I’m a Neurologist. Here’s why I trained as a yoga teacher.

By AOLRC
October 23, 2018
 

Roople Unia is a practicing neurologist and fellowship trained in movement disorders and cerebral vascular disorders, and now a yoga teacher too. Why? Following the recent Sri Sri Yoga Teacher Training we had the opportunity to ask this very question.

Roople is passionate about practicing medicine but realised in order to support her patients further, in areas beyond the realms of medicine, she needed a new tool. Roople wanted to provide her patients with something extra – freedom from pain, not just physical pain but the emotional stresses of everyday life.

“I wanted to be able to provide patients freedom

from pain, not just physical but the emotional

stresses of everyday life.”

Roople shares her story in her own words…

A Yogic Education with a Foundation in Science

I chose the Sri Sri Yoga Teacher Training because it has a very practical approach to yoga. It has a foundation in science, anatomy, and physiology but it also just brings that joy to practicing yoga. So this program in particular appealed to me because it’s so simple and yet so practical.

The Real Wow Moments For Me

For me, the thing the training really brought to me was confidence, a sense of I can really do this, anyone can really do this so that’s one of the real wow moments for me. On the training there was a wide range of people from all walks of life, all ages, cultural backgrounds and it’s for everybody.

“I feel refreshed, I feel energized, I feel excited.
I have experienced the feeling of being

my most authentic self”

I’ve super charged my batteries here. After week one, my classmates looked at me and said you look refreshed. I said yes I do feel that way, I feel refreshed, I feel energized, I feel excited. I did this to share this knowledge with other people and to invite them here to experience what I have experienced, that opening up, the feeling of being your most authentic self.

“This has been a transformative experience for me.”

 

Giving Back To My Community

I’m planning to not only provide opportunities for my patients to take Sri Sri Yoga but also for the health care workers. There is a huge problem in health care right now, there is a high rate of burnout and people really need this now. So this is the time for me to take this to my coworkers and say we need to be there for our patients and in order for us to do that we have to take care of ourselves.

“We need to be there for our patients

and in order for us to do that we have to

take care of ourselves.”

 

Life After Yoga Teacher Training

Roople is now back working in ER and sharing the gifts of yoga with her patients and co-workers. In an already exceptionally busy role, Roople has shown us that by using the yogic tools gained on the training program to support her well-being she is able to continue with her profession and share yoga.

We are grateful to Roople for sharing her inspiring story, one that reflects how the integration of East and West can bring about true health within communities.

One question remains. How will you share yoga within your community?

Teach and inspire, or simply deepen your yoga practice.

The Sri Sri School of Yoga Teacher Training Program captures the true essence of yoga through the outer study of the ancient discipline and the inner study of the self. At the same time provides a very practical approach to the physiological and anatomical aspects of teaching asanas.

Join us for an authentic and immersive 3-week 200H Yoga Alliance accredited training with a world-class faculty. Dive deeply into yoga and emerge from this life-changing immersion as a confident, heart-centered yoga teacher with a profound practice to share. Next training June 20 – July 11, 2019 Learn More


 

Interested in learning more about yoga and the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!

 

Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

TAGS: art of living , experiences , integrative medicine , living yoga , pain management , yoga , yoga practice , yoga retreat , yoga teacher training
Pain Management - Art of Living Retreat center

Pain is a Message: How Our Brains Try to Protect Us

By Dr. Howard Schubiner
October 4, 2018

Pain Management - Art of Living Retreat center

 

Most people don’t really understand how powerful the mind can be. However, every doctor knows that the mind can cause symptoms that are as severe as paralysis or inability to speak. This is known as a “conversion disorder,” and an individual with this condition truly cannot move the affected arms or legs or truly cannot speak.

 

Yet, in these situations, there is absolutely no physical damage to the muscles or nerves, a fact that can be documented by routine medical testing. Their brain has caused this syndrome and it is reversible. When the actual diagnosis is made and a physical injury is ruled out, if the person gets psychological help to figure out what social and emotional issues caused the brain to do this, the symptoms will typically resolve.

