Life can be tough and on those days when you’ve been dealt a blow do you still make it to your mat? If you and I are friends on facebook you may have seen my live post here (and if we are not friends – why the heck not?). It’s been a rough couple of weeks at our house and as much as there have been many moments when I just wanted to curl up and wrap myself in blankets to sleep away this sadness I know that’s not the best thing for me.
My mother-in-law passed last week and even though we knew it was coming, and she chose the time, it has been far harder than I anticipated.
For whatever reason I have been extremely blessed in my life to not really have death be a major factor. At 45 I can count on one hand the number of funerals I’ve gone too. I believe that all of us here on this planet came from light and when we vacate this vessel (our physical bodies) we head back to the light. So knowing that I fully understand and can feel that my MIL is no longer suffering, no longer burdened by the heaviness of a failing vessel I was so surprised by how intense the emotions have been for me this week. My grief has been far more intense than I expected.
So in times of grieving or hardship our instinct as humans tends to be one of hiding. Pulling the covers up high and ducking down until it passes (which can take far longer than we think it should) but since I know better I decided to take my grief to my mat. Each day this week as I felt the waves of sadness and tears I went to my mat and practiced. I trust that allowing the pain and sadness to come through my body – and be released from the physical is the very best way to heal. Somedays the practice involved rolling out my mat and just lying there crying. And that’s okay. Each time I’ve practiced on this mat all the good energy and intention has seeped into the mat and now in my time of need the mat is holding space for me. Each day I feel a little bit stronger a little bit more myself, a little bit less filled with sadness.
As you come through to moments of grief in your life and feel that desire to hide, to crawl away, I invite you to come to your mat and work through the grief in a more physical way. Our body stores so much and if we don’t allow our pain and suffering to be released it gets pushed down. If you think yoga and grieving don’t go together I want to tell you how wrong you are.
I’m curious if you’ve had any experiences in this regard? How have you dealt with grief? Has yoga helped you through your grief?
Why do my yoga classes end with saying Namaste?
It’s funny – in all the years I’ve been teaching only recently has it dawned on me that perhaps I haven’t given enough explanation or information about why I close each practice the way I do in my classes. It’s such an important piece of the practice for me and I wanted to share the reasoning behind it with you.
The word Namaste is a sanskrit word that can be translated as I bow to you. The Yoga Journal wrote a piece here that you can check out. For me each time I say it to my class, I say it with the intention of honouring the divine light that you have brought to your mat. I say it to thank you for the work you have done in being present. I say it to thank my past teachers for the knowledge they have given me. I say it to thank the lineage of all yoga teachers before me and for all those who come after me. I say it to send love and light out into the world.
I start with my hands in prayer at my heart centre. Connecting to the love within me. I then bring my hands up to my 6th chakra the space between my eyes which is the centre of intuition. I want my heart and intuitive knowledge to be connected as I go out into the world. I raise my hands to the sky to encompass those who are in front of me. I then bow down to seal my practice or my teaching. To allow the body to contain all of the wisdom and inspiration, good vibes and energy that I just added it.
What are your thoughts around the word Namaste? Do you enjoy using it? Or by that time in your practice have you already moved into the next thing on your to do list? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Interested in working privately with me?
Are you pushing too hard in yoga?
In Yoga we often talk about going to your edge. Finding that space where you are working at your fullest capacity. For some people, it’s difficult to know where this line is. If you have an ‘A type” personality who is used to pushing through life to get where you want to go – it can be a challenge to know when to ease off in your practice.
Even though most of the sessions I teach at the studio these days are gentle hatha classes it is still possible to go too far. Lots of people who come to my classes arrive with injuries or mobility issues that have piled up over years of inactivity. Life can often get in the way and before you know it years have gone by. We get used to rushing around and doing things at light speed and then moving on down the list to whatever is next. The time to stop and smell the roses seems to be getting farther and farther away.
The longer this goes on the harder it can be to slow down. The harder it is to slow down the harder it is to hear your body. So how do you know when you are pushing too hard? How do you know when your body is saying enough if you are still stuck up in your head?
One of the biggest indicators of pushing beyond your body’s limits is of course pain. It is the way our body screams at us. If you can imagine your body penning an email to you – this message would be entirely in caps! It’s been softly whispering for however long and you haven’t heard it so now all sirens are wailing!
