Work in & Work Out: Finding energy, vitality, and clarity with a simple, daily practice. Thursday, April 1st; 5:30pm.

We tend to divide our attention for health and well-being into the need to ‘work out’ in some way or in some way offer ourselves an inward practice of yoga, meditation or contemplation.  Let’s bring all that together in a simple practice that you could weave easily into daily life encouraging your fullness of strength, flexibility, clarity, and breath.  We’ll bring together the experience of presence; heart, mind and body.  Perhaps a bit of joy will glimmer as you practice.  Perhaps that will grow to influence your personal experience of daily life in some positive way.

What we will share was inspired by Dr. Zach Bush’s 4-minute Workout and perhaps the more validating research on short-interval trainings like this though this course will be more pointed toward weaving such body work with mindfulness/attentive presence, breathing practice, and biomechanics more diverse than that research or Dr. Bush’s sequence.

Here is a brief video invitation to such a practice.

Let’s weave these together in a natural way that can be incorporated into our work day or busy schedule.  We will learn about the positive consequences of this simple, at-home or at-office practice and then practice together.

You will be provided a link to the custom-made video of this 9-minute practice for your further practice.  With Brant on Thursday, April 1st; 5:30-7pm.

Book Here.

Spring Online Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Course (MBSR): Thursday April 15th with a free Orientation on the 8th


Dear Folks;  Our spring MBSR-SH course begins on Thursday April 15 at 6pm with an Orientation the week before.  Note above the word cloud of comments offered by spring MBSR-SH graduates.

“I walk away from this course profoundly changed in how I see and
deal with everyday stresses.”
 MBSR-SH graduate, March ’21

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is an extremely effective way of learning to care for ourselves by moderating the those sharp edges of stress. It has a large library of research proving its effectiveness.  This online version MBSR-SH  preserves that effectiveness using todays tools appropriately.

“I found the group so nourishing and affirming.
The practice was simple but exponentially richer as we progressed.”  
– MBSR-SH graduate, March ’21

Come to the free online MBSR Orientation on Thursday, April 8th at 6pm.  Book Now.

If you have been thinking about the MBSR course there is still room this spring as folks begin registering online. Set aside concerns about tuition if you have been laid off, impacted by illness, or having trouble with funding. Just reach out to me and we’ll make this work for you; scholarships, payments over time, discounts.

“I’ve have been able to live day-to-day and enjoy many moments
without worrying about the unknown.
.”  

– MBSR-SH graduate, March ’21

With your registration you’ll be included in online yoga class of your choice: See Schedule as well as the Shared Meditation Evenings at 9pm Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Reach out with questions  —  Brant

Many thanks for shaping Spring Term with your thoughtful comments! We begin March 29th.

Dear Folks;  What a joy it has been to read your feedback and to shape the classes for spring just as the flowers bloom and the sun becomes warmer.

I listened to your comments and desires for classes and have assembled a host of workshops, series and modified our weekly. class schedule.  Here is the overview:  Link to Spring Schedule.

Here is what you all provided:

While most of the booking memberships and passes you book online are the same,  look for these new elements when you book your classes:

  1. There is an All Class Pass for spring which used to be the 30-class pass and now it’s the pass for everything; classes, workshops, shared meditation session, course series.  Just sign up for one or all!
  2. Because so many of you attend together on one Zoom session/screen I’ve created the One-Screen Add-On Membership: For family members and friends so you can attend together more economically.  Your added dear ones pay less than half the tuition.
  3. This has always been the case but I want to say it here to make sure you know.  I will always work with you to modify tuition if there is economic hardship; payments, reductions, scholarships, etc.  Often dear students offer a complementary pass that I pass on and I, likewise, do so.  Let’s just work together!

Here are special some classes, series, and workshops for spring that you asked for!

Much Love. —  Brant

Mindfulness-Based Yoga Practice in Nature: Various times this spring and summer

Let’s meet outdoors and practice meeting the open air, outdoor sounds, open sky, and perhaps let our feet feel the earth’s surface for a change.  Help plan what, when and how for these sessions by completing this Planning Questionnaire.