 

The power of Couvade syndrome

The brain can cause symptoms of pregnancy in men whose wives are pregnant. This is known as Couvade syndrome. Medical students sometimes get symptoms of the disorders they are learning about—sometimes ironically termed “medical studentitis.” In rare cases, the brain can cause death, which has been documented to occur when induced by voodoo or reported to have even happened as a result of a cruel prank.

 

If the mind can cause these severe disorders, why wouldn’t it be able to produce pain? In fact, we now know that the mind can cause a wide variety of painful syndromes, including tension headaches, migraine headaches, neck and back pain, abdominal and pelvic pain, jaw and facial pain, and almost any other pain syndrome you can name.

 

Of course, medical conditions can also cause any pain syndrome, and careful evaluations are necessary to distinguish the two. The important point to remember is that the mind can do this, so it makes sense to at least consider that possibility, especially when the pain goes becomes chronic and eludes a clear medical explanation.

 

Pain is a function of the brain

This occurs because the brain is trying to send us a message. Pain is a function of the brain, i.e., pain occurs when the brain activates a danger or alarm signal. Certainly physical injuries can activate that signal, but not all physical injuries cause pain. In a study from World War II, two-thirds of injured soldiers in a medical unit did not admit to having pain.

 

Children who skin their knees often do not have pain, or may cry only when they see their parent run towards them with a worried look. A close friend of mine accidentally shot a nail through his finger and had no pain at all while he drove to the hospital.

 

Conversely, a man in Britain jumped off scaffolding and impaled his foot on a large nail. His pain was immediate and severe enough that it required intravenous sedation and pain medication. However, when his boot was removed, the nail was lodged in between his toes and had not injured him. (Reference: Minerva. British Medical Journal. 1995, 310: 70.) His pain was caused by the brain activating a powerful danger/alarm signal.

 

How your mind looks out for your body

Over the past decade, I have seen hundreds of people with pain and other conditions caused by the mind. I have learned that pain is a message that the brain is sending to us. Since (unfortunately) the message is not in English, it is up to us to interpret it in order to make the correct diagnosis. If you break your ankle, your brain will activate pain, and the message is: “Stop walking on that foot and get a cast.” If your neck begins to hurt after your boss repeatedly criticizes you, the pain is telling you that your boss is “a pain in the neck.”

 

I once saw a woman who had pain in her buttocks. I asked when that pain began and she stated, “About the time my husband retired.” I saw a woman with foot pain and after she learned about the mind body connection, she began to get the feeling that her pain was symbolic of her feeling that she “couldn’t stand what was happening” in her family.

 

Emotional conditions manifest in the body

Of course, not all pain is symbolic. It is up to the brain to “choose” what kind of message it gives to us at any particular moment. However, all pain has a message of some kind, whether related to a physical condition or a psychological situation. While many people with mind-body pain begin to feel that their brain has betrayed them by giving them such pain, in actuality, their brain is trying to protect them from what the brain perceives to be a dangerous situation in their body or their life.

 

The brain of a man who developed anxiety and headache when he went to work perceived work to be dangerous in some way. His brain experienced him walking into work as if he were walking into a building on fire and created a powerful message (anxiety and pain) to warn him of that “extreme danger.” In order to recover, he had to override that message by telling his brain that he was not in danger and that he needed the pain to subside. He also may have needed to alter his work or his reaction to people at work in some important ways.

 

Mind-body conditions

The concept of the brain trying to protect us was dramatically demonstrated to me last week. I saw a young man who had widespread pain that kept getting worse and worse. I evaluated him and it was very clear that he suffered from a mind-body condition. After gaining that understanding and as he began to deal with the issues in his life, he began to improve and feel that he had more control over his symptoms. However, some added stress caused him to develop new symptoms, and he began to have thoughts of suicide.

