Thursday, 27 February 2014

Thank you

The placement of the mat does not always determine the teacher or the student.

I am a student. I will always be a student first. The times that I take that spot at the front of the class and lead others through the practice of yoga I become a student and a teacher. As I watch the most inspiring yogis show up and roll out their mats to practice together I learn from them. They may not know, but daily, they are also the teachers.

They inspire me with the way they mindfully connect their movements with their breath and how they skillfully place their hands and feet on the mat. I am shown community as they gather together to support each other as we move. I see dedication as they continue to show up regardless of snow, long nights at work or big hockey games. I am reminded to soften and have fun as our eyes connect and smiles spread.

I thank all the beautiful people that show up each day and get on your mats. Regardless of where you sit in class or how many years you have practiced, we are all students and we are all teachers.

With so much gratitude for the lessons you have taught me, continue to teach me and how you inspire me with your commitment, your dedication and your presence.

From my entire heart, I thank you,
CJ


Thursday, 20 February 2014

Need to discriminate

"Put no head above your own, check everything out for yourself." Buddha

I've had many incredible yoga teachers over the last 13 yrs. Some I've studied intensely with and other just for short workshops or specific classes. All have left an imprint in my yoga practice, teaching career and ultimately, my life.

It's easy as yoga students to get attached to your teachers, especially those thoughtful teachers that have dedicated their days, months and lives to the practice and study of yoga. For a lot of us, teaching yoga is our dharma (purpose in life). It is for me. So really it makes sense that a student, who feels this and connects with a particular teacher gets attached. I know I sure have.

It's also part of our human nature to look externally for the answers we desire, to inquire with those who may be older and more experienced than us for the resolutions or freedoms we long for. Some of those teachers have really thought provoking and intelligent things to say, that yes, will inspire you to try a particular method or change the way you approach your yoga mat or your daily life. This is one of the great values in learning yoga from a skillful teacher.

What I'm hoping to touch on in this posting is the need to discriminate or distil these teachings within ourselves. To take the necessary time to assimilate and digest what your teacher is asking of you, so you can check in with your core values to see if that resonates with you. To pull harder on the threads that speak to your heart and impact your life and eliminate that that doesn't. Just because your yoga teacher said this is what they believe to be true or what the ancient sages know to be true, doesn't necessarily mean that's your truth. What the sages of yoga are encouraging you to do is dedicate yourself to a particular practice/ritual and experience those teachings for yourself. Then put to action the teachings that have meaning for you, in your life.

Even the mythological stories that are deeply rooted in the yoga traditions aren't meant to be taken literally, they are metaphors for a way of living life or dealing with a situation. They are meant to spark a conversation with your peers or within yourSELF. They are meant to inspire action from within you. 

So the next time you're at yoga class and your teacher inspires you to consider something, may you do just that. Consider how that teaching aligns with you and  your core values. Extract the essential meaning or most important aspect of that teaching and eliminate that that doesn't serve you. This will not only allow for the teachings to be more authentic to you, but will also allow for a healthy detachment between the student and teacher. Something I know speaks loudly to those who've been impacted by the worldly Yoga scandals, like Bikram yoga, Anusara yoga, Swami Satchidananda and unfortunately many more.

With you on this path,
Lauren


Thursday, 13 February 2014

Love....... of course

It is easy to love. It is easy to look into your partner's eyes and find love. To watch your children play  or listen to laughter of a friend and find love. We are born from love, we live for love, breath for love and some even die from lost love.

The challenge is finding love where it isn't as easy. To look at someone who lives a different life, has different beliefs or maybe has hurt you and find love.

If we can look past all of this. Past religion, past appearance, past way of life and find love. If we can see the oneness that we are and know that we are ultimately all love then imagine where we could go from here. Imagine how it would feel knowing that every person you talk to today loves you and you can find that love in return. Wouldn't you just want to kiss everyone you see? Wouldn't you just want to hold hands and dance with the stranger at the bus stop? Maybe, maybe not, but it would sure feel good to know that the person standing next to you is made from the same love as you. One love.

I wish you all love on this Valentines Day and every day that follows. Mad love, deep love, crazy love, simple love and every love in between.

With much Love,
CJ



Thursday, 6 February 2014

It will lift you. It will free you.

“All this he saw, for one moment breathless and intense, vivid on the morning sky; and still, as he looked, he lived; and still, as he lived, he wondered.” - Kenneth Grahame, The wind in the willows

My hubby took this in heat of the moment.
I watched my daughter tonight go crazy for the air popcorn machine. All week she had been asking if we could make popcorn, after I had purchased some kernels from Whole foods. Finally tonight was the night, so we pulled out the air popper and the kernels. She got her step stool out and I grabbed a large bowl. We put the kernels in and started the machine. Actions I've done more times than I can say, but this was Stella's first time. She watched the kernels spin through the plastic top. She asked in anticipation what was happening and if it was working. I told her to be patient and keep watching. It wasn't long before the corn kernels started to dance and then softly pop. POP. POP. POP.pop pop pop pop….. 

She started screaming with excitement. Jumping on her stool and throwing her hands in the air. 

She yelled, "Mommy look!!!" All I could watch was her and the incredible sublime smile across her face. I was in awe of her, as she watched in awe of the magic of popcorn. 

It's easy to take for granted the daily routine or mundane weekly activities. It's easy to forget the beauty around us or get so lost in the busyness of life that you miss out on what surrounds you. Yoga has always allowed for time, and in that time, I receive space, and within that space I remember, and when I remember, I see, just how magical life and me in it, really is. 

To be in awe of the mysteries of life is to experience the presence of Grace. It will stop you and fascinate you. It will move you and captivate your senses. It will lift you. It will free you. 

May you be in awe, always. 

From my heart to yours,
Lauren