Yoga in the Mountains

Last weekend I spent three days in McCall, Idaho.  I had a blast teaching at Shanti Yoga Studio and camping at Ponderosa State Park.  Since pictures are suppose to be worth a 1,000 words I have included a fun picture gallery of some of our adventures with yoga.  I hope they encourage you to explore your physical environment in new creative ways.  Hope you are all having a great summer and doing lots of yoga outdoors under the sun!

Published in: on June 29, 2011 at 2:16 am  Comments (1)  
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The Sick Politics of Health

In a country with wealth beyond most people’s dreams, it is a crime that so many people are sick and without healthcare.  I don’t even know where to start to explain how upset this makes me.  To make things worse the less power you have in the society the less likely you are to have the care you need.  This means the individuals that need care the most are the least likely to get it.   This includes children, the mentally ill, the developmentally disabled, the chronically ill, those with learning disabilities, drug addictions, physical disabilities and the elderly. Not to mention the socioeconomic division between wealth and poverty. The list goes on long enough to make one realize that we are not talking about a minority of people, but instead a majority. Please do what you can to be informed and to advocate for access to health for everyone.

Below you find an overview of some related articles, overviews supplied by Mental Health in the Headlines which is a weekly newsletter produced by Mental Health America:

Services Facing Cuts despite Rise in Number of Beneficiaries: States are cutting Medicaid payments to doctors and hospitals, limiting benefits for Medicaid recipients, reducing the scope of covered services, requiring beneficiaries to pay larger co-payments and expanding the use of managed care. The moves come as $90 billion in extra funds originally authorized in stimulus legislation will run out in July. At the same time, the number of beneficiaries is higher now than when Congress approved the aid. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that federal Medicaid spending will decline in 2012 for only the second time in the 46-year history of the program. The cuts are likely to increase costs in other parts of the health care system. Doctors will be less likely to accept Medicaid patients if they receive lower payments, which will cause people to turn to hospital emergency rooms for care. Hospitals and other health care providers often try to make up for the loss of Medicaid revenue by increasing charges to other patients, including those with private insurance, experts say. (The New York Times, 6/15/11)

Better Medicaid Coordination Would Cut Costs: Health policy experts say one of the best ways to reduce costs for Medicaid without sacrificing care would be better care coordination for “dual eligibles.” These are the people who qualify for Medicare and Medicaid because they require hospital and long-term care. Although they represent only 15 percent of Medicaid’s beneficiaries, they account for 40 percent of the program’s spending. If their cases were coordinated better, costs would be reduced and people would be healthier. But enacting better care coordination can be difficult. (The Washington Post, 6/16/11)

Children on Medicaid More Likely to Wait for Care: Children on Medicaid are much more likely than kids with private health insurance to be denied appointments with medical specialists and wait longer on average to be seen, according to a new study.  Research assistants posing as mothers of sick children called to make appointments for specialty care at 273 clinics in Cook County, Illinois, one month apart. In one call, they told the clinic they had public insurance. In the other, they said they were privately insured. Two-thirds of fictitious Medicaid patients were denied appointments compared to 11 percent of privately insured patients, researchers reported in New England Journal of Medicine. In 89 clinics that accepted both types of insurance, children with public insurance also waited 22 days longer on average for an appointment with a specialist. And in more than half of the phone calls, the caller was asked what kind of insurance their child had before an appointment could be scheduled. Low reimbursement rates, payment delays and hassles associated with the payment process were cited by the study’s authors as likely reasons for doctors’ reluctance to see Medicaid patients. (The New York Times, 6/15/11)

Published in: on June 24, 2011 at 10:07 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Gypsy Wisdom

I have always thought that with summertime and sunny weather our travels should slow down.  Home is beautiful, gardens are growing and Idaho offers so much adventure.  Even with this opinion, I am never able to keep from planning at least a few adventures out of state.  For those of you who find yourself in the same predicament I have included some of my favorite ‘traveling quotes’.

Traveling in Style

“Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey.” – Fitzhugh Mullan

“Our deeds still travel with us from afar, and what we have been makes us what we are.” – George Eliot

“We wander for distraction, but we travel for fulfillment.” – Hilaire Belloc

“I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.” – Susan Sontag

“Too often. . .I would hear men boast of the miles covered that day, rarely of what they had seen.” – Louis L’Amour

“I love to travel, but hate to arrive.” – Albert Einstein

Published in: on June 23, 2011 at 8:22 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Visions of apps are swimming in my head!

I am a self professed technophobe, but I have to confess that I am quickly recovering.  When faced with learning how to use a new computer, program or phone I have been know to get hives.  About five years ago I realized that no matter how hard I tried technology was going to be all around me.  I decided to begin to ‘make nice’ and figure out ways that technology could serve me rather than unnerve me.

I didn’t own a computer, but decided might be fun. Well, long story short…I met my husband, Stu, after only two months.  We just celebrated our third year wedding anniversary and I think he is the most amazing person I have ever met.  Stu works remotely from home so of course he didn’t understand how I survived without a personal computer. It didn’t take long before my lap was getting cooked by the tiniest laptop Dell makes.

This is where the snowball really started growing…I started a Facebook page, built my website, began my blog, discovered Twitter…oh my, I figured I was cured.  Somehow, though, smartphones and Kindles still weird-ed me out. Four days ago I took a step into another realm and bought an iPhone 4G!  It is the coolest gadget ever.  It can do almost anything and I was still able to figure out how to use everything my old phone did in less than an hour.

