D. R. Semmes YMCA Offers Stress Busters Workshops

I’m OK. You’re OK. Are you really?

Most of us are on overdrive. As a result, we are stressed out. We don’t eat well. Don’t sleep well. Don’t enjoy time with our loved ones enough. Stress interferes with everything. Especially our health. We have too many deadlines, and too many devices running our lives.

Read a few of my previous posts (http://thenamastecounsel.com/yoga-blog/) on “The Way Life Should Be,” “The Yoga Sutras,” or “Yoga at Sea” for my view of a more balanced stress free life.

We don’t have to be at our limit.  Stress is a state of mind, and we can change our state of mind. To help you get there, I’ll be launching Stress Busters workshops May 19 at the D.R. Semmes YMCA, located at 281 and St. Mary’s. The six weekly one-hour sessions are  designed to minimize stress for people of all ages and levels of fitness. Classes will include breath work, meditation, hatha yoga, restorative yoga, yoga nidra, acupressure and Traditional Chinese exercises. I’ll also provide some self-tests, pointers and readings about easy-to-incorporate lifestyle changes and practices to help manage stress in a stressful world.

To ensure personalization within the Stress Buster series, workshops will be limited in attendance. The workshops are open to the public, with discounts for members of any YMCA. No prior yoga experience is necessary. But reserve your space by registering at the Tripoint YMCA Welcome Desk, or by contacting me, no later than Tuesday, May 17.

I’ve read countless books and articles that attest to how yoga can reduce stress. My personal path to yoga and meditation began in the 1970s, in my search for a way to manage my chronic pain that was diagnosed as stress-related. Stress reduction was the first thing that came to my mind, many years later, when I was recognizing what my niche in the yoga world could be. Now, while I tend to focus on blood sugar and digestive disorders, I acknowledge that stress is key to manage those disease states.

The best of the best in Western medicine, The Mayo Clinic, is on my side. “Yoga can help reduce stress, lower blood pressure and improve heart function. And almost anyone can do it.”

The Dalai Lama is on my side too. Or, better stated, I’m on his side. “We also often add to our pain and suffering by being overly sensitive, overreacting to minor things, and sometimes taking things too personally...” says the Tibetan spiritual leader in exile.

Dr. Howard Cutler, a psychiatrist who has interviewed the Dalai Lama many times, acknowledges, “Since stress lowers the threshold for what may trigger anger, the first step is preventative: cultivating an inner contentment and calmer state of mind, as recommend by the Dalai Lama, can definitely help.”

Houston’s finest, MD Anderson, has an Integrative Medicine Center, and I’ve been fortunate enough to attend workshops with several of its doctors who recommend yoga for body and mind health. “Yoga is a quintessential mind-body practice combining movement, controlled breathing, and breathing exercises, and meditation. The focus on the breath in all aspects of yoga helps to reduce stress, leading to a healthy balance between mind and body.”

So if we think we’re stressed picking out clothes to wear, food to prepare, taking the kids to their soccer games, what about those whose jobs are to save people’s lives? If I make a mistake, will a typo or grammatical error really matter? For those in the medical arena, especially the operating room, one slip can be life or death. Medical Daily, reported this week, about a nurses study on meditation and stress. “The study focused on members of a surgical intensive care unit who were routinely exposed to some pretty high-pressure — and often upsetting — situations.” After eight weeks of practicing mindfulness, yoga postures, meditation, and listening to music, the stress levels were reduced by 40 percent.  “Meditation has been shown, time and time again, to hold the key to stress reduction.”

Yoga Nidra, for example, has had outstanding success treating thousands of vets, worldwide with PTSD. Richard Miller, PhD, has conducted a myriad of research studies to prove the effectiveness of his signature program, called iRest. Following one study conducted by the Department of Defense,  the Deployment Health Clinical Center at Walter Reed began a weekly yoga nidra treatment program for soldiers. Through Miller’s leadership and direction, our service personnel, vets and their families now have access to this form of yoga in more than 30 facilities around the country.

Reduce your stress. Restore your health. Relax your body, mind and soul, with yoga. To register or for more information, contact deborah.charnes@gmail.com, call 210-381-1846 or visit www.TheNamasteCounsel.com.

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A registered yoga teacher and yoga therapist, Charnes carries additional certificates in Reiki, Ayurveda and acupressure.

Working in the corporate world since 1981, she understands living and working in a stressful environment that can be remedied through yoga.  At an early age, she recognized the value of deep breathing, deep stretching, along with deep sips of herbal tea to lessen the outer influences and maintain a more positive and peaceful state of mind.  It is her desire to draw on her professional training and personal practice to help university students, executives, military personnel or any others reduce stress through simple techniques that can be practiced anywhere, anytime and by anyone.

Beyond the traditional 200-hour yoga teacher training certification, Deborah has amassed 700-hours per requirements of the International Association of Yoga Therapists.