I discovered prenatal yoga when I was pregnant with Zoe, my first child. The class was a Kundalini based class and I fell in love with the chanting and breathing exercises. The meditative aspects of this practice was very effective in guiding me towards finding my centre and the great journey of childbirth. After welcoming Zoe into the world, I felt a great strength and motivation to guide women in a yoga practice.
My dream came to being in 2003 when I graduated from the Kundalini yoga teacher training and started teaching prenatal women at Rama Lotus. What a great joy to empower women in their experience of motherhood! I taught the class for over 10 years and recently let the class go. There is a great sadness in this decision. I loved seeing the women come to class every week, watching them grow, listening and answering their question. There was a great reward in seeing them walking down the street, pushing their strollers and have them thank me for the gift of yoga. Their stories of how the prenatal class helped them was a gift to me.
My decision in letting the class go was one of motherhood. My children are older now (12 and 9) and I need to free up some time to be their chauffeur and be their rock as they navigate through the beginnings of adolescence.
I would like to take this moment to thank every woman, who came to my class. I would like to give deep gratitude for the Kundalini practice and it's deep strength. It continually shows women how to go deeper within themselves, to find that space of connection, and to their breath deeply. Thank you.
Thursday, November 14, 2013
"The Attitude of Gratitude is the highest form of Yoga." - Yogi Bhajan
Happiness is something we all wish for. I recently read this wonderful book titled "What Happy People know". Do you know what happy people know? They know, to be appreciative. It has been studied, and happy people, live in appreciation for what they have. Here is a list of things that you can be grateful for:
Appreciate Being Canadian...
As Canadians we live in a land of peace and abundance. We are given choices to create a life of comfort, opportunity and fulfillment.
Appreciate the dawn of a new day...
It is a gift to be alive and living this life experience. We never know, when our last intake of breath will be, appreciate, this very life you live.
Appreciate your income...
Whether you love your employment or it's merely a way of sustaining yourself, you can appreciate the in flow of money it brings.
Appreciate the hard times...
There are moments in life that are hard, and feel like a struggle. These moments are gifts, as they are a compass, pointing us in the right direction. It is up to us, to listen, to be attentive, to be honest, to move forward, and be aware of these deep learning experiences.
Appreciate the good Times ...
There are great moments of joy and happiness. Feel that joy with every fibre of your being.
Appreciate this very moment…
Get out of thinking mode and appreciate the happenings of the here and now.
Appreciate the natural world around you…
Notice the changing of the seasons, revel in the trees that surround you and how they clean the air you breath, notice the singsong of birds, the crisp fresh air, the wide open blue sky, rain drops on your face. Everyday, simply notice and revel in the beauty of nature.
Appreciate the Food that sustains you…
Eat and partake in food that makes you feel alive. Eat consciously and with love for the sustenance that the Earth provides.
Appreciate the Gift of Choice…
You have the power to choose your perspective in life, choose appreciation and gratitude.
Appreciate Yoga and Meditation…
Practice yoga and meditation as it is that gift that allows you to be open and live in a state of appreciation/gratitude.
Thursday, October 31, 2013
Children are most amazing in seeing the beauty and wonders of the world. They express marvel in their surroundings. They see colour with joy and break out into a smile in simply seeing their favourite colour, a squirrel running up a tree, a bird, or a plane. They are curious beings and interested in exploring their surroundings always wanting to learn, move and discover something new. They look up to the people around them as their guides to further their development.
Then, throughout the years the child develops into an adult and that wonder slowly disappears, the learning might remain but the focus becomes narrower. That child turned adult becomes judgemental towards some and loving towards others. He/She forgets the beauty in the red rose, forgets to acknowledge the warmth of the sun on his/her face, the playfulness of the squirrel. He/she forgets to listen to the wind creating movement in it's surroundings and to listen to the birds singing it's morning song. Sadly, life becomes a habit.
