we tend to feel supported, strong and rooted. Udana vayu, is the wind of the throat area but is goverened by the muladhara chakra. In other words, we have the throat area goverened by our base or the area that allows us to feel support. In PD, a common occurrence is people loosing their voice. This first chakra area can be strongly effected by a trama that makes us feel unsupported such as: a parent dying unexpectedly, a lose of a grandparent, sexual abuse, a car accident, being in the middle of tornado, etc. Tramas are different for different people, a trama to one may not effect another, it is how the person perceived it.

There are over 1 million people in the United States that have PD, often it is in people over the age of 50. Many of who have had to hide emotions and their feelings because of their sex, or the family they were a part of, or let go of hopes and dreams because of money issues. For example, men have not been able to cry or be sad. They need to be strong, to "be like a man" but has this created a large group of people with PD? This disease does effect men more than woman. Also, the more we look into it, the more we are seeing that this can happen to people much younger. Why is this? How can someone in their thirties have a disease that kills brains cells that make dopamine.  Many sites I have read says it is in the genes, is it really? Or is it because we pick up the emotional traits of our family? We observe and we copy, many times we do not ask why our parents do something, why they say something, why they act a certain way. We go with the flow. We copy.

Part of the practice of Yoga is asking why and observing. Letting go of personal and family passed down habits to better understand the self, the true Self or the Atman which is always inside of us but rarely heard. With my dad having PD, it has made me observe. I look, act, talk, walk just like my father and I want to learn more about this to assist others. Even if I get this when I am 70, I want to know more than my father did, I want to be used by science to understand a bit more about this disease that we know very little about. I hope that you will give me ideas, feedback and continue to learn about this disease of PD.

God Bless you,
Owner of BambooMoves