 

He made a rash decision to end his life and got into his car to find a bridge from which he could jump. As he put his hands on the steering wheel, he suddenly lost all feeling in his pinky finger on his right hand. He found it hard to grip the steering wheel, and suddenly he “came to his senses” and got out of the car. He is alive and now recovering from his painful syndrome. His brain had produced the pain as a message to alert him to some very difficult situations in his life, but it also sent him the powerful message of numb finger to prevent him from taking his own life.

 

For chronic pain, the problem might not be in the body, but in the mind

If you know people who are suffering from severe and chronic pain, please alert them to the possibility that their brain is giving them a message and causing pain. If medical evaluations do not reveal a clear cause of their symptoms, the problem might not be in the body, but in the mind. In these situations, which are more common than most people realize, there is hope for recovery. Their life may depend on it.

 

Unlearn your pain, earn CME credits, and empower your practice with concrete knowledge of an emerging model of care that brings together cutting-edge research and advanced clinical interventions. Dr. Howard Schubiner hosts Beyond Pain Management at the Art of Living Retreat Center from November 30 – December 2, 2018.

 

Dr. Howard Schubiner was a full Professor at Wayne State University for 18 years and now works at Providence Hospital in Southfield, MI.  He has authored over 60 publications in scientific journals and books and performed research in the fields of adolescent health, ADHD and stress reduction. Dr. Schubiner is the founder and director of the Mind Body Medicine Program at Providence Hospital.

 

This article first appeared on Psychology Today, and is reposted with permission from the author.


Interested in learning more about Ayurveda and the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!

 

Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

TAGS: mindfulness , neurology , pain , pain management , wellness

In House: Medha Garud on Ayurveda and Spinal Care

By Paige Reist
September 11, 2017

Art of Living Retreat Center

 

In her work as a physical therapist, Medha Garud has witnessed first-hand the empowering effects of an Ayurvedic lifestyle. Through the practice of Ayurveda, we have the ability to heal our bodies, rewire our minds, and extend our lives. Read on to hear Medha’s thoughts on spinal care, pain management, and holistic health. 

 

Health from an Ayurvedic Perspective

The top three ways in which we encourage health from an Ayurvedic perspective are through diet, lifestyle, and environment. Ayurveda doesn’t prescribe a one-size-fits-all diet, but rather an individualized diet plan based on our specific body type. Following this plan keeps us in balance.

We try to live our lives as a yogi might. Yogis are often able to live for a hundred years, but we don’t see many non-yogis living that long. This is because we are so often out of sync with nature. Ayurveda teaches us how to be as close to nature as possible, and how to align our lifestyle with the natural cycles of the seasons.

 

Living with mindfulness in our environment doesn’t necessarily mean that if it’s cold outside, we eat warm food, or if it’s warm outside, we eat cooling foods. It means that our mental and emotional environments are healthy as well. Ayurveda teaches us how to build strength to deal with challenges, or it empowers us to move away from things that are not healthy in our lives.

 

Spinal Care & Ayurveda

I’m a physical therapist, and I’ve been treating patients with spinal health issues for 20 years. Before I incorporated Ayurveda into my practice, I never felt that I was reaching for the root cause of these problems that my patients were dealing with. I’d be able to give them short-term relief and advice, but then they’d be in my office again a few months later, dealing with the same issues that brought them in in the first place.

 

I feel that Ayurveda and yoga hold the answer to long-term wellness, because they address the root cause of these problems, rather than just soothing the symptoms.

 

Research suggests that different people feel pain in different ways based on their perception of it. When our perception of pain changes, reported levels of pain actually go down. With this workshop, we use the principles put forth in yoga and Ayurveda to help people manage their pain by changing their perspective on it. We’re building new neural pathways in the brain, and building confidence and body autonomy through yoga postures.

