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Aug 01st
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Mind & Body

Blogs - Mind & Body

Redwood Route to Yoga

Redwood Route to Yoga

Driving through pounding rain, slipping on the winding shoulders of rte 9, lost in Greg’s dreamy music, I am part of the world, at one with the trees and the rain and the notes. This ride is how I prepare for my Tuesday, 8:00am class with Kris D’Amico, who teaches a solid and energetic vinyassa flow at Village Yoga, on Front Street.  I need to feel this solid movement.   Don’t come if you don’t like heat.  The Bikram room is normally heated to about 100˚, although the temperature is not jacked up as high for this class.  The movement was welcome, considering the long holds I have recently been practicing.  The sweating and the twists, the balance and the rest, the focus and the alignment.  A necessary change for today, as I am needing to shake it.


Kris also teaches a class at 6:00am on Mondays, and 7:45pm on Thursdays. www.bikramyogasantacruz.com

Blogs - Mind & Body

The Doctor is In (bed), part 2: Dr. Rachel Recovers from Surgery

The Doctor is In (bed), part 2:  Dr. Rachel Recovers from Surgery

Well, here I am, a month to the day, fully healed and not even thinking about my absent tonsils (and I did NOT get a sore throat and tonsillitis with a recent cold!).  Overall, I did much better than the average patient, pretty well fully functional by 12 days following surgery and no complications.  I think that the prayers, herbs, craniosacral treatment, nutritional IV’s, and acupucture all helped—at least as much as the love of the people providing them.  And I have to give a grateful nod to Western medicine, for as much as I loved all the holistic approaches, nothing came close to the passion I felt for my bottle of liquid Vicodin in that first week.

I was promised, by the good Dr. Lane, that this surgery would hurt.  A lot.  And she never lies.  I started out gagging down the disgusting, yellow, sickly sweet liquid Vicodin and, honestly, by the end, I looked forward to its pineapple-like flavor.  Amazing what the imagination can do.  I have a whole new appreciation for the difficulty of living with chronic pain and a new sympathy for the longing of addicts for their substance of choice.  After 10 days, I graduated myself to Tylenol and poured my lovely Vicodin down the drain.

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Blogs - Mind & Body

What will you do for love?

What will you do for love?

Dave Eggars writes in the introduction to David Foster Wallace’s huge ( emotionally and physically – 1079 pages ) novel, Infinite Jest, about  “a constant tragic undercurrent that concerns people who are completely lost – lost within their families, lost within their nations, lost within their time and who only want some sort of direction or purpose or sense of community and love.”  This seems universal.  After digging through Infinite Jest a number of times, never to finish, I can understand the commitment necessary to forge a connection to others or to the divine through creative expression.  Is this my answer?  Investigating and committing to photography and writing with a quest for love are encouraged by yoga.  These postures, after years of practice, seep deeper and deeper into my heart allowing the art to emerge.  Sometimes I’m sore, but mostly these days, I’m inspired.  The asanas have become established within me inducing a clearing for the expression that seems more important than ever. Love.

Blogs - Mind & Body

The Doctor is In (bed): Dr. Rachel Prepares for surgery

The Doctor is In (bed):  Dr. Rachel Prepares for surgery

This blog is a bit different from all the others as I am writing as a patient-to-be.  My wise  ENT doctor, Alexis Lane, has agreed that my enlarged and cryptic (in the “multiple caves” sense, not in the “short” sense) tonsils are to be relegated to the bin of lost body parts.   Now, you might think I would feel relieved to be rid of these recurrent sore-throat, chronic tonsillitis nightmares that I have experienced since the age of 6, and I am.  But as a holistic doctor by nature—I don’t LIKE intervention--especially when it comes to my own body.  Yet I have always let reason rule and, tomorrow morning, I am going under the knife.  Tonsillectomy is fairly routine in children, but in adults it is more tricky and MUCH more painful.

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Blogs - Mind & Body

A Favorite Asana

A Favorite AsanaLaptops, music, art, conversation.  Where do the yogis meet?  Why, at Asana, of course, the semi-newcomer, which opened last July on Lincoln Street.  It’s easy to be a yogi and eat this delicious organic food and sip any of the 60 varieties of tea, while hanging with friends.  Asana tends to go light and pumped with flavor with its delicious array of paninis, focaccia pizzas, and my favorite, the “bowls to fill the whole.”  These bowls are filled with veggies, tempeh, sometimes chicken, and, and spices to warm your open yogi heart. Another favorite is the Grain bowl, with quinoa or brown rice filled with soup and topped with rainbow chard – my dream meal. Or just come by after class, sit on the couch, and sip tea.  Erin and Marshall, my recent servers could not have been more friendly or helpful.  Enjoy!
Blogs - Mind & Body

“That breathing thing, in and out…”*

“That breathing thing, in and out…”*

I traveled the windy road up to SF, thrilled with the cityscape, after these lonely hills, to the Yoga Journal’s 7th Annual SF Conference, and to an enveloped world of yoga.  The faces I deem “famous” for my world were talking nonchalantly with each other and with students.  Very exciting.

My schedule the first day was aggressive:  David Swenson’s Primary Series, Shadow Yoga, with Scott Blossom, and James Higgins.  These classes were top notch and helped me to explore new streams of my yoga practice.  It was Sunday morning’s class with Rod Stryker that really did it for me.  It was a pranayama class and I learned the depth of breath and its meaning.  The benefits? Improved health, concentration and mental focus – increased vitality, manifestation of desires and intentions  - self-realization.  Watching my partner as she practiced pranayama, her lungs expanded and something wonderful seemed to happen.  Incorporating this practice into my regular practice this week has been the goal and the benefits are already apparent, with my week in full bloom. *overheard at the conference

Blogs - Mind & Body

Will the Rain Ever Stop?

Will the Rain Ever Stop?

Acclimating to an indoor life is a winter happening, even in this un-extreme climate.  This transformation is a balance:  the dark to the light, the yin to the yang, the rest to the action.  And it is this stopping that is crucial to a yogic life.  It begins as a forced exile – outdoor activity curtailed -  reading more, meditating more, sleeping more, thinking more, obsessing more.  I have heard many teachers tout the importance of savasana (resting pose) as the most influential posture.  This resting will balance the movement, they say, and assist in the slow opening of the heart.

I have only to look over at the amaryllis that Aunt Madeline sent me for Christmas, as she does every year.  Yesterday the flower bloomed, after a strict dormancy, in the dead of January – a preview of my heart.

Blogs - Mind & Body

New York Sets the Tone

New York Sets the Tone

When travels involve predictable family drama, emotions generally run unchecked.  I have developed my yoga practice to such a habitual state, that the practice comes first wherever I am, and I remain somehow intact with the outer life. I did see and practice with my former teacher from Santa Cruz (Phil) http://eastyoga.com, as well as practice at my adopted studio, Jivamukti, www.jivamuktiyoga.com, where the owners taught master classes and a meditation forum that was powerful, the fact is, it’s all yoga, and it’s great to get out and test my core on other teachers.

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Blogs - Mind & Body

The Body Speaks-Photo Essay #2

The Body Speaks-Photo Essay #2

The intensity of Michael McEvoy.

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Blogs - Mind & Body

The Body Speaks-Photo Essay

The Body Speaks-Photo Essay

They came for their portraits with expectations of the perfection of their postures and I saw the beauty in their worked bodies, alive and in the midst of something.

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