Friday, March 28, 2014

Sitting in the seat of the teacher

A student of mine is learning her lenses, playing with light and shadow, finding how to make art through a camera, so after class this week we took a few minutes to play with her lens:

When I teach, I sit between Ghandi...

...and Mother Teresa.... front of Bhoddisattva.

When I step into the seat of the teacher, I feel so supported: by the great teachers before me and yet to come, by the wisdom of the divine within each of us that WANTS to come into the light and be heard and heeded.  I set the intention to be a channel, a vessel, for the teaching to come through me....  from Source, from Siva, from Sakti, call it what you will.  Its not so different from Reiki.  I step into the seat of the teacher to serve, I place my hands heal...  from my Highest Self to your Highest Good, may I be of service.

om sahana vavatu sahana buknaktu
saha viryam karavavahi
tejas vi na vadhi tamastu
ma vid vi vasha vahai
om shanti shanti shanti

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Dynamic Relaxation: Yoga Nidra

Yoga Nidra is a gentle, ancient practice of dynamic relaxation that invites awareness to enter into the state that is between dreaming consciousness and waking consciousness.  In this state, the brain enters into healing theta brainwaves (the same as in deep REM sleep), the body enters into its healing parasympathetic response, and we are able to release samskaras - the energetic/emotional blockages and patterns that can drain energy and restrict your life.  Its said that one hour of Yoga Nidra is equivalent to 4 hours of regular sleep!

A student in my weekly Yin/Yoga Nidra class has this to say about Yoga Nidra in her life:
"In today's busy world with its abundance of chronic stress, exhaustion and over-stimulation, I find Yoga Nidra is absolutely essential for rejuvenation and relaxation.  Jasmine's gentle calm and soothing voice and presence helps me melt away accumulated stress and calm my jumpy nervous system.  Attending this class regularly allows me to sleep better, think more clearly and experience more love and joy in life.  It fills my cup!" -Susan

If you're interested in the research behind Yoga Nidra, take a look at the studies cited by the Integrative Restoration Institute, a pioneering program bringing a specific protocol of Yoga Nidra techniques into Veteran's and Military hospitals.  Meanwhile, here's some information on the effects of the Theta brainwave state that is induced by the practice of Yoga Nidra: 

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Theta brainwaves

(3.5 to 7 Hz deep relaxation, twilight state)

Theta brainwave states have been used in meditation for centuries: It is common for people to feel as if they are in a trance, where the mind feels as though it may have gone to sleep although it is conscious of what is happening around it. Theta induces a capacity for prolonged daydreaming, where a loss of time may be experienced.
Theta waves are also conducive to visualization and creativity and the mind in this very relaxed state is highly receptive to direct suggestion under hypnosis. As with Alpha, in Theta our brain hemispheres are synchronized and we experience whole brain functioning.

Features and benefits of Theta brainwaves
·        Increased sense of inner peace and emotional stability
·        Deep relaxation
·        Improved memory
·        Heightened intuition and inspiration
·        Calms the chatter of your mind
·        Increased psychic abilities and sense of spiritual connection

Health benefits of Theta brainwaves
·        Speed healing, improved physical healing
·        Release beneficial hormones related to health and longevity
·        Sleep onset and better more restful sleep
·        Reduce mental fatigue
·        Reduction of anxiety and stress

NOTE: Research has proven thirty minutes a day of Theta meditation can dramatically improve a person’s overall health and well-being. Theta meditation has also been known to result in a reduced need for sleep.

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If you're interested in finding out more about Theta brain waves, here's an internet article that talks about this deep restful healing state in a very approachable style, and cites experts to boot!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Yoga at the Arctic Winter Games

The 2014 Arctic Winter Games are being hosted here in Fairbanks this month.  The Games bring a community of athletes and culture-bearers from all over the circumpolar north for a week of competition in 20 different sports, cultural galas, events, and craft fairs.

The AWG are hosting a Health Fair on Tuesday the 18th with a number of local health and wellness organizations.  I'm joining a number of UAF's Yoga Club yoga teachers to teach 20 minute yoga classes to the athletes.

Yoga is effective cross training for so many different disciplines, harnessing breath and awareness to bring to any action or endeavor.  For competition, the mindfulness skills yoga teaches are invaluable.  And for athletes, the integration of strength, coordination and flexibility that yoga cultivates is priceless.

What would you like to experience in a yoga class before an athletic competition?

Yoga Nidra Spring Series

I'm honored to be able to announce a 6 week Yoga Nidra series hosted by the Holistic Medical Clinic in their studio space on Noble Street!  I am really excited to be partnering with the awesome folks at the Holistic Medical Clinic to bring more good energy and healing to the Fairbanks community, and to bring more yoga to the downtown area!

This series will run Monday evenings from 5:30-6:30, starting March 17th and ending April 21st.   Classes will be $10 each.  You can plan to attend the whole series, or just drop-in on one or two classes.  I hope to repeat the series, so please let me know if you would be interested in seeing this offering again in the summertime!  Space is fairly limited, simply due to the size of the room at the Holistic Medical Center.  I expect class size will be capped at 8 or so bodies.  *Parking is available behind the Noble Street building.

Yoga Nidra is a highly effective practice of dynamic relaxation that reduces stress, improves sleep, increases immune function, and can help relieve chronic pain and fatigue.  If you feel like you never get enough sleep, or you are exhausted by the end of a busy work day – this is the practice for you!  Start the week out right, cultivate a habit of effective rest, and refill your well with this gentle practice.

Yoga Nidra can be safely practiced by people of all ages, sizes and mobilities.  All that is required is the ability to sit or lie down in a comfortable position.  I will guide you into a state of relaxation and through a series of awareness practices such as body scanning, conscious breathing, and guided visualization.  You may want to wear comfortable clothing and bring a blanket and/or a pillow.  Water is always a good idea, and hot tea will be available after practice. 


Yoga Nidra is the state of consciousness between sleeping consciousness and waking consciousness where the relaxation response and regeneration occur. This healing practice relieves stress patterns by retraining the nervous system to relax which creates a natural setting for the body to heal itself. Yoga Nidra is the perfect supplement to yoga, therapy, meditation, and other healing modality.

A growing body of research indicates that mind-body approaches can help people interweave healthy lifestyle practices into their daily lives that help alleviate pain, promote better sleep, increase resiliency, reduce anxiety and teach self-care management into their daily lives at a fraction of the cost of traditional therapies.

Studies conducted at Stanford, the University of Missouri, University of Ohio, and others have shown Yoga Nidra techniques to be effective to reduce symptoms of stress, anxiety, trauma, depression, high blood pressure, insomnia, and addiction, to lower cholesterol, to increase feelings of well being and calm, to enhance creativity and motivation, to strengthen the endocrine system, and balance the nervous system.

A 2005 study at Walter Reed Army Medical Center found Yoga Nidra techniques highly effective in reducing PTSD symptomology in veterans.  A specific protocol of Yoga Nidra techniques are currently being used in treatment programs at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and over 30 other VA and army hospital sites across the US.