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                    [post_content] => The act of listening begins with the awareness that we have not been listening. Many of us arrive at the practice of yoga from the place of having a physical injury or health issue that leads us to the mat. This can stem from an absence of listening to the signals our bodies try to send us. A recurring running injury was the final call for me to start to listen.

In the beginning, I did not want to listen, I did not want to be still – I wanted to be "fixed" so I could get back to running. I practiced with that goal in mind, and when I thought I was "fixed" I headed back out to run only to immediately be injured again. I chuckle now at my stubbornness, but at the time it was a painful exit from a world I enjoyed and had success in, and a social circle that meant a lot to me.

Week after week I returned to my mat. Like a good friend, it listened as my body released its tightness and restriction, my heart through change and loss and my desire to run (away from myself perhaps) diminished. At the same time, my desire to be still, to listen and be taught began to grow.

Physically I listened as well. Soften your knee, lengthen your spine, calm your breath, and quiet your mind. I began to hear my inner teacher speak to me through my body, through my breath, through my emotions and state of mind. At first, I struggled to master poses while watching others handle them with ease, and still do, though now I can accept that may always be the way. There were times I was asked by my teacher to practice balancing poses in the dark, where the harder I tried, the worse it got. Stories of failure, anger and frustration came to meet me in the room and on my mat, and still I continued. The desire to learn, the willingness to be taught, was an inner call that grew as I continued to listen.

Now I cultivate stillness. I enter stillness like I would enter any place of learning or the studio where I practice. Stilling myself, listening to that which emerges. The act of listening has presented me a teacher – I meet her in the silence, I meet her in my breath, I meet her in the experiences of my life – I meet her when I'm still. Willing to be taught by my life .... I listen.
                    [post_title] => Can the act of listening be your teacher?
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                    [post_content] => 7 (human) years ago, in the 2009 Oct-Dec issue of YWM I wrote an article about the lessons my ‘SPCA special’ Great-Dane-Shepherd-Lab-everything-else crossbreed and faithful sidekick Daisy, had taught me about life.

As you can imagine, a few things have changed since penning (typing?) that article. For example, both of Daisy’s ears now stand perfectly erect with only the slightest hint of the puppy-flop that used to affect the left side. Her sleek black coat isn’t as rich as it once was (neither is mine), and her once break-neck greyhound-like speed is now more Basset Hound (stops to smell more than she runs) than anything. Yet many of the yogic lessons she taught me then are true today. However, with age comes wisdom and change, and as such, some of the things she has taught me have taken on new meaning.

