Mind and Body Medicine

Complimentary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) is increasingly blended with conventional medicine or used in place of standard medical care.  For example, cancer treatment centers with integrated healthcare programs may offer meditation and acupuncture as part of their treatment plan. CAM practices are often grouped together in broad categories such as natural products, mind and body medicine, manipulative and body-based practices, and whole medical systems.

At Bear Foot Yoga Healing, we recognize the bodies innate ability to heal.  By offering the most commonly used CAM therapies including deep breathing, yoga, meditation, progressive relaxation and guided imagery, you are given the tools to maintain and improve heath without any fear of side effects.

Additionally, we offer Healing Touch energy therapy. Healing Touch is considered to be a part of CAM’s mind and body medicine. Similar to acupuncture, both use ancient practices involving manipulation of the energy field (Qi or Prana). However, Healing Touch is non-invasive in the sense that the skin is not broken. Please visit  Healing Touch and the Energy Body to learn more about Healing Touch.

Finally, whole medical systems, which are complete systems of theory and practice, such as Ayurveda, the sister science to yoga, can be considered CAM. Consider signing up for our Ayurveda workshop this Saturday April, 19 from 1-5 pm.

How to Start a Daily Yoga Practice – with video

A question I am asked as a yoga teacher is how many days a week do I practice yoga.  Answer: every day.  But the next question should be what is a yoga practice?  What it should not be is a source of stress or guilt.  Rather, a daily practice should be whatever you have time for, considering what you need each day physically, mentally and spiritually. I often compare yoga to brushing teeth.  If you only have time to brush for one minute as opposed to the three minutes my kid’s orthodontist timer recommends, doesn’t that feel better than not brushing at all? Forming habits has little to do with duration and more to do with frequency.  And if the oral hygiene starts in the morning, you reap the benefits all day. Maybe later there will still be time for another opportunity to brush longer.

So find out what you need.  For me, a morning meditation is a must.  But the physical practice ranges from one and a half hours of strong standing postures outside listening to the birds (soon!) to a 20 minute restorative posture hibernating under the covers of my bed (Ohhh Winter – you test me.)  Years ago, while struggling with sleep deprivation from twins, anxiety and feeling I  “never had time for myself”, I  could not do lengthy meditations and a physical yoga practice. “One stop shopping” for body mind and spirit was required.  I created this short salutation to the words of a Tecumseh quote that is strategically placed on my bathroom mirror. While it is one thing to wake and read a positive statement of gratitude,  it is a stronger experience to embody it.

Disclaimer: this video was filmed in the afternoon after a 1 hour class.  Had it been in the morning, it would look like a different body – clothed in pajamas, groggy and stiff.  Not even a yoga teacher escapes the morning  fascia “fuzz”.

Anniversary Blog

A Year of Gratitude
This week, BFYH starts its second year in business.  What did the first year bring? Not to keep you waiting, I will skip to the thesis statement;  Yoga brings out the best in people. Forget the physical aspects. It is the human side of the story.  The power we hold to hurt or heal each other.  In the studio this past year, it was a story of how we bring Light to each other.  A term I call Generosity of Spirit;  The idea that every interaction is the opportunity to improve the day of the person you come in contact with. Sometimes as simple as a smile.

There were unexpected twists that were not in the business manual – months of distracting train whistles, interesting neighbors and shady deals going down in the parking lot behind us, and most recently, lots of shoveling, ice and a polar vortex. (Even as a snow lover, the current temperature of -2  makes this a particularly good week to practice cultivating positive thoughts and perception – and I realize I take my chances saying that!)

Difficulty came in losing the clients, friends and family that transitioned this past year.  There need not be an agreement where they go to when they leave their bodies, only that we continue to send blessings in our own way.

