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Breath is Life

      Breath is Life

In the back of our mind we know that life starts with the first breath and ends with the last. But, as the respiratory system is regulated by the autonomic nervous system, most of us ignore the breath completely. There are two exceptions: pregnant women who are preparing for childbirth and high-level athletes. And yet, optimal breathing is just as important for all of us if we want to be at our best.

The fact that breathing is controlled by the autonomic nervous system is not the whole truth though. Breathing is the body’s only function that can run on automatic pilot and be controlled by the mind. This gives us the opportunity to change our attitude, the way we feel, our thinking, and our actions just by changing the way we breathe. Therefore, controlling the breath in a healthy way provides us with great power and control over ourselves and how we respond even in challenging situations. Focusing on the breath for a few moments gives us just enough time to choose wisely.

Two related disciplines underline the importance of the breath: Yoga and Ayurveda. Patanjali’s exposition of yoga dedicates one of eight limbs to breath control (pranayama). It is the last of the four active limbs. The next four limbs lead deeper and deeper into meditation, in which the breath plays an important part too.

 Ayurveda, the sister discipline of yoga, has a body/mind/soul model that, depending on the model, divides our whole being into 5-7 layers or sheaths (koshas) which are typically diagrammed as a pyramid. Without getting into the whole model, I’ll just address the first three layers.  At the base of this pyramid is the physical sheath (body, nutrition, exercise, sleep). Right above is the energy/breath sheath (pranamaya kosha). The mental sheath (manomaya kosha) rides on the energy sheath.  Located between the body and the mind sheaths, it is easy to recognize that the breath can affect both equally. For example, when we are anxious or stressed, our breath usually is flat. Just by breathing diaphragmatically we can reduce our level of anxiousness or stress, the heart rate will slow down and we can think clearly again.

Here are just a few everyday situations in which specific breathing techniques can help you to

  • calm down your mind
  • cool yourself down in the summer or in the heat of an argument
  • activate yourself
  • stimulate digestion and bowel movement
  • keep your nose free from congestion
  • center and relax
  • fall asleep.

The hard part is becoming aware of your mindset at a difficult moment and choosing the breath that is right for a given situation. It takes practice and patience with yourself, accepting yourself exactly as you are – which means not berating yourself for any specific feeling or thought – and gently guiding your mind back to your breath. Now you are beginning to develop a new relationship with your body and mind.

Welcome your breath as your new best friend.

Often, my students initially give me that quizzical look when I tell them: control your breath and you are in control of your life. But given a little time, they understand. Focusing on the breath gives them the chance to relax and think about their next action rather than rushing into, running away or freezing in a stressful situation. I am always excited to hear their stories about how focusing on their breath has helped them to remain cool, calm and collected when they were in a tough spot and maintain self-mastery.

Would you like to learn how to develop a new relationship with your body and mind by changing your breathing pattern? In as little as a 2-hour workshop you can familiarize yourself with the basics. Then it’s up to you.

Click here to check out my next “Breath is Life’ workshop on July 26, 2019

Yoga for the Soul

Grounded in the earth as well as in the sky

Grounded in the earth as well as in the sky

 A 5-week meditation series with Eva Rosenkranz

starting October 1, 2014 at 7:45 pm at Grapevine Yoga

Would you like to feel more joyful?
Or would you just like to have more peace of mind?

Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose. In the course
of a lifetime we all encounter loss and grief.

This can be loss of a dream, a lost job, or the ultimate loss–
the death of a person dear to us.


In this 5-week meditation series, “How to Handle Life’s Losses,” you will learn to apply
the wisdom of yoga to re-establish or maintain a peaceful mind. This can be very powerful, even if you feel like falling into a bottomless pit.

With grace you will be able to handle the situations life throws at you, no matter how big your personal win or loss may be.

Using the Yoga Sutras as interpreted by Nischala Joy Devi as a guideline, we will explore the nature of our minds through lecture, reflection, discussion, and a variety of meditation techniques.

 

 

 

 

What Can You Expect from Practicing Yoga with Your Child?

Experience profound trust and joy with your child!

The Ayurvedic answer would be: it depends.  In my opinion it really depends on the age and even more on the maturity of a child. Although it is rarely too early to start yoga, most children need to be about 3-years old to be able to imitate the movements and enjoy a 45-minute class.  Imitating the poses may be very challenging for toddlers and their moms too, because they may have to focus on their child so much that their own practice suffers.

Children, ages three and up, can imitate most of the postures and need very little help. This allows the mom to practice alongside her child and get equal benefits. Given, the class is a light yoga class, but the poses remain exactly the same, no matter if someone is three, 43 or 83 years old.

In addition to spending quality time together, bonding increases, body and mind are strengthened by exploring movement without pressure or stress. Mom and child can enjoy the gentle yoga stretches together. The breathing exercises, partner poses, games, storytelling, and even rudimentary dance further enhance well-being.  This reduces anger, stress, and anxiety. The class is overall as relaxing as it is invigorating and builds trust, body awareness, strength, endurance, balance, and focus.