To read the original article click here.
  1. Do Down Dog and do it often! Daisy’s Down-dog, albeit not as deep as it once was, is still pretty darned perfect and I’d argue, is still better than most humans, but the point is she still does it. EVERY DAY. It’s still her response to her favourite words like “park” and “dinner” (this has replaced “run”), and it is still how she greets the start of each day. I truly believe that Daisy’s ability to stay as agile even at her advanced age is partially the result of her daily practice of Down-Dog. Sun Salutations for longevity anyone? You better believe it.
  2. Follow Down Dog with Up Dog. Daisy’s Up Dog isn’t as great as it used to be, but then again, neither is mine. We both have low back and hip issues that prevent full extension for a ‘perfect’ up-dog, but the intention isn’t perfection is it? That’s what Daisy has taught me. Even though you can’t do the full move, modify it to suit your body. Honour where you are, but make the attempt to balance each posture with it’s opposite.
  3. Meditate. Daisy still has this incredible ability to focus on anything that captures her interest. As was the case 7 years ago, even today virtually nothing can break her ‘meditative state’. Such focus is still something I yearn for when trying to meditate, or even when just sitting quietly. The lesson is one I’m working on. Be engaged, and empty your mind of all things except for that which you seek.
  4. Play: Do it! Just maybe don’t do it for as long, or as hard as you once did. Daisy still loves to chase a Frisbee, ball, stick, squirrel, whatever, but just for not as long as she once did. Don’t let age stop you from having fun! Play is mentally and physically stimulating and an essential part to aging “gracefully”.  Do something every day that brings you joy, and moves your body. Smile, laugh and pant, err, um, breathe.
  5. Drink Water: lots, and lots of it and don’t worry if you’re a slobbering mess afterwards. Water tastes SO GOOD! Sometimes it’s hard to not get it everywhere. Water is essential to good health and an aging body. It not only helps to lubricate joints and keep skin and other body tissue hydrated, it’s also important for healthy digestion. Daisy drinks A LOT of water, always has and despite the more frequent trips to the lawn (bathroom), it really does a body good.
  6. Have regular bowel movements and observe them: I know, it still sounds gross, right? But it’s true. Observation around shape, consistency and frequency can alert you to more serious health problems. As the body ages, bowel problems such as constipation can become bigger issues for some people (dogs too). To help keep your bowels healthy, it’s important to have regular daily bowel movements. Daisy recommends doing things like “Down-dog”, “play” and “drinking water” as part of an overall plan to keep your bowels happy (of course eating fresh greens helps too).
  7. Listen. When your ears start to fail you, listen with your eyes. When your eyes start to fail you, listen with your hands (paws). When they all start to fail you, listen with your heart. This seems complicated, but it’s something I see Daisy do every day. Although I’ll swear she can still see squirrel running up a tree down the block, or hear her favourite person’s car coming down the road, she’s not as alert as she once was, and on uneven ground, trusts her body less. Yet her ability to communicate love with the world around her hasn’t diminished. It is inevitable that our senses become less acute as we age, but how we choose to let that affect us comes from a deeper place. The lesson: if we return to our centre (heart) and allow a deeper place of connection to help guide us, we will never be out of touch with our surroundings.
  8. Know your limits… and ask for direction. Daisy still tries to run, jump, and play like she did when she was a puppy, but it’s up to me now to place limits upon her so she doesn’t injure herself.  She looks to me more frequently than she used to for direction too. When she’s unsure of which fork to take on trails, or which way to go at a street corner, instead of just barrelling in any direction, she looks to me for guidance. Oh, how times have changed. I used to trust her to tell me when too much exercise was enough, or which fork in the trail was the ‘right’ way. But my guru taught me well. Her lesson? TRUST in others and be open to the notion that they may have a better solution than you do, especially when you’re not sure of yourself.
