What is Truth?

No valid plan for the future can be made by those who have no capacity for living now.” – Alan Watts


In yoga philosophy, there are four functions of the mind. Manas (senses) which is where the sensory, processing mind lives. Chitta (consciousness) which is the storage of impressions. Ahamkara (ego) where our “I-maker” or ego is. Buddhi (intellect) where we know, decide, judge and discriminate. You can think of these four functions as spokes of a wheel and at the center of the wheel is the hub that directs energy out to the spokes. That hub is known as atman or the self in which we observe from. As we observe our actions and speech it reveals the underlying thought process in the mind. It is this observing of actions and speech, that we observe the inner process of the mind at the same time.

Alan Watts in his “Veil of Thoughts” series discusses how and we mistake symbols for reality, and he argues that civilization may be a misguided experiment. He offers an observation about the way in which abstractions have become more powerful than the realities they are referencing. He further talks about how we can become “unbamboozled” from these ways of thinking.

Thought is a means of canceling truth….we are living in a state of total confusion between symbol and reality.” – Alan Watts

Alan Watts suggestions are:

1.) Thoughts are largely symbolic, and not necessarily true.

2.) Symbols create and contain abstractions.

3.) The separation of self from the environment is uncomfortable but ultimately the illusion.

4.) Reality is difficult to define because it is ever present, yet ever changing.

We can only experience reality by bringing our whole consciousness into the present moment.- by allowing our minds to unconsciously respond to the present as the trees respond to the wind- without hesitation or thought. This is meditation!

The principal activities of brains are making changes in themselves.” – Marvin L. Minsky

Truth is inconvenient- How do we navigate the pain in the ass place that happens over and over again in everyone’s lives? What happens when we don’t listen and instead stick our head in the sand? How do we manage desires, ego, and thinking errors?  When you understand why you feel nervous, annoyed, hassled, driven, blue, or inadequate, those feelings have less power over you.

Yamas in yoga are moral disciplines and Satya means truthfulness. The Upanishads teach us that we are not three-dimensional beings but multi-dimensional beings that have five kosha body’s or sheaths. The Kosha sheaths are the Physical Body, Energy Body, Emotional Body, Wisdom Body and the Bliss Body. This is the healing model from which Yoga Therapy works from.

Ultimately, happiness comes down to choosing between the discomfort of becoming aware of your mental afflictions and the discomfort of being ruled by them.” – Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche



Buddha’s Brain by Rick Hanson, PhD. With Richard Mencius, M.D. https://www.amazon.com/Buddhas-Brain-Practical-Neuroscience-Happiness/dp/1572246952/ref=sr_1_1/133-9015475-7796041?ie=UTF8&qid=1517346873&sr=8-1&keywords=buddha+brain+book


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Do we actually know what is in our our best interest let alone someone else’s?

This blog is inspired by my own life experience, and Harvard professor Michael Puerto who has written the book The Path and Heather Lanier Ted Talk -“good” or “bad” are incomplete stores we tell ourselves.


The phrase “getting what I want” or is it a broader interest of “doing what is best for all those I come in contact with.” I struggle with this question during this phase of my life. I am halfway through my life and as I reflect I had desired to have accomplished more and yet grateful for everything that I have created in my life. I struggle with this question in regards to advocating for my aging parents. Different things matter to each of us; we see things through a different lens of life (personally, history, values). This question weighs on my life as it takes a dramatic shift. As my parent’s age and I am looked upon to make decisions for them in the future. I mean I indeed live a different life than my family will I make the decisions about their life that they had envisioned for themselves.


This struggle comes from my western view of good and bad, as I learn through my yoga practice to stop fixating on solutions for whatever I deem as not reasonable and instead learn to take life as it comes. As I learn that things aren’t one or the other and get a higher perspective of a bigger picture I learn that it is about finding the middle ground between the opposites. As I practice this, I begin to notice more peace, joy, and love in my life. There is this ancient Taoist parable that is about 2,000 years old it is a story about a Farmer who lost his horse. One day his horse runs away. And his neighbor comes over and says, to commiserate, “I’m so sorry about your horse.” And the farmer says “Who Knows What’s Good or Bad?” The neighbor is confused because this is apparently terrible. The horse is the most valuable thing he owns. But the horse comes back the next day, and he brings with him 12 feral horses. The neighbor comes back over to celebrate, “Congratulations on your great fortune!” And the farmer replies again: “Who Knows What’s Good or Bad?” And the next day the farmer’s son is taming one of the wild horses, and he’s thrown and breaks his leg. The neighbor comes back over, “I’m so sorry about your son.” The farmer repeats: “Who Knows What’s Good or Bad?” Sure enough, the next day the army comes through their village and is conscripting non-disabled young men to go and fight in the war, but the son is spared because of his broken leg. And this story can go on and on like that. Good. Bad. Who knows? The point is the western paradigm of labeling things as good or bad is a false dichotomy because it isn’t clear. If I look at my life events thus far I can see this in my own life.


Maybe you are familiar with the Yin Yang symbol in yoga. We see things as black, white, wrong, right, good, bad but they all flow and melt together on this symbol. It is not contradictory but complementary. Knowledge helps you to bring flowers to bloom again and again. In Chinese philosophy, they talk about four things. TAO “the path” no path leads in a certain direction; because we create the way as we go. MING “fate” things we can’t control happen all the time with the main question of how do we react to them? CHI “energy” when you smile, you offer someone else a little piece of happiness. Chinese philosophers say that refines our chi. YIN “head heart” train your head and heart to work together so you can think clearly and be in touch with your feelings at the same time. It is when we as humans show ourselves without reservation, our armor falls off, and it feels like glimpsing into each other’s souls. We gain wisdom through our experience – good, bad, storytelling and so on that speak to our human condition.


As I continue the second half of my life and I ponder the phrase “in our best interest” for myself and my loved ones, may I stay focused on the larger picture. May all beings be happy and free, and may all my thoughts words and deeds; contribute to the happiness and freedom of all living creatures.





The Path: What Chinese Philosophers Can Teach Us About the Good Life https://www.amazon.com/dp/1476777845/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_tai_1cpwAbQM9XQVT

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Why is the Body Important and How does it Help Us on Our Spiritual Path?

This blog is inspired by my work as of late and my favorite podcast Bliss & Grit by Brook Thomas and Vanessa Scotto.  I am fascinated by the body and can get lost in the puzzle of it for a lifetime. I never bore of my work, and I’m always amazed and fascinated by how the body heals itself. For over a decade I’ve been drawn to the fascia, emotional root causes of disease, and the spirituality of the mind-body connection. In anatomical terms, fascia is described as a thin sheath of fibrous tissue enclosing a muscle or other organ. Emotions are merely a form of energy that runs through our body like an electrical current. Each feeling has its measurable energy frequency. Spirit in Latin means breath another way to look at it is the body is the soul, and the soul is the body. The breath is the first thing we do and the last thing we do.


“Wine got drunk with us, not the other way. The body developed out of us not we from it. We are bees, and our body is a honeycomb. We made the body, cell by cell we made it.” Rumi


Jaap Van Der Wal is a phenomenological embryologist who asked himself the question “What is my body telling me about my body?” The skinny of his work thus far is that we are alive, we develop, we grow, we are whole. Jaap’s life work has been The Embryo in Motion Project, and he believes we are a soul producing a body. He thinks there is something more at stake than just the body dimension. He looks at the spirit of the body scientifically and has found that spirit and matter if they exist is one.


What is piezoelectricity? Electric Polarization in a substance especially crystals and we are effectively crystals. We have electrical currents in our bodies all the time such as collagen is piezoelectric. It is why astronauts lose bone strength. We lay down calcium and phosphorous which creates hardness, but in space, there is no gravitational stress on bones, so the bones slowly get reabsorbed. An often overlooked benefit of soft tissue loading is the piezoelectric effect. The Curie Brothers discovered the piezoelectric effect in crystals in 1880. Proteins, nucleic acids, and mucopolysaccharides, which compose all tissues of the human body, exhibit piezoelectric properties. We are energetic beings. Can you feel the energy of our being as a whole? Do you feel the electric pulse of your organs?


The embryo is a domain to ask questions such as: What are we doing? What is a body? Is a body something producing us or that we are producing? Is my consciousness coming from my body? Have I shaped myself? Phenomenology (what is our body telling about us?) is an approach that concentrates on the study of the consciousness and the objects of direct experiences. Rather than being an onlooker you primarily start to experience the present moment reality. Your body is a lifelong performance- like a symphony. We are not our brain, and the embryo challenges this because we live our first eight weeks without a brain. We produce and perform our body. Our body is not a machine either- we shape this “I” move and collect things like the brain, bones, muscles and so on to move. The body is a symphony performance. The embryo organizes us into parts as we are living organism that is a process and all phases of our lives are part of the whole production in time which is the body.


Genes and brains are necessary but not sufficient conditions to give a body its shape. So you may ask What is making the embryo? Something else realizing itself in us. An embryo in Motion is the primary form the bodies appear in time, and time and motion are related. We are motions and processes producing structures and that is what we learn from the embryo. The embryo still unfolds in our adult organism that you are today.


“Don’t consider soul or psyche as something added to the body later.” Erich Blech Schmidt


Your body is behaving the way we shape our body is what we are capable of psychologically (emotional state) and physiologically (a function of living organisms and their parts). Learn to experience yourself as energy and the energy around you.


This past summer I spent some time with my favorite gross anatomist or Somanaut (those who explore the inner space of the body and discover the fertile terrain of themselves).  He was showing his latest work and the how beautiful the fascia skeleton of the superficial fascia layer. Fascia is like the skeleton that your body is built around. It is like lace, honeycomb or web and the cells grow into this, and we are knitted together. When you hear that doctors are making a heart what is happening is they take a heart, strip down to the fascia layer as the starting point and then inject heart stem cells. Gil said that muscle is fascia’s bitch and I think that gets to the point rather quickly. Ida Ralph described that muscles should guide over one another like silk stockings and disposal facial does provide us with a sheer or glide.  In our human body, we witness nature solving the problem of total connection, and differential movement and nature’s solution is the fascia system and fluids. We are moving beings. Therefore, we must not force our way through the body but to melt and slowly invite routine movement in the body allowing our range-of-motion (ROM) to expand and not to judge compensations when they do occur in the body because they may have a place for a reason. Choosing a discipline of movements such as yoga or pilates allows you to show up next to your body daily and to meet it where it needs that day.


