Saturday, 28 December 2013

peaceful warrior

On page 200 of my Meditations from the Mat book, Clyde B. writes “what I like about yoga is that it is not based on faith, it is based on experience. I know from experience that I carry stress in my body, and the postures are ways not only of releasing that stress but confronting it, experiencing it and understanding it. You have to learn to accept it, to live with it, and to let it go.”

This passage has helped me deal with the challenges that I’ve faced this year. I’ve also learned to be grateful for the gifts that I have received from life’s lessons.

2013 started off being a wonderful year for our family. Not only was I loving my first year teacher training but our new granddaughter was born during my weekend teacher training in February! Gracie, our angel, joined our three other grandchildren. What a great way to start off our year!

Life was going along just fine: beautiful grandchildren, great summer days spent at the lake with family and friends, an incredible workshop with Jan and Shauna (even though I asked myself the second day if I should be participating in this workshop). By day three of the workshop, I knew that I could let go of my fears of inversion and just enjoy the journey. I could feel the support from my teachers and yoga practitioners. Everyone was compassionate and I started to understand that fear was giving me doubts and anxiety. I was the only person putting undue stress on myself.

I completed the workshop with a calm mind and a new appreciation of yoga and my teachers. I felt so empowered and grateful to be a part of this community. I didn’t know what life had in place for me, but this workshop gave me the strength and the experience to accept it, to live with it, and to let it go.

Thank you Jan and Shauna for helping me find this lesson.

At the beginning of September, I came home from a yoga class, walked in to the house and knew from one look at my husband that something awful had happened. He had just received the news that a young man, Tyler, who has been with us for over 17 years and who we love dearly, was diagnosed with an aggressive bone cancer. This meant an amputation in the following weeks. This vulnerable young man, who suffers from FASD and who has always had the most positive outlook on life, could not understand the extent of his diagnosis due to his challenges. My family was devastated. I became stronger for them, ensuring them that his spirit would stay the same, and that we had to be strong for him. We have to live in the moment.

Less than two weeks later, my brother called me and told me he had to speak to me about something serious. His wife had cancer and needed surgery at the beginning of October. Karen is only 51 years old and has three sons. My brother was shattered. Once again, I found the strength to support him and told him to live in the moment, to not think too far ahead.

Last weekend, we celebrated Christmas with our young man, Tyler, who is walking with crutches and always smiling. I have a new appreciation for grounding the four corners of your feet and the tree pose. He is a true warrior and has not lost that positive outlook on life.

the author is currently enrolled in the yoga centre winnipeg 200hr  teacher training program

Friday, 13 December 2013

So after a very long break without any blogs the yoga centre blog has been revived!!!Once again the upcoming posts will be from participants in the Yoga Centre Winnipeg 200hr Teacher Training Program



I came to yoga (full time) in Feb. 2011.  I was suffering with extreme anxiety and my body was shaking.  My nervous system was exhausted and I could not relax.
I immediately found comfort in the yoga philosophy and the kindness of my fellow students and teachers.

Over the two years I have practiced faithfully. Each day coming to my mat with hopefulness.

I struggle with the fact that I have gained 15 lbs and I have not noticed much difference in my bodies flexibility.  I want to do it “right”.  I want to be “good” at yoga and I’m not.  I need props and I can’t sit in virasana.  I’m having a hard time with my expectations on how a posture “should” look.  I’m struggling with attachment.  I don’t like “letting go”.  All these struggles in yoga are the same struggles that I have life.  (go figure)

Now the good news …………sometimes, when everything is just right, when I’m lulled by my teachers soothing voice, out of my thinking mind, I find something that wasn’t there before-  SPACE. 
I can breathe deep, calm, quality breaths down to the tips of my toes. The breath brings a peacefulness that I didn't know existed.  
 That’s where I have grown. That’s where my diligence has paid off.   On the inside! 
Those magic moments are coming more frequently than they did in the beginning. I’m willing to look at my beliefs about how yoga postures and life “should”  look.  I continue to heal and grow.  I know I will never NOT do yoga.  I think it’s magical.
 I am forever grateful to my humble teachers.


