This article bears worth repeating! Look at all these conditions that Yoga helps you with!
As I am getting deeper and deeper into one of the books that we are to read for the YogaTherapy course, I am amazed at all the benefits of a regular yoga practice can do for folks. And I’m a yoga teacher. (The more you teach yoga, it seems the more you want to know….and need to know!)
Please read on for more information about “Yoga as Medicine” book (excellent!)by Timothy McCall, M.D. http://www.drmccall.com/ ~Gail Pickens-Barger
Yoga appears to be effective in the treatment of a wide variety of health conditions. In Timothy McCall, M.D. Book, “Yoga As Medicine”, he goes on to say: We’ll be reviewing the scientific evidence later but, for now, let’s see what people who’ve tried therapeutic yoga have to say. In 1983 – 84, the London-based Yoga Biomedical Trust, run by Robin Monro, PhD, surveyed twenty-seven hundred(2,700) people, most between the ages of thirty-one and sixty, who used yoga therapeutically. To be included, participants had to have practiced yoga for at least two hours a week for a year or longer. Though the number of people with some of the conditions in question was small, the results (see the table below, and in Dr. McCall’s book, Table 1.1) were impressive:
98 percent of back-pain sufferers found yoga helpful
90 percent of cancer patients
82 percent of people with insomnia
and 100 percent of alcoholics
The lowest success rate in the survey was for women with “menstrual problems,” two out of three of whom found that yoga helped.
Table 1.1 Conditions Improved by Yoga, Self-Reported
Medical Condition Number of Percentage Helped
People Reporting By Yoga
Alcoholism 24 100%
Anxiety 838 94%
Rheumatic Disorders 589 90%
Asthma or Bronchitis 226 88%
Back Disorders 1,142 98%
Cancer 29 90%
Diabetes 10 80%
Duodenal Ulcers 40 90%
Heart Disease 50 94%
Hemorrhoids 391 88%
High Blood Pressure 150 84%
Insomnia 542 82%
Menopausal Disorders 247 83%
Menstrual Problems 317 68%
Migraine 464 80%
Neuromuscular Diseases 112 96%
Obesity 240 74%
Premenstrual Syndrome 848 77%
Smoking 219 74%
Source: The Yoga Biomedical Trust, London
Imagine how much you’d be hearing about a new drug that could accomplish even a fraction of this. Nevertheless, (it is Dr. Timothy McCall’s)it’s my experience that few in the medical community or the general public have any conception of what yoga has to offer. Part of the problem, (Dr. McCall) I’m convinced, is that many people who could benefit from yoga shy away due to misconceptions about what it is and isn’t, or who can do it and who shouldn’t.
Those subjects to be addressed in a different post.
The study echoes previous findings on the benefits of yoga and meditation for chronic pain published in 2016 in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association.
“The bottom line is that patients are seeking new ways to cope with chronic pain and effective non-pharmaceutical treatments are available,” says Dr. Marske. “Our findings show meditation and yoga can be a viable option for people seeking relief from chronic pain.”
Yoga Near ME in Nederland, Port Arthur, Beaumont, Orange Texas
Click the link to get the next online yoga class that I teach on Wednesdays at 1 PM CST, through the Mindbody App for the Veterans Yoga Project. Yes, it’s free. Veterans, active military, friends and family are welcomed
Come try a free yoga class with me. I teach this class live on Wednesdays at 1 PM Central Time. Click on the above button to claim a free Mindbody online account, then “book” the class that I teach on Wednesdays.
Don’t worry, if you cannot make the live class, you can get a link to our current recorded yoga classes. I have about 10 yoga for healthy back classes in the studio!
Questions? Complaints? Comments? Complements? I want to know!
David Turnley is considered by many to be one of the best documentary photographers working today. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, two World Press Photos of the Year, and the Robert Capa Award for Courage, he has photographed the human condition in some 75 countries around the world.
Turnley was a Detroit Free Press staff photographer from 1980 to 1998. He was based in South Africa from 1985 to 1987, where he documented the country under Apartheid rule. He has been a dear friend of the Mandela family for the last thirty years and photographed Nelson Mandela and the South African struggle over these last three decades. He was based in Paris from 1987 to 1997, covering such events as the Persian Gulf War, revolutions in Eastern Europe, student uprisings in China and the disintegration of the Soviet Union.
He has published seven books of his photographic work including his last, Mandela: In Times of Struggle and Triumph, from his extensive time over the last twenty five years photographing the evolution of South Africa, and Nelson Mandela and his family.
David has Directed and Produced three feature-length Documentaries. The Dalai Lama: At Home and in Exile, for CNN; La Tropical, called by Albert Maysles “the most sensual film ever shot in Cuba”; and his recently released, four year in the making, epic story of Shenandoah, located in the tough coal region of Pennsylvania. Shenandoah, which is available to view on Netflix, was named by The NewFilmmakers Los Angeles as “Best Documentary Film” and David was named “Best Director” for the year 2013.