 

We also talk a lot about how Ayurvedic principles can contribute to pain management. An Ayurvedic lifestyle not only remedies the physical presence of pain, but the mental and emotional presence of it as well. We provide anti-inflammatory recipes, and teach meditation and Ayurvedic lifestyle guidelines to promote a holistic approach to a pain-free life. Each person comes away from the workshop with an individualized plan, because, as practitioners of Ayurveda know, every person is different and has different needs. As one of our participants, B. Saccone, said: “I feel more calm, but more importantly, looking forward to using these Ayurvedic techniques to maintain balance.”

 

Living a Pain-Free Life

So many people have been able to move more freely now, without pain. They’ve learned a more healthy way of life, how to eat correctly, and how to live according to nature. They also come away from the workshop with a new knowledge of yoga postures and mudras. “I am at peace with my body and my mind is calm,” said Michelle, another participant of the Ayurveda and Spine Care program. To change your pain, you must change your life, and through Ayurvedic principles, a long, healthy, pain-free life is possible.

 

Medha Garud is a physical therapist, yoga therapist, Ayurvedic practitioner, and RYT 500. Join Medha at the Art of Living Retreat Center for Ayurveda Awareness & Spinal Care from Oct 20-22. 

 

Interested in learning more about Ayurveda and the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!

Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

TAGS: art of living , art of living retreat center , Ayurveda , fall , healthy lifestyle , lifestyle , mindfulness , pain management , spinal care , wellness , yoga
feldenkrais workshop north carolina

In House: Lavinia Plonka on Your Sixth Sense

By Lavinia Plonka
March 5, 2017

feldenkrais workshop north carolina

 

Imagine being so aware that even as you reach for a cup of coffee, you sense the muscles in your back supporting your hand. The quality of each finger’s touch as it wraps around the cup. The momentary intake of breath as you carefully lift it to your lips. The fluttering of your eyelids as you sip.

 

Constant Movement, Constant Awareness

The human organism has the potential to experience this peak awareness, not just during moments of heightened danger or demand, but every moment. By developing this ability, you move more effectively and listen more carefully. You make fewer mistakes, injure yourself less, and enrich your life as well as the lives of those around you. Whether you have limitations due to an injury, or if you’re at the peak of your performance, you can improve, grow, and enjoy your life more fully.
We are always in movement. Even sitting at the computer involves a complex series of signals throughout the nervous system that keep the mouse moving, the toes tapping, the forehead wrinkling. These habitual movements help get the job done – the foot knowing when to step on the brakes, the hand knowing how to hold the toothbrush. But many of these habits also cause pain and limitation. Hunched shoulders, grinding teeth, and a tense lower back are just a few examples of what Moshe Feldenkrais called parasitic habits – they help you through a portion of recovery, and then they create greater problems.

 

Anti-Yoga: The Feldenkrais Method

Research has proven that the nervous system can learn to create new patterns, new ‘neural pathways’, for a more rewarding life. It does this most effectively through movement – the language of the body. The Feldenkrais Method® uses subtle, sophisticated movements to teach people how to literally reorganize themselves – improve range of motion, reduce pain, and live a fuller life. Yet, it is gentle, effortless, and safe for everyone. Houstonia Magazine recently called it the ‘anti-yoga’. 

It’s not flexible bodies I’m after, it’s flexible brains.
– Moshe Feldenkrais, founder of the Feldenkrais Method

If you’d like to experience the joy of enhanced awareness and effortless movement, you owe it to yourself to join us for Your Sixth Sense at the Art of Living Retreat Center.

Interested in learning more about programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here.

 

Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

TAGS: art of living , art of living retreat center , Feldenkrais , flexibility , Lavinia Plonka , pain management , yoga , yoga practice , yoga retreat
healing Ayurveda

Healing Journeys of Ayurveda: Overcoming Pain Naturally

By Paige Reist
December 16, 2016
   

One of the most incredible things about the Ayurvedic lifestyle is the effect it can have on our pain. As we work to flush out the toxins that are built up in our day to day lives, our bodies naturally begin to heal themselves, and with Ayurveda, people that have struggled for years with chronic pain have found release.

