9 Insights from Living with PTSD by Marc Titus @cedarmesa

9 Insights from Living with PTSD by Marc Titus @cedarmesa

Traumatic Stress: Resiliency & Healing with Yoga

  • Are you or someone you know living with PTSD
  • Do you work or want to work with this population?
  • Are you interested in trauma-aware tools, techniques & practices with proven efficacy in managing PTSD?
  • Each year, the Sedona Yoga Festival hosts an annual Yoga for PTSD training.  Click here to learn more about it…  

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I continue to humbly accept this day as it is… and was.  Living with PTSD; It no long rules me now.  Sometimes, and I know this will always be the case, I will feel sadness for those guys, but the truth is they aren’t suffering…This is the first time I have spoken publicly about those ill-fated days and much has burbled up in inspiration that is being documented.  Something is happening; I am along for the ride.  Thank you everyone for your support. (Added 8/22/2018) Marc Titus

SYF Founder, Aumbase, Inc.

August 5th, 2018

Today marks the 10 year anniversary of the Iron 44 Incident, August 5th, 2008.  Heralded as the worst aviation incident in Wildland Firefighting history, 9 men lost their lives that day in a horrible way. (Looking back, I had no idea I would be Living with PTSD for the next 10 years…)

The Aftermath
as told by SYF Founder Marc Titus

I was on the phone that day, nearing the end of shift… 100+ Helibase personnel gathered outside for the debriefing in a few minutes. Nothing was amiss, all of my aircraft safely on the ground, I was looking forward to my end of shift responsibilities so I could grab a bite and get some rest. The Type 1 team I was assigned to, and subsequently would become a member of, was timed out, and transitioning, as I recall… they were leaving the next day or two. I was just completing my final training assignment to be a fully qualified Type 1 Helibase Manager during the California Firestorms of 2008. That was a bad season, the two previous days 2 fatalities on 2 other fires… All was well, under my watch, though I remember thinking… that was my job.

I was speaking to a New Zealander, over as part of the assistance that comes when wildfire season is epic, he, too winding down the shift… there was a crew shuttle happening… last mission of the day on the Iron Complex, the Incident to the north of mine, we discussing our overlapping areas of responsibility for next shift… I remember commenting on the crew shuttle… “cutting close to pumpkin time, or something to that effect.”

“Fuck…” came from the earpiece of the old fashioned phone receiver.

“What,” I asked.

“AFF went black…” referring to the Automated Flight Following GPS system we used to track aircraft.

The system, back then, still glitchy… this not necessarily a cause for concern, as it had happened many times before and all was good, I asked our ABRO, Air Base Radio Operator, to zoom our screen out and take a look…

No more than 15 seconds passed.

“Helicopter down…. We have an aircraft down.” The New Zealander on the other end of that old school phone receiver breathed.

Even, today… recalling this experience for you now, I am transported back… and am reliving it in all its technicolor glory… however, today… there is NO Emotional CHARGE, well, it still saddens me, but ultimately I am now at peace with it…. That has been transmogrified, perhaps still a #transmogrificationinprogress,, but nevertheless, today is different…

Than the last 10 years…

My mind raced… as he told me what little he knew and over the next 10 minutes (or less) I was on the phone with him AND my supervisors…. This was a horrible time for this to happen, my mind raced, it would be dark soon, pumpkin time being my original concern regarding the mission they were completing… shit… incoming or outbound, my mind screamed…

“Outbound… Full Load.” He said, as if hearing my silent cries for some form of help, but from where…, this was on me!

My heart sank…. There could have been as many as 15 Souls on Board, as pilots often would report on takeoff…

In that 10 minutes… 15 max, as I listened to the phone in one hand, repeating relevant information to my supervisors on the phone in the other… I finally realized the entire helibase was still gathered outside for debriefing. UNAWARE of what was going down. What had gone down… with as many as 15 souls on board…

I got off the phones… told the ABRO, aircraft base radio operator to continue to monitor the situation… Fought back the tears… gritted my teeth… stood in front of the door…

It opened, and one of the Local Volunteer Fire Department Personnel whom over the past 14 days I had become good friends with, peered in. His gaze met mine… and he knew. He stepped in and whisper… “I’ve tried to keep it quiet,” he said, “but, don’t know how much longer I can… Is it true?”, he asked, showing me his pager. “Dispatch is calling for a multi-jurisdictional response, mass-casualty incident, helicopter crash.”

“Yes… I will be right out.” He closed the door and I steeled myself….  my mind raced… what was I gonna do… how was I gonna be… how were we going to get through this… how could I help… what was I going to say to those men and woman outside…

I took deep breath… opened the door…. Calmly walked out,

By now, ALL the local pagers were going off… ALL OF THEM… people were starting to look confused, concerned, helpless…

I heard… “mass casualty” come from one pager…. “All available resources respond…” from another….

I looked out at these men and woman… whose job it was to protect, my duty… and I spoke.

“Roughly 15 minutes ago, during a crew shuttle November 612 Alpha Zulu crashed outbound at helispot 44 on the Iron Complex,” (the Complex burning immediately to the north of our incident.) “I don’t know anymore than that… Please let’s take a moment to pray for those on board.”

