Emotions in Motion

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Emotions in Motion

Source: Yoga Journal • Donna Raskin 

You reach up and back, your chest opening into a supported backbend. Then, suddenly, you’re in tears. How did you move from serenity to intensity in just one moment?

By Donna Raskin

Last summer, Danielle Pagano hurried to her favorite yoga class feeling rushed but happy. Everything was fine until it came time to relax into Child’s Pose just before the end of class. With her head bowed and attention focused inward, Pagano, a 33-year-old vice president of an international investment company, began to cry. She spent the next few minutes struggling to contain herself, and wrote the experience off to exhaustion. When it happened again the following week—this time earlier in the asana progression—she was stunned.

What had at first been a relaxing hour for Pagano had become a stressful obligation. She realized that something significant had happened, but she refused to return to class until she felt confident that an emotional upheaval wouldn’t occur again. Not comfortable talking with her yoga teacher about it, Pagano skipped class for a couple of weeks, choosing instead to discuss the incident with her therapist.

Though Pagano didn’t know it, her experience is a common one, as are the concerns it raised for her: Was something wrong with her? When would she be able to stop crying? What did the people around her think? And why did this happen in yoga class and not, say, while she was eating lunch or taking a walk?

It’s a Good Thing

“The holistic system of yoga was designed so that these emotional breakthroughs can occur safely,” says Joan Shivarpita Harrigan, Ph.D., a psychologist and the director of PatanjaliKundalini Yoga Care in Knoxville, Tennessee, which provides guidance to spiritual seekers. “Yoga is not merely an athletic system; it is a spiritual system. The asanas are designed to affect the subtle body for the purpose of spiritual transformation. People enter into the practice of yoga asana for physical fitness or physical health, or even because they’ve heard it’s good for relaxation, but ultimately the purpose of yoga practice is spiritual development.”

This development depends on breaking through places in the subtle body that are blocked with unresolved issues and energy. “Anytime you work with the body, you are also working with the mind and the energy system—which is the bridge between body and mind,” Harrigan explains. And since that means working with emotions, emotional breakthroughs can be seen as markers of progress on the road to personal and spiritual growth.

That was certainly the case for Hilary Lindsay, founder of Active Yoga in Nashville, Tennessee. As a teacher, Lindsay has witnessed many emotional breakthroughs; as a student, she’s experienced several herself. One of the most significant occurred during a hip-opening class. She left the class feeling normal, but during the drive home became extremely upset and emotional. She also felt she’d experienced a significant shift in her psyche—something akin to a clearing of her spirit. Lindsay felt, as she puts it, released. “There is no question that the emotion came out of my past,” she says.

By the next day, her opinion of herself had taken a 180-degree turn. She realized she was a person who needed to constantly prove herself to be strong and capable, and saw that this was partly the result of an image instilled by her parents. Her spirit actually needed to recognize and accept that she was a proficient person and ease off the internal pressure. This realization, Lindsay says, was life-changing.

Not every spontaneous emotional event is quite so clear-cut, however. Difficult and stressful breakthroughs occur most often when the release involves long-held feelings of sadness, grief, confusion, or another strong emotion that a person has carried unconsciously throughout his or her life.

“Whenever something happens to us as a kid, our body is involved,” says Michael Lee, founder of Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy, which is headquartered in West Stockbridge, Massachusetts(see “Therapy on the Mat,” below). “This is particularly true of trauma. The body comes to the defense of the whole being. In defending it, the body does things to stop the pain from being fully experienced.

“Emotional pain is overwhelming for small children, because they don’t have the resources to deal with it,” he continues. “So the body shuts it off; if it didn’t, the body would die from emotional pain. But then the body keeps doing the physical protection even long after the situation has ended.”

Painful experiences, Lee adds, can range from small, acute ones to intense, chronic problems. Still, the mechanism at play is unclear: “We really don’t understand the body-memory thing,” he says, “at least in Western terms.”

The Body-Mind Connection

In yogic terms, however, there is no separation between mind, body, and spirit. The three exist as a union (one definition of the word yoga); what happens to the mind also happens to the body and spirit, and so on. In other words, if something is bothering you spiritually, emotionally, or mentally, it is likely to show up in your body. And as you work deeply with your body in yoga, emotional issues will likely come to the fore.

In the yogic view, we all hold within our bodies emotions and misguided thoughts that keep us from reaching samadhi, defined by some as “conscious enlightenment.” Any sense of unease or dis-ease in the body keeps us from reaching and experiencing this state. Asanas are one path to blissful contentment, working to bring us closer by focusing our minds and releasing any emotional or inner tension in our bodies.

Though the ancient yogis understood that emotional turmoil is carried in the mind, the body, and the spirit, Western medicine has been slow to accept this. But new research has verified empirically that mental and emotional condition can affect the state of the physical body, and that the mind-body connection is real. (Newsweek and Time both dedicated issues to the topic last year.)

Many doctors, psychotherapists, and chiropractors are embracing these findings, and are now recommending yoga to help patients deal with problems that only a few years ago would have been viewed and treated solely in biomechanical terms.

Hilary Lindsay recently experienced this firsthand. “I woke up one morning with my body completely distorted,” she remembers. “I went to see a chiropractor, who told me plainly, ‘There’s nothing wrong with you physically.'” The doctor suggested she try a Phoenix Rising session, which she did. The practitioner put Lindsay into some supported yogalike positions on the floor. “He did not focus on anything more than, ‘Here’s this pose and how does it feel?’ I would say something; he would repeat my word and say, ‘What else?’ until I would say there was finally nothing else.” The therapist never analyzed or discussed what Lindsay said, but still, she felt he helped her to see her problem.

“When I drove off on my own, I realized my words had just painted a clear picture of my approach to life,” she says. “I saw a power-driven maniac who was probably in the process of driving herself nuts.”

As the day went on, she felt physically healed, and attributes that to the emotional outcome of the session, which the asanas helped her access. In other words, she was able to release the distortion in her body only by releasing her inner tension.

“I did not have any repeat of the symptoms,” Lindsay adds, “and I felt the calm that comes with knowing yourself a little more than you did before. The awareness does not occur like the lightbulb over the cartoon guy’s head. It doesn’t come ahead of its time. The student has to be ready to receive it.”

Forcing the Issue

Teachers are divided as to whether it’s productive to actually try to raise difficult emotions on the mat. “One shouldn’t really try to have an emotional release during asana, but if it happens, that’s fine,” Harrigan says, voicing what seems to be the majority opinion.

