Mid-winter blooms

Last week we were in the midst of record snowfall and here we are today, with sunshine, warm temps and melting snow! What a difference a week, a day, a moment makes…Instead of the mid-winter blahs, I’m rejoicing in my mid-winter blooms!


I think there is something magical about flowers blooming in the winter. They remind me of the beauty and grace of nature, even in spite of a raging blizzard outside. They offer a splash of colour to an otherwise grey and dreary day, uplifting my heart and soul. At this time of year, we often get antsy, restless, down…Tired of hibernating we may want to be somewhere warm or at least anywhere else away from the cold and darkness of winter. However, as author and meditation teacher, Jon Kabat-Zinn reminds us, “Wherever you go, there you are”…You can’t run away from yourself and you can’t always get on a plane to the beach. Instead, I am choosing to be HERE in this moment, with snow and ice outside, and the miracle of life unfolding in front of me in the form of a tall amaryllis, a baby orchid, and a soft buttery phalaenopsis.



Welcome back to winter yoga classes!

The holidays are over and winter is here in full force! Need to stretch? Need to bend? Need to breathe? Look no further than your yoga mat! Hope to see you at one (or more) of my classes this season.

With the fresh perspective a new year brings, the cooling and cleansing energy of a full moon (tonight), and a deeper appreciation of the healing power of the body and mind, I’m looking forward to investigating with you what yoga has to offer us both on and off the mat. AND I can’t wait to try out my new boots…super-duper-non-slip-really-warm-and-cute-too boots from Sperry!! Look out, black ice, you will not get me again!



Winter 2017 Yoga Classes with Anne

Season’s Greetings! I am making progress in the healing department slowly but surely. While I continue to work around my own physical limitations on the mat, I’m looking forward to coaching and guiding you through YOUR practice come the new year. I appreciate your support and patience during my recovery period. Here’s my schedule:

YOGA-PILATES (at Nepean Creative Arts Centre)

Wednesdays starting Jan. 11 – 9:45 – 11 am (registered program only – no drop-ins)

YIN YOGA (at Denise Smith Dance School)

Sundays and Thursdays starting Jan. 15 – 9:15 – 10:15 am

HATHA YOGA (at Denise Smith Dance School)

Tuesdays starting Jan. 17 – 9:15 – 10:15 am

Click HERE for full class descriptions.

I wish you and your family a joyful, safe holiday season! See you in January!


Yoga When You’re Hurt

Two weeks into my injury and I can’t drive, can’t straighten my arm, can’t go down the stairs properly, can’t do my hair, can’t teach a class…BUT it doesn’t mean I can’t practice yoga. In fact, this is the very time when deep connection to what’s going on inside my body and mind is necessary, and all the “formal” practice time on my mat continues to equip me for precisely this – dealing with what IS. It has become an interesting experiment observing the ebb and flow of sensations, energy levels, thought patterns, and emotions as I work with limited range of movement and a restricted routine. The yogic prescription when you’re hurt is the same as when you are healthy – breathe, feel, connect, allow, take care, let go.

My mom passed away late summer and after her death it was a whirlwind of required activity and duties. There was hurt on a different level – unlike the physical pain of a dislocated elbow or sprained ankle, the pain of grief and loss sears your heart. I pushed through thinking it was better to keep going than to stop and let it fully surface. But up it came over and over and there was no escaping. So I took a deep breath, allowed myself to feel the constriction around my heart centre, held it with compassion, and let it be. I lay down on my mat and alternated between the deep heart-opening pose of matsyasana (fish pose) and the comforting energy of balasana (child’s pose) as I let emotion flow. I chanted all the mantras I knew, knowing that to release the hurting was to make way for healing. Ah, once again, yoga comes to the rescue.

Back to my elbow…As I was sitting on my mat the other day, I decided to explore. With limited use of one arm and foot, and without overcompensating with my uninjured side, what could I do with a block, a strap, a blanket, a cushion, and a couple of Yoga Tune-Up balls? Turns out quite a bit…Holding on to a block, I discovered I could safely do ardha surya namaskara (half sun salutation). Propped and padded and cushioned, I could do many seated poses. No matter what, I could always breathe. Slowing everything down, I let my body guide me without a scripted sequence, and listened closely to the signals that came from within. Keeping in mind the guidelines from my doctors as well as trusting my inner wisdom, a beautiful practice emerged that lifted my spirits, soothed my wounds, and brought me peace. The power of yoga prevails once again.

Today, I’m achy, cranky, impatient, and getting cabin fever. My practice is very different – chanting and OMing and bumble-bee breathing…but still with the same focus – breath, feeling, connection, acceptance. No matter what the day, hour, moment…yoga is available and it is turning out to be the best therapy of all. I hope to see you in January and let’s continue to explore together…


Heartfelt thanks to all of you who sent me emails with well-wishes! I feel your good vibes – they help too!