At times we build facial adhesions between visceral surfaces which have a sliding relationship via serous fluids. These conditions could be formed under inflammation or pathological processes such as injury, tumors, disease or as an accidental or intended result of surgery or medical intervention. The texture of the fascia reveals the qualities and character of the relationship in the body and mind. Relationships can be soft, fluid, smooth, playful and move or they can be tense, stuck, unyielding even fractured. The mind perceives differences and inputs separation yet the reality of the union persists. We must learn to accept all of our emotions.



When something within us is disowned, that which is disowned wreaks havoc” – Ralph H. Blum and Susan Coughlan.



 Dr. Daniel Keown is a Western Medical Doctor and a Chinese Medicine Doctor who has written the book The Spark in the Machine.  He talks about how we are one cell that develops into trillions and trillions of cells into a perfect complex organism with an energetic blueprint. Being trained in both Eastern and Western medicine, I feel he has a proper perspective on how both are different and similar. Such as western medicine does not heal you they allow healing to occur within you. Western medicine doesn’t have a philosophy of health and healing and tends to teach that qi is removed from healing, so doctors become revoked from the spirit and become dispirited. Qi is the circulating life force whose existence and properties are the basis of much Chinese philosophy and medicine. I view it as prana the breath a life-giving energy force within the body. Eastern Medicine is a model of healing, and they know the space between the cells is as important as the cells themselves. I view it as the Pancha Maya Kosha Model that I use as a Yoga Therapist which has a broad range of healing benefits and looks and the whole being. I believe we are not just our physical body or mind we are holistic, multi-dimensional beings made up of many different, interactive layers. You can think of the Kosha like a series of Russian Dolls or like sheaths. There is the Physical Body, The Energy Body, The Mental-Emotional Body, The Wisdom Body, and The Bliss Body. The fluid between the cells is known as extracellular fluid (ECF) and makes up about 40% of the body and constituting about 20% of the weight of the body.  So imagine your skin as a membrane that keeps everything in and this fluid baths the cells it can also be viewed as a communication medium in the body. So this watery fluid medium of ECF acts as a communication medium among cells of the same tissue like a chemical communication pathway. As an electrical current of an emotion travels along your neural pathways, it triggers a release of chemical proteins called neuro-peptides (NP’s). Each emotion has its individual frequency. In response to each specific emotional frequency, your body releases corresponding NPs. Each neuro-peptide creates such specific biological responses that physical symptoms can pinpoint what’s happening in your unconscious mind!


Qi (pronounced Che) is the blueprint in which energetic matter manifests. We live in turbulent times, and thus it is time for us to open our minds reclaim society, return to simple medicine and make it about people again. The Science of Epigenetic’s which is the study of changes in organisms caused by modification of gene expression rather than the alternation of the genetic code itself is what will progress. We have multiple different codes in our mode we aren’t one code, and that is it. For example, if you have a stressful situation we tap into our codes to get us through the situation, which is why we must build stress resilience through our movement practices to create some reserves or resource to self. Genetic science is going into epigenetic. It validates why meditation is important and living a good lifestyle because it resonates with the physical body. I have been working with Chinese Medicine the last couple of years, and I have learned about the different burners in the body. The triple burner refers to the pelvis, abdominal and chest and these areas are separated by fascia that organizes the compartments within the body. Surgeons use these fascia pathways that already exist in the body and blow gas into it so they can navigate. In yoga, we call these nadi’s which mean a channel or stream in which prana or energy can flow. Things go wrong in surgery when a surgeon needs to cross these facial pathways or planes.


Dis-ease emerges from you it didn’t afflict you. When we are chronically ill, we must learn to look deeper into society. For example, cancer spreads through fascia and cancer is a breakdown of qi. Qi is the force that keeps everything doing the right thing. Cancer is a group of cells that says damn you I’m doing my own thing and doing my way! Qi is how the body organizes itself. Whether it is cancer or another disease we need to look into the more profound disturbance of cause to the qi disturbance to heal entirely.


I love allopathic care, and it has saved my life, clients lives, but it is not the only reality. Connect to the body in the present time so that you can expand your consciousness. By doing this, you have attached and touched into your wholeness, your magnificence and moved beyond the identity of your ego. We are energy beings that are always flowing and growing; we are not our past circumstances. We hold so much of our healing process within us our innerness of self vs. an external stimulus. When was the last time you slowed down and connected to your inner wisdom? You are worthy!


“I am imperfect. I often choose to suffer. I am worthy of love, connection, health, learning to tolerate all of my emotions, relaxation and financial freedom. Yoga and Pilates is the discipline in which I practice this every day of my life” Kimberly Searl


Bliss and Grit Episode #3 Why the Body? www.blissandgrit.com

Dan Keown on Liberated Body Episode #46 www.liberatedbody.com

The Spark in the Machine www.amazon.com/spark-machine

Jaap Van Der Wal Episode #57 www.liberatedbody.com

Embryo in Motion Project www.embryo.nl

Lessons from the Embryo  https://youtu.be/3mTCjiQLHhk

Gil Hedley www.gilhedley.com

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The Home Run Life – Home Plate


To me, baseball has always been a reflection of life” – Willie Stargell

It is summer and baseball is in full swing. Just as Willie a professional baseball player saw his baseball as a way of life, I too see evidence-based movement such as Yoga and Pilates as a reflection of life.

In the 1989 baseball movie “Field of Dreams”, main character Ray hears a voice telling him the now nearly infamous line, “If you build it, they will come.” Obediently, Ray mows down his cornfield, builds a baseball diamond, and then faces foreclosure on his family’s home – all to make the baseball field. This movie was coming out as I was graduating high school and thinking about what I would become as I contemplated college. Field of Dreams is centered around the all-American game of baseball which captures our imagination, nostalgia and the sense of a journey that we’ve come to expect when baseball is the backdrop. I remember at the time getting a Bachelor’s of Applied Science it wasn’t my first pick but one that would get me a job that paid fairly well, allowed for creativity and was a respectable course load that I could handle as I commuted to school and kept a full-time job to pay for school. Fast forward 20+ years later and I am finishing up my Masters of Science in Yoga Therapy. Who knew that my undergrad was setting me up for this!

Think about the game of baseball no matter what there are a home plate and three bases. You have to start at home and run the bases in order, home to first, first to second, second to third, third to home no exceptions. Failure to run the bases in order will automatically result in an out. When you run all the bases and cross home plate, you score. Your self-care is like this. If you skip the order of bases of caring for your health than at some point you are ejected and forced to connect with yourself and concede to running the bases.

If you are like me, you have a spiritual connection with something higher than yourself. You understand that there has been a particular plan or framework with a deeper meaning and purpose than you could have ever imagined laid out for you in your life. Using this analogy of a baseball diamond helps you see that your personal growth has happened in ways you couldn’t have imagined. You know that you must run and play with self-care to live life to the fullest extent, and just like in baseball you need to move your self-care in the order of the bases.

Here is how I see the bases in Integrative Sustainable Movement (ISM)-

Home Plate – Connection with something higher than yourself, Bhakti the path of devotion to love, kindness and compassion and all actions are done in the context of remembering the divine.

Bhagavad Gita 9.26 “Whoever offers me with devotion a leaf, a flower, fruit or a little water – that, so offered devotedly by the pure-minded, I accept.”

First Base– Connection with your self-care, Jnana the path of knowledge, wisdom, introspection, and contemplation.

Bhagavad Gita 2.55 “When a man puts away all the desires of his mind, …and when his spirit is content in itself, then is he called stable in intelligence.”

Second Base – Connection with your community, selfless service, Karma the path of selfless service, of action, mindfulness, and remembering our actions have an impact on the world.

Bhagavad Gita 2.47 “You have a right to perform your prescribed duty, but you are not entitled to the fruits of action. Never consider yourself the cause of the results of your activities, and never be attached to not doing your duty.”

Third Base– Connection with Mindfulness, Raja the path of a comprehensive method that emphasizes encompassing the whole, encountering and transcending thoughts of the mind. Being able to observe your reactions and choose how you want to respond.

Bhagavad Gita 6.6 “For him who has conquered the mind, the mind is the best of friends; but for one who has failed to do so, his mind will remain the greatest enemy.”

We all have different temperaments, the goal of life is to discover our true nature to connect with our divine nature and using our self-care practice is a way to help us find this truth. Every person possesses and identifies with the intellect, heart, body, and mind. Is it time to check out your local Mind Body Balance Studio to learn about the evidence-based movement?

Kevin Myers once said “Everyone wants to score in life. Everyone intends to be a winner. Most of us want to experience the equivalent of a home run life, a life where our dreams are fulfilled.” Do you have that kind of life? Have you succeeded? How have you decided to play?

The truth is when we want to play the game the way want to play it “ego” the result is often disastrous. We don’t win. We get “called out, ” and we suffer. Or maybe you are like me you do well in one area of your life and strike out in another. Do well in your career and strike out in your marriage, get your finances stable and the family is unstable, build up your reputation for success and your body breaks down in the process, drive to reach your goal and lose your spiritual connection in the process….are you losing your way and running the bases backwards, in hopes that your way will get you across home plate faster.

Is there a way to get a home run in all areas of your life? Can you trust that the Divine has a plan and everything happens in the order that it needs to happen? How can we run the bases and win? It all starts at home plate- up to bat next – is YOU!

