Thursday, 30 January 2014

Effort and Ease


There are two sutras that mention asana in Pantanjali’s Yoga Sutras and this is one of them.

Sthira sukham asanam: the posture is steady and comfortable.

There is a challenge in yoga of finding that beautiful balance between effort and ease. That place where you feel your body, strong and solid, blood pumping, and your muscles are working and yet at the same time a place where you could hold the posture all day. Your breath is even and your mind is still.

Those moments on my mat are the moments that I crave. It is a feeling of being in mid air, not going up or falling down its just being present with strength but without struggle.

As we move through this life may we all find moments of that balance, effort and ease. May we work hard but find joy in our work, may we run up those hills even when they seem too big but know that we can relax into the earth, that our legs are strong and that our breath is steady.


With Gratitude,
CJ






Thursday, 23 January 2014

Do it for your Kids!

I remember leaning up against the side wall of the aerobics classroom, with my sister, colouring and playing Barbies while my mom did her weekly step class. This was one of the many classes she did every week to help manage her work stresses, stay healthy and feel good. My sister and I didn't mind as we liked watching everyone and listening to the loud pop music.

Growing up, we were encouraged to be active, play sports and be outside as much as we could. If we spent too much time watching TV my mom would yell at us to "get out of the house, go play!", and usually followed it up by telling us stories of her playing kick the can with her friends & brothers for hours. I'm still not completely sure what "kick the can" is. ha ha!

We had a trampoline in our backyard and the neighbourhood kids always came over to play. Actually our back door was never even locked.

What I appreciate now about all of this, is that my mom didn't just talk the talk, but she walked the talk. She was (and still is) just as active as us, and a lot of the time instigated family activities for us. Because of this, all of her (3) kids are fit, healthy people, who see the value in not only staying active but also in self care.

It's easy to get caught up in the busyness of life and put your "self care" routines to the back burner. For a lot of us mom's we have guilt over extra time away from the family, doing activities that fuel us. Guilt for being "selfish" in taking that time. What I'm hoping to remind you of today is that taking care of yourself will help your kids. Getting to your yoga mat, moving your body, taking deep breathes, settling into the moment and gathering perspective will not only serve YOU but also show your children that self care and self love is apart of living a vibrant and rich life. 

"I am arriving at the circle where one works on oneself as a gift to other people, so that one doesn't create more suffering. I help people as I work on myself and I work on myself to help other people." Ram Dass, from the book; Paths to God;Living the Gita

So if you can't get to your yoga mat today for yourself than do it for your kids. 

With you on this path,
Lauren

CHECK out YOGO.tv's New Makeover & do a yoga class while you're at it.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Inspiration



The first time I heard this I was in Mexico at a Dharma talk. It inspired me to the core and I find I come back to these words often. I would like to share them with you.

OM
CJ

There is a river flowing now very fast. It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid. They will try to hold on to the shore. They will feel they are being torn apart, and they will suffer greatly.

Know the river has its destination. The elders say we must let go of the shore, push off into the middle of the river, keep our eyes open, and our heads above the water. See who is in there with you and celebrate.

At this time in history, we are to take nothing personally. Least of all, ourselves. For the moment that we do, our spiritual growth and journey comes to a halt.

The time of the lone wolf is over. Gather yourselves!

Banish the word struggle from your attitude and your vocabulary.

All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration.

We are the ones we've been waiting for.
—The Elders Oraibi
Arizona Hopi Nation


 

Thursday, 9 January 2014

What to Shed for 2014?

Recently I've heard from a few of my yoga teacher friends that they feel uninspired with their personal yoga practice. They are finding it challenging to get to the mat and when they do they feel stuck in old patterns and struggle in & out of postures.

I can relate to this (I think most dedicated yoga practitioners can). After I had my daughter (back in 2009) I too struggled with my personal practice. It was a lot different post baby than pre-baby. I was different post baby. I kept putting expectations on my self that it was supposed to be like it was. That my yoga practice "should" do what it used to for me and that I was "supposed to" move the same way. In reality this was far from the truth. I was stuck because I kept putting unnecessary expectation on what my practice "should" be, instead of recognizing what I needed it to be or how it could serve me that day.

I observe people having a similar approach towards the new year, especially around resolutions. There are a lot of "should's" floating around out there. You should shed pounds, you should eat better, you should do more, you should work harder, you should buy this, you should go here. I can feel anxieties rise up in me just writing this. So much pressure. To live up to all these "shoulds". Society bombards us with pressures, to live a certain way, look a certain way, behave a certain way. What I love about Yoga is that it allows time for me to question those external pressures and inquire within as to what matters to me.

The Greek philosopher, Heraclitus said it best, "The only thing that is constant is change."

Everything changes, including our yoga practice. So may we be accepting of this natural constant and embrace our yoga practice for what it is, time to BE. Leaving behind the unnecessary pressures (both internal & external) of where we think we "should" be or what our yoga practice "should" look like and just respect where we are. Doesn't mean we don't strive to improve or evolve but that we do so with an innate sensitivity for the ever changing spirits we all are.

From my heart to yours,
Lauren

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Big Change


As my kids and I watched from our kitchen windows the snow falling and falling and the beautiful thick layer of white that was continuing to build, my daughter said, "it's amazing how so many tiny little snowflakes can make such a huge mess of snow in our yard." 

That's what it takes, many tiny little snowflakes, unique, falling separately and landing in different places but when they come together they can shut down an entire city. They can take your breath away, they can cause stillness in madness, and laughter among strangers. When these tiny little snowflakes come together and become one.

As we approach this new year together let's remember that if we continue to come together, all the different and unique beings that we are, with different ideas and approaches and beliefs, we too can cause stillness amongst madness and we too can create peace and freedom and laughter with strangers.

May this year bring you good health, crazy wonderful love and pure bliss.

With much warmth,
CJ