Change in plans


Oh how it’s easy to get caught up in momentum – charging here and there on auto-pilot and forgetting to be mindful of our breath, our steps, our present-moment awareness. Speaking loudly and clearly, the Universe has told me to SLOW DOWN…Due to injuries I sustained in a fall on the ice yesterday, all of my yoga classes are put on hold until January. For those of you who hold class passes with me in Manotick, just a reminder that while they are non-refundable, they have no expiry date so you can hold them over until I return. For those of you taking my Yoga-Pilates class with the City of Ottawa, you will be contacted by the staff at NCAC regarding a credit for next week’s last class of the fall session which is now cancelled. I expect to return in January for the winter session as planned (maybe with a few teaching modifications!).

Stuff happens and we get through it…this is where our REAL yoga practice comes in. Breathe, accept, take care, let go, move on…Thank you for your support and understanding while I take this time to heal. I will post the January schedule over the next few weeks.

With gratitude…


Yoga classes with Anne this fall 2016

Here we are in hot and steamy August and we know what’s just around the corner…Back to work, back to school, back to yoga class! If you’ve been missing your yoga mat, it’s time to visit it again (see my post What The Yoga Mat Said).

Here’s my class schedule starting September 6, 2016:

HATHA YOGA in Manotick – Tuesdays @ 9:15 – 10:15 am

YOGA-PILATES in Bells Corners (Nepean Creative Arts Centre) – Wednesdays @ 9:45 – 11 am

(Registered program only, 12 classes starting Sept. 14; registration on now at http://ottawa.ca/en/residents/parks-and-recreation/registered-classes-all-ages/recreation-guide)

YIN YOGA in Manotick – Thursdays and *Sundays @ 9:15 – 10:15 am

MEDITATION AND MOVEMENT in Manotick – Sunday Sept. 11, Oct. 16, Nov. 13, Dec. 18 @ 2:00 – 3:00 pm

All Manotick classes held at Denise Smith Dance School. Drop-ins welcome!

Full class descriptions and more details HERE.

Hope to see you on the mat!


Your Summer Retreat


Summer is here with the anticipation of sunny days, spectacular sunsets, and hopefully some more down-time in your life. Where do you go to retreat from your busy routine? A cottage on a lake? A tent in the woods? A day at the spa? Or maybe your own backyard? One of my favourite places to retreat when I need a break is my own patio, where I can curl up in my comfy green chair overlooking the garden, and simply take a breath. And when I need even more space, into nature I go…

The definition of the verb “retreat” is to withdraw, to step back, to move away from something. And it’s in this moving away from something that we create space…space physically, mentally, and emotionally. In stepping back we can see from a broader angle and look at the thing we’re moving away from with a different perspective. Then we can make a conscious choice to proceed, whether that means walking away or turning right back around to face that “thing”.

Think of the many “things” that we might want to retreat from in our fast-paced lives: time-consuming projects and tasks, challenging situations, difficult people, noise, clutter, family and work demands, negative thought patterns, health issues, financial concerns…Such circumstances, conditions, and states are the reality of modern life. Running away to escape might seem like a good option but we may then forever be running as life deals us a new “thing”. We might think, “If I can just get past this ‘thing’, then everything will be okay”. But the Universe often has other plans for us and it turns out that the “thing” has something to teach us. Sometimes it’s just hard to learn the lesson…

Conscious awareness or MINDFULNESS is a great way to BE with our stuff of life. It teaches us to be present with whatever is there in our bodies, minds, hearts or surrounding environment, whether unpleasant or pleasant. It requires that we slow down and take notice. It asks that we step back in the moment (retreat) and allow space for what is there in your own backyard. But sometimes it is helpful (and perhaps necessary) to move beyond your backyard into a totally different space in order to re-calibrate and re-balance your energy, away from the usual environment that holds all those stressors and challenges of daily life. Whether that is in the form of an organized retreat or taking a day off work or just going for a walk in the forest out of the noise of the city, find some way to step back and make space regularly. It’s an important gift you can give to yourself…

Have a safe, happy summer…maybe I’ll see you on retreat!


What The Yoga Mat Said

And the yoga mat said, “Good morning, Daya. Come and sit for awhile…and tell me all about what’s going on in your body, your heart, and your mind…”

Yesterday when the mat called out, Daya said, “No I’m too busy”. And the day before that, she said, “No, I’m too tired”. And the day before that, she said “Okay I’ll come see you later…”, but she never did…because other things got in the way.

Today the mat beckoned again and she answered the gentle call. The mat said, “Just sit…and breathe…and take in the sounds and smells of nature around you. You can laugh on me, cry on me, stomp on me, sleep on me…You can BE any way you need to BE and I won’t judge. I will hold you up…and help you let go. Please visit me every day, and I promise your life will transform.”

Daya spent a long time on her mat that morning, moving and breathing and feeling…she even cried a bit and the mat let her be. She almost fell over in triangle pose and laughed…and the mat let her be. She snorted her way through Kapalabhati breathing and let out a huge sneeze…and the mat let her be. She sat quietly on her cushion, and watched her mind jump all over the place until it slowly settled. And later as she lay down in Savasana with the sunshine on her face and her faithful mat gently supporting her, she let go…

There on her mat, Daya expanded beyond her body, beyond her backyard, and into the blue sky above.

