Monday, 28 May 2018

why I love yoga

I love yoga for many reasons. 

First and foremost, it helps me maintain balance in my life. By that I mean it gives me permission to take time for me! It brings me closer to the connection between my mental health, my emotional well being, strengthening my body and connecting with spirit.
Another great reason I love Yoga is that it makes me feel beautiful.  When I get into dancers pose, I imagine myself as free, transformed with grace and poise.  Yoga can take you to anywhere you want to go. All you have to do is be. 
Yoga takes on many different versions from meditation, relaxation, to steady movements of flow. Any day of the week you can take a class or even practice at home and it will be your choice of which practice you choose for the day.  I base my practice on how I feel that day or more importantly how I want to feel when I’m finished.  

Yoga has made me more conscious of my daily decisions and how I interact with others. There have been many times in my life where I have reacted to a situation instead of responding. Now I think about how my actions will not only affect how I feel about myself but also how others see me. There is a rippling effect to all of our interactions with others.

 Every person you meet, converse with, even those you pass on the street. Yoga has brought me closer to the profound impact we all have on one another.

Yoga is not only yoga, it’s so much more! You will find what you’re looking for if you are open to it. We all need something of our own to bring us closer to our true selves, for me its yoga.

Michelle Greenslade

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Why I Love Yoga !!!

I have always enjoyed being an active person; swimming, cycling, gymnastics,
coaching, teaching, learning. But once upon a time, I got caught in an office job
and I found myself in front of a computer for long hours dealing with stressful
situations. I fell out of activity. I got lost in gyms. Machines and weights are
terrible conversationalists. I didn’t like being yelled at in robotic aerobics classes.
Spin class are not my jam. I worked as a lifeguard so long, I developed an
allergy to chlorine.

What to do, what to do? !!

I missed my body. We didn’t know each other any more. I never seemed to move except from place to place, my car to my office chair. Thebody needs to move! Yoga seemed like a way to do that. I signed up for classes and had the good fortune to be introduced to yoga, and reacquainted with my body (especially my toes),with Hart Lazer. The attention to detail was painstaking. What a foundation. I loved every minute and have tried to make yoga a part of my life since then.

The Yoga Centre Winnipeg IS my jam!!!!

Yoga is a lovely way to do my own lovely thing with a group of lovely people doing their own lovely thing while guided by lovely caring attentive instructors that invite me to explore.

I am not told so much what to do, but rather asked to feel my way through a series of poses that open my body, mind and soul. It can be energizing or restorative. It is always inspiring. Best for me, yoga makes me happy! Yoga is by far the best way I have found to stretch and move and enjoy being alive. Bonus lovely are the associated paths yoga has led me to: meditation, spiritual practices, consciousness literature. And yoga stretches itself off the mat and into my enriched daily life:
          Awareness. Presence. Gratitude. Positivity. Kindness. Humour.

It even influenced my career move of getting out of an office and into being a massage therapist. Woot! And best of all, I know it is something I can do til I’m 80. Or older!

Namaste ~ Pat!!!

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Finding Space

My yoga mat is a very busy place.  When I roll it out on the studio floor and stand back to admire its colour (purple, my favorite), it looks like an empty mat.  An open space, reserved just for me.  There to support me, encourage me, hold and heal me.  And it is.  An open and empty place; until I step onto it. 

I think of caged water, pushing hard against its limits and the intensity of the release when its allowed to flow.   That’s what happens when I step on my mat only its not rushing water, its all of the other things.  Past experiences, failures, and embarrassments.  My distorted perception of myself, my mental illness, my fears and all of my broken pieces.   They are on that mat with me and sometimes for me, the greatest challenge on my mat is not the practice of yoga at all, but the practice of sitting with all of those judgments, that fear, that illness, those broken pieces.  
It was only a few years ago that yoga found me.

