The act of yoga can be a powerful tool which develops resiliency, a sense of empowerment, and allows one to become self reflective. It calls us to continually re-establish ourselves in this moment, living in the here and now. In this embodied presence we are more likely to attend to strong emotions and sensations that arise, becoming an active participant in our lives, which creates happiness and contentment.
This sequence is gentle, made for most body types, requires no props, and is under 20 minutes.
May we be well, may we be free from suffering, may we be safe.
My journey with yoga began when became very ill in the summer of 2012. I was a college student working with at-risk youth in a before and after school program. My life was a matrix of excessive drinking, excessive running, excessive studying/working, chewing tobacco, and eating a diet which consisted of nachos, Ramen noodles, and lots and lots of coffee. The perfect picture of health, right?
After developing bleeding ulcers due to my lifestyle, frequent trips were made to the emergency room along with follow-ups with specialists. They believed my ulcers developed from acid reflux, to which they medicated. This led to me taking nearly 20 pills a day, which did nothing to heal my stomach or relieve the pain.
Several months into diligently, but unsuccessfully, working to manage and heal, an unexpected bleeding ulcer brought me to the ER. A nurse came into the small room I was waiting in before being carted off for yet another scope and “picture shoot” of my internal organs. She noted how young I was, 24 at the time, and asked a question which stuck with me, “Have you ever tried meditation or yoga?” “No” I replied “Why?” She non-nonchalantly responded, “It might help you deal with the physical pain and stress you’re dealing with”. “hmmm..” I thought.
I had heard of yoga and had once attended a class at Boise State, which did not go well. But her question got me interested. The following week I stopped at the library and checked out nearly every book I found on yoga and mediation and began to immerse myself in the subject. It was that same day I decided to begin a meditation practice. I sat down, not knowing what the hell I was doing, with a literal “beginners mind”. Each time I meditated I experienced something new and different. I became so interested in the sensations, thoughts, and emotions which arose from this time alone.
I also began to try some of the yoga poses found in the books I had checked out. Supine twists, head to knee poses, wide leg forward fold, downward dog. These became some of my favorites. I only practiced a few times a week and for 3-7 minutes. Even in that short amount of time I could feel my body opening, calming down, and relaxing. This was completely foreign to me, and I liked it!
Needless to say, as the years went on, the connection between my mind and body grew stronger. With this, and the love and support from those around me, I had the mental fortitude and tools to give up the foods (dairy allergy), booze, tobacco, and excessive running which were causing the bleeding ulcers and also acting as a buffer between me and myself. In essence, these practices created a completely different lived experience for me.
I hope this gentle yoga practice empowers you to take an active role in your health and wellness.
NOTE: If you have physical limitations that are so serious that it would be difficult or damaging for you to even begin one or more of the practices, it is sufficient to simply vividly imagine doing the movements and/ or postures. Neurologists tell us that vividly imagining physical movement involves the same motor neurons that come into play as when we actually physically move.
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More information at www.CaitlinRenz.com/Yoga
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