Share Your Inspiration: Meet Jae Bradford

My Miracle

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After 3 ½ years of rather severe health issues with my aging parents (who I love dearly), I realized my stress level was “off the chart”. I was anxious, depressed and nervous all of the time. I started taking Yoga classes with Sandra in June of 2012 because I knew I needed to have something in my life that was just for me. I really didn’t know what Yoga was all about so I signed up for 1 month, then signed up for the next 3 months. I had found something that was all mine and I enjoyed the classes so much. The peace and positively that I had been looking for began to seep into my life. I became more patient, accepting and my stress level much more manageable.

Sandra held a breathing class on September 22, 2012, which I decided to attend.  I had started smoking cigarettes when I was 17 (40 years ago) and had been trying to quit smoking for 39 of those 40 years. No program, health issue, drug, hypnosis, acupuncture or anything else that came along lead me to stop smoking.  Smoking had become such a burden and just plain exhausting but I just couldn’t quit. I had not planned to stop smoking when I attended the breathing class, but that next week I started really concentrating on breathing in a new way. One week after that special class, I stopped smoking. Today December 28th, marks my 3rd month without a cigarette. I am overjoyed to be relieved of the burden. I truly feel like a miracle has happened for me.

Last month I went for my annual “well woman” exam. My doctor said “I see that you have stopped smoking…did something happen to lead you to this”?  I said “Yes, I started taking Yoga and am learning how to breathe”. She asked me what class I was taking, I told her about Sandra and INDRA’S GRACE, she said “That is wonderful, I have a lot of patients that take her class, I am so happy for you”.

I wanted to share this before January 1, 2013. This year on New Years day, my #1 resolution won’t be “Stop Smoking”, because I already did that and I know in my heart that I will never smoke again. Yoga and Sandra have improved my quality of life and probably saved it. Thank you, Sandra

Another Breathing class is on January 26th and I will be at that class as well. If learning to breathe has helped me this much, it can help anyone do anything!

Happy Breathing, Blessings and Love,

Jae Bradford
Feel free to email me.  jaebeach@bellsouth.net (Subject Indra’s Grace)

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Share Your Inspiration: Marcy Atchley

My Piece of Peace…Why I Meditate
By Marcy Atchley

I relish my time alone with God, my Divine creator…mind calms…attention is focused…body relaxes…stress does not exist… a complete feeling of inner peace abounds…I desire this… I practice this.
Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years, just look at Genesis 24:63…Issac went out to the field one evening to meditate!  Just imagine… sitting outside… full day of work accomplished… feeling grateful that it’s over, that it went well or what on earth do I do next?  Stop…give it to the One who gave me the work to begin with!  Listen and be still…still in body…still in thought.  Psalms 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God… Be grateful…be blessed…Worship.
When I meditate it is my intention to seek harmony with my mind, body, and spirit..to be aware..not to judge!  I find answers when I look inwardly.  Ephesians 1:18…I pray also that the EYES OF YOUR HEART may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you.  This is a priceless gift.  Ephesians  4:23 tells me that I can be made new in the attitude of my mind.  Romans 8:6 tells me that when my mind is controlled by the Spirit, I have life and peace.  Romans 15:13 tells me that I can overflow with hope and be filled with joy and peace.  Philippians 4:4-9 tells me I was created to be happy…rejoice in the Lord…present my petitions.not be anxious..Let Christ guard my mind…practice pure, true, noble, admirable, praiseworthy thoughts and the God of Peace will be with me.
Meditation is an avenue that I use to build my faith.  I love God.  I am loved by God.  I feel it.  I know it.  I own it.  I can only give to others out of my abundance whether that is time, money, wisdom, or energy.  I feel blessed with all when I stop and turn my thoughts inwardly.  I try to carry this love and inner peace with me through out my day.  Whatever I am doing, wherever I am going, it balances me…even when my thoughts turn negative, my joy drains….how quick can I get it back?
Like daily bible reading, prayer and meditation, I also have discovered a need for a daily practice for my body.  Yoga has led me to a stronger mind, stronger breath, stronger bones, stronger muscles, I stand taller, I feel whole which in turn makes me more holy.. for the movements are done in rhythm to my breath…My God given breath working with my God given and created body…meditation in motion!  How cool is that! By the way…did you know that yoga means union? Union of the body with the mind and the mind with the soul.
The work I am doing with Sandra at Indra’s Grace, is helping me rebound more quickly and more gracefully…thus more pleasing to my Creator. A positive thought is just a thought away, but it is up to me to look for a positive one!  Life is hard…disappointments abound…but so does Love.. Joy.. Peace… Patience… Goodness… Kindness… Gentleness… Self Control…the choice is mine to make. This application is huge when I look inside…I used to be very quick to judge myself…I should have…did I…will I… have I…wish I…scattered thoughts had a tendency to plague me. Now, when I feel unbalanced I return to my breath…my Spirit…once again I calm…I breathe…I meditate and I am at peace.

