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

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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

Himalayan Salt and Wellness Cave Celebrates Grand Opening

EB_HimalayanSaltNWellnessCave_0816The grand opening weekend of Himalayan Salt and Wellness Cave, located at 1494 North Charlotte Street, in Pottstown, takes place August 12 through 14, with a ribbon cutting at 10 a.m. on August 13. The event includes basket raffles and special offers for attendees.

The Himalayan Salt and Wellness Cave provides relaxation sessions for individuals and families, as well as reiki, yoga and reflexology, in custom-built rooms lined with Himalayan salt imported from a mountain range in Northern Punjab. In salt therapy, also known as halotherapy, microscopic salt particles are inhaled, and the healthy negative ions are absorbed by the skin. The process soothes the body and mind, and has been shown to relieve respiratory and circulatory issues, skin conditions, asthma, allergies and sinus issues, among other ailments.

The celebration includes several special savings offers for clients, including a free salt session with a yoga, reflexology or reiki session booked; buy one salt session, get one ½ off; and 10 percent off all packages. Walk-ins are welcome but are served on a first-come, first-served basis, as priority is given to clients that call ahead and schedule appointments.

Founder and owner Anita Heft explains, “Last fall, I went to visit a salt cave in another part of the state, and I was inspired by how relaxing and healing the experience was. I said, ‘I’m going to open one of these!’” Heft’s background as a certified and licensed reflexologist and reiki master, combined with her education in business management, has helped bring the facility to life for the benefit of the communities in northwest Montgomery County.

For more information, call 610-310-3884 or visit HimalayanSaltNWellness.com. August 2016

The Room at Meadowbrook Opens Its Doors with a Summer Event

TheRoomThe Room at Meadowbrook will host an open house from 5 to 8 p.m. on June 25 to celebrate its new facility, located on the grounds of its partner organization, Meadowbrook Animal Healing, in Ottsville.

This family-friendly event is open to the community. Locals are encouraged to drop by, rain or shine, to enjoy food and music, enter the raffle, pick up free class passes and walk through the flower gardens to visit with the horse, PJ goats and other animals who live onsite. Resident “Room” instructors Diane Alex, Erin Range, Tracy McGovern, Joanna Chodorowska, Sharon Cristofalo, Lisa Potts and Michelle McInnis will be onsite to meet prospective and current students.

EB_Meadowbrook-TheRoom-2_0616The Room was developed by Sue Walski and Lyn Hicks as a place for the healing and expressive arts for both people and animals in a peaceful, inspired setting. The program calendar includes classes and workshops elaborating on the benefits of movement and creativity, and features healing modalities such as aharaj yoga, dance, yoga, tai chi, feminine health workshops, reflexology, qigong, reiki and jin shin jyutsu for all levels of awareness.

“We see this as a healing space. It’s a place for people to come and take classes, and hopefully be inspired to use the space to hold their own programs and workshops as time goes on,” says Walski, a veterinarian and animal holistic healing practitioner who will teach classes on holistic pet care.

EB_Meadowbrook-TheRoom-1_0616Hicks, a women’s empowerment educator and author, describes The Room this way: “Our goal is to educate the path to personal power and freedom through the healing and expressive arts for people and animals, so they may find more health, vitality and well-being for themselves and their families.” The Room is available to all that are inspired to educate and share about their art of healing.

Location: 4089 Durham Rd., Ottsville. For more information, call Lyn Hicks at 215-813-4073 or visit TheRooomAtMeadowbrook.com.

June 2016

Anahata Yoga Offers Expanded Trainings

EB_AnahataYoga_AYTTGroupPicAnahata Yoga and Wellness Center is currently accepting students for two different programs: a Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) program, to be held August 12 to 15, and a 200-hour YTT program, beginning September 10. The 200-hour YTT will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday, every second weekend of the month, through May 2017.

In the Prenatal YTT program, students will learn the anatomy and physiology of the growing fetus and the resulting changes in the mother’s body during each trimester. Topics covered include fetal development, physiological and hormonal changes in the mother’s body, as well as possible body responses to these changes.  Appropriate asana, assisting, pranayama, sounding and meditation will be covered for each trimester, including postnatal. Pregnancy discomforts during each stage will be explored along with ways to use yoga, non-traditional methods and traditional techniques to help alleviate these situations. Students will leave confident, qualified and comfortable to teach prenatal yoga in a variety of settings. Early-bird pricing of $600 is available until July 10.

The 200-hour YTT program trainees will learn everything needed to teach all levels of Hatha Yoga in accordance with Yoga Alliance standards, but with Anahata’s unique emphasis on the self-inquiry-based approach to yoga. As one of only 16 Kripalu-Affiliated yoga studios worldwide, Anahata teaches an introspective, Kripalu-influenced, exploration-based approach to yoga. The YTT will feature electives on the teaching team’s specialties: Teaching Beginner’s Yoga, Yin Yoga, Restorative Yoga, Trauma-Sensitive Yoga, Ayurveda, the Chakra system and finding your voice as a teacher.

Applicants for the 200-hour YTT are suggested to have at least one year of yoga experience with a commitment to a personal yoga practice, a compassionate heart and a genuine desire to take this transformational journey. Pricing ranges between $2,100 and $2,300, and a variety of payment options are available.

“Our trainings continue to evolve and expand as our community grows. But we are still, and always will be, a small studio at heart. The personal relationship we have with our students is very important, and will remain so, even as we broaden our offerings,” says Kathleen Tooley, Anahata’s founder and lead teacher.

Location: 703 Harleysville Pk., Harleysville. For more information and to register, call 215-740-1354 or visit AnahataYogaWellness.com.

June 2016 Issue

10 Tips for a Clutter-Clearing Cleanse

WomanArmsOutstretchedSunriseSunset_51356326_mlby Jacqueline Fox

The word “cleanse” is often associated with the physical body.  Sometimes neglected is the value of an emotional cleanse, especially when preparing for something as emotionally taxing as clearing out items in our homes or other personal spaces.  Creating a concentrated period of time—even a few days—to mentally prepare for a declutter session allows us to remain aware, alert and focused.

Here are a few tips to make your experience as productive and regenerative as it can be.

  1. Limit your engagement with phone calls and e-mails.
  2. Let others know you are going to be inaccessible. Set times that you will “check in”, but otherwise, let others know that you are on “vacation” and won’t be available for workaday activities.
  3. Take time to slow down. Meditate,or take a yoga or tai chi class, or a walk in the park.
  4. Allow yourself to imagine what it will feel like to be more light and free of clutter. Write about your imagined future in a journal or a sketchbook.
  5. Release all guilt and “shoulds” of having to keep furniture and other items you don’t like or want that have been passed down to you from parents who have passed away. Enlist the guidance of a therapist, if necessary.
  6. Gather needed materials ahead of time, such as trash bags, recycling containers and storage boxes.  Remember to think about what you might need for cleaning out the car, as well.
  7. Decide ahead of time where you will keep items as you organize.  Create a “home” for everything so you will always know where to find something.
  8. Think about “emotional incompletes” that are weighing you down. Make a list of phone calls, e-mails and in-person meetings you intend to schedule, so you can mentally file them away.
  9. If you know you might need assistance, hire a coach or professional organizer.
  10. Prepare a short mantra that you can repeat to yourself during your de-cluttering, reminding yourself to be present and enjoy the process of releasing what no longer serves you.

CRG_JaquelineFox_0416Jacqueline Fox, MEd, MS, is an office organizer and “next actions” coach for business professionals in their home or business office, serving the greater central Bucks County area.  Connect at JFox@JacquelineFox.com or visit JacquelineFox.com. See listing, page 42.