A new wellness program looks to bring ‘Yoga Awareness’ from Hawaii to Craig
CRAIG — In December, instructors hope to bring a special weeklong wellness program to Craig and introduce the community to one of the world’s oldest holistic healing systems.
According to WebMD.com, Ayurvedic medicine, or Ayurveda for short, was developed in India more than 3,000 years ago and is "based on the belief that health and wellness depend on a delicate balance between mind, body, and spirit. Its main goal is to promote good health, not fight disease, but treatments may be geared toward specific health problems."
Dana Armstrong, who teaches massage therapy at CNCC, traveled to Hawaii in August for instructor training from Yoga Awareness owners Tedd Surman and Masumi Muramatsu.
Through Yoga Awareness, Surman and Muramatsu offer daily yoga and Ayurveda classes, private instruction, workshops, training, and certified Yoga Teacher training in Hawaii and Japan.
Since 2002, Surman has studied in India with an Ayurvedic doctor and established a successful Ayurveda practice in Hawaii. He now shares his wealth of knowledge and practical Ayurvedic experience.
In the United States, Ayurvedic medicine is considered a form of complementary and alternative medicine and, as such, there's no national standard training, certification program, or Food and Drug Administration review or approval of the practice.
However, lack of approval from the Western medical establishment doesn't deter people seeking answers or additional treatment offered by Eastern medicine.
"I came to wellness through illness. It's been a passion of mine," Armstrong said. "Yoga is this big thing now, and there are many kinds. Tedd said 'we do Yoga.' He doesn't like to put it under a title. He looks at each individual to find out their pain and then individualizes the moves for each person. I have never had a teacher like that before."
To help Armstrong continue her treatment — while also offering a wellness program not normally available in small communities — the couple decided to bring weeklong wellness retreats to Craig beginning in December.
Armstrong believes the wellness program has the potential to help anyone with pain, injuries, and mental stress, as well as the limitations associated with certain diseases, including cancer.
"You could be brand new to yoga. …He doesn't claim to cure anyone, but he does say that he does work miracles," Armstrong said.
The first of three retreats is planned for Dec. 16 through 22 and will be held at the Colorado Northwestern Community College Bell Tower Building. It will be limited to four participants and cost $1,500 per person.
Each seven-day retreat includes two hours with a 30-minute private yoga session with Muramatsu, then a 90-minute consultation and Ayurvedic treatment with Surman.
"What I received from them was helpful. I came back excited, beaming, and healthy in mind, body, and soul. I have noticed a huge difference," Armstrong said.
She added the price reflects the small number of people.
"Treatments in Denver would be nearly double. The value is priceless, because it can be healing, preventative, to maintain health and prevent illness, and I think that you can't put a price on that," Armstrong said.
WebMD recommends "always talk to your doctor before you try Ayurveda or any other alternative medical treatment."
To better understand the wellness program Surma provided additional insight by answering a series of questions about Ayurvedic via email.
Craig Press: What is yoga and Ayurveda?
Tedd Surma: Yoga and Ayurveda are comprehensive and profound teachings from India. These ancient health and healing methods are now applied in the context of our modern Western lifestyles. They will increase your self-awareness and personal growth.
Yoga is the state of focus and peacefulness, which gives us a healthy body and a strong mind. We practice asana for nourishing your body, pranayama for expanding your life-force and meditation for strengthening your mind.
Ayurveda means to “know your life” and has been the Indian health-care system for over 5,000 years. With deep roots in Indian culture, Ayurveda is a great alternative to Western medicine, using the four pillar principles of food, lifestyle, sleep, and relationship for balanced health. The purpose of Ayurveda is to reveal our natural state of happiness and contentment by reducing our suffering. … During this study, you will receive a comprehensive introduction of Ayurveda, then analyze “prakrtti,” our natural state and “vikrtti,” our unbalanced state. With this clarity, you can start developing simple and effective ways in your daily life to bring yourself and family from imbalance to balanced health, and then to maintain your natural state of health.
Why is yoga complimentary to Ayurveda?
Yoga and Ayurveda go hand-in-hand for personal health care. These are the oldest and time-proven health care systems. Yoga is to purify the mind and Ayurveda the body. A yoga private prepares the body therapeutically by using specific yoga movements before starting your Ayurveda treatments. When applied together, Ayurveda and yoga are two powerful methods of transformation for health and healing. Ideal for chronic problems, such as neck and shoulders, low back, sacrum, hips, knees, and feet.
What do you provide during the wellness program?
