|Posted by Laura Germanio OTR, RYT, LMT, CLT on January 6, 2017 at 8:30 PM||comments (7463)|
It has long been acknowledged that yoga is good for both the body and the mind: on a practical level, yoga increase flexibility and joint suppleness, whilst on a more holistic note, yoga can help to calm the mind, focus attention, and encourage the practice of mindfulness and therapeutic breathing. In recent years, however, these benefits of yoga have been harnessed and adapted to have wider benefits, including use in the treatment of addiction. Regardless of what you are addicted to (be it drugs, alcohol, the internet or even food) the focus and calm that you receive when you practice yoga can be harnessed to help overcome these addictions as part of an approved treatment programme.
The mind, body, spirit focus that yoga encourages is becoming increasingly recognised as a legitimate tool in the treatment of addictive behaviours, particularly when it is used in conjunction with more conventional therapies. New York City addiction psychotherapist Mary Margaret Frederick, PhD, explained why yoga was so beneficial for individuals with addictive personality types, writing that “Addicts are profoundly out of control internally. They have knee-jerk panic reactions and tempers. The will and determination yoga requires helps people regain control over their body and their mind.”
A Growing Epidemic of Addiction
Addiction is much more widespread across America than you might think. During the year 2000 alone, 12 million American adults admitted to using some kind of illicit drug, whilst almost half of Americans admit to drinking on a regular basis, and five percent of American adults drink so heavily that they are considered to suffer from an alcohol abuse disorder. Perhaps are statistically largest addiction of all is to nicotine, with 65.5 million Americans smoking cigarettes on a regular basis. In order to overcome these addictions, to make positive changes, and to grow, it is important to take a multifaceted approach. This means that, for many addicts, simply undergoing a medical detoxification or attending regular group therapy sessions isn’t enough to overcome their addiction in the long term. Physical, emotional and spiritual growth is also important to ensure lifelong change, and one of the best forms of exercise to achieve all three of these goals is yoga.
How Can Yoga Help
One of the biggest benefits of yoga in the treatment of addiction is that it can help to calm compulsions, quieting the desire to continue to repeat unhealthy behaviours. In 1997, a study published in the Journal of Alternative Therapies found that, because of this, yoga was beneficial in the treatment of addiction: the study revealed that in a group setting (where each member of the group was struggling with addiction) yoga was just as effective as traditional psycho-dynamic group therapy, as a non-medical treatment option. Yoga helps to treat the disease of addiction holistically, in fact, many supporters of yoga as a treatment for addiction believe that yogic practice and the twelve steps programme actually complement each other. Like Yoga, the second of the 12 steps advises that you recognise a power greater than yourself, whilst the 11th step focuses on meditation and prayer. Therefore, using these two programmes together could actually increase the chances of success in someone who is struggling to overcome addiction.
Yoga encourages self-discovery: it is a practice that focuses on self-love, on calm, and on clearing out your head space. As you move through your yoga poses you should be focusing on your breathing and on the sensations you are experiencing within your body; taking the time out to empty your mind in this way can give you a much-needed respite from the muddle of thoughts that almost all of us have to deal with on a daily basis. Yoga releases endorphins, and the natural high that you get from a yoga class could well act as the perfect substitute for the artificial high that you used to get from drugs or alcohol. If you are a ‘pleasure chaser’ with an addictive personality that needs to experience the high that accompanies a release of endorphins, then this is the very best healthy replacement available to you.
Article by Jenni Falconer
|Posted by Laura Germanio OTR, RYT, LMT, CLT on July 7, 2015 at 11:05 AM||comments (3554)|
What is Thai Yoga Bodywork? (sometimes called Thai Massage)
Thai Yoga bodywork combines passive yoga stretches with massage techniques to relax the body and quiet the mind. Each technique works to open the energy channels of the body to create balance and leave the receiver feeling calm yet invigorated. A Thai Bodywork session incorporates elements of acupressure, massage, meditation, assisted stretching, joint mobilizations, energy work and yoga postures with a basis in the science of Ayurveda.
What Does a Session Look Like?
