Don’t Hibernate, Invigorate!

This winter, feed your fire for vigor and vitality.

During the coldest months of the year, it can be tempting to cozy up next to the fire and not venture out again until the weather warms. For many of us, our internal flame of motivation can begin to burn a bit low this a time of year. However, since hibernation is not a natural state for humans it is important that we feed our fire, so that come spring we don’t regret those hours of chillin’ the winter away. The yogic principle of Tapas supports us in cultivating the inner flame that motivates us.

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Action, Mindful Action, Right Action

Understanding Karma Yoga and Dharma – and practicing these can help you, others, and the world live in a more peaceful and easeful manner.

Helping Hands

With so many things happening around the world including natural disasters, global warming, terrorism, racism, and sexism, etc. it is only natural to wonder what you can do to help others who may be in a less fortunate situation than you or to help the earth itself. It can also be natural to doubt your ability, as one person, to make a difference. These questions and doubts are perfectly valid, and the reality is that there are a lot of different things that you can do and that each one of them will probably have little direct impact on these huge issues. However, mindful action – Karma Yoga – moves us toward right action – Dharma – and when we practice our Karma Yoga and follow our Dharma, then each small act begins to contribute to the universal good.

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Take Charge of Your Health

7 easy steps to improve your health and save health care dollars now and in the future.

It seems that health insurance and health care have become more confusing and uncertain than ever before.  While you may have limited control over the health insurance and health care systems, there are many things that you can easily do for yourself, on a day to day basis, to decrease your risk of illness and in turn, save health care dollars now and in the future.

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Stock - watersunAs we welcome the season of spring, many of us celebrate the awakening of the earth from the long restful sleep of winter.  When we practice Yoga we invite an awakening in ourselves – perhaps many of us begin yoga with the intention of a clearer recognition or realization of the potential in our physical bodies, or perhaps our thoughts and emotions, but the yogic texts tell us that through Yoga we awaken to our true nature.

Yoga Sutras 1.2 – 1.3:  “Yogas Chitta Vrtti Nirodah.  Tada drastuhu svarupe avastanam.  Translation – Complete mastery over the modifications of the mind is called yoga.  Then the seer becomes established in its true nature.”  (Translation of Yoga Sutras of Patanjali from Yoga International.)

The practice of Yoga allows us to see the world as it is by training our bodies and minds to stay in the present moment – the only moment where the world exists.  The past and future can only be perceived in our imagination.  As we practice being in the present moment, we begin to fine-tune our perception of the present moment.

The term Chitta means the mind stuff – the conscious and subconscious – including memories, experiences, conditioned thoughts, habits, instincts, concentration, and inquiry.  Essentially the lens through which we perceive ourselves and the world around us.

Vritti literally means whirlpool, and in yogic terms refers to the fluctuations of the mind or the thought waves.

In India, there is a lovely metaphor that is commonly used to illustrate the terms chitta, vritti, and Self:  The metaphor is of a lake where the bottom is our true nature or self, the lake is the chitta, and state of the water at the surface is the vrittis.  If the top of the lake is covered by ripples or the water is muddy one will not be able to see the bottom of the lake.  However, if the water is still and clear, we can easily see the bottom.

So does this mean that we want the lake, or our mind, always to be calm, quiet, and still?  No, not necessarily.  Noticing and observing the fluctuations can give us valuable insights into ourselves and allow us to shift how we perceive what is.  During asana (Yoga posture) and meditation practice, we develop the ability to choose where we place our attention and learn to bring this skill off of the mat and into our lives to find greater ease as we awaken to our own true nature.

By changing your mind you change everything. If only we could understand this point, we would see that there is nothing wrong outside; it is all in the mind. By correcting our vision we correct things outside. If we can cure our jaundiced eye, nothing will look yellow. But without correcting the jaundice, however much we scrub the outside things, we are not going to make them white or blue or green; they will always be yellow. That’s why yoga is based on self-reformation, self-control, and self-adjustment.”~ Swami Satchidananda

PosabilitiesBy Katey Hawes, owner and founder of Posabilities, Inc., a physical therapist, registered yoga teacher, and yoga therapist.

You may find her at Facebook.com/posabilities4u, Twitter @Posabilities4u, and .

Yin Yoga – The Other Half of Yoga

By Guest writer:  Niki Venter MSW, RYT-200

Yin Yoga classes are offered with Niki at Posabilities on Fridays, 4:30 – 5:30 PM

It has frequently been asked what is Yin yoga and how is it different from regular yoga?

