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It’s early on a gray, cool morning at Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles, California, and people gather among the graves to do yoga. That is, Kundalini Yoga. A bit of hypnosis is also included.

This is what the organizers call “hypno-yoga”, and as unusual as it may sound, they are not the only ones to combine the millennial Indian practice with the therapeutic technique invented by Franz Mesmer in the 18th century. Many hypno-yoga teachers can be found nationwide and online.

Monique and Ellen Heuer, however, are the only ones offering hypno-yoga for Hollywood Forever. All donations are welcome with all net profits going to charity

This morning’s arrivals consisted of sweatshirts, sports pants and people wearing tarps or yoga mats. Reymond greets them with a song that might be a bit too much on the nose for a cemetery: “Ashes to Ashes” by David Bowie. This being LA, the students – all adults, mostly women, young and old – continue to roam well after the start of the 75-minute class, ultimately bringing the total to almost 30.

The sessions take place weekly on the Fairbanks Lawn, which you might mistake for an upscale park without the towering grave of famous actors Douglas Fairbanks and his son, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., at the south end.

On the west side you will find mausoleums or abstract stone sculptures. The east wall of the two-story stone wall borders the east. Upon closer inspection, you will find that the wall is actually made up of tombs, many of which are still waiting to be occupied.

Although Hollywood Forever is her first graveyard, Heuer has been a trained hypnotherapist for 30 years – she has registered a trademark on the term “hypno-yoga”.

“The reason I mixed Kundalini yoga with hypnosis is that when you do this expanded breathing work, you change your brain wave patterns to an alpha state, which mimics a mild hypnotic state,” a- she explained in an interview. Even though it was light, “you are more receptive to the comments I give”.

What is all this? Help people cope with the stress and anxiety that comes with their busy lifestyles.

The majority of the participants laid their rugs on the rectangular reflecting pool that runs from the grave in Fairbanks to the Stone Patio where Reymond is seated. Many more stretched out along the stone wall under messages to their beloved brothers, sisters and fathers. One example is the inscription of James Bernard Hollander on his grave. He was a cinephile and film editor who died at the age of 73 in 2019. He describes him as “having …” “a humor and a wit that cannot be contained”. A nearby grave can be found. “Goddess Robin Victoria Gallagher,” who, 65, left this planet on April 16, 2020. “Deal with it. “

Even if you are doing yoga with your eyes closed, there is no mistaking the main purpose of the field. To get to Fairbanks Lawn, you will have to endure acres of heartache. The Fairbanks Lawn is an extravagant graveyard. It is a place where celebrities can show off their fame and wealth. But you see dead people. Oder, we could call them tributes. They are many.

This does not mean that the procedures are bad. Reymond began teaching yoga on Fairbanks Lawn in part because of the increased risk of falling ill from the pandemic. She was also a good friend of Tyler Cassity (president of Hollywood Forever who practices yoga) who turned the cemetery into an event space. People visit the cemetery to attend concerts, movies, festivals and on Monday evenings for Buddhist meditations.

Yet Reymond and Heuer – and many students – also argue that there is something appropriate about giving hypno-yoga classes among the dead.

“It’s not a haunted space,” says Beau Hoffman, a regular in the class. “It’s a relaxing space. “

Jennifer Drake, a student from Los Angeles, said the location was scary for some. She’s not so sure. “It’s a really, really peaceful place,” Drake adds, “I feel like it’s a connection with everything.”

Stefanie Carimati from Los Angeles came to the session with her friend Viorica Baln from Manhattan Beach and Toto, a small dog named after Dorothy’s companion in “The Wizard of Oz”. In another reminder that we are in Hollywood, on the other side of the stone wall is a memorial to the cairn terrier who played Toto in the movie.

Carimati loves hypnoyoga. She says it helps you. “Connect with yourself and work.” Baln gave Hollywood Forever an enthusiastic boost. “It is more powerful to be connected with the mind and the spirits.”

Hypnosis and yoga are not for everyone. This combination requires flexibility of mind and body, as well as a knack for removing distractions from the world. But these sessions are not exclusive. Reymond guides the students through each movement of each exercise. “Kriya”), explains the meaning of each mantra and suggests alternative poses for people who cannot quite adapt to the ones she takes.

The class begins with Reymond thanking Cassity for absent and saying that the day’s donations would go to Del Gato Rescue, a charity for abandoned and feral cats. The themes of the day are also tackled by Reymond: the good and the bad can mix and you have to be open-minded, questionable and flexible.

