After the fall, Yoga Journal gets it right! #Bikram #abuse #healing

Love—Life—OM

YJ_June15Cover_PaulaI was approached in January 2015 by seasoned journalist, Andrew Tilin. He was in the middle of composing a feature story for the June 2015 issue of Yoga Journal magazine. How did he find me? He found me through my yoga blog and was particularly interested in speaking with me after reading the post Mourning my Bikram Yoga practice in light of rape allegations. After all, the purpose of the feature he was writing was to highlight how the yoga community was reacting to criminal allegations against celebrity yoga teachers, in particular John Friend and Bikram Choudhury, and I seemed like someone with an opinion to share. He emailed me and asked if I’d be interested in speaking with him; I responded with a big fat YES!

We spoke over the phone the first time for almost two hours. He contacted me a few weeks later, and we talked for two more hours. On both occasions…

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Ashtanga and Ayurveda workshop with Mary Flinn – Reflections by Gert McQueen

Satyana Yoga Studio workshop participants

Satyana Yoga Studio workshop participants

What: Ashtanga & Ayurveda workshop with Mary Flinn

When: October 17-19, 2014

Where: Satyana Yoga Studio (Facebook and Website)

by Gert McQueen

Unknown to Kathy Falge, our most excellent Ashtanga instructor, when she set up this weekend of great yoga for us, there also was scheduled, in the building, the annual ‘Haunted House’. Our yoga studio is on the second floor of a ‘historical’ Paddock Arcade building, in Watertown NY.

The first session of our workshop started Friday at 5:30p.m., just as the first group of folks arrived to be ‘scared’ by ghosts, ghouls and other creepy creatures. The ghoul-guides were helpful, in directing, both folks arriving for yoga and those wanting to be scared, in the darken stairs and hallway. The ‘sound effects’ of creepy wind howling actually was a help in keeping me (us?) focused. We were lucky, there wasn’t much screaming or banging around with the haunting as we thought there would be. We yogis were so focused, on our breathing that Dracula could have entered the room and we would not have noticed.

No doubt about it, Friday evening’s energy was quite high. Many of us, who shared last year’s workshop with Mary Flinn, were ready to do it again.

That first evening’s session was concentration on three areas of attention; posture, gaze and breath. The program said ‘1/2 of the primary series’ but that night we did the complete primary series. The natural deep concentration, on all our breathing, created a ‘natural high’. Many of us, not only experienced the high, that night, but marveled about it for a week.

While the weather turned to heavy rain Saturday morning, the session was quite lively as Mary discussed the doshas and other aspects of Ayurveda thought. She also had scheduled individual consultations during the three days. We then moved in our practice trying out various ways we could increase or decrease breath/movement for each of the doshas and for high or low energies and conditions. Before we knew it is was lunch break.

I had brought myself a bag lunch and drove to one of the most beautiful ‘park’ cemeteries we have here. I drove around one of the several ponds that were filled with the local population of ducks and geese as well as those on their migrations. They are beautiful to watch. I found myself in a visual meditation as I watched rain drops slid down the window with leaves flying around as the ducks passively drifted in the pond. Contentment!

Saturday afternoon’s session was focused on techniques used in assisting others. I paired off with Sandy, my once-a-upon-a-time Tai-Chi instructor and sometime yoga instructor. While learning these techniques are interesting and valuable, I would not utilize them myself, that is a personal preference. It is always good to learn more about yoga postures and how to help yourself and others with proper alignments.

Sunday morning’s session started with the complete standing postures of the ‘first’ or primary series, which also is the beginning of the ‘second’ series. The primary series, standing and sitting postures, is called ‘yoga therapy’ because it detoxes the body making it ready for the second series which goes into more advanced twists, backbends and more.

Once finished with the standing postures, we came to sitting on the mat, where we immediately started in on second series postures. Generally speaking, we normally do not get to do many of these postures in our class schedules. So this exploration was very helpful in learning various preparations for backbends — backbends themselves and some arm balances and head stands.

All too quickly the session and workshop ended. As always, everyone learned and shared much together. We all are looking forward to more workshops with Mary. We all thank Kathy and Jeff for all they give to us and for bringing Mary to us. And a great thank you to Mary!

~Gert McQueen

Find Gert on Twitter @gertmcqueen!

Spreading the healing message of yoga! I Hate Yoga now available for pre-order!

ihateyogabook

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Okay, time for some shameless self-promotion. Hey, it happens. I’m getting closer to book launch day, my friends, and I would love your help in spreading the word about “I Hate Yoga.”

http://www.ihateyogabook.com

The mission of this book is simple: get more people doing yoga so that more people can feel its healing benefits.

I Hate Yoga brings everyone in through the back door by dismantling all the bullshit around yoga, taking away the fear factor and making it accessible…to EVERYONE! It’s a hate to love yoga journey with humor being used as a tool of inspiration.

You can help! Just send out an email to all your friends making them aware of the book launch on November 11th. That’s all.

Oh, and if you own a business and want to become a launch partner, even better. Here’s where you can do that. We’ll scratch each other’s backs.

http://www.paulbmcquillan.com/#!launch-partner/c18c9

I…

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Side Crow Pose (Parsva Bakasana)

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Practicing side crow in my dining room – 9/6/2014

Today’s yoga pose: Side Crow Pose (Parsva Bakasana) is an arm-balancing posture that challenges and builds balance, strength and patience. Do not expect to get into this pose the very first time you try it. And expect to be challenged in different ways depending on which side you do.

Getting into the pose (instructions for right side):

  1. Sit comfortably on the floor or mat with your legs extended straight in front of you.
  2. Cross your right leg over top your left knee and place the sole of your right foot firmly on the ground on the outside of your left knee.
  3. Gently bend your left knee and pull your left leg toward your body, rest your left thigh and shin on the ground and your left foot on the outside of your right hip.
  4. Gently twist your upper body to the right and place both hands on the ground on the right side of your body shoulder width apart, palms flat and fingers splayed and grounded.
  5. Keeping your legs crossed in front of you, begin shifting your weight to the right into your shoulders, arms and hands. Your buttocks will natural rise from the floor.
  6. Re-position yourself so your left elbow is pressed against your right knee and your right elbow is pressed against your right hip.
  7. Keep your gaze focused on a spot on the floor just beyond your hands and begin to slowly shift all of your weight into your shoulders, arms and wrists. Your feet will naturally come off the floor the more you shift your weight forward into your arms.
  8. Maintain your gaze, breathe and if it’s available to you, extend your legs straight out to the side. Your elbows maintain contact with your right thigh and hip.
  9. Repeat on the opposite side.


Namaste!

~Paula

Yoga as therapy for victims of all types of abuse

Yoga Therapy for all sufferers of trauma who desire peace and joy once again!

Love—Life—OM

I don’t compare or put a severity level on trauma. All trauma, regardless of the source, type, or duration, has powerful consequences and impacts a person’s identity and sense of self-worth. Also, I do not believe trauma victims are permanently damaged or destroyed. From those who suffer PTSD and abuse through military service/war to those who suffer from sociopath/narcissistic abuse as children, I absolutely believe recovery is possible.

I have tried lots of traditional methods and approaches to recovery. The one that works for me is yoga, and I started practicing yoga not aware of the impact it would eventually have on my trauma and triggers! I simply stumbled upon the healing and transformational power of yoga.

During a traumatic event and/or periods of perpetual trauma, our ability to physically move and act is hindered. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that everyone who suffers from trauma holds trauma in their…

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