Ana Forrest, founder of the Forrest Yoga Circle studio in Santa Monica, California, is an experienced yoga teacher who has had her own emotional breakthroughs both on and off the mat. She is proud of her intention to push her students toward—and through—their own emotional blockages (see “Poses That Push You,” below). “It’s not that I push with my hands,” Forrest explains. “But when I work with people, I really ask them to go deep, and I educate them along the way. I tell them, ‘You’re going to hit what’s stored in there. Let it come up and be cleansed out of your cell tissue. It’s a gift of the yoga.'”

At the beginning of each class, Forrest asks her students to “pick a spot that needs extra attention, so you can connect to that spot and then feel what emotion is connected to it.” For example, when a student tells Forrest she’s just had her heart broken, Forrest offers this advice: “Challenge yourself to make every pose about moving energy into your heart.”

Her approach has worked well for many students, she says, but it’s not without controversy. “People challenge me on this all the time,” Forrest says.

Richard Miller, Ph.D., a yogi and licensed psychologist, says trying to cause an emotional release is a subtle form of violence, because it suggests that “you need to be other than you are.” A true yogic view focuses not on change, he argues, but on self-acceptance on the student’s part. “In that way, change and spiritual growth will unfold naturally,” he says.

Miller, who is also a contributor to The Sacred Mirror: Nondual Wisdom and Psychotherapy(Paragon, 2003), a collection of essays by meditation practitioners and psychotherapists, stresses that it’s important for teachers to neither comment on nor try to “help” a student through any release. “The moment we become helpers, we become hinderers,” he says.

Forrest, however, believes that “most people need help with this, as our culture doesn’t educate us on how to work in a healthy way with our emotions,” and that without assistance, many people will remain stuck. Students trust her, she says, because of her own traumatic past (which includes sexual abuse, she openly shares) and her experiences working through emotions. “I’ve had years and years of therapy,” she says. “I’ve still got twisty places inside of me, but I know how to accept and work with whatever memories need to come up.”

Forrest tells her students, “I’ve walked the road you’re on; I’m just about 10 miles ahead of you. But I still have a road to walk. I’m not enlightened, but I know what it is to have my spirit directing my actions.”

And it’s not just the student who learns from the teacher. Forrest says that through her students, she has grown from having “an emotional range of about four inches to a larger capacity—but there’s always a lot of room for breakthrough.”

Teardrops on the Mat

When a breakthrough does occur—even if it’s much-needed—it can be hard for a person to cope with it. “If there is a release of emotion in a particular asana, according to Patanjali‘s Yoga Sutra[II.46–49], the thing to do is relax into the pose, regulate the breathing, and focus on the infinite to become centered in the deepest aspect of one’s self,” Harrigan advises.

Harrigan thinks teachers should encourage their students to find a comforting and inspiring word or mantra to turn to anytime during class and to correlate with their breathing. “This is a centering device that is always at the student’s disposal, no matter how or when the emotional release occurs,” she says.

“I also recommend that people taking a hatha yoga asana class keep a journal of not just the physical experience but what goes through their minds and their emotional states,” Harrigan adds. “This way, they can consider the spiritual aspect of their lives very consciously.”

When a student is facing a welling-up of emotion, the most powerful action teachers can take is to simply offer him or her quiet support. “I would teach the teacher not to judge the event but to observe it with the discriminate buddhi [wisdom] faculty,” Harrigan says. In this way, teachers can help their students disidentify with the feeling but use it later for self-study, either in yoga class or out—as Danielle Pagano did with her therapist. It is always wise, Harrigan adds, for teachers to be on the lookout for students who might benefit from a referral to a psychotherapist.

It’s important for students to use their buddha minds too, and to get help when they need it. Whereas Lindsay felt released and was easily able to process her feelings on her own, Pagano knew she needed to talk with someone. There are times when a good therapist—as opposed to a good yoga teacher—is the right choice, agree all the teachers interviewed for this article.

Better yet, says Richard Miller, is a combination of the two approaches. “Some therapists don’t have an understanding of the universe as a oneness; instead, they often believe they are helping their clients to have better lives by supporting them in achieving certain goals or resolving specific issues,” he says. “Meanwhile, yoga teachers who speak only of hamstrings or Pigeon Pose are not communicating a true yogic view of enlightenment or inner equanimity.” The truth, Miller concludes, is that “we are not here to try to change ourselves. We are here to meet ourselves where we are.”

Poses That Push You

Asanas are not prescriptive for emotional issues in the same way they can be for issues in the physical body. But most of the yoga teachers interviewed for this story agree that some poses seem to initiate emotional responses more than others.

“Camel, hip openers, and lunges” Ana Forrest suggests. “Camel because of its immediate impact in exposing the heart, hip openers because they tap into the vital feelings stored in the area, and lunges because there’s a lot of unchanneled potential and power in the thighs.” Twists and backbends can also trigger an emotional release.

However, what works for one person may not work for another. You cannot demand release and expect a response, although you can certainly, as Forrest asks of her students, listen to your body and discover where it needs to untie an emotional knot. If your heart feels heavy, if your stomach is constantly in turmoil, if your inner child needs comforting, you can create an asana and pPranayama program specifically for your condition, the same way you might practice inversions or balancing poses if you want to challenge yourself physically.

—D.R.

 

Therapy on the Mat

As a longtime devotee of both the therapy couch and the yoga mat, I was curious how the two blend together in Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy.

Michael Lee created Phoenix Rising specifically to help students cope with emotions. It combines assisted yoga postures, breath awareness, and nondirective dialogue based on the work of Carl Rogers, in which the therapist acts as a sounding board, repeating much of what the student says to allow her to stay with her own train of thought.

Lee drew inspiration from his own encounter with emotions on the mat in the early 1980s. He was living in an ashram where morning practice took place each day at 5:30. “Every day for a year and a half, the guy on the mat next to me would get about one-third of the way through class and begin to sob profusely,” Lee remembers. “Some people found it disturbing. One day, I said to him, ‘What’s going on?'”

“I don’t know,” the man answered. “I just get overwhelmed by sadness. I try to hold back a little so I don’t bother people.” It turns out that he had been experiencing these intense outbursts every morning for 10 years.

“The guru had previously instructed the man to just stay with his practice, because he believed his emotions would work themselves out through asana alone,” Lee recalls. “But even back then, I thought the experience required a more integrated approach.”

