Nerves, Toxic Stress and Yoga

Yoga.  Yes. Really good. I have done yoga sporadically for years and now as an Old Tomato, I realize I should have done away with the sporadic and gone for the steady and serious. What was easy a few years ago is now hard because I basically have to start over with this new(old) body. But if I want to survive well in this rush rush, eat fast on the go, defensive driving, breathless shopping, run run, stop and crash, not enough sleep world of contemporary life, that many of us live, then I need yoga.  And, neuroscience now tells us why.

Yoga with it's meditative focus, its slow steady stretch and hold, coordinated with The  Calming Breath strengthens the parasympathetic nervous system from which all things that sooth us flow. The fast rush breathless pace of contemporary life revs us up and puts us in that hypervigilent mode of flight, fight or freeze that sets stress hormones coursing through our bodies. Stress breeds stress. So much of our lives are lived as though there is a very aggressive and speedy woolly mammoth on our tails ( though I am not sure if they can run, and if I saw one I wouldn't wait to find out) and I would be running for my life. Only we aren't. Really.  We are running for the bus, the train, the snack cart, the car pool, the bottom line or the report that has to be done by tomorrow at 9:00 am but guess what our bodies don't know this is self induced stress. Yoga brings the nervous system out of fight and flight and into balance. Now, this is not going to happen immediately. It takes time but until you have those new neuropathways, you have to keep at it until discipline turns into habit.  It takes a couple of months without slacking off -- for some it's quicker and for others longer.  But if you don't want the whole package, you can leave the yoga poses behind  -- though I hope you don't --and roll up The Calming Breath along in that lime green mat you bought at The Yoga Hut or Barnes and Noble. Be sure you at least take that. Because. Breath is enough.  And what I like is that breathe is something we always have and can control any time we want to take charge. Any where. Any time.   Breathe:  Deep. Rhythmic. Slow.  Inhale. Count to seven. Hold it. Count to four.  Exhale squeezing all the air out of your lungs  while counting to seven. Do this seven to ten minutes minutes at both ends of the day and you have a practice that will yield results. When I do this, I am less reactive. I sleep better and I am more resilient. Negative feelings don't last as long.

People doing disaster work offer The Calming Breath first thing.  Well, maybe not the very first thing but it is right up there. It is simple. It's effective. Yogi's have been doing this for a few thousand years and they didn't have mental health licenses. We often do classes with our favorite and very experienced yoga instructor.  You can find breath work on this page or go online and type in: Breath2relax.  It is a free app and our people like it. 

I say. Go. Take the Class. Learn.  Become a teacher if you are called to it. Do and teach breathe work, learn yoga for yourself and teach it - just putting together a ten minute series of postures you will find the results are relaxation.  If you start there you may end up going to a half hour and then a 45 minutes routine.  It is addicting in the best sense.

Who We Are

We believe that those who dive deeply into the personal story will emerge in the human story.  

Ashlar Center for Narrative Arts is an arts driven non-profit educational organization that serves the Personal Story.

We are Peace Builders working with the individual and community. 

Our goal is to create the global story of war as experienced through women and children.

Our desire is to nurture relationship, encourage learning, healing  and teaching by exploring and telling the personal and collective Story.

We come to our clients by invitation and with them develop culturally relevant programs.

The goal is building resiliency and capacity through the story telling process and creating a relevant Self-Care program. 

We use spoken word, writing, and arts processes  to extend  language and give voice to the unspoken, to make coherent the life story.  

Our purpose is to give these stories public exposure across platforms.  

While our work is highly therapeutic it is not psychotherapy.

Our processes lie closer to anthropology, and spirituality with their mythological underpinnings.

We invite you to invite us.

Cruise the web page and stay tuned.