Virtual Reiki-infused Sound Healing and Meditation Class!

Virtual Community Gathering Practice Tips

We understand that this is not the ideal way to come together to practice and how sometimes just the thought of more technology might bring shivers down our spines.  Accepting that it’s OK to feel intimidated is the first step. We are doing our best to make the connection simple and easy.  Harnessing the warrior energy within will help you to face any tech fears you might have and join us!

Once you let us know that you are interested in attending, we will send you an email that will include details around what is needed from you, including:

  • Signed Releases/Waivers of Liability forms (one time, for new students only)
  • PayPal information to facilitate payment
  • Checking your email for the Zoom link to join the class
  • A few minutes before the class, simply clicking the link within the email to be sent straight to our meeting room

To facilitate the benefits of such a virtual community practice at home, below we have provided some helpful hints:

  • Set up your mats at least 3 giant steps from your device.
  • Elevate your device 21-24″ from the floor and have it tilted forward slightly.
  • Have your props nearby.
  • Although not required, having a headset or ear buds to listen when the singing bowls are playing may enhance your listening pleasure.
  • Please know you will not need to have your audio/video camera on during the practice.  If you would prefer to reduce the number of distractions or increase the sense of privacy, we invite you to turn off your audio and video once the class starts.

Restorative Yoga Tips and Props

On the day of the class, here are some additional recommendations to create a more sacred space in advance for your practice:

  • Make sure you’ll be in a space where there won’t be any background noises, distractions or interruptions.
  • Adjusting the lighting in the room to your liking, perhaps turning off any overhead lighting and minimizing outdoor light and instead turning on a room lamp or lighting your favorite candle(s).
  • Wear warm, comfortable clothing including socks.
  • If available, bringing your favorite deck of intention cards and essential oil to your mat.
  • Placing your props (see below) to the side of your mat so they are within an easy reach during the class.

 In home prop ideas:

  • Bolster:  couch cushions or a tightly rolled comforter, towel, or blanket (can be secured with 2 ties, scarfs or belts)
  • Pillows:  couch, chair or bed pillows will do
  • Blankets:  your favorite blanket to cover yourself and either 2 additional blankets or bath or beach towels (no sheets)
  • Yoga blocks: books, either paper back or hard cover, stacked
  • Eye pillow:  hand towel, tie or scarf

When emotional dysregulation has us in its grip, might direct neurofeedback help?

When we are born, the parts of our brain that are driving the car are the ones responsible for our emotions.  The prominent logical part of our brain – the prefrontal cortex – doesn’t start to grow until between the ages of 1 and 2 years of age, with the most important years in a child’s development extending to the age of 3.  During these first 3 years of life, it is critical that a child receives warmth, love and responsive care.  Otherwise, the child is at greater risk of experiencing an interpersonal traumatic attachment injury, which impacts the brain’s development, leading to growing fears of abandonment/rejection and emotional dysregulation.  Basically, the emotional brain highjacks the logical brain and remains in the driver’s seat, possibly for life!

If a child does not experience the warmth and care they need from a primary care giver, dysfunctional symptoms begin to emerge as a result of such a traumatic attachment injury.  These symptoms will lead to a diagnosis of Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) in childhood, if the child is fortunate enough to have someone in their lives to intervene and secure the support that is needed.  If not, the child will adapt in ways to maintain safety, yet will not outgrow the symptoms.  As an adult, the symptoms now get a different diagnosis – and are labeled as a personality disorder.

One of those labeled personality disorders is borderline personality disorder (BPD).  This diagnosis is characterized by emotional dysregulation and poor executive function, which includes adaptable thinking, self-monitoring, and self-control.  Serious symptoms include impulsive, self-destructive behaviors, including self-injury and suicide attempts.  People suffering the symptoms of BPD find it difficult to establish and maintain stable, trusting relationships because of the fear of abandonment from significant others.  Therefore, it can be difficult to heal through traditional psychotherapy alone, since the therapeutic relationship is one that is based on trust.

This dilemma then begs the question of whether direct neurofeedback might support people who are have been diagnosed with BPD, perhaps facilitating their healing journey.  Well, recent research took a look at if, and how, such an intervention might be helpful.  What this research showed was that increasing the activity of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex through repeated stimulation via direct neurofeedback significantly improved major executive functioning and cognitive control over negative emotions, bringing hope to many!