Now the real point of telling all of you about my experience is that I have discovered some amazing apps that can really help a person gain deeper awareness.  Seems counter-intuitive that a micro machine could connect us better with our inner environment, but I believe it might.  Below you will find a list of the kinds of apps I am talking about.  I have also included some links for you Android lovers.

  1. Mood charting apps that allow you to quickly record mood-triggers and self-care.  In seconds you can record your current emotions, stress level, hours sleep, naps, exercise, medications and so much more.  Then you can hit one button to look at a simple line graph of all your information.  It even allows you to send this information to your doctor via email.  Examples can be found at:
  2. Meditation timers galore to choose from. Examples can be found at:
  3. A mantra app that allows you to pick from about a hundred mantras or chants and listen to recordings.  Examples can be found at:
  4. A pranayama (breathing exercise) app that is really quite amazing.  It is particularly helpful for equal-ratio breathing or facilitating a deeper, slower breath.  Somehow while watching the little ‘pie-chart’ image move about & direct when to inhale and exhale it seems almost impossible to not have your breath sync up with it.  It works the same way that watching the waves crash in at the beach or the swinging pendulum of a grandfather clock influences our heart rate and breath. Examples can be found at:
  5. Yoga apps that will help you build sequences or recommend postures for specific needs.  Examples can be found at:
  6. Nutrition apps…

I could list even more, but I just wanted to encourage you to take a look at ways to make your technology work for you and not the other way around.  Happy hunting and I hope to see you out in the real world.


Published in: on June 21, 2011 at 1:55 am  Leave a Comment  
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Inner Peace

If you can start the day without caffeine,
If you can always be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains,
If you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles,
If you can eat the same food every day and be grateful for it,
If you can understand when your loved ones are too busy to give you any time,
If you can take criticism and  blame without resentment,
If you can conquer tension without medical help,
If you can relax without alcohol,
If  you can sleep without the aid of drugs,

… Then You Are Probably …

The Family Dog!

Poem courtesy of Shauna Ault, DVM.

If you are looking for alternative care for your pet I highly recommend Dr. Ault.

For all non-pet owners bare with the ‘dog posts’.  I have been leaning extra heavy on the tiny shoulders of my Chihuahuas this week.  I don’t know what I would do without their constant and unconditional love.  I bow to the power of sweet ‘fur-babies’ to help us center and find our ground.

Doggie Neurophysiology

I am currently reading a book called, Mapping the Mind, which explains the functional anatomy of the brain.  Wish it was as clear as the image below.

Published in: on June 13, 2011 at 4:31 pm  Comments (2)  
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If You Love Someone with Mental Illness

I have found one thing more challenging than having a mental illness….knowing how to help those I love who have a mental illness.  I know what has helped me and know what my studies have taught me, but the true test comes in implementation.  It has taken my lifetime to find just the right formula of self-care, medications and help from others that allows me to live nearly free from symptoms.  I have felt so empowered by this experience that I want to help everyone find freedom from their pain.  Unfortunately, it is not an easy task.  Every person with mental illness experiences their diagnosis differently and each individual will have to find their own path to wellness.  There are powerful tools, skills, techniques, medications, and therapies (the list goes on) that can all give a person some relief.  Most likely, though, it will be a combination of many things that will provide long-term quality of life.  This means a lot of trial and error and a lot of faith that someday the right combination will be found.

Needless to say this process asks a lot from a person who is already suffering, not to mention the toll on family and friends.  But to get to my point, if you love someone with mental illness please be loving and gentle.  They are already hurting.  Their internal world is at war with itself and they can not escape it.  They are not trying to get attention other than to ask for help in the only way they know possible.  The reality they are struggling with is very real to them whether or not you understand it.  Above all have patience, give them respect and be compassionate.

For more tips on how to be the best support possible check out the link below:

Published in: on June 10, 2011 at 4:45 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Regards to all the humanity in brokeness…

A student and good friend of mine just sent a link to an intriguing article about a Goddess from Hindu mythology named Akhilandeshvari.  In sanskrit her name means the “never not broken” goddess.  What does this mean?  Well, to me it says that even the gods and goddesses are known for their humanity.  It is like the Japanese art of wabi-sabi to find beauty in imperfection. Acceptance of the natural cycles of life, reverence in authenticity and rejection of perfection all lead us to a deeper connection with the present moment.  Life will take us through so many states of being and through the practice of yoga you will more easily be able to recognize the true you no matter where you are.

The Goddess of Never Not Broken <– (Click here)

What does Akhilandeshvari say to you?

Published in: on June 9, 2011 at 5:35 pm  Comments (1)  
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Barriers to Love

Your task is not to seek love, but to seek & find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.
— Rumi

Published in: on June 7, 2011 at 6:07 pm  Comments (1)  
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Therapeutic Yoga Class

Tomorrow is the first class of Yoga for Life’s new Therapeutic Yoga class.  I look forward to seeing the class grow and would love to see you there.  This restorative yoga class will include supported postures, breath awareness exercises and guided meditation.  The sequencing, pace and tone of the class is specifically designed for those who are in the process of healing or have ongoing health challenges. This class is perfect for those with Fibromyalgia, Multiple sclerosis (MS), Arthritis, Asthma, other autoimmune diseases or in recovery from illness or surgery.  It is recommended that you consult your physician previous to starting and during class always listen to and respect your body.

Location: Yoga for Life

Time: 5:30-6:30pm Fridays

Cost: Punch Card: 10 classes for $75.00,  Unlimited Yoga classes for $60.00/Month, Walk-ins: $10.00 per class