  9. Eat fresh green food. The lesson here is the same as it was 7 years ago with a slight variation. According to TCM theory, as the body ages, it’s original ‘fire’ or yang diminishes. To help conserve the body’s yang, trade the raw cold foods for more easily digestible options like roasted root vegetables or steamed greens. Your qi and digestive system will thank you.
  10. Rest. Daisy has really perfected this one. She sleeps much more than she used to as a young pup, but really, she’s pushing 90 in human years (large breeds go by a 8 year to 1 human year rule), and the fact that she still is up and ready to play each and every day means she needs rest to replenish her qi. Perhaps she has lived as long as she has because she followed the all-important rest to play ratio. I too get more rest than I used to, although those who know me would shake their heads in disbelief. It’s true. We all need to learn from this one.
  11. Be thankful and appreciate everything in your life. The average life expectancy of most dogs is about 10 years and in human lives, that’s not a whole lot of time. As Daisy’s 12th birthday approaches in March, I am more acutely aware of the time that has passed, and wonder how much we may have left. This ‘knowing’ makes me more thankful and appreciative of every moment I get to spend with her, and this is perhaps Daisy’s greatest lesson of all. For 4197.5 days (give or take a few), she has consistently met each one of them and every person in her world with the same enthusiasm and joy as she did when she was a pup, and it strikes me more often than not as to why we as humans have such a hard time doing the same. Perhaps if we had a firmer grasp on the concept that our time together is limited, as it is with our pets, we would make better efforts. Thank you Daisy. I couldn’t have asked more a more patient and gentle Guru to help guide me through these years.
Namaste. [post_title] => Lessons from Daisy: The Senior Edition (Part 2) [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => lessons-daisy-senior-edition-part-2 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-01-10 20:53:19 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-01-11 04:53:19 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.reddooryoga.ca/?p=2413 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 2 [filter] => raw ) [2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 2163 [post_author] => 154 [post_date] => 2016-12-14 23:48:10 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-12-15 07:48:10 [post_content] =>
Daisy came into my life as a pup four years ago from the SPCA, three weeks after losing my mixed-breed chow-chow to cancer. I had not planned on getting a puppy, but as we all know, things rarely work out how we first envision them to. Over the past four years we have been on many crazy adventures together. And Daisy, like any good teacher, never ceases to amaze, motivate, and challenge me. Even though I am sometimes a bit of a slow learner, Daisy is more patient with me than I tend to be with her, and this perhaps is her greatest lesson of all to me. Many of the things I try to teach my students about Yoga beyond the poses, I see so easily taught by my Guru Daisy. If you’ve read the article “The Irreverent Yogi” in the January to March, 2009 issue of The Yogic Way® Magazine, you will already know that Daisy performs Down-Dog better than any ‘human’ student I have. And that even though my students turn to me for direction and answers, I freely admit that I too am a student, learning as they are. I encourage my students to look for answers in all that surrounds them and remind them that teachers are everywhere (the idea behind “Namaste”). And yes, these teachers may even be in animal form. I often share Daisy’s wisdom with my students, and for anything they have learnt through Daisy’s sharing with me, and my with them, I am grateful. Now I will share with you some of the lessons I have learnt from my dog Daisy.
  Lesson Number 1:  Do Down-Dog and do it often! I have observed and learned that Down-Dog is as much a great stretch, as it is a friendly greeting or salutation, or as it is a way of physically reveling in joy. It is how Daisy greets the day, it is her response to her favorite words such as “park” or “run”, and it is how she finds her length again after a long curled up nap. The central inclusion of Down-Dog in the Salutation sequence makes so much sense to me now.   Lesson Number 2:  Follow Down-Dog with Up-Dog! Yes, Daisy's perfect Down-Dog is usually followed by a wonderful Up-Dog as well. The lesson here? Balance.  
