My Year To Thrive

"My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style." ~Maya Angelou


Yoga For Bipolar Disorder — Yea, Nay, Or Meh?

Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured.
~B.K.S. Iyengar (Quote Garden)

A study on yoga & Bipolar Disorder recently dropped in the Journal of Psychiatric Practice, “Self-Reported Benefits and Risks of Yoga in Individuals with Bipolar Disorder“.  It has blown the bipolar-sphere up.  When I finished yesterday’s post about yoga for veterans with PTSD I had a Google alert for “bipolar disorder” with four links about it, with varying opinions.  Today I have more opinions on it to review.

It involved 109 participants who self-identified as having BD & practicing yoga being given an online survey of their experiences with yoga.  The results were majority positive, for instance less anxiety & better sleep, but some people did report having negative experiences such as agitation during rapid breathing or hot yoga.  The study mainly saw hatha & vinyasha yoga, the typical yoga practiced in the USA, rather than the sudarshan kriya yoga of yesterday’s post.  Further research is planned.

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Yoga helps war veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder | Raw Story

Some of the most damaging consequences of seeing combat can happen in the mind. Of the 2.3m American veterans who returned from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, up to 20% go on to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at some point. In a report published by the US Department of Veterans Affairs at least 22 American veterans take their lives every day.

Yoga helps war veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder

The effects of PTSD can include intrusive memories, heightened anxiety and personality changes. Individuals can also experience hyper-arousal, where they are easily startled, feel “jumpy” and constantly on guard. Standard current treatment for PTSD generally involves prescriptions for antidepressants and psychotherapy, with mixed results.

In a new study published in the Journal of Traumatic Stress, researchers say that yoga can be used to bring better mental balance.

Yoga has previously been shown as valuable in reducing the stress of university students, and depression, anxiety, alcoholism and PTSD in tsunami survivors, as well as helping cancer patients. The charity Yoga for America runs programmes for serving soldiers and war veterans.

An interesting, albeit small, study was done on sudarshan kriya yoga for veterans with PTSD.  It used twenty-one veterans diagnosed with PTSD.  Eleven were assigned a one-week intensive course of yoga, & the other ten were the control group.  The yoga group showed reduced symptoms of PTSD, including lowered anxiety & hyper-arousal, as well as less intense intrusive memories.

If it works on intrusive thoughts, I will definitely be looking into that.


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Downward facing dog modifications for beginners & plus size yogis | Body Positive Yoga

“Yoga has a very prominent piece of philosophy within it that is called ahimsa. . . Ahimsa means non-violence, or non-killing or non-harming. . . Ahimsa also means acting with kindness towards ourselves. . . And I see this as a huge correlation with HAES® as well. I really feel that the diet culture that is out there and the weight loss culture that is out there can be extremely harmful as I’m sure most of us who have experienced it know. . . . Whereas HAES® is much more in line with yoga philosophy in terms of being about not harming. Let’s do everything we can to create a healthy body in a gentle and tender and loving and compassionate way.”
Tiina Veer, HAES® Meets Ahimsa: Applying Yoga Philosophy To Your HAES® Practice And Vice Versa (Body Love Wellness)

Downward facing dog modifications for beginners & plus size yogis

A variety of modifications for not only larger bodies, but people with varying levels of ability (including those of us with wrist pain).  Bonus!  She has a video about how you can keep your boobs out of your face during yoga!

Bonus Bonus! Modifications for Pigeon Pose

Triple bonus since I recently posted about Sun Salutations: Sun Salutation Modifications for Plus-Size Bodies

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Things Not to Assume about Fat People & Yoga


Love Thy Fatness

A Facebook friend shared a link to this on Chubby Bunnies’ tumblr, so I chased it back to the source for you. 🙂  If you need more inspiration, there are a couple more pics in the original post; plus lots more inspiration in the tumblr.

Love Thy Fatness is a size acceptance blog.  They shared this post about some plus size yogis helping their instructor prepare to lead a workshop for other instructors on body positive cues & modifications.

When she asked the question, “What do you wish more yoga teachers knew about creating body-positive classes?”

Their responses were:

Don’t assume that we aren’t as strong or flexible.
Don’t assume that this is my first ever yoga/fitness class.
Don’t assume that I hate my body.
Don’t assume that I’m there for weight loss.
Don’t assume anything about what I eat.
Don’t assume anything about my health.

These are some of the reasons I’ve never been entirely comfortable in yoga classes, or a lot of exercise classes for that matter.  I hate the feeling of the instructor waiting for me to die any second or snap in half.  In one yoga class we were guided through a move where she suggested we use the wall for support.  I was one of only two people in the class who did it without support. Take that non-believers! 😛

What would you  add?

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Curvy Pose of the Month: Sun Salutations | Curvy Yoga

The yoga mat is a good place to turn when talk therapy and antidepressants aren’t enough.
~Amy Weintraub, (Quotes Garden)

 photo BasicSunSalutation-1.jpg

As a subscriber to Curvy Yoga‘s newsletter, I get the Curvy Pose of the Month.  I’ve been considering getting into a morning Sun Salutations routine for a while, but just haven’t gotten around to it.  (Don’t we all have those things?  It’s the same thing with playing the guitar.)  This month’s curvy pose is the sun salutation, so it seems like it could be kismet.  I finally got my hands on some Tylenol Arthritis, but my body still isn’t up to yoga though so it will have to wait a little longer (however I think could manage a pretty strong Mountain Pose & Upward Salute.)