These sessions are with no tuition offered to those who can bring a yoga mat and necessary props to be safe and well aligned on the lawn in an open setting. You may contribute something via the booking system if you wish; a class pass or membership of some sort. Nothing required.  Just show up and share as you wish!  Please book so you are registered so I can anticipate the size of our group.

All levels of practice are welcome though you must (you must!) modify your
movements to be safe for your physical situation.

The size of our practices will be guided by county and parks guidelines that are in flux and I ask that everyone stay 10 feet from their neighbor.  Use a mask, and practice social distancing according to state health guidelines at the time of class in any way you can as you travel and arrive for our informal session.

These will be periodic depending on weather and my schedule and usually at a local park like Bagley Park.  I will send out a noticed at least three days before class.

Book here once an announcement for a class is made via email to students

 

What Are You Longing For? Nearly 300 words students offered to describe what they value most in courses and practice here. Perhaps ways of meeting such longing.

Dear Folks;  I recently sent out a brief survey asking us to offer three words that describe the experience of class and practice here.  Nearly 300 words showed up and they are summarized in a word cloud above.  The largest words were the most commonly offered in the survey.  I think we all long for the experience of many of those words.

Also, I asked folks in the survey if they wanted to say anything else.  I was utterly surprised at how many responses there were and how encouraging and informative for us.  Here they are:

