Patience and Letting Go

At the end of my recent nine day training at the Kripalu Yoga Center in Lenox, Massachusetts, I was asked to reflect on what I wanted to remember about being there and the teachings I learned. If I reduced this to two words, they would be “patience” and “letting go.”

For me, patience most often happens when I have taken the time to center myself in the morning in preparation for the day ahead. Then, throughout the day, using my breath to relax and soften into life just as it is has been invaluable. Maybe it’s a “letting go” breath (deep breath in, big exhale with a sigh) or maybe it’s a longer meditation that’s required and it can mean the difference from being caught in striving or centering softly into the present. Read More »

Chinese Medicine Tips for Fall Health

Tips for Preventing and Treating Illnesses due to Metal Imbalance: Lung and Large Intestine

As we enter autumn, we move into the time of year associated with the Metal element in Chinese medicine.  The organs that express the Metal element in our bodies are the lungs and large intestine.

COLDS AND FLU
To prevent and treat a cold, do a nasal wash with a neti pot twice each day (In place of a neti pot, you may use a Nasopure bottle, available at Clover’s. In case of fever, nasal wash is not recommended). Eliminate dairy, use warming spices and herbs (ginger, pepper, cinnamon, garlic, ginger, chili) in teas and food preparation. While pranayama and aerobic yogic practice (e.g. surya namaskar) are helpful in preventing illness, it is necessary to reduce these practices during illness and focus on restful practices such as yoga nidra, silence and meditation. Get enough rest and avoid overeating in order to conserve prana. For congestion, inhale steam for 10 minutes daily.

ASTHMA
Ayurveda and Chinese medicine recognize that healing asthma is not possible if constipation is not relieved. Both traditions acknowledge a connection between asthma and emotional issues related to serious loss experienced in childhood. Yoga nidra is recommended as a means of relaxing spasm of the chest and lungs and chanting om is suggested as a tool for strengthening and relaxing the body. It may be necessary to use neti (nasal wash) in order to facilitate the practice of pranayama. Appropriate postures will vary from person to person. Read More »

The Story of No Story

Yoga teaches us that when we identify with our “story” (an identity or belief that is developed from our individual ego rather than identifying with our true nature) we are suffering, blinded by illusion. I was originally introduced to this idea by Sudakar Ken McRae and the concept allowed me to move beyond the limiting beliefs of my mind that held me hostage for many years. As a result of that I rarely talk about my experience with chronic illness because I do no longer define myself by that story. Yoga practices (Big Y Yoga) allowed me to use connection to the present moment to overcome the limitations I once experienced in body that therefore impacted my mind. However, I am making an exception to revisit my past experiences and share them with you.

II was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis (UC) when I was 16, unfortunately it was a very severe case. After years of suffering from anemia, pain, malnutrition and frequent hospitalizations I was sent to the Mayo Clinic to have the diseased gut removed at age 29. Unfortunately, the surgery resulted in a confounding number of other complications including obstruction, infection, and poor motility resulting in frequent hospitalizations for about 8 more years. My life at that time was one of severe pain and was limited by this severe illness.
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What is Meditative Yoga?

Pranayama, chanting, and meditation are always my favorite part of a yoga class, yet these are the practices that are usually given the least amount of time or skipped entirely. My Meditative Yoga class grew out of my desire to share these practices which have benefited me the most.

As an acupuncturist, I have noticed that many of my patients would benefit from more skillfulness in ways to do less and relax more. Depletion of the physical, mental, and emotional energy can be addressed by learning how to relax fully at each of these levels. Learning how to slow down, let go, and discover the wealth of ease and vitality that arises from simply being present is the goal of this class.

We begin each class with a body scan to get us grounded in our bodies and out of the mental busyness of the day. Simple pranayama (breath work) and mudras to open the lungs precede our practice of chanting. I bring my harmonium and lead the class in a very simple Sanskrit chant for about 10 minutes to experience the vibration of the sounds of the chant and feel the warming of the body from the deep breathing that happens when we chant, followed with time to notice the building of the subtle energy (prana) that is strengthened by both pranayama and chanting. Read More »

Meet Lynn Maloney

I first met Lynn Maloney at Kirtan at the original alleyCat studio years ago. Lynn Maloney has been part of alleyCat since the early days, having known Ken and Kathleen as residents of the Kripalu Center. Having been the beneficiary of both her acupuncture practice and her yoga classes, I can attest to her vast knowledge of presence, awareness and sacred practices.  Read on to learn more about what inspired Lynn to become a yoga teacher and ultimately an Acupuncturist. Lynn Maloney teaches monthly Meditative Yoga classes at alleyCat on from 2-4p the 3rd Saturday of the month.

aCY:  What drew you to the practice of yoga?

Lynn: In my late twenties, I moved to New York City, fresh out of graduate school at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where I had completed a masters degree in the history of science and a certificate in archival administration. I worked in mid-town Manhattan and flew across the country frequently for my job. It was during this time that I discovered the Kripalu Yoga Center, just two hours north of New York. The peace and aliveness that I felt after my first weekend trip to Kripalu started me on the exploration of  yoga. Guidance to focus on my breath, pay attention to my food at meal time, and enjoy walking on the beautiful grounds, all while free of the stimulus of TV and cars was actually exciting.  I would return to my life in the city with fresher eyes, more attentive to my surroundings, and longing for more of what I had learned at Kripalu.

aCY: What inspired you to become a yoga teacher and what has influenced your style of teaching?

Lynn: My style of teaching has been influenced by the emphasis taught at Kripalu, practicing full awareness on the experience of being on the mat as practice for being fully present to life off the mat.  The knowledge that choosing to shift my focus to my present, embodied experience can change my mental, emotional and physical tension inspired me to share the practices of yoga. The effect of my first yoga classes at Kripalu was a feeling of being centered, relaxed and joyful. Learning that joy was accessible with a simple shift of focus on a few practices of breath, movement, and intention inspired me to learn more. I eventually moved into the Kripalu Yoga Center and stayed for three years, completing my yoga teacher training while I was a resident.

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