Posted in disabilities, education, elder care, exercises, Florida, help, meditation, pain, pain relief, peaceful, purpose, relax, service, yoga

YOGA INSTRUCTOR JEAN ERLBAUM WROTE SIT WITH LESS PAIN

Jeanie and Stella Wisdom
Jeanie and Stella Wisdom

Jean Erlbaum, M.S., E.R.Y.T., L.V.C.Y.T, author, has been studying yoga and meditation since 1965 and has been teaching since 1972. An Experienced Registered 500-Hour Yoga Teacher, she is certified as a teacher of several styles of yoga, meditation, and stress reduction. She has studied Zen for over thirty years and in 2012 was designated as a senior Dharma teacher by Boundless Way Zen (Worcester, Massachusetts). She offers classes in Greenfield, MA, and Naples, FL, where she lives with her husband Richard Rumelt and their two dachshunds, Stella and Oscar. Richard and Jean have two daughters, Anna and Libby, who live in New York City.

Jeanie is a friend and colleague of mine through Marco Island Writers. I know you will want to know all about her new release, Sit With Less Pain.

Jeanie, when and why did you first become a writer?

I have been writing since my chubby little hand could form letters. Growing up I was not given a lot of space for expression. I think for me writing was a survival technique, a way of staying true to myself. Even when I was very young, I wrote essays and stories. I rarely showed my work to anyone. I wrote for myself and I wrote every day. As I got older I did begin to share my writing with friends and teachers. I began to feel confident about my ability to put words on paper, but I never considered myself a “writer” and never thought about being published. To me a “real writer” was someone who did creative writing – fiction or poetry. As an adult I have almost always written opinion pieces or instructional essays. Now that I have a book published, maybe I can begin to consider myself a writer. I have been encouraged to be more receptive to that designation by my wonderful Marco Island Writers Group!

What  is your book about?

Here’s the synopsis for  Sit With Less Pain:

Relieve and release the stiffness that comes from prolonged sitting—at a desk, behind the wheel, or on a meditation cushion—with these easy-to-follow exercises. Free yourself from pain with this beautifully illustrated guide. The book is organized anatomically, helping readers to immediately focus on the part of the body that causes them pain: tense shoulders, stiff knees, sore hips, etc. Sit with Less Pain also includes instructions for flowing series of movements, which combine several exercises into smooth sequences, for readers who have mastered the individual stretches and want a more complete experience. Gorgeous, clear illustrations and lay-flat binding—which lets the book stay open at the proper page—will help readers perfect the poses. Companion CD’s are available with  the author’s soothing voice guiding you through the sequences offered in the book. You can chose tracks and design your own unique stretching sessions focusing on the parts of your body that need special attention.

Sit With Less Pain by Jean Erlbaum

Few of us at Marco Island Writer’s are traditionally published? How did you find your publisher?

I have been teaching yoga for many years. One of my specialties is teaching yoga to people on meditation retreats. People who sit for long periods in meditation get achy in very specific ways. I designed classes that addressed those specific problems. One of the people who attended one of those retreats turned out to be an editor for Wisdom Publications, a Buddhist publishing house. He liked my classes and asked if I would consider writing a book to share the techniques I had developed. (He had no idea that I loved writing – he just knew he liked my yoga!) Even though I had never considered writing a book before, I immediately said yes. I liked the challenge of such a focused commitment and I welcomed the opportunity to empty my brain of 40 plus years of yoga information. (As I was writing the book, I often did have the sense of just tilting my head and pouring all these theories and techniques into the computer in front of me. And it was a relief to empty out in that way, to pass it all on.)

What do you hope readers will receive from your book?

As I was writing the book, I began to imagine that it could be beneficial anyone who sat for a long time – not just meditators. It could be helpful to people who sit in an office all day or behind the wheel of a car or truck; I realized that the techniques I designed could easily be adapted for folks in wheelchairs. As I started telling my yoga students and local health providers about the book I was writing, many people requested copies and told me how helpful they thought the stretches would be for them and for the people they worked with. After a while, I sensed that these people were not just being polite. I began to understand that techniques I was relaying in the book could be helpful in alleviate pain for many, many people. Along with the physical stretches, I added an element of meditative awareness to the exercises, so a wider audience could benefit from the centering and calming aspects of yoga. I decided also to create companion CDs for the book, so readers, once they have seen the instructions and illustrations in the book, can be led effortlessly through the stretches. My hope is that readers will enjoy doing the stretches and gain mental and physical ease in their daily activities.

