Monthly Archives: June 2014

What Is Yoga Therapy?

Besides teaching non-specialized Restorative Yoga, I also offer private Yoga therapy. These sessions have great value because they are individualized and tailored to each client. Here is where the greatest benefit is derived and, in private sessions, topics including lifestyle, diet, seasonal changes, etc. can be addressed, as can your personal health issues, such as cardiovascular disease or back issues, for example and personal experiences, like trauma or grief, for example, that affect your well-being.

In private Yoga therapy work, I recommend three sessions, including your initial assessment, to begin, because, as you likely know, transformation is a process that obviously takes time. Three sessions spans over three weeks. I charge $150 for the assessment, which takes about two hours, then each following session costs $90 and runs about ninety minutes. In these sessions we determine your needs and create a simple, doable practice for you, including what is most needed, be it physical exercises, breathing techniques, imagery, and other tools, usually in combination. In the next sessions we discuss what worked for you and, more importantly, what didn’t work for you and continue to tailor your personal practice to you. The greatest changes are seen after six weeks, and ten weeks is an ideal cycle of time to create new habits and replace old ones.

Since cost may be a factor for you and the fees I have quoted are for a household income of $100,000, I offer a sliding scale for private sessions based on household income at your request.
Because many people living with bipolar disorder live on a limited income, my feeling is that if you are deeply interested in this self-inquiry and in recovery, we can make it happen with further discussion. I would love to be able to work with you and to offer you some sweetness and relief through the grace of Yoga.

We all know that Yoga works, at least on some level. Very little research (almost none) exists on Yoga therapy and bipolar disorder (yet). I have done some preliminary research and in my study, statistically significant changes in mood occur after the practice of Yoga and greater changes occur over time. Movement, breath, the therapeutic alliance between practitioner and therapist and deepening awareness of oneself within the ecosystem all change one’s perspective, often for a lifetime. Yoga philosophy is beautifully compatible with 12-Step philosophy for those in recovery programs.

*prices have changed

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” Drink Only a Small Amount of Liquid with your Food.
Water and other fluids help to moisten the food and are very beneficial. But, too much can be just as problematic as too little. If you take too much, you can alter the pH of the stomach acids and dilute the digestive enzymes and interfere with their effectiveness. This is likened to putting water on a fire. If you put on too much, you will make it weaker. How much is the right amount? In general, take ½ cup of room temperature liquid with each meal. Of course, if your meal is soup, you don’t need to take much, if any, fluid. If you are taking something very dry, you may need a little more. Remember that a cup is 8 oz. and not the common 12 oz. mugs found in many homes and cafés. And it is most certainly not the 16 oz.” – Dr. Marc Halpern, From Healing Your Life, Lessons on the Path of Ayurveda available on Amazon and at quality book stores near you!

Empowerment

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Photo seen on Facebook, used without permission

The true purpose of this website is to celebrate empowerment. We each have tools at our disposal with which our lives may be vastly improved, if we are willing. As social creatures, we evolve more quickly in groups. Please join me as I continue to empower myself through the practice of Yoga. I hope that you will invite me to join you during part of your journey on this earth! Cheers!

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Photo courtesy Stacy Hurt

Every little bit helps when it comes to empowering the nervous system to function optimally. Here are some links to other websites that will complement your wellness journey and get you thinking:

 

Therapeutic Yoga Movement and Pranayama (Breathing) Techniques:                                     Instant Attitude Adjustments

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2iLTw70zmVM – Breath and body movement led by my Yoga Teacher at Ananda, Gyandev McCord, with a view of Lotus Lake. This five-minute sequence can be done sitting or standing, partially or in it’s entirety for benefits. Moderately invigorating to prepare for stillness or concentration activities, including meditation.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FeB79eQFjfE – Brahmari or humming breath for relief of anxiety and insomnia. Filmed inside the Crystal Hermitage at Ananda Village. Super easy, soothing and calming. Great for hypo-mania onset and general stress release. My Number One Fave! Highly recommended! Kids love it!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIsiin8BwVg – Sitkari breath for releasing emotion. This technique is powerful to cool any sense of overheatedness, Pitta dosha derangement, hypo-mania onset and hot flashes experienced by peri-/menopausal women.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FeB79eQFjfEhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oQkz_Jd3Jyo – Great for depression. Use with caution if you experience bipolar I symptoms or rapid cycling.

– These techniques are not ever to be practiced to any point of strain.

 

Nourishment

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2480491/How-drinking-litres-water-day-took-years-face.html – On the importance of maintaining hydration. “Studies show 37 per cent of people mistake thirst for hunger.”

http://kellybroganmd.com/article/two-foods-may-sabotage-brain/ – On the effects of gluten and dairy on psychiatric conditions. Food for thought!

http://www.bipolar-lives.com/bipolar-diet.html#.U5tCwqhRFZ0 – High protein diet to stabilize blood sugar, insulin and mood.

http://www.walnuts.org/health-and-walnuts/nutrition/ -Walnuts as a vegetarian source of protein, anti-oxidants and omega-3 fatty acids with links to recipes and research.

http://www.gaps.me/preview/?page_id=20 – The Gut and Psychology Diet: Digestive health leads to brain health and higher functioning for mental health disorders.