  • “You have control over this moment, this choice, this breath”– The Brant Shoulder Angel reminds me every time I’m tempted to push some hard choice or goal to a mythical future day when I’m stronger or less busy. 
  • Accepting life as it is right now. Not constantly judging. 
  • An awareness of how mind and body link together.  Learning to listen to feedback and have confidence to adjust.
  • Consistent care, kindness, encouragement to be kind to self and those I love.
  • Being able to slow my mind helps immensely with focus and keeping anxiety away.
  • Classes were amazing. 
  • I’ll preface my submission by saying that have not attended many of your sessions or trainings over the years for reasons not of your doing.  That said, I always found comfort just knowing you exist and that you were busy providing your services, wisdom, and help to those who took part.  I love your manner and the world-views I knew of yours.  
  • Cares about my physical constraints and adjusts poses as needed
  • Enjoy the class and community. 
  • Even on days when enthusiasm wanes for everything ( grieving?, pandemic?, other?), the pull of commitment and community brings me back and never disappoints. 
  • For sixteen years I learned yoga at this studio.  Brant shared his expertise with grace and kindness.  I am sure I am currently pain free because of my work here. 
  • Gave me peace about myself and the world at large.   Everyone should take your Mindfulness class
  • Helps me establish centeredness and calm for a little while ! Thank you!
  • The Stress Reduction Clinic there in Hillsboro offers a safe haven for people to witness the awesome powers of being. Even though I was unable to fully complete your workshop, I continue to “just do the work” and my life is everything ic could ever imagine.
  • How to breathe and get perspective. How to tune in to what is important and how to let go.
  • I am grateful to Brant
    and to Laurie Bass for encouraging me to teach yoga… right about when I said I was going to let go of it. Thank you both, and to Yoga Hillsboro for the beautiful space, and loving community.
  • I appreciate all of the courses from their gentle and loving kindness approach.
  • I feel at peace and a sense of self caring that I never experienced before yoga. I value my time in your classes so much and they continue on outside of the classroom. 
  • I feel encouraged to accept this aging body, some of the  limitations, with grace. I work today with what there is, and stay out of the “shoulds”. I have become much more limber, more aware, and more curious about my physical abilities! 
  • I get much value from the opportunity to improve my meditation practice.  To relax slow down and be in the moment.  And share with others to open my mind to other people’s experiences.  
  • I greatly appreciate your classes because even though I don’t have a traditional “yoga body”, I am always made to feel comfortable and welcome and encouraged to work at a level that is appropriate for me.
  • I have incorporated yoga into my life and it sustains me and is evolving.  It’s how I’ve gotten to know my body over time.
  • I have learned to better care for myself and to listen to my inner voice to guide me.  It’s so encouraging to come together with others in our weekly practice (even if only via zoom)  to share an encouraging word or funny story. Such a wonderful feeling of community and support. Thanks you, for all the loving support you offer to us. 
  • I learned that anyone can exercise regardless how bad their disabilities are and that kindness gets people to appreciate what they have. 
  • I learned to meet people where they ARE in the moment. It was so refreshing to just be there for yoga and not worry about how I looked/how much I weigh. Accessibility is so important. That its ok to adjust the poses so its easier on you, without shame. I’ll probably never go to another yoga studio, I can’t imagine feeling comfortable in another environment. 
  • I love how you encourage everyone to do their practice for their own body and not try to achieve a “perfect form”.  
  • I love the focus not just on the movement in yoga, but the spirit of the practice, how to link mind and body, both in yoga and the medication classes.
  • I loved the MBSR course I took with you, such a special time shared by my entire family. Be Well 
  • I met someone very special who I never would have met otherwise. Thank you.
  • Thank you for being a wonderful foundation stone in my life.  Love from Melbourne, 
  • I really value this course and the support that Brant provides in and outside of the weekly classes.
  • I remember the life struggles of my fellow students most, how hard life can be and yet how they carried on, seeking a more tranquil existence.  That has been lasting inspiration for me.
  • I sometimes have to force myself to get started, but I’ve never regretted it and have always finished feeling better than when I started.
  • I took your MBSR course over ten years ago. It was more useful to me than years spent with a therapist: acceptance, presence, true compassion. I also treasure the diverse people I met in that class; it helps remind me, often daily, that despite our sometimes deeply partisan differences, we are all basically seeking the same things in life… I thank you for offering that class. It stays with me. 
  • I value practicing being in the moment and remembering to breathe.
  • I very much needed to connect with my body after months of Covid.
  • I’ve come a long way in having the wisdom to know the difference between changing the things I am able to and accepting the things I cannot change. Thank you
  • I’ve learned how to appreciate and cultivate calm and quiet. And movement in class has invited me to reconsider my relationship with my body ~ it helps me practice more kindness and curiosity than only pushing or challenging. 
  • In person or remotely, Brant and his commitment to and compassionate support of students is a healthy and safe haven. He cultivates a sense of community and care that is above and beyond any other on-line course.
  • It has been such a comfort at a time where I have felt so alone to come together with others and practice yoga and mindfulness. 
  • It has really helped to learn and understand mindfulness. I still need to get better at it, but at least I can recognize it when I’m successful!
  • It is supportive to witness someone doing something out of love and
  • Dedication. Thank you for shining that example for so many years.
  • Learning in a community of supportive peers with inspirational leadership
  • Learning to listen to everything
  • Learning to process and listen tuning out extra noise.
  • Learning to quiet my mind, focus on my breathing, and let go of what isn’t useful help me everyday.
  • Loved both your workshops and classes. Thank you 
  • MBSR changed my life and Yoga is taking things a little further everyday. You have created a safe, nurturing environment to learn and share our little thoughts and it has given me a sense of community during these challenging times – Thank You, Brant – Sundar.
  • MBSR course has helped me and stayed with me since I took the course in 2011.  I try to keep recalling the concepts and use them in my everyday life.  
  • Meditation is something I’ve wanted for  myself for a long time and I’m go glad I found you and your course. It was one of the first and nicest thing I’ve done for myself. 
  • Most organized  and challenging classes I have taken.  I really like that.
  • My practices with you have helped me cultivate a greater appreciation for this life and this body – to find deeper compassion for myself and others. 
  • Participating in the sessions improved my subsequent life experience though I’ve never understood or been aware of any connection. Maybe mysterious but result is good. 
  • Possibility: I become aware of the many options there are for how I relate to my experiences, and I am gently reminded that it is possible to align ones thoughts and behaviors with ones highest values.  That is what Brant does.  Never talks about it, just does it.
  • Setting time aside as a practice is still clunky for me but the more I do it the more valuable it becomes.  I am forever grateful for both your yoga instruction and meditation groups.
  • Since 2007, I’ve attended gentle, beginning, and intermediate yoga classes; along with numerous workshops, MBSR and MBSR alumni nights. I continue to return to Yoga Hillsboro to remind me to meet things as they are. Life is always changing as well as my practice – and so are the offerings from Yoga Hillsboro. Currently, the virtual meditation group (created as a result of COVID-19) has been one of the most enriching ways to regularly connect with the community I missed after moving further away. Our meditation group has allowed me to maintain and expand the much needed group practice even through this very abnormal chain of events in 2020 and now 2021. 
  • Strategies that have helped with PTSD and asthma. Experiences that I hope to get back to, but try to replicate in my life now. 
  • Stress relief…. would not survive my hectic work life without your classes. 
  • Taking time out, a pause, to notice and not react, to stretch, to breathe, to move in safe, careful, and unusual ways; to realign, recalibrate, refresh, and move forward
  • There Is too much to say.  During this incredibly difficult time it has been very comforting and a great support to have you guiding the meditation group and bringing us to be connected to the others in the group.   
  • Truly a transformative place of peace and joy.  I felt completely at home and encouraged to be my authentic self.
  • Well, I, like everyone else, misses the togetherness of the on-site classes, but things change!  I’m so very glad you have gone on-line, Zoom is my friend!  I like the acceptance of all kinds of body types/issues, and find that these gentle stretches are my go-to if I’m feeling rough physically.  The meditations have helped, though I’m not utilizing the skill as much as I probably need to in this stressful year.  I also like your open-mindedness, and willingness to share with us other approaches and techniques you’ve learned elsewhere.  (I’m trying to keep up w/ the balance exercises especially as hiking season dawns!)  Thank you for your KIND SPIRIT and acceptance of everyone.
  • When offended by someone, think about what might be going on in their life before getting mad/upset at them. That usually gives me enough time to calm down. Good advice.
  • You are a remarkable person and valuable resource through good and bad times in life.  I value your offerings and will continue with you as long as you are available in my own way.  Thank you. 
  • You create a safe space for people to open up. Thanks!
  • You’ve taught me that I know the right answers oftentimes. I need to listen to my inner wisdom and speak it with kindness to others. 
  • Your “teaching” modeled the curiosity, non-judgement, and constant re-realization that you inspired in me and that I sometimes now invite my friends to try