To read more, click on the link below:

 

Virtual Reiki-infused Sound Healing and Meditation Class!

Virtual Community Gathering Practice Tips

We understand that this is not the ideal way to come together to practice and how sometimes just the thought of more technology might bring shivers down our spines.  Accepting that it’s OK to feel intimidated is the first step. We are doing our best to make the connection simple and easy.  Harnessing the warrior energy within will help you to face any tech fears you might have and join us!

Once you let us know that you are interested in attending, we will send you an email that will include details around what is needed from you, including:

  • Signed Releases/Waivers of Liability forms (one time, for new students only)
  • PayPal information to facilitate payment
  • Checking your email for the Zoom link to join the class
  • A few minutes before the class, simply clicking the link within the email to be sent straight to our meeting room

To facilitate the benefits of such a virtual community practice at home, below we have provided some helpful hints:

  • Set up your mats at least 3 giant steps from your device.
  • Elevate your device 21-24″ from the floor and have it tilted forward slightly.
  • Have your props nearby.
  • Although not required, having a headset or ear buds to listen when the singing bowls are playing may enhance your listening pleasure.
  • Please know you will not need to have your audio/video camera on during the practice.  If you would prefer to reduce the number of distractions or increase the sense of privacy, we invite you to turn off your audio and video once the class starts.

Restorative Yoga Tips and Props

On the day of the class, here are some additional recommendations to create a more sacred space in advance for your practice:

  • Make sure you’ll be in a space where there won’t be any background noises, distractions or interruptions.
  • Adjusting the lighting in the room to your liking, perhaps turning off any overhead lighting and minimizing outdoor light and instead turning on a room lamp or lighting your favorite candle(s).
  • Wear warm, comfortable clothing including socks.
  • If available, bringing your favorite deck of intention cards and essential oil to your mat.
  • Placing your props (see below) to the side of your mat so they are within an easy reach during the class.

 In home prop ideas:

  • Bolster:  couch cushions or a tightly rolled comforter, towel, or blanket (can be secured with 2 ties, scarfs or belts)
  • Pillows:  couch, chair or bed pillows will do
  • Blankets:  your favorite blanket to cover yourself and either 2 additional blankets or bath or beach towels (no sheets)
  • Yoga blocks: books, either paper back or hard cover, stacked
  • Eye pillow:  hand towel, tie or scarf

Can welcoming and accepting our unpleasant emotions change an unhealthy relationship to food?

Growing up, my parents had two different approaches to emotions.  One, my mother, expressed them all the time and the other, my father, never expressed them at all, believing that showing emotion was a sign of weakness.  As I write this, I now know that my household was not all that uncommon.  What I have learned over my life time is that many people struggle to balance their emotional experiences because we were never taught that emotions are natural, universal, and intelligent.  Instead, we were taught that unpleasant emotions were not welcome and somehow had to be controlled!

Being a more “right-brained” human, I tried my best to control my emotions over the years, having internalized the cultural myth that emotions can be controlled.  What tools are available to use in a war to try and control unpleasant emotions?  Exercise? Shopping? Work? Food?  Yes, Yes, Yes and Yes!  Over the years, work and food took center stage for me as my weapons of choice.

I didn’t understand then that those weapons were pointed at me, trying to harm or shut up a significant source of my innate human intelligence, the part of my intelligence that was trying to tell me that my needs were not being met in that moment.  I used those weapons to attempt to distract myself from a sense of overwhelm and loss of control.  Work became a source of comfort for the part of me that wanted to have a voice and food became a source of comfort for the part of me that believed it had just survived a life-challenging event, where it had navigated through the overwhelm and came out on the other side.  Food became almost a reward for making it through each day, with my thoughts saying “You did a good job, so you deserve to treat yourself to a big meal” and my body initially responding to the food intake with a release of tension, almost as if it was thanking me for finally giving it fuel to continue to live.  Now I recognize the need that was not getting met in the moment was comfort!