I am not saying that you the adult, never notice these wonders that surround you. There are moments of light; like the first time you fall in love, or the discoveries of travel, or in the new growth of spring. Oh, no, I am not saying that the wonders of the world have completely vanished but certainly it has dissipated. Life has become a habit. In the habit of life you forget and feel trapped in your daily routine. What follows suit is boredom, sadness, frustration at your current circumstances, thinking that things would be better IF. If you had a different job, if you had a different partner, if your children were different, if everything were different from what they actually are. Sometimes you explore that if and you create change. You leave your job, your partner, you move homes, only to discover that in time that also becomes a habit and dissatisfaction sets in.
What separates the child's perspective from your adults perspective? It is, the ego. When a child is born, it is egoless. It is open, to the world around them. Everything is new and in time through repeated experiences, the ego develops.
The baby becomes a child, the child an adult and the ego strengthens. When it is strong it separates, it judges, it classifies, it worries, it is fearful. How can you break free from the shackles of this ego and become more childlike? The answer is meditation. Through sitting in stillness in the presence of your breath, a spark is ignited. In this way you break through the space between thought and discover there, wonder, light, and love. You become aware of the essence of life and the magic that lives inside of you and in the world.
With practice, patience and a steady discipline a love of life blooms. The spiritual heart softens. The truth of oness is unveiled, you become like a newborn and see life with fresh eyes and an open heart. It is so simple and yet the ego complicates it by giving you excuses. It whispers excuses of why this would not work for you and why you do not have the time. I challenge you now, to try it. Try it for one week. MEDITATE.
The truth is within you, sitting there bubbling with delight waiting for you to open Pandoras's Box.
Be like the child who notices the wonders of the world.
There is so much to be in awe of...
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
People often assume that I am a vegetarian. It is a natural assumption as many yoga teachers choose to be non meat eaters. Fifteen years ago when I first started my yoga practice, I did become vegetarian. I chose lentils, beans, tofu and other protein substitutes over meat. My reason for this choice was simple; I wanted to practice ahimsa (non-violence), the very first yama of Patanjali's Yoga Sutras. I read books like A Diet for a New America which describes the despicable practices of corporate animal farming and the karma that sits on your dinner plate. I became appalled by the violence which animals were subject to in order to feed me. I won't go into a big discussion about this as I am sure you are familiar with these practices. If you want to know more, the information is at your finger tips through our friend google.
My choice to become a vegetarian was a surprise to my family. I come from a small town in Northern Ontario and my father is an avid hunter. Every fall he goes hunting for deer and moose. He truly believes that these animals were put here on Earth for our consumption. My mother was baffled wondering what she was to cook for me since I was no longer eating her yummy lasagna, spaghetti sauces, Christmas turkey and our traditional meat sea pie. A short aside here to explain that sea pie is a traditional French Canadian meal. It is a mixture of meats cooked in gravy in a thick crust. It is rather delicious with a slather of ketchup and not your typical vegetarian fare.
My first teacher training was in Kundalini yoga and at the end of our training we signed a piece of paper stating that we would practice vegetarianism. So when I decided to end my vegetarian vow it came with lots of guilt.
My reasons for eating meat again? I became pregnant with my son and felt that I needed more oomph to my diet. Whether you eat meat or not is a very personal choice. As I peel the layers of understanding. I realize that I can practice ahimsa and still eat meat. It all depends on what kind of meat I eat. If my protein comes from animals that have been well treated, I consider that 'conscious meat'. I especially like eating the moose and deer that my father brings back after hunting with his friends. Not only have the animals had a great life in the forest but it represents my fathers love of the great outdoors. When he gives me his hunted meat, he hands it over with love. When my father's deer or moose meat is not available I chose organic meats and feel good about it.
As I deepen my practice I recognize that Ahimsa comes in different forms. If one eats a vegetarian diet and judges people who eat meat that is a form of violence. I recognize that we are all individuals and have personal choices in regards to our lifestyle and that honouring each other in our choices with respect and acceptance is the best form of Ahimsa- non-violence. Do what's best for you in your body.
Here are pics of my dad. I love this man. Mom I love you too!