Where can reader buy your book?

Jean’s website: http: www.sitwithlesspain.com  (This is the only place currently that you can get the companion CDs.)

Amazonhttp://www.amazon.com/Sit-With-Less-Pain-Meditators/dp/0861716795/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1396274570&sr=1-1

Barnes&Noble : http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/sit-with-less-pain-jean-erlbaum/1117543237?ean=9780861716791

Wisdom Publicationshttp://www.wisdompubs.org/book/sit-less-pain

Powell’s: http://www.powells.com/biblio/62-9780861716791-0

IndieBoundhttp://www.indiebound.org/book/9780861716791

iTuneshttps://itunes.apple.com/us/book/sit-with-less-pain/id789539748?mt=11

Companion CDs for the book are available: $25 for a set of two chair yoga cds, $25 for a set of mat yoga cds, $45 for all cds. Contact jean.erlbaum@verizon.net, www.sitwithlesspain.com for ordering and more info.

 

Here is an excerpt from the Introduction to the book:

 Yoga can bring us into the authentic embodiment of each moment. When we pay full attention during a forward bend, we can drop all memories of how our back has been, judgment of how it should be, worries about how it may get worse, or fantasies of how to make it better. All there is in that moment is the stretch, the breath, and any physical changes or insights as they occur. Yoga used this way is not separate from meditation practice—it becomes the practice. By fully sinking into the specific sensations of each pose, we create the possibility of relinquishing the usual busyness of mind and expanding beyond the usual constrictions of the body, beyond the boundary of “this self.”

We can create regular yoga sessions for ourselves and take the visceral awareness this practice promotes into our every day lives. We can cultivate a larger yoga: an ability to align with our body while sitting, walking, washing the dishes, or climbing into bed at night. We can cultivate mindfulness of what changes with each movement and of the stillness that remains even as we move through our days.

Yoga can help us go beyond watching the movements of body and mind; it allows us to become “bodymind,” to embody this one thing we always are. My hope is that these stretches help you as much as they have helped me, so that we all can sit deeply and live with grace and flexibility in all circumstances.

Thank you Jeanie. This has been so much fun. As you know, my daughter is the owner of three yoga studios in Miami and has a nationwide non-profit organization that teaches yoga as an alternative to violence to at risk youth.  You handle the other end of the spectrum – the older generation and the less nimble.  Thanks so much for sharing with us today on Author Interview Friday at Writing Under Fire. Best of luck with your book launch.

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Posted in authors, children, counselors, humor, Indie, non-fiction, parents, peaceful, purpose, relax, writers, writing

Laughter Salad by Kimberly Borin

 Kimberly Borin pic

Joanne:  Welcome Kimberly.  Learning and Growing with Laughter Salad is such a fun title.  When did you first know you wanted to be a writer and was there a particular inspiration to get started?

Kimberly:  At a young age, I wanted to be a writer.  I loved reading and would spend hours reading Nancy Drew books and more.  I distinctly remember reading one quote by Eudora Welty, that granted me permission to be a writer.  In her book, One Writer’s Beginnings, on the last page she writes, “As you have seen, I am a writer who came of a sheltered life.  A sheltered life can be a daring life as well.  For all serious daring starts from within.”  Her last words seemed to free me up to know that I too could become a writer.  I am still writing, and for some writing, I still feel like someone trying to be a writer.  I am grateful for her simple words of encouragement and freedom to pursue my heart’s calling.

Joanne:   Do you have a background in writing or take any special writing courses that helped you along the way?

Kimberly:  I belong to a writing group called, The Sunrise Circle Writer’s Group.  This group of women encouraged me to write, find my voice and tell my story.  I have had plenty of writing courses and have had to learn how to write for public relations, education, dissertation research and more.  I am always learning to write in a new style and my first book Laughter Salad helped me learn to write in the first person, as a personal narrative.  Of course, there is still so much to learn and so much to hone too!  The skill I did not know I needed was the courage to put my voice out there and promote my book. This skill seems to be a little tougher to develop!