Another way to notice is your breath! Over the last few years I have noticed myself that when I twist a certain way I can not find my breath. For years I have been doing these twists but only recently realized that muscling through it was not helping my body in the way I wanted to be helping. I can make my body look similar to the instructors but that’s not what benefits my body the most. So now I do my twists in a way that I can feel my body responding. I can still breath deeply and I am at my edge.
I fully understand how hard it can be to keep your focus on your breath in class. The mind is racing. You are replaying your day. You are thinking about what’s for dinner.
I invite you to notice the subtle nuances of your version of pushing too hard. It might not look the same as mine and that’s okay. Each day that you can connect in deeper with your body and your breath is a damn fine day!
Private Yoga Hamilton
Over the years I’ve had the privilege of helping a whole variety of people who have taken the gigantic step towards improving their own health and wellness. I am always so honoured that people invite me into their lives at a time when they are generally rather vulnerable. It takes a ton of courage to take that first step and actually reach out to someone and ask them for help.
There are a whole variety of reasons why our health may have been put on the back burner. I know from personal experience – there have been times that life has gotten busy or I’ve been feeling down which stopped me from moving. When I finally felt ready to move again – I was scared. I was uncertain about what I should do or how even to get started. Somedays it actually just felt easier not to move.
I totally understand how hard it is to get motivated and stay the course. Which is why I believe private yoga can help you. Private Yoga classes by their very nature create accountability. We work together to figure out what health and wellness goals you would like to achieve. Maybe your goals include reducing your pain, maybe they include getting healthier, maybe you just know it’s time to start moving before everything becomes immobile, or maybe you’ve been caring for kids or aging parents for so long that’s it just time now for you. Perhaps you’ve already glimpsed into the future and realized that you don’t want to continue on the path that you are on.
What happens during a private yoga class is that you are the centre of attention. You are the focus – so if today is a day where you want to move you are feeling energetic then the class honours that. If you’ve been working double shifts all week or the kids have been sick and you are exhausted then we slow down and create a sacred space for your own healing. Whether you need breath work or the opportunity to slow down and feel your body – all of this can be yours to create a sense of well being in your life.
I’ve worked with private clients who love to sing so chanting is incorporated into their classes. I’ve worked with people who are searching for the more spiritual aspects and so that gets incorporated. I’ve worked with people who are recovering from illnesses as well as people who are newly diagnosed. In each case I work with what’s in front of me to ensure that you feel the way you need to at the end of each session.
Are you ready to take charge of your own health and wellness? Would you like to chat about how private yoga might be able to help you? Classes can be organized for once a week, twice a week or bi weekly if that works best for you. They can take place in your home or in my home.
Use the contact form below to send me an email and we can see if my style is a fit for you.
Private Yoga Hamilton
Yoga for Digestion
Over the years one of the most important things I’ve learned about health and wellness is that your digestion and elimination process is of the utmost importance. It’s not something we generally talk about in everyday conversation but it is something that we should be thinking about. If you take a moment to think about babies and how their system works it gives you a good idea of how a clean system works. Food and nutrients go in – waste comes out. Knowing how important healthy digestion is – keeping the food moving rather than letting it rot within us – is one of the reasons I use a daily probiotic. In addition to my daily dose of certified organic probiotic I also use a variety of yoga poses to keep my system in it’s best shape.
Today I wanted to share with you my 5 favorite yoga poses to help with digestion. These are all relatively gentle postures and can be done regardless of the level of fitness you currently have.
Starting lying comfortably on your back – taking a few deep breaths. Get present in your body and notice how your belly is feeling. When you have taken a few breaths move into the first pose.
- Apanasana (knee into chest pose) Bring both knees into the chest and wrap your arms around them. If it feels good to rock a little bit side to side you can or you can stay in stillness squeezing the knees as tight as you can into the chest. Take 5 deep breaths.
- Jathara Parivartaranasana (reclined side twist) With the knees into the chest bring the arms out to T or cactus and on an exhale slowly drop you knees to the right side. Allow them to relax on the ground and if it feels okay on your neck gaze to the left or if that doesn’t quite feel right gaze to the ceiling. Take 5 deep breaths. When you are ready lift the knees back up to centre and drop them to the left side. Gaze to the right or gaze to the ceiling – whichever feels better. Come back to centre and rest your feet back down on the ground.
- Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose) With your feet on the ground hip width distance apart and your arms down by your side. Press down into the feet and on your inhale slowly raise the hips up to bridge pose. On your exhale slowly lower down. Do this 3-5 times depending on how it feels in your body – inhale up and exhale down. Nice and slow. When you are ready move into your hands and knees.
