From Pain and Humility to Connection and Community

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Today, I met up with a friend at Sweedeedee in North Portland. It had been a while since we had a chance to really connect. This woman always amazed me with her dedication to yoga. Always showing up for class, and being *all in*. She used to come to my yoga classes several times weekly, and back then, I never knew she was dealing with RA. It wasn’t until after my diagnosis, that I found out. Now that I know what I know, by direct experience with RA, I am even more impressed by her will to keep moving. Quite *literally*.

The idea of moving your body is easy when you’re not experiencing the severe, joint crushing, joy zapping pain that is Rheumatoid Arthritis. I mean, I thought I knew what pain was before. I did not. Dang, I had no idea. Many people aren’t too familiar with RA, and think it’s just a type of arthritis. Well, the word arthritis simply refers to joint involvement. RA is a severe, systemic, chronic, inflammatory, autoimmune disease that attacks the joints, tendons, tissue and often organs and more.

As someone who’s body is what they used for work, to live and to enjoy an active life, RA was a brutal blow. I was always an athlete. Strong. Powerful. It’s how I related to my physical form. It’s what I knew about this host I call, my body. As a yoga practitioner and teacher, I loved a deep, strong asana practice. It helped me to feel the aliveness of my being. It got me to *be* in my body. Finding out my own body was attacking and damaging itself was something that caused me to take a serious pause. Although, I resisted at first. We all how well resistance works, right? When I got to the point where I could not get up and down off the floor, or demonstrate most asanas, I had to stop.

Pain has a messed-up way of getting us to pause. It can get you into a choke hold and take you down onto your knees, showing no mercy. What you do, and where you go from there, is up to you.

I was on my knees. Well, not really because my knees were the worst affected. But, I was at the point where I felt like begging for mercy. I was unable to walk much, or get up and down from sitting without wincing, gritting my teeth and often times howling. My fingers curled, my neck froze and every joint in my body felt like hot lava and broken glass.

When I was no longer able to move much, I surrendered and decided that the stillness pain had led me to, was there to show me something. Not the pain as the teacher, but the stillness. Then stillness, showed me softness, and softness taught me more about humility.

Today, I am softer, slower and show myself forgiveness and more kindness.

For right now, I am experiencing less pain. This has not come by some miracle, but by my choice to start aggressive treatment for RA, as well as learning energy medicine and using it to help manage my symptoms. It’s takes work, and It’s working. I am grateful for this. Every day I wake up and do something called the Daily Energy Routine, which is something I learned in Eden Energy Medicine. These simple exercises keep my energies balanced, unscrambled and moving forward.. This became my asana practice while I was hurting. Because it’s easy, gentle and so powerful. I also take herbs, and only eat healthy, organic foods and mostly cook at home. In addition to these natural treatments, I inject myself twice a week with two different medications. Both of these medications are strong immunosuppressants, and work to keep my immune system from attacking my body. I was reluctant to take any medications or embrace a western approach to treating my body. But, being open to what really works for my body, has proven to be beneficial. For now. This will be an ongoing practice and requires me to be aware, open and adaptable. Every once in a while, I will skip an injection, to see maybe just maybe, my immune system has chilled out. It only takes a day or two, before I am reminded to be patient. But, I am hopeful. This disease causes me to be undeniably present.

Chronic pain can cause feelings of loneliness, disconnection, blame and yeah, depression. Watching your body change, become weaker, damaged, softer, less capable of doing everyday things we take for granted, is surreal and a strangely ruminative experience. Too often we blame ourselves. Did I eat the right things? Did I eat the wrong things? Was I kind enough? Healthy enough? Loving enough?

Disease is dis-ease, right? Oh man, was I not easeful enough?

I was. I was. As much as anyone who makes health a priority and kindness a practice could be . But being easeful, peaceful or even yogic is NOT a full time state, as much as we are often led to believe that is *the path*. We are human and we experience and move through the full spectrum of emotions. It’s how we respond which determines how easeful we are. Sometimes we do all we can, and we still experience pain and illness. Blaming ourselves doesn’t help the healing. Being loving toward ourselves does.

Meeting up with my friend today, was healing. Sharing, laughing, tearing up and yeah, connecting. She continues to inspire me by her will and dedication.

I invite anyone who is suffering to connect with me. Reach out, ask questions, share your story.

Love,

Melina

Summertime Special! Private Yoga or Energy Medicine Sessions for only $25 all of July!

20150619_172614Celebrating the SUN!!!

All through the month of July, I am offering one hour private yoga or energy medicine sessions for only $25!!!

Yes. this is a crazy deal, and a fraction of my usual pricing. I’m just so excited to be able to offer this work, and I want to make it as accessible as possible.

Can be scheduled at the Float Shoppe in NW, or get in touch if you need other arrangements. Days and times are fairly flexible.

email: mndyoga@gmail.com

phone: 503-432-0521

Much Love,

Melina

Offering Energy Medicine Sessions by Donation – Limited Time!

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I am currently offering Energy Medicine Sessions by donation. This is only for a limited time while I am completing my Eden Energy Medicine Certification, EEM-CP (Eden Energy Medicine Certified Practitioner).