Before the diagnosis of binge-eating disorder (BED) officially made it into the DSM-V in 2013, I would (and still do) describe my past, unhealthy relationship with food as an emotional eating disorder.  I had bought into the “comfort food” phenomenon, where people seek out certain foods that create a temporary elevation of mood and a sense of relaxation.  It was only after spending time with a compassionate therapist and discovering yoga as a replacement tool was I able to befriend my emotions and my body enough to listen to what they were trying to tell me.  When I gave them “on air” time, I was able to become more aware of how I used food to soothe and distract from facing the fear and feeling the sting of powerful emotions, such as shame and rejection.

It was my own personal journey of learning to sit with my powerful emotions and honor that they serve me that brought my emotions into balance, so they don’t feel so overwhelming and scary anymore (and no longer show up in the most inappropriate places!).  In fact, when I start to feel overwhelmed, it is a red flag to “STOP” and reevaluate what I need to bring back balance.  By welcoming and accepting all of my emotions, I was able to establish a healthy relationship to food, recognizing food as simply fuel for my vehicle, so I could begin to make food choices that might be considered “premium gas” for my body.

It is also my own personal healing journey that has informed my work as a psychotherapist, embracing emotion-focused therapy as my “go to” approach.  What I learned – and share with my clients – is that as humans, we all have emotions and would not want to control them because they inform us, as they are a powerful source of intelligence.  So how excited was I when I read new research that validated my personal experience!  This research confirmed that the experience of unpleasant emotions is among the most accurate predictors for binge eating episodes in BED and individuals with BED often experience difficulties with deficits in emotion regulation.  It looked at the effectiveness of emotion-focused therapy to reduce the reliance on an eating disorder as an emotional coping mechanism and the evidence is emerging for the benefits of EFT for BED!

If you would like to read the full research article, click the link below:

Virtual Reiki-infused Sound Healing and Meditation Class!

Virtual Community Gathering Practice Tips

We understand that this is not the ideal way to come together to practice and how sometimes just the thought of more technology might bring shivers down our spines.  Accepting that it’s OK to feel intimidated is the first step. We are doing our best to make the connection simple and easy.  Harnessing the warrior energy within will help you to face any tech fears you might have and join us!

Once you let us know that you are interested in attending, we will send you an email that will include details around what is needed from you, including:

  • Signed Releases/Waivers of Liability forms (one time, for new students only)
  • PayPal information to facilitate payment
  • Checking your email for the Zoom link to join the class
  • A few minutes before the class, simply clicking the link within the email to be sent straight to our meeting room

To facilitate the benefits of such a virtual community practice at home, below we have provided some helpful hints:

  • Set up your mats at least 3 giant steps from your device.
  • Elevate your device 21-24″ from the floor and have it tilted forward slightly.
  • Have your props nearby.
  • Although not required, having a headset or ear buds to listen when the singing bowls are playing may enhance your listening pleasure.
  • Please know you will not need to have your audio/video camera on during the practice.  If you would prefer to reduce the number of distractions or increase the sense of privacy, we invite you to turn off your audio and video once the class starts.

Restorative Yoga Tips and Props

On the day of the class, here are some additional recommendations to create a more sacred space in advance for your practice:

  • Make sure you’ll be in a space where there won’t be any background noises, distractions or interruptions.
  • Adjusting the lighting in the room to your liking, perhaps turning off any overhead lighting and minimizing outdoor light and instead turning on a room lamp or lighting your favorite candle(s).
  • Wear warm, comfortable clothing including socks.
  • If available, bringing your favorite deck of intention cards and essential oil to your mat.
  • Placing your props (see below) to the side of your mat so they are within an easy reach during the class.

 In home prop ideas:

  • Bolster:  couch cushions or a tightly rolled comforter, towel, or blanket (can be secured with 2 ties, scarfs or belts)
  • Pillows:  couch, chair or bed pillows will do
  • Blankets:  your favorite blanket to cover yourself and either 2 additional blankets or bath or beach towels (no sheets)
  • Yoga blocks: books, either paper back or hard cover, stacked
  • Eye pillow:  hand towel, tie or scarf

Can yoga change your brain?

