meditation-transformation-consciousness-mindfulness-de-stress-autumn

By: Kim Metz,  RYT 500 hour, MS Yoga Therapy

As some of you know my husband and I are now officially  “empty nesters.” Both of our kids are in college, living away from home for the first time.

To mark this threshold in our lives we’ve been organizing our home, and while cleaning out closets I came across my button collection (see picture below) from when I was a kid. It reminds me of other items I liked to collect when I was younger like glass animal figurines, and all things cats!

It got me thinking about why we collect things and how collecting things may cultivate the core elements of mindfulness: intention, attention, and attitude.

Sometimes being mindful is difficult. It can seem like we are doing the same thing day after day. Seeing ourselves as collectors of moments is an interesting, beneficial way of approaching mindfulness and gives us the opportunity to see things anew both in our yoga practice and in our lives.

  • Intention- When we start our day with the canvas of 16 hours of fresh space ahead of us it gives us a medium for our intention. We need to have a path or something to collect or we will miss the moments. If you are looking for four leaf clovers you are much more likely to find one; if not you may even miss the patches of three leaf clovers under your feet! …So collecting something naturally gives us a direction.
  • Attention- What we turn our attention toward is what we become. We have the opportunity to collect moments that we care about and that hold meaning for us.
  • Attitude- In mindfulness practice, it is important to have an open, curious, non-judging attitude. When we are collectors of things we are naturally more open and curious about what treasures we may find.

Try it for yourself!

Wake up in the morning and remind yourself you are a collector of moments. – an artist with the whole day’s canvas ahead of you. When you receive a moment like a beautiful sunset, or an ant crawling across the ground,  pause, and notice how it feels in your body. Breathe it in. Acknowledge this moment you have collected.

Try writing about it. Include sensory details about what the moment looks like and sounds like. Write about the sensations you feel in your body. You could even place your written moments in a jar.

As we move toward cooler shorter days of fall and winter, may you collect moments that nourish you and bring you ease, warmth, meaning, and joy.

See you on the mat!  Namaste.


fix_poor_posture_office_ergonomics_back_pain-960x640

By Stephanie Judge M.Ac., L.Ac., Dipl.Ac.

Read her bio and watch her video here: http://bit.ly/2dQd388

Back pain is probably one of the most common complaints  we see in our office, almost everyone at some point in their lives has experienced this in some form or another.

Actually, in my experience as an acupuncturist, this is one of the major reasons many clients come into our office for the first time to get relief for their pain.

The pain can be anywhere in the back from the upper cervical spine, mid back thoracic spine to the low back lumbar and sacral areas.

The causes of pain are many. The majority of clients have seen their Physicians and have had x-rays maybe even an MRI. They have either found no relief for their symptoms or are looking for alternative treatments.

As acupuncturists, we have many ways to treat pain.  We always start with a thorough assessment of the pain, having a different way of looking at pain than our western counterparts.  It’s important to us to know when the pain began, was it sudden, caused by a fall or accident, or did it start gradually over a long period of time.  Were there any major changes going on in their lives. Are they anxious, angry, sad, or grieving?

How are they dealing with this pain which has now invaded their lives and in some cases taken over their every thought?  Getting a picture of our client helps us to form our Chinese Medical diagnosis.

From there we can decide on a treatment plan. In our course of treatment, we will use, of course, acupuncture needles.  Acupuncture needles are not always placed where the pain is. This is confusing to some of our clients.  We depend on the meridians of energy that loop and run through our bodies from the outside to the inside.  They carry Qi which is  our bodies life / energy force.

Chinese medicine theory holds that a blockage in this flow of energy will cause dis-ease in our bodies which many times presents as pain. This blockage can be anywhere along these meridians.

For example one of the longest meridians in the human body belongs to the Bladder. It runs from the face, over the head, down the back along both sides of the spine, along the back of both legs and ends at the outside edges of the little toes. Pain in the back might be related to a blockage anywhere along any one of the 14 meridians within the body.

Seeing the body as a whole, not just a part opens up our perspective to where the cause of the pain might be. Taking the pulses, examining the tongue, observing the body and listening to our clients helps us to pinpoint any blockages.

The  Acupuncture points are like gates where we can access these blockages. Once opened the energy will be able to move and the pain will gradually fade.

Along with acupuncture needles, heat is often added either by the use of Moxa which is an herb that is used to heat the acupuncture points. It is applied directly to the point before needles are inserted or it can be applied directly to the needle itself.

Heat lamps are also used to warm the area since often pain is made worse by the invasion through the skin of cold and damp. Heat can also relax the surrounding muscles and aid in enhancing circulation.