Pagers were going off still, although that was dying down…. As something else picked up. A Local Volunteer FireFighter had handed me a local radio… as I turned the volume up… we could now, hear the local radio traffic…

MASS CASUALTY INCIDENT, IRON COMPLEX… HELICOPTER CRASH… MULTI-JURISDICTIONAL RESPONSE…

Another Agency firefighter, who had the Iron Complex Air Frequencies programmed into a radio handed me his radio it was filled with traffic… Dead Silence… but for the radio traffic, I turned the volume up to hear a familiar voice… a pilot, from Carson Helicopters I had managed many times as a Helicopter Manager…

9 insights from living with ptsd

Iron 44 Crash Site

AIRCRAFT IS ON ITS SIDE… BURNING… ATTEMPTING BUCKETS… WE NEED HELP UP HERE… SEND HELP.

We were already in a rough circle for the briefing… I stepped to the center and set the two radios down… volume up…. Lit a cigarette…

And thus, my whole life changed… indelibly, I was marked.

For the next 2 hours… we listened as the reality unfolded…

For the next 7 days… I managed the aftermath…

For the rest of the season… I did my job and was promoted… I kicked ass. and took names.  saved lives… ALL went home on my watch. EVERYONE.

For the next 4 years, I rolled with that team and peaked in my career.

Until one day, I began to falter…

Today, after 10 years… I finally feel whole again. I have struggled with PTSD, come to find out since that season… it finally taking me out completely some 6 years later… I have learned a lot… and oh, boy have I suffered.

But, this experience I recount… and more, well… they’ve been transmogrified.  (you’ll learn more about this if you want, too! keep reading…)  I am now at peace, and come to see how these experiences have allowed me to become who I am today… they have become my guide and I have become grateful for them.

Why, you might ask…?

Well, I am ready to share… and it begins with this.

9 things I have learned Living with PTSD

1. Educate yourself.

I had no actual clue what was going on; those around me thought I had turned into a complete jerk (actually way worse… and not funny), my relationships at this point suffering to the point of breaking and many did. Looking back, now, I realize my departure from the Incident Management Teams was a result of the slow, but sure degradation of the abilities that once had allowed me to excel in this world of bringing order to chaos. I faltered, amidst my brothers and sisters; yet none of us knew what was happening to me, on the inside. Least of all me.

The life you save, it could be your own; it could be your brother or sister in service. Get educated. Admittedly, the resources have improved and the awareness has increased, yet we still have a long ways to go in removing the stigma attached to mental health in the world today. Living with PTSD is a very real problem. More and more research is coming out these days alerting us to a huge crisis of Spirit looming on the horizon.

Living with PTSD will become absolutely unbearable and people are killing themselves everyday because of this affliction; the numbers don’t lie. It is a problem. I am part of the solution. And you are, too.

2. Speaking of the above; elephant in the room. It’s real.

I know that feeling; that deep, intrinsic, inescapable sense of dread; dis-ease. 24-7 non-stop. I don’t care who you are… how strong you think you are; this shit is different. It haunts from the inside in insidious, dark and demented ways. It erodes the faith you once had in yourself… Living with PTSD goes beyond the regular dialogue of self- doubt and deprecation.

Eventually, it becomes completely unbearable and we will often do anything to get relief. At first, relief will come in more work, exercise, eating, drinking, sexing, drugging, you name it, there are innumerable unhealthy ways for us to try to fix this problem we are unaware of.(See #1) Ultimately all we are doing is masking and making matters worse. After months or years of this unconscious behavior aimed at easing our internal suffering, only one destination awaits; misery, a complete and utter miserable shitshow for you and those whose lives you touch. And trust me, up to this point has been miserable, you just didn’t know it, cuz of all the self- medicating.

Look, a person doesn’t just wake up one day and say, “ya know… <thinking face>, I think the best thing for me to do today, is jump off a cliff. Yah, that doesn’t happen; it’s not normal. So, if that’s you… right now. ***stop everything and call someone right now, get help. Worst case scenario 911***.

Yes, this is what happened to me. I was still un #1ed, so I still had no clue I was living with PTSD, neither did my wife… I was scared. I got help.

3. Life is Worth Living, I am worthy of Life.

I spent 40 days in a mental hospital. Guess what? No-one has ever said to me, “hey that sounds like fun!” And while it likely saved my life, it was far from fun. I was ready to stop suffering, tho and for a few weeks, I did. During that stay, I made peace with the voices of #2… and met others like me who had the same insidious inspirations inside their wounded minds. You mean… I wasn’t alone…! nice. Well, not, as that meant others were suffering, too. But, yes, nice; you are not alone, either.

So, what did I learn from my stay? Life is worth Living; I am worthy of Life.

I was clearly able to see and establish that those voices, intending my demise, were NOT real and as such, I made a deep commitment that if they ever came back, I would be much better equipped to manage them. And I am. Let me clarify, they are not real, but they do exist. And they seem to be rooted in something much deeper, to a place that I was unaware of; an inner landscape devoid of Self-Love and Self-Worth.

It turns out there’s this thing called the sub-conscious and we all have it. (Remember #1) It is filled with all kinds of stuff that form the basis of who we are, how we perceive the world and stuff. Much of what is in the sub-conscious is helpful in the sense that we don’t have to think about it… driving is a good example. We learned to do it and now for most of us ( I’ve been driving for 30+ years) we don’t even remember the actions of driving; they are completely second nature. Ok.