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I Don’t Know What to Believe- Coming Out of The Fog

“The decision to believe is the most important decision you will ever make” Whitney Clayton
We all go through different seasons in our lives; various stages with differing scenes of drama come with each season. The thing to remember is that seasons come and go. The hard part is remembering that our mind needs to welcome thoughts, emotions, and feelings in. Your yoga practice helps to maintain equanimity of mind. Purity is staying neutral; not taking sides, keeping your calm, living in the balance between your opposites is the real secret of healthy and happy living. It is your birthright to enjoy peace and health. So welcome disturbance feel it in your body, observe your breath and watch the mind.
When you make a decision to be healthy, you needn’t expect it to go smoothly. If everything were smooth without challenge there wouldn’t be seasons; you’d never be tested to prove that you will stick to your decision. You wouldn’t develop the skills of grit and discipline. So when the tests come how you respond is how you pass the test thus the challenging situation has become an instrument for your personal growth.
Below you see some examples of health. How are you faring? Are you passing the test?
Four Pillars of Health
1) Diet and Supplements- examples, Vitamin C with E, Blueberries, Broccoli, Spinach Seaweed, 20% healthy fat, 40% lean protein, 40% complex carbs
2) Stress Management- examples, Meditation, Mindfulness, Guided Imagery, Breath Exercises, Self-Massage, Chanting
3) Exercise Body and Mind- examples, a minimum of 150 minutes per week Movement, Concentration, Involve Senses
4) Spirit Fitness- examples, Developing Psycho-Spirt Wellbeing, Socialization/Connection, Acceptance, Forgiveness, Patience, Compassion, Empathy, Self-Discovery, Life Purpose, Sense of something Higher than Self, Selfless Service Volunteering
If you do not have four strong pillars, you may be experiencing some unnecessary suffering. At the core feelings and emotions are feedback mechanisms sending you messages. These messages are designed by nature to supply you with information that is necessary for you to survive and thrive. You have the ability to come out of your fog, remove the muck and to be in control of your four pillars. The choice is yours. Find the self-care love and experience the vastness of great freedom in welcoming in your four pillars of health.

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I don’t know what to believe- YOU!

What influences form your ideas and opinions? What makes your moral compass? How can you tell from wrong, good from evil, fact from fiction? Everyone has an opinion. But can they all be true at the same time? The pressures to conform are never ending! Once and for all I just need to know. What movement helps me be healthy and continue with sustainable movement? Is there more to life than being bored and browbeaten at the gym? What is my life purpose? I have to admit; I don’t know what I believed!

I know right! I have felt this way myself many times, and it is one of the reasons why I started Mind Body Balance LLC. I remember the day I was entering the gym in my early thirties and realized that I was going to have to do this the rest of my life. It was overwhelming and daunting my personal trainer at the time loved working me to the point that I could barely walk out of the gym to get home let alone function the rest of the day. Using my intelligence, I thought there has to be another way!

There is Evidence Informed Practice (EIP) which is designing a movement program using information about what research is showing that works. It means using evidence to identify the potential benefits, harms, costs of any intervention and also acknowledging that what works in one context may to be appropriate or feasible in another. As your Integrative Sustainable Movement Educator, I am reading research on a regular basis, I apply the research in my teaching practices as well as use my intelligence to observe when it may not work for someone and using creativity to adapt it to get the same functional goal and desired outcome.

For example, I have received some pushback lately because I chant and we teach chanting in the studio. I know I thought it was rather odd myself about eight years ago. However, one day I got up the courage to talk to someone about it. I am grateful for this courage because it helped me open up my meridian lines (channels which life energy flows) and improves my respiration. Sanskrit is a language like any other language other than English that you may choose to learn. Now I can barely speak English, but I challenge myself to learn words from Sanskrit and chant with those. Why? The English language has a lot of consonants, and Sanskrit has a lot of vowels. Those vowels have a vibration that vibration vibrates up and down my meridian lines, my HPA axis (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis). So it came down to me educating myself on something new and using EIP to improve my health.

The Canadian Alzheimer Society is now recommending Sa Ta Na Ma Meditation. This chant is scientifically recognized as a powerful tool for preventing or stopping Alzheimer’s disease, increasing all aspects of cognitive function, (perception, thinking, reasoning and remembering) and reducing stress levels while improving short-term memory.

There are separate studies published that prove the Sa Ta Na Ma Meditation benefits. Two of the studies done at the University of Pennsylvania and one continuing studying is done at UCLA University of California. The University of Pennsylvania study was published in 2010 in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease (1). Another study was released in the Journal of Nuclear Medicine in 2010. The Canadian Alzheimer Society and Alzheimer’s Research & Prevention Foundation are now recommending the meditation as a daily practice to slow down the effects of Alzheimer’s.

Sa Ta Na Ma Meditation is a Kundalini Kirtan Kriya (KEER-tun KREE-a) brought to North America by Yogi Bhajan. Kirtan Kriya is Sanskrit, a classical language of India. Kirtan means “song” or “praise, ” and Kriya means “to do” or “action.” It is recommended to do this a minimum of twelve minutes.

If you would like to practice the Kirtan Kriya singing exercise, here are the basic steps:

  • Repeat the Sa Ta Na Ma sounds (or mantra) while sitting with your spine straight.
  • With each syllable, imagine the sound flowing in through the top of your head and out the middle of your forehead (your third eye point).
  • For two minutes, sing in your normal voice.
  • For the next two minutes, sing in a whisper.
  • For the next four minutes, say the sound silently to yourself.
  • Then reverse the order, whispering for two minutes, and then out loud for two minutes, for a total of twelve minutes.
  • To come out of the exercise, inhale very deeply, stretch your hands above your head, and then bring them down slowly in a sweeping motion as you exhale.
  • The finger positions, are very important in this kriya.
  • On Sa, touch the index fingers of each hand to your thumbs.
  • On Ta, touch your middle fingers to your thumbs.
  • On Na, touch your ring fingers to your thumbs.
  • On Ma, touch your little fingers to your thumbs.

The meditation is a combination of chanting a mantra while moving the hands through mudras. Mantra and Mudra are also Sanskrit words. Mantra means “an often repeated word or phrase, ” and mudra means “a motion of the hands” or “a dance of the hands.” To fully experience the benefits of the meditation, a combination of singing, whispering and silently repeating the mantra are used. An essential visualization of concentration is used to cap off the meditation.

Let’s start first with understanding the mantra Sa Ta Na Ma. The sounds come from one of the oldest mantras Sat Nam which means “my true essence” or “true identity” and are designed to be uplifting. There are many interpretations for each of the sounds, one being that there is no meaning to the sounds at all, but merely a vibration, and a stimulation of 84 acupressure points in the palate of the mouth which occurs when singing and whispering the words.

I suggest getting quiet and learning the four pillars of health because they are EIP and chose practitioners that educate you EIP because you are worth it. Taking this path will be more expensive because your practitioner has spent tens of thousands of dollars on their education. It will not be the latest trend so you may not look cool with your friends. It will take a consistent practice which takes up your time, and you will not be perfect at it- so be it! You are worth investing in integrative sustainable movement!

  1. Newberg, A. B., Wintering, N., Khalsa, D. S., Roggenkamp, H., & Waldman, M. R. (2010). Meditation effects on cognitive function and cerebral blood flow in subjects with memory loss: a preliminary study.Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease20(2), 517-526.
  1. Khalsa, D. S., Amen, D., Hanks, C., Money, N., & Newberg, A. (2009). Cerebral blood flow changes during chanting meditation. Nuclear medicine communications30(12), 956-961

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Embodying the Restorative Practice in the Pancamaya Model

Restorative yoga provides a balance between physical and mental that allows the individual to manage stress and anxiety through the supportive use of props that allow you to hold the pose for longer periods of time with ease.  A restorative yoga sequence typically involves a handful of poses, supported by props and retained for five to twenty minutes. Restorative poses include light twists, seated forward folds and gentle backbends and inversions. A lot of restorative poses based on the teachings of B.K.S. Iyengar. You get the benefits of deep, passive stretching while learning the life skills to reflect and rest. Lives are lived at such a fast pace, a restorative practice allows you to manage your nervous system and move into the parasympathetic nervous system, a slower paced system. As you practice restorative yoga, you develop an expanded awareness of self and introspection. There is a profound oneness on a universal level of consciousness while feeling safe and nurtured.


To maintain a sense of center and balance in our lives, we must work with all the layers of the Pancamaya model. At one point in our healing history, we thought we could treat human beings by applying the biomedical model of health thus treating purely biological factors while excluding psychological, environmental and social considerations. Research has shown over the years the interplay of biological, psychological and social considerations, while this is a new way of thinking in western medicine; it is not new in yoga teachings. As the ultimate goal of yoga is to have freedom of sukkah (movement/ease) and freedom from dukkha (suffering/pain), yoga therapy is a safe place to start to explore our physical body, energy body, learning body, the body of belief and our bliss body. Restorative yoga by nature is a receptive practice, and that receptivity can guide you toward a healthy state of being. When you are in passive postures feeling supported by the props you release the grip of muscular and inner tension, become spacious and receptive, and are exploring what happens when you slowly release your habitual holding patterns. Our curiosity grows and we question, what am I left with? Can I accept this new space within my body, mind, and spirit?

Personal Practice of Restorative Yoga

During my therapeutic practice with Margareta Ewald at Mind Body Balance, I experienced four restorative poses which were crocodile, hero, supine Tadasana and mountain brook. She used the yamas with each posture. In crocodile, she used ahimsa (non-violence), hero asteya (non-stealing), supine tadasana Aparigraha (non-coveting), and mountain brook sayta (truthfulness). She matched mantra and color with each pose as well. In Crocodile “I softly surrender” with the color gold. Hero the mantra was “I control my health” with the color green. Supine Tadasana “I can let go of what does not serve my greater good” with the color yellow. For mountain brook “My truth guides me” with the color blue. She mainly focused on equal ratio breath throughout the practice.

 I spent approximately ten to fifteen minutes in each pose. In hero pose, I used two bolsters and a chair. One bolster was under my bottom between my legs, and one bolster was on the chair, and my hands grabbed onto the chair. In supine tadasana, my feet were against the wall, a blanket under my knees, a sandbag on my femur bones and neck roll. In crocodile, I had a blanket folded in fours that started under my last rib and covered my belly with a rolled mat under my ankles. In mountain brook pose I had a bolster under my knees, a folded blanket under my ribs and a neck roll. This sequence appeared to focus on the chakras of three (Manipura), four (Anahata) and five (Vishuddha). Her use of the yamas allowed for me to relate to my world immersed in ethical guides that were faithful to my inner wisdom.

