Summer Sweetness

 

Wow what a kick-off to the summer with record-breaking heat and lots of sunshine! No complaints here…Stay cool this season with some Ayurvedic tips!

  1. Favour sweet, bitter, and astringent tastes like berries and cherries, kale and spinach, avocado and cucumbers.
  2. Reach for cool drinks, but not ice cold. Try this: fill a jug with room temp water; add a handful of frozen pineapple chunks (will cool it just a bit); a splash of coconut water; and a few mint leaves. Leave it on your counter to enjoy throughout the day. Refreshing!
  3. Stay away from oily, heavy, salty, sour, and spicy foods that are heating to the system. Instead choose drier, and more nutrient-dense foods like leafy greens, legumes like black beans or adzuki beans, and cooling herbs such as cilantro. Oooo, I’m craving a cool Mexican salad as I write this!
  4. Take a break from the heat and sunshine during the day, and go for evening walks in the moonlight…ahhhh…
  5. Calming yoga practices like slow sun salutations and cooling pranayama (left-nostril breathing, Brahmari breath, etc.) are so beneficial to an overheated system. Tempers can also flare at this time, making you feel irritable and cranky. Make the time to sit quietly in meditation even just for 10 minutes a day simply connecting to the inflow and outflow of your breath.
  6. Enjoy the sweetness of life! Laugh, be in the company of good friends, try something new…nourish your body, mind and spirit this season.

Happy Summer! I’ll be back to classes in September!

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June 2018 Yoga Classes

I just love the season of spring! Getting my hands back into the earth as I plant my flowers; listening to the birds every morning as they nest; feeling the warmth of the sun on my face. New growth is happening within us, too, so come join me on the mat as we stretch and breathe and expand! This is the last month of classes for me before I take the summer off so here’s the line-up this June:
  1. One spot has come available for my Inner Work Day Yoga Retreat at Brookstreet on Sun. Jun. 24. Email me ASAP if you are interested!
  2. Hatha and Yin classes continue at Denise Smith Dance Studio until Thu. Jun. 28. Please note there is NO YIN CLASS ON JUN. 24.
  3. Yoga-Pilates classes at NCAC continue until Jun. 13. Registration for the fall session happens this August; check http://www.ottawa.ca later this summer for dates.
  4. Please join me for a special Candlelight Gentle Hatha Flow class on Fri. Jun. 22 from 6:15 – 7:15 pm at Denise Smith Dance Studio. Email me to pre-register and secure your spot. Use your class pass or drop in for $15. Afterwards I invite you to stay for a cup of tea and a sweet treat!

I encourage you to keep up your practice this summer by exploring the various yoga offerings around the city; by going on a retreat; by checking out online classes; or by simply rolling out your mat in your own backyard and meditating in the sunshine! I look forward to seeing you on the mat this month.

 

Namaste and Happy Spring!

Purification and Rejuvenation

Ahhh…I just returned from 10 days in sunny (but cool) California, feeling cleansed, re-balanced, and refreshed after attending the Chopra Center’s signature program, “Perfect Health”. This was an opportunity for me to immerse myself in the traditional practices of Ayurveda, yoga, and meditation in a modern way: in an urban setting with top-notch amenities and services; blending the teachings of yogic philosophy with the latest scientific research of the mind, genetics, and human behaviour; and amidst the daily challenges of trying to live a spiritually connected life in a demanding, noisy, modern world. I was guided, supported, and nurtured throughout, in ways I never imagined. This program was truly therapy for the body, mind, and soul.

From the moment I arrived in California, I knew this was exactly what I needed. Not a California vacation necessarily, but a getaway where I could work on myself. Normally I enjoy our Canadian winters, snow and all…but this year the cold, damp, and heaviness was getting to me more than ever. I was feeling sluggish, down, unhappy, worried, and stuck…plus my shoulder and neck were giving me such grief that no amount of physio or massage seemed to alleviate. It wasn’t the climate, though, that was causing my feelings of imbalance (although I was reminded that according to Ayurveda, seasonal climate changes can aggravate an already out-of-balance system). It was months/years/decades of stuck emotions; less than optimum diet for my own specific constitution; not enough physical movement; rumination over and clinging to old thoughts, experiences, and beliefs; fear of the unknown and what ifs; and negative self-talk that all really created the imbalance in the first place.

This might sound familiar to you, too. In fact, when I looked back on my blogs, I realized that exactly this time last year I was feeling the same “off-ness” (see my post Mountain Meltdown). But this time I decided to take more definitive action and go deeper. I realized that ALL this disquietude was within my own control to change, but I needed some guidance – some “professional” help. One of the items on my bucket list was to one day attend this Chopra Center program so I made it a reality, hopeful that I would discover the root of my angst, get it out of my system, and find some peace before this dis-EASE really showed up as disease.

Ayurveda says that when one’s body, mind, and soul are in balance and in tune with natural rhythms, then one is in a state of perfect health. What does that really look like or feel like? How about this: JOYFUL ENERGETIC BODY, LOVING COMPASSIONATE HEART, REFLECTIVE ALERT MIND, LIGHTNESS OF BEING. If you’re anything other than that, then something is out of balance! So knowing that, we can take steps to first purify the body and mind, rejuvenate it to bring it back into balance, then maintain this state by daily committing to nourishing practices rather than depleting activities or unwholesome choices.