David is an Associate Professor at his alma mater, the University of Michigan School of Art and Design, and Residential College. He studied filmmaking at Harvard on a Nieman Fellowship and has Honorary Doctorates from the New School of Social Research in New York, and from the University of St. Francis in Indiana. He received a B.A. in French Literature from The University of Michigan and has also studied at the Sorbonne in Paris.
The proud father of two children, David lives with his wife Rachel and family, in Paris France.
Just remember, you don’t have to be able to touch your toes, or bend like a pretzel to do yoga!
Thank you for joining me here on FB Live this past year. Next week, new schedule, new Online Virtual format for bringing yoga to you.
Please indicate in the comments below where you’re from & your military status and/or any military affiliations, or First Responder, Health Care Worker status
Ex: Active duty, Reserves, Veteran, Retired, Military. Spouse, Family Member, Civilian, etc.
Thank you for joining this yoga class and I hope you enjoy the class!🤗
Back PAIN info:
Back pain is the 2nd most sited reason people go to the doctor
Back pain has a high occurance in veterans for a number of reasons
And they are prescribed pills but it doesn’t really help.
Then comes fatigue, depression & quality of life goes down.
Yoga can actually help the back pain
45% of veterans have military-connected disability
8% of adults in the US have back pain at some part of their life &
30% of people in the US in the next 3 months will have a short course of back pain
So this effects everyone.
This method of exericise ** reduces intensity of pain, depression, fatigue & medication use. ** pain interference with daily life. Quality of life & self-efficacy both went up with regular yoga practice.
Steve Ross of Maha Yoga, formerly of the Oxygen Channel show Inhale, a bud of Dr Oz. Showing in 10 minute segments Basic, Energizing, Strength and Balance and Relaxation Yoga. Go Check it out on the Dr Oz Website!!!
Simplicity 3583 – Yoga Accessories: Strap, Eyebag, Mat Bag, Meditation pillow, Zafu, Neck/knee roll and Bolster.
Kwik Sew – Known for a lot of dancer type clothing, and now Yoga/Pilates patterns.
Kwik Sew 3497 – Variations on yoga tops.
Kwik Sew 3498 – “Girls” yoga pants!
Kwik Sew 3115 – Spaghetti Strap Yoga Top, Shell Top, Capri, and Long Yoga Pant.
Kwik Sew 2723 – Racer Back Yoga Top, Boy Shorts, Runners Shorts and Jazzy Yoga Pants.
Kwik Sew 2632 – Long-Sleeved Tied Top (dancer inspired), Leotard & Long Jazzy Yoga Pant.
Kwik Sew 2722 – Unitard with either spaghetti straps or keyhole back. Short or Pant Length.
Oh, yeah, the only thing I’ve made is a large and small bolster, yoga mat bag, eye pillow, blanket and lots of zafu’s!!!
Love 2 Sew 4 Fun! Yoga with Gail Pickens-Barger. Using my Singer Featherweight and my vintage Pfaff machine to make yoga props!
Sew your own yoga accessories, mat wrap, mat bag, zafu meditation pillow, yoga bolsters and more.
You know Simplicity pattern company (which you can find at Hobby Lobby, JoAnns Fabrics and online) has come out with patterns for making bolsters, cushions, yoga mat bags and such, but there is a wealth of info out there on the web to help you make your own yoga props.
I made my yoga mat bag out of upholstery material. I didn’t need to use any lining material because my upholstery fabric was very thick.
Some of the websites that listed how to make the seated meditation pillows are no longer on the web, so I’ve included the instructions onto this page. Here’s a little PDF I created based on these long ago lost internet instructions. Sewing a Meditation Cushion
How to Make a Zafu and Zabuton
Posted by Som on Monday, March 13, 2006
Whether you’re looking for some comfortable, casual seating or you want to make your meditation sessions more pleasant, a zafu and zabuton are wonderful things to have around the house. Zafu and zabuton are traditional Japanese cushions used for meditation; the zafu is a circular pillow with pleated sides, and the zabuton is pretty much just a large, flat pillow. You can order them online for $40+ each, but it’s cheaper and more satisfying to make your own at home.
(I don’t have the best meditation posture, but you get the idea of how the cushions work. The zabuton is a little small for me, because this is one I made for a friend who’s shorter than I am.)
The zafu elevates and cushions the pelvis, and the zabuton cushions the knees and ankles. This position facilitates better posture, eases joint and back pain, and may help one achieve deeper longer meditation sessions. As long as you’re making one set, why not make two? Keep the extra set for guests, give it to a friend who meditates or has back problems, or donate it to your local Zen center or Buddhist temple.
About the materials: I chose to use a cotton/polyester blend for these because it’s cheap and easy to clean with a wet rag; these aren’t something you can just throw in the washing machine. When I’m more settled in my meditation practice, I’ll probably make another set out of some heavy silk, perhaps adding some colorful embroidery or sashiko stitching.
As for filler, I used organic pillow-grade buckwheat hulls for the zafu and plain ol’ polyester stuffing for the zabuton. Kapok would be a better choice for both, but it’s fairly expensive.
Click below for full instructions on how to make the zafu and zabuton. Zafu Materials:
Cotton/polyester blend fabric, 2 yards (note: 2 yards is enough for two zafu)
Pillow-grade buckwheat hulls, 5 lbs.