I feel the practice followed the Pancamaya model. There was the physical practice of the poses – annamaya physical body to be nourished. The incorporation of equal ratio breathing allowed for the –pranamaya energy body to be fed by my life force. The use of chakra and color- manomaya, learning body, to focuses my feelings and emotions that I felt. At times I felt sadness, complete surrender, and joy. The use of the mantra-vijnanamaya body of belief allowed me to focus the patterns of mind onto one right design that supported my greater good. The multitude of tools used allowed my expansion of self –anandamaya body of bliss as my sense of self-grew beyond my minds limited boundaries.

 Restorative Plan of Care for Anxiety

Anxiety is a normal reaction to stress and can help us be alert to dangers. Anxiety disorders differ from daily nervousness and involve more fear. The American Psychiatric Association state that roughly twenty-five million Americans suffer from anxiety disorders which often cause feelings of panic, fear, and intrusive thoughts and may result in interrupted sleep difficulty, functioning at work, disturbances in relationships and physical symptoms.  Various things contribute to anxiety disorders such as genetic, environmental, psychological and developmental factors. Stress and trauma play key roles in the development of anxiety disorders and triggering of symptoms. Anxiety disorders general have imbalances of the SRS (stress-response-symptom), ANS (autonomic nervous system), HPA (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis), overactive SNS (sympathetic nervous system) and underactive PNS (parasympathetic nervous system). These imbalances affect the client’s emotional regulation, perception, cognitive function, social relationships and the following systems- cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal, neuroendocrine and immunological. Yoga Therapy (YT) bottom-up and top-down mechanisms may ameliorate pathophysiological processes that contribute to anxiety through sympathovagal balance and increase the release of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid). (Khalsa, 2016)

Stephen Porges and the Polyvagal Theory shows stress can impair the ability to trust and form close, loving relationships. Yoga practices increase PNS and HRV (heart rate variability) and supporting the social engagement systems. The vagal nerve stimulation enhances the release of oxytocin. Yoga increases trust, bonding, and reconnection with Self. Anxiety entails misappraisals of cognitive malfunctions, impaired integration, failure of higher brain centers to modulate over-reactivity of lower centers and stress response, and misappraisal perceptions of danger far in access of presenting reality. While using bottom-up methods in yoga, it circumvents in intellect and activating interoceptive pathways to both higher and lower centers can resolve anxiety and restore impaired cognitive function. (Khalsa, 2016)

An individual presenting with anxiety may be experiencing shallow rapid breath, heart palpitations, excessive worry, vata dosha imbalance, migraines, intestinal problems, obsessive thinking, dizziness, insomnia, and nausea. The overall treatment plan would be to use chanting (sa, ta, na, ma) belly breathing (using a sandbag in C.R.P. –constructive rest position for weight training diaphragm breathing) or balancing equal ratio breath (viloma) to shift from SNS to PNS (pranamaya kosha). Reframing strategy would help in welcoming anxiety symptoms as messengers and recognize them as changing sensations and perceptions. Unpleasant feelings warrant deeper exploration to a root cause (vijnanamaya kosha). Starting with active asana, pala mudra (core quality of reducing anxiety) (LePage, 2014) and moving into a restorative practice (annamaya kosha). The language that the YT uses would be to keep the mind engaged with gentle mindfulness instructions often and exploring svadhyaya (self-observation) woven into the practice (manomaya kosha) and ending with a twenty-minute side lying Savasana with a Yoga nidra meditation (anandamaya kosha).

The asana portion follows Rolf Sovik protocol for anxiety starting with an active series of movement which entails lateral flexion with the rationale of opening intercostal muscles to assist breathing (restorative revolved head to knee pose, chair, two blankets or basic side lying stretch pose, four stacked blankets). Tree pose to practice balance and build confidence (restorative supine tree, wall, strap, blankets as needed). Wide-leg-forward-fold pose with head on the block to quiet the effects of the brain (restorative seated wide-angle pose, blanket and bolster).  Rolling-like-a-ball for twenty reps to massage the spine and playing with inversion in a fun way. Seated twist pose to work with breathing that is restrictive or tight using it as a practice to remedy anxious feelings (restorative revolved knee squeeze pose, bolster and two blankets). The last active pose would be shoulder stand at the wall for thirty or ninety seconds to build comfort in inversion (also wheel over a physio ball works or stacked bolsters). Moving into supported legs up the wall (wall, bolster, two blankets) to get use to the idea of being upside down and ending in restorative crocodile (three blankets) to witness the breath in a safe manner. “Inversions are a powerful way to visit a place of anxiety free living” – Judith Lasater.  Each restorative pose can be held five to fifteen minutes depending on the goal you wish to reach.  (McCall, 2007)

The overall rationale for this practice is to pick a middle road between vigorous and restorative. Moving right into a therapeutic practice when someone is in a high level of anxiety can increase their agitation, therefore having some moderate movement, in the beginning, allows for settling into calming and grounding practices of breath work and restorative asana. This practice was also breath heavy because disordered breathing plays a significant role in both the production and maintenance of anxiety symptoms.  The poses allow for breath awareness into the abdomen, creating a gentle massaging effect that increases circulation and lengthens the exhalation slowing the breath rate helping to reduce anxiety. Apana vayu the downward moving current of energy was activated as well as gently opening the first and second chakras to build on safety and self-nourishment. With greater tranquility we can witness fearful thoughts, and as the symptoms of anxiety decrease, we experience sensations of wholeness.

 Restorative Plan of Care for Back Pain

Back conditions include structural and functional disorders as well as lumbopelvic spine and thoracic pain. Low back pain (LBP) is the most common and while specific causes such as discogenic pain, spinal stenosis is roughly fifteen percent of all back pain. LBP is categorized by the length of the illness acute LBP is up to eleven weeks of pain, chronic LBP is anything exceeding twelve weeks. Non-specific LBP is better approached with a biopsychosocial approach rather than the traditional biomedical paradigm as it allows for a more appropriate understanding.  Biomedical is a better approach to rule out things such as cancer, infection, compression fracture and abdominal aortic aneurysm. The multifaceted practice of yoga and using the Pancamaya model which parallels the biopsychosocial model may be important in the management of LBP.  LBP often appears to somaticize with life stressors.  Therefore the effects of yoga can be contributed to increased physical activity, enhanced body awareness, and reduced maladaptive movements, correction of postural strain and relief of physical and mental stress. (Khalsa, 2016)

An individual presenting with back pain may present with symptoms of weakness; problems with bladder and bowels; persistent aching or stiffness, sleep disturbance; sharp localize pain; pain is radiating from low back to buttock to back of thigh, calf, and toes; and to an inability to stand straight without muscle spasms. Back pain the impediment in which causes pain is a vata dosha imbalance because vata is responsible for all movements in the body. The overall treatment plan would be the breath of joy, hands on heart/belly while breathing, nadi shodana,  chant (Om Mani Padme Hum – the jewel is the Lotus- represents both the direct experience of peace and the desired to share peace with others).  Breath is part of the stress or pain response which is the easiest to consciously change by doing breathing practices, it interrupts the stress or pain response reducing stress and making you feel better (pranamaya kosha) using a gratitude journal, feeling gratitude in the body as a whole and specific body area (vijnanamaya kosha).  Mudra Anudandi with the core quality of back pain relief (LePage, 2014), asana used will be gentle movement with restorative movement (annamaya kosha). The language that the YT uses would be to keep the mind engaged with gentle mindfulness instructions often and exploring svadhyaya (self-observation) woven into the practice (manomaya kosha) ending with a fifteen-minute meditation such as body scans and loving kindness. (anandamaya kosha).

The asana portion follows Judith Lasater’s protocol for back pain which starts with a gentle movement practice into a restorative practice of yoga.  It starts with cat/cow flow for twenty repetitions, into tail wag for five times each side, quadruped twist for five times each side, locust/flight fundamentals three to ten times with a supine pigeon for seven to ten breaths per side.  Then moving into hanging dog pose (using a door, block and strap) to allow the feeling of letting go that brings relief to those with LBP, this pose puts the long muscles of the back in traction using gravity to relieve the habitual postural effects. Supported half-dog pose (use a table or Pilates Cadillac and stack blankets long ways to desired height) gently stretches the muscles along the spinal column and reduces stiffness. Supported Backbend (bolster and 2 blankets) reflects the way a healthy back moves during daily activities improving flexibility being the antidote to slouching. An elevated twist on the bolster (bolster, neck roll and blanket) stretches the external rotator muscles located deep in the outer hips as well as the latissimus dorsi. This pose does multiple functions, stretches the small muscles of the spine, a little inversion which places the lower back in traction, and the back bend helps to release tension on the intervertebral discs. It improves the lungs and diaphragm function and stimulates the kidneys. Supported child’s pose (bolster and two blankets) provides a counterbalance stretching the lower back, relieving shoulder tension and quieting the mind. Basic relaxation pose (chair, sandbag, neck roll, and blanket) with legs on a chair with a sandbag on the belly relaxes the muscles and organs of the abdomen as well as the muscles of the lower back while refreshing the legs. All restorative poses can be held five to fifteen minutes depending on the need. (Lasater, 1995)

The overall rationale for this plan is to release tension from the back and support optimal posture. This practice is designed to direct breath awareness into the entire back, release tension, and increase circulation to the back muscles and to enhance awareness that increased movement supports the optimal alignment of the spine. It balances prana and apana vayus while opening the first five chakras. Over time the practice facilitates relaxation and sense of relaxation that is helpful for back pain. As the individual develops greater trust in the healing, a connection with true Self-deepens naturally cultivating a sense of wellbeing allowing the body to source positive feelings.


Yoga therapy is not a talking practice it is a contemplation practice. Suffering becomes functional for our awakening; our pain becomes our grace. Think of the ocean and a wave as they are one, the wave gets puffed up but then it dissolves as we learn to get out of our way; we are just water and full of love. For when we allow our self the permission to experience any pose from within our inner wisdom it is good enough to erode residue that no longer serves us, this is an effort with ease. Restorative yoga gives us the grace to slow down, to listen to our inner wisdom which is the quietest voice within each of us.


Khalsa, S.B.S., Cohen, L., McCall, T. B., & Telles, S. (2016). The principles and practice of yoga in health care. Edinburgh: Handspring Publishing.


Lasater, J. (2011). Relax and renew: restful yoga for stressful times. Berkeley, CA: Rodmell Press.


McCall, T. B. (2007). Yoga as medicine: the yogic prescription for health & healing. New York, NY: Bantam.


