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

Thursday, April 10, 2014


CTRL+ALT+DELETE: A 3-Step Solution to Every Problem

By Nishit Patel 

June 9, 2010

The other day, I was teaching my Wednesday evening yoga class and a complex discussion came about, which led me to create a normal, day-to-day analogy to make things simple. Remember, being a walking yogi means: be simple, be practical and ultimately, be free, both figuratively and symbolically. How do you make the best sense out of things that are complex? Well, sometimes you use an analogy that makes use of everyday terms, things, and places, which help you to explain your point. And that is just what I did: I used mundane terms to explain the profound infinity, which could then be easily grasped by the logical brain. Consider that your brain is a computer; we normally use our “computer” in everyday life, but we may not always connect the dots to understand the depths of wisdom that become available through simple explanation.
But, let’s get even simpler. When you are running a couple of programs on your computer and it freezes up due to a lack of memory or other malfunction, what is it that you do at that time to unfreeze? What is the quickest way to release that freeze? Many times, for the PC users, the command to use is “CTRL+ALT+DLT”. (I do not use MAC and so you may have to make up your own analogy.) This command is the quickest and simplest way to get out of that jam. Now you might wonder a bit, “Hum, what does this have to do with infinity?” Wait now, do not rush. I am about to explain.
In the same way that we have computer problems, we have problems and issues in our daily life. Some we face head-on, resolve them quickly, and move on; other issues may take years to resolve—if we are lucky—or else many times we die without solving them. Can you think of anything difficult that is plaguing you? Have you tried to solve the issue at hand? What happened, in reality? Did you end up solving it, did you create more trouble, or did it never get resolved? Ponder on it a bit, analyze it, and see if you can conclude. You might wonder: “He is avoiding an explanation!” Be patient, my dear, be patient. I am about to resolve the situation that you just relived due to your memory-fest. This term, “memory-fest” begs a question: “Is it really a memory-fest or an infatuation or addiction to our memory?” Think about it; it could be my next blog. What do you think? Leave comments on my blog site, please.
To continue, if you have an issue and it is hard to resolve, there are three things I would like you to remember and ask yourself:
1. How much control do I have in this situation?
2. Can I alter the situation? What can I do to alter this situation?
3. If nothing can be done, can I “delete” or completely let go off it, wipe it out of my memory permanently?

Now, remember, we are trying to simplify, so try not to complicate this further. One way to understand simplifying problems is through an example that affects millions of people worldwide. Let us say you have just been diagnosed with diabetes—you have a problem in your hand. Your first reaction could be “why me?” or “what do I do now?”, and there may be many other reactions you could have. Instead of panicking, which may seem like the right thing to do at that time, get back to the three-step solution that was just mentioned above and start working on it right away. Remember, whatever you focus on magnifies. It will become bigger than it is until that is all you can see. So why not focus on solving the situation rather than worrying sick about it?

1. What kind of control do I have? You may think, “Well, I have a good doctor who caught this ailment early on. She is an expert and I can rely on her expertise. I have a spouse or a life partner who understands the situation and is willing to help in any way possible. I have many friends who are sympathetic to my situation and are standing by to help.” Wow! What a great start! Do you have enough control? Are you alone in this?

Second scenario would be: “Oh my God! What am I going to do? I have to take insulin shots every day. It is going to cost me so much. What will happen to my hands and skin by poking those needles? How can I possibly let go off ice cream? I love ice cream.”
Think hard: How much control do you have?

2. What can I do to alter this situation? That is your next priority, next goal, and next target. “Well, I will take my insulin religiously to bring the symptoms under ‘control’.” (A brief word about control: in this situation, you are in control, and the insulin is an extension of that control—you are not completely dependent on it. If you depend on something, you have already lost some control. Mind you, I am not preaching you to become “control freak” but you have to get some handle on it.) You may brainstorm other ways you can alter the situation. “I love to eat, but now I am going to be strict with my diet. I will research, read and discuss more about possible cures; I will talk to a few of my relatives who are managing their own diabetes and alter my situation to go in the positive direction.”