Hand-sewing needle, pins, scissors
Iron, ironing board, and water spray bottle
Sewing a Meditation Cushion. That’s what I started with, but I had to tweak it a little for my own use. I recommend downloading it even if you’re going to use my instructions, as the illustrations in the PDF are quite helpful.
Cut a strip of fabric 65″ x 7″ (there are a few extra inches in the length for fudging purposes.) Cut two circles 13″ in diameter – I used a 13″ round serving plate for my template, but you could also make from cardboard using a compass and a pencil.
Pleat the long strip of fabric: measure 4.5″ inches from one end and mark. Make two more marks 3/4″ from the first. Measuring from your center mark, repeat the process every 4″ until you have 14 pleats marked. Fold, iron, and pin the pleats (since the iron setting for polyester blends usually isn’t high enough for steam, use a water spray bottle for best results.)
On the end, you started pleating at, fold back the fabric 1/2″ and iron. Begin pinning the strip of fabric around one of the fabric circles. When you get to the end, you’ll have a few extra inches of fabric. Fold back and iron. Pin your zipper in place on the folded ends of the fabric, making sure to cut and secure the zipper at least 1″ away from the top and bottom of the fabric to allow room for sewing. Use the sewing machine and a zipper foot to sew the zipper in place; hand-stitch the remaining seam of the side strip width. Trim the extra fabric behind the zipper.
Using the sewing machine, stitch the side fabric strip to the first circle of fabric with a 3/8″ seam allowance. Then pin and sew to the second circle. Trim the extra thread, remove any remaining pins, and turn the pillow. Stuff as much buckwheat hull as you can into the pillow. This is a little tricky, as buckwheat hulls are tiny and quite devious. Also, they really hurt under bare feet. Fill it as much as you can, shake it down, and fill some more. I used almost all of the 5 lbs. of buckwheat hulls I purchased. Once it’s full, try it out. You may find that you’d be more comfortable with more or less filling – hence the zipper. (And, I’ll admit, I’m terrible at blindstitching. The zipper is my way of cheating.)
If you want to make your circles a different diameter, here is how you calculate where to place your pleats and how long a strip of fabric you need: Multiply the diameter of your fabric circle by pi (3.14159.) This will give you the circumference; for a 13″ diameter, I got a 40.84″ circumference. Add 1″ for the zipper seams (=41.84″.) For 14 pleats, each 3/4″ and using 1 1/2″ of fabric, add 21″ (=62.84″.) Add a couple of inches for fudging purposes, so you’ll be sure not to run out of fabric and have to start all over again (=65″.) To determine where to put your pleats, take the length of your fabric strip, minus the 1″ of seam allowance and 2″ or so for fudging allowance (in my case, 62″.) Divide by 15 (=4.13″.) Round off as best as you can (=4″.) Remember to add your 1/2″ seam allowance for the measurement before the first pleat (=4 1/2″.)
Cotton/polyester blend fabric, 1 1/2 yards
Polyester, cotton, or kapok stuffing, ~2 lbs.
Sewing thread, machine, etc.
Cut two rectangles of fabric, 32 1/2″ x 27 1/2″ (if you’re over 6′ tall, add a few inches to both dimensions. You need it to be big enough to accommodate you when sitting cross legged with your knees comfortably cushioned on the zabuton.) Note: Cutting a straight line that long can be difficult. In order to make sure that my cuts are indeed straight, and that I end up with 90o angles, I use the pulled thread method for cutting straight lines in the fabric.
Pin the rectangles together and stitch around the edges with a 3/8″ seam allowance, leaving an opening about 4″ wide on one side for turning and stuffing. Make sure to backstitch at the corners and on both sides of the opening. If you like, you can stitch a small curve on the edges or add a rise, but it’s not necessary.
Turn and stuff. A word about polyester stuffing: it’s tempting to just grab wads of stuffing and jam it in there without a care in the world, but you’ll end up with a lumpy, unusable pillow. Take the time to do it right. Grab a handful of stuffing and pinch off little pieces. You can make a big pile of pinched stuffing and then stuff the pillow by the handful. You’ll use a lot less stuffing this way, and your zabuton will be nice and fluffy – not lumpy.
Once the zabuton is stuffed to your liking (I stuffed to about a 2″ rise,) stitch the opening shut. To keep the stuffing from shifting about too much, tuft the zabuton. I added four tufts, each about 8″ from the corners toward the center of the pillow. To tuft, take a sewing needle and an 18″ length of thread. Double your thread and pierce both layers of the pillow; pull the needle through, but leave a few inches of thread on top. Bring the needle back through both layers of pillow near the first stitch. Pull both ends of the thread tight and tie it off carefully. Clip the extra thread. And you’re done!
First, what is a zafu? It’s a cushion to sit on during sitting meditation.
Do I need one? Nope.
Having said that, here are some instructions which I borrowed from a wonderful web site called No Zendo. Unfortunately they are no longer online.
