Barbara Kurtz

Barbara Kurtz
Yoga Instructor & Yoga Therapist

Friday, November 26, 2010

Eat healthy and include exercise for flexibility & strength that at the same time reduces stress and tension. My preference - Yoga For Your Type!

As I mentioned in an earlier post, besides my long-time passion for yoga and Ayurveda, I have also an interest in good food - organic preferably - and diets that taste great and are health-enhancing at the same time. 

This post serves as a reminder of the nutritional value of some of the super-foods you may want to include in your diet. 

Thinking of food, I had a great Thanksgiving holiday with my close family, including Coulee, my daughter's pet puppy, an Australian mini-shepherd who has become one of my favorite dogs to visit me occasionally at home. 

So here are two pictures of Coulee! 

Hope you all had a good holiday as well.



Six foods that slow aging and prevent diseases that slow aging and prevent disease

Thursday, November 25, 2010

A Practice for Today: Putting Others First ' by Eknath Easwaran

If we have been slowing down the pace of our life, practicing one-pointed attention, and loosening our likes and dislikes, we should begin to see the benefit of these new patterns in all our relationships.
John Donne said, “No man is an island.” That is why selfless relationships lead to happiness, while a self-centered life leads to loneliness and alienation. As human beings, it is our nature to be part of a whole, to live in a context where personal relationships are supportive and close.
Dwelling on ourselves builds a wall between ourselves and others. Those who keep thinking about their needs, their wants, their plans, their ideas, cannot help becoming lonely and insecure.
The simple but effective technique I recommend is learning to put other people first – beginning within the circle of our family and friends and co-workers, where there is already a basis of love on which to build. When husband and wife try to put each other first, for example, they are not only moving closer to each other. They are also removing the barriers of their ego-prison, which deepens their relationships with everyone else as well.
It is important to remember here that putting others first does not mean making yourself a doormat, or saying yes to whatever others want. It means putting the other person’s welfare before your own personal desires. That is what love is: the other person’s welfare means more to you than your own. And love often requires you to say no.
When we put others first, we deepen our own security and dramatically enrich our relationships.
For a full discussion of putting others first, read this chapter from Easwaran’s book Passage Meditation.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING - Here is a quote from Eknath Easwaran's, founder of the Blue Mountain Center of Mediation in Tamales CA - "“We all need joy, and we can all receive joy in only one way, by adding to the joy of others.” EKNATH EASWARAN (1910–1999)"

It is Thanksgiving today - a holiday that I never celebrated when I lived in Austria.  It has become one of my favorite holidays.  I enjoy the preparation and the cooking with everyone in the family helping out so it does not become too much a chore for one person.

We still have a little snow on the ground in Seattle.  It is a beautiful setting for our day of Thanksgiving.  Personally I have a lot to be thankful for.  After five years of absence, I am back to teaching yoga and having my private yoga therapy practice as well.  I am back to a career that is for me truly satisfying and I can truly say that practicing and teaching yoga is my passion.

I think when you find your passion - and I believe everyone has a passion -then life becomes special, joyful and very rewarding.  It is my wish to help others find their true passion so they also can live with joy.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Practice for Today: Putting Others First '

 "When you find yourself dwelling on your own needs, your own wants, your own plans, your own ideas, repeat your mantram. And then turn your attention to the needs of others.' – Eknath Easwaran

Thought for the Day

Thought for the Day: "November 24

Goodness is the only investment which never fails.
– Henry David Thoreau

Discrimination is the precious capacity to see the difference between what is pleasant for the moment and what is fulfilling always. Today we are surrounded by a bewildering array of glittering lifestyles and models of behavior, most of which deliver just the opposite of what they promise. We need to make wise choices every moment just to keep from being swept away. For a long time, these choices are not easy. Often they go against the grain of our conditioning. It takes real courage and endurance to go on making such choices day in and day out. But once you begin to taste the freedom it brings, you will find a fierce joy in choosing something of lasting benefit.
From Words to Live By by Eknath Easwaran |"

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

It is difficult for me to confess that as a yoga professional I am dealing with serious health issues. There is the general image of a yoga instructor who is always flexible, strong and healthy in body, mind and spirit.

Then again I will be turning 65 in January and in truth many yoga teachers are dealing with health problems.

But these issues provide a great opportunity for me to see if my work is applicable and helpful for myself.

