Restorative Yoga and the Art of Relaxation

We live in challenging times, and we all experience stress at different levels. Most of us are not aware how deep the effects of stress go. When unaddressed, stress held in the body and mind can lead to acute and degenerative diseases. For many, relaxation has become a forgotten art, but its effects are truly far reaching. Countless studies have shown the benefits of deep relaxation reached during restorative yoga:

  • Improvement of memory, concentration and mental clarity.
  • Deep relaxation supports and enhances our immune systems to keep us healthy.
  • Restorative yoga soothes the nervous system, and reduces the production of harmful stress hormones.
  • It releases stress we hold in our bodies.
  • Regulates blood pressure.
  • Improves circulation and the healthy functioning of the organs.
  • Can reduce and relieve the intensity of chronic pain.
  • Alleviates discomfort associated with menstruation, pregnancy and menopause.
  • Reduces or eliminates depression.
  • Reduces or eliminates dependency on medications.
  • Relieves or reduces headaches.
  • Supports the recovery from illness.

Learning to relax is like working a muscle. Relaxation comes more easily when we pave the way to enter this deep and healing state. Restorative yoga is for everyone and truly a gift of radical self care!

“The reason for paying attention to your body and your interior state is that…the mind deceives, the body never lies. Listen to the wisdom of your body. Hear its truth.There is never a thought, feeling or emotion that does not have a corresponding body sensation. Each experience is imprinted in every cell of our body.” (From the contemplative life program)

Good Grief

…It’s Christmas

As the Christmas Season is upon us, I have been reflecting on how grief can affect one’s perception of this holiday. Having experienced my mother’s death in 2016, and then my brother’s sudden death in 2017, I just didn’t have it in me to “DO” Christmas” last year….The solution was to skip it all together, hence a trip to Cambodia. It felt peaceful to be in a country that was predominantly Buddhist, and to escape the hype of Christmas advertising and expectations that seem rampant in our culture. In Cambodia, December 25, is just another day. Any efforts to advertise Christmas seemed rather pathetic, and for the benefit of tourists. What really struck me, was the sense of kindness, joy and presence that people extended to us, many of whom live with very little.                   

Charlie Brown’s expression “Good Grief”, brings to mind a passage from Francis Weller’s book, The Wild Edge of Sorrow.” To be human is to know loss in its many forms. These seasons in our lives are intense and require a prolonged time to honor what the soul needs to fully digest the grief. We are told to get on with it and get over it. The lack of compassion surrounding grief reflects an underlying fear and mistrust of this basic human experience. We must restore the healing ground of grief. We must find the courage once again to walk its wild edge.” In Cambodia they seem to understand the need to allow their souls time to fully digest grief; a celebration of their deceased loved one’s life, does not take place until after the one year anniversary of the death.

When we rush grief, we don’t provide ourselves the opportunity to mourn our loss. Ray Reginald, author of Touching Enlightenment writes: “So much is carried in our bodies. The Wisdom that is held within our tissues is something that we have almost completely forgotten. And yet there is no awareness more situated in the present moment than what is found in our bodies. With our body, we are in the presence of a force and intelligence that is filled with wisdom, that is loving, flawlessly reliable and strange to say worthy of our deepest devotion. When we begin to inhabit the body as our primary way of sensing, feeling, and knowing the world, when our thought operates as no more than a handmaiden of that somatic way of being, we find that we, as human beings, are in a state of intimate relationship and connection with all that is.” 

Grief and Yoga have led me to this wisdom within my body. During the time after my losses that I felt most raw, I stopped attending yoga classes. I allowed my practice to meet and support me where I was. As I listened within, I instinctively slowed everything down. My movement became meditative and mindful; deep breathing and restorative poses took me inward to a place of “holy peace”, and rest. I am trusting that my body does know how to heal, when I provide it with what it needs. A body that can relax, can heal. 

Yoga is not meant to take away grief. It is a support that activates our inner resources so that we can tend to our body and mind when we feel broken and dismembered. A gentle and restorative practice, encourages us to be active participants in our healing. Yoga helps us to feel grounded when our world is shaken, helps us to release held tension and emotion in our body; breathing practices take us out of our thinking mind and activate our life force within. Healing grief requires time and attention to our hearts. Yoga is a process, and a practice. We show up for ourselves with compassion and curiosity, tending to each moment, each sensation and each emotion as it arises. Yoga eases and can provide a lifelong foundation for centering and relief during difficult times. 