The following information was originally published by the Zen Center of Los Angeles and was found in one of their fine books, entitled “To Forget the Self: An Illustrated Guide to Zen Meditation” by John Daishin Buksbazen. Unfortunately, this book is now out of print. It is gratefully presented here as a help for those getting started on their own.
A sturdy material such as a cotton/polyester blend
Kapok fiber, although buckwheat hulls can be used for those who prefer a firmer seat
Length of cloth 59 inches long, 6 inches to 9 inches wide (depending on how high you would like your cushion to be).
Two circles of cloth, each with a diameter of 11 inches to 13 inches (depending on how large around you would like your cushion to be.)
Pleat the length of cloth. There should be fourteen 3/4 inch pleats, 3 inches apart. To pleat:
a) Beginning 6-1 /2 inches from the left edge of the length, make three marks, 3/4 inch apart, thus marking out the first pleat:
Three inches after the first set of pleat markings, make the second set, as indicated above. Continue doing this till you have 14 pleats. When you finish, the last pleat marking should be 3 inches from the right edge. (If you wish to have narrower pleats, of course, simply increase the number of pleats.)
b) Next, iron the pleats and pin them. They should all be folded and ironed in toward the left-hand side. For each set of pleat markings, fold the third in toward the first as shown, and then pin as shown at below:
Now, having completed the first step, take the right edge of the pleated strip cloth and pin it to the left end of the strip, 3-1/4 inches from the left edge:
Mark each circle of cloth at four equidistant points. Turn pleated length of cloth inside out. Pin each circle to the pleated strip, one circle to the top edge and one to the bottom edge, at each of the four points:
Next, ease (pin) all the pleats in to the circles, top and bottom. Sew the circles to the length of cloth:
Turn inside out and stuff with kapok or buckwheat hulls (through opening in the side that the zafu will have) It’s best to use a lot of stuffing material. Kapok will slowly compress with use and buckwheat hulls eventually breakdown:
Our generously-sized bag will hold your mat, towel, yoga chimes and more. We recommend choosing a heavier weight fabric for the bag so it’s sturdier and wears well. Amy Butler’s Love collection has several home decor weights from which to choose. Your lining can be regular weight. I used upholstery fabric, and I didn’t have to use a liner fabric when I made this bag.
Contributors Project Design: Alicia Thommas and Sample Creation: Jacqueline Smerek
Love this pattern. Had to find it off of Archive.org to get the instructions!
Like my little Singer Featherweight 221? Go on over to my Featherweight Site at:
Sara Varona, of BuildYourYogaBusiness.com created this sequence to assist in easing your lower and upper back pain. She gave me permission to post it on my display at my recent Yoga Booth at a Health Fair.
She also shows on her website, the different things that she does in helping a client in their private yoga practice. Here is her video listed at the end of this specific ezine going through the poses pictured on the right.
I took lots of notes, taught these sequences to my various yoga classes, and people noticed how much better their backs felt after going through the sequences. It is a 40 minute google video, to get your pen an pencil ready, take notes, practice and come back and back to this wonderful sequence of yoga poses.
The model in the photos is one of my daughters. She is in the process of training to be a yoga teacher. She is already a wonderful Ballet teacher. She has also taught tap, modern, jazz and creative dance.
My DIY Tutorial for Face mask and Buff’s from Leggings or Yoga pants.
Here is Gail and her original Buff from when she went to Mongolia. Taught yoga in Mongolia, when visiting her oldest in the Peace Corps.
I selected the OSU colors for my LuLaRoe Leggings. Go Pokes!
Taking my original Buff and measuring how much to cut, I may have added an inch to the length.
I can get two Buffs from a pair of LuLaRoe Leggings.
I then pin the fabric sides together to prepare to either sew by the machine or hand sew.
Using my Pfaff Sewing Machine, pin right sides of fabric together, then sew down the seam to make a tube shape. In this case I used the serged seam as a guideline to where I’d sew. Optional to trim off that seam.
Turn the finished tube with the fabric to the outside and try on. If need be, you could take in more if the buff slips. I found that I did not need to take in the side seam any, and the face covering/buff stayed up nicely.
DIY on making from the ends of Lularoe leggings or yoga pants into a face mask. Now Sewing required.
So I had a lot of left over leg ends, after I made the “Buffs and Gators” from the top of the Lularoe Leggings….
I had retired from the IT department at DuPont, and continued to take computer classes at the University of Houston – Victoria, plus take all the PE classes at Victoria College.
I took the first offered yoga class at the university.
After my final exam in that class, which was a teach-back yoga class, along with my team, my yoga teacher told me that she liked my sequences and should become a yoga teacher.
The following month in my hometown at that time, YogaFit International Training Systems came to town and presented their Level 1 training. Soon afterwards I was teaching and taking additional training to get my 200 hours.
I was the first graduate of YogaFit’s 200-hour teacher training program (other than their trainers).
I remember one day, back in Victoria, I taught 5 classes in one day.
I soon racked up the teaching hours to get to the experienced level, then after moving to the Nederland/Port Neches, Texas area, took additional training from Lex Gillan at the Yoga Institute in Houston, to complete my 500-hour training.
I’ve enjoyed teaching for so many different places and studios and independently. Thank you.
