Frog Pose

She’d been sexually abused since the age of five and was terrified of men. Not that you’d know it from the seductive way she dressed or her overtly flirtatious ways; but, Simone was shut down.

“I don’t say no anymore because, when I did say no, no one listened,” she explained.

Simone had been molested by an uncle since the age of five and then by her twenty-two year old cousin from the ages of twelve to sixteen. She’d moved out of her house at seventeen and had begun seeking sex as a substitute for love. By the time I met Simone, she had been attending SLAA (Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous) meetings for two years with no long-term stints of sobriety and a dwindling sense of hope.

In Frog Pose, by opening her pelvis and groin, Simone was able to acknowledge that she desperately wanted love and that, despite her promiscuous behavior, she was starving for intimacy. She’d never admitted (even to herself) how painful it was to have the uncle that she loved and viewed as a surrogate father fondle and touch her. She felt dirty. I held Simone as she wept. Five minutes of yoga allowed her to delve into her core wound in a way that years on a therapist’s couch never had. A single yogic posture opened her body physically while exposing her emotionally.

Of course, that’s not the end of the story. EFT helped Simone to release much of her stored pain. Continued work with me, SLAA, a qualified therapist, and a support group for victims of sexual abuse brought Simone a life beyond sex addiction, a life in which true intimacy and self-exploration became not only possible but inevitable.

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Shavasana

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Corpse Pose. The name itself denotes death. So why the surprise when, lying on her back, April felt a sinking sensation sweep through her body? Her loss overwhelmed her.

“I don’t want anyone else to die,” her tears came slowly at first.

Then, the rivulets became rivers threatening to sweep her away. She sobbed. Despite her grief, crying offered April a welcome avenue of release. Relieved to be shedding some tears, April told me that her body always felt heavy, sluggish with sorrow.

“It feels good to let go of some of the sadness,” she told me, wiping at her eyes with a balled-up tissue. “I’ve lost so much; but, I rarely ever cry.”

“What are you afraid of losing?” I asked her. “Who have you lost already?”

The answers surfaced in a torrent of memories.

Her losses had been many and April spewed out her answers without pause: “My grandpa. He raised me. My dad. I never knew him. My mother. She moved away when I was still a little kid. My baby brother. He died when I was four. My husband. He passed away last year.”

“That’s a lot of loss.” Sympathetically, I handed her another tissue.

“There’s another one. A big one,” April whispered softly, her words muffled by the tissue.

“What?”

She hesitated. Usually, when a client hesitates, it’s a sign that he or she has hit upon a revelation. I’ve learned to wait out these uncomfortable pauses.

“Last year, I had a double-mastectomy. It was right after my husband died. I’d already been diagnosed with breast cancer before Larry passed. His death really shook me up. Even though I probably didn’t need to do anything so radical, I was scared enough to go through with the surgery. Is it terrible that in some ways losing my breasts was harder than losing my husband?”

“Of course not,” I replied gently.

April told me that she hadn’t felt at home in her body since losing her breasts.

Inviting her to move into Sleeping Pigeon Pose, I asked her to access her grief around having relinquished her breasts. “What are you mourning most?”
“I feel fake. I don’t feel like myself anymore. I don’t feel like a woman. My breasts aren’t my breasts. These implants are a constant reminder of what I used to be and of how I’m not myself anymore.”

In April’s case, like with many of my clients, she came to see me believing that she needed help overcoming one issue (the loss of her husband) and, during the course of her session, her body revealed that it was grieving an entirely different loss (that of her breasts).
What could she do about her body-based grief? April and I used EFT on the issue.

For more in-depth information about the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), contact me at emotionalyoga@aol.com or visit http://www.emotionalyoga.info.

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The Neck: Let’s Look At It

The neck.

Such a small segment of our bodies and, yet, it is responsible for so much. With it, we can look around. We can gaze upwards towards the beautiful blue sky, cast our eyes downward towards the ground, turn our heads to look both ways before crossing the street, or nod our agreement during a conversation.

As a child, one of my favorite things to do as a child used to be to curl up on my mother’s inviting lap and snuggle with her. I’d dip my neck so I could rest my head on her shoulder. She’d drop one ear towards me, her head covering mine. It felt swan-like, our long necks intertwining lovingly, Joining necks with my mother offered me a special kind of solace and support. I felt loved. I felt cared for. Nestled in my mother’s shoulder nook, I felt at home.

Yoga offers us a number of neck-specific stretches. I invite you to try the following: Neck Rolls, Side Neck Stretch, Fish Pose, Ear to Shoulder Stretch, and Plow Pose.

The neck controls what you see. By resting mine on my mother’s, I was able to see myself and the world through her eyes. I felt safe. On my own, unsupported, I was later challenged to find my own points of view.

I invite you to explore the way you look at things by engaging with your neck. Your head swivels upon your neck and, because your eyes are in your head, as your neck moves, your head moves and so too do your eyes. The more range-of-motion you develop in your neck, the easier it will become to effortlessly look at things differently.

Experiment with stretching your neck. How does releasing the tension in your neck free you to look at life differently?

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Two Yoga Teachers

Two Yoga Teachers

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King Pigeon Pose

King Pigeon Pose

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Disclaimer

This blog is not meant as a sole resource. Physical, mental, and emotional wellness requires a holistic approach. I urge you to look to this site as a source of self-help and not as a substitute for qualified allopathic and alternative treatments. You are responsible for your own physical, mental, and emotional health. I hope my experiences and those of my clients will aid you in your quest for a whole and happy life. Because the work I do is highly confidential, professional ethics require that I alter names and details in a way as to make it impossible to discern the identity of any one of my clients. As such, I’ve taken creative license with names, ages, demographics, and other non-essential information so as to mask the identities and preserve the privacy of those who come to me for help. Yet, the essentials are all unchanged. The emotions, the poses, and the level of relief as well as many of the set-up phrases remain fundamentally unaltered. Use this as a safe place to begin your own Emotional Yoga journey.

Namaste (The light in me honors the light in you)

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