Mindful Yoga, Meditation Practice, & Wim Hof Method Breathing : Toward embodied presence and elemental resilience.

Dear Folks;  There has been a lot of interest in my recent email to students with a video of my Wim Hof Method breathing practice and it’s emphasis on leaning into the cold.  My way of leaning into cold one recent morning was into the ice and snow near my place and offered a glimpse through the video I shared (below).  Given the keen  interest generated, I thought I would explain further and provide some context for that practice and how it relates to mindful yoga practice, contemplative practices (meditation), and more.

Breath is a fundamental element of our lives and yet happens without much conscious effort.  However, we have the ability to control and work with our breath though seldom do so unless we are victim of illness and forced to change breathing for therapeutic reasons.

There has been overwhelming evidence for eons that we can work with our breath to enhance our state of ease, resilience, embodied presence, spiritual experience, and essential vitality.  Yogis long ago attended to breath work with a variety of practices grouped under the methodologies termed pranayama (working with life’s energy).   While ample scientific evidence mounted over many decades, western scholars and popular media continued to discount such breath work as new age superstitions, until recently.

Knowing this, I became more interested in pranayama and breath work and then I stumbled upon  the superb recent book about breathing, Breath, by investigative journalist James Nestor .  He practiced many well-documented and proven breathing methodologies, both western and eastern in origin, over a decade as he researched his book and interviewed experts and practitioners  all over the world.

One of the techniques he describes and practices now  is the Wim Hof Method   which has been very well received, well documented, and reasonably well researched so far.  A medical doctor I have been studying with and who points his practice and teaching toward wholistic health, Dr. Zach Bush, mentioned the method in one of his trainings.  I was intrigued and followed up.

The Wim Hof Method is very straightforward though very challenging with series of rapid deep breaths, long breath holding, cold immersion (cold showers or ice baths).  Being a scientist by training and further intrigued I began practicing the Wim Hof Method six months ago to learn more, investigate,  and personally experience the Method through a Wim Hof course. I then began a personal practice every day and continue to this day.

My experience has been very positive and extremely interesting: enhanced energy levels, greater mental clarity, more motivation, elevated  sense of physical and mental confidence, a greater sense of ease. All this beyond my experience of the benefits from that have emerged over the decades with my other mode of practicing embodied presence; mindfulness, yoga, mindful movement, and otherwise.

