My heart broke open a bit this weekend....I made my almost annual trek to the Toronto Yoga Conference...this is always such a big treat for me....time to immerse myself in my life force....
I went to Yoga this morning. It feels weird to say that since I practice every single day, but this morning there was a feeling of "newness" to it. I don't usually have a 6AM time-slot open to practice on a Friday morning because my schedule, up until last week, had me teaching at that time. But life has a way of offering up what is required right at the perfect time.
Big changes are heading my way. A new job for my guy, the selling of my beloved home, a move to another province & the letting go of the daily interactions with Friends I hold close to my heart. Saying goodbye to Students who have taught me so much more than they can imagine. There's a tightness in my throat when I think about this. My teeth clench & my shoulders round in toward my heart as if to protect it.
So, I went to Yoga this morning. I needed the energy of the room. That generously offered sound of the group's ujjayi breath brought me strength & a quiet calm. It reminded me that there is solace in a shared practice. It reminded me why I come to my mat every day. It reminded me that you can not be a Teacher unless you are a Student.
As I move along the next part of my journey there will be challenges & struggles I am sure. There's something about all this change that makes me feel like that 9 year old girl who walked into the Grade 4 class; the new kid. The tallest girl in the class with the homemade dress, matching kerchief & mismatched socks. As the years pass by & I grow older, these feelings don't change. They are still there deep down. But now I have my mat. That place where I know how to be truly open to what my body & mind is telling me it needs. That place where all is safe, all is forgiving, all is true & all is available for the taking.
So, that's why I went to Yoga this morning. I went to rediscover my Mojo & to borrow from those around me. And as always, they gave me what I needed without asking anything in return.
Namaste my Friends,
Week 1 under my belt....
My body is feeling deliciously sore from all the Chaturanga Dandasanas & Utkatasanas I've done this week. You know what I'm talking about! That sweet ache that reminds you that you've worked hard. I feel great! Really, I do...I took my first warm Yoga class...& I have to say I was surprised at how much I loved it. I don't know that I'd want it any hotter, but I felt very loosey goosey in the class....
Although I felt great about my practice, at times this week I felt frustrated & quite impatient. Just like many of you, I'm a lot of the time looking for the "quick fix"...the instant result even though I know in my head that I'm not going to wake up in the morning & be magically transformed. Wouldn't it be nice if it worked that way though? :) This is going take some work.
I taught my classes this week with a feeling of freedom & openness; a sense of joy; a sense of calm groundedness. I felt very centred & like I belonged...I really have no idea if this description translates well to you, but it's the only way I can think of to describe how I felt. This became most evident to me tonight while I shared a Nidra practice with a small group of beautiful souls. Although I was quite aware of my students & paid attention to them throughout the whole practice, I also experienced a very deep sense of "right". I just knew that I was in the right place at the right time. It all just fit.
I'm noticing a disconnect between the physical part of the challenge & the other parts. I'm loving the movement of my practice. When I close my eyes & I move through my asana I feel beautiful. As soon as I float back into a Peaceful Warrior I find a glimmer of bliss. But when I try to hop forward from Adho Mukha Svanasana to Uttanasana my feet catch on my mat & I just can't get there...I see it in my mind...I see myself gracefully floating up & forward...but then BAM! I stumble over my own feet. As soon as that happens I automatically lose the nexus of my practice. Perhaps I'm too much in my head?
How do I fix this? I'm not talking about the "float forward".....I'm talking about disconnect....
Namaste my friends...
Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu
So here I am at Day 1 of my self-imposed 90 Days of Summer Challenge!
I spent some time this morning meditating in my studio. Even though I meditate every day, today's Meditation somehow felt different; I approached it with a hightened feeling of excitement. Usually when I come to my meditation cushion it's with a feeling of calm and sometimes relief. Perhaps it's the excitement of starting a new challenge for myself that is making the difference.... in the end I guess it doesn't really matter what the reason is, what matters is that I'm here.
