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Natural Awakenings Tucson

Bone Strengthening with Trish Harris of Divine Journey Yoga

Aug 30, 2020 01:29PM ● By Wendy Becker
Trish Harris’s “aha” moment to become a certified yoga teacher feels like it was only a year ago, even though her journey started in 2012, at 40 years old. Harris, the owner of Tucson’s Divine Journey Yoga, humorously describes herself as “clueless” to understanding how important yoga would be to bring about positive change and a balanced lifestyle. “Things were always fine,” she says. “That is, until they were not.”
   
Through obstacles of personal upheaval and crisis, Harris was called to learn about the perfection of impermanence. It was during these unforeseen circumstances she discovered her physio-emotional bandwidths and mental landscapes at a weekly evening
Restorative Yoga class. It helped her get control of what she called “crazy worry”.
   
Weekly practice became important time out for “reclaiming” herself by “showing up on the mat to see what the mirror reflected back” to her and the condition of her inner world. Sweat removed the toxic veils of her perceptions. Sometimes they manifested as uncomfortable or injurious “consequences” and at other times, beads of glistening sweat were signs of softening tensions that opened her heart to the calm mental surrender of “kindness, compassion and grace.”
   
She credits Tim Howell with luring her into teaching yin yoga every third class on her schedule. In the beginning, Harris admits, she was not a lover of yin yoga, which is a style of meditative hatha yoga comprised of long-held asanas—anywhere from counting three to five breath cycles to three minutes of focused time. The signature quality of yin yoga is regenerative and helps to bring increased lubrication to the joints. Yet, the more difficult aspect of this practice is an underlying energetic one that can come as a surprise to an unprepared mind. As Harris reflected, “It was disturbing because I had the feeling of wanting to run away from what would come up” roaring out of quiet stillness.
   
Harris’s classes are structured with gentle moves guiding students through stuck places they may experience. “Even though you have no control over anything outside of yourself, what is within your control is learning how to show up for yourself,” she says. Students can learn much about themselves from what happens in each posture. A yoga practice is not just about exhaling what needs to be “let go”, but it also plants the seeds for spontaneous joy and gratitude.
   
During this current COVID-19 time, she provides five Zoom classes a week. “It is very hard to teach on Zoom because it is isolating,” Harris says. For many, isolation during this time has brought into focus awakenings of useful purpose. Harris formerly had classes of 20 to 25 students at various locations around Tucson.
   
Harris desired to connect with the people that were missing from her regular online classes. She reached out by email to see how she could be of service. Then she composed a solution for all her students to participate on an ongoing open platform. “It all started with my love of singing devotional chants harmonized with a musical instrument called a shruti box in my classes,” she explains. “One student who moved out of the area made a request that I send a recording of my songs.” While she confessed that she was “never a picture taker,” she decided to make the video for her friend and now has 38 YouTube videos—with plans to keep adding a new video each week.
   
Her most popular video, “The 12 Poses for Osteoporosis”, has over 870 views. “I can’t believe I’m doing this. I have no experience making videos,” she laughs. “It has been a wonderful evolutionary process and has become a fun hobby playing with movie making and planning everything it entails. It’s still weird talking to my iPhone in my empty bedroom imagining all those receptive people on the other side.”
   
Harris first stumbled across improving osteoporosis while thumbing through a yoga book she borrowed from the library. On one page there were 12 specific poses that were studied to increase bone remineralization for skeletal support in the spine, hip and femur without resorting to surgery. Illustrated by yogic practitioner and physician Loren M. Fishman, his research proved these postures were safe and effective with “no yoga-related serious injuries imaged or reported”. In fact, 80 percent of those patients who began with low bone density increased it by the end of the experiment and concluded that the 12 specifically chosen poses are a “cost-effective alternative way to maintain a high bone mineral density”, according to the study, which was published in 2016 titled “Twelve-Minute Daily Yoga Regimen Reverses Osteoporotic Bone Loss”.
   
Yoga asanas for osteopenia and osteoporosis can be held for 10 seconds and progressed to 30 seconds while the body gathers strength and stamina for becoming stable in the poses. “When I started out with these 12 different postures, I could hardly hold them for 15 seconds. I feel a new density to my body and so do my students,” says Harris. Magic happens when the winds of chaos buttress well-intentioned resolve to strengthen the body, mind and spirit. Harris hopes that over time, the current students participating with diagnosed osteoporosis get measured for their reassurance.
   
“The key to successful practice at any age is to develop gentleness with your flows and to move slowly and mindfully,” explains Harris. “Never push yourself to look like someone else or follow a cue that hurts or sounds scary. It’s okay to be right where you are in any pose.”
   
Yoga is a dance with the divine within. It is a structured path that connects the rhythms of breath and movements of the body to nourish wisdom and embrace self-compassion. It is essential time out to recharge one’s health and well-being with the invitation to “start right where you are”.

Connect with Trish Harris at DivineJourneyYoga.com.

Wendy Becker, BA, LMT, Dipl. LAc, CNRT-M loves to write about health and wellness topics and is the owner of Axis Vitality, PLLC in Tucson. Connect at AxisVitality.com.

Divine Journey Yoga - Tucson AZ

Divine Journey Yoga - Tucson, AZ

At Divine Journey Yoga classes, students enjoy a balanced, gentle practice of both Hatha and Yin styles of yoga. Geared toward bodies of all ages and abilities, Trish provides options for... Read More » 

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