- Marjaryasana-Bitilasana (Cat/Cow Pose) Once you are set up with your hands directly under the shoulders and your knees directly under the hips – you can slowly begin to allow the belly to drop towards the ground and tilt the head up on your inhale and as the exhale comes drop the head and slowly push the belly up into the spine rounding the tailbone. Inhale slowly starting with the tailbone allowing the shift to come as it drops down, the back begins to arch and the head comes up and then slowly begin rounding once more. Continue to move with your breath inhaling into cow and exhaling into cat. Do about 10 rounds of breath for this asana. Once you have completed this come to a cross legged seated position. Take a few breaths here.
- This last pose doesn’t have a sanskrit name but in english it’s called Simple Seated Twist. Taking a few breaths in your cross legged position – slowly begin to bring your left hand to the right knee. Take your right hand and place it behind you as close to the base of your spine as you can. Take a big breath in and then on your exhale slowly begin to twist to the right. Once you are in the twist take 5 deep breaths. On your exhale slowly come back to centre. Take a moment breathe here notice whatever there is to notice for you. Then when you are ready take the right hand and place it on your left knee. Bring the left hand behind you as close to the base of the spine as possible. Sit up tall – take a big breath in and exhale to the left. Take 5 beautiful slow breaths here.
Once you have completed this sequence – take a few moments to check in with your body before moving on with your day. Notice how you feel and how the mind is.
Hopefully this has created a little more space in the digestive tract as well as a little peace and quiet in the mind.
If you are interested in finding out more and perhaps connecting for some private yoga – I’d love to speak with you. You can use the form below to get in touch.
September Kids Yoga Classes PWYC – VIdeo Transcript
Coming up next weekend on Saturday September 24th, 2016 I am running two pay what you can classes at De La Sol Waterdown, ON.
The first class is for 2-5 year olds with a parent or caregiver, and the second class is for 6-12 year olds to be dropped off too. These PWYC kids yoga classes (suggested donation of $5 min) are an opportunity for you and your children to come and experience a one time class with me so that you know whether your child likes yoga, whether our styles mesh as well as how your children feel about the class. It’s hard sometimes to make a commitment to a full 10 week session if you are not certain if your child will enjoy the classes. This is why I decided to offer these two september kids yoga classes as drop in PWYC.
I’d love it if you brought your kids to check the class out. I’ve been teaching kids yoga for about 8 years now. I started teaching kids yoga when my daughter was young. It’s really important to me that children learn to connect with their bodies early and that they learn what feels good and how their body should be moving. I’ve seen toddlers during my years teaching who are already stiff can can’t touch their toes. I feel passionate that no children should be that disconnected and stiff in their own bodies. I believe that movement is such an important component of living a healthy life.
For me personally, I’m not a competitive sport or team sport kinda girl, that’s never been my comfort zone. I grew up feeling rather uncoordinated or unable to compete in that sporty realm. Yoga is noncompetitive and no matter what body shape you have or how flexible you are you can still be a yogi if you want.
When we start thinking about all the media images and messages that the children are exposed to – these perfect shapes – and all the airbrushing that is out there…..it’s just not reality.
I’m looking forward to meeting you and your kids next Saturday.
September Kids Yoga Question
What does that mean for you? How does the practice of self love fit into your life? Do you believe that it’s selfish to carve out time for yourself? Are you a parent who is continually trying to give from an empty cup? Or are you just a busy person who gets caught up in all there is to do and forgets to take time out for self love?
Regardless of where you are in your life or how you view self love – I invite you take a few moments and really get connected to the ideas and blocks that you have around the words and energy of self love. Take a few minutes – perhaps with your favorite journal. Ask yourself these questions and try and stay with your breath in the stillness to see what answers come up.
- What does self love mean to me?
- How do I practice self love in my life?
- Am I compassionate with myself in the same way I am with friends?
- Do I treat my body the way I want others to treat it?
- Do I honour my needs even when they aren’t the popular choice?
- Do I respect my intuition?
- Am I fueling my body with the things that I know make me feel good and satiated?
- Am I treating my health and wellness as a priority?
- What 3 things can I do (no excuses) to bring a little more self love into my life?
Some of these questions may resonate more than others and for each of us there will different triggers – take your time and work with what feels appropriate for you. No answer is incorrect or correct they are all just helping you find more of your own self love.
