Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Against the Pursuit of Happiness. Caring for the Caregiver.

I'm against the pursuit of happiness, let's instead redefine joy

Respite for anyone, with caregivers no exception, begins with finding this joy- this inner resource to call on. Caregivers must remember themselves first.

Happiness is defined by many as the ultimate goal -- often relegated to specific situations, things or people who make us feel happy. Those feelings-- they can be fleeting.

What if we sought after something more sustainable? Something that allows us to feel the joy and the pain- both. What if we could learn to hold them with as much curiosity as we would a small butterfly in the palm knowing it will soar for a while more and eventually, it will fade? You and I will experience grief-- of so many varieties throughout our lives. This kind of grief through Alzheimer's and other Dementias show us small daily losses are in fact unique to each of us.

This disease doesn't reduce our resilience or create another problem to be solved. Instead, it's something caregivers live with every day.

This disease has no cure. It isn't something that can be fixed. There is heartbreak. Daily. And it isn't something to step over or try to remove. This grief is something that becomes a part of the caregiver just like love is in the fabric of our being.

As much as joy can be a refuge, if only for the present moment, sorrow invites himself to sit alongside and listens. That duality holds our hands and walks us through this vast life, and we comply.

One way to heal is to invite and re-ignite a commitment to care for ourSelves. 

We move. We breathe. And daily, we look for how to alleviate the pain. What if, we look into that pain and honor it. Honor the grief as individual as it is to each of us. And, by seeing it all for what it is-- we take away the shame, the hardness and acknowledge that we can be with it.

Dearest caregiver, join me in setting aside your long to do list- just for today. Allow yourself to be cared for with grace. Pause (wherever you are right now). Relish in the stillness. Dare to engage with deep curiosity and listening. Take time to walk. Take time to sit with your tea. May today serve to be a future reminder of how beloved you are. How your self care today and every day sparks health and vitality for your collective loved ones at home.

We hope you will seek support and savor time with like-minded community who understand your journey.


Out of a desire to give back to my dad, a caregiver to his beloved wife, Marcee who passed of Early On-set a few years ago, I began this retreat 5 years ago. With a dream of being able to take care of those who selflessly care for their loved ones, I am accompanied by more than 30 volunteers.We see how difficult this is. We see you. And you are Love.

Join me in sharing this resource who are in need of it. Share the link. Tell a friend. Make a donation.*

caregiverwellnessretreat.com FREE for caregivers of Alzheimer's and other Dementias in Houston, Calgary and soon, Santa Fe. In loving memory of my Marcee and in gratitude to my dad, her loving caregiver. Taking care of those who caregive. #caregivers

*Your donation will go toward administration costs (registration, website, flier, etc.), food (we feed over 100 people - 2 meals during the retreat), and miscellaneous costs (eye pillows for the caregivers, cleaning fees for our donated retreat center, etc.) We are not yet a non-profit but working toward it!

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Yoga Research: How to find it, decipher it, and use it.

Field notes on Yoga Research. 

This will be a working document which I will continue to add to and comment on and grow... but my initial notes and sharing as I get a lot of questions about: aging, special populations, working with folks with x, y, z...and what's the best tool, technique, etc. 

We are all individual. Start with understanding not just anatomy but biomechanics. (Jules Mitchell is a great resource for that.) 

Then, work with understanding the brain and our body's systems. 

This is only the beginning. Look at where the information is coming from. Experience, research... and then, of course, there is our own bias and anecdotal accounts... begin first with study, practice and whatever you do and whatever capacity (or movement practice or modality) you work with individuals for healing or preventing injuries, know that they are an individual. It's a team effort (holistic approach). One method may work for one person, while it's not the best for another person... there are some basics (methodologies, practices), but we can only work from where we are within our own scope of practice. 

Alright... now to understand all the info that is floating out there... articles should not be your go to. Question everything. And... have fun. Don't be afraid to dive into research - the more you know, the less you'll realize you know. :)

ResearchIf you research yoga research or read yoga research or are interested or quote yoga research... let's learn more about it, eh?

Podcasts and Blogs

There are dozens, hundreds, and I'm sure soon to be thousands on yoga research. A few to check out are:Mindful Strength Podcast.

Ariana Rabinovitch has a wealth of info on her site (paid). Article / research reviews + a (free) podcast where she talks with experts/ experienced in yoga research. A sample article on headstands.

What am I looking for in research?

What is a metta analysis vs. systematic review vs. individual study?
This meta analysis shows the studies done on neuromuscular diseases and yoga are inconclusive. Therefore we need more research with better and more clear standards of measurement (IMHO).

What kinds of standards of measurement, you ask? Well, someone's come up with some psychometric properties for a yoga questionnaire that hopes to standardize and bring more cohesiveness to studies so we are not comparing apples to oranges.

Where do I find valid research?

IAYTIAYT journal of research/resources (paid with a few articles free).A sample review of study done on feasibility of restorative yoga vs. rigorous yoga with cancer patients. It shows that rigorous yoga is only slightly more effective-- however, the sample size, and many other factors such as, what is rigorous yoga? "Future studies for sedentary patients should focus on reducing time commitment and travel requirements to improve recruitment, and on using restorative yoga as a more feasible intervention for this population." ... so more research, please. 

Learn how to use PubMed/NLH (highly recommend).
A quick search on "clinical queries" (which brings up systematic reviews) for yoga (only pulls up the abstracts).
So then, how do you I get the full articles?

This will be a living document. I'll continue to add and grow the resources. Feel free to comment below, join the mailing list, or check out Restorative or Gentle Yoga Immersions

Let's keep stretching (pun intended) our biases and growing our knowledge base.

Time to move outside.

With grace,