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Please use this space to contact me with any questions or to set up a free 15 minute introductory phone call. 


Los Gatos, California
USA

650-619-6101

Therapeutic Services (counseling and yoga therapy) by Sharon Darby Lindsay in Los Gatos, California

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Inner Garden

 

 

 

 

Thoughts to Stimulate Your Senses....

We find moments of inspiration in the smallest (and biggest) things in life, when our eyes are open to it. Perhaps it is in a small flower we carefully step around on our morning walk, or maybe it is in a story we hear of one person's bravery in the face of adversity. Grow awareness in your life practice and you will find inspiration.

Befriending Your Body

Sharon Darby Lindsay

Michael Lee, the founder of Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy says: “ It is through your body that you will learn the most, and through your body that you will change everything in your life that needs to change.” 

Years ago while training in graduate school to become a therapist, it was pretty clear that when we worked with clients we focused on two things: the thoughts (mind) and the emotions (feelings) and not much else. You probed a client for content and feeling and continued to pull out those themes as they told stories of their past and their concerns for the present. Although the body was present at every session, it was largely ignored.

It wasn't unusual in my own professional practice for me to direct my clients in deep breathing exercises, progressive relaxation techniques, and body scans. However, I was in the minority, and my intention was usually to assist them in reducing stress or coping with anxiety. These were considered legitimate reasons to focus on the body. Although I had little to no guidance in graduate school for entering the realm of the physical, it was something that I intuitively felt could be helpful - at least to some clients.

Many of my colleagues figured it was “fluffy stuff” and unnecessary or even strange. Certainly there was no touching of any kind encouraged from me or even for themselves. For me to suggest to a client - particularly a minor student - that placing a hand on his/her heart or any other part of their body might help them tune into themselves better was tantamount to handing in my resignation.

So, my traditional graduate training in counseling psychology did nothing to prepare me for the real discoveries that are fundamental to my practice today. What did prepare me was my own journey; beginning with my first yoga classes more than 20 years ago. It started as a nice way to maintain flexibility while I kept up my running, and an effective means for reducing stress. But my yoga practice changed as my life and my needs changed.

 At the height of my fitness focus, it became an athletic endeavor of building strength and core muscles - although even then the practice of Shavasana (also called corpse pose, the mindful meditation at the end of a yoga class) was an important aspect of the experience for me. When I began to have a family, I discovered that yoga was a wonderful way to honor my changing body during pregnancy, as well as my best ally during childbirth. 

As my children grew, it became my escape and “me time,” as well as my opportunity to connect with others who were rapidly becoming my kindred spirits. My yoga practice has changed for me over the years - new teachers, new intentions, new yoga philosophies, and shifting capacities but I have realized through my training as a Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapist that one thing has remained constant. My yoga practice brings me in touch with my body, and that is how it has served me for such a long time. Had I not had this experience of integrating my whole self in yoga, I may not have realized how essential connecting with our ever present body is to our growth and wellbeing. 

I have not always loved my body, and indeed at times have felt it was my adversary - preventing me from achieving what I wanted to in my life. However, the truth I experience when I become present to my body is this: my body is my most constant companion and the source of my greatest wisdom. 

So, when I face a dilemma or a question in my life, sure - I will try to think it through using my well-developed reasoning skills. I will likely also check in with my feelings - exploring my emotional reaction to a particular situation. But, I also tune into my body. I may not like or want to listen to the wisdom that is there, but my very reaction to tuning in and listening - or resisting listening - is part of the wisdom it offers. 

Which brings me to why I have chosen to leave behind my traditional talk therapy training, and have become a Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapist. I know the body holds wisdom that cannot be ignored. Without also engaging this body wisdom, we may never reach our full potential for growth and change. The basis of Phoenix Rising therapy sessions is full presence - to mind, emotion, and body. I believe this is the foundation of supporting people on their journeys of change and personal growth. It can also be the foundation for freeing someone of chronic pain and discomfort. 