Other stuff gets in there, too… Belief systems get tucked away down there, outta sight, outta awareness. Habit. Samskaras. Patterns. Behaviors. Fears, insecurities, and something called self-worth. Well, guess what, after long bouts of PTSD, anxiety and depression one’s self-worth can hit an all-time low and if it get’s reinforced, like by me bemoaning my very existence, well then it gets sent straight to the sub-conscious after awhile as a belief. Whether we realize it or not, this belief now begins to influence all of everything in our lives. And I mean everything.

So, we need to not only be aware of this and how it works, but actually take steps to remedy this as quickly as possible. This is where affirmations and mantra come in; repetition being the key, we want to start reclaiming our self-worth and courage from our sub-conscious beliefs. We start small and build, as gain momentum. I suggest starting with I am Worthy and Courageous. Or… I meet life with Calm, Clarity and Conviction. (if your feeling really good, string them together!) There is a whole science to this and one can get quite sophisticated with it from many different perspectives, but for now… start small. I am worthy of life… and so are you! (Remember #1? Go ask the Oracle (Google) about Mantra or Japa, or affirmations. And roll with your findings. Spoiler alert… #5)

Trauma shatters your most basic assumptions about yourself and your world — “Life is good,” “I’m safe,” “People are kind,” “I can trust others,” “The future is likely to be good” — and replaces them with feelings like “The world is a dangerous place,” “I can’t win,” “I can’t trust other people…” Dr. Mark Goulston

Psychiatrist

5. You need to Heal!

What you are gonna find out if you continue on this path of recovery, is that PTSD is a nervous system injury and as such, you are gonna need to heal. Trust me, this is part of the stigma attached to mental illness. Sometimes, I thought, even said to those around me, ‘it would be easier if it was a broken bone or something; something others could see.” Ha… Bullshit, more victim language, so be on the lookout for this. People who do #4 don’t talk like this. They take responsibility, and as such will focus on their healing.

Make healing your #1 priority.

When I finally made healing my priority, things began to move in a positive direction. I began to gain traction and eventually momentum. It still wasn’t easy, there were setbacks and breakdowns, but all were now framed within the context of healing my nervous system; reclaiming my life, and life force. Finally, and just recently, making healing my #1 priority I have been able to consistently create positive experiences in my life, amidst the inevitable chaos! Now, we’re talking! Booyah!  Living with PTSD is no joke… take care of yourself!

6. Relax.

Guess what… and you may not like it, because it is likely to go against everything you have ever been taught in this life! But, get ready… sit down. Take a deep breath. Relax…

that’s right, RELAX…

Remember #5? Well, your nervous system is made up of the sympathetic (fight/flight/freeze) and parasympathetic (#1). We’ve been stuck in the sympathetic side and that is NOT a good thing! The sympathetic is for outrunning tonights dinner so you may eat or outrunning the saber-toothed tiger so you may eat breakfast tomorrow. It’s for heroics and life saving deeds, quick thinking, even quicker reactions and actions; put bluntly it is there to keep us alive in the world we live in.

It is designed to come online without thought or consideration to insure our very survival, then go offline after the threat has passed. <Face Palm.> They told me when I was admitted to hospital that I was in what’s called “always on” and likely had been there most of my adult life.

Let’s look at this another way for some perspective. Orgasms are nice and they play a large role in our human experience; for the reason of procreation, for one. Biologically without orgasm, likely human beings wouldn’t have come this far. But, could you imagine orgasming 24/7 for decades… <thinking face>… yeah, me neither.

What’s the antidote?

that’s right, RELAX…

The parasympathetic nervous system is also known as rest and digest, or feed and breed, being associated with things like digestion, defecation, urination, tears, salivation and sexual arousal. It is the compliment to fight/flight, returning the organism (not orgasm) to a state of balance, homeostasis. It is imperative for our health, vitality, wellness and Spirit to live in balance. PTSD is an affliction that takes the body out of balance and the way back is…

that’s right, RELAX…

(#1 some Yoga Nidra, and give this slam-dunk healing tool a try! It was a key to my healing.)

7. Be Grateful.

While you are getting your groove on, ya know, so relaxing, let’s implement a key learning that, for me, was actually quite difficult. It’s called Gratitude. Yup, giving thanks! For some reason, my ability to do that had come to a complete halt. Can you imagine? lol… Maybe you don’t have to, maybe you are in the thick of it now. Either way… Do, do this… (he said doodoo…)

Start a gratitude journal…

Gratitude is a muscle, that if not flexed withers away to almost nothing. (A lot like #3) Trust me, I know as this was, and sometimes still is very difficult for me. But I DO IT, NOW!!! why, because it has helped. And continues to help. I have been doing it consistently and momentum is building. The muscle needs exercise.

There is something about FEELING grateful, deeply grateful that makes a difference, deep inside. Remember do do ( :-0 )your #1 and find out why.

Traumatized people chronically feel unsafe inside their bodies: The past is alive in the form of gnawing interior discomfort. Their bodies are constantly bombarded by visceral warning signs, and, in an attempt to control these processes, they often become expert at ignoring their gut feelings and in numbing awareness of what is played out inside. They learn to hide from their selves. Dr. Bessel A. van der Kolk

Author, The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma

8. Bad Days.

Im gonna be honest with you, as you know it has sucked and/or witnessed the suckage in a friend, spouse, family member, community member, etc.

