Someone once asked me why I focus so much of my teaching on issues no one likes to discuss. There are many reasons I teach yoga to help people dealing with trauma and anxiety, yoga for survivors of cancer, yoga to prevent dementia, and yoga for caregivers.
The answer is simple. It works. I have been touched in my own life by each of these and when I started practicing yoga my thoughts were calmer, and my body relaxed. I am a survivor of domestic violence and have had several physical issues. These days we are going through so much, physical and emotional, and it is exacerbated by the isolation of the Pandemic. Yoga can be an antidote to the pain.
Yoga’s ability to touch us on every level of our being—physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual—makes it a powerful and effective means for all of us to reinhabit our bodies safely, calm our minds, experience emotions directly, and begin to feel a sense of strength and control.
For example, I teach humming bee breathing in almost every class. It’s fun, and also has the added benefit of helping to release any negative emotions from your mind and calm you down. Here are some basic directions:
- Find a peaceful spot and sit down with your eyes closed. Smile gently.
- Notice the sensations your body experiences within and the quietness around you.
- Now put your index fingers onto your ears in the cartilage between the ear and cheek.
- Inhale deeply. As you exhale, press gently down onto the cartilage.
- Keeping it pressed, make a loud bee-like humming sound. Higher pitched sounds work better, but if you are more comfortable with a low pitch that’s fine too.
- Inhale again and repeat this 3–4 times.
Whether you attend a workshop devoted to working on handling trauma and anxiety, or any one of the many yoga classes available to you, no matter where you are on your own journey, you will find a difference in your outlook and a difference in your body.
A little over a year ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer. After surgery, chemo, and radiation I have been declared healthy. I taught my classes all the way through treatment. I am certain yoga was a factor and I have never taken a break from teaching. This is all why I do what I do.
I hope to see you in class. Namaste.
By Cheryl Kravitz, APR, CFRE, RYT200
Cheryl Kravitz is a graduate of the Willow Street Yoga Teacher Training Program and received additional certification to teach yoga to survivors of trauma. Her personal yoga journey changed her life. Her classes are infused with humor and compassion. Meeting people where they are on the mat and throughout life is Cheryl’s mantra. She learned early on that yoga is a universal language, and has found the practice resonates with the diversity of students she teaches.
Note: Cheryl teaches the following classes at Blue Heron Wellness: Yoga I on Tuesday mornings from 9:00–10:00 AM; and Strength and Flexibility: A Workshop to Reduce Trauma and Apprehension Through Our Yoga Practice on January 17 from 7:00 PM until 8:30 PM.