Page, J. L., & Page, L. L. (2014). Mudras for Healing and Transformation (2nd ed.). Sebastopol, CA: Integrative Yoga Therapy.


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The Mudra Experience

Prashana Upanishad II.3 – All that exists in the three heavens rests in the control of prana. As a mother her children, oh prana, protect us and give us splendor and wisdom. To affect change, we must first understand the energy that affects it. To bring about change in the body, mind, and spirit, we must first understand the energy in which they work. The five pranas fall under the Pranamaya Kosha. Prana forward moves air, apana air that moves away, udana upward moving air, samana balancing air, and vyana outward moving air. They each work together in harmony much like a machine.  As the Vedas say, we are under the control of the Pranas. We will explore each of the pranas, conditions for each vayu and mudras that may have therapeutic effects for healing.


Mudras are gestures for the hands, face, and body. Mudras promote health, psychological balance, and spiritual awakenings. The word mudra means gesture, seal, attitude or signature. Mudras is found in everyday body language such as crossing your hands in front of your chest, to clenched fists when angry .Shaman used them and Sages of ancient India used. If you look back at centuries old pictures most have the hands in some gesture. (LePage, 2014)

There are different types of mudras. Shambhavi Mudra is facial gestures said to awaken subtle spiritual energies. Viparita Karani Mudra is a full body mudra to enhance and maintain the flow of subtle energy for extended periods of times. The most common mudra used are hand gestures because fingers contain a large number of sensory-motor nerve endings. Fingers are extremely dexterous, each finger is related to one of the five elements and supports the health of the hands themselves. (LePage, 2014)

The Five Prana Vayus

Prana means life force or vitally energy. Vayus is the wind within the body, and there are five primary functions or components to these winds. The five prana vayus are prana vayu, udana vayu, samana vayu, apana vayu and vyana vayu. Our practice will enhance or channel this vayus in such a way that we balance the body and mind with a greater sense of inward awareness and higher states of consciousness. Remember whatever body part is open and elevated will be stimulated and whatever part of the body is lowered (inverted) or closed will be cooled or passive. The energy directions never reverse or change directions, but they can slow down or speed up.

Prana Vayu is the dad or head of the household, and the energy current runs upward. Prana Vayu is located in the heart, chest, and lungs. The energy moves to the brain affecting Buddhi (intellect), indriyas (senses), and chitta (mind). The purpose of prana vayu is the heart function and respiration, circulation of the heart, contraction and expansion mudya the middle and spondya the outward movement of vibrational energy and light. The role of prana vayu is the first and most important. The other vayus are extensions of this primary energy. Since the power begins at the heart and moves upward, it also governs ingestion, chewing and swallowing, sneezing, belching & coughing. When an imbalance occurs here, there are heart and lung conditions and lethargy. Prana vayu is associated with Anahata Charka and the element of air. (Ramirez, 2011)

Udana Vayu is like the mom and has a circular energy of movement in the body located in the chest, throat, and head. “Ud” means upward similar to prana but lighter and the energy moves in a circular clockwise direction. The purpose of udana vayu is exhalation, speech and controls the tongue. It complements prana and initiates effort. Promotes enthusiasm and governs memory and thought, provides communication between the senses and the nervous system. Usually, a disorder with udana vayu will also result in confusion with prana vayu since the exhalation and inhalation are independent until death.  An imbalance here is related to problems with cognition and communication.  Udana vayu is associated with the chakras of Vishuddha and Ajna and the element of ether. (Ramirez, 2011)

Samana Vayu is like a brother and expands in all directions in the body and is located in the belly and gastrointestinal tract; abdomen expands out from the body. The purpose of samana vayu is absorption of nutrients from food. It separates waste from food and is associated with Agni or digestive fire. The function of samana vayu is to carry essential nutrients throughout the body from the intestines. Malnourishment is apparent when samana vayu disorders are present, an imbalance can affect the digestive organs. Samana vayu is associate with Manipura Charka and the element of fire. (Ramirez, 2011)

Apana Vayu is like a sister, and the energy moves downward in the body below the navel. The location of apana vayu is the sacral plexus, sacral region, bladder and reproductive organs. The purpose of apana vayu is to govern the function of all the pelvic organs including excretion of waste products elimination as well as childbirth. It is the root that sustains all other vayus. The role of this apana vayu is very active during menstruation and disposal. The energy facilitates the meeting of sperm and egg and the process of birth. For psycho-emotional connection, it is what we use to manifest our thoughts and desires, to give birth or move potential into reality, the opposite of udana. Imbalance can result in menstrual problems, sexual dysfunction, constipation and hemorrhoids. Muladhara Chakra and the element of Earth is associated with this mudra.  (Ramirez, 2011)

Vyana Vayu is like the nanny or the housekeeper. Vyana Vayu circulates and permeates the whole body and is located in the circulation system and moves from the core to the extremities. The Vyana Vayu energy current spirals a while through the body to carry oxygen and nutrients and to produce warmth. Its purpose is to circulate emotions and feelings in the body and is associated with the peripheral nervous system and circulation, distributing energy derived from food and breath to the blood vessels and nerves. Various psychosomatic illnesses may occur as a result of underlying emotional stress that has chosen to manifest in a particular part of the body. The imbalance may lead to poor peripheral circulation or numbness. Vyana vayu relates to Svadisthana chakra and the element of water. (Ramirez, 2011)

Olgakabel in Yoga for Energy has a theory “that western medicine grew out of studying cadavers, while in the eastern world cutting up the dead bodies were frowned upon. As a result, western medicine does not have a concept of vital energy in the body, while eastern physicians had developed sophisticated ideas about the flow of human energy from having to study living breathing people.” (Olagkabel, 2015) Prana and Apana work together, right food sustains apana, and accurate impressions feed prana. Vyana and Samana are opposing forces of expansion and contraction. Udana is responsible for growth.  When a yoga practice is established, there is a way of understanding the self from personal observation, curiosity and the flow of prana is of major significance.

Conditions/Disease that may affect the Prana Vayus

Prana Vayu conditions are those that affect the heart and lungs. These conditions may be coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, cardiac arrest, congestive heart failure, arrhythmia, peripheral artery disease, stroke, congenital heart disease, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease chronic bronchitis, emphysema, bronchitis, cystic fibrosis, pneumonia, tuberculosis, acute respiratory distress syndrome and so on. Explore their capacity to receive sense and let in. When doing a breath evaluation see if there is expansion up into the heart and chest and how deep the inhalation is. View the relationship of movement and sensation. How open and able are they to connect to movement and postures? How much can they sense inside their body? Can they experience emotions, and thoughts as they are moving and holding poses? Apana Vayu conditions are those that affect elimination and menstrual.  These conditions may be a premenstrual dysphoric disorder, menopause, fibroids, anemia, iron deficiency, inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease, colitis, ulcerative colitis, colorectal cancer, nephrolith, urethritis, nocturia, and enuresis and so on. Explore the capacity to let go, release patterns habits, thoughts and behaviors. When assessing the breath how much do they expand the lower abdominal area and how deep is the letting go on the exhale (ability to exhale fully)?  View the relationship of movement and sensation, can they let go of sensation, emotion, a belief that does not serve them in a posture and relax afterward.

Samana Vayu conditions are those that affect the digestive system, GI, and absorption.  These conditions may be functional gastrointestinal disorder, indigestion, acid reflux, dyspepsia, nausea, vomiting, peptic ulcer disease, abdominal pain syndrome, bloating, flatulence, gallstone pancreatitis, malabsorption, celiac disease, short bowel syndrome, vitamin B12 deficiency, and so on. Explore the capacity to integrate and assimilate. In assessing the breath, how much movement and expansion is in the ribs and side body, is the breath integrated well? View the relationship of movement and sensation, can they integrate what they are feeling and letting go of and have movement into Buddhi.

Udana Vayu conditions are those that affect the throat, thyroid and speaking. These conditions may be a sore throat, common cold, strep throat, flu, tonsillitis, laryngitis, thyroid nodules, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, goiter, thyroiditis, thyroid cancer, stuttering, selective mutism, dysprosody, clustering, and so on. Explore the capacity to articulate witness and observe sensation thought and emotion. In assessing the breath, how much movement expansion is there into the collarbones? View the relationship of movement, feelings and the ability to understand and articulate the qualities of sensation, emotions beliefs that arise in the body and mind as they move, release and hold postures.

Vyana Vayu conditions are those that affect circulation, distribution of energy and nervous system flow movement. These conditions may be Raynaud’s disease, neurological disorder, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, demyelinating disease, degenerative disease, dysautonomia, and so on. Explore the capacity to be fluid, to change and to expand beyond the egoic self. In assessing the breath, how much transition of the breath from one to the other?  How does the breath move throughout the body? View the relationship between movement and sensation and the ability to bring in a different perspective cultivate change in the relationship of sensation while in postures. What is the capacity for Buddhi and self-awareness and to modify the story and patterns of body and mind?