 

Ayurveda and Doshas

http://www.lifespa.com/health-quizzes/body-type-quiz/ – Take the easy Ayurveda Body Type Quiz to determine your current body/mind constitution. Personalized healing can take off and become grounded from there! Also: webinars, supplements, etc.

http://yogahealer.com/free-stuff/ – Cheat sheets and more for your personal wellness evolution. Tongue scrapers, cleanses, classes. Fun stuff.

http://everydayayurveda.org – Ayurveda education and wellness

Yoga Therapy Websites

http://www.iayt.org

http://www.yogatherapyweb.com

http://www.drmccall.com

http://www.restorativeyogateachers.com

http://www.boforbes.com

 

Deep Ecology

http://www.findhorn.org

http://www.bioneers.org

http://www.regenerativedesign.org

 

Also see my Facebook page for more information as it comes in!

 

PLEASE NOTE: Yoga therapy, derived from Patanjali’s Ashtanga Yoga tradition and the Ayurvedic system of health care, refers to the adaptation and application of Yoga techniques and practices to help individuals facing health challenges not usually addressed in a group class. Yoga therapy is the practical application of Yoga principles used for people to manage their condition, reduce symptoms, restore balance, increase vitality and improve attitude.

As a Yoga teacher, I recognize that it is my responsibility and privilege to support the physical, mental and spiritual welfare of my students and to uphold the dignity and integrity of the Yoga teachings. I make no exaggerated claims as to the benefit of my transmission of the Yoga teachings. I do not attempt to diagnose a student’s physical, psychological or psychiatric condition. I do not suggest or approve of going against a prescribing physician’s advice.

You are encouraged to ask questions and discuss issues as they arise.

brookewestyoga@gmail.com

Promote your greatest well-being.

AUM

Reinvention, Full Circle-Style

I found out that the hiring process has begun: Cal Poly is bringing me on as a Restorative Yoga instructor in their new, state-of-the-art Rec Center. I am thrilled! I am so excited to have the chance to really turn down the stress levels of the students there – the tension is indescribable when walking around on the campus: fundamental tension, stress like bedrock on campus. Restorative Yoga will serve many there.

I left Nevada County last month after a year of study and landing this job in my hometown feels like a sign that moving home, though difficult, was the right move.

My experience at Cal Poly was rough. I dropped out of school my second year there, cracking from the pressure. One week later, I was admitted to the local Mental Health In-Patient Unit, and the thinking became, I must be crazy, Cal Poly must be OK, it must be me. Like 75% of all sufferers of mental health disorders, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder by the age of 25. I was 23: ahead of the game.

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California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

It took me two quarters – six months – to recover enough from my first (of two) hospitalization to return to school. Because I had been grievously over-medicated by the county psychiatrist, my weight ballooned and I put on almost 60 pounds, going from 125 to 179 while convalescing. My hair fell out in swaths in the shower, and I was so stoned that I could not advocate for myself. I was baffled, having never heard of bipolar disorder before my hospital experience, even though, I would come to find out, it runs in my family.

I didn’t fit into any of my clothes when it was time to go back – because I was going back, my mother insisted, despite my medicated protests that I had been lucid in my decision to quit.

So the tally was now up to this: Due to illness, I had lost my figure, my hair, a half-year of school instruction, my power to choose the route of my life and my voice.

I wore my ex-boyfriend’s boxer shorts to school the first day back, with my underwear underneath, and a big t-shirt I had used as pajamas because that was all that fit. I remember the horror on people’s faces who had known me before I became ill, checking my doughy legs as they came at me in the hall, scanning their eyes upward. I felt that I had, overnight, become some sort of big, fat ugly zombie, defective on the inside, too, and that my gifted-and-talented brain had turned to pharm rot. I felt absolutely powerless, impotent, sad.

Still baffled, still stoned, I now had Priority Registration through Disabled Student Services and could register for classes with a little bit less anxiety. The teachers in my department were either really, really nice to me or acted like I was from another planet and kept their distance. Their behavior as mentors traumatized me and I feel the effects of that special-discount kindness, rejection and fear to this day. It adds to my personal story of stigma.

Everything was really weird. I remember watching the O.J. Simpson verdict in my Women In Lit class that first, lonely, uncomfortable quarter back to school, an attitude of injustice pervasive while I tried to summon the girl within back to the surface.

Had I had an instructor on campus who offered relaxation techniques to me back then, tailored to the college student’s anxious mind, who knew a thing or two about mental health disorders, who reached out to the girl obviously struggling with a new identity, I may not have spent the past 18 years reinventing the wheel, figuring out what it means to be successful and whole while living with a health challenge. I may not have spent so much time groping to recognize resources for personalized wellness. I might have spent more time trusting and using my voice.

I like the idea that, today, I can be that instructor, potentially.

I am so stoked that I get to chill people out in a way that feeds me, no matter where I teach. I have taught in jail, mental health facilities, colleges, Yoga studios, in people’s homes and in ashram settings. I am so grateful that my eyes have been opened to mental health and to be able to apply my knowledge and experience to promote mental and behavioral health in myself, on campus and wherever I teach.

This job opportunity makes me feel like this: I am so excited to be able to appreciate the beauty of Cal Poly’s campus today without the personal stress of mid-terms, Dead Week and finals – stress so blinding that I missed how beautiful a campus it was while I was a student. I can’t wait to be at Cal Poly feeling beautiful, articulate and strong.

You’d better believe that I’m not doing this for the money, but for the full-circle reinvention, the karma, the dharma… and for all the laps that I am going to swim in that sweet, state-of-the-art, Rec Center swimming pool! Living redemption is an opportunity to continue to practice humility and to maintain the progress achieved.

“Matchsticks strike
When I’m riding my bike to the depot
‘Cause everybody knows my name
At the recreation center”

-Beck

Promote Your Greatest Well-being