Bad days come… and bad days go.

You’re gonna have bad days.  That’s what happens when you are Living with PTSD. (but there’s hope!)

But, you are still here and are committed to still moving forward. (If not, see #2 and call for help!) May I remind you (reminding myself, too) you have come this far and those bad days are in the past. Gone! You can’t do anything about them, but you can do something about NOW (see #4). Do you work. (still #4) and the bad days of yore, will begin to diminish. The absolutely crushing despair I used to feel has been replaced with Hope, with Trust and Faith in something bigger than me; a higher power of the Source within me, within us all.

Where I was and where I am are light years apart; I can tell you I have my share of stories, nightmares more appropriately, but I AM STILL HERE. A bad day actually hasn’t existed for me in a while now. :-D. Tough moments, yes. Challenges, of course. Crushing/debilitating despair… yup! Those thoughts we don’t like to think about…. Hmhmmm. But, I haven’t had a bad day in quite awhile.

What used to crush me for days, weeks, even months, has subsided in intensity; the work, its been working. Now, I have moments as described above, moments, not lasting debilitation. I receive relief during the day, not a week later, because of all these things I have shared with you… and more. In short, living with PTSD has become easier…

9. Higher Power.

The best for last? Shoulder shrug… but it is important, very important it turns out. And I am not gonna belabor it, cuz its up to you to sort out, for yourself. Its personal; between you and the Creator. If you do your #1, you will find it is the ingredient necessary to facilitate massive transformation in your life. What is it? Belief in something greater than you… Bigger. I call it God… Source. Creator, the great mystery, Prana, Chi, Energy, Universal Energy, the Lord… did I say, God… Love, it has been monikered by all cultures throughout time, and pointed to by the masters and great traditions as the Source of All that Is. It has been called Love. And I have experienced its benevolence; its grace. In fact, it could be said… that is why I am here today.

By Grace… By God.

The same goes for you…

Namaste.

Well… that got a bit in-depth, I gotta say!  It has been a wild ride home, but today, August 5th, 2018… as I write this, I can say I am free.  I’m back, or perhaps better said… I’ve been reborn, forged from the fires of my own making I emerge in service and on purpose.  No one ought suffer like I have… No one should have to endure that pain.  But, we do… until it becomes unbearable… and then we find our road… HOME.

Drop me your email address below, and I will send you the entire article, 9 Insights from Living with PTSD… AND a Yoga Nidra Guided Meditation Recording. These two resources alone can help you! help yourself… or someone you know.  Don’t make the same mistakes I did… Get on this list.  You will also receive emails from me (and can unsubscribe anytime.)  They will be inspiring and filled with real-life insights, in real-time. Stories from my career as a Wildland Firefighter, tools & practices, guided meditations, movement & exercise, spiritual & material practical solutions that worked for me ( and many, many others). It all begins today, with 9 INSIGHTS FROM LIVING WITH PTSD. I have been relatively vocal about these challenges, in the past… told my story each year, charting my progress, as the Host and Facilitator of the annual SYF Trauma Training, as I call it… but never have I really shared, deeply what has worked for me.  And how it may work for you, or help someone you know.  I will also keep ya posted on the 2018 SYF Yoga for PTSD Training, and perhaps some behind the scenes look into the world of the Sedona Yoga Festival.  I do still have some pull… *wink*

It’s time… I am ready and blessed to share what I have received.

Marc
Sedona Yoga Festival Founder
@cedarmesa
#transmogrifythatshit
#transmogrificationinprogress

Living with PTSD

living with ptsd living with ptsd living with ptsd living with ptsd living with ptsd living with PTSD living with PTSD

WHAT CAN I DO by Rama Jyoti Vernon

WHAT CAN I DO by Rama Jyoti Vernon

Introducing the new “State of the Union” blog series where yogis discuss how to approach the circumstances of our world from a yogic perspective. 

WHAT CAN I DO
Rama Jyoti Vernon
shared with permission from: http://www.rama.yoga/blog by Alumni presenter and lifetime world peace activist Rama Jyoti Vernon
June 16th, 2018

It is three o’clock in the morning.

I was awakened by vivid images: children being ripped away from their parents on the borders of our country; a baby pulled from its mother’s breast; two and three year olds weeping and wailing for their parents. For the rest of their lives, the endless pain of lack of trust will haunt these children and their parents. There have been repeated inhumane acts throughout history that have demonstrated the inhumanity plaguing the human condition. As Pete Seeger wrote, and many have sung, “When will we ever learn?”

How can those of us in Yoga, who understand the law of cause and effect, be silent and allow this situation to continue through the support of our current leaders who are deaf and insulated to the pain and suffering of others? Are they our representatives? I think not!

We become part of these decisions when we are born into a country of origin. We are part of the dharma of the laws of that land and if that law of dharma, which is supposed to bring order, social stability, and organization, creates chaos, instability, and suffering, it is no longer dharma but adharma. Adharma goes against the grain of the laws of nature and humane social conditions. It destroys instead of builds, and we become part of its destruction if we acquiesce in our silence.