Thursday, 30 May 2013

Letting Go

We arrive with intent to hang on
Holding tightly to all that is
Then we discover through trial and error
That we only have what we can’t hold
Our will,
            our love,
                        our peace of mind,
                                    our reason for being
                                                            our breath…..

Elaine Klym

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Trip of a Lifetime yoga in the Maya Lands

We have just recently returned from our Holiday in Mexico. A group of 23 of us including Jan and myself headed to the Mayan Riviera for a week.  The trip was hosted and organized by the Tao Centre for Inspired Living.

This was not your average yoga holiday on the beach- in fact we spent more time in the jungle. This trip was about connecting with the ancient rhythm of the earth, challenging personal perceptions, and transformation.

We feasted like royalty, did yoga, walked , swam,  snorkeled, floated, hiked, walked, zip-lined, canoed, rode bikes, climbed pyramids, and ventured into ancient caves called cenote’s.
A different aspect of the journey spoke to each of us, awakening of some deep part of our being and asking us to step forward a new.

We began the trip with a ceremony led by a Mayan healer.  In this ceremony we honoured the 4 directions and the elements and set our intentions. From that moment on, the transformations began.
 Perhaps it was the stark contrast of leaving the deep hibernation state of Winnipeg winter and arriving into the lush and vibrant tropics that was so powerful, but, there is definitely something about the Maya lands that wakes one up and shakes you out of your everyday reality. It is the ever present energy of the ocean, and the vibrant  pulse of life that is felt walking through the jungle. Without a doubt the energy of mother earth and rebirth is palpable in the abundance of  hidden water caves (cenotes) which literally connect one to the feeling of being in the womb of mother earth. These limestone sinkholes are often pitch dark, with bats and stalactites, and stalagmites. Visitors must often travel down a little ladder and swim or float through the cave to experience them fully.

Sometimes the Maya lands would teach us to step out of our notion of time and to relax into the moment- when the shuttle did not show-up on time, or our adventure took us hours longer than expected. Somehow it all worked out, helping us to trust the flow of the universe!
 This lesson about time was mirrored in an experience we had on our last day- floating down a mile long canal. In this canal one could not really swim, infact it was counter productive (a little like worrying). Instead, we had to surrender to the flow of the water. Occasionally we bumped into the waters edge or one another but ultimately the current took us where we needed to go and each of us got their in our own time.

 My own transformation took a literal turn when I lost my travel purse containing everything from cell phone to passport. I literally had to replace my identity.  The process was not one I would recommend, but like any transformation involved a feeling of resistance, struggle, doubt, letting go, acceptance, patience and ultimately resolve.
Walking around without the important documents, credit cards & the precious "iPhone" was remarkably freeing!

A number of us chose to participate in a Mayan sweat lodge ceremony called a Temescal. This ceremony was spiritual equivalent to letting go of one’s identity and cherished notions of self and coming out reborn. Impossible to describe, beautiful, challenging and freeing!

The people we met were friendly and loving with, hearts wide open. We were fortunate to have several ceremonies with Mayan elders, as well as touring the area with guides who were deeply connected to the land and the people. We learned so much- not just about the maya- or the land, but about life. One of the messages of the traditional Maya was the honoring of the present reality but also the heavens and the underworld equally. This understanding of nature and the cosmos led them to honor death and life equally.  Our guides reminded us that we are all part of an intricate web of life, and that what one does effects the whole.
 I can only speak for myself, but I have a feeling that most would agree- the blessing and transformation of this trip was a visceral knowing that change is an essential part of life and that we are deeply interconnected  to each other and all of life.

 I am so grateful to my fellow travellers, and the beautiful people we met who  facilitated & guided us on this journey, the ocean, the jungle, and all that came together to make this trip a reality.

In Lakesh, ( I am a reflection of you)