Healthy, Happy and Wise: Make space to remember as seasons, life interconnect

Written by Cynthia Smith-Faught. Posted in Health & Wellness

Published on September 21, 2011 with No Comments

Cynthia Smith-Faught

As we approach the new season, I encourage students to take time to reflect on the passing one.

It is important to give room for our thoughts and memories.

We allow the good times to seed themselves into our core where they become good feelings and are available to draw upon when we need or want them. We also contemplate the not so good times as lessons learned, also bringing them into the core but without harsh criticism.

We all know that some of life’s hardest lessons can produce some of our greatest gifts. In our yoga class we mostly emphasize on being in the present moment, to be awake and aware.

However, it is equally important to reflect on our past as this helps us to process our experiences that hold our beliefs.

We need to think about our future so we can have plans and goals, this offers us hope.

In our culture, we believe that excessive thinking is something to be admired and healthy, but on the contrary, excessive thinking brings only more thinking and more stress, which is one of the top reasons for our diseases.

Hearing about someone with Alzheimer’s disease has become all too common and this will only increase with our aging baby boomers.

I have direct experience with this disease having been a caregiver for a dear woman who was afflicted with it many years ago.

I now have a close family member who has it and it is truly difficult to watch them lose their memories and any hope for a different future. While the research is still trying to find the causes and remedies, there are little things that we can do for ourselves to aid in keeping our brains and minds healthy.

In December 2010 I wrote an article for The Chronicle on “Practicing Peace,” the pose that month was a finger exercise that helps left/right brain connectivity. It is an easy thing to do and we practice it a lot in our class. Our practice this month will get our whole bodies in motion for a brain exercise.

Let’s Get Started: Left/Right Brain Exercise

Lay on your back with the arms stretched relaxed overhead and the legs extended;

Extend the left leg straight up toward the ceiling and the right arm straight up;

They do not need to touch as this is not a stretching exercise so much as it is a brain exercise, but do allow them to come as close together as possible keeping them extended while keeping the head and back on the ground;

Let them return to the original position, arm overhead and the leg on the floor;

Proceed with the right leg and left arm lifting and continue back and forth;

Your left brain is trying to figure out what to do and then when you get into a rhythm your right brain can take its turn, eventually they work together;

Allow yourself to find a gentle flow to this and keep the breath moving along;

Once you have done this about 10 times on each side, rest with the arms overhead and the legs extended, close the eyes and let it settle within;

Now we will encourage the same practice but this time bringing the left leg and left arm up together and back down and then the right leg and right arm;

Repeat this for about 10 times on each side and rest open with the arms still overhead.

And, of course, “Smile.” May your memories be good ones and always with you.

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About Cynthia Smith-Faught

All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Chronicle. Cynthia Smith-Faught is a certified yoga instructor. She teaches adult classes and workshops through the Portage Parks Dept. She also teaches at the Bonner Senior Center in Portage. To contact Cynthia Smith-Faught email her at

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