Today was the first outdoor yoga class. We had perfect weather and a fantastic turnout. For me practicing outside gives a whole other sense of gratitude and grounding. There was a moment as I was teaching where I was entirely consumed by one tiny detail like the alignment of your big toe and all of a sudden I looked up. Does this place really exist? The sky was clear, the ocean was feeding our flow and the mountains gave a sense of humbling “one-ness”. There is another element to practicing outside that you just don’t experience indoors. Appreciation and gratitude for you surroundings. Surroundings being the environment, peers and community. I was so happy to see each and every student take time to come and practice for a cause higher than themselves (Strathcona community Center’s charity program). When we can learn to feel gratitude we learn that we have more to offer to the community at large. I am so inspired and honoured by everybody who made it out tonight and I’m looking forward to the classes to come! xo
Mondays & Thursdays from 5:30- 6:30 pm
This past weekend I went on a camping trip to Birkenhead Lake, by Pemberton BC. I had an interesting conversation with a woman who leads Kayaking trips and teaches yoga in Belize. She had mentioned that “yoga should not be focused on the physical postures”. This is a common thread among the teachings of yoga. Here are a few thoughts I had on the topic:
It is easy to become distrated with the physical postures which make up your asana practice. With the barrade of media displaying physically challenging and visually appealing postures, our ego can get the better of us. It is easy to become preoccupied with how something looks. If you are a veteran yogi you are probably already aware that yoga is more about the journey inward, becoming more self aware and therefore being able to live a sensitive and compassionate life. For me, the physical postures help me in this journey. To be physically challenged while allowing my breath to guide me through, I come to a place of inner balance and reflection. Finding the place between enjoying the challenge and being obsessive over the asanas is a place I try to reside. This allows me to have an explorative playful practice, while at the same time always pushing myself beyond my current physical capabilities. The postures are beautiful and make the most enchanting shapes and angles, don’t forget to appreciate the beauty while focusing on the journey. And of course, ultimately the practice is about the journey not the destination.
Often times we become intimidated or distracted by the word “meditation”. There’s a certain stigma with this word that can drive a person in the opposite direction. Do we have to be on our yoga mat to meditate? Do we have to be wearing lulu lemon? Do we have to have a specific protocol? The answer is no. Meditation is anything done with a heightened sense of awareness. Yes, sometimes a mantra or a certain pranayam (controlled breath) helps us to focus and be present, but often all we need is to slow down and become more aware. Awareness happens when we sit still, when we stop the “hamster on the wheel” in our brain. Finding this moment of higher awareness helps us to learn about our true nature and connect with ourselves, especially when we feel we are loosing sight of who we are. If you think meditation is too advanced for you, you are wrong. Meditation if for everybody. Whether this means doing the dishes with higher awareness, chanting the beautiful Gyatri Mantra, or sitting and controlling the breath. These are all forms of meditation to help YOU reconnect with YOU.
When you wake up in the morning sit for five minutes. Close you eyes and follow your thoughts. Let your mind do what it wants and just observe as a third party. Only five minutes and then continue with your morning routine. See how this affects your demeanor and your energy for the rest of your day.
Let me know how it goes.