Monthly Archives: December 2014

Restorative yoga for the New Year

Relax, restore, it’s almost 2015
By Nancy B. Loughlin
Published in News Press on December 30, 2014.  Posted with permission. 

childs pose one

Receive.  Be passive.  Connect with yourself.

Indulge in a holiday time-out.

Restorative yoga is a practice to recharge and refresh, to take a break from daily (particularly holiday) stresses.

It’s not an active, athletic practice, but it’s still a challenge.  Can you commit to yourself? Can you soothe the body and calm the mind? Can you gift yourself?

Heather Holland of Ruby and Pearls Yoga Studio devotes hours to restorative practice every holiday season.

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Gift of Detachment

The gift of detachment
By Nancy B. Loughlin
Published in News Press on December 23, 2014.  Posted with permission. 

jenny and elizabeth

Jenny Bailey sits in Fire Log while Elizabeth Spear explores Cow Face Pose. Both are students with Yoga Bird Studio, Fort Myers.

You know when your emotions get the better of you.

When you’re about to snap, there are two competing threads running through your mind. Thread A is your default emotion. You lash out in anger. You withdraw into depression. Or, you take off into flights of panic.

These knee-jerk emotional responses can have disastrous consequences for your professional and personal relationships.

Thread B is your intellect, detached from your emotions. Your intellect knows how this drama is going to end. It’s telling you to calm down and not to do anything you will regret.

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Relief for your “Text Neck”

Relief for “text neck”
By Nancy B. Loughlin
Published in on December 20, 2014.


Victoria Haffer and Heather Holland demonstrate Text Neck in action.

It’s a new kind of neck. Relatively.

This latest assault on postural integrity is called “text neck.” It’s easy to spot: face forward, chin dropped. And it’s a pain.

Victoria Haffer, a Boston exercise physiologist, wellness coach and trainer of yoga teachers and personal trainers, explains the phenomenon. Repeatedly looking down at your cell phone or hovering over your laptop or tablet is going to knock your head off its perfect center which is floating above your heart.

Read How to Relieve Text Neck on

Self-care for relieving sciatica

Self-care for relieving sciatica
by Nancy B. Loughlin
Published in News Press on December 16, 2014.  Posted with permission.

Sciatica hurts.

A warning sign would be a sharp pain that starts in your buttock and shoots down your leg, and it reverberates throughout your body.  It’s hard to sit.  It’s hard to stand. This compression of the sciatic nerve makes it hard to think about anything else.

You have a pain in your butt, and you need relief.  You can go to the doctor, and you can also heal yourself.

Victoria Haffer is a Boston exercise physiologist, wellness coach, and trainer of yoga teachers and personal trainers.  While many of her clients have sought medical attention for sciatic pain and piriformis syndrome, she encourages them to learn about their own bodies and explore self-care.

“It’s disempowering to think that you can’t heal yourself,” she said.

Haffer recently conducted a weekend workshop at Ruby and Pearl’s Yoga Studio in Fort Myers where she addressed the healing powers of proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF), myofascial release and yin yoga, particularly when it comes to sciatica and piriformis pain.

Three relief techniques

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YogaUOnline: Heal yourself with MFR

Heal Yourself: 3 Tips for Integrating Myofasical Release into Your Yoga Practice

By Nancy B. Loughlin

“Once people learn the techniques to release the fascia and accumulated tension, they will see how empowering self-care can be in controlling your own healing processes.” Victoria Haffer, exercise physiologist and yoga teacher trainer.


Victoria Haffer


Begin with two palm-sized massage balls. Two tennis balls will do.

Shove them into a sock until they are snug in the toe, and knot the sock.

Now you’re ready to get deep with myofascial release (MFR)!

All of your muscles, bones, veins, nerves, ligaments and more float in the fascia, a single fibrous spider web that weaves, unbroken, throughout the body.

Read the whole piece on Yoga U Online!

Lessons from India

Lessons from India
These Eastern parenting methods unearth a child’s authentic self, helping parents discover their children’s inner strengths.
By Nancy B. Loughlin

Published in Parent and Child Magazine, December, 2014

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A child is a process, says author and educator Steven Rudolph.

Rudolph is known throughout the world for his education philosophies, including the Multiple Natures Theory. In his book “Solving the Ice-Cream Dilemma,” Rudolph embraces the guru model of traditional Indian education. The goal isn’t to fill the mind with knowledge of the external world but to reveal a child’s inherent nature.