A recent “Yoga for Grief” participant shares: ” I thought my journey with grief started with the passing of my daughter. I know now that grief has many faces and many time periods. Taking this class has opened me up to this realization. Gentle restorative yoga poses, and using my breath, have helped me release the barriers of grief.  I’ve felt  a gentle lift from the pain that I’ve held  in my body. I am grateful to have taken this class. Lynne has a gentle and calming effect and teaches from her heart and soul.  Many thanks.” B.C.~ Saskatoon     



The Intelligence Within The Gong: Where Science and Spirituality Meet

“So much is carried in our bodies. The wisdom that is held within our tissues is something that we have almost completely forgotten. And yet there is no awareness more situated in the present moment than what is found in our bodies. Reginald Ray, author of Touching Enlightenment says that “with our body we are in the presence of a force and Intelligence that is filled with wisdom, that is loving, flawlessly reliable, and strange to say worthy of our deepest devotion.” Reggie Ray

This wisdom and intelligence within our bodies is also within the universe. So what happens during a Gong Immersion Meditation? As the Gong is excited, it generates waves of electrons that begin moving and drifting from atom to atom, creating an exchange and release of a specialized electron (coined by Quantum Physicist David Bohm) as a “Plasmon”. This release becomes known as the Plasmon field. These Plasmon’s (a fourth level of matter), organize and display an Intelligence and integrate whatever enters the field. During a gongbath we enter the field. The integration into the Plasmon field changes polarities with what enters the field. When the Gong rests, the field collapses.

I believe transformation and healing happen when the Intelligence released within the Plasmon field of the gong integrates the Intelligence and wisdom inherent within us. There is much to learn about quantum physics and the energy that beats our hearts, breathes our lungs, heals our wounds, directs animals to migrate, hibernate and the seasons to change. To quote Carl Sagan, “The notion that science and spirituality are somehow mutually exclusive does a disservice to both.” In a gong immersion meditation we have the opportunity to stop, to be, and to breathe into the mystery.

Riding the Waves of Your Gongbath Experience

Facilitating gongbath meditations has been an amazing learning experience for me… especially when  individuals are willing to share their challenging experiences, instead of just not coming back. This Friday a participant emailed to share that the gongbath evoked challenging thoughts and feelings,  physical discomfort in the root, sacral and heart area chakras, and that night they experienced disturbing dreams.
This feedback continues to foster my learning as I am able to discuss with my mentor and teacher Mitch Nur, PhD. Mitch is regarded as one of North America’s oldest and leading sound teachers and sound healers. I was privileged to participate in his advanced gong training in Pennsylvania last fall, and continue draw on his wisdom and experience.
I believe the following information is valuable to anyone attending in a gongbath immersion meditation, so I am sharing some of the writers comments and questions.
Writer: “The week before, my experience while “under the influence
of Gong” was so soothing, I truly had a magical time. Definitely
affected! Went home and slept really well….so last night I expected the same to happen.”

Every week I invite folk to let go of expectations, to approach each meditation with an open mind and heart regardless of what happened the week before. It is so important not to get caught in the ‘trap’ of expectation.
Mitch discussed that it is not unusual for people to have conflicting experiences from one Gong experience to another one. Each week we arrive in a new state of mind. Sound healing, is about consciousness. As one’s consciousness shifts, the autonomic nervous system reacts. Sometimes the ‘listener’ is caught between this shift, as the body tries to relax and regulate the sympathetic (nervous system of fight, flight and freeze) to the parasympathetic (calming/ regulating) systems. If conflict arises, hormones and secretions of catecholamine’s, especially nor-epinephrine and epinephrine can create unbalance regarding the experience of the gong bath, actually inflicting pain.
Writer: “This week  was such a different experience. My mind was flooded the entire time with
anxiety, all sorts of negative emotions dredged up and circulated
through my whole body.”