In the scriptural studies of Yoga philosophy and the law of karma, it is believed that if we are born into a country that unjustly makes war upon another and we do not protest, at least in our own hearts, then in another life we will be born into a country that is made war upon.

What can we do? It is the eternal question wherever people feel helpless in making changes. Yes, in Yoga it is possible to rise above the sea of samsara, the sea of endless pain, to experience in consciousness a place beyond the duality, separation, and forgetfulness of the unified soul consciousness. However, in Yoga, even if we
have a glimpse of this paradisiacal state, does it mean we cannot try to alleviate human suffering on this earth plane?

Swami Vivekananda would say that the world (and its problems) is like the kink of a dog’s tail. As long as we are holding it we think it is straight. But the moment we let go, it will just kink up again. Does this mean we can never effect change? Is this the difference between pragmatic action and static inaction?

When we see injustice do we remain silent, thinking someone else will do something or do we go into our meditation and practices asking what our dharma, our destiny, our life’s purpose is in this instance? Do we shed our own tears for the suffering of others? Do we go to the border to light candles, participate in a “sit in” or go on a
hunger strike? Do we write our government representatives or participate in a march on our state and/or nation’s Capital? Or do we continue to turn a deaf ear to the lies told by leaders that thrust the blame on everyone else but themselves? Do we continue to share our thoughts with those who we feel are lacking in discrimination due to
radical political choices they are making?

I awakened in the middle of the night asking the invisible Masters what I can do, and wondered if Germans in l930s Germany did the same. It is always difficult to know when the tide of human decency turns into a cruel regime that conditions the minds of its people while insidiously stripping away the freedoms they are accustomed to. Why is it that so many leaders come to power only to have power over others, but not to serve the needs of their people? Are we being lulled into a hypnotic slumber until it will be too late to awaken? A frog when dropped into a boiling pot will jump out. However, if the heat is turned up gradually, it will be too late for him to escape the boiling cauldron. Is this the acceptance of the abnormal becoming the “new norm?”

Dawn is breaking, the birds are singing, and now rain is softly falling as my tears fall with it. Some might say this is not yogic thinking. We are to be unattached. However, there is a very thin line between non-attachment and indifference. As the Masters say “until we know attachment, we will never know true non-attachment”. I arose to sit with eyes closed, holding the people in all war torn countries in my consciousness. I felt the mother’s grief of the loss of her children, and the children’s loss of the parent. I felt the pain of the wounded in body and in heart. I felt the loss of those who will never return to their homes and lands wandering to seek refuge wherever they are accepted. I held the children and parents fleeing violence and persecution seeking safety and protection in the embrace of Universal consciousness.

That is what I can do! What can you do?

Now is the time to arise from within, like a spiritual warrior guided by the power of compassion, and discrimination, in whatever way we are called. Perhaps for some it is a time not to be silent but to speak out, and stand firm in the winds of growing tyranny and divisive policies that separate nations, states and people. For others, there may be a call for inspired, transformative action, or some may wish to offer the power of silence, prayer and meditation.

Yoga means Union, transcending the allusion of separation to see the Oneness of all humanity and human unity. Together let us hold a vision of a world where peace can prevail; where our thoughts, words and actions are no longer weapons of destruction but are divinely guided to lift the hearts, minds and spirit of others. Perhaps if enough of us hold this vision we can reach a critical mass to impact the collective consciousness of all humanity.

Rama Jyoti Vernon is a Yoga teacher and peace activist, and one of the founders of Yoga Journal. She founded the California Yoga Teachers’ Association, and the California Institute for Yoga Teacher Training, which later became the first U.S. Yoga Teachers’ Training program for the work of Mr. B.K.S. Iyengar. She hosted and organized programs for Mr. Iyengar and started his first organization in the U.S. She is considered one of America’s yoga pioneers, and one of the first yoga teachers in the U.S., beginning in the 1960s.

Her mother, a student of Swami Paramahamsa Yogananda, took her to her first yoga class at age 15. As an adult, Rama Jyoti was one of the earliest students of B.K.S. Iyengar in North America, and hosted him for two of his first workshops in California in the early 1970s. She founded the American Yoga College, and Unity In Yoga International that eventually evolved into the Yoga Alliance. Under Rama Jyoti’s direction in the 1990s, Unity In Yoga sponsored seven national and three international conferences in the Soviet Union, the Middle East and Central America. Richard Miller and Larry Payne, founders of the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT), have frequently acknowledged Rama Jyoti’s contribution to the creation of IAYT through the connections she fostered at the Unity in Yoga conferences. Rama Jyoti established the Center for Soviet-American Dialogue in 1984 to help connect citizens of the United States with those of the Soviet Union during the Cold War years. She served as a citizen diplomat, bringing groups of grass roots citizens to dialogue across borders, and was interviewed numerous times by U.S. media and Soviet television and radio. She later simplified the name of her organization to the Center for International Dialogue and expanded its out-reach of dialogue and conflict resolution trainings into Afghanistan and the Middle East, visiting Jordan, the West Bank and Gaza, China and Cuba, with American citizens.

Rama Jyoti, mother of five children, twelve grandchildren and one great-grandchild, continues to travel nationally and internationally to teach Yoga and Yoga teachers. Her work is codified in the ultimate yoga practice book, Yoga: The Practice of Myth and Sacred Geometry, and her yoga philosophy commentaries, Patañjali’s Yoga S?tras, Gateway to Enlightenment.