Mudras that May Provide Relief and the Potential Therapeutic Effects

Prana Vayu, when we look at the two conditions of heart and asthma, we could use apana vayu Mudra and Matangi mudra to provide relief for heart conditions. Apana Mudra is also known as the gesture of downward current of purifying energy. Touch the tips of the middle and ring fingers of each hand to the thumbs of the same hand. Extend the index and little fingers. Rest the backs of the hands onto the thighs or knees. You may consider silently repeating this affirmation “the downward current of energy purifies my body and mind completely” while you hold this gesture. The potential therapeutic effects of this mudra is supporting in lowering blood pressure, relieving stress and anxiety and releasing attachment. (LePage, 2014)  Matangi mudra also known as God of inner harmony and royal rulership can be used. Try doing this throughout the day three times to four minutes each while silently saying the affirmation “rest, silence and peace fill me completely.” The potential therapeutic effect is an excited heart becomes noticeably calmer and inner tension that disrupts digestion is resolved. Fold your hands in front of your stomach area, point both middle fingers and place against each other. (Hirschi, 2000)

 We can use more mudras and bronchial mudras to provide relief for asthma. Mira mudra is also known as the gesture of the ocean. Join the tips of the thumbs to the tips of the little fingers of the same hand. Bring the joined fingers and thumbs of each hand together. Touch the tips of the ring fingers together, extend the index and middle fingers and then rest the hands below the navel. As you hold this mudra you may consider silently repeating “Greater harmony in all my activities supports me in breathing freely and easily.” The potential therapeutic effects are to help respiratory issues and enhance abdominal breathing, reducing stress and relieving anxiety. (LePage, 2014) Bronchial Mudra is holding both hands and placing the little finger at the base of the thumb, the ring finger on the upper thumb joint, and the middle finger on the pad of the thumb while extending the index finger. Try doing this once a day for five minutes while silently saying the affirmation “Every breath gives me strength. It strengthens my body, mind and soul.” The potential therapeutic effect is in building up inner strength and keeps up the energy level as shallow breathing does not create the inner reservoir of strength and is often the cause for feelings of inner loneliness, isolation, and sadness. (Hirschi, 2000) 

Apana Vayu, when we look at the two conditions menopause and anemia, we can use Trimuriti mudra and Yoni mudra to provide relief for menopause. Trimurti mudra is also known as a gesture of the Trinity. Hold the hands in front of the pelvis with the palm facing the body and the fingers together and pointing downward. Extend the thumbs out to touch at their tips and join the index fingers to form a downward facing triangle. Rest the hands onto the pelvis below the navel. As you practice this mudra you may consider repeating this affirmation silently “Balanced at the center of my being, I embrace life’s transitions as opportunities.” The potential therapeutic effects are supporting all life changes, help support menopause and other reproductive issues including infertility, reduce stress and instill equanimity and sense of centering. (LePage, 2014)  Yoni mudra is also known as gesture of the womb. Interlace the fingers inward with the left little finger on the bottom. Join the pads of the index fingers and extend them forward. Accede to the pads of the thumbs and extend them back toward the body. Rest the hands below the navel or in your lap. As you hold this gesture you may consider this affirmation “Attuned to the rhythms of my inner being, I live in greater harmony and fluidity.”  The potential therapeutic effects are PMS and reproductive health, including menstrual imbalances, infertility and menopausal symptoms, attuning to the feminine, intuitive aspect of our being. (LePage, 2014)

We can use Merundanda mudra and Vajra mudra to provide relief for anemia. Merundanda mudra is also known as gesture of the spine. Make your hands into fists with the thumbs to the outside. Point the thumbs straight up, maintaining a gentle pressure of the fingernails into the palms. Rest the hands on the thighs or knees. Consider this affirmation while holding this hand gesture “Aligned with the central axis of my being, I live with complete integrity.” The potential therapeutic effects of this gesture are increased optimism and vitality, enhances awareness of the earth-sky axis, cultivates an ideal balance of life and grounding, supporting alignment of the spine, creating optimal space for the functioning of all organs and systems. (LePage 2014) Vajra mudra is also known as gesture of the diamond and its core quality is self-empowerment. Touch the tips of the thumbs to the tips of the index fingers of each hand. Bring the thumbs and index fingers of each hand together. Join the pads of the middle fingers together, forming a diamond shape. Curl the little and ring fingers naturally inward toward the palms. Hold the gesture at the solar plexus with the middle fingers facing forward. As you hold this gesture use the affirmation of “Attuned to my inner jewel, of radiant energy, self-esteem awakens naturally.” The potential therapeutic effects for this mudra are, enhances the movement of the diaphragm which massages and supports the health of the digestive system while increasing circulation into the mid back, kidneys and adrenal glands. (LePage, 2014)

Samana Vayu, when we look at the two conditions of irritable bowel syndrome and digestive conditions, we can use apanayana mudra and bhramara mudra to provide relief for irritable bowel syndrome. Apanayana mudra is also known as the gesture of the vehicle of elimination. Make the hands into soft fists with the thumbs inside. Extend the little and index fingers straight out. Rest the backs of the hands on the thighs or knees and its core quality is to balance elimination. As you hold this gesture repeat the following affirmation “Balance in all of my activities supports my body in functioning optimally. The potential therapeutic effects are; supporting the treatment of IBS, reducing stress, instilling a sense of balance and conservation of energy. (LePage, 2014) Bhramara Mudra is also known as the bee. Place your index finger in the thumb fold, and the tip of your thumb on the side of your middle fingernail. Extend your ring and little fingers. Do this with each hand. You may consider doing four times a day for seven minutes each while silently repeating the affirmation “In love and serenity, I like (your name).” The potential therapeutic effect is to improve the immune system and to become aware of your fears while working to dissolve them. (Hirschi, 2000)

We could use Pushan mudra and Varuna mudra to provide relief for digestive conditions. Pushan mudra is also known as the gesture of the god of prosperity and its core quality is balanced digestion. On your left hand touch the tip of the thumb to the tips of the middle and ring fingers while extending the little and index fingers straight out. On the right hand touch the tip of the thumb to the tips of the index and middle fingers while extending the little and ring fingers straight out. Rest the backs of the hands onto the thighs or knees.  As you hold this gesture repeat the mantra “As my entire being is nourished completely I experience optimal health and vitality.”  The potential therapeutic effects of this mudra are; supporting optimal digestion, assimilation and elimination while facilitating digestion of life experiences. (LePage, 2014) Varuna Mudra is the god of water. Bend your little finger of your right hand until the tip touches the ball of your right thumb, place the thumb of your right hand on it. Press the little finger and thumb slightly with your left thumb. At the same time, your left hand encircles the right hand lightly from below. You may consider practicing this three times a day for forty-five minutes each while silently repeating the affirmation “I always have possibilities letting go of something, searching for a solution and changing things.” The potential therapeutic effects are to reduce mucus from the stomach and lungs and to evaluate the root cause to your overstimulated nerves, inner tensions and unrest, being pressed for time and experiencing fear. (Hirschi, 2000)

Udana Vayu, when we look at the two conditions of thyroid and endocrine conditions and cold and flu, we can use Garuda mudra and pashini mudra to provide relief for thyroid and endocrine conditions. Garuda mudra is also known as the gesture of the eagle and its core quality is to balance metabolism. Hold the right palm facing the chest. Place the palm of the left hand onto the back of the right hand. Slide the thumbs toward each other until they interlock. The hands are angled diagonally, forming wings, with the fingers held together or slightly open. A mantra to use with this gesture is “A balance of rest and activity supports all my body systems in functioning optimally.” The potential therapeutic effects are to promote health of the thyroid, throat and vocal cords while balancing rest and activity. (LePage, 2014) Pashini mudra or noose seal (simplified form mainly knees to chest pose). Draw your knees to the chest, wrap your arms under the hollow of your knees, and place your palms on the ears. Hold this position for ten breaths and then remain in the fetus position for a few seconds longer. While you hold this pose you can silently repeat the affirmation “Repose and peace fill me completely.” The potential therapeutic effects of this pose are to calm the nerves and regulate the thyroid gland. (Hirschi, 2000)

We could use Madhyama mudra and Linga mudra to provide relief for cold and flu. Madhyama mudra is also known as gesture of the middle finger with core quality of balanced energy. Hold the palms in front of the solar plexus. Gently press the tips of the middle fingers together, allowing the other fingers to relax inward. Release the shoulders back and down, with the elbows held slightly away from the body, the forearms parallel to the earth and the spine naturally aligned. A mantra to use with this gesture is “Cultivating balance in all of my activities, I experience greater energy and vitality.” The potential therapeutic benefits are to stabilize our level of energy and balance both giving and receiving. (LePage, 2014) Linga Mudra means upright mudra. Place both palms together and clasp your fingers. One thumb should remain upright; encircle it with the thumb and index finger of your other hand. You may consider doing this three times a day for fifteen minutes while silently repeating the affirmation” My powers of resistance develop more and more from moment to moment.”  The potential therapeutic effects of this mudra are to increase the powers of resistance against colds, coughs and chest infections by helping to loosen mucus that has collected in the lungs. (Hirschi, 2000)

Vyana Vayu, when we look at the two conditions of multiple scoliosis and Nervous System Conditions, we could use Vayana Vayu mudra and Anushasana mudra to provide relief for multiple scoliosis. Vyana Vayu mudra is also known as gesture of all-pervading current of energy and its core quality is to provide a healthy nervous system. On the right hand touch the tips of the thumb to the tip of the ring finger. The other fingers are extended. On the left hand touch the tip of the thumb to the tips of the middle finger. The other fingers are extended. Rest the hands on the thighs or knees with the palms facing upward. A mantra to use with this hand gesture is “Nourishing all my energetic pathways supports my nervous system in functioning optimally.” The potential therapeutic effects are improving circulation to the extremities, enhancing body awareness and promoting the free flow of energy within the subtle body. (LePage, 2014) Anushasana mudra is also known as gesture of direction and its core quality is all-pervading current of energy. Make the hands into fists with the thumbs to the outside, resting on the second knuckle of the ring finger. Extend the index fingers straight out and rest the backs of the hands onto the thighs or knees alternatively hold the hands out to the sides of the body with the index fingers pointing upward. A mantra to consider with this hand gesture is “Attuned to the all-pervading current of energy all facets of my being are integrated as a seamless unity.” The potential therapeutic effects are; directing breath and awareness from the center of the body to the extremities, supporting the functioning of the peripheral nervous, circulatory and lymphatic systems. (LePage, 2014)

 We can use Kartari mudra and Hakini mudra to provide relief for nervous system conditions. Hakini mudra also known as gesture of the goddess hakini and has the core quality of integration. Hold the hands facing each other in front of the solar plexus. Gently touch the tips of all the fingers and thumbs to the same fingers on the opposite hand. Hold the hands open and rounded as if hold a globe. A mantra to use with this hand gesture is “All the facets of my being are integrated as a seamless unity.” Potential therapeutic effects can be in creating an ideal balance between alertness and relaxation and directing breath and awareness to the entire body, balancing and integrating all systems of the body as well as the five elements. (LePage, 2014) Kartari mudra is also known as resting position. Lie in a supine position; place your hands next to your body or on your abdomen, with the right hand on top of the left. Now begin three-part breath.  With each exhale let the body become heavier and heavier. The potential therapeutic effects are to improve and deepen breathing, regenerating the autonomic nervous system and relax the entire body. (Hirschi, 2000)


In my experience mudras are very powerful. I have had great success in with following the fibromyalgia, anxiety and joint health mudras in LePage’s book with clients over the years. When I partnered with my cohort Ola recently, I taught her Matsya and Jalashaya mudra. It was interesting to observe her go from restless to calm. I also gave her permission to relax in between the two mudras. Afterward, she shared with me that she had a hard time during Matsya to settle in. However, when Jalashaya mudra started, she felt robust, secure and energy rising in her body.  Matsya’s core quality is healthy joints and activates Apana Vayu. Jalashaya’s core quality is serenity and enables Apana while opening and balancing the first and second chakra centers of safety and self- nourishment, releasing the peace of our true being. I have been fascinated by mudras for eleven years now. There is so much to learn and explore about their potential health benefits.


