Author Archives: nancyloughlin

Do you have to be perfect to be enlightened?

Do you have to be perfect to be enlightened?
By Nancy B. Loughlin
Published in News Press on March 31, 2015

Psychologist Abraham Maslow called them “peak experiences.”

These are defining moments for people who are self-actualized.  They feel flashes of overwhelming beauty and truth. They are far from alienated and a part of a whole that’s imbued with love and harmony. They are one with self, and self is all.

They know who they are, why they’re here and where they’re going.

I’m screwed.

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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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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.

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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.

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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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Confessions of a headstand

Confessions of a headstand
by Nancy B. Loughlin
Published in News Press on November 25, 2014.  Posted with permission.

What’s true on the mat is true in life, the yogic adage goes.

kino in basic headstand

Photo by John Miller

I was reminded of this when I attended Kino MacGregor’s headstand workshop at the recent Yoga Journal Conference in Hollywood, FL. Kino is an internationally renowned Ashtanga Yoga teacher based in Miami.

Ashtanga classes intimidate me. The advanced poses, in their full expressions, typify “tricked-out” – legs wrapped around the head, sitting in full lotus with your butt off the floor while balancing on two hands, holding handstand with both feet touching the back of the head. Check out Kino’s Instagram. She looks like a contortionist. And a gymnast.

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Fly through hard times with Crow Pose

Fly through hard times with Crow
by Nancy B. Loughlin
(Published in News Press, November 18, 2013. Posted with permission.)

When out of balance, we think a single life event can destroy us. A loved one’s death. Job loss. Illness.

But any event is devastating only if we are erroneously attached to what always changes: people, symbols of security, the physical body. Happiness, serenity and balance are not dependent on transient earthly comforts and physical pleasures.

We all seem to forget that even when our feet are kicked out from under us, we can still soar.
This is why we practice Crow Pose in tough times. It’s a popular photo bomb as this asana seems to require strong-armed witchcraft: balancing on two hands, knees on the elbows, feet off the ground, butt in the air.

Crow is not about strength. It’s about balance between what is and what can be, both physical and energetic.

step one     step two     step three

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Eat the weeds

Eat the Weeds
by Nancy B. Loughlin
Published November 4, 2014.  Posted with permission.

To you, they’re weeds, and you want them dead.

seeds     dollarweed

Instead of enlisting toxic herbicides, perhaps you could eat them.

Technically, a weed is defined as any plant that grows where you don’t want it. For Green Deane, master forager and author, weeds get a bad rap. For the last 20 years, he’s been spreading the word that many weeds are not only delicious; they are nutritious, abundant, free and sustainable.

“I eat something wild every day,” he said.

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In defense of selfies

In defense of selfies
by Nancy B. Loughlin
(Published in News Press, October 14, 2014. Posted with permission.)

writing selfie     san francisco     Kansas City

The first photographic selfie is attributed to Robert Cornelius in 1839. I have been unable to determine if he was diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (or the 1839 equivalent).

One of my favorite features, Selfies of the Week, is topped with a headline, “Look at me!” That tone is clear: The selfie is a teenaged immature quest to be validated and noticed.

A selfie is, by definition, a photo we take of ourselves that we present to the world, usually over social media. In 1966, Buzz Aldrin snapped one in space, and it was, indeed, broadcast to the planet.

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Top Four Mundane Fixations

Fixing the top four fixations
by Nancy B. Loughlin
Published in News Press on September 23, 2014.  Posted with permission.

How much time do you spend thinking about the top four BS fixations?

What am I going to eat? I’m cold (hot). What do people think of me? This is what I should have said!

How can minutiae steal so much energy?

According to the Vedanta, there are three kinds of minds. The restless mind is the most self-absorbed and is only concerned with satisfying selfish, immediate needs. If you have a restless mind, the interests of other beings do not register. You talk on your cell phone in the library. You tell people to get out of your way. You unload 30 items on the supermarket express lane. You tailgate.

Given that the world is not structured to serve your needs alone, you live in perpetual frustration and antagonize others while they antagonize you. The restless mind is the one most likely to fixate.

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