A gentle electrical stimulation can be added to the needles to enhance the opening and moving effect.

Cupping is another modality used for pain and is especially helpful for the back.  Warmed or suction cups are used on painful muscle areas to stimulate blood flow and circulation  to the area enhancing the bodies ability to rid itself of waste and provide an opening for healing.

With the current debate regarding the use of opioids for pain relief and the dangers now publicized regarding overuse of NSAIDs and even Tylenol , acupuncture has been recommended by many leading authorities as a way to find relief for pain.

Along with relief of pain, many of my clients are surprised by what I call acupuncture’s “side effects”.  Which consist of ease of anxiety, improved immunity, profound relaxation and a general feeling of well-being.

Hope we see you soon in our office.

 

 


Balance

Your hand opens and closes, opens and closes. If it were always a fist or always stretched open, you would be paralyzed. Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding, the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated as birds’ wings. ~ Rumi

I recently listened to an interview with French high-wire artist Phillipe Petit- the man who crossed the Twin Towers on a wire in 1974. You can see him in action here,  http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=Fc-4Z9SHBs8

Petit got me thinking about how being present to the elements within and around oneself are of utmost importance when balancing high above the earth.

Balance requires an open awareness and listening so that one can adjust and make detailed changes. Obviously,  if Petit had walked wires without regard for the wind, his breath, his field of perception and a myriad of other things he would not have succeeded.  

In yoga practice, we too can cultivate the quality of curiosity and open awareness – a beginner’s mind – to encourage more stability and balance. Each day and moment is different. Balance is dancing with what is here now. 

Yoga helps us to be present, curious and open. From that place, we dance, navigating not only our poses but the joys and challenges on the high wire of life.

Get ready for a fun challenging standing balance practice including eagle, dancer and warrior III pose!

See you on the mat!

Namaste,
 
Kim Metz
RYT 200 hour

Workshop June 14, Saturday 1:00-2:30. 
Yoga, Magic and the Art of Letting Go.
Registration is open. Hope you can come for a fun, eye-opening day of yoga and magic!

Classes this Week

Tuesday, 9:30-11:00am -Beginner Yoga   
Thursday, 7:00-8:30pm -Beginner Yoga
Friday noon- 1:00pm -Lunchtime Yoga
 
Perkville is here! Earn points each time you come to class as well as a variety of other ways.  It’s easy and earns you money toward free classes or other services at Awaken Wellness.  Sign-up through invitation via email or go to http://awakenwellnesscolumbia. com/yoga/perkville 


yogaoutside

Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair. ~ Khalil Gibran

This morning I practiced yoga outside on my back deck and felt the sun dappled light move across my back warming me while green leaves rustled in the trees and the soft breeze brushed my skin.  There is a different quality to the experience of thinking about the sun touching your skin and feeling the sun touch your skin. 

Try it. Think about the sun touching your skin. And now feel the sun touching your skin. When we feel, it moves us into our body, and we become more present and grounded.

Yoga helps us tune into our feeling body, and gets us out of our thinking mind, which often gets in the way of our being present and connected. 

As we welcome warmer weather, invite a feeling quality into your practice and access each pose from that place of knowing. 

See you on the mat!

Namaste,
 
Kim Metz
RYT 200 hour

Bring a friend week is here- May 27th through the 31st! Bring a friend and enter a raffle for awesome prizes including free massage, or yoga classes.

Classes this Week
Tuesday, 9:30-11:00am -Beginner Yoga   
Thursday, 7:00-8:30pm -Beginner Yoga
Friday noon- 1:00pm -Lunchtime Yoga

Upcoming Workshop

SaturdayJune 14th, 1:00-2:30pm
Yoga, Magic and the Art of Letting Go
Hope you can come! 

Perkville is here! Earn points each time you come to class as well as a variety of other ways.  It’s easy and earns you money toward free classes or other services at Awaken Wellness.  Sign-up through invitation via email or go to http://awakenwellnesscolumbia.com/yoga/perkville


Warrior III

These days I am struck by the speed of life.  As we get speedier, we do things in half steps.  Therefore, the practice of wholehearted engagement is important.  How can we be steady and complete, and what kind of wisdom does that bring? ~ Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche Jan 2013, Shambhala Sun

This week we use the above quote to help us access the qualities of strength and steadiness in our back body in order to find more space, openness and lightness through the front body and chest. We will work on these concepts in key poses like tadasana as well as on our way toward more challenging standing balancing poses like Warrior III. 

Sometimes while trying to find more space in the chest we orient from the front body and push the chest out, bringing the lower front ribs along for the ride and throwing off our alignment.

