Recording Released and Reviewed!

 

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Some reviews from Amazon and cd baby customers:

“…a great day to deal with the constantly encroaching anxieties of daily existence…I will make it part of my routine.” 5 stars

“…leads you into a profoundly relaxed state from which you somehow emerge, a short time later, settled and refreshed. Refreshed as in not at all groggy. It’s pretty amazing.” 5 stars

“….soothing and reassuring. She invites her listener into a relaxed state that is in the moment comfortable and ultimately restorative…this will be  a cherished addition to my mediation library.” 5 stars

“Excellent!!! Donna has a beautiful speaking voice and her caring and expertise come through clearly…..This recording is calming, clear and effective. Highly recommend.” 5 stars

“….did the trick. Her voice is soothing and she guides you patiently. I instantly felt better.” 5 stars

Links for digital downloads:

Direct Amazon link below:

https://www.amazon.com/Nidra-Total-Relaxation-Practices-Adults/dp/B01FAN0VGE

 iTunes direct link below:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/yoga-nidra-total-relaxation/id1110393164

cd baby:

http://cdbaby.com/cd/donnasherman

CD discs easily available through me. Contact link on menu bar, far right above.

The recording includes three tracks. Soft music accompanies the tracks.

This effective, therapeutic practice  guides the body into a totally relaxed state while it simultaneously  settles and refreshes the mind. You push play, lay down comfortably and allow yourself to be skillfully guided. I have been practicing yoga nidra for many years and brought  it into my work when I was a practicing psychotherapist.  I’m delighted to continue to share it’s health  benefits with others.

Please contact me with any questions. Contact button on upper menu bar, far right.

 

Your Freedom Zone

 

 

Dear Yoga Students,

 

Trauma can show up in many forms. One need not have lived in a war zone to know the reality of a traumatized brain and body. Small hardships can morph into full-blown stress reactions and, conversely, full blown stress reactions, can, with time and practice, weaken and be replaced with greater equanimity. The word here is plasticity -neuroplasticity- the brains ability to form new neural connections and rewire itself.

The yogi’s of the past- who were sophisticated psychologists without the benefit of tools such as fmri and other brain imaging techniques- understood that our human neurophysiology lives in our sensory and hormonal systems and this becomes what behavioral psychologists call “conditioning”. The yogis word for this phenomenon is “samskara”.

Sam- to join together

Kara- action

The yogis, through inward based inquiry, understood how thought, action, word, experience and behavior could join together and cause psychological conditioning. If the brain’s executive function is not able to discern a past trauma from the reality of the present moment, the body moves into a hyper aroused state where danger is over- perceived. Hyper arousal causes  dysregulation of the autonomic nervous system and increases our suffering.

Neuroscientists act on the proof of the principle that neurons that “fire together, wire together”. If fear gets activated over and over again, neurons link together and the fear stimulus will gain traction. Sounds a lot like samskara to me.

Yogis cultivated a refined understanding of the reality of human software; and, modern science is giving us the gift of more precise insights into the working of the hardware. Call it what you will, I find it wondrous.

Fact: 30 minutes of daily meditation for only 8 weeks showed a reduction in gray matter (neural connectivity) in the threat detection areas of the brain including the amygdala and hippocampus.

The good news is that the innate neuroplasticity of a healthy brain is ready, and willing, to get rewired. Yoga practice, pranayama, meditation, yoga nidra and other attention/awareness practices will help you build a more supple brain.

In class, as we move through asanas we are literally creating breathing room in our bodies and brains. We are encouraging our nimble and supple selves to grow stronger.  When life puts the squeeze on us (which it will until the end of our days) we can rail against it or learn to live with it.

A warrior does not necessarily need to fight or freeze when a foe shows up. A warrior can try widening into the difficulty, act with suppleness, maneuver with practiced skill and in doing just that, she just might find that she can dance her way through the mud.

We have within us what I have come to call a “Freedom Zone”. This is the sweet spot where insight and action meet and we decide that we don’t have to give credence to the old samskaras. This freedom zone is waiting for us to notice it and walk through its doors. Bodies are resilient. Brains are resilient. When brains and bodies are not blindly following the wayward directions of old, tired patterns they find the place where the refresh button is waiting to be pressed.

