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Posts Tagged ‘Depression’

6 Steps to Building Your Capacity in an Uncertain 2017

Posted on February 3rd, 2017 by Both comments and pings are currently closed.

 

 

 

 

meditation by robert sturman

by Tracee Stanley

How can you find stability and clarity and when everyone around you is in a constant state of reactivity to every tweet, every post, every news article and every friend who has a differing opinion? The answer is that you must build your capacity. Build your capacity to hold everything — all of what you perceive to be good, bad and more. What exactly does that mean? It means remaining stable in the midst of chaos. It means riding the ebbs and flows of life and not getting caught in the undertow. This is not apathy or some form of magical thinking, but seeing things as they are, not how you wish them to be…and being okay.
Build your capacity for discernment, to see what is true and what is not. Build your capacity to know what to do, when to do it and how. If we can see clearly and cultivate stability we will know what actions to take and we can navigate life and it’s obstacles with more ease and grace. But we must have the awareness, strength and steadiness to accept and process what is in front of us.
This kind of powerful capacity often awakens in you when you least expect it. It happens when you have to dig deep to walk into the room of a dying loved one to say goodbye. When you have to take part in an intervention with a friend or loved one who desperately needs help. When a friend calls you as their last hope because they are ready to take their own life. You find a deep reserve of energy and space; a place you might not have known existed within you. You resolve that you are not going to be swayed; that you can and will be strong and clear. And then you find that you are being guided by your inner knowing and you withstand something that you may have previously thought was intolerable. You not only withstand it, but you excel in the doing of whatever needs to be done. I am asking that you not wait for tragedy to strike, but that you build the qualities of capacity, strength and stability now. The more we exercise the muscles of building and maintaining capacity in the everyday, the more stable we will be in what others might call the worst of times. If these first few weeks of the new presidency are any indication, we will all need to build our capacity no matter what side of the aisle we are sitting on.
Here are some simple ways to begin to build capacity:

1.Create a media safe zone in your home.

Designate a room in your home that is media free. If possible, allow your bedroom to be the place where you can retreat for silence and reflection. This will not be a place to escape to but a place to be present with your thoughts and feelings. Place a journal on your nightstand and journal every morning and night for 10 minutes.

2. Be present with what you are feeling.

Part of becoming more stable and grounded is acknowledging what it is that you are experiencing — without shame or judgment. When you hear “bad news” you may feel something arising within you. Just stop whatever you are doing and breathe. Let the feeling of whatever it is bubble to the surface. Don’t push it away. Now notice that it has a texture or essence; maybe even a vibration that accompanies it. Ask yourself — what am I sensing right now? When was the last time I felt like this? If you can begin to trace back to the very first time you felt this way it may be helpful for you to see how much of what you are experiencing has to do with the current “bad news” or with a prior event in your life.

3. Discern between your thoughts, feelings and emotions.

As you continue to become more awake to what you are experiencing you can begin to more easily recognize the nature of that experience. Is a thought, such as “This really makes me mad when people do x,y, or z?” Is it a feeling or sensation, such as “I feel my whole body becoming hot and tingly?” Is it an emotion, such as “I feel anger arising?” Notice where you feel it in your body. Be with it. See what is there are perhaps it even has a message for you. LISTEN. Go to your safe zone and journal.

4. Cultivate the opposite.

When you feel something arising. Imagine the exact opposite. Remember you are not imagining the opposite situation. For example you are not imagining that your preferred candidate is now president. You are tapping into your emotion and imagining the opposite emotion. So if you are feeling helpless close your eyes and sense what you are feeling in the body. Now imagine feeling powerful. Take yourself back to a time when you felt powerful, if even for a moment. Remember how it felt. Where do you feel that in your body? Vacillate you attention between where you feel helpless in the body and where you feel powerful. Notice that it is very possible to have them both present within you at the same time. Remember that energy follows attention. Notice what you choose to pay attention to. Take a few moments to journal in your safe zone.

