Trials and tribulations

Hi Friends,

I have been wondering how best to use my expertise and skills to be of service during the COVID-19 situation, and brainstorming ways to put my experience to good use in a new job.

Offering yoga online has been very fulfilling, and it has allowed me to contribute to keeping a small business running that had to close acupuncture operations for 2.5 months. I love getting to know my students better and the Sunday (Re)treats have been my favorite.

It has also occurred to me that clinical trials are running for treatments and for vaccines to help save lives and stop the spread of this infection. I have 12+ years of experience as a clinical researcher, and I am good at explaining technical concepts to non-scientists in a way that makes sense. Mission taking shape…

Web MD coronavirus picture
Photo credit – WebMD (COVID-19: What You Should Know)

I have noticed that Universities have difficulty explaining clinical trials to potential participants in ways they understand. Many of their resources are text-heavy and use a lot of technical terms. It is a chronic problem for the informed consent process as well, which is required before volunteering to participate in a trial.

In service to helping people understand which trials might be the best fit, I am considering a series on de-mystifying the clinical trial process. It may be a matter of curating the best content that is available and sharing it. I am strongly committed to advocating for participants who may be confused and want clarification of their questions.

The ACRP (Association of Clinical Research Professionals) explains that with the pandemic looming large at hospitals, many trial sites are not recruiting participants and face the danger of not completing their enrollments. This could have devastating effects on the development of other life-saving therapies outside of this virus.

My questions are these:

  • Have you ever thought about volunteering for a clinical trial?
  • What are your reservations about participating in a trial?

For now, since the biggest question people seem to have for the news media on vaccines and trials is: why will this take so long? I am posting an info-graphic from St. Luke’s which nicely summarizes the process. I’ll be back later this week or next to follow further in bite-sized stories if there is interest in this topic.

phases of a clinical trial
Credit to St. Luke’s Cancer Clinical Trials Center for this graphic

Stay well and safe. Wash your hands. Wear your mask. Be kind.

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

Yoga is not about fitness

As a new yoga teacher, I am surprised sometimes to learn how many people have misconceptions about yoga. Many are scared to try it – “it looks too hard!” they claim. Or “I’m not flexible enough!”

Because of the way yoga is marketed typically, I can understand where these misconceptions arise. Look at most covers of Yoga Journal or even ads in your Instagram feed that feature yoga and you will see taut bodies in shapes that may not look possible for you.

In truth, yoga is about “union” of mind and body (and some say spirit). It is a practice that allows us to realize our true nature. And perhaps most importantly, it is a practice to calm your nervous system. For me, that latter part is especially important. I find that, with all of the available “feeds” coming in, it is far too easy for me to become over-stimulated. A good yoga practice brings me back to my body, my breath and the present moment.

Yoga is preparation for meditation practice, for a process of getting still and looking inward. Generally meditation calls for an upright spine and focused attention. It is awfully hard to sit for very long if you have tight hips or a sore back. So yes, there is an aspect of physicality that is important. And, with an attitude of play and curiosity, yoga becomes an exploration of oneself and our inner being.

The more I teach, the deeper I go into the traditions and into the vast layers of this ancient practice. It is a science and also an art. I’m so grateful to have this tool for calming my nervous system, especially in times of great change and upheaval globally.

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

P.S. If you want to try an accessible practice, our next online Sunday (re)Treat is SomaRestore for Gardening and features guest teacher Grant Foster. Register at this link by choosing “Sunday (re)Treat” from the drop-down menu. Hope to see you there! 

SomaRestore ticket for Instagram in JPG format

Saturday Share – Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam

“The world is my family”, originally comes from the Upanishads, ancient Sanskrit tomes. In this time of a global pandemic and near-universal lockdown, it has salience in that we’re truly all in it together – East, West, rich, poor, black, white, brown, Hindu, Muslim, young, old – and the only way to overcome, recover, heal […]

via Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam — random rants ruminations ramblings

I have a growing interest in Sanskrit because of my studies of yoga. This blogger had a beautiful translation and discussion of this message that we can all appreciate at this time.

Enjoy!

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

The Sunday (Re)Treat

Hello Friends,

Warning: shameless self-promotion ahead. 🙂

yoga retreat at home - Sunday April 26

This Sunday I’m piloting a Sunday yoga online “retreat” during the morning hours (central time) via Zoom conferencing. I’m offering a free class to anyone who wants to join my yoga enthusiast mailing list. Write to the email below, and I’ll send you the Zoom link information.

If you want to support Healing Within Acupuncture & Wellness Studio, to ensure that affordable acupuncture is available when we re-open again, we have a sliding fee policy and you can pay what you can afford. I realize times can be tough for people right now. We’ve got you. Do what you can. We understand.

Set some intentions for self-care for this upcoming month. Whether you are in service to your family, your work, your community or all of the above, you deserve to take good care of your body and soul.

And if you are suffering from screen fatigue, rest assured. I will verbally cue this session, with optional screen demonstrations to create your yoga “home studio” with props made from what you have at home. Bring a few blankets, towels and pillows for maximum comfort!

I can’t wait to see you there! Pets optional. 🙂

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

 

 

 

 

A launch and a sigh of relief

Any time we do anything for the first time, we must be vulnerable and risk trying something, possibly doing it badly. Then we can continue to practice and improve. This is how it works with any new skill. And when you teach, you have an audience. It helps when your audience is forgiving, because you are bound to make mistakes.

While I have taught before via slides and conference calls, it has typically been to deliver conceptual (non-embodied) learning, not with a practice component. Yesterday I launched my first online yoga class, Thursday Slow Flow. Despite some issues with the sound quality (which will be fixed when I receive my headset) it felt like a success to me.

sacred space at the studio
Healing Within Acupuncture & Wellness Studio – practice space

As of 9 a.m. that morning, I had only one student signed up for the class. But four hours later (~90 minutes before class), there were 7 students ready to attend. I realized the majority of my students did what I do. They wait until the day of class, and then register that day for a class that is the right fit. In this “new era” this makes so much sense to me.

We must be present to what our body is calling for that day, and in the moment. We do not know if a child may have a schedule change at school, or an emergency will require our attention, or a work project may be dropped into our laps. And that’s okay. We must be flexible, to stay loose and to shift and move as new information comes in.

I breathed a sigh of relief and joy as my class came to a close. My verbal cues had helped people focus on their bodies and their internal experience, rather than staring at a screen. Several students indicated they felt more relaxed and grounded afterward. To me, if I can help anyone achieve that, it feels like success.

What new thing are you willing to try in service to others who need and want what you offer? If you believe your gifts can benefit someone, isn’t it worth the discomfort and vulnerability to show up?

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

New yoga gig – when possible

Hi Friends,

This is shameless self-promotion but it’s fun to share a piece of good news as most of our input channels seem to be focused on the virus situation. I got my first “real” yoga teaching gig close to home, starting when we start being able to meet with people face to face again. Or maybe I will try some online delivery via Zoom! I’m sharing the announcement that got posted on Thursday by the owner of Healing Within Acupuncture & Wellness Studio.

Capture

Sometimes good things happen when we get prepared and then stay attentive to possibilities as they arise. I’m so very grateful, especially at a time when my “main gig” is will be in transition in the next few months.

Ah, life! You never know what is around the next corner! Visualize something good that might come during any challenge. Perhaps it’s just as likely as the doomsday scenarios. 😉

Cheers & stay well,

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

P.S. I am offering free 1:1 calls for people who want some extra support during this “corona-palooza” event. No obligation. Just a chance to speak your thoughts and emotions and to receive empathy and encouragement. Schedule a 20-25 minute call with this link.