We can find space in the chest more skillfully by first accessing steadiness and strength in the back body and then navigating from that place. Out of the strength and stability of the back structure, the heart lifts and opens and the shoulders broaden and soften down the back without losing the length, strength or stability of the spine . 

As you practice this week, show up – take your time. Invite steadiness and strength into your back body and then open wholeheartedly into the wisdom of each moment and experience.

See you on the mat!

Namaste,

Kim Metz
RYT 200 hour

Classes this Week
Tuesday, 9:30-11:00am -Beginner Yoga   
Thursday, 7:00-8:30pm -Beginner Yoga
Friday noon- 1:00pm -Lunchtime Yoga
 
Perkville is here! Earn points each time you come to class as well as a variety of other ways.  It’s easy and earns you money toward free classes or other services at Awaken Wellness.  Sign-up through invitation via email or go to http://awakenwellnesscolumbia.com/yoga/perkville 


Revolved Triangle Pose

It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end. ~ Ernest Hemingway

I recently read a post in Daily Good about  “4 Ways to Be More Present in Travel.”

Check-it-out here. It’s worth clicking for the vibrant travel pictures alone!

http://www.dailygood.org/story/729/4-ways-to-be-more-present-in-travel-audrey-scott/

It also got me thinking about how being more present in travel might apply to our yoga practice. This week we take a journey towards the challenging Revolved Triangle Pose (Parivrtta Trikonasana) and implement ways to be more present in travel into our practice. 

According to the post, the 2nd way to be more present is to have a destination in mind to allow “productive” wandering. 

This rule is great because it gives us a path to meander along but allows time to stop and smell the roses- exploring qualities and actions of our poses along the way.

This week we  explore ways to ground our back foot and fire up the back leg to bring more stability to our poses and more skill to aligning and engaging the hips and core on our way toward revolved triangle. 

Sometimes the most satisfying moments in yoga and travel are the little things that happen along the way to our destination.

Immerse yourself in your practice and be open to what you find. Maybe more balance, or a bit more space to twist into, maybe the sweetness of lengthening through the spine while feeling buoyant and rooted simultaneously- or maybe moments of strength, clarity and ease. 

Pause long enough to lean into the moments, like a mountain climber leans into the rocks, reading the crevices and textures with his hands. 

Whether you get to the final pose or not, give yourself the freedom to explore and ask yourself, “Were you present for the journey? Did you take time to pause? Did you enjoy the ride?”

See you on the mat!

Namaste,
 
Kim Metz
RYT 200 hour

Classes this Week
Tuesday, 9:30-11:00am -Beginner Yoga   
Thursday, 7:00-8:30pm -Beginner Yoga
Friday noon- 1:00pm -Lunchtime Yoga
 
Perkville is here! Earn points each time you come to class as well as a variety of other ways.  It’s easy and earns you money toward free classes or other services at Awaken Wellness.  Sign-up through invitation via email or go to http://awakenwellnesscolumbia.com/yoga/perkville


breathing lady

Our breath is the bridge that unites body and mind. ~ thich nhat hanh

Have you noticed how babies breathe? They seem to breathe with every cell of their being – their belly naturally rising and falling with each breath.
 
Natural full breathing  can relieve stress, lower blood pressure, improve sleep, ease pain and release muscular and emotional tension but most of us have forgotten how to breathe effectively.
 
In The Breathing Book by Donna Farhi she says, “ Breathing fully is not a matter of adding anything, of acquiring some new technique, or of striving to improve oneself. Discovering the naturalness of our breath has to do with uncovering or removing the obstacles that we have constructed to the breath, both consciously and unconsciously.”
 
This week give yourself permission to undo- to let go of expectations and allow the breath to inspire you, bringing a sense of wholeness, joy and restoration to your practice and life.
 
See you on the mat!

Namaste,
 
Kim Metz
RYT 200 hour

Classes this Week
Tuesday, 9:30-11:00am -Beginner Yoga   
Thursday, 7:00-8:30pm -Beginner Yoga
Friday noon- 1:00pm -Lunchtime Yoga
 
Perkville is here! Earn points each time you come to class as well as a variety of other ways.  It’s easy and earns you money toward free classes or other services at Awaken Wellness.  Sign-up through invitation via email or go to http://awakenwellnesscolumbia.com/yoga/perkville


Upward Facing Dog

Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. The friends who listen to us are the ones we move toward. When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand. ~ Shel Silverstein

This week make more space in the heart and keep the shoulders firmly supported on the back to give more stability to the shoulder joint and integrity to a pose.

Shoulders have a wide range of motion and are prone to injury through repetitive motion, falls, heavy lifting and movement that is mis-aligned. 

