Holistic Health Fair in the Breezeway

Non-drug Therapy for Back Pain


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) – New guidelines from the American College of Physicians say the first line of therapy for back pain should be non-drug treatments.

Jay Dee Clayton finds peace from his pain through yoga.

“Whenever I start to feel a little twinge, I pull my knee out and stretch the area that’s giving me a problem and it dissipates. It goes away,” he said.

But, yoga wasn’t the first place he looked for relief.

“I took medication immediately after the surgery and I didn’t like feeling like my head was on a balloon string, so I looked for alternative methods of just managing through it,” he said.

Several months ago, Cecelia Aurand also went looking for relief.

“I’ve had spinal stenosis and back pain for quite a while,” she said.

She, too, first tried the prescription route.

“It didn’t really help. After I had the surgery it did help for a time but it didn’t last,” she said.

So, she turned to acupuncture where she says she saw immediate results.

“Within three sessions, I was walking normal again. It was amazing,” she said.

“Many people are able to reduce or completely discontinue the use of pharmaceuticals to manage pain because of acupuncture,” said Dr. Will Foster, an acupuncturist at Traditional Health Clinic.

The fact that both Clayton and Aurand were able to find relief outside of pain pills doesn’t surprise Dr. Samuel Yoakum.

“There are certain types of pain that pills treat really well. They don’t treat chronic back pain well,” he said.

New guidelines from the American College of Physicians back this up.
The guidelines say the first line of therapy for back pain should be non-drug treatments. For pain lasting less than three months, those include heat wraps, massage, acupuncture and spinal manipulation. The authors stress that clinicians should avoid costly and potentially harmful treatments like narcotics.

For pain lasting more than three months, treatments include stretching and strengthening exercises, tai chi, yoga, acupuncture, and mindfulness techniques like meditation to relieve stress.

If those fail, anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen should be considered first, then medications that can dull nerve pain, like tramadol or duloxetine.

“Be as active as possible. That’s what we take from these guidelines more than anything else,” said Dr. Yoakum.

Not all insurances cover alternate therapies. It’s important to consult with your physician or a specialist to diagnose what type of back pain you have and what treatment plan would be best.

Silent Meditation & Yoga Retreat

A Weekend Workshop offered at Prama Institute & Wellness Center

It is amazing how only a couple days of silence can create a sense of self discovery and camaraderie. Our Slient Meditation and Yoga Retreats give participants the opportunity to connect with themselves and others at a deeper level beyond the usual discourse.
This weekend retreat will give you the opportunity to revitalize yourself, unclutter your mind, deepen your understanding of yourself and others, and discover sources of strength you may have only glimpsed but now can come to own. Silence allows you the time you always wanted to put things into perspective, find the balance, and recognize what the signs of your life are trying to tell you.
Silent Meditation and Yoga retreats at the Prama Institute are unique:

  • We combine open periods of personal reflection with powerful meditations, both sitting and moving.
  • Yoga classes that combine flow and restorative poses.
  • The nature walks along the scenic trails of our land are ideal for experiencing the beauty and peace around you and within.
  • The visualization exercises help you reflect on where you have been, where you are, and where you are going.
  • Journaling lets you express your discoveries and remember them whenever you want to review them.
  • And, of course, our legendary gourmet meals keep it all in perspective.


When:  April 7 – 9, 2017

Location:  Prama Institute

Program: Silent Yoga & Meditation Retreat

Faculty:  Howard Nemon, Sid Jordan



Shared Accommodation

$350 (Till March 15), $395 (After March 15)

Private Accommodation

$450 (Till March 15), $495 (After March 15)


AcroYoga at Breezeway

Introducing Acro Yoga at Breezeway!

12814103_746257692111_648908030243128729_nStarting on the first Tuesday in November, we’re pleased to welcome Rebekah Luhrs to Breezeway for AcroYoga classes.

Rebekah is a certified yoga instructor who has been doing AcroYoga since 2011. After several years of teaching both in the US and internationally, she is excited to be offering weekly acro classes in Knoxville. Meryl Kerns will be joining her as assistant teacher. 

AcroYoga is a dynamic partner practice that blends the wisdom of yoga, the dynamic power of acrobatics, and the loving kindness of healing arts.  New content will be explored each week while reviewing components taught in previous classes and workshops, providing a space for students to form strong foundational skills. AcroYoga as a practice that is available for every body, age, and ability.

Namaste Betty: free yoga on the lawn


Help us celebrate Betty’s legacy to our community.

September 10, 9:30 AM • Farragut High School football field

Join us on the Farragut High School Football field as we gather to continue Betty Kalister’s legacy of community building through the practice of yoga.

All levels of experience are welcome to attend this free event.

Radiant Yoga and Qi Gong workshop

AdobeStock_48419414-SmallRadiant Yoga and Qi Gong workshop

Sunday September 11, 2016 1-3pm with Mebbie Jackson and Belle Kent.

Come experience an afternoon to uplift your energy. Mebbie and Belle will facilitate yoga, qi gong, and dance movements to help reset your energy for the change of seasons. Fall is a time of rest after the busy experiences of Summer. Refresh yourself with movement and laughter in this energizing workshop!

