Dealing With Life

At the end of the morning class, the volunteers asked us to leave the stuff in the room if we were staying for the next session and to  make sure we save the spot. “There are 150 people signed up for the next session,” the woman explained. To put it in the perspective, most classes were filled with up to 40-50 people.

It was Sunday, the last day of the Yoga Conference in Toronto and the last session for me. I signed up for this session a while ago, and was happy that I saved the spot right up front, next to the teacher-presenter so I do not miss anything.

‘What was the session?” you wonder. Well, it was not Bikram yoga, a current rage in the mainstream yoga.  It was a completely different topic, most likely something that is underneath high energy exercises like Bikram, Crossfit , or Zumba. The workshop was on Anxiety, Depression and Chronic Stress taught by Bo Forbes, a psychologist and a yoga teacher.

Most of the attendees were women -a surprisingly large number of young women and girls, the ones you would expect in Power Yoga classes, were sitting cramped on their mats in this class. As we started, Bo asked “How many of you suffer from anxiety?” Most hands went up. ‘How many suffer from depression?” Many hands went up.”How many suffer from chronic stress?” Again many hands up.

“Not a surprise” she continues, ” World Health Organization predicts that by 2020 (6 years from today) anxiety and depression will be #2 illness and by 2030 they will be number 1 health issues in the world.”

In the next two hours, we dived into the ocean of research and latest development in the neuro-plasticity (brain study); we heard about the currently studies to find the scientific proof for the connection (or lack of it) between exercise, yoga and meditation and depression… we followed a complex web of theoretical work and anecdotal evidence from Bo’s work as a psychologist and a yoga teacher.

“So what are the answers?” you wonder. Here are some of my take aways:

  • “Whenever they interview me” says Bo, “they ask me for 3 or 5 poses for depression or anxiety” She stops and adds “And it is always 3 or 5.″ No, there are no 3 or 5 or 10 poses that will cure depression and anxiety and stress. There are no “cure all” poses, but there is a way to be in the poses, transition into them and out of them.
  •  Body is a powerful vehicle in balancing anxiety, lifting depression and strengthening resilience. Can we work through and with body vs. just with the head? To paraphrase Rumi: “Can we meet in the place beyond words?” Though this may sound complicated, it is not – we have 1,440 minutes in the day, and we can take 3-4 minutes to listen to the internal sounds.
  •  We can and should create our own research – by observing our body, our reactions and by becoming experts in it.

These oversimplified three, yes, I know, three, take aways are just a tip of conversation that will continue through my upcoming “Yoga And Joyful Life “course at Writers & Books.  Throughout the course we’ll explore the ways to reduce what prevents us from living a joyful life.  The course is focused and practical. It will be a great challenge and adventure to add what I learned at the this conference to my teaching, and yes, I am up to it!

ImageThe yoga mayhem in the exhibit hall of the conference. Here you can spend the whole day doing yoga with various instructors for $15 a day.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. SharonBill
    Mar 31, 2014 @ 15:13:43

    I am impressed! Wow!

    Sent from my iPad



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