Thai Yoga Bodywork is done on a large mat or cushion on the floor. Both the therapist and the participant are dressed in “Yoga” type attire. The room is prepared with soothing music and low lighting. The therapist moves, manipulates and massages the participant into passive yoga postures to enhance the feeling of opening and relaxation. The movement though out the session is slow and meditative, as the therapist uses their hands, forearms, elbows and knees to guide movements and apply pressure. The traditional treatment session is 90 minutes long to enable the therapist to perform a full body treatment.
What are the Benefits of Thai Yoga Bodywork?
The Thai Yoga Bodywork techniques combine stretching with manual massage to bring about a release of held tension. The nervous system is calmed, the internal organs are massaged and circulation enhanced. The body becomes balanced, relaxed and open to enhance overall health. Upon completion of the session there is a feeling of deep peace and wellbeing. A specialized Thai Bodywork treatment can be specialized to address the individual client’s injuries, health concerns or imbalances.
What is the Theory behind Thai Yoga Bodywork?
Traditional Thai massage puts a strong emphasis on the relationship between the therapist and participant. The Therapist is in a deeply focused and meditative state to improve communication and receptivity to the subject’s needs. The therapist moves slowly and mindfully to convey the feeling of Metta or loving-kindness. In this system the body is seen as a dynamic entity of interconnected energy, emotion, spirit and physical components. If any of the energy lines (Sen Lines & meridians) in the body are blocked or unbalanced it can lead to difficulty in these components. The personalized treatment received during a Thai Bodywork sessions opens these energy channels to create balance and harmony throughout all systems of the body. There is also a strong connection to the science of Ayurveda. Each component used by the therapist works to bring balance to the three doshas (vata, pitta, kapha). The emphasis is on creating balance in the body to prevent dis-ease.
Thai Bodywork: 30 minutes- $45 +tax
This 30 minute session is a focused treatment session to work on a specific area or issue that you want addressed. This is a great tune up for any problem areas, to bring you back into balance.
Thai Bodywork: 60 minutes- $70 + tax
The 60 minute session is a shortened version of the full body treatment with an emphasis on areas of need.
Thai Bodywork: 90 minutes- $95 +tax
The 90 minute treatment is a comprehensive full body Thai Yoga Massage to open, balance and relax every part of the body. The participant leaves feeling completely relaxed and rejuvenated, while the extended session allows for the participant to reach a deeper level of meditation.
|Posted by Laura Germanio OTR, RYT, LMT, CLT on June 23, 2015 at 5:20 PM||comments (1026)|
I currently post information to both of my blogs...
LauraGYOGA on Tumblr:
LauraGYOGA on Blogspot:
This is a great place to find information from our Yoga Class theme of the week, as well as vegetarian recipies, interesting articles, great pictures and information on the services that my business offers.
|Posted by Laura Germanio OTR, RYT, LMT, CLT on March 7, 2015 at 12:35 PM||comments (1229)|
Getting Ready for Class
What do I need for Class?
1. wear comfortable clothes that you can move easily in - nothing too baggy- It can be helpful to dress in layers, especially in the winter, so you dont get too cold or too hot
2. a yoga mat (if you do not have your own I usually have extras with me)
3. water - stay hydrated!
4. a towel - this is something that can come in handy for extra padding in some poses, or under your head, or to keep you warm during meditation
5. An open mind
|Posted by Laura Germanio OTR, RYT, LMT, CLT on May 15, 2011 at 2:54 PM||comments (3454)|
Getting Ready For Your First Yoga Class:
New to yoga?? Read this…
If you are ready to finally go out and see what this yoga craze is all about then here are a few tips to help you feel more comfortable walking into class.
- Try not to eat an hour or so before the class. You don’t want a heavy meal sitting in your stomach as you twist and stretch so give yourself time to digest. If you need a little snack a while before class to keep your blood sugar (& energy level!) up then just keep it light.
- Drink water before/during/after class. You want to be well hydrated before you start any exercises, especially deep stretching. This goes double if you are taking a HOT yoga class. Staying hydrated will also help to dampen any soreness you will feel the next day ( yes…you might be a bit sore after your first yoga class)
- Bathroom Break: with all of this hydrating going on you will want to make a quick stop in the bathroom before class. You will enjoy your class more if nature is not calling!