Yin YogaYin yoga is sometimes referred to as “the other half of yoga” when considering our practice of yoga postures (also known as asana practice). That being said, the posture practice that many people are most familiar with can be considered yang yoga, which is a more active and heating style of yoga. Yang yoga targets the muscles, building strength, balance, and flexibility, and creating greater energy and vitality to the body, mind, and spirit. Yin yoga, equally important, is a more meditative form of yoga that targets the deeper tissues of the body including the connective tissues, bones, and joints. Connective tissues targeted are ligaments, tendons, fascia, and cartilage. Yin targets the connective tissues of the hips, pelvis and the lower spine. In addition to the physical benefits, Yin yoga provides an increased state of calm and ease for the body, mind, and spirit.

What’s the benefit of targeting these deeper tissues through Yin Yoga?

Did you know that roughly 47% of the resistance to flexibility occurs in our connective tissues while about 41% occurs in our muscles? Without getting too technical, our connective tissues work as a network to bind, support, connect, and protect all the other tissues throughout our body. As we age our connective tissues can become overly dense and compacted, trapping toxins within the cells, resulting in decreased flexibility and range of motion. The good news is that yoga, yin yoga, in particular, can help to lengthen, strengthen, rehydrate, and decompress these networks of tissue, creating spaciousness, releasing built up toxins, and bringing greater health and vitality to the connective tissues.

Due to differences in fluid content, connective tissue generally is not as flexible as muscle tissue. To lengthen and strengthen our connective tissues stretches need to be held for a longer period. Because of this Yin yoga poses are held anywhere from one minute on, with an average duration of three to four minutes.  In Yin, it is not how deep you go in a pose but how long you hold the pose that creates the benefit. For younger people the practice of Yin Yoga can help maintain their youthful tissues and minimize, or reduce, any damage that has occurred due to injury. For the older person, Yin yoga can reverse and slow down the bodies aging process at a cellar level. But you don’t need to know all this to be convinced of the benefits of Yin, you need only to feel the results of a practice to know something good is going on inside.

So how do we practice Yin?

In a Yin yoga practice, you slowly relax into the poses, which are usually seated or lying down on your mat, allowing the muscles to be soft as you explore your individual edge, or stopping point. Each person’s stopping point will be different therefore each person’s pose will look different.  Similar to the more yang practices we allow the breath to guide us and move the prana (vital energy) around the body. Through focus and attention to our individual edge, we develop a calm state and a sharpening of awareness at all levels of our being. Gradually, over time, as the body rejuvenates, the tissues lengthen and become more spacious and flexibility increases allowing a greater range of motion and ease of movement. I have had students tell me that the day after a yin class they experience, “a greater sense of well-being.”

I have experienced first hand the benefits of a consistent Yin practice and am so excited to share this practice with my students. Remember like all yoga practices if you have any physical limitations you should check with your doctor or you can contact us here at Posabilities. Together with a balanced practice of both yin and yang styles, I feel yoga is the greatest gift we can give ourselves. Yoga nourishes the body, mind, and spirit. I hope to see you all on your mat. Sending Love. Namaste – Niki Venter

Niki VenterAbout Niki:

Niki Venter MSW, RYT-200 has completed a number of advanced yoga training in both Yin Yoga and alignment based yoga and teaches Gentle and Yin Yoga classes at Posabilities.  Niki enjoys sharing the practice of Yoga with her students and feels that Yoga prepares you for all of life mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.  She is eager to share this with all who attend her classes.

Connect with Posabilities on Facebook.com/posabilities4u, Twitter @Posabilities4u, and .

Shake Your Soul – The Healing Power of Play in Movement

By Kathryn Gardner RYT, LMT

Yoga DanceShake Your Soul® – the Yoga of Dance – is a movement practice that relaxes your nervous system, energizes your body, and awakens your soul through a powerful, fluid dance repertoire set to world music.

When I first walked into a yoga dance class at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health, I was curious and nervous. A friend had told me I had to try it; she said I’d have a blast and feel worked over and enlivened by the class. The instructor told us not to worry about “getting the moves right” but to focus on the bubbling up of our creative spirit. He talked about feeling the music in the body and moving spontaneously in response to the moves he would offer.

Slowly my nervousness dissolved as the music and repertoire moved from flowing and sweet, through playful and bouncy, to sensual and soulful. My whole body smiled – I was playing like a little girl again. Worries about how I looked, what others might think, that this was a silly activity with no tangible goal – began slipping away.

Lately, the research about the benefits of play has been getting some press. We’re discovering that not only is play necessary for children as they grow and develop, but that adults need unstructured, non-goal-oriented fun as well. Engaging in regular playful activities has been linked to stress relief, increased brain functioning, improved relationships and a deeper sense of joy in life.