Cost $25.00 in advance, $30.00 at the door.

To register, connect with Mebbie via email: mebane8@mac.com or call (865) 679-9642


Free Your Pelvis with Gina Baker


Are your hips and hamstrings tight? Does your lower back get sore easily? Then this workshop is for you!

Whether you run, dance, or sit for long hours – doing hip opening postures to release tension in your hips is a good thing.

We will dive deep into the hips and learn a very gentle yoga sequence to release tightness and tension that could be causing low back pain. Learn how to access a deeper quality of listening to your body to release any tension to encourage lightness and well being in the whole body.

Our time together will conclude with a meditation and deep relaxation leaving you feeling more spacious in mind and body.

Come join Gina Baker and take the time to work slowly through this important area of the body. Everyone is welcome ~ Open to all levels.

Gina BakerSunday, Oct. 16 • 1-3:30PM

$30 pre-registration • $40 at the door. Register and pay online – www.ginabaker.me or text 415-858-2417

Instructor: Rev. Gina M. Baker, LMT, RYT 200

Date Night with Gina Baker


Date night with Gina

Find a partner and explore the possibilities!

Explore moving and flowing in harmony with your partner and deepen your connection as a couple. Enjoy a candlelit evening with some relaxing tunes and great company. 

Unwind from the day by connecting with your partner and sharing a special bond through a unique yoga practice that blends partner yoga postures, conscious breathing, trust, communication, and — most of all — playfulness, laughter and fun. Gina’s planning a beautiful evening for releasing tension, strengthening relationships, and having a great time.

After you’ve blissed out with your boo or favorite someone, we will gather at a close restaurant (optional and we will decide which resturant at a closer date) for some community fun and conversation.

Spots will only be sold at the door if there is room. This workshop has limited space, so reserve ASAP. Bring a friend, lover, gym buddy – even your child (ages 12-21). This is an all levels class and everyone is welcome!

Friday, Sept 16 • 7-8:30PM

$45 per couple pre-registration • $50 at the door

Register and pay online – www.ginabaker.me or text 415-858-2417

Gina BakerInstructor: Rev. Gina M. Baker, LMT, RYT 200

Mindfulness Walking Meditation

By John Cianciosi  |  Originally posted here in Yoga Journal

Learning to establish awareness during walking meditation helps to develop mindfulness during your daily life.

In Bodh Gaya, India, there is an old Bodhi tree that shades the very spot where the Buddha is believed to have sat in meditation on the night of his enlightenment. Close by is a raised walking path about 17 steps in length, where the Buddha mindfully paced up and down in walking meditation after becoming enlightened, experiencing the joy of a liberated heart.

In his teachings, the Buddha stressed the importance of developing mindfulness in all postures, including standing, sitting, lying down, and even walking. When reading accounts about the lives of monks and nuns in the time of the Buddha, you find that many attained various stages of enlightenment while doing walking meditation.

The Forest Meditation Tradition of northeast Thailand, with which I am most familiar, puts great emphasis on walking meditation. The monks live in simple single-room dwellings dispersed throughout the forest, and in the area around each hut you always find a well-worn meditation path. At various times of the day or night, monks can be seen pacing up and down these paths, mindfully striving to realize the same liberation of heart attained by the Buddha. Many monks walk for long hours and actually prefer it to sitting meditation. The late Ajahn Singtong, a much admired meditation master, sometimes practiced walking meditation for 10 to 15 hours a day.

While I don’t expect that many will want to walk for such a long time, you may want to try this form of meditation; it’s a valuable method of mental training for furthering awareness, concentration, and serenity. If developed, it can strengthen and broaden your meditation practice to new levels of tranquility and insight.

Also see Guided Mindful Walking Meditation

Avoiding Extremes

In walking meditation, the primary object of attention is the process of walking itself. In other words, to sharpen awareness and train the mind to concentrate, you pay close attention to the physical act of walking, the way you take one step after another. Thus the object is more obvious and tangible than in the more refined meditation techniques, such as focusing on the breath or a mantra, which are often used in traditional sitting meditation. Focusing the mind on this more obvious object helps to avoid two extremes that meditators sometimes experience during their sitting meditation.

First, you are less likely to fall into a state of dullness or sleepiness because you are physically moving with your eyes open. In fact, walking meditation is often recommended for meditators who have a problem with the hindrance of dullness. My teacher, Ajahn Chah, used to recommend doing an all-night meditation vigil once a week. As you can imagine, one tends to get drowsy by 2 a.m., so Chah would encourage everyone to do walking meditation rather than sitting in a stupor of dullness. In extreme cases of sleepiness, Chah would advise us to walk backward-because you cannot fall asleep this way.

The other extreme is having too much energy, which typically results in feelings of mild tension or some restlessness. Because walking meditation is usually not practiced with the same intensity and concentration as a sitting practice, there is less chance of creating tension by using excessive force in an effort to focus the mind. Walking is generally a pleasant and relaxing experience for both mind and body, and therefore an excellent way to release stress or restless energy.