Lee talked with the man extensively about his experience and, in helping him, created Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy. He launched the program at the DeSisto School for emotionally troubled teens in Lenox, Massachusetts, in 1986, building on his background in group dynamics from the psychology movements of the 1970s. (Lee is not a licensed psychotherapist.) Practiced by yoga teachers, bodyworkers, physical therapists, and psychologists, the method aims to bridge the gap between body and mind. Unlike traditional therapy—which might focus on eliminating a phobia or improving a skill, such as communication between spouses—Phoenix Rising sessions focus on helping people recognize their own body’s wisdom and get to the source of emotions that may be causing aches and pains, physical or otherwise.

I wanted to experience the method for myself, so I turned to Carol S. James, one of 1,012 Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy practitioners around the world. We began by talking on a couch, where James asked me about my health, state of mind, and background. After telling her about a few things that were troubling my mind on that particular day, we moved to another area in the softly lit room, where we sat facing each other on a large, puffy mat. James asked me to focus on my breath, which brought me into the moment and allowed me to begin to talk.

Throughout the session, she moved me into very gentle supported poses (backbends, forward bends, and leg stretches), almost the way a personal trainer might stretch a client at the end of a workout. She asked me to tell her more about my thoughts, and repeated many of my words. The session sounded something like this:

“I feel sad that I’m 40 and alone.”

“You’re sad that you’re 40 and alone.”

“It’s surprising. I didn’t expect this to happen.”

“You’re surprised. Tell me more about that.”

And so on, until I found myself leaning back, physically, directly onto Carol and telling her more—a “more” I had never gotten to before.

The experience of physically leaning on someone while revealing myself to the person was one of the most profound I have ever had. During my session, I felt a connection to my deepest self, the self that is at peace. The combination of discussion and touch was sweet and deep.

At the end of the session, my heart was as open with love toward myself as it had ever been. The emotional breakthrough was not traumatic but physically and spiritually enlightening. I hate to glibly paraphrase Bob Dylan, but I truly felt released, and as Richard Miller said, I met myself right where I was, with love.

—D.R.

Donna Raskin is a yoga teacher and writer in Rockport, Massachusetts, and author ofYoga Beats the Blues (Fair Winds, 2003).

Yes! Yes! Yes!

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Come Alive!

Yes! Yes! Yes!

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” ~ Howard Thurman

In the past five months my heart has been roaring during my wakefulness, composing sonnets in my sleep, whispering sweet encouragement when I tremble and serenading me each time I meditate.  That’s my heart for yah. She’s pretty wild, courageous, optimistic and deep. Working with people in the arena of personal wellness and healing feels like a big full body “YES!” I know with every cell in my being that this is my life’s work.

Still, there’s this sharp prattling creature of a mind full of fear, shame, hesitation, financial insecurities and a healthy dose of occasional self-doubt. What if you don’t find what I offer worthwhile? Every time she comes to gnaw at my dreams and undermine my efforts I call her a slew of names. Nothing I couldn’t say in a studio full of 5-year old yogis – just naming what she is: “thinking.” Thinking, self-doubt, anger, fear, resentment, insecurity…  I’ve been whittling her claws down calling her by name and although she still sinks her teeth in from time to time, lately she isn’t making any serious flesh wounds.

This month I am embarking on a journey of becoming a Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy Practitioner. Over the next ten months I will be travelling to Canada and Vermont to attend a host of intensives. Even as I write this I have no clue how I’m going to get to British Columbia in less than 10 days. To throw in an extra measure of awesomeness, days after my first PRYT training, I am registered to study with my favorite teacher, Chrisandra Fox Walker, in her 60 hour Tantra Yoga Immersion in San Francisco. My vehicle registration is expired and I’ve got a boot on my car that just ate up my plane ticket funds. I’m not certain how I’ll pay for gas, I don’t know where I’m going to sleep, I’m not sure how I’ll navigate the trainings after that… What I do know is that I believe deeply in the work and I hear the small deep tenor of my heart singing a resounding “Yes!”  Over, and over, “Yes!”

This week has been a great opportunity to practice equanimity, faith, and creativity. This is my yoga. All I have to do is listen in for guidance and show up with all of me: fear and courage in tow. These minor obstacles are a magical invitation to reaffirm my commitment to my path. I live to reveal whatever it is that dims my heart’s shine.

So – here I go! I’m on a mission to put myself out of a day job and unlock deeper avenues of healing in my community and myself.  Yes! Thank you all for your support!

~ artemisia shine

From Artemisia Shine’s March 2013 Newsletter: Issue # 01

 

What Makes Your Heart Sing?

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What Makes Your Heart Sing?

by Artemisia Shine

We each waltz with a unique vibration that adds to the richness and texture of the unifying symphony of the Universe. We are here to playfully embody our deepest passions, gifts and skills in harmony with the cosmic dance. Let’s get our boogie on!
 
As you rise each morning, what is your life in service to – your work, your loved ones, amassing material resources, clinging to momentary pleasures, seeking validation, creating beauty, avoiding pain? What part of this equation is in service to your highest calling? WHAT ANIMATES YOUR SPIRIT? How do you honor that each day? 
 
Close your eyes and tap into your deep inner-rhythm; what inspires your heart to sing? Do you create time each day to listen? How much of your life is organized around this song? You are the eyes, the ears, the breath of essence experiencing life through you. Your entire being is a sacred offering. This body, this lifetime is a precious gift and we are each a miracle wrapped in temporal skin. Every moment is ripe with opportunity to tune into your unique rhythm. Take a moment right now to breath and listen for your own heart wisdom. How does the universe hum through you? Consciously offer up your enchanted vibration to the collective symphony.

Choose what you give your attention to. Not tomorrow, not next week, not after you loose those pesky 8 pounds or when you get a better job. Now. Right now. This moment. This breath. Step into the limitless stream of beauty, strength, love and inspiration that moves you in line with the joy of your own beingness.
 
Let your day unfurl from a continual return to conscious awareness. Find your heart beat in between the big moments even as minor irritations and major obstacles clamor their dissonant chords. Nestle into that pulse of aliveness. Open up to whatever arises as a tuning fork for your soul. 

This practice is not about becoming someone else or morphing into a better version of you. It is about revealing who you really are when you’re not diverting your attention by people-pleasing, minimizing your gifts, affecting a façade, making excuses, or safe-guarding your heart. It’s about realizing the Self through your most tender moments of expression.