DeTar Healthcare System
Lotus Yoga Studio of Victoria
Victoria Ballet Theatre @ Debbe Busby School of Dance
Chandler Elementary School in Victoria, Texas
University of Houston-Victoria
National Multiple Sclerosis Society
YMCA of Southeast Texas, Port Arthur Branch
Nederland High School in Nederland, Texas
Exygon Health and Fitness Club
Golden Triangle Yoga
Yoga Vibe TX
Yoga at Wesley UMC in Nederland, Texas
Friday Gentle Yoga at the Lakeside Best Years Center Beaumont Texas
12NewsNow and more!
Now teaching online and in-person for the Veterans Yoga Project and No Longer Limited Duty
20 years of teaching yoga! Yoga with Gail Pickens-Barger
Yoga in Nederland, Port Neches, Port Arthur, Tx. Jefferson Mid-County
Got your yoga classes and locations listed here! My classes and schedule don’t fit everyone’s schedule, so I thought I’d list out all the yoga that I know of here in Mid-County. (Beaumont & Orange listings at the end of this post.) Fall 2021.
Starting 2022: Tuesdays: every third Tuesday 6 PM CST Online Studio yoga class – SETX Yoga for Veterans, families & friends.
Fridays: 10:30 AM at Lakeside Best Years Senior Citizen Center. Yoga. 60 minute class. Free for Beaumont residents, come a bit early if you are not a member of the center, to register. $4 fee for non-residents, and come a bit early to register. Please wear a mask into the facility and into the yoga room. Once you are stationed six feet apart, you have permission to take off your mask.
YogaKiddos with Gail, at Wesley UMC in Nederland, Texas.
YogaKiddos with Gail, at Wesley UMC in Nederland, Texas.
YogaKiddos with Gail, at Wesley UMC in Nederland, Texas.
Exygon Health and Fitness – Check COVID-19 Schedule 1001 Nederland Avenue, Ned. Tx 409-729-2592 Bring a yoga mat. $15 drop in fee, included with monthly membership. http://exygon.com/
PowerHouse Gym in Port Neches Monday & Wednesday 6:30 PM $10 drop in fee, comes with membership Hatha Yoga Class
YMCA of Port Arthur – Check COVID_19 Schedule 6760 9th Avenue, Port Arthur, Tx 77642 409-962-6644 Yoga Tuesday/Thursday at 10:00 AM Friday – 10:00 AM – SilverSneakers YogaStretch $15 drop-in fee, included with monthly membership http://ymcasetx.org/health-well-being-fitness/
Gentle postures for easing back pain. The Veterans that I teach regularly on Wednesdays on the Mindbody app, through the Veterans Yoga Project had this to say about the Beginners Back Yoga class that I teach.
•”My pain levels were at the top at level 10. After class, my pain levels were at a level 6, which is so much easier for me to handle. Thank you.”
•Another Veteran shared this, “I came into the class at a level of 6. Near the end of the class, I could feel the easing of pain and I’d say I was at a level of 2. I will be repeating this class!”
•Sign up for a Mindbody account, through the VYP portal at:
Gentle Yoga for low back pain 45 minute classes hosted by the Veterans Yoga Project folks!
Thank you for joining this yoga class and I hope you enjoy the class!
Remember, you don’t have to be able to touch your toes, or bend like a pretzel to do yoga!
Back PAIN info:
Back pain is the 2nd most sited reason people go to the doctor
Back pain has a high occurrence in veterans for a number of reasons
And they are prescribed pills but it doesn’t really help
Then comes fatigue, depression & quality of life goes down
Yoga can actually help the back pain
45% of veterans have a military-connected disability
8% of adults in the US have back pain at some part of their life
30% of people in the US in the next 3 months will have a short course of back pain
So this affects everyone
This method of practices and yoga poses
Reduces the intensity of pain, depression, fatigue & medication use
Pain interference with daily life.
Quality of life & self-efficacy both went up with regular yoga practice
#VYPFamily, #VYPBootsOnTheGround, #VYPLightACandle and #NamasteMemorialDay
Since the formative years of the United States, more than one million American Soldiers have given and lost their lives protecting our freedoms and defending our nation’s liberties. Those Americans made the ultimate sacrifice. Veterans Yoga Project recognizes their sacrifice by annually gathering on Memorial Day to light candles in their honor.
We stand where they once stood. We bow to them with gratitude. We speak of their valor. We live.
Tuesday 6:00 PM @Wesley UMC/Clifton Museum in Beaumont/Bridge Point Fellowship church in Bridge City, Texas – Free for Veterans & families – Call for location 409-727-3177 https://tinyurl.com/TueYogaGail
Wednesday 1 PM CST on MINDBODY Online. Sign up for a free account at least 1 hour prior, to book and verify your email the first time. Free – Gentle Yoga for Beginners and for Low Back Painhttps://tinyurl.com/vyp-classes
Fridays at LakeSide Best Years Senior Citizen Center – 10:30 AM
Private Yoga upon request.
Zoom Corporate Classes upon request.