The yogis knew it. The neuroscientists in the labs know it. When you are practicing genuine yoga, you know it.

Yours in practice,

Donna

Speaking Gratitude

It’s a raspy, gravely voice which works well if I want to do my pirate impersonation. Can’t project it out but that will come. Sing yet? No way.A return to the world of conversing with others is imminent. In fact, it has begun and will take some more time to return with full function.

Thank you for your support, books, cider doughnuts, apples, spinach lasagna,chicken soup,other assorted and delicious soups, salads, poached pears, art supplies, custards, prepared dinners, recorded songs, noodle kugel,  check ins, e mails, private fb messages, public fb messages, goofy gifts that made me crack up, humor, laughs and mostly, thank you for your simple presence.

The world is spinning in a crazy orbit of destruction, fear and bewilderment right now but it seems to me that along side this wacky orbit there is a wide net, a net of sanity and humanity, that is swooping up the shattered shards of light, collecting them so they can find each other to coalesce and find strength. Here’s to that force.IMG_2802

 

 

Unspoken: Speaking About Not Speaking

It’s been since October 22 that I have been without a speaking voice. If you are reading this, and we are FB friends, then you know I was sick with a virulent infection that included a bout of what is called “community” pneumonia. Community pneumonia simply means it was not picked up in a hospital and I could have been picked up absolutely anywhere. Crappy luck.

Being without a voice is an interesting kind of liminal space to be in. Of this world 100% but absolutely unable to vocally react or respond to anything and finding myself behind this veil of silence is both liberating and frustrating.

Funny thing: I’m a long-time yogi and practitioner (and teacher) of meditation. I know the world of retreat induced silence and the benefits of withdrawing from speech now and again. But this current, unintended retreat bears a very different kind of fruit from intentional silent retreat. The primary difference being that this time, I’ve got no choice. This silence is foisted upon me and because of that, there is an even deeper surrender that is taking place. There is also the added: “Will my voice return? How? When?” Soon enough an appointment with an ENT specialist should answer those questions but it is a funky, sharp edged unknowing that I am living with. Kinda scary but not full out scary yet.

The liberating part:

No automatic speech means less reactivity. I can witness habits of speech getting weaker and weaker from lack of repetition. There is a cool principal in the field of neuroscience called the Hebb principle: “Neurons that fire together, wire together.” Keep activating the same neural connections and the behaviors associated with those connections keep gaining traction. Now, I get to experiment with how language plays into this undoing of habits.

Loved ones call to chat, I simply listen and offer no responses. I am hearing them with much less self-agenda rising up. Interesting. If I need to share some information with my husband, I write a few choice words on a pad and leave all commentary out. An opinion arises in me, a reaction to a current political or social event and, I can feel, think and experience my reaction but it does not fly out of my mouth. The thing is, I am not missing hearing my own voice. Not yet.

I am not pretending that much of this does not suck but it sucks so much less than I would have thought had you told me I would be without a voice for two weeks and counting. Anticipating not having a voice would have created much more freak out than the reality of having no voice.

Six years ago I encountered voicelessness after surgery for thyroid cancer. Six years ago the experience was so layered with other issues that I was not able to surrender like I am now. I pushed for speech. I croaked and whispered through my recovery and did not fully bow to the experience. Not this time. Now, I am practicing a kind of patience that I was not able to fall back on before. I like this more patient me. Let’s see how much it spills out into all aspects of my life or how long it takes – when my voice returns- for me to get right back into my hyper verbal mode. Maybe there will be some permanent change. Maybe not. All will be revealed.

If you care to communicate with me, I would love it. Communicating via writing (so last century!) is rich so if you want someone to do it with, here I am!

What The Sun Delivers

” I heard the news today, oh boy….”  and promptly turned off my radio and went outside to put my hands in the soil of our latent garden.  Then I opened a book of poems by Hafiz  to see what gem might reveal itself. Here is what I got: “Even after all this time the sun never says to the earth, “You owe me.” Look what happens with a love like that, It lights up the whole sky.”   – Hafiz IMG_0727