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Grief Yoga – Moving into Empowerment

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Grief comes from a place of loss and separation from someone or something we cared about. When dealing with the pain of loss, it can drain our energy and change the rhythm in our life forever.  Sometimes we don’t know what to do to move forward as the grief can affect us mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Yoga can be a saving grace to help deal with grief and loss. The doing mind begins to soften into a place of being. Thoughts and feelings that were difficult to articulate begin to surface.  In grief, we can get stuck in the past or have fear and anxiety of the future. Yoga is a compassionate pathway to the present by observing the breath and the sensations within the body. As we become present within the body, our wounds of sadness, judgment, and abandonment can rise to the surface. When challenging things happen in our life, those events have the ability to shut us down or crack us wide open.

Grief Yoga creates a safe ritual to use that grief as fuel for healing. Grief Yoga creates an opportunity to release sadness and anger through you to connect us to the gift of life. It’s a blend of Hatha and Restorative Yoga, Vinyasa Flow, Kundalini Breath of Fire, Laughter Yoga and Dance to liberate us from our suffering.  People of all ages, body types, physical conditions, and mobility challenges, as well as those who have never tried yoga have benefited.

When taking a Grief Yoga class, here are three helpful tips I suggest to compassionately move through grief.

1) The Body Remembers  When we don’t express feelings fully, the body holds onto them. Surrender on your yoga mat any heartbreak or tears. Let go of what people think, allow feelings to flow. Go within and listen to your body. What is it telling you?  The body has a lot to say.

2) Observe your Mind   The pain of loss can wound you, but your thoughts may be amplifying your suffering.  Your thoughts shape your experience of loss, so positive thinking and kindness can help. Some affirmations may include “I am resilient and stronger than I think.” “I honor my loss by feeling my pain and recognize my healing.”  “I will live to the fullest of my potential.”

3) Spirit Speaks   Spirituality is about accepting love, no matter what’s going on.  As you feel, remember that you’re not alone in your sorrow.  Within your yoga mat, let go and open yourself up to a higher power. In order to heal, stop and listen to that divine intuitive wisdom.  Find the compassion to release all judgments and reconnect to the love.

When you stand up and get off the mat, start moving. Remember that you are still alive for a reason. Life is precious. What will you do today? Will you meditate? Will you share random acts of kindness?  Will you live a life that honors you and those who love one. That will be the true gift of grief.

Paul Denniston is a yoga teacher who has combined the ancient art of yoga in a new way to heal grief. Paul has studied under yoga masters Seane Corn and Gurmukh and has also studied extensively with grief expert David Kessler. He is certified in Hatha Yoga, Vinyasa Flow, Kundalini Yoga, Laughter Yoga and currently teaches at Core Power Yoga in Los Angeles. Paul has taught Grief Yoga to therapists in the US, the UK and Australia. He loves bringing the healing benefits of Grief Yoga to Kripalu, Esalen, Bereavement Groups, Addiction Groups, Cancer Support Centers and those dealing with break ups and divorce. His DVD is called Moving into Empowerment. www.griefyoga.com

Join us on Thursday, July 21st from 12:00-1:30pm for Paul’s powerful workshop. Please RSVP 805-379-4777, space is limited.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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VOLUNTEER SPOTLIGHT – Joni Margolin

Joni Margolin - Volunteer

I feel accomplished when I’ve finished a job well done…It has been my pleasure to volunteer for CSC.”   -Joni Margolin

Joni Margolin first heard about Cancer Support Community by doing an internet search for volunteer opportunities for cancer related organizations.  Her sister died of a brain tumor in 2013.  They had been through 8 years of dealing with the devastating results of illness to remission and back again.  Through this time they used a support group in Chatsworth, where they participated in the yoga classes and other activities.  This helped her sister feel that she was not alone in her fight.

Wanting to do more than just a walk for cancer, Joni did some internet research.  This led her to find Cancer Support Community Valley/Ventura/Santa Barbara (CSCVVSB), which not only helps the patient but helps family members to cope with their loved ones illness.  Joni personally uses the bereavement group.  She feels that CSCVVSB is so organized and presents so many functions that the people truly feel like they belong to something much bigger than just themselves.

She volunteers because she wants to give back to an organization that helps so many people feel like there is hope after diagnosis. CSCVVSB does this by the important programs they have to offer.  Joni’s first volunteer job was working on Let’s Bake a Difference.  She was an essential part of calling bakers and getting them to participate in our fundraiser.  She continues to be successful at calling people to get them involved with the special events, helping us to raise the funds necessary to keep our programs going at no cost to our participants.