Another advantage is of special benefit for those who attend meditation retreats. During such retreats, participants often meditate for many hours a day, and sitting for such long periods inevitably causes some physical discomfort or pain. Alternating between sessions of sitting and walking meditation helps relieve that discomfort in a pleasant way, enabling meditators to maintain a continuity of practice for a long time.

Finally, practicing walking meditation greatly facilitates the development of mindfulness in ordinary daily life. If you can learn to establish awareness during walking meditation—when you are physically moving with your eyes open—then it won’t be difficult to arouse that same wakeful quality during other activities, such as practicing yoga, eating, washing dishes, or driving. It will be easier for you to arouse mindfulness while walking to a bus stop, through the park, or during any other time. Your meditation will begin to permeate your entire life.

The importance of this cannot be overstated. It is the presence of mindfulness that keeps your consciousness alive and alert to reality, thereby transforming ordinary life into a continuous practice of meditation, and transforming the mundane into the spiritual.

To illustrate the sheer power of mindful walking, I often recall an event that took place during the height of the Vietnam War. The well-known meditation teacher Thich Nhat Hanh was touring the United States, giving talks and participating in demonstrations in support of a peaceful resolution to the war. Obviously, people had strong feelings, and any demonstration could easily turn into an ugly confrontation. Fortunately, into the midst of that highly charged emotional atmosphere, Thich Nhat Hanh’s presence brought the irresistible power of a truly peaceful being. I can still visualize the picture of this simple Buddhist monk at the head of a demonstration of thousands of people, walking slowly, silently, peacefully. With each step it was as if time paused, and the aggressive, restless energy of the crowd was miraculously calmed.

On that particular day, Thich Nhat Hanh did not need to talk about peace because everyone heard the reverberating message of each slow, meditative step. You too can learn to walk with mindfulness so that your steps print peace and serenity on Earth.

Taking the Right Path

Walking meditation is best practiced on a designated path rather than casually walking about. The path should be straight, level, and have a reasonably smooth surface. It is also helpful if the path has a beginning and an end. You practice meditation by walking between these two points, being attentive and mindful of each step. Although the length of the path is primarily determined by individual preference, I have found that a path in the range of 10 to 20 yards is most useful. I suggest you experiment with paths of different lengths and find one most suitable for your practice.

Choosing a path with a beginning and an end is important because these two points provide structure for the meditation and foster sharper awareness. Each time you come to the end of the path, you are automatically reminded to check to see whether the attention is indeed with each step or whether the mind has wandered. In this way, you can re-establish focus more quickly and thus sustain awareness.

The guidelines for walking meditation are similar to that of sitting meditation: Choose an appropriate time and decide how long to meditate; for beginners 15 to 30 minutes may be suitable. The walking path can be either inside or outside, depending upon your preference and the area available. However, I have found quiet surroundings the best, as you won’t be distracted by external activity or feel self-conscious while pacing up and down along the same path. Also, whenever possible, it is better to practice in bare feet, although this is not essential.

Having established these conditions, stand at one end of the path and hold your hands gently together in front of your body. The eyes remain open, gazing down along the path about two yards ahead. The intention is not to be looking at anything in particular but simply to see that you remain on the path and know when to turn around.

You should now try to center yourself by putting aside all concern for the past and future. In order to calm the mind and establish awareness in the present, abandon any preoccupation with work, home, and relationships, and bring the attention to the body.

The meditation exercise is simply to walk at a slow, relaxed pace, being fully aware of each step until you reach the end of the path you are walking on. Begin with the right foot. While taking that step, pay careful attention to the movement of the foot as it is initially raised off the ground, moved through the air, and placed on the ground again. Then take a step with your left foot, being equally attentive. Continue walking in this mindful and methodical way until you have reached the end of the chosen path.

If while walking you become aware that your mind has wandered away from the step, clearly note the distraction and gently, but firmly, bring your attention back to the step. It is often helpful to make a mental note of “right” and “left” with each corresponding step, as this keeps the mind more involved with the act of walking.

When you arrive at the end of the path, stop for a moment and check to see what the mind is doing. Is it being attentive? If necessary, re-establish awareness. Then turn and walk back to the other end in a similar fashion, remaining mindful and alert. Continue to pace up and down for the duration of the meditation period, gently making an effort to sustain awareness and focus attention on the process of walking.

Walking meditation may be practiced in a number of ways that require different degrees of concentration. While walking at a normal pace is suitable for developing awareness, very slow walking is more effective for refined concentration. You may want to experiment with walking at slightly different speeds until you find a pace most suitable for you.

As with any meditation method, skill in walking meditation only comes from regular practice and patient effort, but the benefits are well worth it. Experiencing the simplicity and peace of being with one step at a time—with nothing else to do and nowhere to go—can be truly liberating. Each mindful step takes you toward the infinite wonder of the world of reality.

John Cianciosi was a Buddhist monk for more than 20 years and a disciple of the late Ajahn Chah. He is now a lay teacher in the United States and the author of The Meditative Path: A Gentle Way to Awareness, Concentration and Serenity.

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