Share Your Inspiration: Meet Jerry Wiggins

I want to tell you about my success story.


I have a rough medical history. Brain surgery from Chiari Malformation, a kidney removed from renal cancer, and some autonomic issues such as Central sleep apnea, gastroparesis, and POTS. My ears ring so loud 24/7. Of all this, the headaches, the nerve damage, and the pain from Chiari are my biggest issues. I have had doctors give up on me, tell me it was all in my head…well Chiari is in my head…and in general with some bad experiences.

I had to medically retire from a job I enjoyed which changed my way of life. I had become very non-mobile, with high blood pressure, and was suffering from declining health. I had become so pale and had lost so much weight that I went through early cancer screening but nothing was found. I found a new neurologist that was a nerve specialist with several Chiari patients. I think I flunked every phase of my initial examination. My doctor told me pain management was now the treatment, but that I might see benefits from yoga, that I needed to keep moving. Thus I sent my first email to Indra’s Grace. I then made contact over the phone and I knew Sandra was special. Sandra had even taken the time to find information on Chiari.  I was very impressed and very excited.

I started my first session in a chair and got so dizzy I thought I was going to fall out of it during my first breathing exercise. I was staggering all over the place doing basic exercises. Although it was  slow progress, I was amazed that it was progress. I had so many failed medications, long waits for doctor appointments and just time, if that makes any sense. After several years of declining health any progress was fast. A few sessions and my color started coming back. Then my blood pressure went down and I quit blood pressure medications.

So many emotions hit. It was very hard not being able to do simple things, stumbling, falling, and easy fatigue. I was shocked seeing a shadow of my old self. Sandra started turning my sad to hope and determination. My body started getting stronger. Something happened. It was like something turned on. My autonomic nervous system I think? It was to me the impossible.

My pain has lessened. I am now getting worried I will have to diet after gaining so much weight!  Yes, I still have many Chiari symptoms but now I know there is hope. My graduation to group class was fun and interesting. I didn’t get embarrassed; no one cared if I staggered around. Somehow, I hung in there and continued to grow. I have gone from barely hanging in to holding my own.

My cardiologist is very impressed with my progress. I am off my BP medications. He expected to see something on my echocardiogram that most people with central sleep apnea show. He was surprised because nothing showed. My rheumatologist was happy that I was moving better. She is a yoga fan also. And, of course, my neurologist is thrilled. She noticed I wasn’t constantly squirming from pain. Sandra had made that comment a few days before she did. All made the comment that my progress was from nothing they had done.  I had done it on my own. I know better, my progress is due to yoga and Sandra’s help.

I truly look forward to yoga and appreciate how it has helped me and how it will continue to help. No, there is no cure to Chiari but yoga has helped fight the symptoms. Yoga and Sandra have helped my body, mind, and spirit. She is a very special lady.

Share Your Inspiration: Bettie Townson

In order to keep our minds young and alert there is always something new for us to learn if we look for it.  My name is Bettie Townson and I turned 83 last Tuesday.