Five currents of prana and how they organize your physiology (5 Vayus ). (2015, January 08). Retrieved January 31, 2017, from http://sequencewiz.org/2014/09/03/5-vayus/


Hirschi, G. (2000). Mudras yoga in your hands. SanFrancisco, CA: Red Wheel.


Page, J. L., & Page, L. L. (2014). Mudras for Healing and Transformation (2nd ed.). Sebastopol, CA: Integratie Yoga Therapy.


Ramirez, S. (2011). YogaFit Restorative Teacher Training Manual (Vol. 4.14). CA:YogaFit


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Get Naked- Love Your Body

You are imperfect, permanently and inevitably flawed. And you are beautiful.”

― Amy Bloom

Time is highly elastic.  Have you ever asked someone how many hours they work? People on average work 40-65 hours in a week. If they say 75+ hours, they are most likely overestimating and not even realize that they are doing this. We sleep on average 52 hours a week. For me in my current life, there are 168 hours in my week of which I sleep 52 hours, work 65 hours leaving 51 hours for me. Since I am in grad school 40 hours is taken away leaving me 11 hours of my time. Leaving me time to apply my self-care.

Time will stretch to accommodate what we chose to accommodate.  The words “I don’t have time = It is not a priority.”  All of a sudden your water heater broke you would find the seven hours to resolve the problem and all aspects of your life would still work. Proving you could find time to practice your yoga, pilates and to have a walking program. You will accomplish what you prioritize. Is your health a priority? You have goals for your career, relationships, and health. Do you mind your self-care? Is self-care making it on your list? Sit down and take an honest look at your schedule and priorities.

There is nothing rarer, nor more beautiful, than a woman being unapologetically herself; comfortable in her perfect imperfection. To me, that is the true essence of beauty.

― Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience

Here are five suggestions to look at as they might be thwarting your efforts in reaching the desire of self-care:

1.)    Are you surrounding yourself with martyrs? Take a close look at your circle of co-workers, family, and friends. Are they reaching their self-care goals? Is self-care even on their radar? Or are they taking better care of their jobs, relationships, cars than themselves? Chose to surround yourself with positive, healthy people that are further along the self-care path than yourself so that you don’t have to re-invent the wheel.

2.)    Are you expecting that Rome was built in a day? In the time of expecting immediate gratification,  reality TV shows claiming that it can happen and social media only showing highlight reels of other people’s lives the mind can run away with expectations, judgments, and competition thoughts. Creating a new habit takes time, and there will be moments of irritability, frustration, poor me feelings and guilt for prioritizing your self-care. It doesn’t have to be an all or nothing task starts small 10 minutes a day and lead up to a daily practice.

3.)    Do you feel like you don’t deserve self-care? Can I put myself first without being selfish? Feelings of guilt and shame lead to half-hearted attempts and self-sabotage. Self-worth is the issue at heart and, this limiting belief is destructive in your life. If you are feeling frustrated, it is time to seek professional help to make a healthy investment in self-care. The time is now because your health is priceless because without it you cannot accomplish your other desires.

4.)    Are you paying yourself last? Are you trying to fit in your self-care after the to-do-list is done? Is this setting yourself up for success to do your self-care when you are already exhausted? Quality self-care and sitting in front of numbing activities such as TV and Mobile Device are two very different things. Do you think you are spending family time just to find out that everyone is really on an electronic device and not connecting with each other? Try connecting with your self-care be a role model and see if the dynamic of connection changes with your Self and those around you. Schedule some time when you are feeling energetic and can focus on your goal of improving your self-care. You are worth being paid first.

5.)    Are you trying to meet your needs on the sly? You can’t fit your self-care in by not inconveniencing others. Why? Because self-care takes time, money and support to accomplish it. Leave filling silly, guilty and uncomfortable behind and get back the empowerment of your self-care, be a powerful role model for others. Take a stand for your self-care time and put in your planner and your families shared planner, give your family a chance to support you because they do want to see you healthy. In sharing your intention with those that love you, you are creating a robust support system that has the momentum to propel you to reach your goal of health.

The human body is the best work of art.”

― Jess C. Scott

Keeping your self-care on your to-do list is essential, and it is the difference between surviving and thriving.

You were meant to get naked with your time and priorities to RENEW your body, mind, spirit through daily integrative sustainable movement practices and LOVE your body.” Kim Searl

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Yoga and Ayurveda



Vata is the carrier, and the colon is its main site in the disease process. When Vata accumulates, it spreads to the blood, bones and other parts of the body. Vata acts primarily through the nervous system through which it flows like an electric current. Yoga therapy can help to calm, center and relax the body. You can do this through a slow asana practice, and keep the breath deep with emphasis on the inhalation. Pitta pushes or provokes, and the small intestine is its main site in the disease process, in which excess acids or toxic pitta accumulates and spreads through the blood to different parts of the body. Pitta acts primarily through the digestive system and the blood as the body’s primary thermogenic power. Yoga therapy can help to chill and relax the body. You can do this by surrendering to your asana practice and keeping the breath relaxed and exhaling through the mouth to relieve heat as needed. Kapha strengthens or resist, and the stomach is its main site in the disease process in which excess mucus accumulates and spread through the blood and lymph to different parts of the body. Kapha primarily acts through the plasma or lymphatic system as underlying nutrient solution making up the bulk of the body and providing nourishment to all the tissues. Yoga therapy can help to lighten the body and movement. You can do this through an active vinyasa practice, taking deep breaths with an intention for your overall practice to be with effort.


Ayurvedic medicine practiced as an ancient healing system used in India and worldwide. The theory of Ayurveda is based on balancing the individual’s three constitutional doshas (i.e., Pitta, Vata, Kapha). Both intrinsic and extrinsic factors are considered such as indiscriminate diet, undesirable habits, not observing rules of healthy living, seasonal abnormalities, lack of movement, misuse of body, mind, and spirit can cause disease. Typically in an Ayurvedic session, there is a diagnosis based on a comprehensive history, detailed physical examination, measurement of vital signs including pulse, and relevant laboratory tests. (Qureshi, 2013)

Yoga Therapy is the process of empowering individuals to progress towards improved health and welling through the application of the teachings and practices of yoga according to IAYT (International Association of Yoga Therapists). A yoga therapist uses tools such as asana/postures, adjustments to movement, pranayama/breath work, meditation, lifestyle and Yama and Niyama to guide the experience. A yoga therapist does not diagnose, medicate, give nutritional advice, massage or do psychotherapy. The process involves an intake, assessment, evaluation, plan and review and uses the Panchamaya Kosha Model of healing which is an ancient model of the human system (i.e., Anamaya Kosha, Pranamaya Kosha, Manomaya Kosha, Vijnanamaya Kosha, Anadamaya Kosha).

Both Yoga and Ayurveda reflect the Vedic idea that we must live according to our unique nature and its particular capacities.

 Characteristics of Dosha

Dosha means “fault, impurity or mistake” which is a bit hard to understand in a yoga and Ayurveda context, therefore, we may think of dosha as an organization. It is important to comprehend that all three doshas are present in everybody and everything. When the doshas are in balance they maintain a harmonious psychophysiology as when they are imbalanced they pollute the bodily tissues which lead to disease. The three doshas Pitta, Vata, Kapha bind the five elements into flesh. Vata is space and air; Pitta is fire and water, Kapha is water and Earth. Each of these doshas has their attributes.

Vata means a vehicle to carry or move. Vata regulates movement from the activity of how many thoughts we have to the efficiency of how our food moves through our digestive track.  Vata tends to have few or no children, delicate in health, irregular appetite and thirst. A vata behavior may be easily excited, easily alert and quick to act without thinking. They have great imaginations, daydream, tend to love someone out of fear of loneliness, do not like sitting idle, seek constant action, make good money, have difficulty saving, faith is flexible, and are ready for a change. (Lad, 2002) When Vata is in a sattvic state, the individual is creative, open-minded, communicates well, is a source of constant inspiration and possess a strong sense of human unity. When Vata is in a rajasic state the individual is very active and running to achieve various goals that change continually, they are restless, easily distracted, talkative, superficial and disruptive. When Vata is in a tamasic state the individual is fearful, goes against the order, easily addicted to things, can be suicidal and cannot be trusted. (Frawley, 1999)

Pitta means heat and to be austere.  Pitta usually has strong appetites and like cold drinks and sweets. Pitta is usually disciplined, leaders, confident, wisdom, like to learn, and can concentrate. At times they are judgmental, critical, and perfectionistic. They like noble professions; make large amounts of money, like expensive items, lower sex drive, moderate strength, medium life span and material wealth. (Lad, 2002) When Pitta is in a sattvic state, the individual shines like the sun, disciplined, discriminating in their thinking and always consider the viewpoint of others, friendly, courageous, natural leaders with strong wills for growth and development. When Pitta is in a rajasic state the individual aims at achievement no matter the means, promote themselves and their agendas, critical, controlling, prone to anger and intolerance and reckless. When Pitta is in a tamasic state the individual is destructive, violent, resentful and hostile in life and takes it out on everyone around them, they do not respect social laws or feelings of others and can be psychopathic.  (Frawley, 1999)

