Tag Archives: deaf-blind

The Deaf Seniors of America will have their Conference and activities prior to the Conference in Baltimore from August 21st through August 27th this year.   If you pay for combo tickets before July 31st, you can save money.  

A totally deaf dog who is almost completely blind had been going to a dog park in Santa Maria.  The park ranger at Waller Park said he was too big.  His owner, Marty Niles, said he can’t be around large, aggressive dogs.   

The Blind Children’s Learning Center is in Santa Ana in Orange County.  They provide services to blind and deaf-blind children.  Their walk on Saturday, May 11, 2013 is a fund-raiser for that learning center.  

Summer Institute at CSUN

California State University, Northridge will hold its 6th Summer Institute from June 17-21 and June 24-28, 2013.  It will be sponsored by the National Institute on Deafness (NCOD).  Early bird rates are offered between now and May 17, 2013, and they are offering 40 hours of courses for $400.00.  They will have classes such as […]

Deaf Spring Break is coming to Hotel Hunting Beach at Huntington Beach on Thursday, March 28, 2013. The California School for the Deaf in Riverside (CSDR) is having their Happy Days Reunion Car Show on Saturday, March 30, 2013.  Entrance fees are $10.00 a person.  They will have a pancake breakfast, vendors, music, and games. […]

The National Deaf-Blind Equipment Program (NDBEDP) provides Deaf-Blind people with communication technology.  The I Can Connect website has information on how the program works.  It also has a list of providers in different states.   The program promoted by I Can Connect provides training and telecommunication assistance for Deaf-Blind people who meet federal eligibility guidelines.

A building on Forbes Avenue in Pittsburgh will be converted into an apartment building for low-income people with hearing loss and vision impairments.  The Famous Biscuit Co. building  is being converted into apartments with government help.  The federal and state governments are providing low-income housing tax credits, and a low-interest loan for $925,000 came from the […]

Communication for Deaf-Blind

The University of Arts Berlin developed a prototype Lorm glove to increase communication access for Deaf-blind people.   A mobile Lorm glove allows Deaf-blind people to transmit text messages and to receive them. A speaker wearing a Mobile Lorm Glove can stroke the letters into the glove, and the letters are transmitted into text on the […]

Rally supports Valley View residence for the deaf and deaf-blind

Bob Katz told a crowd about his sister’s experience of being isolated at a rehab facility at a rally to support the Valley View residence for the deaf and deaf-blind elderly in Middletown Township.  When the staff and residents can communicate in the same language, Katz said, it makes all the difference. The group gathered […]

The Office of Deaf Access has free information available for the general public.  They have sign language communication brochures along with the Directory of Resources.  This directory has information for Deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind and late deafened.  That information may also be valuable for parents, advocates, and service providers.  Information is provided for programs and […]

Toes

Lately, I’ve been giving them a lot of thought.

First, my yoga teacher is always including toes in her instructions. Lift them off the ground (one at a time). Spread them. Plant them back on your mat (one at a time). It takes awhile to learn to control them – they’re so often ignored. Second, I was reading a book about a woman who had a stroke and was paralyzed on her left side, including all her toes. She was explaining the rehabilitation process and talking about the fact that she realized – once she could no longer use them – how important toes are for balance and for pushing off of when walking. Third, I just so happened to be reading the book passage while I was getting a pedicure (a gift from my husband).

So toes were on my mind.

For most of my life I didn’t pay attention to them. And when I got older I would shove them into cold, hard pointy shoes. In turn, that led to foot cramps. The cramps would attack in the middle of the night and hurt so bad I’d cry. But when I started practicing yoga, I noticed my foot cramps disappeared. I decided to give my feet the love they deserved. In addition to yoga, I began wearing comfortable shoes. And from time to time, I’d get a pedicure. I stopped painting my nails awhile ago (to avoid the harsh chemicals), but today I made a special exception.

I picked a color – Dutch Tulips – in honor of spring.

When they were red and shiny, I wiggled them and smiled. Thankful for my toes.

My Kind of Yogi

My car crunches over the gravel as I pull into the parking lot of the yoga studio. Climbing up the rickety stairs of the wood building, I’m filled with hope.

This is the ninth yoga instructor I’ve tried since moving to DC. For whatever reason, I can’t seem to find a teacher that feels like the right fit. In part, I’m grieving the loss of my instructor from Los Angeles whom I adored. And I admit I don’t mind the teachers I’ve practiced with here, but I find yoga easier to maintain when I feel a strong authentic connection.

A few months ago I tried a class where the teacher did seem like a great fit. But when I returned, she was no longer there. I scoured the web searching for her to pop up in another studio around town. I only had a first name to go off of, but I think I might have found her and that’s why I’m here today.

I sign in at the desk and walk into the studio. The teacher is asking the class to get two blocks, a blanket, and a strap. Yep, that’s her. I can tell by the sound of her voice.

She walks by me on her way to close the door of the studio, but she pauses before reaching her destination. She watches me as I pull back my hair back into a loose ponytail.

“Hi. I’m Jenny. I’m a drop-in,” I say.

“I know you,” she says.

I sigh in relief. She remembers me.

“I took a restorative yoga class you taught in another studio a few months ago. I’ve been looking for you ever since. You’re hard to find,” I explain.

“Yes,” she nods, remembering the class. “It’s taken me awhile to get going and figure out where to set up shop.”