I have found that the Method is a deeply effective mode of awakening more generous layers of the experience of mindful and embodied presence.  The deep-breathing itself evokes a quality of alert and unqualified capacity for attention toward direct experience; sensation, sound, thought, emotion, fragrance, etc.  The subsequent cold emersion, beyond what what I consider ‘normal’ or even tolerable, evokes a physiologic and cognitive edge that I would ‘normally’ react to and flee from. Yet I find a way to settle into the experience of the cold, the fairly extreme discomfort, with a quality of curiosity and interest, offering  it a place at the table of momentary embodied experience.  This is of course not easy and calls for patience and willingness to persist in the face of such challenge.   Not to much willful pushing as much as patience and willingness to learn more.

I think our bodies, minds, and spirits can rise surprisingly to the occasion in the face of such stressors as extreme cold if we work patiently, with good instruction, patiently, and step-wise .  My experience tells me that we  must be designed to meet, and in some ways, require such stress to be fully alive and balanced; physiologic, mental, emotional, and otherwise. Perhaps to enliven what has been deadened in our modern, stress-laden, and habit-filled lifestyles that tend to seek physical comfort and mental distraction to meet life’s stressors rather than calling upon deeper layers of our capacity to do so.  I think we can remember the embodied experience and physiology of our inherent capacities as we tap our deeper layers of our inherent and forgotten abilities with such a practice laden with duress.

Not that I believe the Wim Hot Method is the be-all method for calling forth our vitality.  It’s just one method among a myriad of paths toward unencumbered and embodied presence that helps us, as Wim Hof says often, be healthy, strong, and happy as a way of life.

In a lovely coincidence I found this video of Wim Hof talking about his early days of Yoga practice and how diligent he was.  And then later in life to find out all the study in the world doesn’t replace the willingness to engage directly and personally with a practice to find the fullness it offers and to invite creativity and interest to guide that practice.  Though my personal style is different than his, I share much of what Wim Hof describes about yoga, mindfulness, a life’s path of practices.  Here is that video!

I hope you consider the possibility that we have so many untapped capacities to open life’s energy.  Stepping into such practices in our own unique manner, we may find more of our inherent life energy to support us in the work that is most important to us and those we love while we are still here!   Let’s continue to be curious and interested as we open to new possibilities in this life.

I even was inspired by Wim Hof’s video to combine the breathing method with my yoga practice on a cold snowy day on one of my recent hikes in the Hoyt Arboretum here is this video!  Congruent with my description of how a vivid, rich, and embodied experience emerges with this Method (and many other practices of course) I find that my experience of being in a natural setting evokes an incredibly rich experience of the natural world; profoundly rich soundscape, vibrant and shimmering colors, subtle shifts in lighting more notices, more presence to my own deeper emotions and flow of thought, presence to the kaleidoscope of physical sensations, and much more.  Perhaps this is direct experiential evidence that we are woven deeply into the natural world.

Warmly! — Brant

Sharing Our Final Day in the Yoga Hillsboro Classrooms; Honoring you with comments, photos, and practice.

Dear Folks;  You may have been following over the past couple of months as we moved toward letting go of the lease here and opening doors to new ways of sharing the art and science of mindfulness practices and yoga practice; online, local venues for in-person classes (eventually!), mindfulness-based life coaching, tailored trainings for organizations, and much more.

As I reflected in this video and during a long meditation and yoga practice during that last day on the 31st of January hundreds of memories of thousands of connections with students here flooded my heart and mind.  All with such a rich sense of gratitude for the privilege to sharing in so many diverse ways over these years.


Lots of change here in these classrooms yet so much remained constant; willingness to risk learning or better said – remembering – our incredible inherent capabilities for health and well-being, cultivating  interest and curiosity, softening the sharper edges of life’s stressors, being willing to care for ourselves as a way of caring for others, and so many other dimensions of the power of an embodied and compassionate presence.


People have arrived here from every continent, many countries, many states, towns around Oregon and Washington and of course from our lovely town Hillsboro.   Many professions and passions; law enforcement officers, cheerleading, folks wanting to learn to teach, firefighters, attorneys, folks with chronic illness, and so much more!

Many folks talked about their experiences on video!

