Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Yoga Adventure in Iceland

This past May, 20 yogini’s and yogi’s from the Yoga Centre Winnipeg, set out on an amazing adventure to Iceland .

Winnipeg is just an hour’s drive from Gimli  Manitoba, a small lakeside town in a region known as New Iceland. This area that boasts the highest Icelandic population outside of Iceland! We also had several travellers with Icelandic heritage in the group and so we were quick to boast about our connections!

However, not one of us was prepared for the warmth of the Icelandic people, or the awe inspiring natural landscape, so diverse from our own land! Every time we turned our heads there were vast fields of lava, steaming streams, geysers, moss-covered mountains, volcanoes, waterfalls, and so much more.

Our outstanding guides navigated us skillfully, and joyfully, through the rugged Icelandic terrain.  Almost magically, every time we stopped to view another spectacular site, the sun popped out, along with a rainbow or two. Sure enough, as time to board the bus approached, the clouds gathered and the rain poured from the sky. As we drove through the countryside, our knowledgeable guides entertained us with information about the country, peppered with Icelandic sagas, and tales of elves. It seems that more than a few of us returned home with an elf.

Though the rain was significant, it did not detract from the marvelousness of our experience; whether it was touring the sights, shopping, or our most fabulous foodie tour of Reykjavík!! No words could prepare us for the delights of that day! Mmmmmm, the rye bread baked in the ground, ice cream made from the same rye bread, divine rainbow trout and fish stew to die for, were only some of the cuisine we sampled that we are all still drooling over one month later! Even the hotel breakfasts were a treat- fresh skyr, endless coffee, and smoked salmon were some of the highlights- but no one will forget the cod liver oil shooters- yup! Sounds nasty, but surprisingly great!

It’s hard to pinpoint what stood out the most. Many will treasure the time spent soaking in the warm and healing waters of the blue lagoon, or horse back riding at the foot of the volcano; while others carry with them images of the black beaches or standing at the edge of the glacier with the black volcanic ash starkly contrasted against the white ice.

With morning and evening yoga to balance and integrate each day of wonder, our group of intrepid yogis loved every moment of this amazing trip.

Thank you Travel Yogi and Season Tours !!
 Hugs and love
 Jan and Shauna and the Yoga Centre Winnipeg Travel Elves

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

My Yoga Journey

My yoga journey started when I was 14,  (1969) in the basement of my parents house in northern Manitoba in a small room next to the coal bin.  
My mom found yoga instructions in readers digest magazine and suggested I try. I am a tall, thin, shy adolescent - not interested in playing hockey- looking for something to do alone in those long dark winters.  I was young and very flexible and strong so i mastered the yoga positions and loved the practice.  

Flash ahead to 2017 and I start yoga teacher training with Yoga Center Winnipeg. 

I am now 61 years old and have not been particularly physically active other than a demanding career and wonderful active family to preoccupy me.  So I have the 47 year old memory of how easy things were and I am quickly faced with the reality that my current body is not nearly as agile as my younger self remembers.   I have had a serious back injury, broken bones and experiencing genetic concerns regarding connective tissue and just plain not exercising and the realities of aging.  All of these limitations /facts as I am studying yoga philosophy opens me to a whole new understanding of what yoga really is. I have no idea what I signed up for.  

The teachers are especially caring accepting, encouraging and able to support and assist to compensate for the injuries, fears, limitations and age without judgement and always accepting each person as an individual on their own journey.  

No competition and just accept the current situation and breath just breath. 

I know the holistic healing aspects of yoga and mindfulness from my years of working with people and their families who have endured physical, mental health issues and traumatic experiences. Years of work in human services has brought me to understand that human injuries and trauma can be greatly benefited from yoga, mindfulness and health diet. I have done compassion training in the past and experienced how a dedication to the process creates change in how the individual see and interact with the world. Part of the draw to teacher training was for me  to teach yoga/mindfulness in the area of mental health both for those diagnosed and those working with or supporting people, to maintain overall health for all.

The teacher training process, individual classes and the daily practice I am cultivating have enhanced my life in all areas.  The experience is far beyond my expectations as I start this training.  

I am not sure where my yoga journey will take me but I know wherever it takes me I will bring along a quieter, calmer more understanding mind and more compassionate responses to the world.

Big shout out to all of the amazing trainers, teachers, and other yoga students (who are all teachers in their own right) and participants I have met along the way. Each of you have brought an experience that is unique and wonderful. Pushing, pulling, nudging, accepting, exploring, encouraging and always open to each student’s questions and personal experience. The front staff are always welcoming to each person by name and with a genuine hello and caring interaction.  The instructors are able to connect with each student to help address their journey with specific support and encouragement and eventually an understanding of injuries and adjustments.   The entire yoga journey for me has been greatly enhanced by the staff at Yoga Center of Winnipeg.

Thank you all. 

So now I keep going.

Where will this adventure go??
Diane Lau
(p.s. paintings by Diane, added to the blog without permission(!) from her Facebook page)

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

How yoga changed my life

I love yoga. 

To be honest, I am not entirely sure how it changed my life, but I am certain that it has.

To me yoga is a small
well used word 
that encompasses 
so much. 
It's a way of life
not just the asana
or poses,
that are so known. 

Yoga to me
is the good intentions
the breathing
the teachings
the body awareness
the self awareness.

Its about the practicing of all of it, and learning how to be my best self, and live my truest life. 

Don’t get me wrong, I love the poses too. They feel great, the stretch, the release, and the progress into deeper and more complex poses. The poses help the energy move and flow so that the intentions and life practices can take shape.

So finding a yoga practice and adding all of the above to my life 10 years ago has changed my life for the better. I had been doing yoga for a few years with Bluemoon/kuhlektiv yoga before I took my fist yoga teacher training.  Now both of these things had a huge hand in making yoga big in my life. The classes spoke to me, helped my “desk job”  ridden body, left me with good intentions, self-awareness and all around feeling good. I wanted to take it to the next level and kuhlektiv yoga helped me find a YTT that suited me. I completed the first third of the YTT with Ally Gaiatri while I was  two months pregnant.  Unfortunately, because I was pregnant and the YTT was in Calgary, I didn't get a chance to complete the second and third modules. However, I believe that being pregnant during this initial YTT shaped how yoga is present in my life now.  

Being a mom is a huge part of my life now, but the yoga had staying power and they have woven together. 

Yoga helps me 
be a better mom 
(I hope and think maybe?!)
my intentions 
give me more patience 
(usually not enough, but it helps)
more love
more mindfulness
mostly the practice of reminding myself of all these things
that we are all doing our best.

So I guess I do know how yoga changed my life: 
in all the ways mentioned above and so much more!!

Going forward, I hope to keep growing my practice.
I am sure yoga will continue to change my life.

T. Horechko