Learn more about Rama Jyoti: www.rama.yoga

YogiTunes: Your Yoga Soundtrack

YogiTunes: Your Yoga Soundtrack

YogiTunes: Your Yoga Soundtrack

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Yoga for Trauma and Resiliency: the Training

Optional integrated 20-hour training for Yoga teachers “Traumatic Stress: Resiliency and Healing with Yoga” is designed to provide teachers with the skills to share yoga with First Responders, Veterans, trauma survivors, PTSD and TBI sufferers and many more.

Yoga for PTSD

Yoga for PTSD

I have suffered enough…

I think that’s what happened… Somewhere from the darkness, this knowing came.  I have suffered enough!  So quiet, it was that it must have merely dawned on me at some point and through the fog of despair this near imperceptible feeling became the catalyst that has propelled me to where I am today, such an advocate of yoga for PTSD.

As I conjecture, taking a moment now to look back, I wonder if God’s graceful and consistent whisper wasn’t, “you have suffered enough…” and somewhere deep within the one who was wounded, a hidden back door opened allowing said Grace to enter.  Albeit unbeknownst to me at the time, as I was deeply identified with the one who was ill and couldn’t get out of bed, the pain so agonizing as to put me to the floor in tears, yet, Grace did come.

yoga for ptsd

You see, that is the thing about trauma and PTSD (and why yoga for ptsd is so helpful)…  One gets deeply wrapped up in the experience, so much so that there is no new experience, without the bodies memory of the impact of the event.  And when it gets extremely bad, the body never comes out of fight/flight, the memory of the event no longer so prevalent as everything in the world around me is sharp and harmful… or at least that is what my nervous system can tell me.

As imperceptible as this feeling/notion was at the beginning, I can say now, looking back, that it gained momentum, slowly at first, oh so very slowly, and it did pick up, but jeepers the agony of it…  I get it! What I am speaking about was mere months ago, and the gain in momentum is still variable, yet undeniably so, progress is being made… consciousness is expanding.  Ultimately, something within me fully acknowledged that I had suffered enough. 

And that’s when things around me began to change… starting with the pain, something began to release and all I can say is assistance showed up, every single time I needed it.  Miraculous, in plain speak, but in retrospect, I can see the elegance of it all.  God is not intending human beings to suffer.  and yet we do…  amazingly well, I might add!  The Human Race has become earthly residential experts at it, and few succeed in completely becoming free of this uniquely human condition.

So I work at it… it’s not always easy… Sometimes, I am successful… most often I fall short. But I have found through my practices (yoga for ptsd) there is a Presence whom is always there for me when I falter and the forgiveness I struggle to give myself, is ever-present when I am tuned with it…

That is the work… imperceptible whisper heard from my bed of despair, but full on conversations, inspirations, vitality, direction and drive when I am feeling good…

I suffered enough… and yet, still everyday… I face the chasm; its yawn could envelope me, if I let it and when I remember to turn away from the observations that pull me toward that gaping yaw, I feel good!  Needless to say, I have determined it is my responsibility to focus on that which allows me best to feel at ease in my being and have gained empirical evidence that doing so not only brings Joy, but also clears the way for an easier path with less obstacles and greater achievements.  

Clarity comes and life flows easily.  Dharma… Service in Action.  Consciousness itself expanding on its leading edge, through YOU.  That’s COOL!  Right!!??

Something happens… call it a miracle (because no short of could it be!)  Somehow… the point of identification can shift, does shift and we begin to see the wounded one and realize we can observe him or herRest in this awareness when it comes… nurture and allow it to return frequently.  Find ways that work for you to cultivate this feeling, because it is a feeling only you will know and your way to it will be unique to you.  Always remember, no matter where you are on your journey… teachers will come and go, leaders, too.  You are the only constant and ultimately your unique way and practice will be revealed… to you, unfolded by you and realized by you.  Yes, you will be guided, a student and a teacher, and you will experience many, many things… but, it will always be up to you to find your way hOMe when the cacophony returns, and it will return.

I am READY…  are you?  (Yoga for PTSD)

Join me at the Sedona Yoga Festival, March 9-12, 2017 for the first of its kind; Traumatic Stress, Healing & Resiliency with Yoga: an optional integrated training at the upcoming consciousness evolution conference held every year in the place I am blessed to call home.  Each year, SYF becomes a platform for giving back, as we train yoga teachers, care givers and survivors alike to understand the needs of a significant population in our over-stressed American culture; those affected by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and its often debilitating symptoms, consequences and effects.  We have trained hundreds over the years and affected the lives of thousands. Yoga for PTSD works.  Period.

This year we aim higher (holding space for 210 attendees…) and by integrating this optional track into the festival schedule, we believe we will see more graduates from this CEU approved series of master classes and workshops than ever before!

SYF GIVES BACK program faculty have always been carefully selected by Heather and I to provide the largest scope possible to identifying, understanding and solving the problem through the the Science of Yoga, Meditation and other energy medicine modalities.  This year, several of the faculty have been monumental in my healing journey; their methods and teachings instrumental in my post-traumatic growth.