As a yoga therapist I am designing Viniyoga routines including Ayurvedic principles to address different health issues due to stress, anxiety and chronic pain. For more information on how to include Ayurveda and its products and treatments, I invite you to check out my friend Andy Warren's website - The Ayurvedic Health and Massage Center in the Seattle University area and on the internet.

In my case, I am currently dealing with three issues.

1)  bipolar disorder - I have been dealing with bipolar, also called manic depression, since 1980.  There is no cure but it is a manageable condition, traditionally treated with an assortment of medications.

Personally, I am in the process of working with my psychiatrist and therapist to reduce my reliance on medications and instead to incorporate an anxiety reducing and calming Viniyoga practice including pranayama specific for reducing stress and insomnia. In addition, I am adding a few simple Ayurvedic treatments, such as oil massage in the morning, as well.

I am also looking closer at my diet to support my health by incorporating more fruit and vegetables in my freshly prepared meals.

3) insomnia - This is partially due to the bipolar disorder and partially due to age.  Presently I am on a sleeping medication and supplementing with melantonin. The calming yoga routine with a specific pranayama technique helps with that issue as well.

2) recurring upper back problem - Since I returned to teaching and particular when I work at the computer I have pain in my upper back and neck.  I am using massage therapy but what is helping the most is again the  Viniyoga routine that addresses back pain issues.

The yoga program for all three issues takes about 20 minutes to do. I practice it 2 to 4 x a day including one before going to bed.

So I hope this post is valuable to some of you knowing that yoga together with Ayurveda is health enhancing. It works for me and it may work for you as long as the practice is tailored to your specific needs and limitations.

By the way I want to mention that I enjoy my 20 minute yoga routine very much. It's very calming, health enhancing and yet energizing. It does not take much time and it is really no burden for me to do it.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Gluten-Free Recipes | GFG

More on diet & nutrition, here is a good source if you are allergic to gluten.

Gluten-Free Recipes | GFG

David Lebovitz

Ghee - clarified butter - popular in Ayurvedic treatments and recipes

I was looking for a recipe on how to make ghee - clarified butter.  Ghee is used in many Ayurvedic recipes and is considered to have many healing properties. Searching for the recipe I came across David Lebovit's site.

Before I became a yoga therapist, I worked as a personal chef from 1998 to 2001.  The website that I had for my business was called Fresh Cuisine.

So besides yoga and Ayurveda I am still very interested in good food.  I was very impressed with David Lebovits's website.  It has great recipes, beautiful illustrations and clear direction on how to proceed with a recipe and has a great recipe for ghee.  Check it out!  Ghee is a great substitute for butter and it is delicious and does not need to be refrigerated.

I hope you will enjoy this site too!

David Lebovitz

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Welcome to Yoga for Your Type. I am back teaching yoga classes and having a private yoga therapy practice on Queen Anne in Seattle

If you are interested in my new yoga classes, see the side bar for further details. I will be teaching at M-Illumino in Seattle's Roosevelt District and at Lifetime Learning Center near Greenlake.

M'Ilumino is a studio offering a variety of classes in the Movement Arts. Here is my listing.
Yoga For Your Type - a 6-week session - runs from November 23 to December 28.  These are general yoga classes - Viniyoga style - and are particular suitable for the older adult (50+).  For Information and registration, call  206-498-8864 or email - see side bar for more details.

Lifetime Learning Center is a school offering educational courses for the older adult population.  For the upcoming winter term I am offering Yoga For Your Type - two 8- week sessions offered Monday and Tuesday beginning January3, 2011 - see side bar for more details. 

Yoga Therapy - are you interested in a personalized yoga therapy session to improve your practice or to work on a specific health issue? I am available for private sessions.  My yoga therapy practice is located in Seattle on Queen Anne.  I also make in-home visits.

Looking forward to hearing from you!



Barbara teaches Viniyoga classes and has a private yoga therapy practice in Seattle on Queen Anne. She uses principles of Viniyoga, a highly adaptive style of yoga - using coordinated breath and movement in poses (asanas) which can be adapted to the experience level of the client and student. This allows for a highly enjoyable yoga experience which integrates body, mind and spirit.

Barbara has also an educational background in Ayurveda and uses Ayurvedic principles in her private practice in addition to Viniyoga to create yoga practices that are perfectly suited for the student's or client's constitution (dosha). Find out your dosha and visit the website of Ayurvedic Health and Massage center on information about Ayurveda, Ayurvedic services and products.