Second Scenario could be,”Well, I know I am not supposed to eat ice cream…I will cut back a little, and then take my insulin shots to avoid raised sugar levels in my blood. I don’t think there is anything else I can do. I am not an expert on diabetes and I will let my doctors handle it. What else can I do?”
Do you see the difference between these two scenarios?
Think hard: If you bring enough control, alteration is a logical sequence that follows.

3. Can I “delete” this issue; can I cure this malady? That is a great way forward. You may determine, “If I implement a regular exercise regimen, undergo strict dietary control and use stress management techniques like yoga, breathing, relaxation and meditation, I believe I can cure it. If I learn more about herbs and how they can bring me back to ‘norm’ then I will be in a great shape to fight this malady off. Henceforth, I will take an oath that I am not sick, but my body is; it is my instrument and I need to sharpen my tool so that I can function optimally on a daily basis.”

Second scenario might look like this: “I have no control over it. I just know a little about it. My doctors are telling me that there are no possible cures for this kind of malady and I am to live with some kind of diet regimen and insulin shots for the rest of my life, or I will die of many complications, including heart problems.”

Think hard: Once you have taken a conscious decision to cure the issue at hand, that awareness itself is a self-propelling, self-guiding force to eliminate the myriad of issues plaguing this humanity.
Now, this is just a random example that I chose to demonstrate my point. Things could be quite different when it comes to your life. But you get the point. It all depends on how you think about your situation and how you utilize the simple facts of life to eliminate an issue or malady in a proper, systematic way—without becoming sick to the core!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Spring Cleaning: Guide To Agni Sara

May 24, 2013 ... Agni sara is essential for developing core strength, which in turn enables us to harness our scattered instinctual energies for the inward journey ...

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Hypnosis and the Eight Limbs of Yoga by John Mongiovi, CH

Hypnosis and the Eight Steps of Yoga
by John Mongiovi, CH

As a hypnotist, I often teach workshops on self-hypnosis and sacred chant at Yoga Centers, and some of my students have asked if there are similarities and relationships between hypnosis and Yoga. Usually, someone in the group points out that hypnosis is 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 Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis Dr. William Kroger points out that there are great similarities between hypnosis and the eight steps of yoga that are set forth in the Yoga Sutras of Patañjali.[1] I’d like to explore the relationship between yoga and hypnosis in this brief summary. My interpretations vary slightly from Dr. Kroger’s, but all credit goes to the master for making the initial comparison:

Yoga Step 1: Yama is restraint, self-control, and discipline. 
Yoga Step 2: Niyama is faithfully observing strict rules.

These first two steps of yoga are analogous to the motivation and discipline needed to approach hypnosis. Most methods of mental healing reply upon a positive expectation that any person can achieve the outcome when certain steps are followed.

Yoga Step 3: Asana is placing the body in the correct posture and sitting still.
Yoga Step 4: Prānāyāma is controlling your breathing. 

In hypnosis, posture and breathing facilitate deep relaxation. Posture and breathing exercises also serve to misdirect the attention. When a person’s attention is diverted by focusing automatic motor movements (like breathing or muscular twitches) and automatic sensations (like tingling or floating) the conscious mind is kept busy and out of the way, allowing beneficial suggestions and imagery to be imprinted upon the subconscious mind.

Yoga Step 5: Pratyahara is withdrawing your thoughts from the outer world.

