Week one Yoga
The program isn't designed to teach you all the postures or the "how to " of Yoga. I assume you know some, or maybe are already taking a class or doing some online. And if you are completely new to Yoga I will be offering many Beginner online videos to get your comfortable with this type of movement.
My main goal is to give you a mental/emotional framework to allow you to deepen your practice and use Yoga and Meditation for your healing. Only a few postures are needed at first so you can work with this method
********As with any physical fitness program, you are required to assess your own physical ability to follow this program and movement. Safety is #1 and I want to make sure you are using Yoga safely. As I discussed in the Consent for this program, please check with your Doctor that all types of Yoga are right for you. But if you follow this ONE IMPORTANT RULE you will greatly improve your ability to succeed safely.
ONLY DO WHAT FEELS GOOD. iF IT HURTS OR FEELS WRONG, STOP. ***********
So the steps for the Yoga portion of the Program look like this:
1. Become comfortable with a few key postures/sequences (we'll learn new ones each week) so you can do them by memory. This will allow you to close your eyes and tune inward more often instead of always looking to what you're supposed to be doing.
2. Start to use your Yoga sequences with meditation and/or music. Add a meditation or music to the end of your Yoga sequence. So you can sit in quietly in meditation for longer periods of time at the end of the Yoga sequences. You will start to notice the ease to enter a more and more intensive meditative state. It is this deeper and deeper state we are trying to achieve to ignite our healing. But you can't enter this state if your nervous system is stuck in fight or flight. So we need to work slowly and gently to ease your body and mind into this state.
3. Practice every day or many times a day (even when you feel well) to get the full benefit of the method.
4. Use the Method for any stuck emotional state you find yourself in all day long.
General RULE #1 Whatever you are going through or feeling overwhelmed by... STOP over analyzing it while you are in the FIGHT OR FLIGHT mode and simply, "Take it to the Mat"
(Yoga Teaching Video 1 Relief from Grief)
A really great Yoga teacher or class certainly has the potential to help you do really use Yoga as a healing art. But a lot of "Westernized" Yoga has become more about the exercise, and flexibility and less about the deep life-changing/mind alternating properties of Yoga. Nothing to do with religion or dogma, but the fact that moving and breathing in these certain ways allow you to shift your nervous system in such a way that you become "aligned" or in tune with your inner spirit/guidance/knowledge. And when you find this alignment you begin to heal more quickly than you ever could imagine. In fact, it will blow your mind.
When you use Yoga to slow down your nervous system, get in touch with the present feelings and allow them to transform..... you are healing. And as many, many people have experienced, it will change your life.
If you are new to Yoga or want a little more of the science behind how it can work more intensely for you, watch this video. It can give you more of the "why" for doing Yoga and how what is happening to your nervous system as you practice it.
Sun Salutation WAlk Through Video
This video walks you through a Sun Salutation. If you are familiar with a Sun Salutation, great! If you haven't done one before, please also refer to the extra teaching videos I included below. My goal in the program is not to simply teach some yoga postures and have you do them nicely (though that is important.) But I want to teach you how to heal with Yoga. I want you to understand how to FEEL your way through Yoga. When we are stuck in pain and disease, we lose touch with our bodies and ourselves. Yoga and Meditation can bring us back to ourselves.. But this can be tough... it can be scary. And that's okay. Remember... little by little and step by step. Breathe. Breathe, Breathe.
Yoga Demo Video
Just a quick demo of a very short and beginner Yoga sequence. Some neck stretches, Cat and Cow positions and laying pose, Savansana. Not meant for a big Yoga workout, but just to talk through using Yoga as support for mental/emotional wellbeing.
Meditation for Sun Salutation: (audio sun saluation meditation)
Add this meditation to your Yoga sequence once you have become comfortable enough with your Sun Salutation to move through it without assistance. Use this when you have an emotion that feels stuck or nagging at you. You might have been triggered by an event in your day or while interacting with someone. Typically we want to talk about that episode or hash out the details. We have a strong desire to repeat the events or the conversation to justify the emotion that has stuck with us and made us feel bad. But you might have found that there is often no solution to the problem and retelling the stories often just causes you to feel worse. The answer to "letting go" and moving forward lies in transforming the intense energy of anger, frustration, sadness, grief, fear, shame, etc. These feelings have a message, a meaning that we can use for our benefit and for our information to heal ourselves.
While there is no easy answer for your specific situation, generally here is an example of what you might find when you examine your feelings a little more deeply.
Anger - means you want to say/do/be something you have decided you won't allow yourself to be. It means you've lost your power, your voice, your way to stay steady on your own path.
In terms of your brain, it means your Reptilian Survival brain is over-firing causing you to feel that your life might be at stake any time you see a similar event or remember a past event. The intense energy is a survival mechanism meant to get you to act.
