December Classes and Holiday Schedule 2019

This year, my plan is to gracefully, calmly, and joyfully navigate the month of December without getting all caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season. I am pleased to say that most of my Christmas gift shopping is DONE (thanks to an impromptu shopping afternoon and a great parking spot!). One way to stay grounded is to keep up a regular yoga practice. Mindful movement, focused breathing, embracing everyday moments of joy, and cultivating kindness is a huge antidote to what can be a very stressful time of the year. Come join me on the mat! Here is my schedule for December:

  • Regular Manotick classes continue until Sun. Dec. 22.
  • Yoga-Pilates at NCAC finishes Wed. Dec. 11. For those registered for the winter session, it begins Wed. Jan. 15, 2020.
  • HOLIDAY CLASSES at Denise Smith Dance Studio – 9:15 am – 10:15 am:
    • Tue. Dec. 24 – Christmas Eve Gentle Yoga
    • Fri. Dec. 27 – Candlelight Yin Yoga (bring your bolster and blanket!)
    • Tue. Dec. 31 – New Year’s Eve Hatha Yoga
      • Please note that pre-registration is required for the holiday classes to secure your spot. Send me an email to put your name on the list!
  • No classes on Thu. Dec. 26, Sun. Dec. 29 or Thu. Jan. 2.
  • January classes resume Sun. Jan. 5, 2020.
  • Throughout December, a portion of the proceeds from each Manotick yoga class will be donated to The Ottawa Food Bank on behalf of Yoga In My Backyard and our yoga community. Did you know that almost 40,000 clients use this service on a monthly basis? Additional donations will be happily accepted at the studio OR donate directly to The Ottawa Food Bank HERE.
  • Recently I had the pleasure of being part of a PODCAST, discussing the importance of slowing down and taking a breath on a daily basis. Listen to Episode 30 here.
  • And finally…SAVE THE DATE! Another Inner Work Day Mini-Retreat is in the works for Sat. Feb. 29, 2020 in the quaint village of Osgoode. More details to come this month!

Wishing you love, light, joy, and moments of awe this holiday season and beyond!

Take 5…

…5 breaths, 5 stretches, 5 minutes…Stepping back and taking this little break can do wonders for your mind, body, and spirit!

While longer periods of breathing with awareness, stretching and strengthening the body, and sitting in meditation are more beneficial, sometimes it may seem daunting to schedule in an hour of downtime. So taking these smaller 5 to 10 minute breaks throughout the day with conscious breathing and awareness might just be more “do-able”, and the effects can be felt immediately.

TRY THIS: set the timer on your phone for 5 minutes then turn away from your computer, sit tall in your chair with both feet on the floor and hands in your lap. Close your eyes; soften your shoulders, your jaw, and your face. Begin to breathe slowly and deeply, feeling the inhale and exhale in your body. Continue until the timer goes off. Notice how you feel! Imagine if you extended this to 10 minutes, 20 minutes, etc.!

For more info on the benefits of taking a mindful break, CHECK OUT THIS PODCAST (Episode 30) with me: https://thehowesgroup.com/podcast/

And if you are looking for MORE THAN 5 MINUTES of mind/body/spirit self-care, join me on the mat at a yoga class or retreat!

 

Reminder of class cancellation dates – Oct/Nov 2019

Nice to see so many of you on the mat these past few weeks. Yoga is wonderful any time of the year! With crisp autumn mornings and fresh cool air, it sure feels good to be outside. In the studio, we are moving and bending and breathing, sometimes warming up and sometimes cooling off. Bare feet or warm socks, come join us!

A couple of reminders:

  1. There are no YIN classes on Sun. Oct. 20 and Sun. Nov. 10.
  2. Clocks go back on Sun. Nov. 3 at 2 am – end of daylight savings time for this year.

See you in class!

Welcome to Fall Classes with Anne

Well here we are mid-September already. The flowers in my backyard are still blooming, not ready to let go of summer just yet. Join me on the mat to transition into autumn with mindful movement, expanded breath, guided meditation, and sustenance for the soul!

    • Morning classes are underway in Manotick at Denise Smith Dance Studio, on Sundays (YIN), Tuesdays (HATHA), and Thursdays (YIN) from 9:15 am – 10:15 am. Click here for details. Note there are no classes on the following dates: Thu. Sept. 26, Sun. Sept. 29, Sun. Oct. 20, Sun. Nov. 17.
    • Fall session of Yoga-Pilates at NCAC has begun and the class is full! Registration is on for the Winter session so register soon. More info at https://ottawa.ca/en/recreation-parks-and-culture/recreation-programs. 
    • Inner Work Day Mini-Retreats are filling up! Click here for details. (UPDATE: The mini retreats are now full. More offerings coming in 2020!)

Recently I spent some time with my beloved teacher, Yogrishi Vishvketu (https://akhandayoga.com/) and he reminded me of the importance of honour. Honour for our ancestors, honour for our teachers and those who inspire us, and honour for this planet, this life, this Universe in which we are blessed to experience LIFE. To honour means “to hold in great respect or high esteem”. When I reflected more on that, it made me feel a deep sense of gratitude for YOU…those of you who practice with me, follow me, and open your hearts to my recounting of the teachings of this beautiful path of yoga. I honour YOU. My task is to serve and I look forward to sharing space with you for another season of YOGA!

