Thesis Part 1: Join me on a journey into nature

Original title and description: "Suryatho...

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This fall, I invite you to join me as I teach yoga to a very unique set of clients.

Statistics show that one in three women will be abused in her lifetime. Once in an abusive situation, it may be hard to leave, hard to access the rest of the world. Domestic violence can be crippling in many ways.

How can yoga help women in such situations? Beyond just a place to relax and restore energy, it can be a woman’s connection to nature.

Research shows that nature provides us with more than fresh air for our lungs and assistance with vitamin D absorption. It’s more than the physical benefits of nature that humans need. Interactions with nature

are also a source of positive characteristics, such as the strength of a mountain or the flexibility of grass, or the

freedom of a butterfly flapping its wings. We learn from nature.

When an abused woman is stuck in a shelter for safety and security purposes, she may not be able to spend enough time outside, possibly causing a heightened nature-deficit disorder. So how can she learn from nature?

We all have an innate connection to nature, or biophilia, which helps us to live in the world. Yoga can help bring this out. It uses poses based on nature.  Each of

these poses can provide some physical benefit to the human body. In addition, doing these poses can also provide other forms of support and guidance.

For example, sun salutation (surya namaskar) and camel pose (oostrasana). These backbends do more than just open the heart physically, but also emotionally and spiritually. You learn to be more open about your truth–satya. You start to recognize what you are going through yourself, and can you can be honest with yourself and with others around you. By recognizing the truth, you can accept the reality of your life

Another example is how to remove the negative energy from life. Lion’s breath and Deer pose (a twist) are perfect poses for this. We learn that the lion’s roar may not be to kill, but rather to release the negativity around him.

Different types of pranayama are also geared towards teaching the student about different parts of nature. We do nadi sodhana (holding nose with fingers)–on the right side nostril, we are heating like the sun, and on the left we cool like the moon.

Beyond the poses, we learn about nature in yoga through the yamas and niyamas, moral guides for our lives. Many of these qualities can be seen in nature as well. For example, the tree that is non-violent practices ahimsa. Animals, too, practice aparigraha, the absence of greed.

And of course, we can meditate on the gifts of nature that we are so grateful for!

Yoga can help people who are socially isolated find nature within them and reduce nature-deficit disorder. At a shelter, I will be able to help women regain important qualities and characteristics that are learned from interactions with nature, all while staying indoors and practicing yoga.

How can you join this endeavor? As a part of the class at the shelter, I am fundraising to buy mats and props.

1.  Join me for “Yoga for a Change”, a charity class set in the beautiful foothills of Cupertino, California.

Date: starts September 10

Time: Fridays, 8:30 am – 10:00 am

Place: 10435 Avenida Lane, Cupertino, 95014.

Fee: Suggested donation of $10/ class. Half of the proceeds go to a charity of our choice, perhaps even domestic violence.

Free introductory class on August 27.

2. Donate a mat or props! Donate time or money in other ways, including connecting resources (literature, expertise) and interviews! Contact me for more details.

3. Keep updated with what’s happening in my classes and my thesis by checking this blog. I’ll post something new every week.

I look forward to your contributions!

Thank you for joining me on this journey! Namaste

If you or someone you know may be in an abusive situation call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−SAFE(7233).

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Spring Klish
    Aug 31, 2010 @ 01:49:16

    This is a wonderful post and may be one to be followed up to see how things go

    A buddy sent this link the other day and I will be desperately anticipating your next put up. Carry on on the extraordinary work.


  2. Celestine Mangano
    Sep 01, 2010 @ 07:25:29

    Picked up your internet site via live search the other day and absolutely find it irresistible. Continue the fantastic work.


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Word of the Week

Namaste. This section will begin to explore sanskrit terminology associated with yoga. First word: Namaste. This is a salutation, "I salute the light within you that is within me also."
For more information, see:

News on Domestic Violence

Since I've been blogging about yoga and domestic violence, I thought I would share Dr. Phil's stories as well. The television icon is asking people to break the silence!
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