This is intense energy work and  “thought” is energy. Much of what surfaced for the writer, created uncomfortable “feelings of fear and anxiety.” Who knows what is stored in the unconscious mind, and when it will be released.  As I evolve on this path, I understand more clearly, that behind my busy “thinking human mind” is a deeper dimension of “awareness”, the observer, witness, the watcher.  As long as I am alive, mind will produce thought that is not always helpful. As consciousness grows, we are more able to “simply” be the observer  of thought passing through and understanding grows….just because we have a thought,  it does not mean it is true.  Just as when we dream…. we wake up to know that it was just a dream.
Writer: “Does this sound like a reasonable response to a gong bath?”
I invite anyone attending a gongbath to not judge what is reasonable. Everyone will have a unique experience, and each time will be different. My intention as I play is always for healing and the highest good of those present. I like to think that what comes up for people is release,  and healing is happening where it is needed. When our intention is to evolve spiritually, the “ego” doesn’t always make it easy.
I invite you to “allow, witness and “trust” what happens for you without trying to analyze or make sense of it.  When we are seeking to change/ heal, I believe it is important to leave expectation out of intention, or the mind will start it’s unrelenting pursuit of talking to itself nonstop, instead of reaching a point of equilibrium.
The writer’s response seems like a great way to end.
” I can’t wait until next Thursday. I love it; it’s a challenge and I truly agree that there is a conflict in me which is the part that witnesses and the part that tries to control. I’ve been learning letting go of control the past few months in many arenas. My thoughts and expectations are still ones that hold strong. This week I did go in more stressed than before and more anxious. I would also like to invite myself to not to judge what is reasonable. Such a task. The unwriting of the years of scripting I’ve got etched into my brain! Slowly and surely I am confident I will get there!
I really appreciate your input. Lots to think about. And while I heard you say not to have expectations before class … perhaps I didn’t really HEAR.”

Many thanks to this writer for their willingness and courage to share.

Namaste, Lynne

“Please Do Not Feed The Fears”

Spring…such a life affirming time of year. The orange and grapefruit trees in our Arizona yard are blossoming right now, and their fragrance is amazing. This time of year also brings many creatures out of hibernation. Caution has to be exercised when hiking now, as the rattlesnakes are coming out to enjoy the sun and heat. The fear (stress) this creates for some hikers, gave me the inspiration for this blog.

As we come to understanding how mind, thought and consciousness work within us, we can see more clearly how we manufacture stress for ourselves.  As awareness of our thinking grows, we always have two choices. We can notice and disregard fearful and upsetting thought as passing, or we can focus and FEED such thoughts to make them grow. It is important to understand that our thoughts feel much more compelling when we are in a low mood. The most productive thing we can do about a situation when we are in a low state of mind is NOTHING. The sign reminds us to not feed our fears. Signs also tell us to not feed wild life. If we do, we encourage wild animals to linger, to become a nuisance, and a potential danger. If we don’t feed our fearful and upset thinking, our minds will settle. From a quiet Mind, wisdom will always guide us to proceed with clarity.

Blessings for Joy and Peace,


Self Love and Compassion

Valentine’s Day is an opportunity to express our love to the special people in our lives …but it is also a good time to remember to extend love and compassion to ourselves. As we become more conscious of the thoughts that run across the screen of our mind, we can choose which ones to place attention on. I love listening to Michael Singer. He likens our personal mind to an appliance, and the thoughts it produces as “the process”.  Our mind is a thought producing machine. That is just what it does, and 99% of our thoughts come to us uninvited. If something causes us to feel disturbed, our minds get even busier…justifying, judging, or beating ourselves up. When left unchecked it is easy to buy into a lot of thinking that does not “serve us”. As we grow in awareness as to what this appliance is spewing out, we can choose what thoughts to give attention to…. and which ones to pass on. So how do we grow this “consciousness” muscle? By checking into how we are feeling. If feelings of stress, anger, hurt or self criticism arise… it is always, and only the product of thought. It is never the TRUTH of who we really are. Once we see this, we can begin to say “no thank you” to the thoughts that we tend to ruminate on. We may not feel better immediately, but an ignored guest eventually leaves. Creating space within our MIND brings us back to our default settings of peace, love and compassion, for ourselves and others.

May you be happy, healthy, safe and live with ease!
Blessings Lynne

Taking Time For Gratitude

♥The gift of this new day.

♥My health.

♥My senses.

♥My eyes to see the beauty of nature.

♥My ears to hear the beauty of nature.

♥The bird songs that I hear everyday.

♥The ability to taste and enjoy food.

♥A nose to smell wonderful smells.

♥My body and all it does for me.

♥The blessing of three amazing sons.

♥The blessing and joy of grandkids.

♥The blessing of family and good friends.

♥The gift of laughter.

♥The standard of living I enjoy.

♥Access to an abundant source of drinking water and healthy foods.

♥The sunshine and warm weather in Arizona today.

