The measure of greatness

Quantifying greatness is just not possible.  But we do recognize greatness when we see it.  We know of  “The great Muhammad Ali” and Alexander the Great (a Roman leader).  Indeed these individuals have impacted history and the world in profound ways.   Nelson Mandela, just passed on after 95 years of life.  He, in my opinion,  was a great man.

Ghandi, MLK, Fannie Lou Hamer, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Imhotep, Hatsepshut, Michael Jackson.  These are just a few people we know of who have been called great.  How do we know?  I have learned the measure of greatness is in the gifts we give.  These individuals and so many more, known and unknown, have gifted the world, with their talents, tenacity, kindness, generosity & humility. We are all capable of greatness.  It is upon each one of us to demonstrate it.

Gratefully & greatfully,


The Worthy Lotus In the News

Click on the link below, to check out our exclusive interview with Douglasville CitiTV.  September is National Yoga Month.  Listen as Kemiko helps educate the public about the wonderful benefits of yoga!

Note: It’s the 2nd segment, starting @ 13:20.  Simply slide the timer bar horizontally to start.

Yoga is life, life is yoga.

This is something I say all the time.  I say this because the practice of yoga reveals many lessons, on the mat.  These same lessons are applicable off the mat.  That is what makes yoga so accessible to everyone.  Many people have the impression that you need to come to a yoga class already flexible or already calm or already strong.  This could  not be further from the truth.  The best way to come to a yoga class is willing to learn.  It’s not so much about what limitations you may have, it’s more about how you will grow what you will learn along the way, while growing.  Henceforth the lessons that will be revealed on the mat.  Another thing I say frequently is be flexible on and off the mat.  One thing I have learned is that physical and mental flexibility work together.  To test this theory think about yourself and/or people you know.  Notice if their mental and physical flexibility are in synch.  If you have not yet had the opportunity to experience yoga, I encourage you to give it a try!  Remember be wary of pressuring yourself to be a certain way.  Just give it a try and be open to seeing what lessons you may learn along the way.

Low back pain

Lower back pain? Yoga therapy can help.

Yoga has become a familiar part of the health and fitness scene in the United States. Nearly 16 million Americans currently practice yoga. Another nine million say they plan to try it within the year. Although many people turn to yoga to ease stress and improve overall health, a growing number have specific medical aims and are following the recommendations of their doctors.

According to a study in the journal Spine (Sept. 1, 2009), yoga therapy can reduce pain and improve function in people with chronic low back pain. Chronic low back pain—defined as pain that lasts more than three months—is notoriously difficult to treat. Not surprisingly, it drives many sufferers to turn to alternative and complementary therapies in search of relief. The Spine study is the second of two randomized trials to test a specific form of yoga called Iyengar (pronounced eye-en-gar) yoga, which is based on the teachings of B.K.S. Iyengar, one of the world’s most well-known living yoga teachers.

Iyengar yoga vs. classic hatha yoga

Most yoga taught and practiced in this country is hatha yoga, which combines: classic poses (asanas), controlled breathing, and deep relaxation or meditation. Iyengar is a type of hatha yoga that uses props such as blankets, blocks, benches, and belts to help people perform the poses to the fullest extent possible even if they lack experience or have physical limitations. The emphasis is on precise physical alignment, with trained teachers adjusting everything from the position of the shoulders to the angle of the toes.

Iyengar adjustments to classic yoga poses

Iyengar yoga poses

Iyengar yoga uses blocks, belts, and other props to help students perform classic yoga poses such as those shown in the grey insets above: parivrtta trikonasana, or the revolved triangle pose (A), and ardha uttanasana, or the standing half forward bend (B). Instructions are individualized, with adjustments made for age, experience, body type, physical condition, and medical problems.

