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Essential Spotlight


Yoga Nonprofit Celebrates One Year of Service


ea Change Yoga, a nonprofit organization bringing the healing benefits of yoga to at-risk communities, celebrated


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their one-year anniversary last month! They were founded by a dedicated group of yogis who recognized that many underserved communities lack access to the powerful benefits of yoga, medita- tion and mindfulness due to financial, cultural, or social barriers.


Sea Change Yoga brings trauma-informed yoga and meditation to people in correctional facilities, substance use recovery centers, and transitional housing, as well as to Veterans. In the past year they have more than tripled their offerings, now teaching 26 classes to over 200 students each week. Their program is unique because they bring their services directly to the places where their students live or gather as a community.


They recently expanded their offerings to include weekly class- es for prisoners at Androscoggin County Jail and for youth receiving treatment for substance use disorder at Day One in Scarborough.


Rhiannon, a retired member of the U.S. Air Force and a student


in their Yoga for Veterans program recently said, “I have depres- sion, anxiety, and PTSD, which can make me feel disconnected from my body and the present moment. Yoga helps me to feel more embodied. When I practice yoga, I feel calmer, I sleep better, and I become more confident in accessing my own inner resources and resilience.”


They ground their teaching in the research that illustrates how


yoga and meditation impact the brain and nervous system. Studies show that regular yoga and meditation practice can reduce symp- toms of depression, anxiety, and PTSD. It helps people overcome traumatic circumstances and reduces the risk of repeated incarcera- tion or relapse from substance use disorder. Regular yoga practice improves a person’s ability to regulate emotions, manage stress, and maintain healthy relationships.


Their trauma-informed approach modifies the elements of


traditional yoga to be uniquely effective for students with trauma in their background. They modify the elements of traditional yoga to facilitate mindfulness, maximize tolerance, build empowerment, and cultivate a more positive relationship to one’s body.


They believe that everybody deserves to experience the many


physical and mental benefits of yoga and mindfulness. Learn more at www.seachangeyoga.org. Donations graciously accepted.


Representatives of Sea Change Yoga will be guests on the Success- ful Balanced Living show on Wednesday, June 27 from 1-1:30pm. Tune in live via radio in the Portland, Maine area to WMPG (FM 90.9) or go to www.wmpg.org/show/wed1300 to stream it live or listen to the recording.


Caregiving: A Neverending Story C


AREGIVER; “A person who has accepted responsibility for looking after a vulnerable


neighbor, relative or friend or one who provides direct care for chil- dren, elderly people or the chroni- cally ill”


In a hospital, nursing home or medical setting, respectful compas- sionate care is the norm, as it should be. For the patient, medical student or


observer this is how a professional caregiver sets the tone. Exhibiting compassion and caring for others is, for most of us, a natural inborn aspect of our humanity. Recent research reports that, even at a dis- tance, when we observe a person carry out a simple act of kindness our neurotransmitters, i.e. serotonin levels, increase and our mood becomes elevated. Reaching out to help another benefits us both chemically and emotionally.


Becoming a primary caregiver is especially significant upon the birth of a first child. However well one may feel prepared, everything changes. New parents often report having their hearts ripped open in unimagined and life-changing ways. During those first months of sleeplessness, half-eaten meals and piles of laundry very little else matters and yet, somehow, one becomes a skilled navigator through the ever-changing terrain of nurturer, protector and teacher. We survive and, through it all, arrive at a new-found appreciation of our own parent’s experience in raising us.


Life moves along. The children are off on their own. We have more time to ourselves. Our social circles widen and we even man- age a little travel, here and there. Grandchildren arrive and we ex- press our pride and joy at their brilliance! Our parent’s aging needs are becoming more prevalent.


One morning there is a phone call and everything changes.


They need our help. The existing roles do not change. These are our parents. We will always be their children. Newly appointed as their advocate, we arrive into another world. Their world, where we are now introduced as their adult children. We meet their physicians and providers.


We become privy to their changing medical, emotional and spiritual needs. However challenging the tasks at hand, this is their turn. Our job is to be there. To support them. To listen. If there is short-term memory loss we bring out the old photo albums, listen to music from their era and delve into the treasure trove of long-term memory. As with those early parenting days, once again, life is lived moment-to-moment and we embrace the opportunity to slow down. While caring for our parents we become more acutely aware of our own aging process. We are just one tiny link in the never-ending- story of caregiving.


It is 2018. Do you know how your elders are doing?


Ann V Quinlan , GCM, CCM, CRM is dementia specialist, health care navigator & family mediator with a private practice in Port- land, Maine. 207-899-2606. She will be holding a Caregivers Retreat in Saco, Maine from June 29-July 1. For more information, contact her at ann@spiraljourneys.com. See ad on page 6.


8 ELM™ Maine - May/June 2018


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