Check out one of our Mom and Me classes at Grapevine Yoga, on Tuesday afternoons at 4:15 risk-free and indulge in a 45-minute mini-vacation with your child! If you did not like the class it is on us. If you enjoyed it, sign up for the series.

Out with the Old!

Happy New Year!

Would you like a fresh start in the New Year? Here four simple steps following Sally Kempton’s article: out with the old!

Particularly with the beginning of the New Year, doing some emotional house cleaning may be an important part of a New Year’s resolution.  Sally says that you can’t step consciously into the next phase of your life unless you bring consciousness to your past. This process has been called by different names in different traditions: confession, getting counseling, inventory, and surely many others.

Sally suggests a 4-step process.

 

 

 

  1. Take a few minutes and summon the feeling of loving presence and acceptance. Creating this sense of loving acceptance helps you with taking an honest look at yourself in the next step.
  2. List events, words, and ideas that have a particular charge for you. Particularly the negative ones are the ones that hold you back. Write about what happened as objectively as possible, especially your feelings whether they involved pride, shame, guilt, anger, or fear.
  3. Go back to the list and look at your part in the situation. Take responsibility for it, apologize or ‘fix’ the situation and do your very best not to make this mistake again.
  4. Finally, tear up the paper and burn it or dispose of it in some other way. I find that burning the paper is an extremely powerful tool for cleansing. Adding a prayer such as: ‘May these negative events, feelings and actions be dissolved and no harm come to any being because of them’ not only completes the process, but is the ultimate action of letting go and brings us back to harmony with ourselves and others.

This symbolic action can create new pathways in the brain and change unconscious patterns and painful habits.  Furthermore, releasing the past is the secret of creating effective intentions. You can find the whole article in the Yoga Journal, or at www.yogajournal.com/wisdom/2647

5 Simple Tips to Learn to Control Your Depression Symptoms Naturally

After a 2-hour, yoga-based workshop designed to help control depression symptoms, participants felt physically exhausted, but emotionally and mentally uplifted.

As symptoms of depression are accompanied by signs of physical and mental stagnation, the most important thing is to get moving – just the opposite of what one may want to do when when dealing with depression symptoms. To counteract the feelings of helplessness, despair or loss, externally often expressed by rolling the shoulders and spine forward, I’ll list 5 tips which can help you get a more positive perspective. Energy follows thought! By changing your posture and breathing more consciously, you can change the way you think and feel. Sometimes, you may have to fake it till you make it, but, as soon as you feel better, you can turn your dreams into reality once more!

 

Here are 5 simple tips:

1. Be aware of your posture.
2. Sit and stand with your spine elongated – make yourself occupy as much space as possible.
3. Get moving: get out of the house and walk in the sun, ride a bike, do yard work, etc.
4. Take deep breaths and fill your lungs completely. This is another reason for sitting and standing with an elongated spine. You can breathe and take in life more fully.  This is essential to living fully!
5. Open your heart by lifting the breastbone and rolling your shoulders back and down.

When your condition is serious and you are contemplating hurting yourself or someone else, don’t hesitate to get psychiatric help immediately.

Learn How to Control Depression Naturally

Well, yes, yoga can help you control your depression symptoms!

It is widely accepted that exercise, proper nutrition and breathing techniques are integral pieces to helping people manage depression symptoms.

Yoga balances mind and body through breathing techniques and the use of various poses. This combination provides a low-impact means of exercise for both the mind and body.

            This program has shown highly effective in a series of 20 classes.  The study, conducted
and published by www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2176141/, also noted that
Mood improvements could be seen after every class!

 

In addition, this program:

 

  • Improves coordination, balance, flexibility, and strength
  • Increases your self-confidence and overall well-being

 

 

Date: Sunday, April 15, 2012,

Time: 4:00 – 6:00 PM

Location: Grapevine Yoga, 213 W. Wall Street, historic downtown Grapevine, Texas

Fee:   $ 30.00

Please register at www.wellyestoday.org, (214) 794-3274.

 

 

Eva Rosenkranz teaches yoga to students and adults to help them release anxiety, stress, and depression which, if not dealt with, can create serious, ill effects in body and mind. Eva is an educator, yoga teacher, Reiki Master, and the owner of  wellYes TODAY.

rejuvenate       renew       reenergize

Yoga Summer Camps

Well Yes Today and Grapevine yoga have teamed up to offer two week long summer camps for kids.

Yoga Camp is a full week of daily classes–60 or 90 minutes, depending on age Yoga Camp activities include yoga poses, games, art, music, conscious movement and breathing, story-telling and… just plain fun!

Yoga Camp promotes and supports:

  • Better movement for muscles and joints
  • Greater coordination & balance
  • Flexibility
  • Improved breathing
  • Positive attitude
  • Calm mind & more clear thinking
  • Focus
  • Healthy body image and better body awareness
  • New social interaction

2 sessions to choose from; attend one or both sessions!

July 16 – 20                August 13-17

 

Ages 4 – 7     3:45 – 4:45 PM  $ 60/camp

Ages 8 – 12   2:00 – 3:30 PM  $ 90/camp

 

Please register at:

Grapevine Yoga, 213 W. Wall Street

www.GrapevineYoga.com, 817.488.1212