I recently completed Lasater Yoga’s 21-day Savasana Intensive. Seems strange that Savasana(relaxation) and intensive can go in the same sentence huh? Well THEY DO! Savasana can be one of if not the most difficult poses in yoga. “Why? You just lie on the floor?” Well yes. That’s where the real work happens. Not the outer body work that we are used to doing in a flow class. It’s more about the inner work. Savasana(or Relaxation Pose) is a place to land and notice. Things will present themselves during this stillness; feelings, thoughts, sensations, the dreaded “judgement” word, etc. In savasana, we can learn to sit through all of it without doing anything. We are so used to “doing” that we forget about “being.” Judith Hanson Lasater said during one of the audio recordings, “savasana prepares us for death.” Whoa. Sit with that for a minute.
Judith and her daughter, Lizzie lead the practitioner through 21-days of rest. Each day has either an audio recording about the art of savasana, or a video tutorial on setting up. A couple of days included guided meditation and breathwork to begin savasana. The expectation is to listen or watch then practice savasana for 20-minutes. You saw that I said “practice savasana” right? This time on your mat shows up differently each day and can be challenging in different ways. It is most certainly a practice.
I started this program in January and committed to practicing each day that I was at my office. I am fortunate to have a very peaceful “Breathe” room that is perfect for just this. I can confirm that I followed my plan. Looking back, I wish I had practiced everyday to really see the effects. The good news is that once you pay for the program, you have access to it forever. I will practice everyday next go-around.
I learned throughout the practice how sacred rest really is. I learned that I can take a break in the middle of the day for rest. I learned that a “real” savasana is at least 10-minutes. I learned new ways to set up savasana. I learned breathing techniques to lead in to savasana. I learned why savasana is so important. I learned that I need rest.
Do this program if:
- You would like to take your understanding of savasana deeper
- You are a yoga teacher(you get 20 CE hours upon completion!)
- You are a practitioner of yoga
- You need rest
The Therapist in the Real World by Jeffrey Kottler subtitles “What you never learn in graduate school (but really need to know).” When purchasing the book, it was the subtitle that caught my eye and solidified my decision. I’ve been out of graduate school for almost 13 years and feel that I have learned a lot more by doing than I ever did in the classroom. Kottler recognizes in the book that graduate school is limited in what they can teach and impress upon their students. He hopes that this book fills the gap.
The book is divided into 3 parts: gaps in graduate programs as well as the direction our field is headed, challenges, and professional as well as personal development for mental health clinicians. There was some comfort for me in reading about the challenges of this profession as well as the positives. I enjoyed Kottler’s predictions for the future of our profession, especially the movement towards more mind-body treatment.
Kottler discusses storytelling as a useful tool in therapy or presentations. This part really resonated with me and has caused me to think more about adding stories in sessions and presentations.
He dedicates a chapter to office environments as well as publishing. Neither of these chapters resonated with me but I understand the decision to include them in this book.
Overall, I enjoyed reading this book and sharing tidbits with other clinicians I know!
Read this book if and only if:
- You are a mental health clinician!
Kottler, J. A. (2015). The therapist in the real world: what you never learn in graduate school (but really need to know). New York: W.W. Norton & Company.
The Four Agreements written by Don Miguel Ruiz is a personal-growth book that outlines 4 principals to guide your life by. This book was written to help the reader pull themselves out of their own limiting beliefs that create suffering. Oftentimes, we become stuck in our own beliefs about a situation. The Four Agreements that Ruiz outlines can serve as an inner guidebook to transform our lives.
The Four Agreements(taken from the cover):
“Be Impeccable With Your Word – Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.
Don’t Take Anything Personally – Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.
Don’t Make Assumptions – Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.
Always Do Your Best – Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.”
I found this to be a quick but powerful read. The agreements are helpful to remember in certain situations and above all, “always do your best.” If the other 3 are difficult to follow, do your best. I think it’s a nice reminder that others are doing their best as well.
Read this book if:
You are looking for self-improvement
Self-compassion is difficult at times
You have a desire for a simple set of guidelines to live by in challenging times
Ruiz, M. (1997). The four agreements: A practical guide to personal freedom. San Rafael, CA: Amber-Allen Pub.
Forward folds can improve digestion, reduce fatigue, and may improve high blood pressure. Restorative forward folds help calm the autonomic nervous system and can help bring the energy down in the body. It’s important in forward folds to start the pose by lengthening in the lower back and can end with a slight rounding of the upper back if necessary. Your head must always be supported in this pose and your arms/hands are there to be supported and relaxed, not reaching or pulling. This pose can be tricky for people with tight hamstrings, hip flexors, or lower back and a posterior-tilted pelvis. There are many variations of this pose, so find the one where you can rest comfortably for a period of time. In this pose, you will feel a gentle stretch in your lower back, hamstrings, and adductors(inner thighs).
Always advise your doctor before beginning any yoga practice. Cautions for this pose include Sciatica, SI joint dysfunction, hamstring injury. Avoid this pose if you are pregnant.
To set up this pose, you will want to have a bolster or two, a blanket or two, and perhaps a folding chair(or any chair that you can rest your head comfortably on and spread your legs out). If folding forward is difficult, you may want to start by sitting on a folded blanket for more height and perhaps a forward shift in your pelvis. Spread your legs out as wide as is comfortable to hold for a period of time. You will relax your legs here. Place your bolster(s) vertical in front of you between your legs. Place your hands on your hips, sit up straight, and fold from the pelvis and lower back region. You will want to avoid any rounding in the lower or middle back. Once you have folded as far as you can go, place a combination of bolsters and blankets at the right height to rest your head comfortably. You may place your forehead on the blankets/bolsters or folded hands, or rest on your right or left ear. If not using your hands for support, simply place them on your mat where they fall. If a combination of bolsters or blankets is not comfortable for you, try placing a folding chair in between your legs and fold as much as comfortable with your forehead placed on your folded hands.
Once you are set up in the pose, you can soften your gaze or close your eyes and begin with your rhythmic breathing. You may stay in this pose as long as it is comfortable to you. Average time may be 3 to 5 minutes. To come out of the pose, slowly lift your head away from the supports with a flat back. Spend a moment sitting up and notice any changes you may feel in your body.
Watch Katie demonstrate how to set up with pose:
Carey, L. (2015). Restorative yoga therapy: The Yapana way to self-care and well-being.
Katie Overcash is excited to collaborate and contribute to the “Growing Our Girls” initiative. Look for upcoming content and events on their website here. GOG is a Charlotte-based brand created by Kristin Mountcastle, a mom of 2 girls who believes in the power of connection to empower our girls to navigate the world with confidence and kindness. GOG also connects families of boys to help raise them with respect and understand the importance of gender equality.
Self-esteem and self-worth development, character building, and competency recognition are journeys each child finds themselves on as they grow and mature. Supporting children on this journey is vital and can be difficult at times. Attending this discussion, you will be able to recognize each of your child’s uniqueness and gain or reinforce the tools to foster this development through adolescence as they reach their “enoughness.”
Katie is honored to present at Charlotte Parent’s Mom Matters Event on Friday, March 4th. Tickets are now on sale for $20. For more information or to purchase tickets visit their website here.