I'm planning on a juicy Yin practice later this afternoon...lots & lots of Dragons are in my future. I'm sensing that I have some stuff to let go of & what better way then to get down onto the floor in some long held Dragon Flying Low & Winged Dragons! I'm using this week's Yin practices as my planning sessions for my upcoming Wild Dragon Yin/Yoga Nidra workshop...
I'm also going to dip my toe into the not too hot, but warm Yoga classes offered by a new boutique-style studio that is just opening close to my town...in the past I've shied away from any class held in a room that wasn't room temperature (seriously, I can break a sweat lifting my water bottle to my mouth! Do I really need to be moving through a bunch of poses in a warmer than warm room?) but I'm feeling renewed & "motivated to start fresh" (I knew that statement would come back to bite me in the ass!), so why not try something new?
I haven't taken pen to paper just yet, but will be visiting my personal journal after my Yin practice...I wonder what revelations will be shared!
Namaste my friends
Man often becomes what he believes himself to be. If I keep on saying to myself that I cannot do a certain thing, it is possible that I may end by really
I LOVE Spring. I like Summer. I like Fall. I DESPISE Winter with a passion that rivals my hatred of brussels sprouts.
Those first warm sunny days of Spring; you know the ones. Those days that feel so hot even though they're really not. They just feel almost unbearable because we've just survived the dark at 4:30 PM sub-zero temperatures of a Canadian winter during which we had to bundle up in boots, puffy coats, hats, mitts & scarves. Going to work in the dark morning & having to scrape the snow & frost off the windshield. Warming up the car before you can pull out of the driveway (that hopefully doesn't need to be shovelled). Leaving work in the dark late afternoon & having to scrape the snow & frost off the windshield. Warming up the car before you can pull out of the parking lot (that hopefully doesn't need to be plowed). There is no better feeling than those first beautiful Spring days.
I feel restored, renewed & revived when Spring arrives. I feel a physical shift in my mood. The weight lifts off my shoulders & the smile on my face becomes authentic as it finally starts its Spring journey to brighten my eyes. I'm excited & perhaps even relieved that I've made it through the Dark Days.
I feel motivated to start fresh & renew commitments to goals that have been place on hold or maybe have just been ignored over the last 4 or 5 months.
So it's time for a brand-spankin'-new goal. It's the 90 Days of Summer Challenge. I want to enjoy my Summer but at the same time I want to ensure that I don't allow my Yoga & Meditation practice to fall by the wayside. I want to make sure my Students continue to get my A-game when they come to class. I want to allow this beautiful time of year to fuel my creativity.
Here's the 90 Days of Summer Transformation Plan....
Starting on June 1st & running until August 31st.....
1. Practice Yoga every day (okay this one is pretty easy since I already do!)
2. Meditate every day (already do this too!)
3. Eat responsibly at every meal
4. Journal every day
5. Blog about my progress once a week
Wanna join me? I'd love the company!
Namaste my friends,
My Teacher & friend Downward Dog DVM shares the beauty of our local Yoga Community....
Handstand...oh Handstand....so I 've been practicing my L @ the Wall for the last 7 days....a year or so ago I participated in an L @ the Wall challenge & got pretty darned good at it (if I do say so myself!). In excess of 3 minutes was where I was at when I....okay, I got lazy & bored and perhaps a little to attached to the outcome...because the end result wasn't presenting itself I walked away...
So here I am again...determined to practice, practice, practice...this is what the accomplishment looks like so far:
So I'm off to practice with my Primary Teacher tonight & then to teach a yummy, yummy Yin class to some beautiful souls....
My goodness life is good!
Namaste my Friends!
P.S. No, the pic is not me! Stay tuned for one of me in just that pose very soon....perhaps on a beach in Aruba....just sayin'
February 1st....the beginning of a new month...the beginning of my year....I know, I know; February is not the beginning of the year. But it's the beginning of my year. January doesn't do it for me. I'm still unwinding from the festivities of December & making plans & setting goals for the new year. I don't like to be rushed. I need the whole month.
A number of the studios where I practice are having February Challenges; things like 28 classes in 28 days or 28 days of meditation or 28 days of eating a vegetarian diet. I enjoy challenges, but my work & teaching schedule just doesn't allow for the 28 studio classes in 28 days & I already meditate every single day so it's not really honest of me to participate in a challenge...so, I've decided to make my own challenge.
