Note From Louisa
This month, we turn our attention to the experience of the body. For many of us, our relationship with our bodies only becomes evident through either judgment toward it, or the unpleasant experience of pain. All too often, the presence of pain, particularly chronic pain, obscures anything else and elevates the alleviation of the discomfort to our primary concern.
Please join us for several offerings with returning Feldenkrais practitioner and Mindbody Coach for Chronic Pain Recovery, Susann Suprenant, who shares her somatic insights for an enlightening weekend to close out April.
On Friday, April 26th, conceptualize chronic pain with a free talk by Susann. On Saturday, Susann will conduct a three-hour Awareness Through Movement workshop to help you reaffirm your relationship with the body. 

In this issue, Dr. Nanci Nilles also offers insight into managing chronic pain through breath in this month's featured article.
As the weather warms up and we find ourselves engaging in more physical activity, let us care for the body with the same intention, tenderness and gratitude that we bring to our mindfulness practice.
With compassion,
Ongoing Contemplative Practices  (No Charge) 

Workshop: Sitting Meditation Groups
Workshop: Mindfulness Study Group (see below)

Workshops & Events
Hosted at The Center for
 Mindful Living

Feldenkrais Practitioner and Mindbody Coach Susann Suprenant is back in town to share her knowledge on somatics and managing chronic pain.

The Chronic Pain Puzzle: Finding the Missing Pieces 
Evening Talk ~ Friday, April 26, 2019 ✦ 7-9pm No Charge
Susann Suprenant, a Mindbody Coach for Chronic Pain Recovery, will share findings from current pain science research and the latest chronic pain recovery programs that help patients/clients "unlearn" their pain. Susann will help us explore how pain education plus somatic, reflective, and mindfulness practices work together to help our clients (and ourselves) recover from persistent pain and related mindbody symptoms. The evening will include lecture and time for questions and answer. No need to register for this workshop.  

The Art of Mindful Movement: Increasing your Awareness Through Movement with The Feldenkrais Method®
Workshop ~ Saturday, April 27, 2019 ✦ 1-4pm

Making "the impossible possible, the possible easy, and the easy elegant."   - MOSHE FELDENKRAIS

In this half-day session, Feldenkrais Practitioner Susann Suprenant will share how The Feldenkrais Method works to enhance our mindbody connection. We will explore how to bring more awareness to our habitual ways of moving and to expand our self-image for greater ease and efficiency, creativity and resilience. The session will include a combination of demonstration/lecture, guided movement, and discussion. Awareness Through Movement lessons are gentle enough for all ability levels and challenging enough for all who seek greater sensorimotor integration and a heightened sense of well-being.
Tuition for this workshop is $45. Click here to register.

Communication Teacher and Author Oren Jay Sofer
to Share Teachings and Community in Omaha
The Art of Mindful Communication:  Living Your Values 
Evening Talk ~ Friday, June 14, 2019 ✦ 7-9pm at Brownell Talbot School (James Library)

Oren Jay Sofer will help us explore how our contemplative practice can provide a foundation for bringing more compassion, clarity, and connection into our speech and relationships. Oren will be offering teachings from his new book, Say What You Mean:  A Mindful Approach to Nonviolent Communication. The evening will include a guided meditation, lecture, and time for questions and answer. For those who wish to explore the topic further, see below for a daylong training on this topic.

Say What You Mean: Creating Meaningful  Conversations  
Daylong Retreat ~ Saturday, June 15, 2019 ✦ 9-5pm   at Brownell Talbot School (James Library)

In this daylong session, Oren will share the foundations of an integrated approach to skillful communication. We will explore how to bring more mindfulness and care to our communication - our listening, speaking, and thinking. The day will include a combination of guided meditation, discussion, and interactive practice. This workshop is appropriate for all levels of experience; NVC will be taught at an introductory level.

Register for one or both sessions here or email 

Ongoing Offerings
Mindfulness Study Group
Facilitated by Laura Crosby
First and Third Sunday of the month from 4pm to 6pm
Join us as we begin A Path with HeartA Guide through the Perils and Promises of Spiritual Life by Jack Kornfield. Considered an essential classic that many return to again and again as part of their mindfulness practice, A Path With Heart offers inspiration and teachings for living mindfully, intentionally, authentically and compassionately - or as one reviewer put it, with "full-tilt compassion."
The Group will read together, so there is no pre-reading or homework involved.  We will read, discuss and practice mindfulness meditation based on the teachings of the book.  Copies of the book are available for use in the study session or to check-out.    

This Mindfulness Study Group is freely offered. There is no charge to participate. Drop-ins welcome at any time. While this selection is based on Buddhist mindfulness teachings, the Study Group as a whole is not religiously affiliated.
Featured Article

Using Breath to Manage Pain
By Nanci Nilles Psy.D.
Although medication plays a role in managing chronic pain, it is important to use alternative pain management methods as well. One such alternative is the eliciting of the Relaxation Response first described by Dr. Benson and his colleagues at Harvard in the 1970's. The Relaxation Response includes 1) taking a deep breath and 2) having a passive mind.

Dr. Benson's research revealed that these practices elicit a response that calms and heals the body. It is a way to combat the automatic fight or flight response that often occurs in reaction to pain. The immediate benefits of obtaining the Relaxation Response are lower blood pressure and heart rate. The long term benefits include a decrease in anxiety, depression, and pain. Therefore, regularly practicing an activity for eliciting the Relaxation Response is essential.

A tried and true Relaxation Response activity is diaphragmatic breathing. Pain disrupts normal breathing, causing it to be short and shallow and focused in the upper chest, mimicking the breath patterns associated with tension.

A diaphragmatic breath is the opposite of chest breathing. It requires engaging the diaphragm, a thin layer of muscle separating the chest cavity from the abdomen. At the beginning of each inhalation, the diaphragm contracts, air enters the lungs, and the stomach extends.

As the breath is expelled, the diaphragm relaxes, and the abdomen flattens. It is believed that such deep breathing oxygenates the blood, which triggers the release of endorphins which, in turn, helps to decrease pain.

Research suggests that regular practice will maximize a person's ability to elicit the Relaxation Response as needed to cope with pain. Using an app such as "Calm" or "Insight Timer" to guide deep breathing exercises can make daily practice an enjoyable self-care activity. Minimizing distractions and making the environment comfortable also enhances the experience.
In addition to a regular practice, it can also be helpful to have reminders to take a breath throughout the day. Taking a moment during the day to focus on breathing can provide a small break from the stress of the day, which can help decrease pain and prevent it from building. It also keeps the focus on the present moment, instead of on the worries of the past or future.
The Center for Mindful Living is a space for healing that hosts independent practitioners and educators coming together to create an Urban Sanctuary in the middle of the city.