We will practice hugging the scapula firmly onto the back through externally rotating the arms and engage the proper muscles in the back to move with integrity and strength.

The Shel Silverstein poem below reminds us it feels good to hug our shoulders onto our back, not tug our shoulders out of alignment!

Hug O War

I will not play at tug o’ war.
I’d rather play at hug o’ war,
Where everyone hugs
Instead of tugs,
Where everyone giggles 
And rolls on the rug.
Where everyone kisses,
And everyone grins,
And everyone cuddles.
And everyone wins.
-Shel Silverstein

See you on the mat!
Namaste,
 
Kim Metz
RYT 200 hour

Classes this Week
Tuesday, 9:30-11:00am -Beginner Yoga   
Thursday, 7:00-8:30pm -Beginner Yoga
Friday noon- 1:00pm -Lunchtime Yoga
 
Perkville is here! Earn points each time you come to class as well as a variety of other ways.  It’s easy and earns you money toward free classes or other services at Awaken Wellness.  Sign-up through invitation via email or go to http://awakenwellnesscolumbia.com/yoga/perkville


Mountain Pose

Be willing to be a beginner every single morning. ~ Meister Eckhart

Tadasana (mountain pose) is a foundational pose typically taught in Beginner Yoga Classes. It has many benefits including aligned posture, but Tadasana is definitely not just for beginners.

Tadasana is one of my favorite poses.  At first glance it seems deceptively simple- just stand up straight, right? 

And yet the longer I practice it the more subtle Tadasana becomes and the more it has to teach me. Maybe the ordinariness and even pedestrian like quality of it is where it gets its power. After all, for most of us Tadasana can be found everywhere. Each time we stand up or wait in line at the store Tadasana is there for the taking.

It’s not new or visually astounding like some yoga poses may be that deeply bend the back or balance us on one arm or leg.  And yet, that is where the challenge lies. How do we approach Tadasana with a “Beginner’s Mind” again and again? 

I have been practicing Tadasana for years and whenever I remember to pause and be curious about the pose, it always has more to teach me. Each time I practice Tadasana is an opportunity to see it in a new light, with fresh eyes. I feel gratitude for the earth supporting me, the sky above my head and everything in between. It helps me remember to be present and offers a deeper connection to myself.

Tadasana not only offers strength, stability and spaciousness, but also reminds us that each day, each breath and moment is new.

See you on the mat!

Namaste,
 
Kim Metz
RYT 200 hour

Classes this Week
Tuesday, 9:30-11:00am -Beginner Yoga   
Thursday, 7:00-8:30pm -Beginner Yoga
Friday noon- 1:00pm -Lunchtime Yoga
 
Perkville is here! Earn points each time you come to class as well as a variety of other ways.  It’s easy and earns you money toward free classes or other services at Awaken Wellness.  Sign-up through invitation via email or go to http://awakenwellnesscolumbia.com/yoga/perkville 


Yoga Growth
It’s amazing what one seed can grow. Sown in the ground, planted in the heart, each day it grows a little more true. ~Marc Ian Barasch, Executive Director of the Green World Campaign

Have you seen the newly painted trees? Swathes of vibrant pink cherry blossoms, happy yellow forsythia and puffy white pear tree blossoms burst forth on blue sky canvas. The blossoms grow before my eyes- what a surprise when they show yet again!

The welcome warm weather and new spring yoga session has me reflecting on growth. Although it seems that this spring beauty happens overnight it really is a process that starts originally with a seed in the ground.

Our growth too, starts with an idea or seed that comes from within us. Yoga practice can provide the right conditions and space to nourish and foster this growth.

We pause, notice the earth under our feet. We root into the earth and find our center, our strength and stability. We grow out of that, coming back again and again to that seed, idea or hope – nurturing it, paying attention to it, and caring for it.

What are you growing in your yoga practice? Strength, flexibility, balance, maybe even a new way of seeing or being? How will you nurture it?

Give yourself the time, the space and the courage to root your intention. Breathe it in and see what grows – it might bloom into something more than you even envisioned.

See you on the mat!

Namaste,

Kim Metz
RYT 200 hour

It’s FREE WEEK. Sign-up on-line for classes.

Classes this Week

Tuesday, 9:30-11:00am -Beginner Yoga
Thursday, 7:00-8:30pm -Beginner Yoga
Friday noon- 1:00pm -Lunchtime Yoga

Perkville is here! Earn points each time you come to class as well as a variety of other ways. It’s easy and earns you money toward free classes or other services at Awaken Wellness. Sign-up through invitation via email or go to http://awakenwellnesscolumbia.com/yoga/perkville