Thursday, 24 April 2014

My obsession, my inspiration.

If you've been coming to my yoga classes recently I've been inspired, ok kind of obsessed with Brene Brown. Brene is a research professor at the University of Houston and has spent the last 10 years researching vulnerability, courage, shame and authenticity. She's also a wife, mother, author and a hilarious speaker, who's teamed up with some incredible people worldwide, including Oprah (my fav.)

So instead of me translating some of her work and sharing with you how it relates to me (and yoga of course), I want to share the TED talk that sparks my curiosity for this remarkable woman and her life changing work. Trust me, this is a worthy 20 mins, even if you've seen this before, watch it again.

With you on this path,

Thursday, 17 April 2014

yoga shmoga

There are some days that I really do not like yoga. Seriously, I really don’t like it. Yoga in my life makes it difficult. It requires me to show up each day and stand in my truth. It makes me carve out time to get on my mat to sit, breath and move. Time!  That thing we all run out of each day. And it screams at me in the back of my head all day until I get to it and if I can’t get to it, I go to bed upset and sometimes feeling defeated.

It requires me to practice things like asteya or non-stealing. Which may sound easy, but if I show up even a minute late to meet a friend for tea I have stolen a minute from them. Or if I am cranky to my husband, I have stolen his energy. I mean, really, yoga can be a tough practice.

But it is also in these difficulties that I build strength, that I find connection with myself and those around me. It is those times when I really don’t want to get on my mat that when I do, I learn the most. It takes dedication and it takes a lot of patience. When I practice, I find that things around me make sense. It helps me listen to my intuition and guides my energy and the more I practice, the more I feel all the amazing things that this thing called yoga offers.

Yoga is a life long practice and yes, some days it takes so much more effort than others. Like many things in life, it takes hard work but often the things that are most difficult are also the most rewarding. So the next time you struggle with rolling out your mat or showing up fully in your day, take a moment to remember the times that you do show up and how awesome it feels and enjoy the process however it may be. As hard as it may sometimes be, it is a path that I could not imagine, not being on.

With you on this path of yoga,

This was my favorite day of yoga ever! My family joining me for a class with Seane Corn. Pure bliss practicing with these three yogis. Love.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Proud to be a family of 3

My husband and I decided to only have 1 child. We're very happy with this decision and our little girl (Stella) is well adjusted, a social butterfly and seems to enjoy all the aspects of her single child life.

An interesting part of choosing to only have 1 child is the social stigma that comes with it. We get comments all the time, from friends to complete strangers (they seem to be the most opinionated), saying; "Oh that's so sad, she will be so lonely!"
"An only child is a spoiled child."
"That's so selfish of you, to not give her a sibling."
"You'll regret it 10 yrs from now".

Ouch! Yes, it hurts my feelings. These comments upset me and generally spark self-doubt and fear within me, feeding my Ego of course.

Where do these social stigmas come from? Why do we feel compelled to place particular "shoulds" on individuals/communities/cultures? What about respecting what's right for each person and celebrating the conscious choices people make vs guilting or shaming people into choosing differently.

I've observed many times the social misconceptions that happen in Yoga. Especially in the Yoga teacher training world. Many students come to me expressing their desire to take a Yoga teacher training, yet fear their personal practice isn't as "good" as it "should" be.

A good friend of mine, an incredibly talented woman, who has been teaching yoga for over a decade now and is one of the best in Vancouver, has shared her initial thought in regards to her first teacher training, as she didn't think she could teach yoga because she "couldn't balance in headstand". Who said you have to balance in headstand to be a good yoga teacher? Who said your asana (posture) practice had to be at a certain level to be seen as a skill full and valuable teacher? I'm sure glad she didn't let that stop her from embarking on what was a life changing experience.

I've also had many students over the years express their disappointment when they can't achieve specific depth in a particular posture, yet they have been committed to the practice for a certain amount of time. Just because they have been practicing yoga for a months/years doesn't mean they "should" be able to touch their toes or balance on their hands. It's definitely a possibility but there are many factors that come into play when approaching our complex bodies in a complex pose.

It's the unnecessary pressure that we put on ourselves and each other that are limiting us from truly experiencing the joys of the practice or the gifts of conscious Self directed choices. I applaud my daughter when she's given her choices at a restaurant, makes a conscious choice as to what she wants to eat and tells the waitress her decision. Whether she enjoys the food or not, she has made a choice that's right for her at that time and she's open to whatever experience happens from that. It felt right for her. Let's celebrate that. Let's honour each individual as they are and encourage Self inquiry into how we want to feel, how we want to live and experience life, and then from those answers, choose consciously our path from there.

Next time you're at yoga, may you let go of the "shoulds" that your Ego or external community expresses to you and instead listen to your Self. Yes, your big "S" Self, the voice between the inner conversations and choose what's right for you in that moment. No regrets. No doubting. Just enthusiasm and love for the decisions you make, knowing there will be many more to come that will shape and direct your days along the winding path of life.

Proud to be a family of 3.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

This is yoga.

As a yoga teacher I find I am often walking a thin line of when I may or may not invite spirituality into my classes. I tend to shy away from voicing too much of my own personal beliefs or saying the word God. I am even careful on what music I play in particular classes.

The truth is, yoga is a spiritual practice. The more you do asana the more you may find this path if you weren’t on it already. It asks us to dig deep and question our actions, to find ease amongst effort, to breath in to the uncomfortable and to open ourselves up to the divine in ourselves and in each other. It teaches us truth, kindness, non-harming, to not steal, to be faithful and that we are all connected among many other lessons.

This is yoga.

Regardless of who or what you may call God, yoga includes us all. It is a physical practice and it is a spiritual practice and this should be embraced. I feel that it is so important to start today by recognizing the divine in each of us and in each other. I believe it would change the way we move through this life.

I feel that it doesn’t matter what word we use, the faith or religion we follow or if we don’t share the same ideas on God. But if we are capable of seeing the divinity in the world around us and seeing that we are all connected that we are all one we can lift each other up, we can bring peace and we can then celebrate. To me, this is yoga.

The divine light in me honours and bows to the divine light in you, we are one.