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

Wired & Wayward

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Addiction comes in many forms. Our neurotransmitter (including dopamine) driven brains seek novelty/desire and our devices -and their capacity to “alert”- are siren songs luring us into a churning ocean of promising new hits of pleasure in the way of notifications. But are those hits of distraction really pleasures? Much contemporary neuroscience thinks not. I think not. What do you think? How do you stop, or indulge, the addictive and wayward reward system  that our devices tease us with? Please know that I am not above any of this, I, like everyone else, deliberately work at keeping my device distraction to a minimum.

Multi-tasking in our digital age is creating in us a kind of hungry beast that is becoming addicted to new information. In his book The Organized Mind, Daniel J. Levitin, PhD writes: “Multitasking has been found to increase the production of the stress hormone cortisolwhich can over stimulate your brain and cause mental fog and scrambled thinking. Multitasking creates a dopamine –addiction feedback loop, effectively rewarding the brain for losing focus and for constantly searching for external stimulation.”

Rewarding our brains for losing function? Yes. Uh oh!

And, to add to this concerning state of affairs, is some science that suggests that when we do what we might call”multi-tasking” we are simply “switching” our attention back and forth between tasks which fractures our focus on all tasks which significantly compromises our overall quality of attention.  And, to add even more disturbing considerations to this phenomenon we mistakenly call “multi-tasking’; there seems to be evidence that “switching” ( checking email while studying)  causes the new information we are learning to be stored in a region of the brain that is NOT the region that stores and strengthens our explicit (facts/ideas/events) memory. Proper memory consolidation demands our full, undivided attention. Uh oh again!

Creating and sustaining more discipline with our devices is up to us because our burgeoning, amazing technology is not slowing down any time soon. Aside from our purposeful unplugging, there are things we can do that help to repair and rejuvenate the brain/mind and body that becomes lost and fragmented in digital space.

This brings me to my favorite, most effective, means of returning homeostasis to our complex nervous systems and this number one practice is called Yoga Nidra. Information about Yoga Nidra it is on the post below this one so do scroll and read. (So long as you are within your designated on- line info gathering schedule!)

My second favorite treatment is a combination of yoga (in all it’s branches, not just asana) and mindfulness practice, which includes formal seated practice and informal (employing it during all moments of ordinary life) practice.

All this said, I am  offering some antidotes to you:

My recording Yoga Nidra: Total Relaxation Practices for Adults and Teens (Amazon, iTunes and CD Baby- see links below. CDs available directly through me. Plain and simple: It works.

I am  also inviting you to join me in my next four session series titled: Introduction to Mindfulness  Practices and Stress Reduction In Everyday Life. The series begins on Tuesday, May 16 and meets on four Tuesday evenings ( May 23,30 and June 6) at The Living Seed (link below). I’ve been teaching this user-friendly series for many years now and it gives me great joy to witness how integrating attention practices can create long- term positive changes in peoples lives.

If you want me to come to your school, business, organization or want a private or small group series, I’m available for that. In fact, I am more than available, I will joyfully arrange it with you!

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

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

I’ve a lot I’d like to say but I don’t want my post to eat up much more of your time so I’ll end with this:

From a neuroscientist: “ We are what we attend to.”

From the Yoga Sutras:” The restraint of the modifications of the mind-stuff is yoga”

Join me and learn to train your attention while restoring homeostasis to your nervous and endocrine system.

For Yoga Nidra info contact me here.

For Mindfulness in Everyday Life series contact:

http://www.thelivingseed.com/events/index.shtml

Yoga Nidra Recording Released and Reviewed

WHAT is Yoga Nidra?

Yoga Nidra is a guided therapeutic practice that induces calm, mental clarity and a deeply relaxed, vitalized body. The term “nidra” refers to a specific kind of resting state that is not a sleeping state as we know it, but a deeper, dreamless resting state that is particularly restorative for the body and mind. There is no drowsiness upon arising from a yoga nidra process- the vast majority of people who experience the guided practice describe experiencing a profoundly relaxed body and notably increased mental acuity.

WHY listen to Yoga Nidra?  Because it works and it’s therapeutic benefits occur effortlessly  while you lay on your back or recline in a comfortable position

 HOW it works:

Yoga Nidra directs awareness into the body in a way that down-regulates the sympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system which naturally decreases physical and mental agitation. This recording skillfully guides your entire being into deep somatic relaxation while it cultivates a still, refreshed mind.  My recording has three tracks which consist of a brief introduction, a longer 36 minute guided track, a shorter 16 minute track.  Soft, deliberately created music accompanies each track. Both tracks are designed to be suitable for adults and teens.

HOW Yoga Nidra has become a staple of my personal and professional life:

I was introduced to this yogic practice back in 1990s, by my yoga teacher, Parvathi Nath Saraswati.

I lay down on my mat, pressed go and my first yoga nidra practice commenced. When the recording stopped and I opened my eyes and felt a level of quietude and clarity that I can honestly say, I had never experienced before. Since that time, yoga nidra has become my go to tool for calming my body, quieting my mind and settling my nervous system.

I had been working as a licensed clinical social worker/psychotherapist (MSW,LCSW) and soon introduced yoga nidra to many of my clients who were experiencing acute anxiety, chronic anxiety, mild depression, poor concentration, pain management and other health and mental health concerns. The feedback I received from clients was remarkable; most found the guided practice extremely beneficial.

A PERSONAL NOTE:

In 2009, when I I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, I experienced the mix of reactions that most people feel. My thinking mind ran wild with worry and my body became agitated with a steady pulse of fear coursing through it.  During the aggressive phase of treatment it was yoga nidra that I kept pulling from my therapeutic tool kit. A consistent yoga nidra practice allowed me to move through cancer treatment with my internal reserves intact.

I am delighted to share this practice, and it’s therapeutic effects, with others.

Direct links for purchase, and reviews, below.

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Some reviews from Amazon, iTunes and CD Baby

” Donna is a masterful teacher of yoga and mindfulness. Her delivery of Yoga Nidra reflects a rare combination of serious study…years of clinical experience and comprehensive training in mindfulness skills.” 5 stars

“…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.

 

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 (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

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