Joanne:   Why did you choose to go the self-publishing Indie route in lieu of traditional publication? What were the deciding factors to choosing your publisher? Would you recommend that same Indie publisher to a colleague?

Kimberly:  I chose the self-publishing route because I was in a hurry to publish my book – I had to have it done within a year – and my friends had already used a self-publisher.  My first book was through iUniverse – I would never recommend them to anyone.  I have since published two books through CreateSpace, which I adore!  I work with a wonderful formatter, who is a lifesaver and allows the CreateSpace process to be easy for me.  I would highly recommend Judy Loose and her formatting services.

Joanne:   Authors and publishers are always talking about finding your “Voice”. Exactly what does that mean to you and how did you find yours?

Kimberly:  I am continually finding my voice.  In my first book, Laughter Salad I tried to just be myself and speak from a very honest place.  Of course, as soon as it was published, I said to my family, “I hope NO ONE buys the book!”  I felt so very vulnerable and afraid that people might see my inner feelings.  In my second book, Laughter Salad for Little Ones, I was writing letters to children.  My school counselor and friend voice came through in my writing and it was fun to see that on paper.  For my third book, Learning and Growing with Laughter Salad, I was writing stories and lessons for my colleagues who are counselors, teachers, and parents too.  I kept moving from a personal voice to a professional voice – it felt a little unnerving but seemed like what I was called to do.  I see that finding my voice also requires much silence, waiting and listening within.  The silence allows me to hear the small whispering voice, that I eventually bring to life on the page.

Joanne:   It is not enough to write a book and wait for the money to start rolling in. What marketing techniques do you implement to increase your sales?

Kimberly:  This is a great question, one I wrestle with weekly!  I am starting in small ways.  I work with local book shops to have book signings.  I enjoy being local and seeing friends that I know.  I have also given talks at our local libraries and in schools.  I often incorporate my work into my yoga classes too.  I am slowly and surely finding my voice in the marketing world.  At the moment, I am also relying on serendipity, synchronicity, some prayers and a miracle or two! (Doing more marketing is also my New Year’s resolution!  J)

Joanne:   What is the premise of your novel we are promoting today?

Kimberly:  Learning and Growing with Laughter Salad offers over 60 activities that bring simple moments of peace, relaxation, and nourishment to the lives of children, and the adults who work with them. This is the perfect book for teachers, counselors, parents, and anyone who works with children. The book is divided into three chapters, each one highlighting activities using Nature, Relaxation, and Stories.

These simple lessons are perfect for the classroom, counseling office, or the outdoors. They are easy to use and can be adapted to meet the needs of students of any age. In a matter of minutes students can feel centered, calm, and connected to all that is around them. These mindful activities also help children develop deeper compassion and caring for themselves. If you take a moment to flip through the playful activities within Learning and Growing with Laughter Salad, I promise, you’ll feel nourished, relaxed, and peaceful too!

Joanne:  Can you share a few paragraphs from your book to wet out appetite?

The Cover Design LS3i 11Best2

Here is a sample activity from the chapter on Relaxation:

Activity #1: Beginning Relaxation Strategies

In school, we want students to be able to handle stress by practicing simple relaxation strategies. We know that with practice, students can learn to calm down, ease anxiety, and easily feel at peace when they need to. These are skills we want our students to have as they take a test, prepare for a big game, make a speech, interview for a job or college, or ease their worries.