Lesson Number 3:  Meditate Daisy has the amazing ability to tune out anything and everything when completely focused on say, a squirrel, bird, mosquito, or whatever else it may be. Virtually nothing can break her ‘meditative state’. Such focus is something I yearn for when trying to meditate, or even when just sitting quietly. The lesson? Be engaged, and empty your mind of all things except for that which you seek.  
Lesson Number 4:  Play Daisy has chased a ball, stick, mosquito, or whatever it is that moves and catches her fancy, thousands of times, but never seems to take it for granted. Every time is as exciting as the first to her. I believe she truly appreciates the opportunity to play, exercise, breathe deeply, and have fun. Take time every day to enjoy yourself. Greet the people you meet with genuine love and appreciation. Play with the kind of enthusiasm you felt the first time you ever participated in the activity. You will be surprised at how much more enjoyable it is.  
Lesson Number 5:  Drink water First thing in the morning and throughout the day. Especially after ‘play’, ‘meditation’, and ‘Down-Dog-Up-Dog’ vinyasas. Don’t worry if it spills all down your face or dribbles across the floor in long spindles from your lips when you walk away from your bowl...I mean sink. Didn’t it taste amazing?  
Lesson Number 6:  Have regular bowel movements and observe them Sounds gross right? But being on a regular schedule (also called “being regular”) and having some awareness around shape, consistency and smell are important indicators of your overall health. Dog owners KNOW when their companions are ill because they are ‘up close and personal’ with their faeces on a daily basis. The same should apply to you!  
Lesson Number 7:  Listen To the world and people around you. Hang on their every word like they are going to tell you something incredible (like ‘do you want to go to the park?’). You’ll be amazed at how much more engaged and alive you are in the world. Try however to keep your head from tilting to one side or the other when the person talking says a word you are unfamiliar with. Actually, on second thought, DO IT!  
Lesson Number 8:  Know your limits Work on releasing the ego and clearly know what you are able or unable to do. Daisy never goes beyond her abilities in exercise or within pack dynamics. Most call that instinct, but I see it as Yogic grace. I try to be vigilant in my own actions when we are out exercising together to be sure that my ego is not pushing us both beyond what we should be doing. There have been times when Daisy has looked at me like “c’mon, you’ve got to be kidding”, and I’ve looked back at her with “do I look like I’m kidding?”....then got injured. Silly student.  
Lesson Number 9:  Eat fresh green foods I don’t know what grass tastes like, but I’m seriously thinking about trying it. Every spring, all dogs, including Daisy, graze on the fresh new young grass. In Chinese medicine, spring time in particular is associated with the liver energy and green foods. And as animals are more connected to the natural world than we tend to be, I say, ‘salad anyone?'  
Lesson Number 10:  Rest Possibly the hardest of all of Daisy’s lessons for me to learn. Rest is essential to repair and rejuvenate the body, mind, and spirit. How will you have the energy to truly appreciate and enjoy everything all over again tomorrow without it? The errand list can wait. Have a nap and re-evaluate in a few hours.
NAMASTE.  
This article was originally published in the October - December 2009 issue of The Yogic Way® Magazine and is a prequel to Dr. Kim Graham's upcoming article "Lessons from Daisy (Part 2)".
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Headaches are the most common health complaint. Almost everyone will experience a headache at some point during his or her life. A headache is a pain sensed by the nerves and muscles along the head and neck area, as well as the tissue surrounding the brain and spinal cord. This pain is usually characterized as continuous pain in various parts of the head. The brain itself cannot sense pain, so headaches actually have nothing to do with the brain hurting. There are three major types of headaches: tension, inflammation and vascular headaches.
 