Sessions are held in the yoga room at the Float Shoppe in NW Portland. Parking is free and there is a parking lot you are welcome to use. Sessions usually last 60-90 minutes.

For more detailed information, see my Energy Medicine Menu at the top of this page, and contact me directly to schedule a session.

Love,

Melina

How to Protect Yourself from Thinspiration Disguised as Yoga

YogaMeli:

yes!

Originally posted on YogaBeast:

Have you noticed? Spring is the time of year when some people go on wood-chip diets and others try to sell you weight loss shakes made of hooves.

Is there an undercurrent of Thinspo masquerading as Health behind certain promotions put out by your gym or local yoga studio?

Be skeptical about words such as fitness, slim down, lighten, wellness and bikini season when they’re being used to sell you yoga. Hammer, don’t hurt ’em, but discern.

Recognize. This kind of marketing does harm. It cheapens the sublime bearing that yoga can have on our lives.

Flip that biscuit. Don’t settle for anything but real gravy.

You might have to get a little macho, as in:

/ma-cho/

1. Courageous, potent, robust, lusty and vibrant. Okay then. These words stick to your ribs. Sounds like yoga.

From what my teachers have passed on to me, yoga is a practice of sustainability…

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Wild and Still

I have spent way too much time in hospitals lately. I have endured enough radiation, I just may be glowing in a whole new and weird way. I am so ready to move forward, through and beyond this disruption in my body. But at the same time, I must listen and pay close attention to the subtlety of it’s warnings, whispers and language. For me, this Spring is a time for stillness and introspection. Usually it’s been a time for opening, blooming and reaching up and out. Down time has never come easily for me. I am one who initiates, manifests and moves, wild and wolf-like. Exploring, seeking and experiencing. My astrology teacher calls me a “hyper-aware, sensitive, athlete, warrior”. …and hey, this is Spring right?!

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Spring or not, I am now one who sits, sleeps, rests and processes slowly and deeply. At times I wonder if this is the only way I would ever learn to slow down. Stillness has never come easily. I have always had an inner fire that wants to move, needs to move. An Aries stellium that is much like a writhing, kicking, jumping, running, spaz of a child that always hated nap time.

Now, when this body cannot move as much, or as fast or as powerfully. Here, with a body that at times feels broken, tired and crumbling. I am left in stillness. In stillness I could choose to fall, give up and allow this mortal challenge to take my power and spark away. Or, I could simply slow down, stop, listen, breathe the stillness, cry, laugh, cry again and exhale, and move on in another way. In and with stillness.

My physical life and practice has changed so much. I recently began a Yin Yoga, therapeutic training which is teaching me all about slowing down, and how powerful stillness can truly be. I immediately began to find my power again in the slow process. I am also finding it in the iron of my body. I have gone from a few downward dogs and floor work only, to holding horse stance for several minutes at a time. Holding a 5 pointed star stance for several minutes. Holding through the initial fatigue until the muscle recruitment happens. In this I am once again finding connection to my practice.

For those of you out there who are also dealing with chronic illness, pain, fatigue and so on. Or, for those of you who simply want to be stronger, physically, mentally, energetically. I offer this practice to you as well. It’s not necessarily my usual energy medicine practice, but then again, it totally is. As we head toward Taurus this month, this simple stance can help you find your center.

Horse Stance;

Stand with both feet wide apart, and bend both knees until you feel your thighs working. Place both hands on one top of the another, just below your navel, between the 1st and 2nd chakras. Or, if you need support or help with balance, you can use the back of a chair to rest your hands on.

Bring your awareness to that low navel point, then deep into the body to the dantian, dan t’ian, dan tien or tan t’ien point. Imagine a spherical shape there at your core. It may look or feel like iron. Hold for several minutes.

Then, move your awareness straight up into the center of the heart, and notice the feeling and quality there, Hold for several minutes.

Then, move your awareness up to the third eye, then go deeper into your head, about 3 to 3 1/2 inches behind the 3rd eye, to the inner eye. Notice the quality of the inner eye. Hold for several minutes.

Then feel all three points connected as you slowly drop back down to the lower navel,  tan t’ien center. Feel your body strong, powerful and connected. As you slowly release the stance and open your eyes, and try to stay connected to that low navel, center point.

You have a strong and healthy body.

You have a strong and healthy body.

You have a strong and healthy body.

Oceans of Love,

Melina

Energy Medicine for Cardinal Spring Fire!

YogaMeli:

Energy Medicine Tips for Spring!

Originally posted on embodiedastrology:

With Aries we begin again. The cycle continues. The snake’s tail is forgotten again, and it’s head moves forward. It’s eyes are wide open and ready. Aries is that forward moving energy, marching onward and upward. But in order to begin anew with strength, clarity and presence we need to start fresh.

Spring is a great time for flushing our meridians and ridding our body of any old energies that may be stagnant or blocked. It’s a time to create new habits, and energy loves new habits, because energy wants to move. Flushing liver meridian is a simple and powerful exercise the help move energy through, and strengthen Liver Meridian.

To flush a meridian, we first must trace it backwards one time, then we trace it forward three times. Tracing backward helps clear it, then tracing forward helps to flush and strengthen it. (tip: the only meridian we never flush or trace backward is…

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