I cannot express the gratitude in my heart for all you have taught me this past year, but thanks go out to:

  • The students who followed me from the Aurora Wellness Center and helped to make BFYH our new home.
  • The prayer pot that overflows with selfless thoughts and greets me each day.
  • All the intentions set by and for each of you in class.  We are energy and awareness and energy follows intention.
  • Meeting and making new friends… and meeting your support team: parents who attend with their children, couples, sisters and friends all practicing together. Keep bringing your visitors for free!
  • The teachers who are yoga students at BFYH. Thank You for taking care of yourselves because you help our kids.
  • Workshops and events with fantastic guest facilitators sharing their knowledge and energy. And for the attendees who open their minds to holistic methods of health and healing.
  • The clients who supported me during my Healing Touch certification. Next goal: making the word “chakra” a household term in Burlington!
  • Dog lovers who greet and treat Luna and Bodhi. Bodhi is starting his therapy training and appreciates your patience and affection.
  • Those who participate in, and Janine for teaching our Friday community class.  We raised $1,986 for the Transitional Living Center in 2014!
  • Lots of savasana – student or teacher, always my favorite pose 🙂
  • Mostly, Thank You for the countless hugs and for sharing your “Selves”.

As a friend wrote recently, “life is just a really big project, isn’t it”?!  A project where my hope is more things happen FOR you instead of TO you in next year.  Either way, life is a project we can work on together.

Namaste,
megan

Yoga is Not About Getting Your Toe in Your Ear

Before we get into our new blog post, I have some exciting news to share!  My new studio Bear Foot Yoga Healing is opening next month with classes starting soon in Burlington, Wisconsin.  More details coming shortly, in the meantime, visit our Website!

Yoga Journal

I’m about to “paint my masterpiece” in the words of Bob Dylan and open a yoga studio, but first I have a confession. I stopped reading Yoga Journal magazine in the past year, which in my industry is like a trader choosing not to check the stock exchange. In part, my time is better spent doing studio preparations. That is not the reason for ditching YJ though. I haven’t been able to get beyond the cover photos lately. In the vein of “a picture is worth a thousand words” my preconceived perception of the cover is that it frustrates potential yogi’s more than it motivates them. Yes, the models are always gorgeous and wafting with a Shakti power that any woman (and man for a different reason) would want. That is not a truthful representation of yoga.

Truthfulness, or Satya is one of Yamas (principles)of yoga. The YJ cover makes any pose look flawless and effortless. But this is not the truth. Or at least the full truth. It has been drilled into me in every training – yoga is not about attainment of the perfect form. It is about the process not the pose. Why doesn’t YJ get this? Perhaps I am stretching it a bit by discussing Satya . I assume the intention is not to purposely deceive, but very few bodies are capable of achieving YJ photo perfection. With the exception of some Cirque du Soleil potentials, these woman have put countless hours in on the mat to achieve near perfect form for that one photo. Still it is not their beautiful physical bodies that keep them coming back to yoga.

When I look at the current cover, all I can think is “who in their right mind would wear an all white spandex outfit to class”? By the time I unrolled my mat, I would be wearing a patchwork quilt of spilled morning java, kiddie goo and dog prints among other things. Furthermore, what woman would dare, if she could, stick one leg straight up in the air a foot above her head wearing see-through white pants and smile? Too young for mentalpause, obviously, the model does not have her mensies. At least this month’s model is not in some funky version of handstand, abdomen fully exposed, sans Buddha belly and muffin top. Hair is not a point for discussion just on the assumption that the models most likely showered before the photo shoot. Until the glorious day they put a woman on the cover with messy hair, panties hanging off a sweaty bum, and an “I don’t give a crap if I look like hell because I feel good look”, I will not offer to model.

 

Perhaps I am being a bit hard on YJ. Please YJ people, don’t hold this against me. Your articles are informational and interesting. For decades, you have brought yoga to the people. I also get that it is good to have goals. And for some that may be the ascertainment of one of what I label the “party poses”; usually when some tiny part of the body is grounded to the earth and one of the four limbs is wrapped around it like a scarf in a blizzard. Even after years of practice, your cover shots are unattainable to most yogis. Until there is a camera that shows what yoga does to the body on the subtle level, your cover photos are intimidating art. Beautiful, but laughable. Even if you read YJ, please come and visit me when the studio opens. I will have copies available for your viewing pleasure. Just know that that the goddess cover models don’t have anything on you. Because what they don’t tell you on the cover is that if you breath you can do yoga. And even if you can’t smile in a pose, yoga will make you smile in the heart.