- Focus on the breath: Yoga is about the BREATH- The postures we do with the body are secondary to our focus on the breath. By keeping the mind focused on deep breathing we are able to stay present in our yoga practice- it prevents the mind from wandering and creating the mental “to do” list that we all have. This focus on the breath is what allows us to relax and work on releasing the physical signs of stress in our body (muscle tension).
- Check your ego at the door: yoga is all about YOUR practice- doing exactly what your body needs on that given day. If the teacher is giving you a pose that isn’t right for you today then modify that pose and make it your own. Don’t worry about the person next to you or about how flexible you want to look (this is how we get injuries!). Focus on how the pose feels making sure that your breath is still smooth and deep, you don’t have any pain and you are able to enjoy what you are doing. When in doubt…check the breath…if your breathing is strained that is your body telling you to back off a bit. Have patience! Your yoga practice will change and evolve in ways that you never expected if you stay dedicated and exercise patience.
- Let the teacher know you are new: Feel free to give the teacher a little heads up that you are new to yoga. They may want to keep you close so they can give you a little extra help along the way. If the teacher knows there is a new student in the room they will also offer more modifications and options to the students to customize the yoga practice to your level. Just ask for help…that is what the teacher is for!
- Keep an open mind!: When you walk into your first yoga class there may be some things that seem a bit strange to you….odd body positions…some words in another language…possibly a bit of chanting…some interesting music. Don’t let these things scare you away! You will see over time that it is all part of the yoga experience. If the class starts to OMMM or chant and you don’t feel comfortable participating feel free to just sit and observe the experience. You can join in one day when you feel ready.
- Don’t get too serious: a smile is the perfect accessory to any pose! Yoga does not have to be a serious practice. If the teacher cracks a joke or if you fall out of a pose feel free to laugh. Laughing is a great way to relieve stress and enjoy yourself. Your yoga practice should be FUN.
- Get Comfortable: Dress in clothes that have a bit of stretch to them so they will move with you. Make sure you are comfortable in whatever you are wearing and be ready to go barefoot. Being barefoot is the best way to get traction on your yoga mat so you are able to do all the fun poses. Make sure your clothes are not too loose because you don’t want them getting in the way as you move from pose to pose.
- For more info look at : Yoga Props- these are some things you might come across in yoga class to help you with different poses (props are your friend!). Yoga Etiquette: these are some tips on how to conduct yourself during a yoga class.
|Posted by Laura Germanio OTR, RYT, LMT, CLT on May 15, 2011 at 2:47 PM||comments (1121)|
YOGA ETIQUETTE: How to conduct yourself in yoga class
Most of this is common sense and showing respect to each other, but just in case you want to make sure you are aware of the appropriate yoga etiquette here is a list:
1. Arrive on time: when students enter class late, arrange their things, pick up props, and roll out their mat it is very distracting …to the other students and to the teacher. Everyone is late once in a while, but make your best effort to arrive on time so that you and the other students will be able to settle into their practice and concentrate.
2. Remove your shoes: when you practice in a yoga studio they will expect you to remove your shoes before entering the room where yoga is practiced to keep the floor extra clean. In other locations it may be ok to enter with your shoes on and place them next to your mat, or along the wall. Survey the situation to determine if shoes must be removed before entering. You will be getting up close and personal with the floor so you will want it to be clean!
3. Turn your cell phone off! Better yet turn it off and leave it in another room. A cell phone ringing (or vibrating) during class will distract the other students and the teacher. When you enter a yoga class you are dedicating yourself to the practice of yoga for the duration of the class. If you are checking your cell phone, or texting your friends during class then have broken your concentration and you are missing the whole point of the experience. Your yoga practice is a break from the rest of your day. If you have an issue that cannot wait until class is over then you may want to skip class that day in order to be respectful to the teacher and other students.
4. Stay for the Duration of class: Don’t skip out early- your yoga practice is designed to build up to our final posture: Savasana. This pose is the ultimate destination of your practice and considered by many the MOST important part of your practice. If you have difficulty staying still in savasana then you probably need it even more then you know. In savasana we learn how to find stillness and relaxation with the body while maintaining focus with the mind (that is yoga in a nutshell!) If you have to leave early for some reason let the teacher know at the start of class and position yourself near the door so you can slip out with a minimum of distraction to others. If for some reason you do not like the class you should try to make the most of it and see it through to the end out of respect for the teacher. If you find that you did not like that teacher’s style then you know not to attend their class in the future.