♥Physical activity…yoga, walking, swimming, pickle ball, biking, skiing…

♥The spiritual nature of who we REALLY are.

♥The Loving Intelligent Life Force/ Energy within this universe that does entirely support our existence.

…..Your turn!

Christmas …Finding Peace In The Present

I must admit, as an adult, the Christmas season has not been my favorite time of year. When I occasionally share this, it seems I am not alone. As a child, the onset of December seemed to fuel my father’s drinking habit. In retrospect, I am guessing that this was his method of “coping” with how he percieved a difficult time.

Life brings challenges to all of us. The definition of the “traditional family” has certainly seen big changes over the years, but it seems the “hallmark Christmas card image” remains. Christmas advertizing and music can bring lofty images and expectations, and often an underlying pressure and stress when our ideas of this do not match.

I am understanding more deeply, that it is not our life situations but our ways of thinking about them, that create our experience… and leave us with emotionally charged memories. Memories and thinking so etched as neuropathways in our brain, that it often doesn’t take more than a song to bring feelings about past events to life. I am also understanding that this is just how our brain works. It is a thought producing machine. The thinking that most often comes to the surface is not what is real in the moment.  It is “old thought” brought to life with our amazing and creative gift of our MIND. The result is a 3D experience of something that happened years ago.  At low levels of awareness we don’t see that we always live in the feeling of our thinking.

Beyond the separate realities we each create with our memories and perceptions, lies the truth of who we are. We can’t stop old thought from visiting each December, but we can begin to observe it, and allow it to pass through our mind, without embellishing “the story”. This “allowing” creates space within, for the deeper truth of who we are to shine through… PEACE, LOVE and Well-Being. Isn’t this the real meaning of the season? When we become PRESENT, we experience this GIFT.

Love and Blessings for a peaceful holiday season,


Trust In The Non Tangible

This week, I have been pondering the idea of trust. Why is it sometimes difficult to allow the benevolent energy within life to guide and take care of us, or our loved ones? Is it because it is invisible, non tangible? It is hard to argue that there is not an Intelligence and energy behind and guiding nature. Seasons come and go, the sun sets and rises each day, whether we see it or not. Birds, fish and animals seem to know when to migrate, hibernate or grow thicker coats. Tiny acorns grow into mighty oak trees. When Hiroshima was bombed, scientists believed it would be 10-20 years before anything would grow. Ten days later a flower bloomed within a crater.
Like nature there is an invisible energy living through us. Our physical bodies functions pretty well without our help. We don’t need to think about making our heart beat. Without effort, our lungs provide us with air, cuts and bones heal, and our immune system keeps us healthy when we cooperate… for as long as we are meant to live.
Within our MIND, beneath our busy, worried thinking and need to control, this same Intelligence and energy is there to guide us. This invisible power shows up as insight, moments of clarity, and new ways of seeing.
It seems easy to trust an invisible power to run our bodily functions. It seems easy to trust the invisible power behind a money transfer when we bank online and press the “confirm” button.
The next time you catch yourself in worried or fearful thinking, why not trust…that although you may not know what to do, something deep within you does.

Understanding Brings Freedom….The Secret Lies Within  

A Simple Sioux Parable ~ The Creator gathered all of Creation and said; “I want to hide something from the humans until they are ready for it. It is the realization that they create their own reality.”

The eagle said, “Give it to me. I will take it to the moon.”The Creator said, “No. One day they will go there and find it.” The salmon said, “give it to me, I  will bury it on the bottom of the ocean.” The Creator said, “No. They will go there, too.” The buffalo said, “If you give it to me, I will bury it on the Great Plains.” The Creator said, “They will cut into the skin of the earth and find it even there.” Grandmother Mole, who lived in the breast of Mother Earth, and who had no physical eyes but saw with spiritual eyes, said “put it inside of them, that is the last place they will look.” And the Creator said, “It is done.”

This story seems simple and silly, but how many of us have spent years seeking happiness and well being by looking outside of ourselves….using relationships, our careers….loftier goals and more doing to arrive at a sense of being enough. The idea that what we are looking for is within us, seems too simple. But just like the principle or truth of gravity (that works whether we understand it or not), our experience of reality is created within each of us with our innate resources of Mind, Thought and Consciousness.  Each and every moment, 100% of the time, our Mind is constantly creating new scenes with feeling and meaning. Understanding this paradigm brings freedom. I always and can only ever experience my life from the inside-out.