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Grandmama Zen: yoga

Updated on November 15, 2013

The Problem

Grandmama Zen is a series meant to raise the vibration of a lonesome grandmother as well as others who feel sad, depressed, directionless.

Some days my persona funk has nothing to do with being lonesome. It has to do with something deeper, even systemic. It is as if a tape of past experiences is playing inside my head that I cannot switch off. Have you had this experience?

Today I wondered whether I had churned up something from my past by means of my daily frenzied dancing practice. Maybe I could release it.

Forcing myself towards hope, I popped in a yoga DVD and sat on my mat, hardly believing such an activity could possibly make a difference. What was the point? I was sitting inside a rock slide, boulders all around me. My shoulders hung, my energy dragged.

Yoga had never failed to lift me into a higher state of being, though today was beginning to worry me. Aha! Another thing to worry about! What if yoga failed me?

Have you ever kicked a boulder or two before discovering that your weighty issue was an opportunity to break out into some new existence?

There are times when watching a gloomy movie fulfills my random need to wallow in sludge. But today was not that day. I was beyond that sort of surface satisfaction. I could not rationalize feeling as miserable as I did without at least giving yoga and frenzied dance a chance.


How does yoga work?

For those of you requiring a scientific explanation, Medicine Net offers a very detailed one. Evidently there is some evidence that practicing yoga lowers blood pressure, decreases stress as any exercise will, and lowers glucose levels, aiding diabetics. Indications are that it helps with asthma and carpal tunnel, balance and flexibility.

During a yoga class, participants focus on breathing in and breathing out. Breathing in and breathing out brings them into present time and helps connect the mind, the body and the spirit.

Each type of yoga helps in unique ways:

  • I began with Iyengar yoga, which introduced me to poses and tuned me into balance and strength. I practiced the same routines over and over for 3-4 years before moving on to Astanga yoga. How could I stay with the same DVD, you might ask? Every morning I literally heard something new on this tape.
  • I can say the same for the Astanga yoga tape I practiced over 2 years. I chose this form because I wanted to link poses without pausing as much as required in Iyengar, once my body/mind had the poses figured out. But teacher Richard Freeman had his foot way over my head as far as balance, so after a few years, I skipped the advanced portion of the tape and moved on to Kundalini.
  • Kundalini introduced me to a new form of breathing, almost like panting. I have worked with this DVD for over 13 years and it has changed my perspective. It is a very intuitive yoga and, in my case, resulted in an unexpected Kundalini Awakening.

Many people experience yoga as a practice leading to increased spiritual awareness. This has yet to be proven scientifically, but a practitioner at MedicineNet will admit, "controlled breathing helps me focus on muscles that are working, and during savasana, it slows down my heart rate, calms my mind, and leads to a deep, inner calm and sense of relaxation."

Where the Yoga Practices I studied began

show route and directions
A markerPune, India -
Pune, Maharashtra, India
get directions

BKS Iyengar began Iyengar yoga in this place.

B markerBharata, India -
Bharata, West Bengal 742147, India
get directions

Ashtanga Yoga is the name given to a set of practices compiled by the sage Patañjali between 200 BCE to 250 CE. He may have been from Bharata.

C markerLaxmipuram, Mysore -
Mysore (MYQ), KR Mohalla, Rahmania Mohalla, Mysore, Karnataka 570004, India
get directions

The current form of Astanga was established by Sri Krishna Pattabhi Jois (Guruji) in 1948.

D markerEspanola, NM -
Espanola, NM, USA
get directions

Yogi Bhajan came to the United States in 1969 and founded the 3HO nonprofit that same year, combining 8 limbs of yoga. It is considered a layman yoga



Today was difficult
Who understands
One day all is well
One day naught is well
One day practice
inspires radiance
One day practice
collapses into
heart-wrenching sobs

Breath in Mountain. Breath out Strength. Thich Nhat Hahn

Releases through yoga practice

Yoga has a way of releasing toxins as well as emotions.

Practitioner Allison Gamble writes, "The poses that are best suited to releasing toxins from the body are the twisting poses, which can bring many health benefits to the internal organs, the circulatory system, the musculoskeletal system, as well as psychological benefits that improve mood and mental health.

"Twisting poses work simply to provide all these benefits. When the practitioner twists her body, her organs become compressed. This compression forces blood that contains toxins and other harmful by-products to be expelled. When the twist is released, fresh, new, clean blood flows in, promoting healing and health."

Yoga also releases blockages in the subtle body caused by unresolved issues and stuck energy.

"Anytime you work with the body, you are also working with the mind and the energy system—which is the bridge between body and mind," Joan Shivarpita Harrigan explains. "And since that means working with emotions, emotional breakthroughs can be seen as markers of progress on the road to personal and spiritual growth."

