Yoga For Pain Relief Case Study Results

Last month’s yoga series was a huge success! Thanks to all my ladies who participated. We met once a week for six weeks for ninety minutes of restorative, gentle yoga. Our focus was chronic pain relief and we recorded pain levels at every session.

All of our participants reported lower pain levels by the end of the six weeks. One client reduced her chronic pain by six points, going from a 7 out of 10 at week one to a 1 out of 10 at week six! All noticed increased breath and postural awareness and greater ease of movement during their daily activities.

I know yoga can seem intimidating if you have never set foot in a studio. To quote Martin Luther King: “You don’t have to see the top of the staircase to take the first step”


What can yoga do for you? If you are interested in forming your own small group or joining one of our ongoing classes contact Anne – 503-705-4762.

Ernie Banks – baseball player, entrepeneur, Yogi?

I caught the tail end of an interview with Ernie Banks on NPR yesterday.  He played shortstop, and then first base for the Cubs in the 50 ‘s and 60’s.  Several things about him struck me as interesting.  For one, he seems unusually humble for a ball player  (Barry Bonds, A-Rod I’m looking at you), and he really did seem to enjoy just getting out and playing the game.

How refreshing in an era of multimillion dollar contract battles, temper tantrums, doping scandals etc…  He stuck with the Cubs despite the fact that he never made it to the World Series, in fact he holds the Major League Record of most games played without a post season appearance.

What the heck does this have to do with yoga you ask?  I’ll tell ya.

I have been re-reading B.K.S. Iyengar’s “Light On Yoga” , aka the yoga bible.  In it Iyengar outlines the eight limbs of yoga: 1. Yama (moral commandments) 2. Niyama (self-purification by discipline) 3. Asana (postures) 4. Pranayama (breath control) 5. Pratyahara (emancipation of the mind from the senses) 6. Dharana (concentration) 7. Dhyana (meditation) 8. Samadhi (a state of super-consciousness brought on by profound meditation where the individual becomes one with the object of his aspiration).  When we hear the word “yoga” most of us think of the asanas, or physical practice of yoga.  This is just one of the eight limbs.

Ok now here is the Ernie Banks/ Yoga connection.  Let’s take a look at one on the Niyamas, Santosa or contentment.  To quote Iyengar:

“Contentment has to be cultivated.  A mind that is not content can not concentrate.  The yogi feels the lack of nothing and so he is naturally content.  Contentment gives bliss unsurpassed to the yogi.  A contented man is complete for he knows the love of the Lord and has done his duty.  He is blessed for he has known truth and joy.”

Ernie says in his interview that there was talk of him being traded but that he didn’t think about it, he was just so focused on playing.  In other words he was practicing Santosa.

Here is Ernie talking about walking out onto Wrigley Field:

“When I walked into that ballpark, my mind just, boom, on the game. ‘Cause it’s a park where you can easily lose your concentration because you’re close to the fans and all of that; and you know, you can see people in the stands walking around, pretty girls, and all of that. You could lose your concentration real fast. And I played the game as if nobody was there but me. That was it. When I walk in a ballpark today, I mean it’s the same thing, just me and the ball.”

This sounds like meditation, or mindfulness,  one of the principles of yoga.  Meditation helps us control our mind and relax our bodies.  It  allows us to be more conscious about what’s happening around us and more aware of what’s happening within ourselves.  While not easily achieved we can get closer to this ideal with daily practice.

The goal of yoga is to eventually reach a state of Samadhi where the body and senses are at rest as if asleep, but the mind is alert and fully conscious.  As Iyengar says “the peace that passeth all understanding”.   I would call Ernie’s technique a form of moving meditation.

Have you experienced a zen-like moment where you felt as if you were exactly where you needed to be, doing exactly what you were meant to do, completely focused and not thinking of the past or future, only the here and now?   If so tell me about it and what led you to that moment.

Thai Massage, Snorkeling, and Fire Dancing in Maui Hawaii



I am back from a week in Maui and am now getting around to uploading my photos.  The reason for my trip, along with vacation, was a Table top Thai Stretching course with Valerie “Passion Flower” Mandall.  We learned an excellent lower body routine that I have been testing out on clients this week (you know who you are:).  This work incorporates a lot of stretching, range of motion and breath work.  Really nice after a long run or bike ride, or even sitting at a desk all day.

This is my third trip to the island and I spent most of my time in Kihei.  I’ve decided my favorites spots are on the south and west sides of the island (Kihei, Lahaina and Napili Bay in that order) because it is usually hot and dry.  The north shore tends to be cooler, greener and get more rain.

Most Saturdays and Sundays the HeU’i Arts and Crafts Festival is happening under the Banyan tree in Lahaina.  You can’t miss it, this one tree takes up the whole city block.  I found some nice photography and jewelry made by local artists.



There are several spots along the beach in South Kihei where you can just pull over, and snorkel right from the beach.  At secret beach I saw a yellow tang (my favorite), a trumpet fish and the state fish – humuhumunukunukuapua.  I’m still not able to pronounce this correctly.  I also saw a unicorn fish, an eel,  and one sea turtle.

Kamaole 1,2 and 3 have big grassy areas with picnic tables and you will see local families barbecuing and hanging out on the weekends.  I stuck to snorkeling but if you are interested in SCUBA contact Steve at Maui Dive shops.

Hula Hoop

On Sunday the action is at Little Beach.  Go here to watch the sunset, and post-sunset drumming and fire dancing.  Awesome!  These dancers were unbelievable.  I saw kids as young as 7 or 8 working the flaming hula hoops.  Here a sample:


Even though I slept luxuriously late most days I did manage to do at least 30 minutes of Pilates almost every morning and yoga on the beach several afternoons.  Here are some action shots:






I am planning a client trip for February 2011 so keep your eyes peeled here or on my newsletter for more info.  I would love for you to join me!

And I will  leave you with a sunset…..Aloha and Mahalo!

Hawaii sunset

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Enlighten Up – the Movie

My friend Jill Allen and I saw a sneak preview of the movie Enlighten Up! last night.  It follows a yoga novice as he takes a variety of classes in the U.S., and around the globe.  He experiments with Bikram, Kundalini, Iyengar and meditation.  This is definitely worth seeing if you are curious about how to incorporate yoga into your life.  At one point the lead character asks an old yogini what twisting up like a pretzel has to do with enlightenment and he says “Absolutely nothing” with a grin.

The movie opens Friday at the Fox Tower.  Go see it!  Seriously, go!


Enlighten Up! trailer

Enlighten Up! website

Enlighten Up! Facebook Page

Enlighten Up! MySpace page

Enlighten Up! Twitter