Monday, January 30, 2012

Half of sixty Seva Yoga

Volunteering doesn't have to take a lot of time, but it can be incredibly rewarding. An opportunity I took advantage of this past weekend was an outdoor walk organized to motivate people who suffer from chronic pain to get active.  It felt great to be outside, meet new people and get a jump start on the day; thirty of my favourite minutes from the weekend were spent in service, what a gift! So, feel free to step off your mat and do some (Seva) Yoga!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Enjoy (your weekend)!

One day some people came to the master and asked: How can you be happy in a world of such impermanence, where you cannot protect your loved ones from harm, illness or death? The master held up a glass and said: Someone gave me this glass; It holds my water admirably and it glistens in the sunlight. I touch it and it rings! One day the wind may blow it off the shelf, or my elbow may knock it from the table. I know this glass is already broken, so I enjoy it -- incredibly. 
- Achaan Chah Subato

Monday, January 23, 2012

Duck, Duck...

We arrived back in Goose Bay this past weekend. It felt good to explore and spend time with Adam and Jules. And, as of last night, I've officially experienced the beauty of Aurora Borealis; two worlds colliding couldn't be more spectacular:

Here's a welcome reminder I offer myself when I forget to remember all the satisfaction and joy I have in my life. Some of you might remember me referencing this in my December yoga classes; when we slip into unconsciousness and the soft and splendid spirit of the season is lost in our hearts. How many of us have run around looking for that *special gift* complaining to ourselves about the many stores we've had to go to, the horrible traffic we've endured and the long lines that take 'forever' to get through (giving up control of our capacity to shift our own mood and perspective)?

Hope it serves you well on a Monday morning:

Service which is rendered without joy helps neither the one who serves nor the served. But all pleasures and possessions pale into nothingness before service which is rendered in a spirit of joy.
- Mahatma Ghandi

*Photos taken in Goose Bay, NL by  Brett Wilson*

Friday, January 20, 2012

Get YIN to it

Yin yoga is about surrender. 

v. sur·ren·dered, sur·ren·der·ing, sur·ren·ders
1. To relinquish possession or control of to another because of demand or compulsion.
2. To give up in favor of another.
3. To give up or give back (something that has been granted)
4. To give up or abandon
5. To give over or resign (oneself) to something, as to an emotion
To give oneself up, as to an enemy.

Within a yin class, postures are typically released into- as opposed to held onto- anywhere from three to five minutes in length or longer. The student lets go of as much muscular effort as possible in order to release fascia and maintain the health of connective tissue. The result is greater range of motion and increased joint stability. On a mental, emotional and energetic level, yin yoga has the capacity to change your life by changing your lens on life; increasing the flow of prana (qi) in the body. The opportunity for insight, wellness and growth is truly exponential. It also helps to encourage, nourish or deepen a mindful meditation practice.  But, it's one thing to be aware and something completely different when put into practice. You cannot understand the capacity that (yin) yoga has to better your world, life and perspective until you combine action with theory.

Surrender the body.
Surrender the mind.
Give over to the spirit-
and get back in control.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Always already home

                                  If you cannot find the truth right where you are, where else do you expect to find it?
-Dogen Zenji

Adam and I went for a walk the other night. The crisp air was revitalizing. En route, we realized how difficult it was to carry on a conversation. Turns out that the need to bundle up keeps not only the wind, but the sound out too. Regularly repeating ourselves, we decided to keep the verbal exchange to a minimum. The result? A wonderful opportunity to be together without talking. Simple satisfaction in experience itself.

We're expecting to return to Goose Bay tomorrow afternoon; I wonder if the elements will agree.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Population: 700

We arrived in Hopedale, Labrador on Monday. I wasn't aware that passenger planes could be that small. Hopefully the photo will give you a sense of its size. I've been equally unaware of just how much our actions can effect our communities. It's easier to feel distant in a bigger city (all being relative) and to think less about more people.

While attempting to exit the airplane in Hopedale my daughter, having just been roused from a deep sleep, refused the necessary winter clothes to go from plane to skidoo in order to reach our new home. I tried for twenty long minutes to dress and/or reason with my child. I was delaying the pilot and the new passengers aboard waiting to leave. In that exact moment,  I realized that everyone wanted me and my two-year old daughter off the plane. I quickly ended my attempts at reasoning with her and got her dressed as quickly as possible. And, away we went- crying toddler and all. I was so grateful that she enjoyed riding on the skidoo.
I realize that if someone has an accident, is reckless or has any other medical emergencies, it impacts me and my family. My husband is the only doctor here so when I see people on skidoos testing the limits of man and machine, I can't help but feel it a little more. And sometimes I even whisper, 'Please be careful.'

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Practice off the mat

We arrived in Labrador yesterday, barely. On one side, the plane was delayed in Halifax; on the other, Goose Bay was in the midst of a storm. And, there we were- somewhere north of middle ground, bags being weighed while simultaneously being told that the impending winds might divert the plane to Deer Lake.

Feeling frustrated, I made a conscious decision to get curious about what was making me so ill at ease. Although my body was still in St. John`s, my mind had my feet firmly planted on the crisp, squeaky, Labrador snow. No matter how many times an old realization becomes new, I`m still grateful in the moment. Was there a moment today where you can recall the separation of mind from body? Are you willing to take a minute to simply be, exactly where you are, and think about it?