Good to know!


Crazy-making release

I have been doing an ever-lengthening spat of shaking/dancing on a daily basis, by myself, avoiding curious eyes. This practice is yoga based and combines twisting with an intense movement of energy.

My disintegration into tears today came after three days of trapped energy seemed to work its way up both sides of my body, beginning in the pelvis and abdomen on day two, slipping up into the latissimus dorsi yesterday and sliding in along my heart area today.

For a brief moment, I worried that I would have a heart attack. But, I figured what was actually happening was movement of an energy blockage, not plaque in my blood stream. I went deeper into dance and yoga positions, and began to sob.

Tomorrow is another day, but I did feel an immediate sense of release. As if the rock slide had cleared and I was free to continue on my journey.

Finding Center. Finding Balance.


I have had an emotional experience during yoga.

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© 2013 Barbara

Please share any thoughts you have on what has been presented here. Thanks.

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    • Storytellersrus profile image

      Barbara 4 years ago from Stepping past clutter

      Well keep in touch and let me know how it goes!

    • profile image

      Feline Prophet 4 years ago

      I'm not a fan of regimented exercise classes of any sort but I know there are plenty of other options these, here I come! I do a bit of meditation however, so sitting cross legged is not a problem at least! ;)

    • Storytellersrus profile image

      Barbara 4 years ago from Stepping past clutter

      Fe, this is astonishing! I cannot imagine having such an opportunity. In my Physical Ed classes, we marched to "Chicken Fat"!! So much is wasted on the young, I suspect. I cannot blame you for your lack of interest. Though admittedly, in the proper forum I think it might have suited you fine. I attended Saturday Choir school where we did all sorts of things I would never have done at Public School, such as Sacred Dance. There seemed to me more support at church than school and less humiliation!

      Jaspal, I agree with you, yoga is so great. Right now, having postponed everything to work on these three Strong Women hubs, I am feeling the lack of yoga in my routine. I am headed up there shortly to do my workout/meditation on my own.

      Fe, this may be an option for you, though I believe you will enjoy classes, as Jaspal says. But I do yoga on my own with tapes. It allows me to go at my own pace without self-consciousness. I have done this since the 1980s- my kids witnessed it and used to comment, Mom, that's not how she's doing it on tv! Well, I was hardly there at that moment, lol. But soon I grew accustomed to the inner sensations of my body telling me what was actually the correct method. So in a sense, I was narrated poses by the DVD, but my body was my teacher.

    • Jaspal profile image

      Jaspal 4 years ago from New Delhi, India

      FP, you must re-start ... yoga is really great ... not just for the body, but also for the mind and spirit/soul. Those Iyengar guys used to be rather abrasive and strict with beginners, but you could give it a try ... and also any place closer to home, and conducting classes at a suitable time. That would be the best!

    • profile image

      Feline Prophet 4 years ago

      I live in Pune, home of the world renowned Iyengar Institute...and back when I was in school, yoga was introduced into the curriculum, conducted by the great man's daughter herself. Not surprisingly, it wasn't something a bunch of reluctant schoolgirls appreciated, and we made up all sorts of excuses to get out of attending the class! Decades later I wish I had paid more attention...perhaps this hub is a sign that I need to re-introduce yoga into my life. Thanks B! :)

    • Storytellersrus profile image

      Barbara 4 years ago from Stepping past clutter

      Thank you, Jaspal!

    • Jaspal profile image

      Jaspal 4 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Great hub, and it brought back long lost memories for me. I attempted to begin yoga way back in 1980 at the Iyengar Memorial Institute in Pune. But it was not a very happy experience ... the instructors there were very strict and became rather rude when my stiff, unfexible body could not twist into the exact asanas (poses) they wanted it to. I went for two days, and gave it up as a bad joke!

      Two years ago, when I felt my golf game was suffering due to reduced flexibility and balance, I decided to try yoga once again, at a sports complex close to home in Delhi. Our teacher and guide is Sunaina Arha. She's a genius: Not only highly adept at yoga and other fitness and meditative techniques, but also blessed with a very perceptive sixth sense that helps her respond to the different requirements of each of us in the group. She holds the classes four times a week. Usually the group is of about 10 - 15 students, and each of us tries our best to attend each class. Each session is so very therapeutic to mind body and soul ... we're all almost addicted to her class!

      I would strongly recommend yoga to all age groups ...

    • Storytellersrus profile image

      Barbara 4 years ago from Stepping past clutter

      Jamie, yes isn't it true- stress has no boundaries! Glad to have you join me in this yoga exploration.

    • jhamann profile image

      Jamie Lee Hamann 4 years ago from Reno NV

      Great hub! Thank you for this, I needed a stress relief even though I may not be a Grandma or Grandpa. Jamie