What the research revealed

With funding from the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, researchers at West Virginia University enrolled 90 adults to participate in a yearlong trial comparing the effects of Iyengar yoga therapy with those of standard medical care. Participants ranged in age from 23 to 66, and all were suffering chronic low back pain. About half of them were assigned to 24 weeks of a twice-weekly, 90-minute regimen approved by B.K.S. Iyengar and taught by a certified Iyengar yoga instructor and two assistants with experience in teaching yoga therapy to people with chronic low back pain. On days when they didn’t have a yoga class, they were instructed to practice at home for 30 minutes using a DVD, props, and an instruction manual. The rest of the participants (the control group) continued with usual medical care and were followed with monthly telephone calls to gather information about their medications or other therapies.

All subjects reported on functional disability, pain intensity, depression, and medication use at the start of the study, midway through (12 weeks), immediately afterward (24 weeks), and at a follow-up six months later. Compared with the control group, the Iyengar group experienced a 29% reduction in functional disability, a 42% reduction in pain, and a 46% reduction in depressive symptoms at 24 weeks. There was also a greater trend toward lower medication use in the yoga group. There were no reports of adverse effects.

Six months after the trial ended, 68% of the yoga group was still practicing yoga — on average, three days a week for at least 30 minutes. Their levels of functional disability, pain, and depression had increased slightly but were still lower than those of the control group.

The study had limitations — a small number of participants, as well as reliance on the participants’ own reports of symptoms and disability. Also, the control group, on average, had been suffering back pain longer than the yoga group. Still, the results are consistent with findings from other studies of yoga for low back pain.


The Lotus Flower

The lotus flower is a truly unique and amazing sign of nature. This flower actually grows in muddy waters and then it will rise to the surface. Once doing so, it then blooms with spectacular beauty and grace. In the fashion of one of nature’s miracle, this amazing flower will sink below the surface with each nightfall.

When the sun rises, the flower will reappear with all its amazing color intact. Representing health, honor, long life and good luck, this flower is ever so popular. There are many varieties of the lotus flower. The Eastern lotus is known as a symbol of spirituality. The Egyptian lotus flower represents the sun, rebirth and creation.

In addition, the Christian lotus is referred to as the flower of the white lily and represents purity. The Indian lotus gives meaning to wealth, knowledge and enlightenment. The lotus can be used as a flower of choice in weddings, as it has so many representations, all worthy of such a joyous event.

Believe it or not, the flowers, seeds and leaves are actually edible and are used in some countries as garnished to food dishes. In Asia, for example, the lotus pedals are used for the garnish and the leaves are used as food wraps. In China, parts of the lotus flower are used as ingredients in soups. The lotus is truly a remarkable flower.



The benefits of yoga

Yoga can be an effective tool for individuals who may be dealing with health challenges. Moreover medical practitioners are adding yoga therapy as a preventive mechanism or as part of the arsenal of tools to be used to irradiate illness. If you are sick yoga can help you feel better. If you are depressed, anxious, tired all the time, addicted to drugs, or bothered by low back pain yoga can set you on the path to recovery. Young and old and all ages in between are perfect candidates for yoga therapy.

Western medicine prescribes pharmaceutical medication at a high rate. Our society leads the world in health issues a such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes. In the 21st century Americans are sicker and heavier than any other time in recorded history. For the first time ever our children are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

The good news is that science is now recognizing the benefits that yoga can offer, to anyone. Included in the physical practice of yoga, for healing is the breath work and meditation. Physicians, neuroscientists, psychologists and other researchers are documenting evidence of how a consistent yoga practice affects us mentally and physically. Additionally it may help to prevent and assist in the treatment of a number of common ailments that shorten our lives and threaten our vitality. Medical institutions around the country, such as Duke, Harvard, University of CA, San Francisco are leading the research efforts. The National Institute of Health is funding some of this research.

Duke University’s Integrative Medicine department, in Durham NC has integrated yoga into medicine and medicine into yoga. The department is one of the only major medical centers to offer yoga teacher training. It’s two programs “Therapeutic Yoga for Seniors” and “Yoga of Awareness for Cancer” are taught by a team of yoga instructors, doctors, physical therapists, and mental health professionals.

The human body is a complex machine that has the capacity to heal. With the right combination of diet, movement, appropriate medical care and yoga as therapy healing from disease, trauma, major and minor illness is possible.

source: Yoga Journal September 2013