Monday, 26 September 2011

Restorative Yoga

Hi! I hope you've all had a lovely weekend. Here in Ottawa, the sun was shining, it was a glorious fall weekend. So grateful for warm sunny weather at the end of September! I want to soak it all in, while it's still around!

I've just begun a training course in Restorative Yoga, based on the work of Judith Lasater ( It was 17 hours this past weekend, and there will be two more weekends like it, to become certified. What a wonderful, entirely different perspective on yoga! Restorative Yoga focuses on using props, to allow people to fully experience the rest and deep relaxation that is available in yoga. It is a practice that, to me, is all about compassion, gentleness, and rest. There is no movement, no striving, no pushing deeper into poses. It is about rest, deep relaxation, and the breath.

 We live in a society that is all about moving. About going, planning, thinking, learning, acting. Our sympathetic nervous system (responsible for fight-or-flight responses) is always in action for this. Our parasympathetic nervous system, which allows us to deeply relax, rest, and heal, is often under-used, and begins to "forget" how to operate. Restorative Yoga brings people into restful postures, for long periods of time, and thus begins to activate that parasympathetic system. While this system is active, our bodies can reach that level of rest, where our bodies can heal themselves from whatever is ailing us. It's wonderful for anxiety, for depression, for burn-out, for recovery from surgery, for sleep-deprivation, for recovery from illness and disease.

Doesn't it look delicious and nurturing? I'm excited to learn more about it, and then begin to share it with the people in my life and my students. In the mean time, I will offer you this - find some pillows, get yourself cozy, breathe deeply, and allow yourself to rest!

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Sweet wishes for today

"May today there be peace within. May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others. May you use the gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content with yourself just the way you are. Let this knowledge settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love."  ~Mother Theresa

A friend sent this to me, and I wanted to share it with you all. Isn't it a lovely blessing? What rich, perfect reminders in here. May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be. Ahhh. On the mat, allowing yourself to be, in each pose, in each moment. Off the mat, knowing that what is happening right now, was meant to be. That there is no need to plan, figure it our, fix it - I am exactly where I am meant to be. That's beautiful and soothing to my soul.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others. It's true, it is amazing and endless, what we are capable of. Really, it is only limited by our imagination. So by having faith in myself, ANYTHING can happen! By having faith in others, ANYTHING can happen!

What beautiful thoughts. I hope this blessing speaks to you in whatever way you need it to today. If you feel like sharing what this meant to you, I'd love to hear your comments!!

Shanti. Peace.

Monday, 12 September 2011

a new season...

Fall is upon us. Though the sun is still strong, there is a different feeling in the air. Evenings are cooler. The leaves are beginning to change. and the hours of sunlight are decreasing. I've had such an amazing summer, and loved the sun so much, I feel a little sadness at the end of the summer season. However, as the seasons teach us, change is inevitable. Nature changes all the time. Our beautiful world depends on these changes, to survive. There are times of obvious growth, times of hot, slow lethargy, times of wet stormy days, times of cold where the earth seems to draw inward and hibernate. I have to confess, I am a big fan of the greenness and growth of springtime, and the heat and slowness of summer. It suits my personality a lot. But I do appreciate the importance of the other seasons. Fall brings with it the change of colours, the sunny days where I delight in walking and feeling the sun on my face still, the cool evenings where you just want to cuddle. It also reminds us that winter is coming, the time to slow down and insulate and take care of ourselves in a slow, cozy way.

As seasons change on our earth, seasons change in our lives as well. It seems that nothing stays as it is for long. Everything is temporary. Jobs change. Relationships change. People come into our lives, for a time and a purpose, and sometimes leave. Sometimes we change where we live. How we eat. How we sleep. Our friends change, our lovers change, we change. It is inevitable. So, rather than fighting change, we might as well embrace it. Cause it's gonna happen!! When we're in a season that feels wonderful to us, we can enjoy it, savour it, live each moment fully. And when the season changes, and things feel uncomfortable, slow, stagnant, or stormy, we can observe it, notice how we feel, embrace it and allow ourselves to be. Knowing, in all seasons, that everything is temporary, and things will shift and change soon enough.