 

Heck, HIllsboro thought we did a good job in 2018!

 

There is so much more.  Let’s ponder, remember and share over the years ahead.

Much Love. —  Brant

 

 

 

Closing Doors Here While Opening Many New Ones: Passing the blessings on to my students & our community



A WORTHY & RELEVANT TRANSITION

What a lovely nearly sixteen years in these two classrooms!  From therapeutic courses for those recovering; undergoing chemotherapy, traumatic brain injury, rheumatoid arthritis, MS, PTSD, loss of a loved one, depression, and more.   Then there were the  lively and athletic and not for the faint-of-heart; upside down, inside out, Cirque de Sole-esquè.  From meditation to nutrition to police and firefighter trainings,  then a cheerleading squad, to national a magazine and television crew, then yoga for folks in residential recovery programs,  and many community outreach programs.  Folks witnessing their lives transformed in meaningful ways.  From deep laughter to abiding tears then resistance and acceptance of the path of these practices.

All the while we shared the comforting space of these rooms.  They now resonate in many ways with so many and have been a part of many hundreds of folks lives over these many years.  While some of us feel the loss with some heartbreak, that heartbreak is evidence of how much we loved and were nourished by our experiences here.  Like all experiences of love they change and evolve and with that change heartbreak comes hand-in-hand.

And now it is time to let go of these rooms at the end of January.  However,  the more intimate and always closer to us in class were the many props (mats, blocks, bolsters, blankets, straps and more) that supported our bodies encouraging alignment, balance, strength, flexibility, an a quality of embodied presence.  Likewise they supported us in letting go of the unnecessary tensions that distracted us in out busy lives.

While we leave the rooms, these props have found
homes across the region as dear students were
offered and then accepted Yoga Prop Blessing Bundles to keep the resonance of their memories of class here alive while encouraging further exploration of the practices of mindful yoga, meditation, and other contemplative and physical practices in students’ own homes.

My dear Niece Hannah who was born about the time the doors opened here and was woven into classes and life here for most of her life helped me as we
assembled these Blessing Bundles for students to accept them (in person mind you and with masks on of course) here on recent Sunday afternoons!

What an incredible joy it has been to pass along in-person these Bundles to my students!  And to receive heart-felt acknowledgements from them.  Many attended classes for well over a decade and some have been just getting to know our community online over the past year.

AND NOW TOWARD LEARNING MORE BROADLY & EFFECTIVELY IN 2021

So many folks have noted their experience of loss with the closing of the doors of these rooms.  Do please know that I will be here teaching and sharing. Teaching now will be less about ‘Yoga HIllsboro’ as it was and more ‘HIllsboro’s Yoga’ evolving in new ways.

Courses, series, workshops, retreats, and gatherings will be more accessible and relevant to the transformed ways we will be living in 2021 and beyond as our society and community evolve to meet all the many changes that are occurring; politics, pandemic, social change, economics, and more.  You know that my teaching has always intended to meet each of us where we are.  So . . . ‘where we are’ will be changing and let’s meet there however it evolves.

I am already in conversation with folks who have many public venues to host classes once we can meet in-person; Tuality Hospital Health Education, local Parks and Recreation, Blooming Junction Nursery classrooms, Pacific University Health Education Campus, other public venues like the Walters Center in downtown Hillsboro, perhaps even opening another physical classrooms space if it seems helpful.  I will of course continue these very vibrant online classes each term as well!

Much love to you all for being here and be assured you and we will continue to learn together in ways that encourage and support our life within and life for those around us.

Warmly. —  Brant

Election Evening Shared Meditation Vigil – Tuesday Evening, November 3rd at 7pm as my Guest


Welcome to an evening of kind mutual presence shared. Attentive presence, relaxation, attending to life during this present moment in the face of a tumultuous era of politics on election night.
Please prepared for the evening by settling down a bit.  Perhaps turn off electronics, some light, radios, and other devices.  Perhaps light a candle and just be still for a while.  We will begin at 7pm.
We will share and practice various meditations, some poetry, conversation.  All pointed toward offering a generous open presence to the evening no matter our concerns and expectations.
Book your seat.  You will be forwarded the link for our evening once you do.
Come as my guest. No tuition.  —  Brant