Healing Bridges, Inc.



Yoga is, in addition to being a strength/balance/flexibility/relation practice, also a meditative practice.  It is designed to relax the body and calm the mind. Thank you for honoring the spirit of yoga.  In order to enhance your yoga experience and that of all students, please observe the following guidelines. 

  1. Please make every effort to be on-time and even a little early. This will help settle the mind and transition from the hectic demands outside to the quiet focus inside.  Turn cell phone to silent, or better yet, leave it in the car.  Remember, we all deserve an hour to ourselves.
  2. If you are delayed and need to enter after class has started, please do so quietly. Be aware of jingling keys and loud footsteps and when unrolling your mat be considerate of those around you.    
  3. Please be aware of the placement of your water bottle, blocks, etc. so they are not accidentally knocked over.
  4. If you need to leave class early, please exit quietly before the closing relaxation period has begun.
  5. If possible, please bring your own yoga mat, blocks, straps.  Sometimes there is not enough equipment for everyone and it is more sanitary to have your own.
  6. Invite friends and family and share a copy of this with them ahead of time so they may participate in a meaningful way.
  7. Go at your own pace, rest when you need to and never take any pose past the point of gentle tension. Listen to your body and go gently beyond your comfort zone when you feel strong and take it easy when you are challenged. Breathe.
  8. Feel free to bring a blanket for extra warmth during the relaxation period when the body tends to cool down.  This may also serve as extra padding during class.
  9. Questions and comments are always welcome after class.
  10. Remember consistency is the key so the more you practice, the deeper your practice becomes.

We are proud and honored to be your yoga instructors and deeply appreciate your participation in our classes.  Many thanks.


                                                                                    Linda Ciotola

Back to Top

Cultivate personal peace one breath, one asana at a time


TIME:  1:00pm-3:00pm
PLACE:  GoGo Guru  8289 Main Street, Ellicott City, MD 21043
Cost:  $25 at the door ($20 in advance)
To Register fo to: http://www.gogoguru.net/yoga-studio-workshops.php

We’ve heard and seen thousands of messages about what a “good” body is supposed to look like; now, experience ways to re-claim your body from inside out to promote health, happiness and make peace with the body.  Drawing from her experience as a Yoga Instructor, personal trainer and Psychodramatist, Linda will lead the group in an experiential workshop that includes poetry, action methods, Yoga and meditation practice to re-pattern thinking about beauty, taking up space, having presence, and being at ease with the miraculous mind-body continuum that is our Selves.

Linda is the co-author of the 2013 book Healing Eating Disorders with Psychodrama and Other Action Methods:  Beyond the Silence and the Fury (Jessica Kingsley Press), which is for sale at the boutique, and Linda will have a few copies on hand for signing.

Back to Top


Back to Top

Welcome to Hatha Yoga~

A Mindbody Practice Yoga is a mindbody practice of physical exercise with an inwardly directed contemplative focus (IDEA Mind-body Fitness Committee 1990 -2001). The key is combining muscular activity with “nonjudgmental mindfulness”. Hatha Yoga is a centuries old, Eastern discipline that means “union”, referring to integration of mind, body, and spirit. The discipline of Hatha Yoga includes a wide variety of physical postures called asanas, which are performed seated, standing, or while lying prone or supine.

~Styles of Hatha Yoga There are several styles of Hatha Yoga, ranging from “power yoga” called Astranga RestorativeYoga; which uses pillows, blankets, and other props to promote deep relaxation. Some other styles include Iyengar, which emphasizes precise alignment; Kripalu, which is taught in three stages: postures and breath, mental concentration, and moving meditation; Bikram Yoga, which teaches vigorous 90 minute classes in a 26-pose series in a studio heated to 90°-105°; Kundalini Yoga, which combines poses, breathing, chanting and meditation; and Vini yoga, which integrates breath and movement of the spine (often taught one-to-one).

~ My philosophy and teaching style: My classes focus upon: 1) breath (breathe in thru the nose and out thru the nose, slowly and deeply: this tells the parasympathetic nervous system that it is ok to calm down); 2) linking breath with movment and performing the asana in “good enough” alignment to reduce risk of injury (i.e. as precisely as possible for your body in the moment); 3) emphasis on non-judgmental attitude and “be here now”; 4) cueing is done in levels so you may choose what works best for your body in the moment; 5) alternative asanas or variations are given as needed; 6) class design borrows from several Hatha Yoga styles so you gain strength, flexibility, balance, and relaxation, eventually enabling the mind to quiet and still; 7) an emphasis on listening to your body and tuning in to its subtle cues which will enable you to progress safely at your own pace (never go past the point of gentle tension and never hold your breath. Remember, discomfort or pain means “stop”); 8) music is selected to enhance the “moving meditation” flow of class and enhance enjoyment and relaxation; 9) individual instruction can be arranged if you’d like to deepen your practice.

Indications and Research-supported Benefits
of Hatha Yoga

Cardiorespiratory Benefits

  • Decreased resting systolic blood pressure
  • Increased pulmonary function
  • Improved respiratory function in patients with asthma
  • Increased parasympathetic tone, increased heat rate variability
  • Decreased blood lactate and resting oxygen consumption
  • Enhanced arterial endothelial function
  • Improved cardiovascular disease risk factor profile (e.g. reduced blood lipids)

Musculoskeletal Benefits

  • Increased muscular strength and flexibility
  • Increased neuromuscular balance
  • Improved posture
  • Decreased fracture risk and falls in seniors

Psychophysiological Benefits

  • Increased cognitive performance
  • Improved relaxation and psychological well-being
  • Decreased stress hormones (e.g., norepinephrine, cortisol)
  • Decreased anxiety and depression scores
  • Reduction in frequency of panic episodes
  • Reduced physiological and psychological response to threat or stress
  • Decreased symptoms associated with pain, angina, asthma, chronic fatigue
  • Improved sleep qualityOther Outcomes/Benefits
  • Increased physical functioning in older persons
  • Improved glucose tolerance
  • Decreased HbA1c (glycated hemoglobin) and C-peptide levels in type 2 diabetes
  • Decreased obsessive-compulsive disorder symptoms
  • Decreased osteoarthritis symptoms
  • Decreased carpal tunnel symptoms

(La Forge, 2003; Khasla 2004, Qigong Database).

