This does not need to be my fate

I’m compelled to tell you what I got out of class today. This was subtle but profound for me.

Intellectually, I know that a lot of my physical discomfort has to do with holding and tension (anxiety?). This is pronounced in a few areas, especially my neck. It’s been freaking years with this. I have blamed a lot of it on my nature and makeup, and my addiction to reading. I’m good with self flagellation.

I’ve had a vague idea, too, that my neck works harder than it needs to... is more invested than is necessary. Atlas always comes to mind. You know? revealed clearly that this does not need to be my fate. I’m sitting here now, a bit more aware of involving wayyyy more neck musculature than is required to write a short note. Maybe I can even start to loosen up what has at times felt immovable. Who knows? I felt/feel hopeful today.

I love how yoga facilitates little epiphanies. And gifted yoga teachers.

Cookie H, Evanston

Making Important Changes

I came to yoga to relearn how to breath. I had been struggling with my breathing for several years, despite various medications and medical consultation. In addition, I felt stressed out and exhausted from multiple family crises and decades of poor dietary habits, especially sugar abuse. I knew I needed to make a significant change and one of my sisters suggested that I try yoga.

Frankly, I didn't think it could do much for me, but I was willing to give it a try since nothing else had worked to improve my breathing situation. Also, having recently turned 50, I was skeptical that anyone could advise me or provide any useful direction. In the back of my mind, I did not believe it would be possible to change or see any improvement.

I was truly surprised by yoga and its mind-body connection. After a few short sessions with Nick, I found myself feeling better both mentally and physically. I enjoyed the challenging postures, and although I struggled with the breathing I felt better after each session. As time progressed, I realized that it was my anxiety about breathing that was giving me trouble, more than my breathing itself. As I let go of my worries, I was able to more deeply relax and cope with my stress.

In addition, my teacher introduced me to meditation. Again, it took me awhile to catch on, but now I find it extremely helpful for steadying my mind, and I have made it a regular part of my practice. I never imagined I would be able to sit still for 20 minute and actually enjoy it!

I have seen so many benefits and improvements from yoga. Today, I breathe better, sleep better, have more energy and better mental clarity. What I did not expect was a better diet and more disciplined lifestyle as a result of regular practice. I struggled for decades with poor dietary habits, but after making some dietary changes combined with regular yoga, my doctor was amazed at what I was able to accomplish. I have been able to get off of all the medication I was taking. Yoga has surpassed all my expectations. Although I am still a novice, I enjoy reading and studying the yoga principles and feel truly blessed that I found yoga. It has allowed me to make important changes that I am truly grateful for every day. Kathy E, Evanston

Real Transformation

Thank you for your wonderful patience and understanding.  The very first spark of my love for yoga started with you and I am so devoted and in awe when the mind and body come together as one.  I meditate daily and reap the benefits from that as well. The real transformation for me is that I am finally calm, with a peaceful body, mind and spirit.Claudia F, Wilmette

Back Pain & Scoliosis Relief

I want to tell you about something that happened after Nick's class and my session with you this week.  Wednesday afternoon I had an appointment with my chiropractor, Dr. Yoss.  I had not seen him for several weeks because he was out of town.  When he felt the muscles in my back and especially on my sides, he said:  Your back is really good.  He was actually shaking his head in amazement.  Usually when I see him, one side is pulled tight like a drum and it is very painful.   I told him I had two yoga sessions that morning and I said how much yoga has helped me.  I think he was surprised but impressed at the change. 

So I just wanted to say thank you to you and Nick.  I want you to know how much you both have helped me learn about yoga.  It has become very important to me. It is in a completely different realm than an exercise class.  The things I have learned from you have given me an effective way to manage the muscle spasms and, even more than that, a way for me to not feel defeated because I have scoliosis. Gloria, Highland Park

Improved Health

So far, my blood work is better than all of last year and earlier this year. I attest this to the private yoga classes and doing at least some yoga at home and work - and your influence in my life as well.  Many thanks!  It may seem small to you, but you really pulled and pushed me through a very difficult time.Bill M, Chicago

A New Perspective on Chronic Pain

My Phoenix Rising sessions with Lela have provided me with an almost magical path to my deeper and more difficult feelings. I have been dealing with daily chronic facial pain for over 5 years- I have pain all the time, sometimes low level, often moderate and not infrequently severe. In the PR sessions I experience (in a very immediate and direct way) the sadness, anger, and frustration I feel related to living with this condition. I am able to experience these feelings more clearly, directly, fully, and when I finish the session, while I still am in pain, I feel more distanced from the the pain, more able to manage, calmer, happier, and stronger.

I have also struggled with depression and anxiety throughout my life, and I am now using the PR practice to experience my daily feelings (instead of having them transform into a mood) PR is totally different from psychotherapy - it is a path to experience deep feelings and access your strength and spirit, in a very direct and immediate way.

Phoenix Rising has given me new tools to experience some painful feelings I would prefer to dismiss and not feel. I have found in this practice a path into the feelings, and a path out. I know that I have found a tool that I will use for the rest of my life. Megan C, Wilmette

Support with Multiple Sclerosis

Although I thought about trying yoga for a long time, I never got around to it until I was diagnosed with MS.  My determination to meet the challenges of this illness and make positive accommodations to the unwelcome changes in my body provided the impetus.

I feel very fortunate that I found Lela to introduce me to yoga.  I meet with Lela weekly for private yoga instruction and I consider her an integral part of my team helping me live my life to its fullest in spite of having MS.  I cannot imagine a better teacher than Lela--she has a unique way of making yoga accessible.  Even prior to my diagnosis, yoga looked hard to me, but studying with Lela has been surprisingly easy.  She has an extraordinary knack for figuring out how to guide me  and tailor her instruction to meet my needs.  I have complete confidence in Lela and will always be profoundly grateful to her for how she enthusiastically took it upon herself to learn about MS and how to use yoga with MS patients.  My doctors at Mayo Clinic were supportive of my continuing with our yoga, especially as Lela has tailored it to the challenges posed by my illness. Julia, Evanston