Tomorrow might be a whole different experience – it’s not always blissful on the mat. But Daya will be there…no matter what.


In My Element


Rock meditation

Earth, water, fire, air, space – the five elements of nature are not only all around us but they are within us. Our bones and tissues; our fluids; our digestive processes; our breath and movement; and all the channels, hollows, and cavities in our bodies…We can easily understand this relationship from a physical perspective but what if we went a bit deeper and considered how these elements show up in our mental and emotional bodies as well? When all my elements are balanced, I am truly “in my element” – that place where I feel calm, connected, and fully awake to the present moment.

Take the element of EARTH – representative of structure and stability. When I’m flighty and all over the place with a busy mind, unable to concentrate or finish what I start, I am lacking that grounding that comes from the earth. In fact, it’s my AIR element that’s out of whack, as it is representative of mobility, not just in the body but in the movements of the mind. The last thing I need during those times is fast-paced activity and over-stimulation and a jog on a windy day. Instead I can choose to take a break, get down on the ground and do a few slow yin yoga poses, eat some warm sweet dense food, and pause for a few long deep relaxing breaths.

I naturally have a strong digestive system, which is represented by the element of FIRE. When this fire is excessive, not only might I be cranky and irritable and impatient, but I add fuel to the fire by drinking an espresso! A smarter option would be a cool glass of pure water and a time out with some cooling breaths, quiet company, and soothing sounds. For those of you on the other end of the spectrum with a low FIRE element, you might notice your digestion is sluggish or you feel chilled. Your mind might be dull and your perception not quite as sharp. What you need is a bit of spice in your life and spice in your food! Time to “fire up” your metabolism with motivating music, invigorating (but not over-heating) activities, and positive affirmations with love (not anger) in your heart.

If you happen to feel congested at this time of year, it’s not unusual. In the damp cool spring weather, your WATER and EARTH elements might be out of balance showing up as more mucus, phlegm, stickiness, and heaviness in the body. You might feel down, lethargic, or even apathetic. With lots of viruses floating around out there, your immune system might feel like it’s under attack with colds, flus and allergies. Flushing your system with warm herbal teas and fresh water can help as well as sweating it out – let that WATER element flow! Then add some AIR and lightness to your life with uplifting music, the warmth of nurturing friends, light airy meals (think salads!), and sunshine.

It’s not surprising that spring time brings the urge to cleanse and detox your body as well as spring clean your house! It makes sense – at this time of year, we want to feel less congested, less restricted, and more spacious…Ahhh the element of SPACE! Ridding your body of toxins, clearing your mind of negativity, and removing clutter from your living space is necessary to support new growth and transformation. As the natural world comes out of hibernation, so too do we feel the pull to stretch our legs, get outside and re-connect with the natural world through all our senses – smell, taste, sight, touch, hearing. By witnessing the elements of nature and considering their counterparts within us, we understand that we really are an inter-connected and vital part of this universe. May you be “in your element”!


Spring 2016 – Classes and Retreats

IMG_20160215_145043_edit rotated

While it’s hard to imagine the green grass under all this snow and ice, we know spring is coming! Not only will the geese return, but so will all the “snowbirds” who have traveled south for the winter. Lots of opportunities to practice with me this spring – looking forward to seeing some of you “snowbirds” back on the mat!

Yoga in Manotick @ Denise Smith Dance Studio:

  • HATHA YOGA (Tuesdays 9:15-10:15 am)
  • YIN YOGA (Thursdays and Sundays** 9:15-10:15 am)
  • MEDITATION & MOVEMENT (one Sunday afternoon a month, 2:00 – 3:00 pm Mar. 20, Apr. 10, May 15, Jun. 12)
  • **NO CLASSES on Thur. Jun. 16 and Sun. Jun. 19.

Yoga-Pilates in Bells Corners @ Nepean Creative Arts Centre:

  • Wednesdays 9:45 – 11:00 am (Apr. 1 – Jun. 8 registered program only; registration begins online Mar. 9 at www.ottawa.ca)

Inner Work Day Retreats 2016 @ Wakefield Mill and Spa:

  • Fri. May 6, Fri. Jun. 3, Mon. Jul. 18, Mon. Aug. 22  (9:30 am – 4:30 pm)
  • Contact me to request a registration form

UPDATE: June retreat is sold out; spaces available in JUL and AUG retreats

Akhanda Yoga Festival @ CAMMAC in Harrington, QC with Yogrishi Vishvketu and guest teachers (including ME):

  • Jun. 15 – 19, 2016

AUTUMN YOGA RETREAT Sept. 2016 @ Shanti Retreat Centre on Wolfe Island, ON

  • Sept. 22 – 25, 2016 Women’s only retreat!
  • Contact me to request a registration form

As always, I am grateful for all of you who continue to practice with me.

Peace and Namaste…


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