Back to Top

Meditation, Mood and Movement
By Linda A. Ciotola, M.Ed., CHES (ret.),TEP
The ancient practice of meditation is making news! The use of modern brain imaging technology shows that an individual’s brain has a natural "set point" for good and bad moods, with greater activity on the left front side of the brain associated with "happy - calm". Greater activity on the right side is associated with stress, anxiety, and worry. Research published in the July/August issue of Psychosomatic Medicine suggests that regular meditation (1 hr./day, 6 days a week) can positively shift the emotional set point and enhance immunity as well. Most students new to meditation have difficulty sitting still for more than 5 minutes, so you may want to start with a physical activity that prepares the mind and body for quiet stillness such as yoga or Tai Chi. Beginning meditation classes can be found at hospitals, community centers, and yoga centers. You may also decide to work with a meditation teacher individually to deepen your practice.

This research about the brain’s right/left activity - mood patterns is particularly intriguing in light of brain research on the effects of trauma, which shows the trauma material residing in the right brain (Limbic system) being disconnected from the meaning-making-accurate labeling left frontal cortex.

Therapeutic interventions such as EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing) and psychodrama (particularly the Therapeutic Spiral Model™) have proven to be effective means of healing the neurobiology of trauma. This new research on the effects of meditation on mood promises to be an important addition to the treatment of trauma survivors, (as well as meditation’s proven benefits in regulating blood pressure and mood.)

In summary, the mindbodyspirit connection is being documented by good science and leading the way to integrated medicine and true holistic healing. For more information about resources for learning meditation, yoga, Tai Chi, or about EMDR and/or the Therapeutic Spiral Model™, please contact us here at The Healing Bridges, Inc.: (410) 827-8324. Begin your meditation with slow, deep breathing and welcome the peace within. NAMASTE´.
Copyright Pending 2004

Back to Top

Welcome to Pilates
Pilates is a mindbody practice of physical exercise with an inwardly directed contemplative focus (IDEA Mind-body Fitness Committed 1997-2001).  Early in the 20th century, German immigrant Joseph Pilates developed this system of exercise in an attempt to rehabilitate soldiers returning from the first World War.  By mid-century, it had gained popularity among dancers and athletes, not only in aiding recovery from injuries, but for the development of flexible strength and    improved posture without bulk.  The slow, controlled, distinct Pilates movements, which are coordinated with the breath, demand concentrated internal focus.

Like yoga, Pilates requires synchronizing the breath with the movement.  However, unlike yoga’s deep abdominal breathing, in Pilates, the breath is thoracic with the inhalation through the nose and the exhalation through the mouth—as if fogging up a mirror.  The exercises may be performed either on a mat or standing (like the ones often used in ballet barre warm-up), or on Pilates equipment like the Reformer, the Cadillac, and the Wunda Chair.  A variety of props may be used such as physioballs, medicine balls, bands, or the “magic circle”.

Pilates exercises focus on “the core” including all the abdominal muscles,  especially the transverses abdominus which is often neglected by more traditional abdominal exercises like crunches.  In fact, new research published through Auburn University’s department of exercise showed three basic Pilates moves required 25% higher activation of ab muscles than crunches.  Joe Pilates called abs the “girdle of strength” because they wrap around the torso.  He called the combination of these muscles including muscles of the back, buttocks and hips, “the powerhouse”.  He labeled his system “contrology” saying, “You don’t build a brick house on sticks”.

The focus during Pilates is on precise, controlled form coordinated with breath.  Regardless of which exercise is being performed, mastering “the scoop” is key:  while maintaining a neutral spine, inhale and expand the ribs outward, then, during the exhale, flatten the lower belly by pulling the navel toward the spine and upward towards the rib cage.  Joe Pilates taught that 5 - 6 perfectly performed  repetitions were all that were needed to create the desired effect.  The body is trained to work more efficiently, emphasizing quality over quantity.

Like any form of exercise, there is risk.  Be sure to let your instructor know immediately if you feel any pain.  After you have mastered the basics, you can increase the intensity of the workout by performing more challenging variations of the exercises and/or by adding the use of balls, bands, etc.

  If you have any questions or need additional help, please notify your instructor: 

Contact Linda about her Yoga and other classes at (410) 827-8324 or linda.healingbridges@gmail.com

Back to Top


  • Join Linda for private or semi-private yoga lessons at Gogo Guru , Ellicott City, Md. with optional Reiki session  for deep relaxation .
  • Join Linda at Club One, Chester ,Md. Mondays at 5p.m. and Fridays at 10:45 a.m.for Hatha Yoga
  • Check out Island Athletic. Join Linda Tues/Thurs morning at 8:30 for Hatha Yoga - Grasonville , Md. - Check schedule for Linda's Saturday Yoga and Dance classes. Ph: 410 827 5527
  • NEW!   At Island Athletic
    Barre / Pilates


    Join Linda C. for a beautifully balanced workout of flexible strength, balance, muscle tone and definition for the entire body.

Back to Top

© Copyright 2013 Healing Bridges, Inc. All rights reserved.