You were born to revel in the exhilaration of doing what you most love. Let your presence bring you back to what is sacred within you. Dive headlong into the river of music within. Live on purpose. BE that which most lights you up. Wildly belt out your “YES!!”

Originally Published in the  March 2013 – Issue #01

Love and Sunsets

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Love and Sunsets

snake-river-overlook

Grief moves through me like a river
vast, surging, deep
carrying the debris of my stagnant expectations,
limited beliefs
widening the channel of my heart.

Grace flows with the current,
alive with integrity.
There is strength and honesty in the rushing, translucent tide.

As the sun settles beneath the rising ache,
my heart arcs in tender hues of love.

I love because it is how my cells organize.
I love even as love leaves me naked, raw, exposed…

I love because that’s how the soft creature of my body
folds itself into dreamtime
heart spilt,
eyes weighty and wet
soul worn and weary
I wake up ready for another day of loving.

I love because I exist.
I love because you are.
I love because beauty runs through me.

I love because sometimes
that is all
there is left
to do.

~ artemisia shine

sunset-river


					

5 Reasons for Teachers to (re)Commit to your Home Practice

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5 Reasons for Teachers to (re)Commit to your Home Practice

Source: Yogaglo • Jason Crandell • February 12, 2013

 

Commit to your Home Practice

Every training I teach includes a module about home practice and personal studies. And, invariably, it includes a slow dirge-like conversation that reveals the students’ personal practices are not—how can I say this in yoga-speak—thriving.While my teachers were not so forgiving about a lackluster home-practice, I get it. Practicing at home is not always as easy as taking a class and, the truth is, there are a lot of good classes out there (and, some lousy ones). But, developing your home practice is essential for the development of your self-awareness and the cultivation of your voice as a teacher. So, whether you’re practicing a YogaGlo class or doing an old-school, offline home-practice, the following reasons should remind you of the value of your personal practice.

  •  Practicing at home helps you develop the skill of self-care:

Actively participating in the wellbeing of your body, mind and breath is essential for your health. No, it’s not always easy. And, yes, it is always important. It’s incredibly easy for our wellness to take a backseat to our countless daily responsibilities. Yet, when we take care of ourselves with our practice everything else falls into place with a little bit more ease—and, if not, at least we’re in a little better shape.

  • To focus on specific needs such as shoulder opening, core strength, or deep relaxation:

Most of you know what your body needs in order to experience greater balance. Your home practice provides you with the opportunity to target specific areas of need—like shoulder opening and so on.

  • To focus on specific postures such as backbends or inversions:

A friend of mine began practicing at home for the sole purpose of working on handstand. The one class a week that she went to didn’t provide enough repetition for her to develop the posture. As such, the posture went nowhere for months until she took matters into her own hands and started a daily practice focused around learning this inversion. Not only did she learn the posture by focusing on it more regularly, she fell in love with her home-practice and has been committed to it ever since.

  • To do the poses you love:

Uggghhh and Arghhh. Those are the sounds I make when someone says they have to spend more time practicing poses that they loathe. I make the same sounds exponentially louder when someone says this is the advice that their teacher gave them. Why, the sounds? Simple: The advice is only partially logical and nearly impossible to enact. You will only white-knuckle yourself through things that you have an aversion to for so long—especially when those things are optional. And, since doing poses you don’t like is optional, very few people do actually do this. This is why people always say they should practice the poses they butt heads with instead of say do practice these postures. Instead, treat yourself! There are plenty of reasons you love the poses you love—one is that they are probably very good for you. So, dear ones, do some postures that you like and fall in love with them over and over.

  • To deepen your experience of yoga:

Honing your skills in any subject matter requires repetition. Taking 1 or 2 classes per week probably wouldn’t be enough to learn a new language—not without doing some homework each day. Deepening your yoga practice also requires an immersive experience. At very least, it requires consistent repetition. Sure, 1 or 2 classes per week is absolutely reasonable for a more casual student—and, it may be all that someone can muster at various phases of their life. But, in order for teachers to feel honest, authentic and inspired you need to dive in to your personal practice with much greater frequency.

Jason Crandell was recently named one of the next generation of teachers shaping yoga’s future by Yoga Journal for his skillful, unique approach to vinyasa yoga. Jason’s steady pace, creative sequencing, and attention to detail encourage students to move slowly, deeply, and mindfully into their bodies. Jason credits his primary teacher, Rodney Yee, teachers in the Iyengar Yoga tradition such as Ramanand Patel, and ongoing studies in Eastern and Western philosophy for inspiring to him bring greater alignment and mindfulness to Vinyasa Yoga.

Jason is a contributing editor for Yoga Journal and has written over 13 articles for the magazine and website – many of which have been translated internationally (including Japan, China, Italy and Brazil). His integrative and accessible teachings support students of every background and lineage, helping them to find greater depth, awareness, and well-being in their practice – and in their lives. Follow Jason on Facebook and Twitter.

You Are A Miracle

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You Are A Miracle

Need to bee wildly inspired? Not only is this video by Nini Canino breathtakingly beautiful, the lyrics to this song made my whole being resonate in agreement and wonder. Even better than all that, the band, Medicine For The People, reaffirms my belief in the magic of the human spirit and what we are all capable of when we dedicate our lives to raising everyone up around us.
Thank you Medicine for the People.  Thank you Nino Canino.

Please watch. I promise you it’s worth your time.

Ps. If you love this song (like I do) click this link for a free download of the song from Nahko & Medicine For The People!

“Aloha Ke Akua” Music by Nahko (Medicine for the People) – 2012
Video by Nino Canino on youtube at: http://www.youtube.com/user/SailinJerry
Visual production by The Mates Group for Estrellas Del Bicentario

About Medicine For The People: MAKING THE MOVEMENT MOVE

“Medicine for the People is a third year non-profit organization working with every kind of community imaginable to rekindle old traditions and spark the fire within the youth and elders to live their truths; to use your personal medicine and heal the wounds around us.

A community experience. Spirited thump-hop storytelling. Earth-based-spirit-inspired. Working for social and environmental justice. Musical medicine. Our band tours and performs at benefits to support causes for other non-profits aligned with a similar vision. Please contact us if you have an event that we might be able to help get moving with our music! Be a part of the global movement. We will activate our audience towards positive direct acti1on; a selfless tribe, caretakers of the land, walking in a sacred manner.”

Live by example. Live your truth. Sing loud. Be heard.”