What if we could see inside of our brains when we are practicing our deep breathing, sun salutations, and savasana?  Would you want to see/know what parts of your brain are being turned on and off or growing and shrinking?  Well, this might not quite be reality yet, however, with neuroimaging technology what it is today, it is pretty close!  When I started my yoga practice almost 20 years ago, I didn’t know what the practice did to my brain if anything, I just felt relief each time I left class.  Now, all these years later, it excites me to know that it supported my brain’s own natural ability to heal.

Before discovering yoga, I was a workaholic that was in a constant state of flight or fight with the world around me.  I figured I had inherited my mother’s anxiety and there was nothing I could really do about it.  Boy was I wrong!  My first yoga class spoke to me in a way that I had never experienced before, calling me back to the mat that first year 5 to 6 times a week.  I thought it had become my new addiction, yet it changed me so profoundly that I was finally able to find the long sought after balance I craved in my life.

I believed yoga was a huge contributor to my healing journey, although at the time I might not have fully understood how it worked.  Today, with the integration of neuroimaging and neurophysiological techniques into the study of yoga, research has begun to reveal consistent structural and functional changes in the brain.  With the benefit of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), positron emission tomography (PET) and/or single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) scanning, the benefits of yoga are lighting up our brains!

Although the various research studies have looked at different aspects of yoga, such as movement versus meditation as well as styles of yoga, these studies reflect relatively consistent cerebral structural and functional changes.  What this tells me is that you can’t do it wrong!  It doesn’t matter if you practice Iyengar, Yin, Hatha and/or Kundalini yoga, it will help your brain.  It doesn’t matter if you practice movement, breathing techniques, meditation or chant, it will help your brain.  And with all of the different approaches, including Kids and Chair yoga, yoga is available to help our brains throughout the entire life cycle.

Fast forward with the increasing popularity of yoga worldwide, research is still scarce in yogis yet it is expanding with the assistance of neuroimaging.  And this research is showing that yoga effects the brain both structurally and functionally, specifically in areas involving interoception, posture, motivation, and higher executive functions.  Moving forward, more research is needed to reflect the changes in the brain through neuroimaging when the brain is suffering from the effects of anxiety, depression, PTSD and other stress-induced mental health challenges.  I would have loved to see what my brain looked like before discovering yoga and after integrating my practice into my everyday life.  I think the results would have been very validating!

Virtual Reiki-infused Sound Healing and Meditation Class!

This online group gathering will be conducted using Zoom’s video conferencing, which provides an option to turn off the your audio/video at any time, supporting privacy and facilitating a reduction in distractions.  For first-time attendees, signed release of liability/waiver forms will be needed.  Once these forms have been received, along with payment via PayPal, an email will be sent to you with the link and meeting ID to join the class.  We look forward to being of service to you!

Virtual Community Gathering Practice Tips

We understand that this is not the ideal way to come together to practice and how sometimes just the thought of more technology might bring shivers down our spines.  Accepting that it’s OK to feel intimidated is the first step. We are doing our best to make the connection simple and easy.  Harnessing the warrior energy within will help you to face any tech fears you might have and join us!

Once you let us know that you are interested in attending, we will send you an email that will include details around what is needed from you, including:

  • Signed Releases/Waivers of Liability forms (one time, for new students only)
  • PayPal information to facilitate payment
  • Checking your email for the Zoom link to join the class
  • A few minutes before the class, simply clicking the link within the email to be sent straight to our meeting room

To facilitate the benefits of such a virtual community practice at home, below we have provided some helpful hints:

  • Set up your mats at least 3 giant steps from your device.
  • Elevate your device 21-24″ from the floor and have it tilted forward slightly.
  • Have your props nearby.
  • Although not required, having a headset or ear buds to listen when the singing bowls are playing may enhance your listening pleasure.
  • Please know you will not need to have your audio/video camera on during the practice.  If you would prefer to reduce the number of distractions or increase the sense of privacy, we invite you to turn off your audio and video once the class starts.

Restorative Yoga Tips and Props

On the day of the class, here are some additional recommendations to create a more sacred space in advance for your practice:

  • Make sure you’ll be in a space where there won’t be any background noises, distractions or interruptions.
  • Adjusting the lighting in the room to your liking, perhaps turning off any overhead lighting and minimizing outdoor light and instead turning on a room lamp or lighting your favorite candle(s).
  • Wear warm, comfortable clothing including socks.
  • If available, bringing your favorite deck of intention cards and essential oil to your mat.
  • Placing your props (see below) to the side of your mat so they are within an easy reach during the class.

