Anahata Yoga Expands Mind, Body in New, Larger Space

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by Lauren Johnson

Kathleen Tooley, owner of Anahata Yoga and Wellness Center, in Lederach, has a simple mission: to show that yoga is accessible to anyone.

Tooley, a teacher of Kripalu-style yoga for seven years, became a yoga teacher to do just that. “People who felt like they couldn’t do yoga inspired me to become a teacher so I could show them that they actually can,” she says. “When folks come into the studio apologizing for being inflexible, I say, ‘I know, that’s why you’re here!’”

Kripalu yoga, which originated at the Yoga Society of Pennsylvania in 1965 and was named after kundalini yoga master Swami Kripalvanandji, uses standard yoga poses and breathwork to encourage inner focus, meditation and relaxation. At Anahata Yoga and Wellness Center (“Anahata” is the Sanskrit word for the heart chakra), yoga is taught from a more therapeutic perspective rather than a fitness perspective.

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Holistic Alternatives to Pain—Local Voices: BLAKEY ELKHART KORNFELD, Yoga and Meditation

LV_TransformationYoga_BlakeyElkhart_0617How do yoga, yoga therapy and meditation work to address pain?

Through breath-centered meditation and movement meditation, or yoga “asana” postures, the vagus nerve can be toned and the parasympathetic relaxation response can be turned on. It’s commonly said that there’s a “smoothing out” that happens when breath is focused on the places where pain is experienced. The phrase “send your breath to your knee” refers to the act of sending the energy, expansiveness and calm that can create that smoothing effect. It’s all because of the power of the mind, which doesn’t necessarily take away the actual pain but gives the person a different relationship to the pain by putting some space between them and the sensation.

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Lovelight Yoga and Arts Festival Returns

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Celebrate the spirit of yoga and community—from the grassroots of the 60s counter-culture, to the modern yoga and transformational arts gatherings at the Lovelight Yoga and Arts Festival. The second annual festival will be held August 18 to 20, in Darlington, Maryland, just a few hours from BuxMont.

The festival draws some of the most beloved national teachers, kirtan, music and yoga headliners, including Krishna Das, Dharma Mittra, Trevor Hall, Dana Trixie Flynn, Tina Malia and MC Yogi, as well as many other well-known, regional teachers. Throughout the festival, attendees will have the opportunity to enjoy musical performances, yoga classes, flow arts, themed campsites, drum circles, vegan and vegetarian food vendors, art installations, live painting, interactive art projects, workshops, fire dancing, wholesome libations and high vibrational food.

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Letter from the Publisher, June 2017

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PAIN has an element of blank; / It cannot recollect

When it began, or if there were / A day when it was not.

It has no future but itself, / Its infinite realms contain

Its past, enlightened to perceive / New periods of pain.

~Emily Dickenson

Karen Meshkov, Natural Awakenings BuxMontPain is a chronic condition shared by 100 million Americans; it’s the leading reason people go to doctors in the U.S., costing the nation upwards of $635 billion a year—more than cancer, heart disease and diabetes combined, according to the American Academy of Pain Medicine.

WebMD explains how vast and amorphous the condition can be, saying, “Chronic pain can be mild or excruciating, episodic or continuous, merely inconvenient or totally incapacitating…the signals of pain remain active in the nervous system for months or even years.” Sometimes the cause is known, or eventually discovered; sometimes the source remains a mystery.

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A New Paradigm for Health and Healing: Unite for HER Opens Doors for Complementary Therapies

by Karen G. Meshkov

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It’s early on a Sunday morning, but the lobby at Bryn Mawr Hospital’s Newtown Square facility is already abuzz. The space is teeming with women in stylish athleisure-wear; banquet tables are adorned with balloons and centerpieces. As guests make their way to their assigned seats, only the number of heads that remain fully covered by knit caps and scarves reveal that this is no ordinary Main Line brunch affair—this Wellness Day event is hosted by Unite for HER, a cutting-edge women’s health organization, and the attendees are Philadelphia-area women that have recently been diagnosed with breast cancer.

The “HER” stands for Healing to Empower and Restore, and Wellness Days are one of the organization’s signature programs. This interactive, one-day workshop will introduce these women to the range of services and education that will be provided to them over the next year through their fully-funded “wellness passports”.

