The Sentinel-Record - HER - Hot Springs - - Contents - Story by Lindsey Wells, pho­tog­ra­phy by Richard Ras­mussen

Court­ney But­ler, founder of Bal­ance Yoga & Well­ness, has been a yoga prac­ti­tioner for 27 years and has been a yoga teacher and pri­vate yoga ther­a­pist since 2001. As of this writ­ing, But­ler was one of the first yoga cer­ti­fied ther­a­pists in the na­tion.

“They just gave that out on (Aug. 1); it's the first time that cre­den­tial has been given out,” she said. “There were no real cer­ti­fi­ca­tions for yoga ther­a­pists un­til just now, and that's in­ter­na­tional.”

In ad­di­tion, But­ler trains other yoga teach­ers and just re­cently took a po­si­tion with the Dr. Dean Or­nish heart dis­ease re­ver­sal clinic.

Yoga calms the ner­vous sys­tem and elon­gates the mus­cles, help­ing to re­duce joint in­jury and in­juries of the mus­cles. But­ler said in her car­diac re­hab work she uses yoga as a life­style medicine to help to heal heart dis­ease, and it's also been found to help with di­a­betes and early stages of can­cer.

“The ner­vous sys­tem con­trols so much in our body. It helps to con­trol the re­sponses in our body and the ups and downs of our hor­mones. Yoga also helps to drain lymph

fluid,” But­ler said. “Wher­ever there is cir­cu­la­tion there is heal­ing, so it brings cir­cu­la­tion to parts of our body. We don't nor­mally move our body in this way, and other types of ex­er­cise don't of­ten move your body lat­er­ally, twist­ing, in­verted.”

She added that it's im­por­tant for a per­son with any kind of in­jury or health is­sue to find a yoga teacher or ther­a­pist who is ex­pe­ri­enced and un­der­stands those is­sues. Oth­er­wise, she added, a nor­mal, healthy per­son can ben­e­fit from a good, solid yoga class.

“Yoga helps with bal­ance, mo­bil­ity, re­duc­ing mor­bid­ity or ill­ness over a per­son's life­time, strength­en­ing bones, strength­en­ing mus­cles. And you don't have to do hard yoga for an hour a day to get the ben­e­fits; you can see ben­e­fits af­ter just a few min­utes a day. If some­one did these six poses every day, they would get the full ben­e­fits from these poses,” said But­ler.

But­ler and her as­sis­tant yoga ther­a­pist, Deby Su Sweatt, teach weekly be­gin­ner-friendly yoga classes at 6:15 p.m. Mon­days and 10 a.m. Wed­nes­days at Emer­gent Arts, 341-A Whit­ting­ton Ave.

From the seated po­si­tion, in­hale, then raise your left arm out to the side, ex­hale, and con­tinue to bring the arm up above your head be­side your right ear while plac­ing your right hand on the floor for sup­port. Re­peat for other side. We gen­er­ally don’t have a lot of lat­eral move­ment in our daily life, so this stretch im­proves mo­bil­ity as we age, opens the lungs and mas­sages the heart. 2 SEATED LAT­ERAL

Kneel on the floor. Touch your big toes to­gether and sit on your heels, then sep­a­rate your knees about as wide as your hips. Ex­hale and lay your torso down be­tween your thighs, plac­ing both arms straight out in front of you on ei­ther side of your head, palms face down on the floor. Lengthen your tail­bone away from the back of the pelvis while you lift the base of your skull away from the back of your neck. This se­quence helps to lengthen the long mus­cles of the spine, drains lymph and mas­sages the heart. 5 CHILD’S POSE

From the seated po­si­tion, keep your spine straight, place the right hand on the left knee and the left hand be­hind you on the floor. Ex­hale, twist the waist, shoul­ders and neck to the left and look over the left shoul­der. Re­peat for other side. This se­quence mas­sages the in­ter­nal or­gans, im­proves mo­bil­ity as we age and is good for tight shoul­ders. 3 SEATED SPINAL TWIST

Lay on your stom­ach with your fore­arms flat on the floor, el­bows un­der the shoul­ders and legs side by side straight out be­hind you. Lengthen your tail­bone to­ward your heels and ro­tate your thighs in­ward by rolling your outer thighs to­ward the floor. This helps broaden and lengthen your lower back and sacrum to pro­tect it in a back bend. This se­quence is help­ful for open­ing the chest and mas­sag­ing the thy­mus. It is of­ten used in peo­ple with de­pres­sion and anx­i­ety and it is good for im­mu­nity and lower back prob­lems. 4 SPHINX POSE

Sit up straight with hands to­gether, and be­gin in this seated po­si­tion. Hold each of the fol­low­ing poses for a few cy­cles of in­hala­tion and ex­ha­la­tion for best re­sults. 1 SEATED POS­TURE

6 LEGS IN A CHAIR With a chair in front of you, lay on your back fac­ing the chair. Place both legs in the seat of the chair, bent at the knees. Keep your torso straight and palms up and place both arms at your sides.

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