Yoga for PTSD

Deep Yoga Ginseng

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder [PTSD] is a common problem in the United States. It is an anxiety disorder in which the person suffering becomes stuck in “fight-or-flight” mode which is our body’s natural response to dangerous situations. PTSD is caused by witnessing or experiencing a traumatic event such as military combat, natural disasters, rape, and abuse.

For someone suffering from PTSD the “fight-or-flight” response is changed or damaged which means that the body reacts as if it is in a dangerous situation when it is not. This can show up in a number of ways including nightmares, re-living traumatic events over and over [flashbacks], trouble sleeping, outbursts of anger or anxiety, and turning to substances, such as alcohol, as a way to numb oneself.

There are many types of therapy offered to help with PTSD and one that is proving to be very effective is the practice of Yoga. Why? Because Yoga offers us many tools which help to bring our body and mind into a state of balance. Through Pranayama [Breath work] we learn to relax the body and mind, through physical Asana we gain more strength and flexibility and open the energy channels that run through our body, and through Meditation we find peace of mind. These are just some of the benefits of practicing Yoga.

PTSD is very common for those who have served in the military. I have recently joined a team of Yoga teachers who are creating a Foundation that will offer free Yoga and healing services to veterans suffering from PTSD. My teacher Bhava Ram, who is founding Warriors for Healing, was a war correspondent who suffered from PTSD and found healing through the practice of Yoga. I myself suffered from PTSD for many years and found much of my healing through practicing Deep Yoga. Through the practice, I found the tools that I needed to find balance in my body and mind.

Now I feel it is my turn to help others who are suffering. My first step is to help raise funds for the Warriors for Healing foundation which is hosting an event with Yoga Journal in Coronado, CA June 2015 to raise awareness.

Would you like to help? Proceeds raised by your efforts go directly to support programs produced by Give Back Yoga Foundation and Connected Warriors, both national foundations providing Yoga science and other healing services to our veterans and those suffering from PTSD. Your donations will also help Warriors for Healing grow this movement of selfless service, expand awareness of the healing powers of yoga to a broader audience, and to hold more special fundraising events nationwide.

For every $100 raised we can provide one veteran the following package:

  • A thorough Mindful Yoga Therapy For Veterans Practice Guide with detailed explanations of yoga therapy, how yoga helps deal with PTSD, series of yoga postures with photos and illustrations, techniques for mindful breathing, meditation and affirmations, plus audio CDs for breath work and deep meditation. (Provided by Give Back Yoga Foundation)
  • Access to a list of complimentary yoga class for veterans in various states across the country. (Provided by Connected Warriors Foundation / availability subject to geographic location).
  • A PDF version of the highly acclaimed memoir Warrior Pose, How Yoga Literally Saved My Life, by former netwroks news war correspondent and W4H founder Bhava Ram. (provided by the Warriors for Healing Foundation)

About the Give Back Yoga Foundation:
Give Back Yoga Foundation’s Mindful Yoga Therapy (MYT) program has developed and delivered an evidence-informed, clinically tested yoga program specifically for veterans with post-traumatic stress and readjustment issues.

About the Connected Warriors Foundation:
Connected Warriors provides free Free “trauma conscious” yoga classes nationwide for veterans, service members, and their families that are designed to encourage physical, mental, and emotional health and wellness. Participants learn and develop skills that allow them to mentally, emotionally, and physically heal while reconnecting to everyday life and the communities in which they live.

“Find Yourself in the Service of Others” – Ghandhi
Please join me! I have set up a fundraising page where you can donate any amount. If we all give a little we can give back a lot! You can make a donation here.

To see a list of full incentives and benefits click here.

To learn more about Warriors for Healing click here.

What is Yoga Nidra and why is it so important?

If you’ve ever taken a Yoga class, you are probably familiar with Savasana. This is usually the final pose of the practice and, though it may not seem like it, also the most important. But why?

Savasana is important because you are giving your body the opportunity to completely relax and to integrate the practice, the physical postures, that you have just done. For many of us this alone is enough reason to practice Yoga. More than gaining flexibility and strength, most of us just need to relax for a few minutes each day.

And yet, for many Savasana is not enjoyable or relaxing at all. Why? Because as soon as we allow our body to become still there is nothing left to distract the mind and so it becomes very busy. Have you ever rested in Savasana and worried about the rest of your day, your week, or even the rest of your life? Or reflected back on your practice and thought of all of the poses that were challenging and all of the ways that your are not flexible enough? Or thought that your practice is not as good as the strong young man practicing next to you and that leads you to thinking of all of the reasons that your practice is not good at all? Maybe you have even found yourself thinking of what you are going to make for dinner? You are not alone!

So how do we learn to experience the benefits in Savasana without a busy mind?

Yoga Nidra.

What is Yoga Nidra? Simply stated, it is a state of conscious deep sleep.. a state that ultimately allows us to experience Savasana at it’s fullest healing potential. Great. So how do we get there?