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Escape to Bali for Yoga and Meditation

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Natassia Levine of Open Center Yoga will guide students in a week of daily yoga practice, guided meditation, gourmet vegetarian food and inward reflection at Sarinbuana Eco Lodge, in Bali, from May 15 through May 20. Rates include twice daily yoga, one workshop, a group temple tour and three gourmet, vegetarian meals per day, with organic tea, coffee and juice options.

A Yoga Alliance-certified Vinyasa Yoga Teacher, Levine describes the retreat as an opportunity to meet new faces, deepen one’s practice and recharge the soul. Students will begin each morning with yoga and meditation on the outdoor yoga deck. A relaxed itinerary will allow for spending the day freely, whether that entails swimming in a nearby waterfall, reflecting in a rice paddy or taking advantage of the Eco Lodge’s many options for self-care and personal enrichment, which are available for an additional cost.

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Kripalu-Inspired Yoga Teacher Training Open House

eb_kripaluanahatayoga_0117Anahata Yoga and Wellness Center, in Harleysville, is hosting an open house on February 18 for prospective yoga teachers to learn more about their upcoming 200-hour yoga teacher training. The information session is free to attend and will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the studio. Participants are encouraged to meet the staff, learn about payment options and schedules, and ask any questions.

anahatayogawellnesscenterThe spring Yoga Teacher Training, which runs from April through December, is held the first weekend of each month on both Saturday and Sunday. Trainees, who are required to have at least one year of yoga experience, also attend 18 Anahata Yoga classes and two chakra workshops (or a full-day chakra intensive) during that time. The curriculum includes teaching methodology, anatomy and physiology, yoga philosophy and ethics, and practicum. Electives, such as Teaching Beginner’s Yoga, Yin Yoga, Restorative Yoga, Trauma-Sensitive Yoga, Ayurveda and the Chakra system, are also offered.

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Shiatsu, Yoga, Sound Journeying and More at Pipersville Open House

crg_internationalschoolofshiatsu_0117The International School of Shiatsu will host an open house from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., on January 21, to celebrate the opening of their new location in Pipersville.

The day’s festivities will include the best de-stressing methods, including yoga, meditation, qigong, shiatsu, manual lymph drainage, reflexology and sound journeying.

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The school was previously located in Doylestown for over 23 years. “This has been such a long time coming for us and we are incredibly excited,” enthuses the school’s director, holistic health coach and longtime shiatu practitioner Shirley Scranta. “As soon as I saw it, I knew this was where to make our next home. There are walls of windows coming from three sides so the space is flooded with brilliant light. The floors are made of Canadian Maple wood, which supports the body.”

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Many Paths To Healing: Exploring Modern Mental Health Practices, Treatments and Modalities

by Karen L. Smith, Rebecca Antsis and Karen G. Meshkov

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Life is not without its ups and downs. At some point in the journey, we will likely be presented with circumstances that upset our mood and behavior. Though many tools and resources are available that can help us on our path to optimal mental health, the first challenge is figuring out what kind of help we need, and where we can get it.

As an advocate of integrative, holistic and complementary approaches to healing, Natural Awakenings offers this guide as our attempt to survey the contemporary healing landscape and raise awareness of the myriad resources available to those seeking inroads to a more emotionally healthy, happy and balanced life.

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Yoga Improves Lives of Autistic Children

by Lisa DiFalco

ed_autismyoga_brianaubin_cralexthomasAutism and autism spectrum disorders can be challenging for affected individuals and their families. However, children and adults with autism and other developmental disabilities create an opportunity for service providers to think differently and find ways to embrace everyone within their practice, helping children, teens and adults with autism, Asperger’s and other special needs. Brian Aubin is that type of wellness provider, offering customized yoga instruction focused on the specific needs of those with autism and special needs. He is also different from the average yoga instructor in another way.

Aubin has a personal connection to autism. Although now a yoga instructor on a mission, he was diagnosed with Asperger’s, a “mild form” of autism, at the relatively old age of 17. He was spurred by the benefits he felt when he started to practice yoga in 2013, and he began to train as a yoga teacher. He has dedicated his life to providing yoga to an underserved population and offers classes throughout Long Island.

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Letter from the Publisher, October 2016

Karen_LFP_0516Fall is a time for learning, and this October, our curriculum includes current trends in energy medicine, energy healing and energy psychology (EP). Within the umbrella of “energy work” there exists a wide range of treatment options, from the ancient to the innovative, all with the purpose of balancing the body’s energetic flow, and achieving an optimal state of physical, emotional and spiritual health. Well-known body-centered practices like yoga, massage, reiki, acupuncture, reflexology and osteopathic manipulation; EP techniques including Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) or “tapping”; Eric Pearl’s reconnective therapy; and Donna Eden’s energy medicine curriculum are only a sampling of the modalities that make up this growing body of practices.