Yoga Awareness offers a daily series of Ayurveda treatments tailored to your specific needs, supporting you with the time-proven healing methods of Ayurveda. The wellness programs are a holistic approach, enabling us time for developing a greater understanding of the health problem (vikrtti) and systematically balance dosha-s (vata, pitta, kapha).
A free online assessment (is available) to understand your Ayurveda needs and goals. This gives you an opportunity to meet us, verify, and ask questions about your program, and also for us to assess your readiness.
Svedhana (heat) treatments are the application of a medicated bolus heated and applied with oils to specific areas of the body. It is therapeutic for bone and ligament conditions to areas such as neck, shoulders, scapulars, hips, knees, ankles, and hands. The treatments also reduce cellulite on the back of thighs and the fatty tissue behind the neck. Ideal for low backache (lumbar), midback hunching (kyphosis), neck pain (cervical), spinal lordosis and spondylosis.
Samana (body extremities) treatments are applied only to the extremities of your body (head, arms and hands, legs, feet). It is a combination of an abhyanga oil bath treatment and some svedhana heat treatment when needed. This treatment will nourish you, restoring your natural luster and beauty from aging. A regular wellness program will give you a feeling of stability, protection, and wellness. Assessment and hot towel wipe-down included (15 mins).
Yoga private: individual private yoga sessions specifically tailored for students' current condition. We apply the appropriate application of yoga for each student, within the context of a private session. Practicing to your comfortable maximum ability is the special effort for balanced transformation. The yoga private prepares your body therapeutically by using specific yoga movements before starting your Ayurveda treatments. When applied together, Ayurveda and yoga are two powerful methods of transformation for health and healing. Ideal for chronic problems, such as neck and shoulders, low back, sacrum, hips, knees and feet.
Why bring the program to Craig?
Our purpose is to share these profound teachings and healing methods of yoga and Ayurveda worldwide. Colorado is a very central location for mainland America to reach us, rather than everyone having to come to Hawaii. We are very grateful to have Dana Armstrong inviting us to come to Colorado twice a year. She is wanting to personally benefit from our services, and also, she is very keen to have other people in her community experience this type of education and healing.
Who would most benefit from your program?
Wellness programs are a daily commitment of yoga, Ayurveda, and food nutrition. Designed for health conscious people, these are personalized and effective methods of transformation for natural health. Ayurveda has an accumulative effect, and the benefits often are noticeable a few months after.
The Ayurveda treatments and self-care home programs will actually disturb your existing disturbance. It’s like lifting the rug and sweeping underneath. So the best time to make these changes is when you’re feeling happy and healthy, so being able to comfortably withstand the transformation.
Remember that it takes years, maybe even a lifetime, to create our disturbances, and when Ayurveda is applied consistently for a short period of time than the problems which would normally keep re-occurring start to miraculously disappear. People don’t usually notice these changes, because they are gradual, which is a very healthy way to transform, and these transformations are life-changing. Ayurveda is not like taking a pill to cover the symptoms of a headache; rather, it removes the cause of the symptoms. Before every treatment, we are recording your progress, just so that we can review this magical transformation and discuss it with you later.
So, with this in mind, please don’t wait until the problem is raging, like a fire, because we then spend so much time just helping control the fire, which, of course, we will do when required. However, we would prefer to work holistically with clients to regularly maintain their state of ease (prakrtti) rather than always fighting their dis-ease (vikrtti).
After their time with you, what sort of investment in time, energy, and money is required for treatment to be effective?
Our purpose is to help students develop a practice with the skillful application of yoga and Ayurveda.
Yoga has a good effect on the body and mind. Practicing yoga regularly contributes to a sense of well-being by incorporating a well-sequenced practice of asana (body), pranayama (breath), and meditation (mind). A regular practice of asana, pranayama, and meditation gives you a better understanding of your weakness and strengths.
When the body and mind start to purify, we then experience a state of mindfulness and clarity. Each person is unique and has different interests of health, abundance, aspirations, and beliefs. Yoga and Ayurveda give us this clarity to focus, strengthen, and move towards our chosen interests.
What else would you like readers to know about Yoga Awareness? You and Masumi?
Yoga Awareness is an umbrella for certified teachers and students in Hawaii and Japan who study in the Krishnamacharya lineage. We have been fortunate to receive the Yoga Teachings of Patanjali and the many ways in which these teachings have been transmitted through T.Krishnamacharya (1888-1989). It is now our opportunity to share these gifts with you in Colorado.
Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.