I've been struggling with Tapas lately. I am usually quite disciplined with my asana practice but quite honestly when I get busy with my teaching or I've just had a long day, it's the 1st thing that goes out the window....I know it shouldn't, but it does...I have great intentions, then all of a sudden it's 9:30 PM & all I want to do is crawl into bed...Sigh....
In my heart I believe that to be an effective teacher you need a strong personal practice....it bothers me when a couple of days pass without standing on my mat...I have feelings of guilt & the need to "make it up". I don't want to have that experience anymore...and that's when the lightbulb went on...
More than a few times my students have talked to me about starting a home practice. They are concerned about not being able to practice every day...my advice to them is that their home practice should be focused more on quality as opposed to quantity. If they realistically can fit 3 practices a week into their schedule & they stick to this each week, then they have a regular practice.
So for the month of February I've decided to practice what I preach & come back to the basics. My goal for a long time now has been to work on my Adho Mukha Vrksasana...so this is what I will do for the month of February. I will start with L @ the Wall (or @ the tree!)....I'll practice it every day...I will keep track of my progress every day....perhaps, if I feel ready, I'll start practicing my kick up...who knows? Maybe February will be the month I nail this pose? Or maybe it will be March or April or May or June or....
Namaste my Friends
Well let's see...I'm doing okay with the veggie thing...I think the trick is not thinking too much about it during the day...at least I was doing okay until dinner last night when my main man looked at the yummy veggie stir-fry over brown rice I'd whipped up & turned a quizical eye in my direction while asking "what, no meat?"....Ah well...Yah, I know it's only been 2 days but those of you who know me well can certainly atest to what an accomplishment that is for me! The candle's still burning!
So, today I've been thinking about smiling. I've been closing my Yoga classes lately by asking my students to bring a smile into their hearts, take it with them & share it with someone they encounter during their day who needs it. Such a simple & easy gift to give; it's free & yet could be worth more than anything when offered to the right person. What I'm talking about here is a REAL smile...not one of those quick smirks that doesn't move from the lips...a true blue smile. One that shines out from your whole face & gives you that tingling feeling inside...puts me in mind of a quote from Paramahansa Yogananda....
"Let my soul smile through my heart & my heart smile through my eyes, that I may scatter rich smiles in sad hearts"
I know how wonderful I feel when someone smiles at me & really means it. I feel a warming in my heart & I feel wanted & important. All of this from one smile. I brings me peace & when I am the person giving the smile, without expecting anything in return, I know I am bringing that same sense of peace to the receiver.
Make it a part of your practice today to share a sincere smile with everyone you meet. This simple act of peace could change someone's life. Don't forget to look in the mirror & offer this same kindness to yourself as well!
Namaste My Friends,
I've been studying the teachings of Lama Marut over the last 6 months...I am struck to the bone by his ability to succinctly deliver in words exactly what I am both feeling in my heart & striving for in my daily practice.
The first time I experienced his teachings he offered us
The Contentment Mantra....
Om, I have enough, ah hum
When I first heard this, I like many in the room, smiled & perhaps even snickered a bit...there were quite a few nods of the head in the room as well...yah, yah...we all know we have enough...
What I'm learning is that there is quite a difference between knowing I have enough & actually living that way. I think we are greedy by nature. Especially those of us who have never truly wanted for the basic necessities of life.
I mostly live my life believing that I am happy & content....and then I shop....as a weaver I am a wool & fibre junkie. There isn't a wool store or a craft event that I don't visit & shop at. And I look so much better riding my beloved Harley when I'm wearing 1 of the 45 Harley t-shirts I own....I can justify a shopping day with such ease....I "deserve" it!
But do I need it? No. No I don't. I have enough. I have more than enough.
So I will continue to meditate on Santosha. I will repeat the Contentment Mantra until I truly believe it; until I believe it in my heart. And then perhaps true Contentment will reveal itself to me.
Namaste my Friends!