Sunday, February 20, 2011

Yoga for Beginners... Me Gusto Mucho!

I taught a fun beginner class on Saturday after my HOT class.

I loved it!

It's been so long since I've taught a class in the Anusara format! It was such a treat. I focused on shoulder loop including head of the arm bone back and melting the heard while broadening.

I took a little Valentine's day approach and talked about creating space in our heart to love ourselves. Some of the postures were a little difficult to keep both arm bones back (triangle, half-moon (at the wall, duh.)). I talked about how sometimes we can be so intent on something (opening) that we close off to other things.

For example, if we pull our arm bones back REALLY far, our chest is open but our back body is closed. So we have to pull the arm bones back, melt the heart and BROADEN in order to create optimal space for our heart to feel.

They did so wonderful, and I thoroughly enjoyed teaching to such great students. I love them all~ and they were so open and beautiful after our practice.

be well~

Lessons on autism - Part 1

Lots of buzz about autism these past few years....or decade.

Couple of "Facts" about Autism:

  • A new case of autism is diagnosed nearly every 20 minutes
  • There are 24,000 new cases diagnosed in the U.S. each year
  • The economic impact of autism is more than $90 billion and is expected to more than double in the next decade.
  • Autism receives less than 5% of the research funding of many less prevalent childhood diseases.
  • There is no medical detection or cure for autism.
  • (source: TACA)
Autism is everywhere! I see at least two "spectrumey" kids a day during my current rotation.

Spectrumey [spek-trhm-ey]- informal adjective used to describe individuals who display characteristics of Autism but do not presently have a diagnosis of Autism.

What is going on? How are so many of these children emerging? Why isn't there a cure? What about the CACNA1G gene? It's genetic then, can't we fix it?!


Autism is a PHENOTYPE. Capish?

Phenotype [fen-a-tip]- the observable physical or biochemical traits of an organism.

The phenotype for autism involves a diagnostic triad.

Meaning that children must present with signs or symptoms in the following areas:

Social- any social deviation from the norm can be considered.
Some stereotypic behaviors include:
  • non response to name
  • little to no eye contact
  • low affect, little response to human emotion

Communication- any deviation from the norm in communication.
For example:
  • Producing speech, kids with autism are stereotypically echolalic (they repeat what they hear) this isn't always the case- even often isn't the case but it is not a typical behavior.
  • They are often late talkers, could be attributed to the lack of social motivation to use speech or maybe because they aren't attending to their language models they haven't picked it up in a traditional way.
  • Difficulty with abstract concepts and generally communicate in concrete terms and ideas (including play, avoiding abstract or pretend play)
  • Difficulty interpreting non-verbal behavior.

Cognitive/Behavior- any behavior deviating from the social norm.
  • Pervasive behavior like counting, hand flapping, obsession with items like trains etc.
  • Lining or organizing objects compulsively.
  • Obsession with routines and schedules
(source: AWARES)

So people with a diagnosis of Autism should have impairment to some degree in all three of these areas. Impairment can potentially mean anything that deviates from the social norm.

Autism as a phenotype: Autism describes a person (relative to communication, cognitive and social behavior) but does not -ever- describe the underlying reason for these behaviors.
Translation: You can have 20 kids with "autism" and each one of them can have a different reason for the behaviors. They can potentially not have one single thing in common except that they are not within "normal" limits.

Of course, autism is considered a spectrum disorder (the root of the term spectrumey) so the range of severity is infinite in both directions.

Does this mean that my quirky friend/sister/cousin who never manages to say the right thing in social situations, is oblivious to all abstract attempts to teach appropriateness, repels emotional connections and is rigid about priorities and social roles would have autism had he/she been born 20 years later?


Part 2, stay tuned.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Graduation Vacation

My first choice was South East Asia. Malaysia, Cambodia...maybe even a little adventure into Vietnam.

All the history, the recent history! The beautiful landscapes.


No. I can only miss a couple days of work, we'd only be there for like a day.


Egypt. I'll settle for Egypt. I've never been, it's so rich in culture and history. We can take a bus south and catch a short safari in Tanzania (below)


Do you want to die? Egyptians are crazy, and desperate. You'll die for sure.


What I really need is a travel bug. I need to choose a place that will plant a travel seed to grow like an OAK. If Italy can't do it... I'm doomed.

I pushed Italy... I REALLY pushed Italy.


10 day's are you crazy? I can't miss five days of work, you're insane.

FINE. Costa Rica. I'll settle for Costa Rica. It's closer, shorter flight. We can venture into Panama.

I settled for Seattle.

Yes, Seattle.

What can I say? I'm a push over.

What to do in Seattle?

And, now I'm starting to get excited. Seattle...Memorial Day- wanna come?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


A few days ago I gave a lesson on progression. I talked about it as a cycle that revolves around a cylinder. I wasn't completely articulate, but I attempted to discuss how our progression through life and toward light is multi-dimensional and exists on multiple planes....

Anyway, I found this quote from Sally Kempton- meditation guru. I feel like it really describes that I was trying to say.

"I see it as part of the spiraling process of development, which...usually means moving one step back for every two steps forward. Just as we think we've aced it in one area of life, life in her wisdom will point out that, oops, here's a place where you still have some growing up to do. Its helpful here to look at development as a spiral rather than as a line, because the spiral lets us see how we keep cycling back to where we started, but at a higher level than the last time we were there. And this process happens in every area of our life, as we evolve towards integration..."

This much more eloquently explains what I unsuccessfully tried to share with my students. Part of our practice is to recognize the advances of our spiral and to become more aware when our path takes us through a place where we've been before. Remember the places you've been, because you're likely to return there again.

With any luck, you'll do it better the second time:)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

What's Cookin'

More kitchen pictures- via Things that Inspire ...mostly