We need to start small; like beginning to strengthen a muscle we haven’t used very often. But you can try it for yourself: Befriend your body, in whatever way you can this week. Choose in a big, or small, way to create a better relationship with your constant companion - your body. Choose to accept what is, without a need to change, and your body will reward you with its honesty.

Here are some ideas:
-try meditation for a few minutes
-do a body scan
-get a massage
-take a bubble bath
-go for a leisurely walk
-take in a Hatha or Restorative Yoga class

 

“This is your body,
Your greatest gift,
Pregnant with wisdom you do not hear,
Grief you thought was forgotten,
And joy you have never known.” 
By Marion Woodman and Jill Mellick

 

 

 

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Evolution of the Resolution

Sharon Darby Lindsay

It's the beginning of a new year and most of us use this time to consider positive changes that we would like to see happen in our lives, and to resolve to make those changes happen. Even though I know that most resolutions aren't ever successfully completed, or at least not much past the month of January, I found myself sitting with my family last night - the eve of a brand new year - and talking about resolutions for 2016. 

This year, though, mixed with the optimism we very often feel on the brink of a fresh start, was a sense of wanting things to be a bit different. I've undergone a transformation in perspective this past year - actually its been a long time coming, but I've seen clearly how this new perspective on resolutions has been transforming my clients.  It has to do with how we approach our resolutions.

What can we say about the "typical" New Years resolution? Well, it's often focussed on self-improvement or transformation -  "I resolve to get in shape" or " I want to eat less junk food." Also, the typical resolution is forward focussed but there is often a pattern from other years, meaning that we've made this resolution before.  Most importantly, the typical New Years Resolution is "should" focused. It's all about becoming more of what we think we should be. The question is - what we should be according to who or what?

Let's face it- most resolutions are not successful. While it may be that we set the bar too high, or tell ourselves we lack enough motivation to be successful, I have another theory.  What if we aren't successful because of where we've placed our focus? What if we let go of the "future focussed" or "should" attitude, and instead resolved to become aware of "what is?" 

So, how has my perspective on resolutions changed this year? Instead of helping my clients focus their efforts on how they want to transform in this new year,  how they want to change themselves, I am supporting my clients to be in the present, and to recognize "what is." And, through yoga therapy sessions, my clients are getting in touch with themselves, with all their flaws and imperfections, and letting the universe take care of the future. If this sounds easy - and maybe a bit of a easy way out - think again. 

Being present to oneself takes a lot of self-discipline. It means not allowing yourself to always be distracted with your smartphone, or plans for the rest of the day, or week. Obviously these things demand our attention but next time you are sitting at a trafffic light, or waiting in a line- up somewhere, instead of picking up your phone for the 20th time that day and checking for messages, or making dinner plans, one time each day try taking a few deep breaths, and tuning in to what's happening inside you.

What are the thoughts swirling through your head? Are they future focussed or past focussed? Notice them.

What feelings are you having right now? Tension or irritation about having to wait? Anxiety about the tasks you have before you for the rest of the day?  Notice them.

What is happening in your body right now? Are there areas of tension, what is your breathing like? Notice. 

Notice what has shifted in mind, feelings and body as you've taken this time to be present. Maybe you'll notice shifts immediately, and maybe you'll notice them in a few hours or a few days. Then, move on with your day and experience real, gradual  transformation. Each time my clients come in for a yoga therapy session, they are practicing using the "muscle" of present awareness, and noticing the possibilities and insights that emerge in their lives as a result. The results of these mind-body sessions are magical and naturally and organically lead to personal transformation.  

Resolutions are about renewal and acceptance. Begin with what is, and move forward in this new year.

 

If you'd like to book a Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy session to begin your own personal transformation, call me to make a booking. January is Evolving the Resolution month! Sessions are offered 2 for 1 if booked in January, so that you can get the New Year off to a great start!  

www.ThreeFoldTherapy.com  

Call or text: 650-619-6101 to make an appointment

What's This?

Sharon Darby Lindsay

This is the future home of an insightful blog that will aim to inspire further insight into positive-life changes and the quickly growing practice of yoga therapy.