Let There Be Light

 

Candles, sparkly lights, stars, glitter…I love the glow of the holiday season! Light signifies warmth, beauty, radiance, sacredness – no wonder light is used in ceremonies, rituals, and celebrations around the world. As an adjective, “light” has so many synonyms – bright, merry, luminous, airy…and how about these ones: resplendent and bespangled!

From the teachings of yoga, we learn that light has a special significance – illumination, clarity, enlightenment. Moving out of the darkness of ignorance into the light of awareness and truth; into the light of love; into the lightness of being. Clearing away heaviness in body and mind through breath and movement. Honoring the Divine Light within each of us. Every time we step on the mat is an opportunity to recall this sage wisdom and bring it into our every day lives. When we shine our own light, we help illuminate the way for others.

Join me this season in celebrating the light! For the month of December, we will use the theme of LIGHT in our Hatha and Yin classes. Learn a new mantra, rekindle your meditation practice, try a new yoga pose, light a candle for a loved one…so many ways to brighten your day!

And on Dec. 27 from 9:15 am – 10:30 am, join me for a very special 75 minute CHRISTMAS CANDLELIGHT YOGA AND QI GONG class, with special guest, Salima Shamji. I was introduced to the beauty and flow of Qi Gong this summer and the gentle movements of this ancient Chinese practice surprisingly had profound effects on my energy. With Salima’s guidance, I moved with intention, awareness, and mindfulness in order to cultivate and balance my vital energy (Qi). Not only did I leave each session feeling light in body, mind, and heart, but learning this new practice also helped “shed some light” on postural and movement patterns in my body that needed attention. It was a lovely compliment to yoga and I’m excited to share this combined class with you! See HERE for all the details. (Update: this class is now full. To add your name to the waiting list, please email me at yogaimby@gmail.com.)

May this holiday season be filled with light for you! May we all increase our capacity for love, care, kindness, patience and compassion. May we not let the darkness of turmoil, confusion, and intolerance overshadow the goodness that is out there in this world. And may this last month of the year be merry, bright, and bespangled!

THE GAYATRI MANTRA

“Om Bhur Bhuvah Swah

Tat Savitur Varenyam

Bhargo Devasya Dheemahi

Dhiyo Yo Nah Prachodayat”

“Evoking earth, sky and the heavens

Let us bring our minds to dwell

in the radiance of the Divine Truth.

May truth inspire our reflections.”

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Nov/Dec 2018 Yoga with Anne

My last post was at the end of August and here we are, already entering November. Such is the nature of this time of year – busy, busy, busy. Soon we will be thinking about…dare I say it…CHRISTMAS! In addition to the demands of work, school, sports, family, and social commitments, it can often be a time of scattered energy where we are adjusting to less sunlight, windy cooler weather, and disrupted sleep due to the daylight savings time change (remember to set your clocks back this weekend). It may feel like we are being pulled in many directions! While we may be able to adapt to busyness, movement and action, some of us feel the effects of this windy season more than others. This is a good time of year to focus on grounding practices, warming foods, and calming meditations on a daily basis.

  1. Read this interesting article about signs of imbalance during this time of year and dietary tips from an Ayurvedic perspective.
  2. Come to one of my yoga classes! Fall/early winter yoga classes at Denise Smith Dance Studio run until Sun. Dec. 30 (no class on Dec. 25 or Jan. 1, 2019).
  3. Save the date for a special morning Christmas Candlelight Yoga Class on Thu. Dec. 27. More details to come…
  4. Practice a grounding meditation with the mantra “So Hum”. Silently repeat “So” as you inhale, and “Hum” as you exhale.
  5. Treat yourself to a massage, or make your own massage oil and give yourself a foot rub before bed. My favourite combination oil at this time of year is 2 tsp sweet almond oil, 2 tsp sesame oil, 2 tsp jojoba oil, 1-2 drops lavender essential oil, 1-2 drops sandalwood essential oil, 1-2 drops bergamot essential oil. Makes enough for a couple of weeks or more and smells wonderful!