Source: http://medicineforthepeople.wordpress.com

“Aloha Ke Akua” (God is love) 

Lend your ears, lend your hands,
Lend your movement, anything you can.
Come to teach, come to be taught.
Come in the likeness in the image of God.
Because, you can be like that.
With all that humbleness, and all that respect.
All of the power invested in me,
be it hard to love my enemies.
All of the black bags,
over the heads of the dead and dying.
The more I understand about the human race,
the less I comprehend about our purpose and place
and maybe if there was a clearer line the curiosity would satisfy.
Time based prophecies that kept me from living,
in the moment I am struggling
to trust the divinity of all the guides
and what the hell they have planned for us.
I cry for the creatures who get left behind
but everything will change in a blink of an eye
and if you wish to survive,
you will find the guide inside.

MmmMmmMmmMmmMmmMmmmmm. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

I go back and forth every single day,
the clarity that comes to me in a choppy way,
as the feelings
and the places
and the seasons change,
the galaxies remain.
Energy fields cone the body in space.
The angels that are coming from a spiritual waste.
The hate that gets me distant from my spiritual pace.
Ten fold the manna when the planets are in place, in polar alignment.
We’re on assignment.
Mmm,
Bodies on consignment.
Return them to the circus,
and what is the purpose?
What is the purpose and would you believe it?
Would you believe it if you knew what you were for,
and how you became so informed.
Bodies of info performing such miracles.
I am a miracle made up of particles
and in this existence,
I’ll stay persistent,
and I’ll make a difference
and I will have lived it.

Aloha, Aloha , Ke Akua, Ke Akua,
Aloha, Aloha, Kuleana, Kuleana,
Aloha, Aloha , Ke Akua, Ke Akua,
Aloha, Aloha, Kuleana, Kuleana,

Each day that I wake,
I will praise I will praise.
Each day that I wake,
I give thanks I give thanks.
Each day that I wake,
I will praise. I will praise.
Each day that I wake,
I give thanks, I give thanks.
Mmm

And the day that I do wake up
and transcend the holy makeup,
I am capable, Iam powerful.
And the day that I do wake up
and transcend the holy makeup,
I am on my way to a different place………..
Hut da da da doooo ……….

I am not a leader, just a creature.
Stick the peaches of my teacher when you follow where they lead.
All mysterious ways of nature and I am in to it.
Hmm
Changing management.
And there are various ways to conquer this, monotonous, metropolis,
my stubbornness is bottomless,
my fear is this is talking shit
and I am wide awake and I am taking names.

I am not a leader, just a creature.
Stick the peaches of my teacher when you follow where they lead.
All mysterious ways of nature and I am in to it.
I am into it.
Changing management.
And there are various ways to conquer this, monotonous, metropolis,
my stubbornness is bottomless
my fear that this is talking shit,
and I am wide awake.
Mmmm and I am takin names.

And there are various ways to conquer this, monotonous, metropolis,
my stubbornness is bottomless
my fear that this is talking shit,
and I am wide awake and I am takin names.

Do you speak to me like you speak to God?
All the love and understanding between the father and the son?
Do you believe in the perfectness of where you are?
He’s my people he’s my children it’s the land that I would fight for.
I saw an ebonese telling me to patiently move the music medicine around the planet in a hurry.
Cuz there’s no time to waste.
Got to wake up the people time to stand up and say,
we know what we are for
and how we became so informed.
Bodies of info performing such miracles.
I am a miracle.
Made up of particles
and in this existence
I’ll stay persistent
and I’ll make a difference
and I will have lived it. ……..
Hmm

Aloha, Aloha , Ke Akua, Ke Akua,
Aloha, Aloha, Kuleuna, Kuleana,
Aloha, Aloha, Ke Akua, Ke Akua,
Aloha, Aloha, Kuleana, Kuleana,

Each day that I wake,
I will praise, I will praise.
Each day that I wake,
I give thanks, I give thanks.
Each day that I wake,
I will praise, I will praise.
Each day that I wake,
I give thanks, I give thanks.

And the day that I do wake up and transcend the holy makeup,
I am capable.
Hm that’s right, I am powerful.
And the day that I do wake up and transcend the holy makeup,
I am on my way to a different place a a ace!
Ho ho ooo eh eh eh eh na na na na na na na hm hm hm hm

Aloha, Aloha, Ke Akua, Ke Akua,
Aloha, Aloha, Kuleana, Kuleana

showing up

Aside

showing up

today i’m just gonna keep showing up.
amazing inspiring morning: i am here for this.
afternoon spent anxiously starting at the computer screen – i’m here for this too (though shiftin’ that scene for sure!)

my heart is present.
all of it is sacred –
the muck, the wonder, the frustration, the doubt…

uncovering the rough edges in my heart,
i found myself in a moment of waiting,
not putting any energy out
feeling for the energy offered

almost disappointed…
almost… but now,

now I remember.
i generate my own electromagnetic field
and I’m humming in it right now
cultivating the vibrations that raise me up
bringin’ me closer to the fullness of my heart ,
the wonder behind my eyes,
the beauty in my breath

loneliness – i am that
love – i am this.
inspiration – she’s roaring through me!
courage – bring it on.
despair? we’re friends too.

bonfire tonight. i’m having one. even if I’m the only one to show up
i will raise my eyes towards the stars and let Agni recirculate the warmth of my dreams back into the charged air particles around me

oxygen. thank you.
life. thank you.
friends, i love you.

tonight i am fire.

i’m gonna keep showin’ up.

ps. you’re invited to join me. 😉

Observing Artemisia

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Observing Artemisia

by: Maya Cooper • January 2013


hear watching
Wisdom of new perspectives unfold—a tended to heart resets itself in the rhythm of wholeness.

I am in relationship with the invisible, wise, essential energy that is behind the scenes as I interact with people, places and things. It’s easy and enjoyable for me to see/feel/hear/know about the energy that precedes expression. There is a tone of purity that occurs when the energy that is seeking expression, gets a clear, full, rich path out into the world. It absolutely delights me at a soul level when it occurs.

Artemisia is one of those beings who is very adept at surrendering and allowing these wise energies to take shape and meaning though her with ease. She has delighted and impressed me with her simple and honest ability to express her own essential energy clearly as she has shared herself with me over the many months we have been meeting. Now I watch as she begins to access that innate gift and begin to use it to support others in a new way. She is branching out and letting her heart guide her on behalf of her desire to bring the world into greater harmony.