So here’s how we did it…

PURIFY:

  1. dietary changes that began weeks before the program by eliminating coffee, alcohol, processed foods, gluten, etc.
  2. a simple cleanse using herbal and fibre supplements combined with easy-to-digest warm vegetarian meals, ginger tea, and lemon water
  3. tongue scraping and oil pulling to remove toxins in the mouth
  4. a variety of daily Ayurvedic massages with warm oil designed specifically for each mind/body type to gently push toxins out of the tissues and into the GI tract for elimination
  5. saunas and steam rooms to sweat out the toxins
  6. daily yoga, meditation, journalling, sharing circles, self-study
  7. disconnecting from technology, news, negative energies, noise

REJUVENATE and MAINTAIN:

  1. getting into the sunshine, walking along the ocean, taking time to witness the beauty around us
  2. eating a “rainbow” – colourful lovingly prepared food with all six tastes (salty, sour, spicy, bitter, astringent, sweet)
  3. positive affirmations and planting seeds of wellness
  4. creating a soothing bedtime routine and getting a good night’s sleep
  5. trying something new and creative – getting out of your comfort zone and laughing!
  6. energy work such as pranic healing and Reiki
  7. self-love, treating yourself with respect and compassion
  8. being in the company of positive people; not those who invite drama, gossip, criticism or negativity into your life
  9. MEDITATE EVERY DAY!

So here I am now, 10 pounds lighter physically and 1 million times lighter emotionally. I feel so transformed! I am recharged and ready to get back at it after many insights about myself and the Universe I am part of. I have re-committed to a daily routine that SUPPORTS me rather than brings me down. And when stuff does get me down, I know I have an innate intelligence to guide me – I need not look further than my own self for the solution…and then I can let it go. Over and over again…through all the ups and downs. This is an ongoing process…one that lasts a lifetime, so I choose to make the rest of my lifetime one with purpose, connection, happiness, and ease.

 

Yoga this Spring 2018 with Anne

Greetings and salutations! It feels like Spring is so close and I’m sure we are all more than ready to come out of hibernation after this long cold winter! Here are some things to look forward to:

1. The spring session of my Manotick classes starts Tue. Apr. 3 with Hatha Yoga at Denise Smith Dance Studio. Last class of the winter session is Thu. Mar. 15, then we are off until after Easter. Check back to this site for ongoing updates.

2. Registration for the spring session of Yoga-Pilates at Nepean Creative Arts Centre (Wednesdays at 9:45 – 11:00 am starting Apr. 4)) is now open, online and in person. See www.ottawa.ca under “Register for Recreation”. If you can’t get in to my class, consider a new Yoga-Pilates class on Mondays at 9:30 – 10:45 am taught by Sandra (the gal who subbed for me) starting Apr. 9. This is not in the recreation guide, but to register use barcode 1174804 or call 613-596-5783 for more info.

3. Join me for an afternoon yoga workshop, “JOURNEY THROUGH THE KOSHAS”, on Sun. Apr. 8 at Empower Me Yoga on Carling Ave. from 1 – 5 pm. Part lecture, part practice – we will review a timeline of the history of yoga and its roots, learn about the five koshas or “sheaths” of being, then experience the depth and beauty of an extended “Five Koshas Class”. To register, see www.empowermeyoga.com under “Events”.

4. Can’t make it to yoga? How about another option? Join Caroline Chapman for an hour of fun mindful movement with NIA – a combination of dance, martial arts, and mindfulnessShe’s offering sessions at Manotick United Church and Denise Smith Dance Studio. See this link for more info: https://nianow.com/caroline-chapman.

5. SAVE THE DATE! Inner Work Day Yoga Retreat – “Serenity in the City”

Sun. Jun. 24, 2018, at the Brookstreet Hotel in Kanata. An urban retreat in the heart of Ottawa’s high tech district! Perfect way to unplug for a day with yoga, meditation, and nature walks along the trails surrounding the Marshes Golf Course…More details to come after Easter.

6. SAVE THE DATE! Autumn Yoga Retreat for Women – “Body, Mind, Spirit – Aligned”

Sept. 27-30, 2018, at Shanti Retreat on Wolfe Island. More details to come after Easter.

May this month go out like a lamb just the way it came in! Namaste and see you on the mat…

Do the Yoga Hustle?

Recently I received an email offer from a popular yoga magazine advertising liability insurance and advice on advancing one’s yoga “career”. The ad suggested that “every yoga teacher has to hustle harder (and smarter) to make it”. Really?? This goes against so many cardinal rules of yoga – non-harming (ahimsa), truthfulness (satya), non-greediness (aparigraha) just to name a few. The very term, “hustle” suggests forceful persuasion or an underhanded approach. Is this really how a yoga teacher would want to conduct business? Maybe some do…And when would a teacher know he or she has “made it”? Fame, fortune, jam-packed classes, a front-page spread in said popular yoga magazine? Sounds more like ego-serving than selfless service…

My own esteemed teacher, Yogrishi Vishvketu, taught me to find my voice and to give from my heart. He encouraged me to share the teachings of yoga with grace, authenticity, and confidence, and he reminded me that those who want to listen and explore with me, will come. No gimmicks, no special offers, no goats or wine-tasting needed to attract attention. As a teacher of this tradition, my role is to GUIDE, not to entertain. To me, yoga is an ongoing practice of transformation and self-discovery that continues long after a one-hour yoga class.