We spoke with Nidhi, one of our recent Panchakarma retreat participants, about their experience of overcoming pain, finding peace, and learning to honor their body.

healing ayurveda

Q: How was your experience with panchakarma?

Nidhi: It was amazing. I was not expecting my experience to be this good. I think when I came in, I didn’t quite understand what I was getting into. I was prepared for the dietary restrictions, but everything else that came with it – the meditation, the community, and a space where you can be with yourself – was all unexpected. All in all, it was fantastic.

Q: Could you share any standout moments from your time here, or a favourite part of the experience?

Nidhi: The first time I meditated. I haven’t even practiced yoga before – the only workouts I’ve ever done have been quite rigorous.The first time we meditated in the program, I didn’t even know what to do with myself! About two or three minutes into it, I wasn’t sure where I was anymore. I felt like I was in a trance. Now, with a little more experience, I feel like I can describe it better. But that first time, I didn’t know if I had left my body, or if I was still here. I didn’t know if I was asleep or awake. And at the end of it, when I opened my eyes, I felt really energized.

Another thing that surprised me, and that I appreciated, was that the treatments were all very gentle. When I used to think of massages, I thought of them as a very rigorous activity, where the masseuse is using so much of their strength on your body. But here, the therapists are so gentle and so precise. They achieved the same kind of feeling, in terms of relaxation, without the same physical effort. The massage really seems to be of the spirit and mind, as well as the body.

Q: And how are you feeling after the program? How would you compare it to other practices or treatments you’ve tried?

Nidhi: I am feeling fantastic! Until now, I’ve lead a fairly decadent life of poor eating habits and sporadic physical activity. This was the detox, I think, that I really needed.

About three years ago, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder. I was in constant, debilitating, chronic pain, so much so that I couldn’t even squeeze toothpaste onto my toothbrush. I tried a number of different doctors and dermatologists, and they gave me steroids and immunosuppressants. My hair began to fall out, my voice became hoarse, and I wasn’t sleeping well. There was a lot of fluctuation in my weight, but through everything, the pain was still there. All of these harsh medications had no effect on my pain.

Finally, I looked into Ayurvedic medicine, and read about panchakarma and detoxing, and decided to try it out.I got here on a Monday, and I woke up on Thursday morning absolutely pain-free. 100% pain-free! I haven’t been without pain in some part of my body for at least three years, so it was a strange sensation to wake up and feel that. I have panchakarma to thank for that. If it hadn’t been for the structured diet, the mind-body balance of the activities here, I don’t think I would have ever done this on my own, or achieved any of these results.

If it hadn’t been for the structured diet, the mind-body balance of the activities here, I don’t think I would have ever done this on my own, or achieved any of these results.

Q: Is there anything else that you would like to share about your experience here?

Nidhi: When we think of alternative medicine, there’s a stereotype that it’s for older people, or people that embrace it as their entire lifestyle. But what I’d like to share, and what I’m going to go back and tell my friends about, is that it’s really just about respecting your body. We do that when we go to the gym, when we this diet or that diet. Ayurvedic medicine has the same goal. The whole purpose of it is to honour your body.

If you don’t honour your body when you’re younger, it won’t work out for you very well when you’re older. There’s a time when you should be exposed to different types of medicine, and different types of self-care. I think trying panchakarma has opened my mind, changed the way I want to eat and how I want to live. That doesn’t mean that I’m going to stop going out with my friends, or having a bowl of pasta every now and then, but at least I know now how to better balance myself, and how to listen to my body.

• • •

Our Panchakarma Detox Retreat is one of many detox retreats available at the Art of Living Retreat Center. Feel free to contact us to learn more about how Ayurveda can transform your life.

 

Interested in learning more about programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here.

 

Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

TAGS: art of living retreat center , Ayurveda , ayurveda cleanse , ayurveda detox , cleanse , Detox , pain management , Panchakarma , sri sri ravi shankar , wellness

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