Dan Leven, the creator of Shake Your Soul and founder of LIFE Movement, believes that connecting playfully to music and movement brings us closer to our creative spirit, opening up space in all aspects of our daily lives. “Whether you’re teaching a class, writing a business plan, talking with a friend, working with a client, writing an e-mail, being with your children—whatever the activity is, it can be infused with the spirit of creativity.” That spirit of creativity comes from letting go of the thinking, judging mind. It springs from those spaces between our thoughts when we are connecting directly with the present moment.

Shake Your Soul brings the present moment alive. Each class follows a dance repertoire based on the fluids within our bodies that awaken our natural dancer. Dynamic and organic class sequences feel great to the body and free the spirit. As an instructor, my goal is to create a sweaty, sacred space where you are supported to connect with your creative energy, moving between my movements and the impulse of your soul.

As I learned in my training with Leven, Shake Your Soul supports people back into the fullness of body connection. “As we lead people toward their embodied joy, their spirits are welcomed back into the cells of their muscles, organs, and body.”

Looking back at that first class at Kripalu, it’s easy to see how I fell in love with this practice, and I’m grateful to my friend for encouraging me. Those soulful songs gave way to Indian and African rhythms, and the class drew to a close with soft sounds of the flute. Hands on heart, eyes soft, I felt a deep peace. We were connected as a community of dancers, and I was home again – grounded in my body, and joyful in my bones.

Kathryn Gardner, LMT, RYT-200Kathryn Gardner, RYT, LMT is a certified Yoga Dance teacher and loves teaching yoga and meditation and providing massage at Posabilities. Learn more about her in the About Us section, and click here to check the schedule for class times.

Understanding Yoga Therapy

A one-on-one complementary alternative medical approach to health and healing.

PeaceYoga Therapy, or yoga chikitsa, is an ancient therapeutic adaptation of yoga used to suit the condition of the individual to help address suffering (dukha) at all levels of the being. This approach to health and healing has gradually evolved, and modern day Yoga Therapy functions independently, as well as a complementary approach to allopathic medicine (modern day western medicine), in supporting health and healing. The International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT) defines Yoga Therapy as the process of empowering individuals to progress toward improved health and wellbeing through the application of the teachings and practices of yoga.

Western Medicine, or allopathic, practitioners, such as Doctors, Nurses, Physical Therapists, etc., focus on diseases and injuries, and their cures. Yoga Therapists may also work in a curative direction, the primary focus of Yoga Therapy is to work with the individual who has the disease — helping them find greater balance at the levels of the mind, body, and spirit to help reduce suffering. Through the thoughtful and intelligent application of Yoga practices, individuals can gain insight and confidence in the fact that they can improve their condition through their actions. In most cases, this is not a substitute for medical attention, but a complementary approach to improve outcomes at all levels of the being.

Yoga Therapists typically consider the five koshas of the individual including the physical body, the energy body (breath body), emotional body, wisdom or witness body, and the spiritual or bliss body with the understanding that imbalances in any of these layers can result in disease and suffering. A variety of yogic practices, including asana (postures), breath work (pranayama), meditation, intention setting, and affirmations may be utilized to promote greater balance at any of these layers. My Yoga Therapy teacher, Joseph Le Page, M.A., Integrative Yoga Therapy, defines Yoga Therapy as the “facet of the ancient science of Yoga that focuses on health and wellness at all levels of the person: physical, psychological, and spiritual. Yoga therapy focuses on the path of Yoga as a healing journey that brings balance to the body and mind through an experiential understanding of the primary intention of Yoga: Awakening of Spirit, our essential nature.”

Recently the International Association of Yoga Therapy (IAYT) set standards for accrediting Yoga Therapy training programs. These programs must meet standards including at least 600 hours of advanced Yoga Therapy training. Beginning the summer of 2016, the association will begin certifying individual Yoga Therapists (C-IAYT). The basic standards for this certification will be graduation from an accredited Yoga Therapy program.

I have been fortunate enough to study Yoga Therapy through Integrative Yoga Therapy, which is an accredited Yoga Therapy Program. I have completed my initial 500 hundred hours of training, and will be grandfathered in as a C-IAYT when the certification process begins. Despite my opportunity to be grandfathered, I continue my Yoga Therapy training to meet the highest standards and expect to complete this process by November 2016. As a professional Physical Therapist of 20+ years, I feel so fortunate to have discovered this complementary therapy, and to be able to make it available to the residents of the Oxford Hills of Maine.

By Katey Hawes, owner and founder of Posabilities, Inc., physical therapist, registered yoga teacher, and yoga therapist.  You may find her at Facebook.com/posabilities4u, Twitter @Posabilities4u, and .

