Thursday, 28 February 2013

Savasana...... more than a nap.

I was having a conversation about yoga with a friend of mine and I recommended this great teacher where we live. My friend told me that she has tried her classes and likes her but could I believe that she made them lie on their backs, then turned out the lights and take a nap at the end?!?! I loved this comment and we laughed together while I  explained that she is not the only teacher known to do this, it is called savasana.

Savasana can be, in my opinion, one the most challenging postures. It takes practice like every other posture but once we let go, embrace it and soften we may find that we are able to practice this posture from a different perspective and maybe even enjoy, or absolutely love it.

Some days savasana is why I show up. Savasana is the completion to my practice, it helps me connect to myself, it relieves stress as I melt into mat, and it replenishes my body after all the other asanas I have just completed. Where else can I work hard to challenge my muscles, my balance, my inner chatter, stretch it out and then be given time to lie down and let it all sink it?

I have no big words of wisdom when it comes to better enjoying savansa except practice and embrace it. And what a wonderful pose to practice. There is no pressure, just relax and let go.

Below is a link to a lovely guided savasana with Tianne. I hope you can find time today to enjoy it.

With Gratitude,

Thursday, 21 February 2013

How do you Trap a monkey?

In Yoga, there are many mythological stories or old anecdotes that were shared from teacher to student as a way of teaching a lesson or initiating a practice. These stories aren't meant to be taken literally, but metaphorically. You're meant to meditate on them, talk about them and then translate them into your language and understanding of life for that moment. 

Here's one that always seems to spark some thought for me;

How do you trap a monkey? 
Well, you get a bottle that has a small opening but a large base. In that bottle you place a handful of nuts in it and place it in the backyard (this story takes place in India, so don't imagine your white picket fenced yard with a flower garden and trampoline). 
The monkey will come and put his hand in the bottle and grab an handful of nuts. When he goes to pull his hand out and eat the nuts he won't be able to get his hand out, because the opening is to small. You've now trapped the monkey.

If the monkey would just let go of the nuts he would free himself from the suffering of this circumstance. He wouldn't be trapped!

Sometimes, we hold on to things for way too long. We let it eat at us and create unnecessary suffering. 

Yoga is the perfect opportunity to get REAL with yourself and get know was is and isn't serving you any longer. Then be brave enough to let it go, to surrender it to something bigger. To FREE YOURSELF!

What does this story say to you?


Awaken to your truth, with this quick (45 min) and invigorating class by Natalie,

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Fill Up

Yesterday after school, my son and I picked up my daughter and we headed to the skate park with our bikes. When we got there we saw a nine year old boy ripping it up with his skateboard. He was clearly having fun but was also quite cautious. After awhile I started chatting with his Mom and she quickly told me that two years ago his hip started hurting and was diagnosed with a rare disease that basically disintegrated parts of his hip. He was quickly in a wheelchair. He had since undergone stem cell surgery and slowly he was working his way back. They have no idea if it will last or if he will recover totally. His Mom told me that he probably shouldn't be on a skateboard but it fills his spirit and she believes that spirit is much more important that his hip. She wants him to be happy and feel fulfilled and by watching him, anyone could tell he was.

This story inspires me in so many ways. When my spirit is fulfilled everything else just falls into place in my life. At different times I need different things to do this but we all know the feeling. The bliss after yoga, a good laugh with friends, a cuddle with kids or puppies or a good ride at the skate park. the feeling where nothing can break you. It is so important to take time out to fill ourselves up. If we want to serve and make positive change in this lifetime we need to be ready and we need to feel strong. Take some time to run on the beach, call a friend or do whatever you need to do to fill you spirit. Fill it up the way you fill your body with air. Fill yourself up so that red lights and long grocery store line ups make you appreciate extra time to just chill. Fill up so you can enjoy what life has to offer and so you can spread laughter and love. Fill up your spirit because it is important.

Thankful for the people I meet along the way,

Thursday, 7 February 2013

What's your TRUTH?

In 2001 I entered my first yoga class. My mom was doing yoga at the time and she had asked me that evening to join her. I decided to go because it meant I would be spending some time with her. Something I had committed to do for that week, spend more time with my family. What she didn't know, no one knew, I had planned to kill myself that week. That's why I wanted to spend time with her.

So I jumped in the car with my mom and off we went to Yoga. She was practising Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga at this time. I had no idea what that meant and was OK with whatever. In hindsight this vigorous and faster paced yoga class probably wasn't the best introductory class to drop into, however it was my fate that night.

I was tentative to tell the teacher all my "issues" as there were many to discuss so I gave him the quickest version I could and he looked at me with big eyes. He then followed it up by stacking a few props beside my mat and telling me to rest at any time.

We began class with a strong OM and the Ashtanga invocation. This was all very new to me so I mostly listened to the sounds and experienced the vibrations. We then followed this with 3 Surya Namaskara A's & 3 B's. This is a very traditional "warm up" for the Ashtanga method and quickly connects you to your body through your breath, which is the main focus of Ashtanga yoga. Synchronising your movements with your breath.

It was very apparent within the first moment that I hadn't taken a long deep breath in years. That I was very much out of shape for my age (20 yrs old) and that yoga is much harder than I thought. My mom was in her element (she's a very fit lady) and very much enjoying herself.

I faced my demons in that class and at the end collapsed on my back. Grateful for the floor beneath me. When I lied back and closed my eyes for Shavasana (final relaxation pose, also known as Corpse pose) I immediately started to cry. I could feel my whole body release and the long held emotions rising to the surface. Feelings I had been pushing down for years. Feelings of deep sadness and confusion. Years of pain and suffering, years of feeling alone and lost. Years of wishing I had actually died that night I was struck by a car as I walked to a friends house.

However in that moment, in Shavasana, some higher energy (you can call it what you want) I refer to it as GOD. reached within my body and held me. Held me like a parent holds their sad child. A strong embrace with unconditional love. No words were spoken, but I felt more than I've ever felt before, that I couldn't give up, that I needed to speak my truth, that I needed to ask for HELP!

I did just that after this first class. I told my mom and Step dad everything and began the journey of getting help. It was also the beginning of my undying love for my yoga practice. One that I've never turned away from, one that has served me more than words can describe.

I tell you this story today, because CJ and I were introduced to Ginny Dennehy over the weekend at the Victoria Yoga Conference and she's left a large impression on me. After losing her son to Suicide and years later her only remaining child (Riley, her daughter) to a heart attack, her strength and presence is one I'll never forget. Ginny and her husband started a foundation to help people with depression related suicide. Please read more about her at, and please take a moment to "like" their facebook page as it will help the foundation out immensely,

I'm grateful everyday for this Yoga "awakening" and for all of those who have helped in my healing process. 

May we all have the courage to look within ourselves and speak our truth.