Despite their best efforts, parents often impose their own desires on children or sometimes live vicariously through them. Rudolph suggests a different path of parenting: discovering children’s essential natures and engaging these natural abilities and intelligences in all life activities.

“When kids are naturally inclined to excel, you get a lot more return on your investment,” Rudolph says via Skype from India. He is founder and director at the Jiva Public School he founded there.

Children are usually not inherently in tune with their inner landscapes because they exist in an externally oriented world. Kids are bombarded with visual and auditory stimuli that interfere with their abilities to move inward and connect with their authentic selves. The compounded influence of parents, teachers, friends and media – what Rudolph calls the “Four Forces” – makes self-exploration difficult if not impossible.

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Turning prayer into practice

Turning prayer into practice
by Nancy B. Loughlin
Published in News Press on December 9, 2014.  Posted with permission.

I came up with a great prayer last year.

“I have the patience to accept and reach all people where they are. I have the serenity to forgive anyone who knowingly or unknowingly harms me. I have the strength to thrive despite all loss and challenge that may cross my path.”

I’ve always been a fan of triples, and I said this prayer (or intention, meditation, affirmation) for a week during my morning mindfulness practices, and I repeated it before I slept so it could seep into my subconscious.

All hell broke loose.

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Elephant Journal: Yin and the Yang of Hooping

Yin and the Yang of Hooping
By Nancy B. Loughlin
Published in Elephant Journal on July 5, 2012


YIN: Hooping the Body

A hard hip-swivel with a hoop burns 100 calories in ten minutes. That fact alone is guaranteed to get anyone’s attention.

Gina DeFrancesco is a hooper and artist in Port Charlotte, FL, who began hooping in 2008, and she was amazed with the immediate physical results. In the first three months, she lost 15 pounds. Her body transformed, becoming more graceful and lithe.

She marveled that she, a person who would hurt herself in a yoga class, was successfully performing something physical, she recalls with amusement. She doesn’t want to be hyperbolic, but hooping changed her life, she said.

The hooping movement has evolved into a popular modality of fitness and dance, for gym members as well as for solo hoopers. But the hoop is hardly new with evidence of hooping dating back to ancient Greece and Egypt. The modern hoop became popular in the United States and around the world when the Wham-O Company (of Frisbee fame), marketed a $1.98 plastic Hula Hoop in the late 1950s, igniting the Hula Hoop craze.

Read more by clicking here.

Elephant Journal: Eight Mind/Body Steps to a Balanced Self

Eight Mind/Body Steps to a Balanced Self
by Nancy B. Loughlin
Published in Elephant Journal on June 25, 2012

Falling down is the leading cause of injuries for older citizens.

The rattling statistic is that every 18 seconds someone over 65 falls.

In yoga, where the mind goes, the body follows and preferably this is not splat on the floor. Seniors, and the rest of us who are balance-challenged, can use these yogic techniques to improve strength, balance, posture and, most importantly, dangerous falls.

1. Change your thinking.

“If the mind is inflexible, the body is inflexible,” according to Emily Chiodo, director of Joyful Yoga in Bonita Springs, FL. She says so many of her students, particularly seniors concerned with falling, believe that the key to remedying their balance issues is 100 percent isolated in the body. But, in order to be physically balanced, a person must overcome fear and trepidation before any perceived physical limitations can be addressed. Take your yoga off the mat, she urges, and “suspend disbelief.”

Consider working tadasana (mountain pose) in the supermarket checkout. Stand behind your shopping cart with your feet parallel two fist-lengths apart. Ground your feet and imagine you have roots. Tuck your tail and feel your quads lifting knee caps up. Push your hips forward and lift your heart as your shoulders roll up, back and down. Feel your fingertips stretching toward the floor.

Read more by clicking here.

Saluting the Sun and the Moon

Salute the sun and the moon
by Nancy B. Loughlin
(Published in News Press on December 2, 2014.  Posted with permission.)

A balanced day begins with saluting the sun. It ends with connecting to the moon.

Ritualized reverence for the sun and the moon has been practiced for thousands of years in respect for the body’s unity with celestial movement. When enough energy is put into any activity, particularly the tradition of saluting the sun and moon, there is what Purna Yogi Aadil Palkhivala calls “an etheric change;” this practice of reverence alters the universe. Palkhivala recently appeared at the Yoga Journal conference in Hollywood, Fla.
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