However you choose to stay balanced this season, I hope you include YOGA in your toolbox of wellness. Come join me on the mat!

As many of you know, I will be travelling this winter to India! Stay tuned for more info on January classes before I leave.

YOGA THIS FALL 2018 with Anne

Greetings and summer salutations! Looking ahead to your autumn yoga options? Join me on the mat this fall for joyful movement, conscious breathing, energy expansion, and monkey-mind taming! Here’s my line-up:

MORNING YOGA IN MANOTICK at Denise Smith Dance Studio:

  • Starts Tue. Sept. 4 with HATHA YOGA, Thu. Sept. 6 with YIN YOGA, Sun. Sept. 9 with YIN YOGA
  • Same time as before: 9:15 am – 10:15 am. Please arrive 15 minutes before class to set up your mat.
  • Drop in for $15 or buy a class pass.

YOGA & PILATES at Nepean Creative Arts Centre:

  • Runs Wednesdays from Sept. 19 – Nov. 21.
  • Registration opens online at www.ottawa.ca Aug. 15 at 9 pm and in person, Aug. 16, at any City of Ottawa community centre.
  • Bar code for Wed. class is #1188461 – look under “Fitness and Wellness”, then scroll down to Yoga & Pilates.
  • IMPORTANT INFO: Renovations will be underway at NCAC during December and January so NO CLASSES. Winter session is shorter, running Feb. 6 – Mar. 27, 2019. I will be in India during this time so Sandra T. will be covering this class. I will be back for the spring session.

TASTE OF MANOTICK:

  • Once again, I will have a booth at the Taste of Manotick event this Sat. Aug. 18 from 4 – 8 pm.
  • Come check out the street fair and drop by to say Namaste! Enter your name in my raffle for 2 free yoga classes!

NO MANOTICK CLASSES on the following dates:

  • Thu. Sept. 27 (Yin), Sun. Sept. 30 (Yin), Sun. Oct. 21 (Yin)
  • No classes from Jan. 15 – Feb. 21, 2019 as I will be in India. Manotick classes will resume likely the last week of Feb…but I will let you know for sure as it gets closer.

AUTUMN YOGA RETREAT FOR WOMEN:

  • Shanti Retreat Centre – Sept. 27 – 30, 2018
  • Retreat is now FULL.
  • Save the date for next year: Sept. 26 – 29, 2019.

Keep checking back to this site for up-to-date info. Enjoy the rest of the summer and I hope to see you soon!

In my backyard!

 

Freedom 55

Happy birthday to me…This post is a good story.

Years ago as part of a financial success program I was advised to make a dream list, mostly of financial hopes but also what I wanted to achieve personally. I stumbled across this list while cleaning out my office…a list I made 26 years ago. I set my intentions, filed the list away, and then sort of forgot about it. I suppose it is like making a wish and then letting the Universe take care of the details.

Wow…I can honestly say that the majority of those wishes have come true! Funny what I thought was important way back then…but here’s the thing that really hit me. Dreams do come true!! Intentions do manifest themselves!! When I found this list I had a profound sense of awe for the POWER of intention; a profound sense of gratitude for how things have worked out; a profound sense of appreciation for all the ups and downs that have occurred in order to make Freedom 55 possible for me; a beautiful feeling that God is looking out for me; and a reminder of how our thoughts, words and actions affect our future i.e. ensuring good karma or accumulating bad karma!

I am no way ready to retire at 55. In fact, I feel like I am on another adventure. One that is allowing me to realize yet another item on my bucket list – returning to India this winter! It’s never too late to shift your perspective, create good karma, and realize your dreams. Freedom 55 for me is happiness, contentment, watching my sons evolve into amazing young men, and making the time to savor the sunny skies…and embrace the storms. This is freedom…liberation…moksha…

 

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!

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!

 

 

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