As we wind down this year’s winter session of classes over the next few weeks, I am looking forward to then taking a short break beyond my backyard for my own well-being and personal development. My agenda at the Chopra Centre will be filled with yoga, meditation, Ayurveda, and self-study…all in the sunshine and warmth of the California coast! I will be back in fine form, ready for our Spring session of classes!

With the right balance of effort and surrender, of ethical and smart business practices, and the ongoing flow of giving and receiving, it is possible to be both a teacher and a student in this evolving yoga world WITHOUT THE HUSTLE. I am truly grateful for all of you who continue to share this path with me!

Namaste…

 

 

 

 

To Be…That is the Resolution

Welcome 2018, full of promise, possibilities, and potential! Let this be the kick-off to another year of BEING. Being in health, being in peace, being in love…May all that I think, do, and say reflect this way of BEING. There will be pitfalls and obstacles along the way; there will be negative energies, naysayers, and temptations. There will be my own mind – doubting, judging, critiquing. But there will also be ongoing opportunities to release and let go. There will be beauty, goodness, strength, and happiness. There will be moments of wonder and awe, moments of pure silence, and moments that take my breath away. The key to BEING is tapping into FEELING…(check out this article from the Chopra Centre about setting intentions through cultivating feeling).

Day 3 of this new year and I’m feeling energetic, optimistic, and empowered. May this energy expand well beyond my own self and somehow seep into those who need a boost. Join me on the mat and let’s explore!

Namaste and Happy New Year!

 

 

December 2017 Classes

As we enter this season of hustling and bustling with holiday prep, shopping, and socializing, let YOGA be the very thing that grounds you in the midst of this busy energy. Choose slow, soothing, asana sequences along with deep abdominal breathing and heart-centered meditations during this time to help balance and restore your energy. Join me on the mat over the next two weeks before we break for the holidays!

December schedule:

  1. Manotick classes continue until Thu. Dec. 14 (last class before Christmas).
  2. Holiday yoga classes – Wed. Dec. 27 (Hatha) and Thu. Dec. 28 (Yin) – 9:15 am – 10:15 am at Denise Smith Dance Studio.
  3. No class on Dec. 31.
  4. Winter classes in Manotick resume Thu. Jan. 4, 2018 with Yin Yoga at 9:15 am.
  5. Yoga-Pilates winter session at NCAC begins Wed. Jan. 10, 2018 for those who are registered.

Wishing you all peace, love and light this holiday season!

Gratitude

All month long, my students and I have been practicing gratitude. Not just the expression of a “thank you”, but the true embodiment of the feelings of thankfulness, appreciation, contentment, kindheartedness. We committed to gratitude journals, writing every day who we are grateful TO, what we are grateful FOR, and how we are grateful THAT…We reminded ourselves of our blessings, our fortune, our inner wealth; and we remembered that we are not alone in all of this and how we NEED others as much as they need us. Even in spite of challenges in our lives ranging from health issues to tragedy to hardship to loss, we realized that practicing gratitude helps us face these hurdles with strength, confidence, and hope.

Just because Thanksgiving is over doesn’t mean that thankfulness is over for another year. When we make gratitude a regular practice, we recognize that every day is a gift. Dwelling on the negative only reinforces the negative! Seeing the positive and consciously acknowledging it creates more ease in your day, and helps you deal with whatever comes your way with a more grounded, centered perspective. Bad stuff will happen – that’s a guarantee – and we will surely feel the effects. But when we can step out of the darkness, even for a moment, to appreciate even the smallest of things, we begin to pave the way for light to shine through.

As I write this, I am basking in the glow of a wonderful day retreat with my students. The weather was glorious, the food was excellent, the venue was stunning, the service fantastic, and the energy of all of us together living our yoga just filled my cup to the brim. To simply say “thank you” seems so not enough…yet it is everything.

Click HERE for a great article on gratitude from the Greater Good Science Centre at the University of California, Berkeley.

Welcome Fall!

I’m thrilled to be back on the teaching mat after a summer off! Join me for a class or retreat this season to nurture your body, mind, and soul. Classes are now underway – see you on the mat!

 

Fall 2017 Yoga Classes

Home from holidays…I love how taking some time off and changing your scenery can do wonders for the body and soul! Space to breathe, space to move, space to create…All chakras spinning and balanced! I’m looking forward to the upcoming season of yoga classes and retreats and I hope you are, too. Check out my class page and my retreats page for more info about YOGA IN MY BACKYARD (www.yogaimby.com). See you in September!

Pyramid Lake, Jasper National Park

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