Pratyahara resembles the “depersonalization” that takes place in hypnosis. Depersonalization is what’s happening when you feel like you are outside of yourself, watching yourself act, with no control over your actions. It happens to some extent when we are daydreaming and suddenly feel as if we couldn’t move even if we tried.  In some situations depersonalization brings a sudden expansion of mental perspective (“Eureka! I never seen it that way before!”), or emotional perspective (“Suddenly I just feel great, and I can’t explain it!”), which seems to fix the problem automatically and permanently. Depersonalization can be positive and 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. Depersonalization can also be negative, and can be the result of trauma or prolonged stress. To some extent, a person who has automatic bad habits or compulsive thoughts or worries experiences a degree of depersonalization by not having conscious control of their behaviors, thoughts, and feelings. In such cases, the goal of hypnosis is to bring the person back to their own identity in a balanced and positive way. So hypnosis is a powerful tool to achieve depersonalization when needed, or 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 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 steps of yoga (yama, niyama, asana, prānāyāma, and pratyahara) involve the creation of a favorable mental attitude of expectancy, which is necessary to approach and induce hypnosis. The last three steps (dhāranā, dhyāna, and samādhi) are then analogous to the responses that occur during hypnosis.

Yoga Step 6: Dhāranā is concentrating the mind on the body. For example, in yoga, a person might focus concentration on particular chakras or parts of the body. 

Concentration on posture, and breathing initially assist in relaxation and divert the attention of the conscious mind, in both yoga and hypnosis. Again, both in dhāranā and in hypnosis, further attention on the sensations of the body (or any other point of fixation) keeps the conscious mind busy so that positive suggestions can influence the subconscious mind.

Yoga Step 7: Dhyāna is holding steady focus on a single object or idea.

Repetition is one of the most elementary principles of hypnosis. Suggestions and imagery are brought to the mind again and again. Repetition works because the mind chooses its subjects of thought automatically. Redundancy (repetition) gives the mind more bits of positive information from which to choose. When this 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. 

Yoga Step 8: Samādhi is feeling oneness with the object of meditation.

In hypnosis, as in the final step of yoga, we seek to be one with the goal. This is the key to how hypnosis helps people with problems they have had for years. 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). Hypnosis breaks that cycle, not by empowering the person to struggle harder against the problem, but by leading them to experience thoughts and feelings that will accompany the goal when it is achieved. When the subject is aligned with states of thinking and feeling that support the desired behaviors, they are one with the goal, and corresponds to Samādhi.

We may observe in the eight steps of yoga and in hypnosis that true healing and balance are achieved not by addressing symptoms, but by aligning the mind with a higher state of consciousness. Yoga is more than stretches 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 the problem is seen from a new perspective, a paradigm shift from the previous state to a new state is achieved.

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 see 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 be better!

March 13, 2014

[1] There are different types of yoga: karma yoga (the path of action); jnana yoga (the path of knowledge); bhakti (the path of devotion); and rāja yoga (the path of meditation). The Yoga Sutras form the basis of rāja yoga.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Taking the practice deeper in April

Often times we forget that there is more to us than the physical body and what we eat (Annamaya kosha). In yoga we learn through the ancient texts that we are actually made up of five bodies: Annamaya kosha, Pranamaya kosha, Manamaya kosha, Vijnanamaya kosha and Anandamaya kosha. These koshas or sheaths are the five coverings which veil Purusa, the essence of God that is in each one of us. This is why there are so many different practices within Raja Yoga, the royal practice that we study here at BambooMoves. Practicing good eating habits, asana, chanting and meditation, and performing selfless service allow us to connect to each of these bodies, eventually unveiling the first layer of the true self, the Atman.

In the coming month, through our meditation and hypnosis workshops, we will be exploring the Pranamaya kosha and the Manamaya kosha, or the prana sheath and the mental sheath. During the meditation workshop, with Nishit Patel, we will begin to feel our connection to our internal energetic vibrations. I am very honored to have him teach us, as he was one of my first teachers here in the United States after leaving India.

Then, during the hypnosis workshop, with John Mongiovi, we will be able to tap into our Manamaya kosha by learning exercises and techniques to assist us in processing thoughts and emotions, controlling the ego and tapping into our memories. If you are at a place where you want to learn more about your self and go deeper into your practice, both of these are amazing workshops to attend. I will be going to both of them, and I look forward to learning with you this month.