View excerpts from The Essence of Harmony Yoga below
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Bedside Yoga was conceived out of the grace of giving. After Carol donated 60% of her liver to her husband who needed a Liver Transplant, she realized she also had another gift to give. Whether you are pre op, post op or simply looking for a Gentle Kripalu Yoga practice, Bedside Yoga instructs you in gentle yoga both sitting on a bed on a chair or wheelchair and also a supine laying down practice. Also included is instruction in simple pranayama or breathing techniques and a Restorative Yoga practice. Ultimately, Bedside Yoga will facilitate your healing in your own time and your own way..explore this DVD today!
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There are times in life when it is impossible to get out of bed to find your way to the yoga mat. Perhaps immobility issues, an illness, an injury, or maybe you are recovering from a surgery. Carol Shwicok’s DVD, Bedside Yoga, is the perfect practice for those times when the bed seems to be your permanent home. Carol shares that this practice is one she came to after donating 60% of her liver to her husband. After practicing yoga for 15 years, she found herself in bed, unable to get up to get to her mat. One night, lying in bed and looking up at the moon, Carol found herself beginning to move slowly and gently. She now shares this practice with the world, through her DVD.
Carol uses the short introduction to share her story, as well as her intention that this DVD be used pre-op, post-op, or simply when you feel you need a gentle yoga practice. She cautions that yoga is never about pain and as such, do what you can, and back off when needed. The practice is Kripalu Yoga and kripalu means “giver of compassion.”
The next chapter of the DVD is Breathing Techniques. Carol begins by leading a gentle sensing of the body and the mind to take a ‘baseline’ before moving into any practices. All of the simple breathing practices, 3-part breath, ujjayi, and a 2:1 count breath, are led lying down on the bed. She ends the breathing practices by reading Danna Faulds’ poem “Breath by Breath.”
Upright Yoga is led seated on the side of the bed with something to support the feet. Carol suggests that this portion can also be done in a wheelchair or a chair next to the bed. The postures are easy to do and breath centered, “breath begins, movement follows,” is repeated often to invite breath awareness. This practice is followed by a supine practice with a strap. Carol leads a flow that includes some very gentle abdominal muscles awakening. There are places where an individual recovering from surgery may find a challenge, but Carol gives plenty of permission to modify as the body allows.
The final practice on this DVD is Restorative Yoga. Carol brings in a student to demonstrate the poses while she gives instructions and modifies. Restorative Yoga at a studio involves blocks, yoga blankets and other props, which are not always readily available at home. However, Carol demonstrates the poses with pillows, hand towels and blankets. During this portion, Carol leads gentle body sensing in the positions, gives encouraging words, and leaves plenty of silence. She gently concludes the practice with Metta Meditation or Loving Kindness Meditation.
Carol does a wonderful job of compiling a practice that is sweet and accessible for almost everyone. It is easy to see that Carol teaches from the personal experience of immobility, the need to rest and heal, coupled with the desire to begin moving in a way that supports the body. She offers subtle challenges, encouraging words, poetry, and most of all a safe container for experiencing the body. I would recommend this DVD to anyone who needs to give the body a little extra TLC – whether recovering from a major illness, suffering from immobility, or just because you had a really bad day.
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Recovering from donating half your liver typically takes several months. Critical to a full and quick recovery is core strength and deep breathing. Carol, whose generous spirit led her to donate, recovered faster than expected in all aspects. I can’t help but think that her recovery was aided by yoga and being in-tune with her body. While we recommend avoiding heavy lifting after surgery, activities such as Bedside Yoga, can be done early on.
Surgical Director of the Living Donor Liver Transplant Program
Assistant Professor of Surgery
New York Presbyterian Hospital
I have been studying and practicing Western Medicine for 35 years. Through my work with Carol, I have seen firsthand the power that each individual has to heal and to grow through the intentional use of breath and movement. Carol’s approach is intelligent, compassionate and individualized. She is a gifted healer with contagious positive energy.
Sincerely, Sarah Kahn M.D.
Board Certified Internist,Gastroenterologist
Carol Shwidock’s desire to rejuvenate those recovering from surgery or illness through her yoga techniques is thrilling. Carol knows first hand the power of these smooth, strengthening movements while recovering from her own altruistic surgery to save her husband’s life.
Over the last four years, Carol and her husband have worked to raise awareness about the importance of organ and tissue donation. Brad’s story of chronic liver disease and subsequent organ failure led to his needing a liver transplant. Unfortunately, in our country, there is a organ shortage crisis. Every day 18 Americans die while waiting for a life saving organ transplant. Brad was lucky that his loving wife didn’t let him be a statistic and stepped forward in the absence of a donor to test if she could undergo serious surgery to donate part of her own liver to him. Thankfully, the pair was a medical match and Carol saved Brad’s life – allowing him to resume his role as husband, father, medical professional and active community member.
Their story of sickness and health is truly a love story. I am thankful to have them volunteer and share their story of life and love to inspire others to consider registering as a donor to save and improve the lives of others through organ and tissue transplant. Please consider learning more about organ and tissue donation by visiting www.DonateLife.net.
Kari Mull Program Director, Donate Life Connecticut