I can personally attest to the efficacy of these practices and if applied, consistently, diligently and with focus, one can experience a shift…  relief comes, even if but for a moment, it comes… and it will lead to more.

And one day… not too far in the future, you will take a moment to look back and say, “I suffered enough… have you?”

“There is another way…”, You will say.

 

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Total Body Cleanse – Find your way hOMe.

Total Body Cleanse – Find your way hOMe.

This is part 2 of a multipart blog series.  Click here to read part 1.

We’ve been in the flow lately… undeniably so.  It has been remarkable and filled with insights and as I was cleaning houses (old and new), I found something!  Not a total body cleanse, although important and part of the story, rather something more profound; perhaps a miracle, I have to say the experience has altered me somehow.  Or… maybe I was just primed to see something (from my last total body  cleanse…), again, to be reminded just how this journey called life works.  I marvel at it, truly…  and yet, it seems to be a continuous struggle to maintain this view…  or did. Let me explain.

We moved…

20 or so days ago, Heather and I spontaneously discussed the perfect place to live; a place we could expand our lives and grow, something we could share with family & friends, a place we could grow our business and share with our tribe.  We listed all the things we would want, right down to the neighborhood; we were very specific. Today, I am sitting in the back office of that home writing this blog!

Everyone can relate, I am certain, to the experience of moving…   Yet, we both handled it in stride!  I admit, there were a few times that it got challenging, yet I was able to literally turn 180 degrees from the thoughts, words or actions that were noticeably blocking the energy of expansion.  Somehow, I was able to maintain a peaceful clarity throughout what certainly looked like chaos from the outside, eventually the perceived chaos diminished and now I gaze upon a completely new experience!  So, how did I do it?

I didn’t!  It was the Flow…  We are in it. All of us, all the time.   Prana, Chi, Energy, Universal Energy, God, the Great Mystery… on and on the traditions describe something like “a fabric of reality”, something that keeps it all together, connects all creation, and so on… (So I am gonna leave that part alone and know that if you are reading this, we are close enough or on the same sheet. )

I have been shown over & over again, on this near 20 year journey into understanding myself and allowing consciousness to expand through me, that indeed there is something working on our behalf… in the ethers, I like to say.  Now, I am thinking, just straight up what I am calling ethers is actually it!  But truthfully, I have NO CLUE!

My teacher says, “we are happy… that is our nature.”  And all the times I looked at him and thought, “hmmmm…. no shit, there must be something to this”, I am now realizing… yup!  there is.

These past several days have shown me yet again that we are indeed part of something much grander than I could ever figure out.  I received empirical data to support my conclusions and directly experienced something palpable and profound. The only way to describe it is to say this.

There is a place I found… only I don’t have to go anywhere, although it feels like I leave it sometimes, where I feel safe, secure and nurtured and HAPPY, yes, happy.  and I don’t mean ‘happy to have passed the test!’ or ‘happy to see you!’ or ‘my children make me happy’ or ‘happy its friday’, no I am talking about a deep sense of joy or bliss. ultimately, these words do it no justice.  but i know the feeling.  and when I feel that way, things work out…  the Energy wants to expand, Consciousness is evolving and it is doing it through us.  Aware or not, it is happening.  When I tune into that feeling

I am that feeling.  I have come to that conclusion now and that it is up to me to support this human being in experiencing its birthright. Bliss, ananda… all the sages, saints, mystics and masters have pointed humanity to this fact.  Ok… mind blown.  again, as I said.  I am a yogi, that is what is ironic… one might think, I got it… but the chatter in my mind has had its way with me, too! (and likely will again, albeit each time is less and less intense!)

Lets do a little 2+2…

All the saints, sages, masters, mystics…, the Wayne Dyers and Eckhart Tolle’s, the Beatles and other celebs… Jim Carrey, for goodness sake!  google it.  Jim Carrey Awakening…  bam!  My teachers…  ALL SAYING THE SAME THING.

Now, again… me.

Does that mean what I think it means!  yup…  AVAILABLE TO ALL… They do call it the Infinite… that means everywhere… you, me, them…  over there, here, yesterday, tomorrow…  it is here, now.  Always.

Cleaning my homes last week (1 old & 1 new) I found something…  It was here all the time, silently waiting for me to return; to notice. (yes, i have been here before… maybe you have, too!)  I found a temple, a true hOMe that I carry in my heart… a place I can never leave, nor ever go; I have always been here; safe, nurtured, supported and cared for.  And so have you.

total body cleanse

Total Body Cleanse

It is up to each of us to gain the clarity; consciousness is evolving through us all.  Are you stuck?  This is where the total body cleanse comes in.  Of all the practices I have turned to over the years to gain and maintain my clarity, one sticks out to be the very best and quite honestly a rapid way to achieve clarity and gain insights when you are feeling out of sorts.  A total body cleanse has been my goto over the years to feel lighter in body… mind & spirit.  I firmly believe that our food system in the US is a contributing factor to systemic issues of low energy, physical & mental illness, along with a host of other issues plaguing our society.  Cleaning up your diet for 10 days, is not only  a great way to begin to entertain some discipline your life, but the healthy, happy vitality that results from the 10-day Transformation of a total body cleanse will bring some zing back into your life and a sure cure to feeling stuck over or after the holidays.  There are many out there so do your research; many are not pure, organic, non-gmo, sustainably harvested, etc…  but that may not matter to you.  If it does, click here to learn more about the products I use daily.