I have always been an exercise “nut.”  I’ve exercised throughout the years regularly, not always for better health but for looks.  Some 45 years ago I had a tumor removed off the back of my shoulder that left me with a continuing impairment.  Thru the years doctors prescribed therapy treatments, painkillers, patches, various ointments which helped momentarily but never lasted.  Specific exercises for the problem never fully helped.  For more than 15 years I took water aerobics with some degree of success.  I could never get a full nights sleep even with these aids, however.
about 2 years ago my oncologist prescribed a nerve pain medicine to help me get a full night’s sleep but I could only take it at night.  It therefore wasn’t much help in the daytime.  Last February or March a real good friend of mine mentioned about a yoga class in Weatherford she wanted me to try.  I had tried yoga before but due to a replaced hip surgery couldn’t do many of the postures.  I really wasn’t very enthused about this class at first.  I found that Sandra empathized breathing and stretching more than actual yoga positions.  So I stayed with it knowing that I probably couldn’t be there every week.  Sandra Also pointed out that in some exercises that I had done throughout the years I wasn’t doing them correctly.  I am now more mindful when I do them that I do them correctly.

Since about last April or so I have not had to take the nerve pain medicine at night in order to get a good night’s sleep.  This is as long as I do at least 30 minutes of this particular stretching each and every day.  If I fail to do so I find I have to take the medicine.

Bettie Townson
For more information about Indra’s Grace in Weatherford Texas please visit www.indrasgrace.com

Share Your Inspiration: Adrianne Berry

My name is Adrianne, and this is my story about how yoga and Sandra Vanatko, at Indra’s Grace, has helped me become healthier and more youthful.
Two years ago I was driving on Fourth Street and noticed a sign on a building that read “Yoga.” I went home and called and found out that a new yoga studio, Indra’s Grace, had just opened. I signed up to begin classes, even though I was somewhat skeptical. I had tried yoga at another studio but found that I could not do the poses. But I knew there must be something to it, so I decided to give it another try.
There were just two people in my first class: me and the instructor, Sandra.  We mostly did breathing exercises that first class, but I recognized immediately that Sandra’s message about health and fitness and positive thinking was an important one that I needed to hear. I began going to classes every week and, more importantly, developed my own daily yoga practice.
Changes to my body happened gradually. The first thing I noticed was that I wasn’t stiff and sore every morning when I woke up. Then I noticed that I had more range of motion when doing things that required me to extend my muscles and move my joints.  Eventually I could do deep knee bends and squats that seemed impossible at first.
Beyond the physical benefits that I was noticing, I began feeling more confident about my body and my ability to move and keep my balance. My husband (who had also begun taking yoga) and I bought a sailboat-something that we’d thought about but never felt confident enough about our bodies-to do. We both now had more confidence in our ability to crawl around on the boat and do all the things necessary to pilot a sailboat.
I also purchased a bicycle and began riding regularly. I began to lose some weight. This success led me to change my diet to a low carb diet. I lost more weight. I upgraded my comfort bike to a road bike and began riding in tours with other cyclists, doing 20 and 30 mile rides.
I’ve been practicing yoga a little over two years now, and that, combined with my diet and cycling and increased physical activity has resulted in my losing 50 pounds! I look and feel like a different person. I am vital and confident and athletic. I feel younger at 56 than I did at 46!
I trace my success back to the day I started my yoga class with Sandra. There are still poses that I can’t do, and I still have much to learn. But I know that yoga is a lifelong practice, not something that I will ever perfect and leave behind. I don’t claim that yoga alone is the reason for my success. But I am convinced that my yoga practice put me on the path to a healthier, more positive, vital, and confident life. I am so grateful to Sandra for her role in my transformation!

To learn more about Indra’s Grace in Weatherford, Texas please visit www.indrasgrace.com

Share Your Inspiration: Barb Wise

WHY I LOVE YOGA!!!!
by Barb Wise

I never would have thought I would be writing an article on Yoga! If you had asked me if practiced Yoga 10 years ago, I probably would have laughed.   Thoughts like “Why in the World?” and “What for?” would have raced through my mind.  Oh how we change and learn.