WEDNESDAYS at 1 PM CST – Join VYP yoga teacher, Gail Pickens-Barger, for a 60 minute gentle yoga practice for easing back pain. Gail incorporates all five mind-body tools of VYP Mindful Resilience: Breathing, Meditation, Mindful Movement, Guided Rest, and Gratitude.
These tools help us breathe easy, focus clearly, move freely, rest deeply, and remember what is working in our lives. As a result, we become more resilient in the face of both ordinary and extraordinary challenges.
To help ease any regulars into classes, please invite them to A) create a MindBodyOnline account with us, B) visit the Classes page on our VYP website to see an integrated look at what we are offering online both daily and weekly, and/or C) stayed tuned online with us through social media for announcements.
Here is the direct link for the VYP page resource with our classes:
So true. If you rest, you will tend to rust. When I taught yoga in Victoria Texas, I had 6 people come to my gentle yoga class that had fibromyalgia.
They told me they hurt if they don’t come, they hurt if they do come to yoga. But the hurt coming out of yoga was of a lot of body relief. They craved coming to class. I think that is because yoga not only works on the body, but the mind, and of easing of pain for some, and getting better sleep.
I think about that class that I had in V-town a lot because that was early on in my yoga career, and I just was a bit confused by their comments about different types of pain.
Now after teaching for over 20 years, it makes a lot of sense to me, as I am now inhabiting my body with levels of pain issues. Oh, if I don’t move, move move, it is big time hurt city. I still hurt, but pain levels between 7-9, now regularly sit between 1-3. That is significant to me.
What about you?
I invite you to come to my #freeyoga class held on #mindbody sponsored by the Veterans Yoga Project I’ve got the link below. Be sure to sign up at least an hour maybe two before your first class, so that you get the verification email in time to do class. You’ll get an email link to come into the class 30 minutes prior.
Gentle Yoga for Low Back Pain is what I teach. 60 minutes beginner-level class.
Yeah, you don’t have to bend like a pretzel or touch your toes to get massive health benefits from a regular yoga practice.
Comments? Complaints? Questions? Complements? I want to know!
See what a Veteran has to say about the Yoga for Low Back Pain class that I teach!
One of the Veterans that regularly takes my Yoga for Low Back Pain class on the Veteran’s Yoga Project had this to say about this class that I teach.
Gail talking. “Hey Don, welcome back! Hope this helped you! Let me know!” Don – Veteran “Yes it always helps! I’m similar to you: chronic back pain for 20-30 years, and since I started doing yoga in Tucson and more recently on-line, my back is much better. Not completely gone, but a heck of a lot better!”
Doesn’t get much better than that!
Even I, a yoga teacher struggled with back pain. Turns out, some of the yoga poses I was doing was contributing to my back pain.
My pain levels were between a 6 – 9. I had to use a cane, and walker at some point.
I investigated in Yoga Vista’s online training for Gentle Yoga for Low Back Care.
I am a convert now. My pain levels are now anywhere’s between a 0 and level 3. For me that is significant.
So this is my niche. I teach Gentle Yoga for Low Back Care. Great for beginners, those new to yoga, and those of us with back challenges.
The yoga class is on Monday at 6 PM CST (think Texas). My hope for you is to feel better.
You might get some other benefits too! Better balance, higher quality sleep, increased flexibility & strength, building bones, better joint mobility, you might even lose weight with a regular practice.
Join me for next week’s class. IF my class time does not match with your schedule a private yoga session, or getting a weekly video for you to do in the privacy of your home might be better for you.
Count on Yoga. Looking for a reason to start practicing (or restart your practice)?
1. Flex Time.
Improved flexibility is one of the most obvious benefits of yoga. During your first class, you probably won’t be able to touch your toes, never mind do a back bend. But if you stick with it, you’ll notice a gradual loosening, and eventually, seemingly impossible poses will become possible. You’ll probably notice that aches and pains start to disappear. That’s no coincidence. Tight hips can strain the knee joint due to improper alignment of the thigh and shinbones. Tight hamstrings can lead to a flattening of the lumbar spine, which can cause back pain. And inflexibility in muscles and connective tissues, such as fascia and ligaments, can cause poor posture.
2. Bone Zone.
It’s well documented that weight-bearing exercise strengthens bones and helps ward off osteoporosis. Many postures in yoga require that you lift your own weight. And some, like Downward- and Upward-Facing Dog, help strengthen the arm bones, which are particularly vulnerable to osteoporosis fractures. In an unpublished study conducted at California State University, Los Angeles, yoga practice increased bone density in the vertrebrae. Yoga’s ability to lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol may help keep calcium in the bones.
3. Worry Thwarts.
Yoga lowers cortisol levels. If that doesn’t sound like much, consider these facts. Normally, the adrenal glands secrete cortisol in response to an acute crisis, which temporarily boosts immune function. If your cortisol levels stay high even after the crisis, they can compromise the immune system. Temporary boosts of cortisol help with long-term memory, but chronically high levels undermine memory and may lead to permanent changes in the brain. Plus, excessive cortisol has been linked with major depression, osteoporosis (it extracts calcium and other minerals from bones and interferes with the laying down of new bone), high blood pressure, and insulin resistance. In rats, high cortisol levels lead to what researchers call “food-seeking behavior” (the kind that drives you to eat when you’re upset, angry, or stressed). The body takes those extra calories and distributes them as fat in the abdomen, contributing to weight gain and the risk of diabetes and heart attack.