Kundalini Yoga is a great example of how good and bad can coexist. Yogi Bhajan is the charismatic ex-Indian customs inspector who brought the practice to the United States. He turned his yoga studio in Los Angeles into an incredibly prosperous empire. In 2004, his suicide was confirmed and he was charged with sexual abuse of several victims.

After a short singing session, students kneel on their hands for a back flexion. “cow cat” Kriya. The music, meanwhile, switches to Lady Gaga’s country-pop crooner “Million Reasons”.

Reymond helps the students move between the kriyas. “In this position,” she said once, “say a silent prayer – to yourself, to yourself future, to yourself past, to yourself present. … Take a moment and be grateful for every lesson you have had the privilege of learning.

Students will be directed to the cross-legged exercise after being instructed. “Easy pose,” Reymond pulls them into a lower back stretching maneuver, saying, “It helps digestion.” Digestion is not only about digesting food, it is also about digesting emotions.

Students follow instructions, usually with their eyes closed. With the exception of the occasional traffic noise and music from the soundtrack, there are no sounds other than the occasional explosions of local waterfowl or the shutter clicks of a visiting photographer. And when the students move, the sight is like the wind blowing through a grove of trees – their bodies are not perfectly in sync, but they are all being pushed by the same force.

After half an hour of kriyas, it’s time for meditation. Reymond encourages them to sit with his feet below his knees. Reymond then leads them through three different sitting postures. “the lunar center in the middle of the chin” And take deep, slow breaths.

“Get in touch with the idea of ​​your breath,” she said, “and imagine blessing yourself with that hand above the crown, and I bet no one can bless you more effectively than you. “

Kundalini yoga classes end with Kundalini yoga students lying on their stomachs. “Savasana”, Or the “corpse pose”, They can continue their meditation on their own. Heuer will now guide them through some hypnotherapy.

“Don’t worry,” Reymond assures the class. “You’re not going to jump in the pool.”

She was alluding to the idea that hypnosis is a magician’s stage trick, where volunteers are put into a trance and then made to strut like chickens until they are brought back to reality by snapping their fingers. . Katherine Zimmerman of Chula Vista is a clinical hypnotherapist. She later resisted this notion and described hypnosis as a normal and natural state. (* () “We go through hypnosis by falling asleep and waking up every day, twice a day.” Heuer speaks to students as the soundtrack changes from pop to a slow and mystical Indian track – the kind of thing that screams

Heuer said. Heuer adds: “yoga music”.

“Demystified hypnosis is just about changing the patterns of your brain waves so that they slow down and you are more receptive to positive changes, and accessing the imagination, which is the window to your subconscious,” says Heuer. get rid of negative emotions in order to heal. “Is the area we want to influence. So listen to my voice. … Let yourself be immersed in this state of total relaxation.

Heuer and Reymond started offering hypno-yoga sessions last year, initially teaching Zoom from Reymond’s Los Angeles apartment. In September 2020, they moved to Hollywood Forever. “So, for the next 15 minutes, I’m going to ask you to suspend your disbelief and use the power of your imagination to redirect those thoughts, emotions, and attitudes.”

With a lawn of students stretched out in front of her, Heuer takes on the role of a tour guide on a whimsical, detailed and cinematic virtual journey.

“She said softly, carefully wrapping her sentences.”

“Let’s start by visualizing yourself floating in a warm pool of pristine light,” Heuer directs students to virtual companions for the rest of their travels. “Smell the air and notice your favorite scent – jasmine, rose or night-blooming pine, lavender, eucalyptus – then notice the color of the sky, the texture of the clouds and smell a gentle breeze. Continue to float in this pool of gentle and peaceful waves that bring you down this river of light.

A horse or elephant that listens to their heartbeat will be more comfortable. “Being of cosmic light, guardian angel or spiritual master”, Heuer ends the hypnotherapy session by giving his suggestions to the students. You will find seven positive affirmations, among which

And “My subconscious powerfully supports my immune system. I am strong, healthy and full of vitality ”, Reymond then leads the last round of lying down. “Every time I drink a glass of water I am reminded of my connection to a higher source and I will experience healing and transformation on all levels.”

Chants “Sat Nam” in Reymond’s translation) to pray for some members of the community. “Truth is my essence” The students then roll up their mats or tarpaulins and leave the cemetery. Perhaps with a lighter step than before, they return home to the real world.

Google news source * www.yoursun.com – *

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