Kapha means water.  Kapha has a steady appetite and thirst with a slow digestion and metabolism which result in weight gain which is hard for them to shed. They like to eat, sit, do nothing and sleep for extended periods of time. They have deep, stable faith, love, compassion, calm, and steady mind. They have good memories, deep melodious voices and monotonous patterns of speech. They make money and tend to save money. (Lad, 2002) When Kapha is in a sattvic state the individual is loving, devoted, faithful, they have a comforting presence, patient, a balance of mind, loyal, forgiving and supportive. When Kapha is in a rajasic state, the individual is dominating, controlling, greedy, materialistic, accumulates wealth and possessions until they are overwhelmed by them. When Kapha is in a tamasic state, the person has different addictions, depressed, incapable of self-reflection, blame, trample over others and is usually overweight and full of toxins. (Frawley, 1999)

How Imbalances Present for each Dosha

Vata attributes are dry, light, cold, rough, subtle, mobile, clear, astringent taste and brownish/blackish colors. Vata imbalances produce fear, anxiety and abnormal movements, however, when in balance it promotes joy, happiness, creativity and flexibility. Vata governs breathing, blinking, muscle, sneezing, elimination, and tissue movement, the pulsation of the heart and all changes in the cytoplasm and cell membranes. (Lad, 2002)

 Kapha attributes are thick, slow/dull, cold, oily, liquid, slimy/smooth, dense, soft, static, sticky/cloudy, hard, gross and a sweet and salty taste, white in color. Kapha imbalances produce attachment, greed, passiveness, apathy, laziness and congestive disorders, however, when in balance it promotes love, strength, peace, longevity, memory retention, calmness, and forgiveness. Kapha forms the body’s structure, organs, provides the cohesion that holds the cells together and supplies the water for all bodily parts and systems; it lubricates joints, moisturizes the skin and maintains immunity. (Lad, 2002)

 Pitta attributes are: hot, sharp, light, liquid, spreading, mobile, oily and sour, pungent and bitter to taste. Pitta imbalances produce anger, hatred, jealousy, and inflammatory disorders; however, when in balance it promotes understanding and intelligence. Pitta governs digestion, vitality, absorption, assimilation, nutrition, metabolism, and body temperature. (Lad, 2002)

 Plan of Care for each Dosha

In teaching a vata individual it is best to use words like calm, slow, steady, grounding, strengthening, and consistent. The goal of a yoga practice would be the removal of stiffness from the joints, steadiness of the muscles, feeling of groundedness, calm and support. If you chose to do sun salutations with this individual, they should be done slowly and consciously.  Pranayama techniques like right nostril breathing, retention after the inhalation and Nadi Shodhana (combination of heating and cooling) are beneficial for this dosha.

The sequence of vata reducing asana practice is designed to build core strength while maintaining their flexibility. Some things to consider when teaching a vata sequence is to do it in the quiet, to hold the standing, sitting, forward bends and twists longer than the client is inclined to do as this longer hold will be a challenge and a reward for an individual in the long run. Surya Namaskar (sun salutations) holding each pose for a breath before moving on, to practicing being conscious of the movement. Adho Mukha Svanasana (or Wall Push), Tadasana (Mountain), Utkatasna (Chair), Trikonasana (Triangle), Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior 1), Parsvottanasana (Pyramid), Padangushthasana (Gorilla), Navasna (Boat), Prep for Sirsasana (Dolphin), Child’s pose, Legs-Up-the-Wall, Locust, Dandasana (Staff), Pashimottanasana (Seated Forward Fold), and Marichyasana III (Seated Spinal Twist).  (Kozak, 2001) Pala Mudra helps with anxiety relief and can be paired with an affirmation of “At peace within my inner being, I experience a greater sense of security.” and can be held for a couple of breaths or as long as fifteen minutes. (LePage, 2014)

For meditation, corpse poses with knees, ankles, wrists supported, eye pillow, neck roll, folded blanket around the top of the head and covering the ears, and a blanket to cover the whole body. You may even consider a sandbag on the belly. Long mediations for at least twenty minutes are needed to calm the fear and anxiety that is their inherent tendency.  Meditation can help them sleep, alleviate nervous digestion, strengthen their immune system. Mantra and visualizations work well for them.  Visualizations such as earth, water, mountain, ocean, lotus, rose, the light of the sun at dawn can help as well as color therapy of gold and saffron will contribute to clear their mental field. Mantras of RAM, SHRIM, HRIM are ideal for them to use throughout the day if they find themselves losing balance to worry and anxiety. Devotional meditations that a vata might resonate with are Vishnu as the avatar and savior of Rama, Ganesha as grounding, Hanuman power of prana and represents higher vata characteristics. Vata’s are learning to stabilize their inner nature so that the every changing external world does not un-ground them. (Frawley, 1999)

In teaching a pitta individual, it is best to use words like cooling, relaxing, surrendering, forgiving, gentle and diffusive. The goal of a yoga practice would be to feel the coolness, calm, openness, patience, tolerance; reduction of inflammation, and acidity. Rather than doing the sun salutation, the Moon Salutation (Chadra Namaskar) works better for them. Pranayama techniques like shitali and sitkari and left nostril breathing decrease pitta.

The sequence of asana is for pitta reducing and practiced in an effort with ease that is non-goal oriented. Focus on the breath monitoring the level of work intensity. Forward folds and twists are effective in reducing and bringing up pitta. If you are reducing pitta, hold the postures for extended periods of time. Chandra Namaskar (Moon salutations) done at 50-60% of their effort level works well for them, and they will still be working harder than most. Cat Stretch, Locust, Adho Mukha Svanasana, Low Lunge, Padottanasna, (Standing Straddle fFold), Legs up Wall with Pelvis lifted, Child’s pose, Supta Padagusthasna (Hand to Big Toe), Paschimottansana (Seated Forward Fold), SupineTtwist. (Kozak, 2001) Padma Mudra helps to reduce anger and find unconditional love and used with the affirmation of “nurturing the garden of my heart allows for the blossoming of unconditional love.” and can be done at any time for a couple of breaths up to fifteen-minute practice. (LePage, 2014)

 Savasana for fifteen-twenty minutes with a bolster under the knees, wrist, neck and eye pillow and using a strap at the thighs will help release anger, aggression and let go of their willful control approach to life. For meditation helps them concentrate their energy in a positive way toward an inner goal, however, ensure that they do not turn it into another form of achievement. Focus on expanding the mind and heart to reveal truth like waves move across the lake in the moonlight. Use non-fiery images like a mountain forest, lake, ocean, rain clouds, deep blue skies, the moon, and stars. For color therapy use the colors such as white, dark blue or emerald green. Mantras such as SHAM, SHRIM, OM are helpful throughout the day if anger arises for them. Forgiveness prayers and Meta can help them find peace and happiness for themselves and for those that they have harmed from their forceful actions. For devotional practices Lakshmi born of the ocean, Vishnu and Shiva in their forms of water and space, and God. Meditations that focus on the infinite space beyond the limitations of their critical mind is the art of developing discrimination for them. (Frawley, 1999)

In teaching a kapha individual it is best to use words like stimulating, moving, warming, lightning, energizing, and releasing. The goal of a yoga practice would be to normalize the body weight, reduction of congestion, removal of excess fat, mucus, and water from the body, a greater sense of detachment. Sun Salutations can be active and flow.  Pranayama techniques like Bhastrika and Kapalabhati decrease kapha in the body.

The following sequence is to help reduce Kapha.  Their practice should be energetic with a goal to first strengthen shoulders, arms, and legs so they may master the art of inversions. Hold Forward Folds shorter as this can increase kapha.  Surya Namaskar should be strong considering doing seven repetitions to bring up their heart rate. Adho Mukha Savasana (Downward Dog), Tadasana (Mountain), Vrksana (Tree), Trikonasana (Triangle), Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior 1), Virabhadrasana II (Warrior 2), Prep for Sirsasana (Dolphin), Sarvangasana I (shoulder stand at the wall), Locus, Niralamba Bhujangasana III (Cobra), Navasana (Boat), Supine Spinal Twist. (Kozak, 2001)  Svadhisthana Mudra is helpful with addictions and can bring in self-nourishment qualities. It can pair with an affirmation such as “completely at home at the center of my being, I experience deep nourishment and inner healing.” and can be done for a couple of breaths up to fifteen-minute practice. (LePage 2014)

Savasana should be five to fifteen minutes on the ground in corpse pose to help them release possessiveness and heaviness into a space of consciousness of true happiness and abundance. Meditation for a kapha may take a more disciplined approach as they are most likely to fall asleep, therefore doing more active meditations that include mantra, pranayama and meditation may work better for them. Focus on images that increase the fire, air and either elements like sun, wind moving through trees, an expanse of clear blue sky in colors like gold, blue and orange. Mantras of OM, HUM, AIM are good for stimulating energy for them. For a devotional practice, they may connect with Shiva or the Kali to stimulate them. Devotion should not become a form of self-indulgence but the purity of heart and mind. (Frawley, 1999)


The Vedas relate to an important practice of yoga and Ayurveda, which reflect an approach that comprehends all aspects of life. Yoga is the application of Vedic wisdom for self-realization. Yoga provides the means for purification of the mind (Chitta-shuddhi) to enable us to gain self-realization through Vedanta (self-knowledge).  Ayurveda is a Vedic method for healing and right living.  Ayurveda affords us purification of the body (deha-shuddhi) for optimal health and energy. As you learn the Vedic system and combine the related disciplines, you have a tremendous resource. (Frawley, 1999) In the modern world, you see these practices in integrative medicine. The body of research seems to be growing faster for yoga therapy, but both yoga and Ayurveda face difficulty. The challenge is in conducting randomized control trials because most of the treatments are individualized and targeted to the entire person. Future research may include looking at combining these integrative modalities and collect data with scientific rigor.




Frawley, D. (1999). Yoga & Ayurveda Self-Healing and Self-Realization. Twin Lakes, Wisconsin: Lotus Press.


Frawley, D., & Kozak, S. S. (2001). Yoga for your type: an Ayurvedic approach to your Asana practice. Twin Lakes, WI: Lotus.


Lad, V. (2002). Textbook of Ayurveda. Albuquerque, NM: Ayurvedic Press.


Page, J. L., & Page, L. L. (2014). Mudras for Healing and Transformation (2nd ed.). Sebastopol, CA: Integrative Yoga Therapy.

Qureshi, N. A., & Al-Bedah, A. M. (2013). Mood disorders and complementary and alternative medicine: a literature review. Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment9, 639–658. http://doi.org/10.2147/NDT.S43419

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