4. Breathing Room.
Yogis tend to take fewer breaths of greater volume, which is both calming and more efficient. A 1998 study published in The Lancet taught a yogic technique known as “complete breathing” to people with lung problems due to congestive heart failure. After one month, their average respiratory rate decreased from 13.4 breaths per minute to 7.6. Meanwhile, their exercise capacity increased significantly, as did the oxygen saturation of their blood. In addition, yoga has been shown to improve various measures of lung function, including the maximum volume of the breath and the efficiency of the exhalation.
5. Pain Drain.
Yoga can ease your pain. According to several studies, yoga postures (asana), meditiation, or a combination of the two, reduced pain in people with arthritis, back pain, fibromyalgia, carpal tunnel syndrome, and other chronic conditions. When you relieve your pain, your mood improves, you’re more inclined to be active, and you don’t need as much medication.
6. Connective Tissue.
As you read all the ways yoga improves your health, you probably notice a lot of overlap. That’s because they are intensely interwoven. Change your posture and you change the way you breathe. Change your breathing and you change you nervous system. This is one of the great lessons of yoga: Everything is connected – your hipbone to your anklebone, you to your community, your community to the world. Such interconnection is vital to yoga. This holistic system simultaneously taps into many mechanisms that have self-perpetuating and even multiplicative effects. Synergy may be the most important way of all that yoga heals.
7. Joint Account.
Each time you practice yoga, you take your joints through their full range of motion. This can help prevent degenerative arthritis or mitigate disability by “squeezing and soaking” areas of cartilage that normally aren’t used. Joint cartilage is like sponge; it receives fresh nutrients only when its fluid is squeezed out and a new supply can be soaked up. Without proper sustenance, neglected cartilage can eventually wear out like worn-out brake pads, exposing the underlying bone.
8. Flow Chart.
Yoga gets your blood flowing. More specifically, the relaxation exercises you learn in yoga can help your circulation, especially in your hands and feet. Yoga also gets more oxygen to your cells, which function better as a result. Twisting poses are thought to wring out venous blood from internal organs and allow oxygenated blood to flow in once the twist is released. Inverted poses, such as Down Ward Facing Dog, Standing Straddle Splits, Headstand, Handstand and Shoulderstand, encourages venous blood from the legs and pelvis to flow back to the heart, where it can be pumped to the lungs to be freshly oxygenated. Yoga also boosts levels of hemoglobin and red blood cells, which carry oxygen to the tissues. And it thins the blood by making platelets less sticky and by cutting the level of clot-promoting proteins in the blood. This can lead to a decrease in heart attacks and strokes since blood clots are often the cause of these killers.
9. Heart Start.
When you regularly get your heart rate into the aerobic range, you can lower your risk of heart attack and relieve depression. While not all yoga is aerobic, if you do it vigorously or take flow or Ashtanga classes, it can boost your heart rate into the aerobic range. But even yoga exercises that don’t get your heart rate up that high can improve cardiovascular conditioning. Studies have found that yoga practice lowers the resting heart rate, increases endurance, and can improve your maximum uptake of oxygen during exercise – all reflections of improving aerobic conditioning.
10. Strength Test.
Strong muscles do more than look good. They also protect us from such conditions as arthritis and back pain, and help prevent falls. And when you build strength through yoga, you balance it with flexibility. If you just lifted weights, you might build strength at the expense of flexibility.
11. Spinal Rap.
Spinal disks – the shock absorbers between the vertebrae that can herniate and compress nerves – crave movement. That’s the only way they get their nutrients. If you’ve got a well-balanced asana practice with plently of backbends, forward bends, and twists, you’ll help keep your disks supple.
12. Standing Orders.
Your head is like a bowling ball – big, round, and heavy. When it’s balanced directly over an erect spine, it take much less work for your neck and back muscles to support it. Move it several inches forward, however, and you start to strain those muscles. Hold up that forward-leaning bowling ball for 8 or 12 hours a day and it’s no wonder you’re tired. And fatigue might not be your only problem. Poor posture can cause back, neck, and other muscle and joint problems. As you slump, your body may compensate by flattening the normal inward curves in your neck and lower back. This can cause pain and degenerative arthritis of the spine.
13. Sugar Show.
Yoga lowers blood sugar and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and boosts HDL (“good”) cholesterol. In people wit diabetes, yoga has been found to lower blood sugar in several ways: by lowering cortisol and adrenaline levels, encouraging weight loss, and improving sensitivity to the effects of insulin. Get your blood sugar levels down, and you decrease your risk of diabetic complications such as heart attack, kidney failure and blindness.
14. Space Place.
Regularly practicing yoga increases proprioception (the ability to feel what your body is doing and where it is in space) and improves balance. People with bad posture or dysfunctional movement patterns usually have poor proprioception, which has been linked to knee problems and back pain. Better balance could mean fewer falls. For the elderly, this translates into more independence and delayed admission to a nursing home or never entering one at all.
