The Solar Suitcase

In 2008 Dr. Laura Stachel was in Northern Nigeria. She was studying ways to lower maternal mortality in state hospitals. The situation was so bad that getting pregnant was considered as having one foot in the grave. One reason for this was lack of reliable electricity. Not willing to accept the situation as it is Laura wrote to her husband who devised a solar solution that eventually became the “Solar Suitcase”. The world is a better place because of people like Laura and her husband who care and are willing to go the extra mile to find a solution. In 2013 Laura Stachel was awarded the “CNN Hero” award. To date more than 300 Solar Suitcases have been assembled and sent to 25 countries.

Related: Official Website of We Care Solar

You may also like: I Don’t Want Any Other Mother To Feel The Same Pain!

No CommentsAdd a Comment »
 

Yoga Healed My Pubic Bone

When Laura Moore gave birth to her second son almost 15 years ago, he came out so fast that her pubic bone split! Her doctor told her it would take 2 years to heal because there was no way to set that bone. Not wanting to live in pain for that long she did her own research and found yoga. To her amazement she was pain free in just two weeks!

You may also like: A Mysterious Guru

No CommentsAdd a Comment »
 

Yoga Healed My Pain

Grieving Hearts

On the anniversary of my father’s death, aged 60, I felt a cloak drape over my shoulders, a leaden winter cloak weighing me down. And rather than being able to shrug it off, it came with me everywhere. I was able to feel the threads lighten when I was laughing, or crying, but was unable to cast it off completely.

In the year my father died I’d gone from numb shock – nothing had prepared me for this expected departure – to deep, dizzying sadness, where I understood what other people who had experienced grief meant when they wrote of the sky turning from blue to black.

Slowly, I was able to enjoy the memories of the time we had spent together while my dad was sick: the hundreds of games of chess we’d played and his obsession and delight with food as eating became increasingly painful.

His requests for ice-cream combinations that may be for sale in the best gelaterias in Italy but aren’t readily available in Nottingham; his rhapsodies over toffee pavlova and his theory that McDonald’s had very deliberately set out to corner the market of people who want to eat but have lost their teeth. The trip to the country fair at Abergavenny, his childhood home in Wales, where there was still an annual garden-on-a-plate competition, and the most beautiful memory of his pride and delight at meeting my nephew, then a tiny baby, who shared his name, William.

I didn’t know that grief commonly returns, that this was my body marking the anniversary of the death of my dad the year before. It was with this sadness that I arrived one day in October at a yoga studio, neither strong nor flexible, surrounded by people whose bodies seemed as lithe as dancers’ (I’ve found out since that some of them are dancers).

I’d love to be able to say it was some kind of personal peace-finding mission that brought me to the yoga mat, but I wasn’t nearly conscious enough to realize that. All I knew was that my mind – always full of idle chatter – was whirring at great speed, screaming so loudly I’m almost surprised other people couldn’t hear it. Far from yoga magically stilling my mind, it continued apace through my practice. But at least when I was on the yoga mat I was aware of the constant humming: much of the rest of the time I was so sucked up in my thoughts I couldn’t even see them repeating themselves in my head time and time again, hundreds of thousands of times. I would hide in the corner, wishing myself invisible – I didn’t want anyone to notice me and my not-touching-toe ways. I had no idea how to make the postures, known by their Sanskrit term, asanas, look graceful: it was the most I could do to complete a class. I would take the child’s pose, with my chest and forehead resting on the ground and my heels together, often, yet by the end of each practice my clothes would be drenched with sweat.

But something kept drawing me to my mat. Somehow, doing something where I didn’t expect myself to achieve or be excellent gave me a sense of freedom. I had no expectations; this was just for me. And slowly I started to see small changes in my body: I felt lighter, more free, and it wasn’t simply just a case of surviving class, I could actually feel my body, check whether I was stacking my joints, have some awareness of whether I was locking in my core.

I started going to workshops run by the studio, Hot Power Yoga in Clapham, south west London. First a beginners’ workshop, where I was so full of questions about how yoga has effects on the emotional side that I signed up for a teaching foundation workshop. Still, I wanted more, and at the beginning of this year I signed up for HPY’s teacher training course. I had no plan to teach yoga. I was adamant that it was simply to deepen my own practice, and remember telling the studio founder Dylan Ayaloo, and his co-facilitator Craig Norris that I was no yogi. “There are things I’m very good at. Yoga is not one of them,” I told them.

This is not the story of a graceful transition from duckling to swan. The training was intense, and at times I found myself frustrated with my body. In all yoga postures there is a sense of tadasana, meaning shoulders being low and back. I spent a lot of time hunting for tadasana in my downwards-facing dog, a fundamental posture where the body forms an upside down V shape, but it kept eluding me. My posture, from many years hunched over a computer, leaned more towards “desk-asana” and I remember feeling emotional when I looked in the mirror and saw that my shoulders were so close to my ears when I was standing upright, the chances of them suddenly lowering when I was half-inverted were slim. We learnt about anatomy and the asanas; the effects they have on strengthening and flexibility. But this was the very surface of the course. More importantly, I learnt about me: to watch the whirring that goes around in my head, gain some distance from it and see the patterns that play out and affect my life, to recognize that this is not who I am.