There are many practices available to facilitate the expansion of consciousness within you…  We aim to share what has worked for us: Yoga, Meditation, Energy Medicine, along with dietary support in the form of supplements and organic, non-gmo, minimally processed foods.  Please comment below what has worked for you…

Join us in the flow!  SYF2017 is right around the corner… and Aumbase Sedona has some great offerings, including a Total Yoga Detox with Luke Ketterhagen January 19-22!  and remember, this hOMe was inspired by something bigger than us … look for us on airBnB soon and as hosts to a private total body cleanse retreat in our hOMe… with us.

Namaste.

Adventure Travel – the Makings of an Aumbase Sedona Adventure

Adventure Travel – the Makings of an Aumbase Sedona Adventure

Does adventure travel inspire you…? We have all done it, and if not, we want to… we all dream about it, whether aware or not, and the big screen provides innumerable examples of losing ourselves in EPIC adventures; we are a culture of dreamers, oft just dreaming, not as much doing.  But you can change that!

Adventure Travel with Aumbase Adventures

Choose your own adventure – Always.

Adventure Travel

A common theme in the adventure travel arena is the backdrop, of course being ‘out there… in nature’ is the ultimate and where it happens can actually contribute (positively and/or negatively) to the experience.  Aumbase Adventures, based in Sedona, Arizona, USA, certainly boasts a very distinctive and unique backdrop for the discerning Adventure Travel enthusiast, providing intuitively created transformational experiences focused in yoga, meditation & mindfulness (on the land & in the studio)  in the heart of an undisputed spiritual mecca of the American West.  Sedona and her surrounding lands, the vistas and vortexes, the red rocks and Oak Creek, all combine to provide the backdrop for a very special adventure travel experience…

Five must-have ingredients for your next adventure

  1. yoga-in-sedona-0582-smallBackdrop…  It’s not about the destination, really it isn’t.  All the pundits, sages & masters would point you to presence in the moment, and as such, wherever one is on their journey, it’s fairly easy to see that this is something that one should cultivate in their own practice and daily life.  However… if daily life has gotten a bit stagnant and/or stuck, often it takes a jump start to get back on track.  Here’s where adventure travel enters the equation and an energized and stunning backdrop for a personal journey becomes a bit more important to cultivating that ever-so important ingredient to successful mindfulness, Presence.  Trust me when I say, “just sit for twenty minutes… on the red rocks, overlooking stunningly colorful and vibrant vistas with blue sky panoramas… and not have an experience.  It’s just not possible!  You can be forever changed by the backdrop to your personal journey.  Undeniably, Sedona is a powerful one indeed, unlike anything else in the world; you’ll need to see for yourself.
  2. Perfect Weather, of course I am biased, but hey… When most of the rest of North America is in a deep freeze, Sedona, AZ is enjoying outright warmth, with blue bird days better than 278 days a year, the odds are you will experience some gorgeous weather to go with your Personal Transformation!  Yeah… sure, we are supposed to not want anything and all that, but really, I have spent equal time in the rain, snow, sleet, hail and worse; I can tell you, the sun is quite conducive to personal growth… and relaxation, yes it is linked to that, too.  Whether, you want to sit by the pool and drink coladas or hike and meditate on the rocks, again, trust me… its lovely in the sun.  (Summer temps do get warmer than most are used to…. carry and drink plenty of water on & off the trails.)
  3. Adventure Travel with AumbaseWater — Oak Creek Canyon & West Fork of Oak Creek…  With sun and the summer 100 degree days, water is always nice and there is an ample supply here!  Oak Creek runs right through Sedona and provides wonderful opportunities to experience cool waters, red rock waterslides, sycamore shade and much, much more.  Sitting in or by this nourishing waterway is a soul-cleansing experience, certainly on par with the rest Sedona has to offer.
  4. Friends or Family, Colleagues & Associates…  Yes, bring em all!  Adventure travel is just the stuff for family reunions or corporate retreats, creating deeper, shared bonds with those experiencing transformation and growth together.  I did say that radical change and instant transformation is possible, didn’t I…?  Sedona has a penchant for up-leveling everyone’s experience, so why not plan to bring your team here for a corporate retreat facilitated by Aumbase Adventures?  Family or friend reunions, parties and gatherings of a high vibe nature can be hosted at Aumbase Sedona, a center for consciousness evolution. It will truly be unforgettable!  and transformative.
  5. Proven, tried & true... That’s right.  Since time immemorial, humans have been drawn to what we now know as Sedona for its mystical and metaphysical experiences and potential.  The discerning adventure traveler will quickly realize that Sedona is indeed a mecca for personal growth, rapid transformation and lasting effects… tried & true.  I literally guarantee that everyone has their own unique & powerful experience, here… no matter how aware of it they are… or aren’t.  This is a powerful place and has been used as such for spiritual, metaphysical and personal growth for good reason.  Something happens here, undeniably so…

Come and see for yourself… better yet, let your mind go and sink into the present moment, now… and feel yourself here.  See if she calls to you, Sedona… and if she does, we’ll be here…  Click here if you are ready…

Sedona Hikes & Yoga Tours on the Land - Aumbase Adventures

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