TYPES AND CAUSES OF HEADACHES
Tension headaches are usually caused by the tensing and tightening of facial or neck muscles. This type of headache accounts for 90 percent of all headaches and affects people at any age, from children to adults. Pain from a tension headache usually feels like a tight band or vice squeezing the head. The pain is usually dull and covers most of the head. There are many causes of tension headaches, but the most common are physical stress, emotional stress, bad posture, eyestrain, head injury and caffeine.
Inflammation headaches are caused by sinus infections, allergies, meningitis, stroke or other medical conditions. It is also characterized by a dull pain all over head. This type of headache is also a common side effect of many prescribed medications.
Vascular headaches are caused by disturbances in blood flow to the brain. Blood vessels in the head can dilate or contract, causing increased or decreased blood flow to the brain. The two most common types of vascular headaches are migraines and cluster headaches.
Migraine sufferers typically have severe pain in one side of head and are accompanied by nausea, visual disturbances such as flashing lights, auras, blurriness and sometimes a fever. Many migraine sufferers are also sensitive to light. The most common triggers of migraines are perfume, alcohol, eye strain, food allergies, seasonal allergies, menstruation, weather, stress, depression, sugar and sugar alternatives, cigarette smoke and improper sleep.
Cluster headaches occur repeatedly over a period of days, weeks or even months. They usually occur on one side of the head and centered near the eyes. The cause of this type of headache is unknown but experts suspect it’s related to blood flow.  
COMMON TREATMENTS FOR HEADACHES The most common treatment for headaches is over-the-counter pain medications. People who suffer from migraine, cluster or chronic headaches will most likely be prescribed medication for better pain control.
  NATURAL TREATMENTS AND PREVENTATIVES
Some natural headache treatments include changing your diet, acupuncture and massage therapy. Food allergies are a common trigger for headaches. There are many foods known to trigger headaches, such as gluten, refined sugar, artificial sugar, soy and dairy. Just changing your everyday diet can decrease the frequency and intensity of headaches.  
YOGA Yoga postures and breathing techniques are also very useful tools that can be used to prevent and treat headaches. The posture sequence below encourages body alignment while releasing tension in the spine, shoulders, neck and upper back. This sequence should take roughly 30 to 45 minutes. Take the time to allow your body to relax in each posture before moving to the next.
  YOGA SEQUENCE TO RELIEVE AND PREVENT HEADACHES Easy Pose Neck Rolls Cat and Cow Downward Dog Standing Forward Bend Standing Wide Leg Forward Bend Seated Head to Knee (Left and Right) Seated Forward Bend Shoulder Stand (Legs Up Wall) Fish Head Stand Child's Pose Seated Eagle Bound Angle Spinal Twist Upward Dog Bridge Spinal Twist – Laying Down Corpse
Your breath should be calm and slow during the entire sequence. If you find your breath speeding up in certain postures, stay in that posture until your breath slows again. Try to keep the three-part yogic breath in mind. Inhale to fill your belly, chest and throat then exhale throat, chest and belly.
[post_title] => Healing Headaches with Yoga & Food [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => healing-headaches-with-yoga-and-food [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-10-29 10:07:56 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-10-29 17:07:56 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://reddooryoga.wpengine.com/?p=335 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) ) [post_count] => 4 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 6667 [post_author] => 8 [post_date] => 2018-10-25 08:47:33 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-10-25 15:47:33 [post_content] => The act of listening begins with the awareness that we have not been listening. Many of us arrive at the practice of yoga from the place of having a physical injury or health issue that leads us to the mat. This can stem from an absence of listening to the signals our bodies try to send us. A recurring running injury was the final call for me to start to listen. In the beginning, I did not want to listen, I did not want to be still – I wanted to be "fixed" so I could get back to running. I practiced with that goal in mind, and when I thought I was "fixed" I headed back out to run only to immediately be injured again. I chuckle now at my stubbornness, but at the time it was a painful exit from a world I enjoyed and had success in, and a social circle that meant a lot to me. Week after week I returned to my mat. Like a good friend, it listened as my body released its tightness and restriction, my heart through change and loss and my desire to run (away from myself perhaps) diminished. At the same time, my desire to be still, to listen and be taught began to grow. Physically I listened as well. Soften your knee, lengthen your spine, calm your breath, and quiet your mind. I began to hear my inner teacher speak to me through my body, through my breath, through my emotions and state of mind. At first, I struggled to master poses while watching others handle them with ease, and still do, though now I can accept that may always be the way. There were times I was asked by my teacher to practice balancing poses in the dark, where the harder I tried, the worse it got. Stories of failure, anger and frustration came to meet me in the room and on my mat, and still I continued. The desire to learn, the willingness to be taught, was an inner call that grew as I continued to listen. Now I cultivate stillness. I enter stillness like I would enter any place of learning or the studio where I practice. Stilling myself, listening to that which emerges. The act of listening has presented me a teacher – I meet her in the silence, I meet her in my breath, I meet her in the experiences of my life – I meet her when I'm still. Willing to be taught by my life .... I listen. [post_title] => Can the act of listening be your teacher? [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => can-act-listening-teacher [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-10-25 16:20:56 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-10-25 23:20:56 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.reddooryoga.ca/?p=6667 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 1 [filter] => raw ) [comment_count] => 0 [current_comment] => -1 [found_posts] => 4 [max_num_pages] => 1 [max_num_comment_pages] => 0 [is_single] => [is_preview] => [is_page] => [is_archive] => 1 [is_date] => [is_year] => [is_month] => [is_day] => [is_time] => [is_author] => [is_category] => [is_tag] => 1 [is_tax] => [is_search] => [is_feed] => [is_comment_feed] => [is_trackback] => [is_home] => [is_404] => [is_embed] => [is_paged] => [is_admin] => [is_attachment] => [is_singular] => [is_robots] => [is_posts_page] => [is_post_type_archive] => [query_vars_hash:WP_Query:private] => cccfce5d8296b7b1afcb9b4b85a6d97c [query_vars_changed:WP_Query:private] => [thumbnails_cached] => [stopwords:WP_Query:private] => [compat_fields:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => query_vars_hash [1] => query_vars_changed ) [compat_methods:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => init_query_flags [1] => parse_tax_query ) )