I saw that I give myself a really hard time by spending so much time trying not to make mistakes. And I recognized that the biggest mistakes I have made haven’t turned out as badly as I imagined, they’ve been the things I’ve learnt the most from – something I can’t regret. I’m a real striver, and experienced deeper freedom learning that I’ll never be perfect: sometimes it’s good simply to congratulate myself on where I’m going right.

Dylan, founder of Hot Power Yoga and lead facilitator of the training, says: “The physical practice of yoga – although the most well known – is simply a tool to facilitate transformational change. Focusing on the body provides a break from the mind. In showing students how to gain some separation from their thoughts comes a greater level of self-awareness and clarity on the patterns that influence and run their lives. It’s an ongoing journey but one which brings a greater sense of freedom and empowerment.” It is a journey I welcome, though the very first step was bumpy.

I’d still be delusional if I thought I would be a contender for yoga if it is introduced to the Olympics, but I can now touch my toes; balance on my arms in crow pose; my core is strong and my shoulders are dropping away from my ears and slowly freeing up as I no longer feel I should carry the weight of the world on them. One day I will have a pleasing upside down V in my downwards-facing dog – sometimes I already catch glimpses of it.

And I’ve surprised myself: I’d expected to use the teacher training to learn more about yoga, to deepen my practice. I hadn’t expected that six months after wishing myself invisible in class, I’d be at the front, teaching other students at regular classes.

While I’m at the very beginning of my journey, I have learnt that yoga helps me cope with grief. It gives me a sense of grounding, the sandbags to shore up the watery wash of my emotions. A distance that means I can sometimes get a sense of a bird’s eye view, rather than a bug’s eye view, and a way to feel my body. The chattering of my mind certainly hasn’t stopped, and I don’t believe grief – or any strong feelings – just disappear. But with a little distance from the emotions that flooded so forcefully through me, I feel that I’ve got the tools to start to help others who may come to the yoga mat for more than just a bikini body.

Credit: This has been written by Genevieve Roberts. She teaches yoga in London. You can find her at her blog FindingSunshine. This has been posted with permission of the author. A version of this article was first posted with The Independent here.

You may also like: Transformation Through Yoga Can Happen At Any Age

No CommentsAdd a Comment »
 

My Personal Journey Of Healing Through Yoga

Fergus Higgins

Fergus Higgins


When I was young I played a lot of sports like soccer, rugby, tennis, and I even ran marathons. But because of work, accidents, and family, I became sedentary and ill with a laundry list of health issues.

This list includes: sciatica, premature degeneration of L4/L5 discs, carpel tunnel syndrome, spinal bone spur growths, and the list goes on… Not to mention I was depressed, overweight, using drugs, and addicted to tobacco, sugar, and fatty foods.

I went to see doctors and all they did was put me on Vioxx, Celebrex, and pain killers, and nothing seemed to help. So one day I went to see a nutritionist and I started practicing yoga. I was 44-years-old.

The nutritionist taught me about eating veggies, fruits, and consuming lots of water, and that I’d never get heavier if I ate no more calories than I was able to burn off in one day.

Then there was the yoga!

Being a guy, I was terrified to enter a place outside my comfort zone. But what I found was an amazing world:

  • A world where my body slowly healed
  • A world where my body became physically stronger
  • A world where my body became flexible again
  • A world where emotionally I suffered less
  • A world where emotionally I felt like I had more freedom
  • A world of yoga that had the tools to heal

I wasn’t doing amazing poses, I was simply going to vinyasa flow and hatha yoga classes. I would go to basics, after basics, after basics classes for years. Then one day one of my favorite yoga teachers, a man by the name of Frank Mauro at OM yoga, told me to leave his basics class and try a basics intermediate and/or intermediate.

I was almost 50-years-old and my back muscles had become strong enough and supported my spine so my L4/L5 disk could heal. Years of yoga enabled my sciatica down my left leg to heal and I became pain free.

Yoga had healed my body.

Yoga made my body stronger and more flexible.

Then another “funny thing that happened on the way to the forum” – I found that after you practice yoga long enough, yoga starts to shift the way you look at yourself and the world around you:

  • You start to take better care of yourself
  • You start to honor your own feelings, which may have been terrifying before
  • You start to erect and respect your own and others’ healthy boundaries

Yoga has healed me in so many ways. In fact, I am so grateful to all my different yoga teachers that I am now teaching and guiding others a few times a week, simply passing on that which I consider a gift. Thank you to all my wonderful teachers – you know who you are!

Credit: This has been written by Fergus Higgins. Fergus now teaches yoga because he believes it brings you physical strength and flexibility and emotional centering. You can find Fergus here. This has been reposted with permission of the author. The original post was first posted here at MindBodyGreen.

You may also like: Breathe To Change

No CommentsAdd a Comment »
 

Warriors Find Peace Through Yoga

After leaving the Marine Corps in 2004, Anu Bhagwati found herself emotionally wounded and physically broken from multiple injuries. She was then diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. She tried the conventional pill-popping treatment and her downward slide continued. Eventually she turned to yoga and found peace. She then started teaching yoga to other veterans and has helped hundreds. This is the story as carried by CBS News and highlights a trend where those suffering from PTSD find yoga to be a critical component on their road to recovery.

Anu has since co-founded Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN). Under her leadership SWAN has spearheaded a campaign to end military rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment in the armed forces.

You may also like: Change Begins Within

No CommentsAdd a Comment »