YOGA with Anne this Fall 2019

Wow this summer is sailing by! Just a few weeks left then back to class, back to work, back to routine. Hope to see you this fall at one of my classes (see summary below). For detailed class info, click HERE.

  1. YOGA-PILATES at Nepean Creative Arts Centre – registration opens Aug. 14 at 9 pm online, Aug. 15 in person at any City of Ottawa client service centre. Classes begin Wed. Sept. 18.
  2. MANOTICK MORNING YOGA CLASSES at Denise Smith Dance Studio – Classes begin Sept. 8. Sundays (YIN), Tuesdays (HATHA), Thursdays (YIN). All classes are an hour from 9:15 – 10:15 am. Click HERE for full details and please take note of the dates on which there are no classes (Sept. 26, Sept. 29, Oct. 20, Nov. 17).
  3. AUTUMN YOGA RETREAT FOR WOMEN at Shanti Retreat on Wolfe Island – a few spots available for this annual extended weekend retreat Sept. 26-29. Click HERE for info.
  4. MINI-RETREATS at Misiwe Ni Relations Healing Lodge – save the dates for Sun. Oct. 27 and Sun. Nov. 24. More info to come this September.

Get your feet in the grass, your face to the sun, and smile as you take in these last weeks of summer!

Namaste…

Summer Soul Surfing

I am not a real surfer. In fact, I’m not even a good swimmer and don’t feel very confident in the water. The closest thing I’ve ever done to surfing is stand-up paddle boarding! But I am often drawn to the idea of navigating LIFE like a surfer riding the waves. Getting up every day and jumping on that board; at times floating and bobbing for awhile just hanging out until a big wave comes, then rising to action to negotiate the ups and downs, twists and turns. Sometimes falling off, sputtering and floundering, and other times, staying up with skill and precision. Sometimes feeling so out of breath and upside down that my bearings are totally lost, doubting whether I can do this at all…

Sometimes there are those painful moments of loss like something has fallen off my surfboard and out of my life, down to the depths of the sea below or blown away in the wind, never to be seen again. Other times there are the joys of success and reward and feeling so stoked after an intense ride. And then there are those times where I’m just going with flow on that imaginary surfboard, feeling so connected with my surroundings and my breath and everything is falling in to place. I am letting things fall into place…stepping out of my head and out of my own way to let my soul shine. Moments where it is magical and awe-inspiring.

Maybe we are all “soul-surfing” through life, and the key is to keep getting back on that surfboard no matter what…to be resilient. To remember that there are fellow soul surfers out there to support one another. To ride the waves with presence and with just the right balance of strength and softness.

Today was our last yoga class at the Manotick studio as we break for July and August. I always enjoy using these summer months to work on my own “soul-surfing” through personal yoga, meditation, and being in nature. Stay tuned to this site for more info about fall classes, starting Sept. 8, 2019, and if you’re interested in my women’s yoga retreat this September, click HERE for more info as there are just a few spots left. May you all have a safe, happy summer!

And to all you REAL surfers out there…hang loose and rip that Perfect 10!

 

Clark Little Photography, Hawaii

May/June classes with Anne

 

Photo from Hinterland Who’s Who

Lately, part of my morning routine has been to watch a robin feed her newly-hatched chicks in the nest just outside my window. I am always amazed at how more than one bird can grow and flourish in that small nest, hidden in the branches of a cedar. I watch as the robin delivers worms and gooey things to those open-mouthed babies, and it makes me smile as these signs of nurturing unfold. Quietly hidden or with bells and whistles, this is the season of new growth, transformation, and light – nourishing bodies, minds, and hearts. Come celebrate spring with me on your yoga mat as we stretch and breathe and OM together…

My regular classes continue until the end of June, then we are off for July and August. Check my schedule for details. Note that there IS a Yin class this coming Sunday, May 19, of the long weekend.

Looking ahead, my Autumn Yoga Retreat for Women in September is filling up fast – just a few spots left! Click here for details.

Happy Spring to you all and see you on the mat!

 

Welcome to Spring 2019!

Just over a month ago, I was waking up to the exotic birds of India, lifting my face to the warm sun, and flip-flopping along the beaches of Goa. I was feeling free and light, while being grounded and centered.

Today, I woke up to robins and cardinals in my own backyard. I lifted my face to the cloudy sky and smiled. I shoved my bare feet into my boots and clopped along my icy street. I was feeling free and light, while being grounded and centered.

Happiness cannot be dependent on an idyllic setting or pristine conditions, otherwise we will forever be longing for and chasing that perfect moment, disappointed when it doesn’t come exactly how we had hoped. Happiness is ALWAYS there for the experiencing…if we allow it.

Something about this first day of spring literally makes me want to BE happy, to FEEL happy, to SEE happy. Let’s choose to welcome spring with love and lightness…and YOGA! My regular classes are underway and I look forward to sharing this spring season with you on the mat!

 

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.”

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.

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