Archive for March, 2012

Safe and Sober

In 2009 twenty percent of high school students admitted to using illicit drugs according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse.  Over the last year, nearly 16 million kids over the age of 12 have admitted to using prescription drugs for non-medical usage.  In addition to caving from peer pressure, kids are also turning to drugs and alcohol as a means to hide or mask pain and hurt caused by some sort of trauma in their life.

The great news is there is help!  Massachusetts has three state funded high schools that provide academics and counseling  This offers the opportunity for kids to attend school in a safe and sober atmosphere.  For the past three years, I have had the privilege to volunteer every Wednesday at Ostiguy High, one of those “recovery” schools, which is located in Boston, MA.

By teaching yoga to these students, they are exposed to movement, breath work and mindfulness as a tool to use in their recovery.  We strongly encourage this as a tool and not a replacement for meetings, step work or sponsors.  Rather, this is another means to become aware of their actions and thoughts, and with that, how we respond or react to situations.  Many of our students have gone onto college with a strong foundation that will help create a strong sense of self worth, confidence and ability to make the right choice.

The video below is a piece which aired on CBS news last night and follows one of our students.  Please take the few minutes to watch and see how a “recovery” school can make the difference in our children’s lives.


As the number of kids using drugs and alcohol continues to rise, there is a great need for more recovery schools such as Ostiguy.  If you know of someone that may benefit from something like a recovery school and not sure where to begin, please seek me out.  I will be more than happy to help you on the road to a safe and sober journey.

be well-



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Q1 check-in

Back in December I wrote about Operation 2012.  Instead of trying to adhere to resolutions, I set a few very specific goals.  It is about this time of year where most people have fallen off the wagon and even forgot what their goals were for the new year.  I thought this would be a great opportunity to revisit mine as I set out for Operation 2012.

  • to have a complete cardiac work-up done by March- Echocardiogram, Stress Test and VO2 test all completed!
  • to attend a level 1 KB workshop for ceu’s- certified through KettleBell Concepts!
  • to become more fluent in American Sign Language
  • to host another Y21SR workshop, with at least 20 attendees
  • to read one book every two weeks- have read bits and pieces of several books, now need to finish them!
  • to make more money than I did in 2011- On Track!
  • to step out of my comfort zone and take a Zumba class- Done!  Thank You Nabil.
  • to begin and finish writing a curriculum for a workshop to teach as continuing ed

With some of these already completed, this allows me more time to concentrate on the others.  I encourage you to revisit your goals or resolutions for 2012 and see if you are on track.  Ask yourself what has pushed you toward completing your goals.  Or what can you change to keep yourself accountable.  If you need a little help with motivation, advice or goal setting, let me know!

be well-

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Anyone can, and EVERYONE SHOULD

Fact– 70 percent of Americans feel helpless during a cardiac emergency because they do not know CPR.  This is alarming because nearly 80 percent of cardiac arrests happen at home.

Fact– Sudden cardiac arrest is not the same as a heart attack.

o Sudden cardiac arrest occurs when electrical impulses in the heart become rapid or chaotic, which causes the heart to suddenly stop beating.
o A heart attack occurs when the blood supply to part of the heart muscle is blocked. A heart attack may cause cardiac arrest.

Fact– Effective bystander CPR provided immediately after sudden cardiac arrest can double or triple a victim’s chance of survival, but only 32 percent of cardiac arrest victims get CPR from a bystander.

There are millions of people that have a vague idea of what CPR is.  CPR is something everyone can and should learn.  Protocols have changed over the last few years to allow more people to feel confident with performing CPR when needed.  There is such thing as a Hands-Only® CPR.  Check out the video: 

The American Heart Association trains more than 12 million people in CPR annually, to equip Americans with the skills they need to perform bystander CPR.  I strongly encourage you to attend a CPR class.  It might save a loved one’s life.

be well-

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Take a Stand

Yesterday while I was reading a passage during my yoga class, the subject was about Power.  So often we allow others to take the illusion of our power away from us.  The example given was two friends sitting across from each other.  The female had an empty can in front of her.  The friend in one quick swoop stole the can away, her power.  “See how easy that was for me,” he said.  He went on to describe how it may seem like it is easy for others to take power away from us.  We must learn to take a stand for our selves and those in need.

There is much talk in the news about bullying.  Although definitions of bullying vary, most would agree that it involves:

  • Imbalance of Power: people who bully use their power to control or harm and the people being bullied may have a hard time defending themselves
  • Intent to Cause Harm: actions done by accident are not bullying; the person bullying has a goal to cause harm
  • Repetition: incidents of bullying happen to the same the person over and over by the same person or group

Bullying comes in may forms such as verbal name calling and teasing, in social situations such as spreading rumors or gossiping, physically punching or shoving someone else, and cyberbullying through the internet, mobile text messaging and other digital technologies.  We have all witnessed some form of bullying, if not taken part ourselves.

One of my favorite anti-bullying commercials:

Warning signs for those who are being bullied:

  • Comes home with damaged or missing clothing or other belongings
  • Reports losing items such as books, electronics, clothing, or jewelry
  • Has unexplained injuries
  • Complains frequently of headaches, stomachaches, or feeling sick
  • Has trouble sleeping or has frequent bad dreams
  • Has changes in eating habits
  • Hurts themselves
  • Are very hungry after school from not eating their lunch
  • Runs away from home
  • Loses interest in visiting or talking with friends
  • Is afraid of going to school or other activities with peers
  • Loses interest in school work or begins to do poorly in school
  • Appears sad, moody, angry, anxious or depressed when they come home
  • Talks about suicide
  • Feels helpless
  • Often feels like they are not good enough
  • Blames themselves for their problems
  • Suddenly has fewer friends
  • Avoids certain places
  • Acts differently than usual

Warning signs for those bullying others:

  • Becomes violent with others
  • Gets into physical or verbal  fights with others
  • Gets sent to the principal’s office or detention a lot
  • Has extra money or new belongings that cannot be explained
  • Is quick to blame others
  • Will not accept responsibility for their actions
  • Has friends who bully others
  • Needs to win or be best at everything

Everyone has the right to feel safe in their community or on their campus.  If you see someone being bullied, know that you have the power to stop it.

What to Do When Someone is Being Bullied

  • Take a stand and do not join in.  Do not stand around watching someone being bullied.  If you feel safe, tell the person to stop.  Make it clear that you do not support what is going on.
  • Walk away.  If you walk away and don’t join in, you have taken their audience and power away.
  • Give support.  Talk to the person being bullied and tell them that you are there to help.
  • Talk to an someone you trust. Reach out to someone you trust to discuss the problem, especially if you feel like the person may be at risk of serious harm to themselves or others.

Work to Prevent Bullying 

Bullying is less likely to occur when there are strong messages against it. Work with your campus, community, or other groups to create and support these messages by:

  • Getting involved with your community and around campus to find ways to prevent bullying.
  • Creating an assembly, performance, or event to spread the message.
  • Teaching others that bullying is not okay and that they can stop bullying before it begins.

Take a Stand, for yourself and those in need.

be well-



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