There are many techniques one can use to reach the Yoga Nidra state of consciousness. I often end my Yoga classes with a guided meditation, in which I guide the students with my voice through a series of visualizations, or a body scan in which I guide the students as they move their awareness through different parts of their own bodies. These practices offer the mind something to follow so that your daily thoughts don’t come rushing in. The result is a deeply relaxed state which allows your body to fully integrate the practice and your mind to break free of it’s daily patterns and habits. Deep relaxation and healing.

What if your teacher does not guide you during Savasana?

You can learn to guide yourself into a Yoga Nidra state. Here are a few practices you can try :

  • Follow your breath. Notice how it feels to breathe in and breathe out. Observe your body as you breathe. Does your belly rise and fall? Do you feel the breath move deeper into your body? Perhaps you simply observe the sensation of the breath moving across your upper lip or through your nose.
  • Silently chant a mantra. You can use a very simple one, such as I Am where you chant I as you inhale, Am as you exhale. Or if you have a mantra that you use for other practices, try it during Savasana. Repeat the mantra over and over again, allowing it to calm your mind.
  • Do your own body scan. Begin by noticing the soles of your feet. What do you feel there? Then rise your awareness slowly up your legs, through your pelvis and belly, into your ribcage, and so on. Do your best to keep your awareness on your physical body. If you notice your mind wandering draw your awareness back to the soles of your feet and begin again.

These practices can be challenging without the guidance of a teacher. If you find you are unable to bring yourself to a deep relaxing state, find a Yoga teacher who offers guided relaxation during Savasana. Once you learn to relax into a Yoga Nidra state of awareness you can use the techniques in the comfort of your own home. Yoga Nidra is important because it offers our body and mind an opportunity to relax, without falling into a deep sleep. After just a few minutes of Yoga Nidra, you may find yourself feeling more peaceful, less stressed, and more ready to take on the rest of your day!

Namaste

 

 

Warriors for Healing

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I’m excited to be joining my inspirational teacher, Bhava Ram, in creating a movement that will offer FREE yoga and healing services to veterans suffering from PTSD. Warriors for Healing is raising funds to kickstart the foundation! Please join me! You can go here to make a donation.

Proceeds raised by your efforts go directly to support programs produced by Give Back Yoga Foundation and Connected Warriors, both national foundations providing Yoga science and other healing services to our veterans and those suffering from PTSD. Your donations will also help Warriors for Healing grow this movement of selfless service, expand aweareness of the healing powers of yoga to a broader audience, and to hold more special fundraising events nationwide.

For every $100 raised we can provide one veteran the following package:

  • A thorough Mindful Yoga Therapy For Veterans Practice Guide with detailed explanations of yoga therapy, how yoga helps deal with PTSD, series of yoga postures with photos and illustrations, techniques for mindful breathing, meditation and affirmations, plus audio CDs for breath work and deep meditation. (Provided by Give Back Yoga Foundation)
  • Access to a list of complimentary yoga class for veterans in various states across the country. (Provided by Connected Warriors Foundation / availability subject to geographic location).
  • A PDF version of the highly acclaimed memoir Warrior Pose, How Yoga Literally Saved My Life, by former netwroks news war correspondent and W4H founder Bhava Ram. (provided by the Warriors for Healing Foundation)

Deep Yoga Teacher Training

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Yoga is a transformative science that guides you into healing, finding your authentic voice, and manifesting your fullest potential. The ancient sciences of Yoga and Ayurveda form the core of Vedic Wisdom and offer a time-tested pathway into true life transformation.

Our annual Deep Yoga Mastery of Life, Teacher Training, Journey Into Yoga and Vedic Therapy programs are devoted to providing accessible, pragmatic experiences of the deeper teachings of Vedic Wisdom to guide you on your journey of mastering your life, owning your power, and living your truth.

Mastery of Life and Deep Yoga Teacher Training programs are home-based at Ginseng Yoga Studio in San Diego’s beautiful South Park neighborhood. We are registered with the Yoga Alliance at the 500-hour level, and offer 200 and 500 hour certifications in Deep Yoga.

Click here for more info and Registration.

Mastery Of Life Training

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Join me for a Mastery of Life Training in 2015! Learn how to incorporate the teachings of Yoga into your life to find more balance physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Deep Yoga’s annual Mastery of Life Training at Ginseng Yoga Studio of San Diego is for all who aspire to greater physical and emotional well being in their personal and professional pursuits. Through these teachings you will learn to transform your life and move towards realizing your fullest potential.

Mastery of Life offers you a broad knowledge of all aspects of Yoga & Ayurveda, including the wisdom of Yoga’s sacred texts, plus Asana, Pranayama, Meditation, Mantra, Philosophy, Psychology, and Spirituality.

Most importantly, Mastery of Life Training provides practical experience and techniques for you to integrate into your life so you can live with greater clarity, creativity, and freedom. Mastery is also the core of Deep Yoga’s Teacher Training, but you needn’t aspire to be a teacher to benefit from this unique, transformative program.

Click here for more info and Registration