 In home prop ideas:

  • Bolster:  couch cushions or a tightly rolled comforter, towel, or blanket (can be secured with 2 ties, scarfs or belts)
  • Pillows:  couch, chair or bed pillows will do
  • Blankets:  your favorite blanket to cover yourself and either 2 additional blankets or bath or beach towels (no sheets)
  • Yoga blocks: books, either paper back or hard cover, stacked
  • Eye pillow:  hand towel, tie or scarf

Is direct neurofeedback a viable non-drug treatment option for ADHD?

As the most common neurodevelopmental disorder, Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder impacts an estimated 11% of children in school, with symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, impulsivity and various cognitive dysfunctions often persisting into adolescence and adulthood.  And thanks to modern neuroimaging technology, relatively distinct brain regions within the prefrontal cortex have been identified as having altered activity, accounting for the symptoms of ADHD.  These disturbances in the networks of the brain have begun to come under further study when considering therapeutic interventions.  Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), aka direct neurofeedback, has shown promising effectiveness in both neuropsychological and neurodevelopmental disorders, especially ADHD.

Symptoms of inattention or being easily distracted is very common, as it is the mind’s natural tendency or default mode.  It is actually wired for continuous distraction and a culture that values multi-tasking reinforces this wiring.  Mindfulness, or the practice of narrowing our focus to a single-task or giving our undivided attention to the task at hand, is one way to train the mind to ‘pay attention’.  However, this is sometimes easier said than actually done.

Now add trauma to this default mode of distraction.  When the mind is overwhelmed by strong, and often uncomfortable emotions, the use of the natural, default distraction wiring of our brains can actually be of benefit as it provides relief from those emotions, albeit temporary, brief and fleeting.  In fact, using conscious distraction techniques can actually keep us be safe from harm in the moment by moving us away from more unhealthy reactions to such powerful emotions, such as self-harming thoughts and behaviors including substance use.

The go-to approach to ADHD has been medication and behavioral modification therapy, yet the lack of long-term effects for both has been disappointing to those who suffer from the symptoms of this neurodevelopmental disorder.  Such lack of long-term effects has generated renewed interest in neurofeedback in recent years as a promising method for improving neuropsychological and cognitive deficits in ADHD.  Although more research may be required to determine the length of initial treatment along with the need for ongoing intermittent treatment to assess how long the benefits last, this non-invasive brain wave modulation intervention may just be a better approach while eliminating any medication side-effects!

If you would like to read more about the current state of the research on using direct neurofeedback for ADHD, click the link below:

Is expanding our capacity for compassion – for self and other – the key ingredient in healing through psychotherapy?

Growing up in chaos challenges our equilibrium to seek control, wherever and whenever we can find it.  This is a recipe for our perfectionist part to step forward and take control, driving us mercilessly to do more and better, striving for an ideal that does not exist.  Ultimately, this is a recipe for failure, disappointment, anxiety, depression or worse.  It wasn’t until I learned that as a spiritual being having a human experience that I am limited and flawed that acceptance began to flow in.  This realization did not mean that I stopped striving to grow, do better and be a less judgmental human.  It did mean that I had to reign in my perfectionist part and redefine my goals and ideals.

When acceptance began to flow for my limitations and mistakes, along with it came relief.  I could stop setting myself up for failure and begin to release my grip on unrealistic expectations, not only for myself but of others.  It opened the door to see and accept the limitations of others as a natural and universal aspect of being human.  It also loosened the grip of the need to control, which calmed my overly developed responsible part, creating space for the capacity to simply be.

Part of my journey towards acceptance included work through psychotherapy that encouraged me to confront the chaos of my childhood and the traumatizing effects it had on all parts of me.  I learned that perfectionism is a self-destructive and addictive belief system that fuels a primary thought that if I look perfect, and do everything perfectly, I can avoid or minimize the painful feelings of shame, judgment, and blame.  Shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging.  Shame says ‘I am bad’ versus the feeling of guilt, which says ‘I did something bad’.

