Sarah Jamieson Yoga - Winter 2015 Newsletter
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Move well.    Breathe well.    Be well.

"One may not reach the dawn save by the path of night."  â€“ Kahlil Gibran

Big Changes Ahead.

2015 is going to be a year of big transitions for me. One change on the horizon is that I am going to be taking a break from regularly offering my Yoga for Pain Relief course. The last session of 2015 will start Thursday, March 19, so if you have been thinking about joining me, please do! 

This year has also found me back at university for the first time in close to a decade. I am taking a graduate certificate in pain management through the University of Alberta. The program has been absolutely fascinating so far, and I've already been weaving what I am learning into my Yoga for Pain Relief course and sessions at CHANGEpain

It's intimidating to be studying neuroscience at a graduate level when my formal education is in business and the arts – especially when most of my classmates are doctors! – but I got 94% on my first test so I seem to be faring well so far. 

Thank you for continuing to follow along with my adventures.

In gratitude,

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Yoga for Pain Relief  ~  Last session of 2015!

Course Details
Thursday afternoons, 3-4:30pm

March 19th – May 7th (No class Apr.16)
$150 for 7 sessions
Ocean and Crow Yoga*, 1707 Grant Street, Vancouver, BC
*Eastside Yoga has changed its name. Classes are in the same location. 

Learn more on my website and please email me if you have questions.

Click here to register online, or contact the studio director Julie Peters by email to arrange registration in person or by phone.
Taking Care

A component of the classical practice of yoga is Ishvarapranidhana, which is often translated as surrender. Practicing Ishvarapranidhana is about letting go of your attachment to the outcome. It is about giving up the illusion of control. We do our practice, we put in the work, but ultimately we have to accept that we cannot control what will happen as a result of our efforts. We have to surrender to how things unfold because if we hold fiercely to the belief that we can control what will happen, we create unnecessary suffering for ourselves.

If you struggle with your feelings of anxiety, reflect on your tendency to try and control the outcome of things. Feelings of anxiety are often associated with a fear of what will happen in the future, and when we let anxiety fuel our actions, we often try to control the way things will unfold. If things go the way we want them to, there is often a false sense of affirmation that our efforts controlled the future. And, if things don't go our way, we again falsely convince ourselves it is because we didn't do enough to get the outcome we wanted. This response is a recipe for more intense feelings of anxiety and future anxiety-fueled behaviour because, over time, we set higher and higher standards for ourselves around what we have to do to make things go the way we want them to. 

The practice of Ishvarapranidhana offers us a way to step out of this anxious cycle. It's not easy or automatic; it is a choice. We may still feel paralyzing fear and anxiety about the future, but we can choose not to indulge our anxiety with our actions. When I feel anxiety about something and react internally with a desire to try and control as much as I can around the situation, it is helpful to have a mantra to repeat to myself that supports my choice not to react with anxious behaviour. I often find the wise words of the Beatles to be particularly helpful: "Let it be."

What words support your practice of surrender?
Recommended Read
Norman Doidge's The Brain that Changes Itself is an accessible and inspiring look at neuroplasticity. It features numerous case studies of patients suffering from neurological disorders and details how the brain adapts in order to compensate for the disabilities of the individual patients. It is fascinating – and creates space for things many people never thought possible.  
The Power of Hard Choices
I recently watched a powerful 15-minute TED Talk by Ruth Chang on How to Make Hard Choices. Chang is a philosopher, and she proposes that hard choices are opportunities to put our agency into our lives. 
A Brief Moment with
Pema and Oprah
This video is of a short (3min) conversation between Pema Chödrön and Oprah Winfrey. They are talking about the importance of acceptance. Pema shares a practice for attending to suffering and discontent, and Oprah puts it simply, "You first have to accept that what has happened has really happened."

Science & Yoga
The results of this study are particularly important to consider when it comes to children using tablets and smartphones because neck and shoulder pain conditions are presenting at increasingly younger ages.
Need More Motivation
to Meditate?
A recent study has found that meditation might slow the age-related loss of gray matter in the brain

A summary of the article reads: "Building on their earlier work that suggested people who meditate have less age-related atrophy in the brain's white matter, a new study found that meditation appeared to help preserve the brain's gray matter, the tissue that contains neurons."

Another article by Grace Bullock, PhD, looking at how yoga and meditation can change your brain offers an accessible overview of neuroplasticity and ways that it relates to the practice of yoga and meditation. 
Thank You!

Thanks for taking the time to read through my newsletter. If you have comments or suggestions, I'd love to hear from you. Namaste. ❤ 
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