5. Nature calls!: at some point during the yoga class you may need to go to the bathroom. Wait for a time during class when you can slip out easily (such as during a longer hold of down dog, or during child’s pose). If you need to blow your nose or if you have a coughing/sneezing spell feel free to step out into the hall until you have recovered.
6. Modifications welcome: we are not mind readers, so if a pose is too difficult or if you feel pain be sure to modify a pose to your level. With that in mind- if you modify a pose to make it easier or harder, make sure you are doing a variation of the pose everyone else is practicing. Don’t go off and work on a completely different pose, unless instructed to do so by the teacher. Completely disregarding the teacher’s instruction is disrespectful. The teacher has most likely put a good deal of thought and planning into the sequences and poses in class, so be respectful of their plan.
7. Move your mat: be respectful of others personal space. If a student comes in move your mat to make room for all. If you find that your arm or leg is constantly bumping the person next to you then stagger your mat- move up a few inches so that you will miss bumping each other. Some classes can be very crowded so check where your arms and legs are going when moving out of the perimeter of your mat so you don’t hit your neighbor- and if it does accidently happen that’s ok…we are all friends here…smile and continue with your practice.
8. Be kind to the nose: In yoga we focus on breath through the nose, so try to avoid using lots of perfume, lotion or other fragrances during class. This can be distracting and for some may trigger headaches. The same goes for less pleasant odors…be sure to wear deodorant and wash your feet as we will all be barefoot and in close confines.
9. Don’t interrupt the teacher: A time may come where you have a question during class, however unless it is somewhat of an emergency refrain from yelling it out for all to hear. This breaks up the flow of class and is distracting to the other students. If you are unsure of a certain aspect of a pose make a mental note of it and approach the teacher after class is over. At that point they will be able to answer your question in depth without taking away from the rest of the class. If you have a comment about class, such as “can you please turn the music down” please also save that for the end of class. We are always open to constructive criticism, but it must be presented at an appropriate time (after class). If you must talk to the teacher right away then get their attention as subtly as you can and beckon them over to you. This way the rest of the class can maintain their focus. If the teacher feels that the information would benefit the entire class they will make it known.
10. Shhhhhh: When entering a yoga studio there may currently be another class going on- and chances are if they are wraping up everyone is in meditation. It can be very distracting if there is noise in the hallway, so try to keep your voice down and quietly put your things away. You would expect the same respect from others during the end of your practice. The same applies to the start of class- many students like to begin stretching or meditation before the class starts, so as you enter the room please be mindful of this. It is ok to have a quiet conversation with the person seated next to you before the teacher begins class, but keep your voice down as others prepare for their yoga practice.
11. Keep noises appropriate: We all have times in class where a pose feels sooo good that you have to let out a sigh. This is ok and may even be recommended by the teacher at times to get a deeper release in the pose. Just be sure that you are doing this at appropriate times and not letting the sounds become excessive or distracting to others. A note on sounds: if you are grunting to get into a pose that pose is too difficult and you should not be forcing yourself into the position.
12. Clean up after yourself: If you borrow a mat from the studio or the teacher be sure to wipe it down, neatly roll it up and return it to where you got it. If you used props- same deal- return them neatly to their location. If you have to leave class early ask the teacher if you should clean up. In some cases the teacher will ask you to leave your props out so that you do not create noise putting them away. The teacher will put them away for you at the end of class so that you can slip out the back without creating distraction.
13. Take all distraction in stride: yoga is about dealing with stress appropriately and keeping our focus. None of us practice yoga in a bubble- from time to time a noisy truck will drive past or the CD will skip. Your job as a student is to maintain your focus and look at this as one of life’s challenges.
14. Watch your step: yogis consider their mat to be very personal and important to their practice. If someone has their mat rolled out before class be sure to walk around it. Avoid stepping on someone else’s mat.
15. Bring a towel: If you know that you sweat a lot be sure to bring a towel so that you are not dripping sweat all over. This keeps it hygienic and prevents the floor from getting slippery.
16. Relax, Don’t Sleep: In savasana make sure that you don’t fall asleep. As stated earlier this is the most important part of class and needs to be enjoyed by all. If a student is snoring next to you it is very difficult to enjoy your savasana.