As Artemisia sits down with the client she relaxes into herself, she touches in with the chambers of her own heart, finds the peace within, then states her intention. “What makes your heart sing?” I watch as the energies gather in and around the client and her. These building energies begin communicating and sharing with each other.  Artemisia effortless feels through the silky stands of colors, words, images, and experiences and gently combs them into form. She honors them and then begins giving them a true expression.

She is non-judgmental and without expectation and that grants her access a fuller pallet of what is in the moment with us. Judgments and expectations restrict. We cannot give a true and honorable voice to that which we have deemed lesser than. Artemisia holds all of what is available to her in equal respect and lets it shine and share.

As she reads, she weaves and mends, pets and strokes, loves and cares for the gathering energies. She is re-patterning the person she is reading for. It is healing to be seen without judgment, to have your tender energy witnessed and handled with care and shared back with you. To have inner expectations dissolve in the light of what is. To have your heart’s beauty expressed out loud. You become aware that are more yourself in a sturdy new way. She is watering the thirsty plant of her client’s deep heart. I see them perk up, sit straighter, open their hearts more, align with their greater truth, fall more in love with themselves.

After a session with Artemisia you can walk away feeling like you are a big Yes!  Yes! I am beautiful. Yes! I am contributing to the world. Yes! It is good to be me. Yes! it is good to shine.  Isn’t that what the world needs more of? Each of us being in the fuller Yes! of who we are?

 Mayacooper~ Maya Cooper,
Hands on healing, energy work, intuitive counseling and mentoring

 

Artemisia Shine has had the joy of journeying through a year of mentorships with Maya Cooper.

School Adds Yoga to Physical Education Curriculum

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School Adds Yoga to Physical Education Curriculum
Source: The Bismark Tribune • Associated Press • December 12, 2012

School adds yoga to physical education curriculum

ENCINITAS, Calif. — Public school yoga instructor Katie Campbell proudly looks out at 23 first-graders as they contain their squirming in a kid-friendly version of the lotus position.

In a voice barely above a whisper, she says into her microphone: “Why look at everyone showing me they’re ready for yoga. A-plus, plus, plus.”

Then the lesson begins with deep breathing and stretches common to many yoga classes.

But there is no chanting of “om,” no words spoken in the Indian language of Sanskrit nor talk of “mindfulness” or clasping hands in the prayer position.

Campbell avoids those potential pitfalls for the Encinitas Union School District, which is facing the threat of a lawsuit as it launches what is believed to be the country’s most comprehensive yoga program for a public school system.

Parents opposed to the program say the classes will indoctrinate their children in Eastern religion and are not just for exercise.

It’s a debate public schools across the country are increasingly facing with the rising popularity of the practice and the recent dispute over school prayer.

‘21st century P.E.’

Yoga is now taught at public schools from the rural mountains of West Virginia to the bustling streets of Brooklyn as a way to ease stress in today’s pressure-packed world where even kindergartners say they feel tense about keeping up with their busy schedules. But most classes are part of an after-school program, or are offered only at a few schools or by some teachers in a district.

Encinitas is believed to be the only public school system that will have yoga instructors teach full-time at its nine schools as part of an overall wellness curriculum that includes nutrition and a school garden program, among other things.

“This is 21st century P.E. for our schools,” said Encinitas Superintendent Timothy B. Baird. “It’s physical. It’s strength-building. It increases flexibility, but it also deals with stress reduction and focusing, which kickball doesn’t do.”

The program is expected to teach a 30-minute yoga lesson to roughly 5,000 students twice a week at the district’s schools, which run kindergarten through sixth grade. It is funded with a $533,000 grant from the Jois Foundation, a nonprofit group whose board of directors includes the son of the late Indian instructor Krishna Pattabhi Jois, whose teachings are said to have popularized Ashtanga yoga in the Western world and were followed by Madonna and Sting.

Jois Foundation’s program director Russell Case said Encinitas is building a national yoga model for public schools.

“Kids are under a lot of stress. There are a lot of mandates on them to perform. We think it would be extremely helpful to have 10 to 15 minutes possible to sit and be reflective instead of go, go, go,” he said.

Researchers at the University of Virginia and University of San Diego will study the program, including analyzing data on students’ resting heart rates.

They want to know if public schools can impact not only children’s learning, but instill in them good eating habits and skills to help their well-being.

Protests

The program started in several schools in September but will go district-wide in January after months of protests by a group of parents.

Mary Eady pulled her first-grade son out of the classes.

Eady said she observed a kindergarten class in which the children did the motions referred to in yoga practices as a sun salutation. The folded over children, stood upright, sweeping up their arms toward the sky.

She said while the teacher called it an “opening sequence” the connotation was the same in her mind: Students were learning to worship the sun, which went against her Christian beliefs that only God should be worshipped.

“It will change the way you think,” she said. “What they are teaching is inherently spiritual, it’s just inappropriate therefore in our public schools.”

Their attorney, Dean Broyles, said they are considering suing to halt the program.

Despite the long debate over prayer in school, constitutional law experts say the courts still have not clearly defined what constitutes religion.

“You might get litigation on a program like this because it’s not totally settled what the boundaries of religion are,” said New York University law professor Adam Samaha.

He points to the 1979 ruling by a federal court that blocked transcendental meditation classes from being taught in New Jersey public schools, deeming those particular lessons to be religious.

But the court did not go so far as to rule that meditation in general is, and Samaha thinks courts would not deem yoga a religious practice. If they did, it would open the door to scrutinizing a host of activities.

“It’s practiced by enough people, who probably don’t believe they are engaging in a religious practice,” he said.

Avoiding risk

Still, Encinitas Assistant Superintendent David Miyashiro said administrators are not taking any risks.

“In light of all the attention, it’s not enough to remove things with cultural references but also anything that can be perceived by onlookers as a concern,” he said. “We think it’s important to keep this program in our schools and we’re going to do what we can to protect it.”

At Flora Vista Elementary School, those precautions were apparent.

“Spread out, we’re getting ready for some airplane,” Campbell said as the children laid on their mats face down and spread their arms, arching their back and then flopping back down. Later she said: “now push back to downward dog.”

At the end, the children sprawled on their backs to relax like a “pancake” as the lights went off. There were soft giggles. Some wiggled in the dark or fiddled with their socks.

“We’re like melting cheese,” Campbell reminded the students.

Principal Stephanie Casperson said fewer children now come to her office for acting out.

