Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Supportive Care for Cancer: Case Brief for Daily Yoga

Supportive Care for Cancer: Case Brief for Daily Yoga

by Jido Lee Ferguson

Sharon (not her real name) walked into the conference room. "Is this the individual yoga class for cancer survivors?" she asked. I responded yes, and after introductions, she shared her story. She had been treated for cancer two years earlier, but still suffered pain and stress that interrupted her sleep too often. She wanted to find out whether yoga could help her return to a full life. 

During the same time period when Sharon had been diagnosed and treated, I had been preparing to serve as a therapeutic yoga teacher. Transitioning through a period of unemployment, I had searched for alternative ways to use my time. 

Now, through a cancer treatment center, I was meeting with individuals like Sharon, demonstrating how doing yoga regularly can reduce stress, build strength, and result in more resilience and better, more restful sleep. In the second of our eight meetings, I introduced Sharon to a simple yoga warmup series. She began to do fifteen minutes of daily personal practice of movement, breath control, and meditation. 

Though I had practiced yoga occasionally during my adult years, it had never occurred to me that I might teach, let alone coach other people to practice. Until, that is, I received a gift: a weekend of yoga classes in a beautiful resort that gave me a taste of healing change, and I soon felt a need to share the experience. 

I began a daily practice of yoga and found a source of energy and well-being. But maintaining practice also has its challenges. As I looked for support, I found Niroga Institute, with its aims of widely increasing access to yoga practice. I joined their thirty-day program to deepen mine. This was followed by yoga teacher training and now I'm enrolled in Niroga's two-year course in yoga therapy. 

Sometimes transformative change occurs as a result of our decisions, other times as a result of forces outside us shaping us into what the world needs at the moment. When a personal decision to change and the world's needs coincide, strong forces can be set in motion. This applies not only to my own recent experience, but to both cancer treatment and the field of yoga therapy. 

Medical treatments for cancer and a number of other conditions have changed in the past twenty years. As treatments evolve, doctors more often refer people to supportive care services, such as acupuncture, massage, and yoga. Research indicates that yoga, for one, has many measurable benefits for people who have a cancer diagnosis.  As a result of such evidence, yoga therapy has recently developed into a field of healing practice. 

Working with me, Sharon developed her own yoga practice, an hour a day. She credits yoga with greatly reducing her stress and pain and improving her sleep patterns. 
When asked for a few words describing her experience, she said, 

"Very helpful in reducing pain and feeling better. Less pain, helps ease stress. " 

Monday, July 18, 2016

June July 2016 Disturbance in the Vitality Field

June July 2016 Disturbance in the Vitality Field

Brussels airport bombed by ISIL
Orlando nightclub massacre
Istanbul airport entrance bombed
Police Shootings of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling
Dallas officers shot
France truck driver ploughs down dozens

In the 30-40 days previous to this writing, there have been 6 news events that caused major dislocations in the world's sense of safety and stability. With the Republican National Convention just around the corner, may God forbid another paroxysm of violence: Black Lives Matter against White Me 

First. However that confrontation works out, the forces of polarization are afoot: the dogs of war are running. Sunni vs. Shia, billionaires vs. gig economy workers, atheists vs. believers, conservatives vs. progressives.

As the world nears a tipping point, which way will you go?

Irresistibly, those in the center politically are being pulled to the extremes. As poorly educated and willfully ignorant people move to the forefront of American politics and world leadership, the questions of how to live a life of decency and compassion are brought up more urgently. The great dramatist Shakespeare presented this as Hamlet's dilemma: whether to bear "the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune or to take arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing end them."

This is the dilemma now facing moderates in America and the world.

Taking arms seems to be a choice anyone might think of today. With more guns than people, the United States is the country where obtaining firearms is easy. Gun advocates urge everyone to have one. But those who own and carry guns don't seem to be safer, they seem to be in more danger. The danger is deeper than physical, carrying a gun causes violence to the soul. For to carry means to clean, to load, to shoot, to practice violence.

No less, the practice of brutal gory violence in movies and gaming causes harm to the individual spirit and so the fabric of the neighborhood. It's far too late to control violence around us, but must we continue to submit to watching it for entertainment?

Whether or not to own and maintain a modern weapon is a decision more of us will face. Is the potential risk of death by firearm greater for those who own a gun? Is the cost of owning the means to easily trigger the death of a fellow human worth the effort and anxiety it brings? Will those who own guns, on the average, survive better than those who don't?

There is a way to study violence without succumbing to its gruesome internal lust. 

"Harmony with vital energy" is the study of how to neutralize violent force through turning it against itself.

This way is to align with the part of the human self that is beyond cause and effect, and to practice defusing violence. To give ones life in this practice is a possibility worth considering.

It's time for gun owners and those who resist gun violence to move beyond the fault line. Everyone who shoots and everyone who bans guns from their life can practice "Harmony with Vital Energy."

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

2016, First -->C Movement and Stillness Meditation "Back to the Blog"

Greetings in Springtime to all who value personal practice!

My prayer, arriving with this, is that you are thriving or, if not quite so, then returning to your inner connection with Infinite Healing Energy. Blessings be!

Reflecting on my efforts to bring harmony to those in my circles, I've decided that my social media connections need more attention. This means I'll schedule a weekly slot for reading others' and outputting my own. Not a radical shift, just a bit of care for what can be done to bring harmony in.

When you see "-->C" it's me! That's my moniker and typescript for "communication."

Likewise, the smiley I use to send love and gratitude: "</ ; - ) =>"; it's me in a baseball cap with a wink and a smile.

Watch for -->C coming with </ ; - ) =>.

Benefits of a regular yoga practice: 

Bessel van der Kolk, a leading researcher on the effects of stress on the human person, recently found that still meditation has little effect upon deeply healing PTSD. Systematic movement must be a part of addressing trauma and chronic stress. 

To be effective in reducing stress, your little daily personal practice should include: stating an intention, static poses, mindful movement, deep rhythmic belly breathing, and sounding the vocal cords inwardly. 

After practice, observe silent stillness for a few minutes. Who can not make time to integrate practice into their life? 

Even a daily five-minute walk in the park will do it!

You can always check in with me, just click the link below, in my emails:

</ ; - ) =>,

Jido Lee Ferguson
"Dr. Yasan Jido"