SUNSET RECHARGE ON JULY 26 !

SUNSET RECHARGE for Women

with Donna Sherman

At the beautiful Fox Hill Bed & Breakfast, Highland, NY

This deeply nourishing sunset event will include:

  • Gentle/moderate yoga on a shaded deck
  • 30 minute guided deep relaxation (Yoga Nidra)
  • an opportunity to swim in an in-ground pool
  • soak in a scented hot tub.
  • beverages and a light snack

All of this goodness will take place on the beautiful grounds of the Fox Hill Bed & Breakfast in Highland, NY hosted by Your Proprietress, Sheila Fishman.

Wednesday, July 26 5:30-7: 30 pm

25.00 Pre-registration suggested

Please bring a yoga mat, a blanket, a bathing suit and towel.

Registration and information:

Donna: centerpoint2@earthlink.net

Sheila: info@foxhillbandb.com 845-691-8151

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 (functional magnetic resonance imaging) and other brain mapping techniques- understood a great deal about human emotion and the inextricable relationship between emotional states, physiological/somatic reactions and the nature of mind.

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, neural circuitry links 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

Swamp Zen

Aside

IMG_0010

Messy, isn’t it? I could place a serene image here but those images are not talking to me right now. This the image that is talking to me. Here’s why:

I’ll start by telling you that I took this photo of my husband’s (Charlie) mud caked legs just after he completed a long and wild ultra race through a rain soaked forest in upstate NY. I remember sitting on a grassy area near the finish line cheering the runners in and thinking that they looked like stoned swamp zombies due to their gazed eyes, slow motion movements and their muted green/gray mud caked skin.

Being the neat freak that I am I thought: ” Glad I have that roll of paper towels in the car.” But as I watched runner after runner find the strength to pull their exhausted spines straight as they crossed the finish line, my thoughts went from ” Glad that’s not me” to “Whoa, this is a testament to human tenacity!”

Charlie sat down at the finish area with the other runners, ate some food, drank some juice and proceeded to slowly clean the mud that covered him from head to toe. Literally. He had mud on his nose, cheeks, hair and in his ears. I watched him. I was more silent that usual ( I usually have a barrage of  questions after he finishes these wild, long races)- I was uncharacteristically quiet because I was taking in his nonchalant, deliberate post run clean up actions. Here’s what I was thinking:

This man, unbeknownst to him, is a kind of unlikely Zen master. Whether running or working at his exacting and demanding job, he unceremoniously places one foot in front of the other without a whole lot of drama or commentary. He knowingly places himself into situations where he moves through unpredictable territory and arrives at an end point with an achy, dehydrated, sweat- soaked, stinky, mosquito bitten body. I’m also thinking of the Zen expression “chop wood, carry water” and I’m thinking that his creed (were he to have one which he would not) might be something like: “chop ego, carry body– carry body deep into the forest and see what happens.”

So, there we are at the finish area where the racers and their support crew are schmoozing and getting the race results. I continue to observe Charlie quietly clean his knee brace and move on to wiping down his legs; and now I’m thinking this:

The coolest people I’ve met have no clue that they are cool- which makes them even cooler. Sometimes masters have no clue that they are masters. They have no interest in calling any attention to themselves. They simply do what they do with their full attention, clean up the messes they make and move on to the next moment- muddy legs and all.