We’re also celebrating the sea change in popular culture, as energy healing as a whole becomes more widely recognized by the mainstream. The National Institutes of Health National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health’s 2012 survey reports that approximately 38 percent of U.S. adults and approximately 12 percent of children used some form of complementary health treatment, and that they collectively spent $30 billion in out-of-pocket costs on those services. Nearly 30 percent of that spending was for practices classified as energy medicine. The office’s 2016 strategic plan allocates considerable federal money to continued clinical trials to identify the safety and usefulness of these practices in disease prevention and treatment. Surely, this is a sign of a turning tide.

Examples of this shift abound in healthcare, educational and correctional settings. Yoga, after proving its efficacy as a form of physical fitness and stress relief, is currently being mined for its usefulness in managing more subtle, energetic aspects of mind and emotional regulation in schools, rehabilitation and prison settings.

Major medical centers are now offering a range of complementary and mind-body approaches, such as acupuncture, tai chi and massage, in combination with conventional, allopathic medical treatment, and they are measuring their results in respected, peer-reviewed journals. Nurses are training in reiki and Healing Touch and are offering those services to patients in oncology, surgical and palliative settings. According to the American Hospital Association, in 2007, over 800 American hospitals offered reiki as part of their hospital services.

Whereas EP evidence was mostly anecdotal ten years ago, The Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology (ACEP) now cites over 80 research studies, including multiple randomized controlled trials published in professional and refereed journals, that confirm the treatment value of energy psychology when applied to many different problems, such as post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, stress management and performance enhancement. In 2012, ACEP became the first organization to be approved by the APA to give psychologists continuing education for energy psychology.

The research investigating the benefits of these modalities continues to increase as the interest from the public demands it.

It’s exciting to think about how these developments could impact the way we approach physical and mental health in our near and distant futures. Imagine teachers that can help children with ADHD into yoga poses, nurses trained to use hands-on healing after chemotherapy sessions, test proctors teaching EFT to a room of nervous students, and law enforcement officers skilled at guided mindful meditation, bringing presence and peace to the carceral environment.

Come, open your mind with us, and consider the possibilities for wellness in a more “energetic” tomorrow.

Together, we are “Making the Awakening” in Bucks and Montgomery Counties.

Karen G. Meshkov

Lovelight Yoga and Arts Festival Lights Up Summer

EB_LovelightFestival_0816Yoga musician Trevor Hall, kirtan icon Krishna Das and legendary yogi Dharma Mittra headline the Lovelight Yoga and Arts Festival, a three-day event held from August 26 through 28 at Camp Ramblewood, in Darlington, Maryland.

Lovelight celebrates the evolution of U.S. yoga culture—from the grassroots of the sixties counterculture into the modern yoga studio and transformational arts movements. The Lovelight Festival is co-produced by Woodstock ‘69 festival founder Michael Lang, yoga musician Wynne Paris and event planner Kimberley Maddox.

The weekend will feature musical performances, yoga classes, flow arts, themed campsites, drumming circles, vendors, art, workshops, sacred bonfires and vegetarian food. On Saturday, August 27, at 1 p.m., the festival will attempt to break the world record for headstands. Events will take place at a summer-camp-turned-festival venue that features a spring-fed lake and an Olympic-sized pool. Many styles of yoga will be offered, including jivamukti, kundalini, integral, hatha, power and stand-up paddleboard yoga.

Tickets include tent camping; over 40 workshops and yoga classes; three stages with more than 30 musicians and bands, including DJ Mambisa, LA yogi and musician Dave Stringer, and Canadian chanter Brenda McMorrow; swimming, hiking and canoeing; fire dancers, bonfires and drum circles; live painters, art gallery, dance parties and interactive art experiences; and children’s and family programming. Available for an additional fee are rustic cabins with shared amenities, meal tickets, car camping, healing village treatments, hotel packages, Lovelight shuttle service and stand-up paddleboard classes.

Cost: Tickets range from $85 to $325. Location details: Camp Ramblewood is a one-hour drive from Philadelphia. For more information, visit LovelightFestival.com. August 2016