For me one of the big ways I have chosen self love recently – is to love every article of clothing that I put on. During the early years of being a parent I was so thankful not to be walking around naked – just getting out the door with something relatively clean was a huge success. Now though I am taking the time to pick out the items that make me feel fantastic. I find it makes such a difference in my day.
I also make it a huge priority to get the foods into my body that make me feel good. This always involves some type of greens. I know I run best when I have enough green inside. I can really feel when it’s been a few days and I haven’t had enough green things in my diet. My body and mood let me know. 🙂
Reiki Healing Room
I am very excited to announce that I have created a healing space in my home. This video gives you a quick tour of the room so that you have an idea of how things will look. For the month of July, I am offering a special price for all sessions booked. For a one hour treatment of Reiki with crystals the price is only $65. If you are ready to book you can use this link here.
I’m thrilled to be able to share this amazing healing with you. If you have questions about reiki I’ve written a few other blog posts about it which can be found here.
Sat Nam Summary
Over the past few weeks there have been a few classes that I have taught were I have incorporated this style of practice and included this very kriya. A few folks asked me if they could have a video so here you go.
This link here is one of my all time favorite summaries on the Sat Kriya. There is perfect physical instruction on how to do the kriya as well a brief bit of information on what the kriya does for you.
Here are a few additional benefits of this practice:
- strengthens the entire sexual system
- stimulates its natural flow of energy.
- relaxes phobias about sexuality.
- allows you to control the insistent sexual impulse by
- re channelizing sexual energy to creative and healing activities in the body.
- People who are severely maladjusted or who have mental problems benefit from this kriya since these disturbances are always connected with an imbalance in the energies of the lower three chakras.
- General physical health is improved
- all the internal organs receive a gentle rhythmic massage from this exercise.
- The heart gets stronger from the rhythmic up-and-down of blood pressure you generate from the pumping motion of the navel point.
- This exercise works directly on stimulating and channelizing the kundalini energy, so it must always be practiced with the mantra “Sat Nam.”
The Meaning of Sat Nam
In very simple terms, Sat means Truth and Nam means Name. You could translate it as True Name or Truth is my name. It is a way of acknowledging that at our essence is the Essence. The “Truth”, which is bigger than any human truth, isn’t a matter of right or wrong or even a concept that we can clearly articulate. It is simply an acknowledgement that the Great Mystery is who we are.
As a greeting, saying “Sat Nam” is a bit like saying “I see your true nature” or “I recognize the divinity within you”.
Reiki is becoming a larger piece of my practice these days and so I wanted to share a little bit about how my Reiki might differ from some folks. I’ve been getting some pretty serious responses to the treatments I am doing and surprising even to myself – many of the treatments have felt intensely physical to people. I’ve had clients who have come in complaining of aches and pains in their bodies who leave after telling me that they could actually feel the bones and muscles being manipulated throughout the treatment. I am so grateful to be able to share this healing…..I love feeling the energy flow through me to bring whatever the person on the table needs to leave feeling lighter, healthier, more energetic and most of all more in the flow. (Isn’t that really what we all want – to be feeling like we are moving in the right direction, the one that moves easily?)
I wanted to share with you how I am supercharging the reiki table for you. I remember when my daughter was younger and she would pick up rocks everywhere we went. I always asked her to leave them again because those rocks didn’t want to be separated from their family. It felt so silly each time I said it – but in my heart it felt right. All things in nature do have an energy, a force within them, and crystals carry some extra special energy. I’ve been collecting crystals for a long time. I’ve been studying the healing benefits for a few years now and I find them to be super valuable when I practice Reiki.
To start with we have a conversation about what you would like help with in regards to the Reiki. Whether that is a physical issue, or an emotional block, or just an over all recentering, clearing – we go from there. Knowing what your main issue is helps me choose the crystals that will be best suited to this particular issue. Once I’ve chosen the appropriate crystals for you, I charge them up with Reiki. I then create a grid that feels right underneath the table. By having the grid underneath the table you can completely relax without feeling like you might loose a crystal or two if you shift a certain way. From there – I get you onto the table and let that energy flow……through my hands, from the universe, with the all the loving energy I can muster up.
When it’s time for you to leave the table – you’ve been treated not only with the energy that I am carrying and channeling, but also with the energy that was supercharged into those crystals, in addition to the healing benefits that crystals have just because they are crystals. Of course once the grid is dismantled, each crystal is cleansed to ensure that whatever was pulled from you goes back to the earth rather than onto the next person on the table.
If you’d like to book your Supercharged Reiki session today – use the contact form below.