Now Yoga is such a part of my life that I actually plan my life around my Yoga Classes!! For real!!!! I show up now at Rotary, Political lunches, Chamber of Commerce lunches in my Yoga clothes.  I know people in Weatherford think that I have no other clothes to wear.  In short Yoga has changed my life…. WHY? And HOW? You may ask!

The Simple perspective I have come up with is that Yoga makes you feel good.  It’s relaxing. It’s energizing. It’s strengthening. You feel better at the end of a session than before you began, and life runs more smoothly when you maintain a consistent discipline than when you don’t.  Yoga enhances your experience of life.  It changes your perspective.  You thereby find yourself spontaneously embracing a larger, more accurate conception of who you are, how life works, and what and who God is.  You start seeing things differently, with less distortion-which results in more peace of mind, Better Health, more enthusiasm for life, and an ever-growing authentic sense of inner well-being.

Let’s go back to Better Health! This past March I went for the dreaded Well-Woman exam, long story short, my Thyroid test showed normal, I am now OFF Thyroid medication. My Bone-Density test showed NO bone loss or weak bones, I am now OFF my Osteoporosis medication.   On Friday April 20th I went to my primary care doctor because my pharmacy would not refill my Cholesterol med until I saw my doctor.   Of course after the dreaded weigh-in they took my Blood Pressure and it was 100/60!!! Like WOW!!  Pre-Yoga (just two short years ago) my BP was 150/95, my doctor was so impressed he took me OFF my BP medication.  He then did a blood draw to check my Cholesterol~ if the results are good then he will take me OFF Cholesterol medication!  Folks I contribute all to my Yoga Practice.

As I practice Yoga, a subtle sense of feeling good gradually becomes so natural and genuine, so much a part of my life that it carries over into the whole of my life.  Yoga helps clarify my deepest longings, motivations and aspirations, by renewing my optimism, hope, meaning, and purpose in life.

When I began Yoga two years ago, it was damn hard and painful.  I remember the first time I tried to put my leg on the wall for my first “Wall Class”, I could not lift my leg four inches up the wall.  For real my leg would not lift!!! I thought OMG I am so out of shape, even though I didn’t think I was, at time I was walking two-five miles a day (as I still do), I rode my bike (as I still do).  But I could NOT lift my leg.  So painful, yes only because growth hurts when you resist change  (and I have an inclination to resist change) it’s an attempt to remain comfortable by staying the same.  But hey life is change. Change happens, especially when you’re involved in a powerful transformation process such as Yoga.  You grow.  You can’t not change.

Why I love Yoga ~because I like feeling good.  I like peace of mind.  I enjoy being joyful, peaceful, energized, and relaxed.  I feel better and I’m actually happier than I was two years ago.

Sandra always says that “Yoga is like brushing your teeth, it is an acquired habit.”  When I was young I didn’t like to brush my teeth.  It required my parents’ daily reminding to get me to do it.  Now I brush my teeth not only as a prevention against tooth decay, but because I prefer the way my mouth feels when it’s clean.

The same has been true with my Yoga practice.  At first it took conscious discipline and deliberate effort to establish a daily practice.  Now I practice not only because it’s good for me, but because I prefer the way I feel when I do.  I feel clean and new; much like the way brushing my teeth makes my mouth feel.  My entire motivation has changed.   Yoga helps keep my energy-tone at a level I like.

To sum this up LOVE, but what is love: “Love is the most practical thing in the world.  It’s what is needed most.  And this is what it is:  Love is the willingness to see that which is real in each and everything.  It’s the willingness to let go of what you think of something is in order to see it clearly as it really is.  Love, therefore, is the supreme healing power because it looks beyond what appears to be true to what is true.” -Schiffmann

To me YOGA is LOVE!

For more information on Indra’s Grace please visit www.indrasgrace.com