DIGITAL PRACTICE - The Yogic Way® Magazine (Tag: Health)

The Yogic Way

Can the act of listening be your teacher?

By Roberta Carr Posted October 25, 2018

The act of listening begins with the awareness that we have not been listening. Many of us arrive at the practice of yoga from the place of having a physical injury or health issue that leads us to the mat. This can stem from an absence of listening to the signals our bodies try to send us. A recurring running injury was the final call for me to start to listen. In the beginning, I did not want to listen, I did not want to be still – I wanted to be "fixed" so I could get back to running. I practiced with that goal in mind, and when I thought I was "fixed" I headed back out to run only to immediately be injured again. I chuckle now at my stubbornness, but at the time it was a painful exit from a world I enjoyed and had success in, and a social circle that meant a lot to me. Week after week I returned to my mat. Like a good friend, it listened as my body released its tightness and restriction, my heart through change and loss and my desire to run (away from myself perhaps) diminished. At the same …

Lessons from Daisy: The Senior Edition (Part 2)

By Kim Graham Posted January 10, 2017

7 (human) years ago, in the 2009 Oct-Dec issue of YWM I wrote an article about the lessons my ‘SPCA special’ Great-Dane-Shepherd-Lab-everything-else crossbreed and faithful sidekick Daisy, had taught me about life. As you can imagine, a few things have changed since penning (typing?) that article. For example, both of Daisy’s ears now stand perfectly erect with only the slightest hint of the puppy-flop that used to affect the left side. Her sleek black coat isn’t as rich as it once was (neither is mine), and her once break-neck greyhound-like speed is now more Basset Hound (stops to smell more than she runs) than anything. Yet many of the yogic lessons she taught me then are true today. However, with age comes wisdom and change, and as such, some of the things she has taught me have taken on new meaning. To read the original article click here. Do Down Dog and do it often! Daisy’s Down-dog, albeit not as deep as it once was, is still pretty darned perfect and I’d argue, is still …

Lessons from Daisy (Part 1)

By Kim Graham Posted December 14, 2016

Daisy came into my life as a pup four years ago from the SPCA, three weeks after losing my mixed-breed chow-chow to cancer. I had not planned on getting a puppy, but as we all know, things rarely work out how we first envision them to. Over the past four years we have been on many crazy adventures together. And Daisy, like any good teacher, never ceases to amaze, motivate, and challenge me. Even though I am sometimes a bit of a slow learner, Daisy is more patient with me than I tend to be with her, and this perhaps is her greatest lesson of all to me. Many of the things I try to teach my students about Yoga beyond the poses, I see so easily taught by my Guru Daisy. If you’ve read the article “The Irreverent Yogi” in the January to March, 2009 issue of The Yogic Way® Magazine, you will already know that Daisy performs Down-Dog better than any ‘human’ student I have. And that even though my students turn to me for direction and answers, I freely admit that I too am a student, learning …

Healing Headaches with Yoga & Food

By Teresa Splinter Posted July 13, 2016

Headaches are the most common health complaint. Almost everyone will experience a headache at some point during his or her life. A headache is a pain sensed by the nerves and muscles along the head and neck area, as well as the tissue surrounding the brain and spinal cord. This pain is usually characterized as continuous pain in various parts of the head. The brain itself cannot sense pain, so headaches actually have nothing to do with the brain hurting. There are three major types of headaches: tension, inflammation and vascular headaches.   TYPES AND CAUSES OF HEADACHES Tension headaches are usually caused by the tensing and tightening of facial or neck muscles. This type of headache accounts for 90 percent of all headaches and affects people at any age, from children to adults. Pain from a tension headache usually feels like a tight band or vice squeezing the head. The pain is usually dull and covers most of the head. There are many causes of …