We had been introduced years before that but I wasn’t ready for it.  It wasn’t time.  I say that because the practice, for me, is more than movement and growth of my body but truly a movement of everything I am. My spirit and mind are holding that Plank and feel sensation right along with my thighs.  When I started the practice, I was deep in a depression and one of the hardest parts of my being in a deep dive is that my eyes don’t look the same.   They are flat, there is no spark, I can’t feel the essence of who I know I am.   Reduced to a pilot light, knowing I am a blazing inferno at my best.  Looking in the mirror, facing that darkness, was too big.  

The studio where I began to practice had mirrors along the walls and one day I came to class and the only places left in the room were at the front, face to face with the mirror.  The place I had been avoiding. 
I rolled out my mat, that optimistic space that quickly became so very busy as I stepped onto it.  Moving into Tadasana, grounding my feet and feeling the rooting and strength grow through my legs, exhaling and allowing my shoulders to relax back and open my chest.  Arms passively at my side, submitting to the fear of the impossible task ahead of me.  Slowly, my gaze moved up the mirror and there they were.  Those empty eyes staring back at me and the sting of tears rolling down my cheeks.  I just stood there, the rest of the class passive in Svasana, I stood there.  Fighting a silent battle, waging war on an invisible illness and beginning to see the utter lack of compassion that I feel for my illness, my fears, my broken pieces.

  The hardest work I did in that class, that day, wasn’t the practice of yoga. It was the practice letting go, the practice of learning to make space for all of the things about me, whether I like them or not.  Whether I have control over them walking on that mat with me, or not.  Learning compassion for ones’ self, making room for all of the pieces is hard.  It burns like the deep lunge of Warrior II, it takes your breath like sun salutations, challenges your balance like Tree.  Learning compassion for yourself, all of yourself, is sometimes the deepest stretch. 

The fact is, like so many others, I have fears, I have mental illness, I have broken pieces.   They are part of me, they walk with me. We can’t always control the things we are given but we can control how we walk with them. Hating them, resenting them, is hating me, wishing away me, my parts, my pieces. 

The greatest practice on and off the mat is finding balance with them all and learning to smile at the darkness.  To find softness in the hard places. To push through the long holds and be strong knowing you always have the power to make space, to find a place, for all of the pieces.   


Jennifer Forzley

Thursday, 3 May 2018

Loving Yoga

The Bhagavad Gita defines yoga as, “the practice of tolerating the consequences of being yourself”. As soon as I read that phrase I adopted it as my definition of yoga, namely, as a practice which has come to both guide me and inform me of who I am and what I do. But what does tolerating the consequences of being yourself mean to me? It means being authentic or being true to myself, being honest with myself and accepting the consequences of that. Inherent in the phrase is the suggestion that one needs to know oneself  in order to be authentic. But the funny thing with yoga is that I am learning something about myself every time I get on the mat and as often, when off, living my life. (Sometimes I feel what I learn is profound, while other times it’s just mundane bits and pieces that make sense to me). So, for me, being authentic is an evolving process. I start out thinking I know myself fairly well, and am then surprised and sometimes disheartened by the depth of knowing that happens on the mat when I am still and can listen, instead of when I am trying to get somewhere or be someone.   Yoga reminds me to pay attention. It reminds me to be patient. It reminds me to be compassionate.,  and it reminds me it is an ongoing practice.

Tolerating the consequences of being myself also means truly accepting who I am and where I am in the moment, understanding that this moment is all that I have, is all that is. For me, it means that yoga is an active, alive and vibrant experience or entity or journey,  forever shifting and changing. Kind of like the ocean or a dance. It means that I have to surrender to being myself, warts and all, as well as jewels and all.  It means that no matter what I might want from a pose or practice, the pose or practice may well have something else to teach me. I am slowly learning to listen to this voice.

I love yoga. I love it when I feel great and I love it when I don’t. I love it when I can “master” an asana and even when I can’t, which I now understand as the constant.  I love the walls that are there for me to take down. I love the sense of accomplishment I feel when I have tackled something hard and have found success. I love the feeling of quiet and stillness I experience some days and alternatively, the excitement and energy I experience on other days. I love the feeling of fellowship in the studio. I love what each teacher has to offer. Through yoga I am becoming the person I want to be. For this and for all it’s gifts, I am grateful.