Since this is a newsletter, rather than a blog post, I’m going to be a little more liberal with the c+p than I usually am.

Rather than taking you through every pose, I thought I’d just highlight some handy tips for making your Sun Salutations curvified.

1. Step your feet wider: Sun Salutes start with Mountain pose, or Tadasana. This is often taught with feet together or hip bone distance apart, but that’s not always the right base of support for everyone. I recommend stepping your feet a comfortable distance apart, and by comfortable I mean that you feel stable and spacious, like you have some room to move. By starting in the right foundation for you, it gives you more space for the poses that follow.

2. Make space for your belly: When you step back from Standing Forward Bend to a Lunge, there can sometimes be too much compression between the thigh and the belly, which doesn’t feel good. If that happen for you, step your front leg wider (so if your right leg is forward, scoot it more to the right side of your mat).

3. Work your dog: Down Dog doesn’t work for everyone; it’s actually a quite challenging pose, even though that’s not always acknowledged. If it doesn’t work for you, skip it and go to Tabletop instead. If your wrists bother you in the pose, trying placing your hands on the rolled up top of your mat or a blanket to decrease the angle of your wrist and/or come onto your forearms instead of hands.

4. Step forward with more ease: I believe the trickiest part of the Sun Salutation is when you step forward from Down Dog to Standing Forward Bend. What happens for me and lots of curvy folks is when that move is initiated traditionally, the knee comes directly forward – right into the belly, which doesn’t feel good and/or impedes movement. The good news, though, is that there are lots of other options, including: (1) Step your front foot wider. Rather than bringing it behind the corresponding hand, step it outside that hand; (2) Drop your opposing knee down to the mat, then step your other foot wider. The down knee gives you a little leverage here; (3) Take your forward foot high up into the air first then use that momentum to bring the leg forward; (4) Don’t step forward: Walk your hands back to your feet; (5) Take as many small steps as you’d like to come forward.

There’s always more I could say about Sun Salutation options, but hopefully these will give you some things to experiment with.

Hope everyone is having a great day!  I’m going go watch movies & crochet baby shoes for a friend now. ^_^


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Curve Camp 2014

curve camp 2014

Curve Camp 2014

Where did this week go?  Monday was such a great day, I didn’t even have a chance to sit down & blog. Unfortunately, Tuesday blew up & the last couple of days have been… I don’t know, something.  But here I am!  I’m giving you Curve Camp today because tomorrow is the last day for the early bird registration.

  • Early bird registration will get you a spot for $397, or 3 monthly payments of $135.
  • Starting Sunday regular registration beings, $497 or three monthly payments of $165.

Camp is being held in Nashville, TN (an awesome town if you’ve never been there).  There will be six instructors over three days, June 20-22, including Ms. Anna Guest-Jelley.  Click here for more info, including instructor bios & an itinerary.

Who is Curve Camp for?

It’s for yogis who don’t fit the conventional mold — because they’re bigger, smaller, older, quirkier, or differently-abled than the models on the cover of Yoga Journal.

What is Curve Camp about?

Our theme is “Like” At First Sight.

Because we want you to …

  • Like yourself in the morning. Like yourself in the evening.
  • Like yourself on the mat. Like yourself off the mat.
  • Like yourself even when you don’t feel like it.
  • Like yourself a little bit more every day.
  • And be with people who like you. A lot.

All of the yoga classes + activities at CurveCamp will be tied into the theme of “liking yourself” … just a little bit more than you did one year ago. Or one day ago. Or one breath ago.

Curve Camp 2014


Yoga Week & a Liebster Award

So a couple of things happened to make me decide I should talk about yoga this week, well a few things actually, so I have a few things to share over the next few days.

First I was given a Liebster Award by TheRedLippedLadyofRohan at Namaste Every Damn Day.  In her own words,

I am a twentysomething plus size woman attempting a year long yoga commitment! My goal is to successfully complete at least one yoga set per day. I will pick from tutorial videos and pose charts I find online to help guide me through.

I am sick/continue to be sick but have something new now, & have an afghan that needs to be finished sometime hopefully before the baby it’s intended for is born >_< , so I am not up to fully addressing the Liebster Award today.  However, I will do it this week, even if I have to sacrifice spending an hour or two trying to come up with the perfect answers, perfect questions, & perfect blogs, & you just have to settle for the best I can come up with at the time. :-/  (Everything takes too long when you feel like it needs to be perfect.)

Today, I also received a Care2 petition regarding yoga.  I thought it must be one of these charities that teach the underprivileged yoga, but it was actually a Pledge to Add a Little More Yoga to Your Everyday Life by Gaiam.  TBH, I thought it was a little tacky for a company that sells yoga supplies & lifestyle items to be using the petition site for something that seems more promotional in nature than anything.  C’est la vie.  They sell yoga stuffs because they believe in yoga; they started the pledge because they believe in the benefits of yoga for everyone*.  I have been meaning to do more yoga, so I signed it.

meditation at sunset against a backdrop of mountains

source: Gaiam’s pledge page

So here’s to a week of talking about yoga, & hopefully actually doing some!

*Not really everyone since their women’s clothing doesn’t seem to come any larger than an XL, which according to their chart correlates to a size 16.  The only thing I have ever bought from them was a yoga dvd with a mat & accessories kit, so I can’t speak to how their clothing fits.  But they have a bouncy ball chair I have always wanted, jic anyone forgot to get me a birthday present last week… 😉