Sadness - means you have practised a focus on the absence of something you want. The energy of the absence is so strong that you won't take your focus off of it. You are constantly practising and remembering something you want that you believe cannot ever be. We usually focus it on a person/place or thing, but actually, its a feeling of satisfaction, love, acceptance, appreciation (that you BELIEVE is only possible with that person/place/thing) that you really want.
In terms of your brain, when the sadness began with a very intense emotion your survival brain was triggered, paid attention to the circumstances and etched it into your mind. So that anytime you see something in your environment or are triggered by something you hear, your brain instantly sets off intense energy saying to you to run, hide or react in order to save your life. Even though the trigger might not be that bad or significant your memory is at signalling to you to REACT. A constant urge to move away from pain so that your Survival brain can be assured you will survive.
To transform sadness, you have to commit to allowing yourself to practice feeling good, just for a short period of time..EVEN THOUGH you might still be sad about some past event. It doesn't mean you are okay with the loss or the event... it just means you recognize that you can feel sad about something AT THE SAME time as allowing yourself to feel good in another moment. And the more you ALLOW yourself to feel good (in a meditation, in Yoga, enjoying small pleasures in life) the more you will bring back balance into your life. You recognize that those little bits of happiness or pleasure aren't meant to solve the grief, they are just meant to bring you back to balance.
Shame - means that you've focused on what others think in a very intense negative situation allowing you to believe you are deeply flawed in some way. During that situation, your Survival brain perked up to let you know that you need to move away from this pain in order to save your life. Even though time passes and you gain a broader perspective of the situation. Anytime you are re-triggered by any similar circumstances/events/people your survival brain will immediately signal to you, just like in the past to immediately move away from this situation, usually by hiding. The solution lies in slowly, step by step, coming to stand in your own truth of who you really are. When you feel shame over and over, you've completely lost that sense of who you are. So you need to practice the feelings of your own power.
Again, you recognize that you can feel two things at one time. Feeling strong, in your power, resilient, excited, expectant, hungry for life doesn't erase the feelings of shame. The practice of the positive experience will shape your brain and in the long run will lessen the intensity of the survival hormones when you are triggered to feel shame. You'll simply be triggered, feel an emotion and then let it go. All because you've practised it.
Fear- means you've practised over and over a memory of being unsafe. Your survival brain is working double/triple time to energize your body to react. Stress hormones course through your body at even the thought of something that might threaten you.
If you look around and there is no threat and it's just your memory or your ability to imagine a negative outcome, then you have become a pawn in the automatic reactions of your Survival brain. When you realise that you are safe in the moment, then you can start to transform this feeling of fear into power.
What you really want when you're afraid is to move forward in some way, do something new, challenge yourself, discover something, attempt something and your Survival brain is just too practised, too good, too strong at noticing and reacting to the "what ifs" (what if I fail, what if I am humiliated, what if I lose everything) .
The solution is to practice something new... practice feeling good. Dampen, override, out practice your Survival Brain's reactions of fear with feelings of self-empowerment, self-love, self worth. It will feel strange and unusually awkward at first, and then you will LOVE it.
So as you move through the Yoga sequence, these are the transformations you are feeling for. You don't' think about this stuff... you FEEL your way through it. But I promise you, your Survival Brain will not go quietly without a FIGHT. It stimulated the most powerful hormones and chemicals known to humans. You're going to have to be prepared for that difficult feeling, that RESISTANCE. Some people would call this EGO. But if you can be prepared for it, recognize it for what it is and reach for a higher feeling, you will prevail. Just don't give up. Doing Yoga while you reach for this feeling will physiologically stimulate the Vagus Nerve (more about that in Module 2) which will help shut off your stress response.
Sun Saluation for Difficult Emotion Video
Here is a walk through of a Sun Salutation for when you are dealing with a difficult emotion that you want to release. To get the most out of this video, I would hope you are very familiar with the sun salutation sequence and can do it without help. When the Yoga postures have become second nature like walking or driving, then your mind can move into the meditative state more easily. I talk through how I think and feel my way through the postures when I'm feeling (frustrated/overwhelmed/defeated) and move through those tough emotions into a better feeling state.
Yoga Postuires Demo https://www.yogadownload.com/yoga-pose-guide.aspx
Here is an excellent guide for the Postures that will be suggested in this Program
Remember this program is not as much about perfecting your Yoga technique as it is being aware of how you can use it to help with your emotions. Though of course, good technique is important for safety! But as you get more into Yoga and attend your own class or use videos online your Yoga will improve. For now, I want to focus on a few key postures to help move stuck emotional energy in the body, including forward bends, side bends, and backbends. As well as the poses that rejuvenate and rebalance like child pose, butterfly or Bound Angle pose and Legs up the Wall. and of course the breath! The breath is the fuel that makes this vehicle go! Without a focus on your breathing, you will be stuck at the starting blocks.
Move and breathe, and move and breathe and move and breathe.