15. Loose Limbs.
Do you ever notice yourself holding the telephone or a steering wheel with a death grip or scrunching your face when staring at a computer screen? These unconscious habits can lead to chronic tension, muscle fatigue, and soreness in the wrists, arms, shoulders, neck, and face, which can increase stress and worsen your mood. As you practice yoga, you begin to notice where you hold tension: It might be in your tongue, your eyes, or the muscles of your face and neck. If you simple tune in and pay more attention to these areas, you may be able to relieve some tension.
First Twelve Yoga Poses and Second Twelve Yoga Poses for Osteopenia and Osteoporosis bone-building efforts.
The second set of poses are to address the bone-building issues with the wrists, elbows and shoulders. Additionally giving additional weight bearing poses to complement the first set of yoga poses.
Dr. Loren Fishman has come up with a second set of poses to use for bone building. Beginners versions of the poses, intermediate and classical versions of the poses. Nice that you can mix and match depending on your body’s ability to do a pose.
Interested? Give me a call, Gail Pickens-Barger, 409-727-3177 and you can get started on your bone building journey!
Yoga for Veterans – Veterans Yoga Project – Nederland, Texas
PTS(D) AND YOGA? WE CAN EXPLAIN.
IN THE U.S. ESTIMATES OF PTS(D) AMONG VETERANS ARE:
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
You have questions? We’ll do our best to answer them.
WHAT IS VETERANS YOGA PROJECT?
Veterans Yoga Project is an educational and advocacy organization dedicated to improving the health and well being of military veterans through yoga and meditation practice. Working in partnership with veterans, active-duty military personnel, student veteran organizations, and other non-profit organizations, Veterans Yoga Project supports recovery and promotes resilience among veterans who are living with post-traumatic stress or other trauma issues.
WHAT IS VETERANS GRATITUDE WEEK?
Each year, VYP hosts two annual fundraisers, VYP Gratitude Week and Light-A-Candle Memorial Day, supported by donations from yoga classes, individuals and organizations. Held the three weeks surrounding Veterans Day, VYP Gratitude Week encourages yoga studios to host donation-based classes to support veterans in a tangible way. In many cases, these classes have brought together veterans and civilians in an environment where veterans can share their military experience with their community.
HOW DOES YOGA HELP VETERANS?
While magnified by media reporting, only 30% of veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder or trauma-related issues. Practicing yoga can undo the nervous system dysfunction that underlies PTSD symptoms.
WHY SHOULD I GET INVOLVED WITH VYP GRATITUDE WEEK?
Less than 1% of Americans have ever served their country, however, veterans experience a disproportionately high suicide rate. VYP Gratitude Week is a way for those who have not served to both give back to veterans in a tangible way and to better understand the challenges of military service.
WHAT DO I NEED TO DO TO HOST A DONATION-BASED CLASS?
Our goal for 2019 is to host 500+ classes in all 50 states. We can use all the help we can get to raise awareness and encourage participation.
How is the money raised from VYP Gratitude Week used?
Veterans Yoga Project is an IRS-recognized 501(c)(3) charitable organization and depends upon the support of donors to take care of veterans in need. 100% of the proceeds will go to VYP’s mission to support recovery and resilience to our veterans, families and our communities.
GAIL PICKENS-BARGER | NEDERLAND, TX
Gail Pickens-Barger is a yoga teacher with over 20 years of teaching experience.
She first used yoga during the birth and pregnancy of her first child. Fifteen years later, became a yoga teacher. Gail’s 200 hours was through YogaFit International Training Systems, and more recently her 500-hour certificate was through Lex Gillan’s The Yoga Institute. Gail recently finished a Yoga Nidra course through Wise Owl Yoga and the Mindful Resilience for Trauma Recovery through the Veterans Yoga Project. Currently, Gail is studying to become a Low Back Care Yoga Teacher through the Yoga Vista Academy.
In addition to teaching a weekly beginner yoga class and a chair yoga class, Gail teaches a free Kids Yoga class to the Pre K class at her church and teaches Adaptive Yoga for Multiple Sclerosis for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
Gail originally came into contact with the Veterans Yoga Project, after reading an article on Baxter Bell’s Yoga for Healthy Aging Website. In the article, it talked specifically about volunteering to provide a free yoga class for veterans and to raise funds to support the Veterans Yoga Project during Veterans Gratitude Week. Gail likes to do karma yoga for raising funds for local food missions, raised funds for church playground equipment, Girl Scouts and such, and the providing free class for veterans and raising funds seemed like a worthwhile effort.
So for the past five years, Gail has hosted several classes to benefit the Veterans Gratitude Week for VYP.
More recently Gail was contacted by the local VA to present chair yoga to the vets in the Beaumont/Orange Texas area. In doing so, Gail came into contact with Brianna Renner, who assisted her tremendously in providing a class format, that would present the 5 tools that VYP uses in providing classes.
Gail has gone onto doing the Mindful Resilience training provided by Veterans Yoga Project and hopes to in the near future provide a weekly class to area veterans.