“I have teachers who say before a test now students do yoga to calm themselves so they’re transferring it into the classroom, into their lives,” she said.

During a recent fire drill, 6-year-old Sylvia Lawrence said she folded over into a yoga position under her desk.

“It made the fire drill more fun,” she said.

Maria Walsh, 11, said she was never into other sports.

“It’s just a fun way for me to exercise,” said the freckled, blond-haired girl with a big smile.

Military Battle PTSD With Yoga

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Military Battle PTSD With Yoga

Source: Huffington Post David Wood • December 12, 2012

Yoga For Wounded Marines At a retreat for retiring Marines with combat wounds and PTSD, yoga teacher Annie Okerlin helps them work through pain, stiffness and anxiety and begin to relax. Pentagon-funded studies have shown yoga to be an effective therapy for combat trauma. (David Wood, The Huffington Post)

For a decade, troops returning from war with mental and physical trauma have been dosed with cocktails of numbing drugs and corralled into talk-therapy sessions, often with civilian clinicians who have no experience in combat and its aftereffects.

But alarmingly high suicide rates among veterans, as well as domestic violence, substance abuse and unemployment, suggested to some military doctors, combat commanders and researchers that conventional treatments aren’t always enough.

Now, one proven, effective treatment is gaining wide acceptance within hard-core military circles: yoga.

Once dismissed as mere acrobatics with incense, yoga has been found to help ease the pain, stiffness, anger, night terrors, memory lapses, anxiety and depression that often afflict wounded warriors.

“It’s cleansing — I really feel refreshed,” Marine Sgt. Senio Martz said after finishing a recent yoga session.

A stocky 27-year-old, Martz was leading his nine-man squad on a foot patrol through the lush poppy fields and rock outcroppings of the Kajaki district of southern Afghanistan 20 months ago when a roadside bomb knocked him unconscious and killed or wounded the Marines under his command. The blast put an end to his plans for a career in the Marine Corps. It also left him hyper-vigilant, a symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder, and carrying the joint burdens of guilt and shame: As a squad leader, it had been his responsibility to bring his nine Marines home safe.

“It’s a feeling of regret — failure — that really affects me now,” he said. “I didn’t see the signs that could have alerted me to warn them to get away.” He stared at the floor and then looked up with a tight smile. “I go on living where their lives have ended. I can’t help them now.”

Yoga gives him relief from the acute anxiety that forces him to listen to and sight-sweep everything around him, constantly checking the doors and windows, always on alert, poised for danger, with no break. It is hard for him to let go.

“I gotta push myself to try some of these techniques,” he admitted. “But last night after yoga, I had a good sleep. That’s a place I haven’t been in a long, long time.”

Martz’s experience is backed up by reams of scientific studies, including research funded by the Pentagon and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Researchers have demonstrated that trauma-sensitive yoga, which focuses on stretching, breathing techniques and meditation, can help patients regain their inner balance, calming that part of the brain that has become hyper-aroused under severe stress.

Trauma or prolonged stress can cause a malfunction of the parasympathetic nervous system, researchers say. That’s the part of the brain which enables the body to relax, easing pain and even helping unblock digestive systems — often a problem for wounded troops who get high doses of medication and not enough exercise.

In war zones, researchers have found, this parasympathetic nervous system often becomes “frozen” as the body gears up for danger by injecting adrenaline into the bloodstream, causing rapid breathing and pulse and hyper-vigilance — the “fight or flight” response.

That’s good and necessary self-preservation in times of peril that helps keep troops alert and alive. Back home, however, that hyper-vigilance is out of place and can cause insomnia, anxiety and outbursts of anger. Returning warriors with PTSD become dependent on drugs or alcohol “because they have no other way to calm themselves down,” said Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, a clinician and researcher who has studied PTSD since the 1970s.

Not all yoga helps. Some forms of yoga are used by special forces, for instance, to build muscle power and flexibility. But yoga teachers working with wounded troops have developed trauma-sensitive forms of yoga, including a technique called iRest. This adaptation uses meditation techniques in a soft and secure setting to reactivate the parasympathetic nervous system by drawing the patient’s attention and consciousness inward, rather than focusing on stress and the terrors that dwell outside, said yoga teacher Robin Carnes.

For instance, Carnes has learned that when she is giving a class to troops with hyper-vigilance, like Martz, she should first open all the closet doors and drawers, so that her patients don’t spend all their time fretting about what might be inside.

In 2006 Carnes, a veteran yoga practitioner and teacher, began working with wounded troops at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, now located outside Washington, D.C. There, she led a Pentagon-funded program to develop trauma-sensitive yoga, and pioneered the techniques now called iRest. She later established an organization called Warriors at Ease to train and certify teachers to use the techniques with the military.

Drawing from traditional yoga, iRest teaches patients to firmly plant their feet and activate their leg muscles in poses that drain energy and tension from the neck and shoulders, where they naturally gather, causing headaches and neck pain.

“The goal here is to move tension away from where it builds up when you are stressed, and focus it on the ground so you feel more balanced and connected,” Carnes said.

When she started at Walter Reed, she said, she was working with eight wounded troops with physical and mental health injuries. Some hadn’t slept for more than two hours at a time, for years, she said. “They were immediately like, ‘I can’t do this, it won’t work, you have no idea what’s going on in my brain.’ I’d say, ‘Just try it, it’s helped others.’ And probably because they were desperate — nothing else had worked, including drugs — they did try it. And I saw, sometimes within the first day, they started to relax. Snoring! They’d tell me, ‘I don’t know what happened, but I feel better.'”

One of her patients was struggling with outbursts of violent anger, a common effect of PTSD, and had gotten into raging arguments with his wife. Several weeks into regular yoga classes, he went home one day “and his wife lit into him and he could feel a confrontation coming on,” Carnes said. “He told me that he’d taken a deep breath and told his wife he was going upstairs to meditate. And that was the first time he’d been able to do that.”

Practices like iRest and other forms of yoga are so clearly effective that now they are taught and used at dozens of military bases and medical centers — even at Little Creek Naval Amphibious Base in Norfolk, Va., home of the Navy SEALs, the branch of commandos who killed Osama bin Laden.

“I knew anecdotally that yoga helped — and now we have clinical proof of its impact on the brain, and on the heart,” said retired Rear Adm. Tom Steffens, a decorated Navy SEAL commander and yoga convert. Within the military services and the Department of Veterans Affairs, he said, “I see it growing all the time.”