Transitioning with Ease


Fall is the season of transition from summer to winter. This transitional season can bring up a variety of thoughts and feelings including melancholy, abundance, gratitude, and turning inwards. Just as the seasons are constantly changing, life is also a series of frequent changes. The seasons can be metaphors for life transitions:  Fall representing the end of one stage or phase, winter the pause or space between the end of one thing and the beginning of another, spring the beginning of something new, and summer the evolution of that change. The four sounds of the AUM that we frequently chant as part of our yoga practice can also be metaphors for life transitions. The sound “A” representing creation, “U” preservation, “M” transformation, and the silence at the end of the AUM the space that allows the opportunity for awakening to our bliss or true essence.

Just as the trees shedding their leaves signifies the end of summer and the beginning of fall, when we face life transitions we shed old patterns and routines to make space for transformation.

Here are some tips for transitioning with ease:

RITUAL – Experiment with rituals that resonate with you that can help you close the door on the past and open the door to your future. Rituals that you may consider for the fall transition may include celebrating the harvest, getting out and about to take in the foliage, or planting bulbs as you look forward to the next year.

LET GO – Once you have honored the passage from the past to the future through some form of ritual, complete any unfinished business that remains, and then allow yourself to move forward by letting go of the past. As fall arrives, you can embrace the concept of letting go by cleaning house, putting away your summer toys, tools, and clothes, and giving away what you no longer need.

SURRENDER – Give in to any feelings that arise from transitions. Rather than avoiding feelings that occur naturally (positive or negative) allow yourself to feel them completely. Through surrender, we can open up to rebirth. Fall can bring about many feelings. If you are feeling melancholy, ambivalent, or joyous about the transition of the season, don’t try to change or ignore these feelings, simply let them be, and observe them with a gentle curiosity.

YOGA – Through our yoga practice we prepare ourselves to transition with equanimity and ease. As we flow through postures, we practice smooth mindful transitions and use our breath to stay present with our current circumstance rather than residing in the past. We complete each practice with Savasana, or corpse pose, where we surrender to what is. Our chanting of AUM reminds us that life is cyclical and ever changing.

So, please join me in offering a fond adieu to summer, and offering fall a heartfelt welcome!

“Life is one big transition.” ~ Willie Stargell

PosabilitiesBy Katey Hawes, owner and founder of Posabilities, Inc., is a physical therapist, registered yoga teacher, and yoga therapist. You may find her at Facebook.com/posabilities4u, Twitter @Posabilities4u, and .

Reiki? What is that?

By Susan Kane, M.Ed

When I tell people I am a Reiki Practitioner and a Reiki Master Teacher, I often get the response, “Reiki? What is that?” And, then I start sharing my understanding and passion for this gentle healing art with them, as I am going to do now with you, Dear Reader.

Ray – Key. That is how R-e-i-k-i is pronounced.  Reiki is a form of energy healing. The goal of Reiki is to heal, harmonize and balance. The energy is accessed by the practitioner from the universe to the client. In this way, Reiki acts as a jump-start to activate one’s own healing. You may have heard of other forms of energy healing as well, such as Polarity Therapy, Acupuncture, and Therapeutic Touch, to name a few. Reiki is different from other healing modalities in two basic ways. One is the use of Reiki symbols during a treatment.  Second, is the way Reiki is taught. There are three levels of learning: Reiki 1; Reiki 2; and Reiki 3. Classes are usually 6 hours long, and, therefore, it is possible to learn Reiki in a day. Training provides the tools for one to become an effective Reiki practitioner and one’s effectiveness evolves with time as experience with Reiki energy is gained. There is no tests or state licensing required; instead the trainee receives an attunement at each level from the teacher. The attunement activates the Reiki energy to begin flowing.

Recipients of Reiki have described it many different ways. You lie on a massage table, completely dressed. The practitioner moves their hands from your head down to the feet, first on the front and then the back. Most find this experience warm and calming. Some say it feels tingly. Reiki slows down the body so that you can breathe deeper. Sometimes clients drop into a light sleep as they receive the energy. (Almost all people I work with tell me their sleep improves for days after a session.) Any physical pain or anxiety you may be carrying with you as you enter the treatment room, soon dissipates after the session begins. After a treatment, many describe a feeling of Reiki Bliss, a wonderful state of well-being, empowering you to tackle any challenge you face from a place of balance.

Susan KaneMaybe you are interested in experiencing a Reiki session for yourself, or perhaps you want to learn Reiki for self-care (Reiki 1), or you are already a level 1 practitioner and want to deepen your practice. Whatever your Reiki need or interest may be, I am very happy to offer my services to the Posabilities Community.  Reiki Blessings!   Susan

Click here to learn more about Susan and her services.

Physical Therapy | Yoga | Wellness in Norway, Maine