I saw a great quote yesterday that said: “Sometimes it’s OK if the only thing you did today was breathe”.
A little breath awareness goes a long way….
Here’s a little video of a breathing exercise (Pranayama) called Anuloma Viloma or Alternate Nostril Breathing which is said to calm the mind and nervous system. This breath can feel very calming and grounding in the season ruled by the fire element, summertime!
Last week, in the Beyond the Mat program, we explored the theme “befriending your body”.
It’s always helpful to notice the parts of our body that we often pay attention to, where we tend to put all of our focus. Those parts that feel more present or louder somehow, like our hips, our shoulders, our back.
And it’s equally interesting to notice those parts of our body that we tend to ignore, not give as much attention to, take for granted somehow.
Our feet seem to be among of those neglected body parts.
What would happen if you took 5 minutes a day to give your feet some well deserved love?
My theory is that if my feet are happy, I stand more firmly on the ground, and when I stand more firmly on the ground, my posture improves, and when my posture improves, my hips and shoulders become much more quiet, and when my hips and shoulders are more quiet, I feel content and happy. All that from a little toe stretch.
But that’s just my theory…. You try it out! See what happens…
Midday Yoga & Meditation – 8 week Program
April 9th- May 31st
What would it be like if you gave your mind and body a little mid-day break everyday? How would you feel energetically, emotionally, & physically?
Come find out!
Join us for Tune-in and Tune-up: Mid-day Yoga and meditation program
The program consists of showing up 4 days a week, Monday to Thursday 12-12:45 for 8 weeks, for a simple meditation and Yoga practice.
The intention is to give you the opportunity to “tune-in” to your Self, through a simple guided breath awareness and meditation practice, and to “tune-up” you body, using simple spinal warm-up exercises.
Here’s an example of the simple guided meditation. Try it out at home! See what happens…
photo source: justloveyourself.blog.com, google images
When we change our daily lives-
the way we think, speak and act-
we change the world.
-Thich Nhat Hanh
What does your day to day life look like in this moment? How is it serving you? Take a moment to notice, then ask yourself : To what extent am I willing to create a life that serves me best?
What if you experienced a space where you could notice what serves you best without judgment, a space where you could befriend your body, let go of tension and stress and, to whatever extent is possible, create a brand new way of being with yourself? What would your life be like then?
Come find out!
This just might be a good time!….
Join us for Beyond the Mat: Building a Life practice
An opportunity to take what you learn on the Yoga mat into the ups and downs of your daily life.
Be part of this amazing new Phoenix Rising Inspired Yoga Therapy Program where not only will you experience the healing benefits of Yoga, but also be introduced to amazing health tools gathered from Holistic Nutrition, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Massage Therapy and more. Are you in? Click here to find out more.
Our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world…as in being able to remake ourselves.
~ Mahatma Gandhi
I decided long ago, never to walk in anyone’s shadows
If I fail, if I succeed
At least I live as I believe
No matter what they take from me
They can’t take away my dignity
Because the greatest love of all
Is happening to me
I found the greatest love of all
Inside of me
The greatest love of all
Is easy to achieve
Learning to love yourself
It is the greatest love of all
—R.I.P. Whitney Houston
As I read about Whitney Houston’s death this morning, I was instantly projected back in time to when I was in grade 6, rushing home from school, so that I could watch Video Hits on CBC and, if I was lucky, sing along to Whitney’s song Greatest Love of All.
That song meant so much to me at that time. When I sang it, I BELIEVED I was the future, I POSSESSED the greatest love of all.
Yes, I am a true child of the 80′s. That is my truth.
Whitney Houston’s death today reminds me of how grateful I am for my Yoga practice. I am reminded of how quickly I can forget that loving myself is the greatest love of all. Without my practice to remind me, where would I be?
I began a journey with chronic pain over a decade ago and, by some twist of fate, at that same time my journey with Yoga began. Without the self-awerness tools I have gained over the years through Yoga, I would have most likely resorted to pain killers and anti-depressants.
In no way has my practice been an easy one to sustain. Sometimes I find myself crawling to my mat, not wanting to face myself that day. But once I’m there, I instantly feel safe, like I’ve made it home. And then I remember what matters and what can be let go. I matter, whether I like it or not. I matter.