Having a compassionate witness, my psychotherapist, guide me along the sometimes slow and painful path back to wholeness, was mission critical for my healing.  I came to learn that as children living through adverse experiences we adapt by turning against ourselves, which distorts our sense of self.  We develop self-hatred as an adaptive response to protect our parents, which plants the seed that will grow the perfectionist part and set us on the path to work to improve our ‘bad’ self.

As I write this, my intention is not to blame, pass judgment on or shame parents.  I am in a space of understanding and acceptance that humans do the best they can with what they know in the moment.  However, the child goes through an unconscious development process that suggests:  which is safer, for the child to believe that their parents are bad and they don’t love you or that they are incompetent and the world is not safe OR for the child to believe that there is something wrong with them, that they are not good enough or have something to be ashamed of?  When we can understand that the fear of the loss of the attachment to our parents creates unendurable pain, then we can understand it is safer to turn on ourselves, because it leaves room for hope.  Hope that if we work hard enough, we can change that bad part of ourselves and become lovable.  This process creates the belief that if I can be good enough, I’ll be loved and belong.

What current research is offering is an approach to undoing the damage of this natural adaptive developmental process that is effective and embraced by people who suffer from shame.  It is compassion-focused therapy.  What is being demonstrated is that compassion is an essential capacity for growth, both inside and out.  It is why I integrate a self-compassion assessment and meditation into my healing offering through talk therapy and offer a recording (here) for download for ongoing support.  Having and truly offering compassion in therapy honors the experience of universal human suffering and now research is creating the evidence needed for compassion focused therapy to be embraced by the psychotherapy community.

To read more about where the research on compassion focused therapy currently stands, click the button below:

Virtual Reiki-infused sound healing and meditation class!

This online group gathering will be conducted using Zoom’s video conferencing, which provides an option to turn off the your audio/video at any time, supporting privacy and facilitating a reduction in distractions.  For first-time attendees, signed release of liability/waiver forms will be needed.  Once these forms have been received, along with payment via PayPal, an email will be sent to you with the link and meeting ID to join the class.  We look forward to being of service to you!

Virtual Community Gathering Practice Tips

We understand that this is not the ideal way to come together to practice and how sometimes just the thought of more technology might bring shivers down our spines.  Accepting that it’s OK to feel intimidated is the first step. We are doing our best to make the connection simple and easy.  Harnessing the warrior energy within will help you to face any tech fears you might have and join us!

Once you let us know that you are interested in attending, we will send you an email that will include details around what is needed from you, including:

  • Signed Releases/Waivers of Liability forms (one time, for new students only)
  • PayPal information to facilitate payment
  • Checking your email for the Zoom link to join the class
  • A few minutes before the class, simply clicking the link within the email to be sent straight to our meeting room

To facilitate the benefits of such a virtual community practice at home, below we have provided some helpful hints:

  • Set up your mats at least 3 giant steps from your device.
  • Elevate your device 21-24″ from the floor and have it tilted forward slightly.
  • Have your props nearby.
  • Although not required, having a headset or ear buds to listen when the singing bowls are playing may enhance your listening pleasure.
  • Please know you will not need to have your audio/video camera on during the practice.  If you would prefer to reduce the number of distractions or increase the sense of privacy, we invite you to turn off your audio and video once the class starts.

Restorative Yoga Tips and Props

On the day of the class, here are some additional recommendations to create a more sacred space in advance for your practice:

  • Make sure you’ll be in a space where there won’t be any background noises, distractions or interruptions.
  • Adjusting the lighting in the room to your liking, perhaps turning off any overhead lighting and minimizing outdoor light and instead turning on a room lamp or lighting your favorite candle(s).
  • Wear warm, comfortable clothing including socks.
  • If available, bringing your favorite deck of intention cards and essential oil to your mat.
  • Placing your props (see below) to the side of your mat so they are within an easy reach during the class.

 In home prop ideas:

  • Bolster:  couch cushions or a tightly rolled comforter, towel, or blanket (can be secured with 2 ties, scarfs or belts)
  • Pillows:  couch, chair or bed pillows will do
  • Blankets:  your favorite blanket to cover yourself and either 2 additional blankets or bath or beach towels (no sheets)
  • Yoga blocks: books, either paper back or hard cover, stacked
  • Eye pillow:  hand towel, tie or scarf