5. Dissolve everything.

Set your timer for ten minutes. Sit in a chair or on the floor with your eyes closed. Notice your thoughts, feelings and emotions arising. Each time anything arises, imagine and feel whatever it is being subsumed and dissolved by light. You are not labeling anything good or bad you are just dissolving everything that comes into your awareness. Feel yourself becoming more and more spacious. Feel yourself grounded and stable. Remind yourself that whatever happens, you can handle it. After the 10 minutes has passed, take 5 minutes to journal.

6. Commit to a daily ritual of meditation, long walks, periods of silence, yoga nidra, journaling or self-inquiry.

The more you are able to find moments of silence for reflection and contemplation the more capacity and stability you will build for yourself. Others around you may become drawn to your stability and ease. Share with them whatever tools worked for you.
This is a time that we must each become self-aware and resilient. We must get to know ourselves. In doing that we may begin to understand more about others, bridging the gap between good and bad, and right and wrong. Maybe if we can all commit to building our capacity we can find a way to live together in harmony, to find solutions and to be more responsive and less reactive. And when action is called for in any moment we will know how to use our energy and attention for the greatest effect.

 

Tracee Stanley is a Meditation and Yoga Nidra teacher in Los Angeles. You can download a free meditation from her until 2/12/17 at Pranamaya

Photo by Robert Sturman

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Yoga Therapy Tip of the Day

Posted on February 2nd, 2016 by Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Bhujangasana

Yoga Therapy Tip of the Day

Bhujangasana: Cobra Pose

Too many lunch breaks compromised for dates with your keyboard? Feeling the weight of the world on your shoulders which is physically causing them to ache and sag? Feeling like you could use a little more self-love in your life? There is always a wonderful reason to introduce, integrate and invite heart-opening asanas into your practice on a regular basis with poses such as bhujangasana or cobra pose. Yes you are physically curling your chest opening, but more so you are activating the prana vayus.

The prana vayus indicates forward moving air; therefore, directing the vital life force energy into the body. Governing the intake of vibrations, frequencies and external energies, the prana vayus directs the reception of all types from the consumption of food, drinking of water, inhalation of air to the reception of sensory impressions and mental experiences.
Practiced on its own or as an integral part of sun salutations, cobra pose is known to strengthen the spine, stretch the chest, lungs, shoulders and abdomen while also soothing sciatica. As bhujangasana reintroduces a gentle pep in your step by relieving stress and anxiety, traditional texts also indicate that cobra pose increases tapas: the body’s natural heat, destroys disease and awakens kundalini.

Renowned teacher Gary Kraftsow does a wonderful job not only sequencing asanas to lift your mood, but he also invites a safe and energetic environment for self-exploration in Viniyoga for Depression.

Bhujangasana in Action

To go into bhujangasana, begin by lying prone on the floor, stretching the legs long towards the back of the mat keeping the ankles close with your toes, thighs, and pubis pressing firmly into the mat. Make sure your shoulders are over your wrist as your hands are close to your torso and evenly spread out on the mat and your elbows are snuggled back into your body. Using the strength of your back, on an inhalation, begin to straighten the arms to lift the chest away from the ground, keeping the chest expansive and shoulders relaxed down the back.  Remain in cobra for a few rounds of mindful breathing as you open your heart thought this gentle backbend. As gratifying as this pose is, please proceed with caution if you are pregnant or are dealing with back injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome and/or headaches.

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Q&A: Gary Kraftsow On Yoga Therapy and Your Mood

Posted on February 22nd, 2011 by Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

yoga for depression and anxietyGary Kraftsow has been teaching yoga as a practice for healing the body and mind for three decades. He began studying with T.K.V. Desikachar in the 1970s, and has since become a leader in the field of yoga therapy. He talked to The Sacred Cow about the emerging field of yoga therapy, and, in particular, its use for anxiety and depression.

 

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