Please note that the activities suggested in this book require adult assistance and supervision. If you have any doubts or questions about the suitability of these exercises for a student’s social, emotional, or physical needs, please consult a healthcare practitioner. Below are some very simple and basic strategies to help with relaxation:

  • Awareness of Body Tension and Feelings – First, we have students take a moment to see how they feel, physically and emotionally. Students are asked to notice how they feel while sitting at their desks. We ask them to notice muscles that feel tired, sore, or energized. We also ask them to notice how they are feeling – happy, sad, concerned, tired, etc. We want them to know that they have the ability to change how they feel, but first they have to figure out what is happening and what they need. We also encourage them to talk with a trusted adult if they need help with any of their feelings.
  • Postural Awareness Students are asked to become aware of how they sit at their desks. We help them notice when they may be slouching and when they are sitting up tall. We point out how much more oxygen and breathing is possible when students sit up straight with good posture. Sitting with good posture can also allow them to feel more confident, alert, and energized throughout the day.
  • Simple Breathing Techniques Next, children are encouraged to take a deep breath. So often throughout the day, we don’t even think about our breathing and we forget how relaxing a long inhalation or exhalation can be. We practice taking a large inhale and then allow the breath to “travel” all the way down to our feet before exhaling. This long exhalation is the key to relaxing. When students are practicing just two or three breaths, we also ask them to be silent and notice sounds in the room, which will enhance their listening skills, concentration, and awareness.
  • Progressive Relaxation We also talk about progressive relaxation, which is used by professional and Olympic athletes, rock stars, corporate CEOs and more. Students are taught to tense muscles when inhaling and then relax them while exhaling. We start with our feet and tense and relax knees, stomachs, backs, arms, and shoulders. This simple act of tensing the muscles and relaxing them creates a more relaxed state as the body releases tension. Students notice a difference as they hold the tension in their muscles and then relax. This is also another good technique for managing emotions, preparing for a test or competition, or releasing fear or worry.
  • Imagination – When students are done relaxing, we ask them to use their imaginations to think about a peaceful place or an image of their “best self.” We encourage them to see their best self – with as many sensory details as possible. The images they share with us are always positive and encouraging. They have said, “I saw myself as smart and confident.” Or, “I saw myself as being a doctor, which is what I would like to do when I grow up.” We also talk about how professionals use visualization to see themselves making the perfect foul shot, scoring a touchdown, or auditioning for a Broadway play.
  • Staying Positive, Positive Self-Talk and Reframing We also speak with students about positive self-talk. In their visualizations of their best self, we ask them to choose three positive words to describe this image of themselves. We want them to notice the words they use when speaking about themselves. If the words are negative, we want them to know how to change those words to something positive. For example, if a student is saying, “I’ll never be good at math,” we want to help them reframe the words into something positive, like, “I am able to learn math in my own way and my own time. I am very capable of learning lots of new things.”
  • Other simple ideas that will help students stay positive include:

o   Laugh when you can, especially if you feel nervous.

o   Try to think in new, creative, and positive ways.

o   Use kind words, eye contact, and politeness to build a bridge to others and be an ambassador of peace. Your kindness will help others too.

o   Take good care of yourself by getting lots of sleep, eating well, and drinking water. The extra effort will keep you strong, smart, and happy!

o   Tell someone – a friend, a teacher, or any trusted adult – if something is bothering you. Telling someone is taking a positive step to help yourself.

o   Think positively about yourself. Everything that you do matters!  You never know how your kindness or help can have a positive, lasting effect on the people around you.

o   Try to learn something new. When we stretch ourselves, we realize that we are capable of great things, even when we make mistakes.

o   Take one moment (or two or three) to just take deep breaths!

o   Take one moment (or two or three) to know that you are an amazing person with unique likes, dislikes, talents, strengths, and needs!

o   Take a moment to celebrate your gifts, strengths, hopes, and dreams too!

 

Helpful Websites:

Laughter Salad: http://www.amazon.com/Laughter-Salad-Nourishing-Inspiring-Stories/dp/1475937539/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1392335512&sr=8-1&keywords=Laughter+Salad

Laughter Salad for Little Ones: http://www.amazon.com/Laughter-Salad-Little-Ones-Nourishing/dp/1482371995/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1392335534&sr=8-1&keywords=Laughter+Salad+for+Little+Ones

Learning and Growing with Laughter Salad: http://www.amazon.com/Learning-Growing-Laughter-Salad-Celebrating/dp/1489579125/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1392335562&sr=8-1&keywords=Learning+and+Growing+with+Laughter+Salad

Kimberly’s Website, The Encouraging Works: www.TheEncouragingWorks.com

Kimberly’s Art: http://kimberlyannborin.zenfolio.com