Well no wonder I couldn’t find her. She’s a new teacher. Later, I discover that she had a health scare which caused her to re-evaluate her entire career as a molecular biologist. Once she recovered, she decided to become a yoga teacher. Love that (I had a similar experience three years ago and that’s when I began writing).

We open by chanting three Oms. Then she tells us to be sure not to miss class three weeks from now. She’ll be teaching it outside where we will all face the trees so we can experience a “yoga foliage festival.” Oh yeah, she’s my kind of yogi. Š

In the Beginning

Thanks to all who have stopped by and/or left comments as the Wasa blog gets underway.

A couple people mentioned that this blog has inspired them to try yoga. I know the feeling. My husband inspired me to try yoga years ago after I watched him ease into a backbend with grace. I’ve mentioned that before, but what I failed to mention was the fact that I didn’t like my first yoga class. Or my second. Or third;

I knew the benefits of yoga – flexibility, awareness, inner stillness – were practices I needed in my life, but during class I couldn’t hold the poses. It takes time to find balance and build strength. Also, the teacher wasn’t a good fit. Plus, I kept slipping on my mat because I was wearing socks. Not to mention my loose-fitting t-shirt flipped over my head when I’d bend over for Downward Facing Dog.

So my first suggestion is to wear comfortable “stretchy” clothes. Slip off your shoes (and socks) before entering the studio. Bare feet help you “stick” to the mat. If you don’t have a mat, you can rent one. Sometimes they’re free, sometimes $1.

Okay, now you’re in the studio before class has begun. Believe it or not this can be the most intimidating part.

A few years ago I remember encouraging a friend to try a yoga class. We were traveling in San Francisco and the class was at 6am. I couldn’t attend because of another obligation (um, I believe it was sleep), but my friend was a super early riser and decided to try yoga for the first time. Ten minutes later she clamored back into the room complaining that when she walked in the studio all the students were gathering foam blocks, long white straps, and bolsters, and she had no idea what these were, if she needed any, and, if so, which ones she should take.¼br />

Oh gosh, I felt awful for sleeping in. I had completely forgotten how many times I’ve felt that exact same way when I’ve tried something new. Like the first time I tried a spinning class. I was standing in the cool dark studio when a group of women walked in all holding biking shoes (biking shoes? Oops! I didn’t have those). Then they began turning knobs, lowering the seats, and adjusting the handlebars. I was outta there in 30 seconds (I went back the next day – it turns out you don’t need biking shoes and the instructor showed me how to adjust the parts – but still).

Even just a few weeks ago I tried a new yoga studio and noticed the students folding blankets in a manner I’d never seen before. I’ve been practicing yoga for years and I still felt a bit out of place. I wasn’t sure if I should fold the blanket “my” way or “their” way. That question was answered when the teacher began class and showed everyone what she wanted us to do.

So, a few more suggestions: don’t worry about the blocks, straps, and blankets. They are props to help people (like me) adjust in certain poses. If you need a prop during a pose, the yoga teacher will bring it to you, or you can ask her before class begins. Also, consider brining a friend to your first class if that would make you feel more comfortable (a friend who has practiced before can show you the ropes; if not, you two can navigate the waters together).

Now class has begun . . . and you don’t understand a word the teacher is saying. Chaturanga Dandasana? Urdhva Mukha Svanasana? Virabhadrasana II? The same thing happened to me in a dance class once where the teacher was using terms I’d never heard. The students around me began spinning and hopping and twirling about as I stood there, motionless and a little annoyed (it was a “beginners” class). Finally I gave up and tried to sneak out of the room. A woman came over and touched me on the shoulder, “You just don’t know the lingo yet. You’ll get the hang of it,” she promised.

And I promise – you’ll get the hang of yoga lingo. I do, however, recommend finding an “intro to yoga” course if you’re trying it for the first time. After trying yoga and not liking it, I finally went to this 2-day orientation at Yoga Works. Instead of jumping right into sun salutations, we sat in a circle and talked. The teacher showed us how to breathe, answered our questions, and walked us slowly through the fundamental poses. That’s when yoga began to change to my life.

Open My Heart

How many times have I been in Dandasana (Staff Pose) during a yoga class and listened to the teacher say, Open your chest? Same with Trikonasana (Triangle Pose) and many, many other poses.

My friend and fellow blogger Michelle of Full Soul Ahead was in a guided meditation when she heard the teacher say, “We often hunch our shoulders as a way to protect our hearts.” Michelle blogged about the symbolic meaning of that tendency over here: Open Heart. A beautiful post and well worth checking out.

Not that long ago I was reading Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert and came across the passage where a recovering addict had prayed continuously that God would open his heart. When the man was rushed to the hospital for surgery, he remembered thinking, God, I didn’t mean literally! (The story goes something like that – I don’t have the book with me to look it up).

Anyway. Open my heart, God. What a great prayer. I realized today that it’s so much easier to “open my heart” when things are going well. When life is good, my work is being published, my husband and I are laughing together, and the sun is shining, it’s so easy to take a big breath and stand up tall and let my chest expand and be graceful and appreciative and joyful towards others and towards the world.

But when dark times come…oh, those are the moments where I tend to get frustrated or angry and want to quit. But I think maybe it’s during those times when the heart needs to open up and grow most of all.

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