Steffens, an energetic man with a booming voice, first tried yoga to deal with his torn bicep, an injury that surgery and medication hadn’t helped. He quickly became a convert, practicing yoga daily. Visiting with wounded SEALs a decade ago, he noticed that “the type of rehab they were doing was wonderful, but there was no inward focus on themselves — it was all about power as opposed to stretching and breathing.”

Before long, Steffens had helped start a foundation, Exalted Warrior, that holds yoga classes for wounded troops and their families at the Portsmouth Naval Hospital in Virginia, the James A. Haley VA Medical Center in Tampa, Fla., and elsewhere.

The military’s embrace of yoga shouldn’t be a surprise. After all, yoga — a Sanskrit word meaning to “join” or “unite” — dates back to 3,000 B.C., and its basic techniques were used in the 12th century when Samurai warriors prepared for battle with Zen meditation. Still, some old-timers are shocked to find combat Marines at Camp Lejeune, N.C. and amputees at James A. Haley VA Medical Center practicing theirDownward Dog and deep breathing techniques.

One early skeptic: Thomas S. Jones, a wiry retired Marine major general who likes to mask his love for Marines with a staccato parade-ground bark and a jut-jawed, prove-it approach to life.

Some years ago Jones started inviting wounded Marines to an intense, six-day retreat at a camp in the mountains of Pennsylvania to help them figure out what to do with the rest of their lives, to set goals and start working toward them. He quickly found that the Marines, struggling with physical wounds and PTSD, had trouble focusing. Someone mentioned that yoga might help. “Well, we’ve tried some ideas that didn’t work out and we threw them away,” Jones said dismissively, “but we’ll try it.”

And? “It has helped,” Jones told The Huffington Post in a slightly disbelieving voice. Yoga has since become a centerpiece of the retreat, called Semper Fi Odyssey. “This whole idea of relaxation, there’s a lotta guys who can’t do hardly anything physical, can still do yoga. And there’s a lot of value in meditation.”

The results, Jones and others have discovered, are indisputable.

study published earlier this year of 70 active-duty U.S. troops, then-based at Forward Operating Base Warrior, in Kirkuk, Iraq, found that daily yoga helped relieve anxiety, reduced irritability and improved sleep — even amid daily “gunfire and helicopter sounds.”

Progressive relaxation, calming breathing and relaxation techniques “reduce physical, emotional, mental and even subconscious tension that characterizes PTSD,” according to retired Air Force Maj. Nisha N. Money, a physician who recently served as chief of fitness policy for the Air Force.

“Guys with trauma — their center is out there,” said Annie Okerlin, flinging her arm outward. She’s a yoga expert who works with wounded warriors, families and staff therapists at the VA hospital in Tampa, Walter Reed and elsewhere. “What we do is gently and sweetly bring them back to their center, here,” she said, touching her chest.

Much of her work is with amputees. “I always tell the guys, ‘Your brain still thinks your leg is there, so we are going to speak to your brain as if your limb IS still there,”’ she said. “I tell them to flex the foot — spread your toes! — and the brain goes, ahhh, that feels good, I’m stretching — even though that limb is no longer there. It settles the brain down, because it’s doing its job, the blood flow increases, guys can feel their body again, the trauma fades. It’s beautiful!”

Working at Walter Reed, she once came across a double, above-the-knee amputee, who had been wounded by an IED. He was huddled in his hospital bed, his mother perched beside him on the edge of a chair, and for weeks he had refused to move, even for his physical therapy sessions. He admitted he was ashamed to be seen with his stumps twitching. Okerlin sat with him, leading him through some gentle breathing exercises. She could see him relax, and after a few minutes he fell asleep.

The next day he showed up for his physical therapy appointment to begin the healing.

With partially-paralyzed patients, Okerlin often has them lie on their back, put their hands on their rib cage and feel their breathing. One patient told her he was amazed to find he could feel a rush of energy toward his legs even though he still had no sensation in his legs.

Okerlin recently spent several days at a Semper Fi Odyssey retreat, teaching yoga and iRest to Marines with physical wounds, PTSD or traumatic brain injury. She has a warm and engaging style and works to establish a non-threatening environment in her sessions. “People who’ve been traumatized have lost their ability to feel secure,” she said.

As the wounded Marines settled onto floor mats, she told them, “You can close your eyes if that feels comfortable, but I will have my eyes open all the time watching,” emphasizing that they are safe and can relax. “There’s no wrong way to do this,” she said. “Are there any head injuries here?” she asked, and a wiseguy in the class called out, “We’re ALL head injuries!” to general chuckles.

At one point she had them on their backs, knees drawn up and held by their arms, a posture she tells them “massages the descending colon.” “This will help ensure you have that morning constitutional,” she told them cheerfully as they gently rocked back and forth.

Soon she had them focusing all their attention on their breathing, urging them to feel how each inward and outward breath lightly traces their spine. “Now I’m going to turn the lights out,” she said softly, “in three, two … one. If you fall asleep, that’s fine. If you’re snoring too loudly, I will come by and touch you on your right shoulder.”

On the mat next to Sgt. Martz were two Marines. One was Billy Wright, 49, who did two combat tours in Lebanon in 1983 and was later paralyzed from the chest down in a car wreck. He uses yoga breathing exercises to loosen up his muscles and joints that stiffen from long periods in his wheelchair. “Even lying on my back I can feel my hips flex,” he said. “Sitting in the chair, they get real tight and this loosens them up.”

The other was 24-year-old Joshua Boyd from Dry Fork, Va., a Marine lance corporal who did two combat tours in Iraq and came home wounded, with PTSD and mild TBI. He lost a good friend, a fellow Marine, who was killed by an IED. “They had stuck it inside a culvert,” Boyd said. “I had just gotten to Iraq and didn’t have IED training and I didn’t know what to look for. I didn’t look where I should have. It was my fault.”

After the blast, he said, he and his platoon collected the body parts.

At night, Boyd often jackknifes awake, yelling and sweating, dreaming of an intense firefight he experienced in Iraq in 2007. During this recurring dream, his wife is there in the middle of the battle and his buddies have abandoned them both while insurgents are closing in on them. He can feel them sense his weakness.

“I do have trouble sleeping,” he said sheepishly. During the long nights, he is often either deep in his nightmare, or terrified he is about to have it again.

But yoga has helped change the way he sleeps and dreams. “Yesterday I did the iRest session. I fell asleep,” he said. “When I got done, I felt so much more energized. I haven’t felt like that for years.”