Learning to love myself, it is the greatest practice of all, the greatest love of all.
Whitney, thank-you for giving me a safe place to BELIEVE so long ago, and allowing me now to remember what matters most, loving myself.
Everyone is a house with four rooms, a physical, a mental, an emotional and a Spiritual. Most of us tend to live in one room most of the time, but unless we go into every room, every day, even if only to keep it aired, we are not a complete person.
This meditation is called Centering meditation, and I offer it at the beginning of each one of my classes. To start class this way gives my students the opportunity to really settle in to what’s happening for them in that moment. It gives them a chance to connect with themselves so that they may choose what serves them best during the practice.
Here’s the full version of the guided Centering meditation, just for you! All you need to give yourSelf is 10 minutes!
This practice is not only useful as part of a Yoga practice, it is also an amazing life tool. It can be used at the beginning of the day, or anytime where there’s a sense of needing to “come back to yourSelf, when feeling overwhelmed, ungrounded, unfocused.
When integrating this practice in your day to day, you can simply:
Stop whatever you are doing, thinking or saying and notice what is happening. Notice feelings, thoughts, sensations, breath – your whole state of being – and also notice what is happening around you and to you. That’s all! Just notice. — Awareness Breaks- Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy
This simplified version of the Centering meditation is what PRYT calls the “awareness break”. Such a great practice!
Doing as others told me, I was blind.
Coming when others called me, I was lost.
Then I left everyone, including myself.
Then I found everyone, including myself. Rumi
Recently, I have been teaching my students the inner teacher chant. It seems important to honour and embrace the inner teacher within us as we practice. We are our own greatest teacher (whether we like it or not).
Consider your inner teacher as being that part of you that knows without thinking, that knows in a bigger way somehow. It’s that place within you where you feel you hold all your wisdom, where you receive your inner guidance, your inner knowledge. This place may even feel a little like home on the inside.
What would it be like to connect with this part of you for a moment? What guidance is there for you today? To what extent are you willing to listen to your inner teacher? No need for answers or conclusions. Be curious and wonder.
Here’s your opportunity to connect with your inner teacher.
Take 5 minutes for yourself.
Sit in a quiet place and close your eyes.
Notice your breath. Connect with your inhale and your exhale. Follow your very own rhythmn.
Take a deep breath in and let it out through your mouth with some sound… Ahhhh…
Shift your awareness to your body, and notice what’s happening . Open up all your senses: physical sensations, colours, sounds, thoughts, memories. Be open to what ever shows up without trying to fix or change anything that you notice. Allow everything to be a valid part of your experience.
Take a a big breath in and out…. Ahhhhh…
Notice that part of you now where you feel you hold all your wisdom. That place where you inner teacher resides. Connect with this place. Take a few breaths there. Without searching, notice if there’s any guidance there for you right now. Maybe there’s an intention waiting to come forward. What would it be like to listen?
Here’s the inner teacher chant if you would like to serenade your guru within.
Om namo guru dev namo
Om namo guru dev namo
Om namo guru dev namo
In our Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy groups there is a theme we explore that I feel is appropriate for this time of year. The theme is Flow, which means that really there is never a conclusion, that the beginning of one thing rests in the end of the thing before it.
Consider that there is a metaphorical birth and death process to living, where old ways of being in the world, that use to serve us very well, no longer do, so we make the choice to let them die, so that something new, a new way of being in the world, new belief about ourselves can be born and tried on in day-to-day life. Elissa Cobb – PRYT CD
Looking back at the year 2011, your road travelled, notice all the things that have served you well. To what extent can you honour what was? Notice what has earned the right to die, to be let go.
Shedding old skin can sometimes make you feel all shiny and new. It can also leave you feeling raw and vulnerable. Neither is better or best. It is helpful to notice what’s happening for you so that you can move forward with choices that serve you best.
As you make your New Year resolutions, consider what it would be like to wear a new skin, a new way of being, even if there’s an edge around it. What would serve you best in 2012? What would you like to explore, experience, receive?
What we call the beginning is often the end, and to make an end is to make a beginning, the end is where we start from. T.S. Eliot