Thursday, 27 March 2014

One of the most powerful moments in my life

One of the most powerful moments in my life was when I wrote a letter to the man who nearly killed me.

In the summer of 1999, I was walking across the street to go to a friends house, when I was struck by a drunk driver. This young man, hit me going 90 km and took off without a second thought. He was later caught and arrested.

In the court room the Judge asked him why he fled the scene, he replied;
"I didn't care, I thought she was a dog!".

It was a heart wrenching moment for my family & friends, as we were all hoping for a remorseful response, considering his actions that night and the amount of suffering I had been going through and was going to continue to endure.

This led to years of anger, pain, sadness, and confusion to name a few of the overwhelming feelings that haunted me every day. After my yogic "spiritual awakening" in 2002, I started seeing a psychologist regularly, who was treating my PTSD (Post traumatic Stress Disorder) and helping me process some of these deep seeded emotions. After about a year of therapy, he suggested I write a letter to the man who hit me.

A letter of Forgiveness.

At first, I was taken back and completely against the idea. Then after a deep conversation and some thought provoking point of views, he convinced me to write it.

It took me 2 weeks to write the letter and at first I wasn't going to send it. I was writing it for me, to release the burden from years of bitterness and anger, but by the end of the 2 weeks, when I was satisfied with what I had written, I knew I had to send it to him. So I gave it to my lawyer and asked him to mail it (my lawyer was the only one with his information). I felt comfortable mailing the letter because I wrote the letter for ME. I wrote the letter to set me free from the hurt and rage that had been binding my heart into a tight ball and holding me back from living the life I dreamed of. A life full of joy. A life full of love.


Forgiving someone doesn't mean you justify the offence. Forgiving someone doesn't mean you forget what happened. Forgiveness releases the contracting forces that hold you back from giving and receiving love.

"As long as we remain imperfect beings, there will always be a need to forgive ourselves and others." Unknown author.

May you courageously forgive those that have hurt you and set yourself free.

With you on this path,
Lauren

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Kali


I have been calling on Kali this week and thought it would be fun to write about her. 

Kali is the goddess of death or destruction. She is called the black one as she is dark as night in colour and has a long tongue that is seen in most pictures sticking out of her mouth. If you look closely though you will see pure white teeth on the inside. She may be frightening to look at but the more you get to know this goddess you will find she is the opposite. She is also known as a strong mother figure and she only destroys what is needed in order for re-growth or rebirth.

I look at her as a goddess that helps to cultivate destruction of what we may personally need to let go of such as ego, fear or whatever that thing is that is standing in your way. Once we let go of the things that are holding us back, even if it is painful to do so, we can then move forward and past this place.

With her big sword in hand, Kali can help us slice through these things and make the space needed for something new and better serving.

OM
CJ



Thursday, 13 March 2014

Meditation


A wonderful post by Wendy Weymann. Wendy has a lovely meditation class coming soon to YOGO.tv. 
Enjoy the post!



How to develop a daily meditation practice if you have kids.
Do I have to wait til my kids move out to start meditating?
I started my daily meditation practice when my kids were 3 & 5 yrs old (they are 12 & 14 now!) it wasn’t easy but it was totally worth it!
Here are some tips that I have used over the years.

1.       Surrender to it – use your meditation time to listen to the noise, let yourself be irritated, acknowledge the distractions and continue to bring your awareness back to the practice.  This is true mindfulness.
2.       Give the kids your timer – I have a battery operated kitchen timer that I use for meditating – my daughter used to consistently knock on my door & ask a question or say “when are you going to be done?” This is a serious buzz kill when you are meditating!! I set the timer, gave it to her & told her to come & get me when it rings. It really worked.
3.       Get up ½ hour earlier – I’m not a morning person so this was really hard for me but it worked, I was totally frazzled & grumpy most mornings so I started getting up 30 minutes before the kids got up, meditated for 10-20 min & had my coffee.  It was hard at first but it made the whole morning so much easier for all of us it was worth it.
4.       Go to bed ½ later – if it’s easier for you to stay up late & take time to meditate after the kids go to bed try that.  I found it easier to do the morning thing easier, if I got it done in the morning & didn’t have to think about it all day.  I found I was too exhausted at the end of the day to really commit to staying up later.
5.       Make it a priority – I always meditate before I do my chores.  Dinner always gets made, groceries always end up in the fridge & the dishwasher always gets unloaded.  I found if I meditated first everything else always got done.  If you do all your chores first meditating always seems to be the thing that you don’t have time for.
6.       The frazzle test – that moment when you are the most stressed, frazzled & chaotic is usually a pretty good cue that it’s time to meditate.  Chances are you’re not being productive or getting anything done so take 10 minutes out to meditate.  This technique worked really well for me, I was consistently able to take the time out & be WAY more productive when I came back to whatever I was doing.


Wendy

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Sustaining practices

I've been a "movement junkie" for a long time. Not just yoga, I love dancing, swimming, walking/hiking, most water sports, volleyball, soccer, tennis and the list goes on. The thing is, yoga has been the only constant in my life. It's the one movement practice that I come back to, the practice that seems to speak to what I need as I swivel along with the curves of life. In a way you could say Yoga is the only sustainable practice (maybe you would call it a "work out") out there.
 So let's talk for a moment on what makes yoga sustainable?

In modern day yoga there's a lot of emphasis on "Hatha Yoga" the yoga of asana (postures). For good reason, us North American's tend to lead more dormant lifestyles, so healthy movement is necessary for a vibrant body. Along with addressing the body's needs, yoga encourages an inquiry of the mind and the inner dialogues that occur. Offering practices that allow us to filter the conversations and begin to "slow the fluctuations of the mind" in order to experience more space/time (this is done through different meditation techniques). Within that space and time you fully recognize your SELF. So yoga is also a practice of Self recognition. In the Bhagavad Gita, yoga is said to be "skill in action", which allows us to practice yoga through conscious awareness of that in which we are doing, like tending to a child or washing the dishes. So really yoga happens on and off a sticky mat.

Because of yoga's vastness, there are many practices or rituals within these philosophies that help us in experiencing yoga's Grace. To mention a few, there's bhakti yoga, where you're fostering love and surrendering to God, through chanting and prayer invocations. There's Karma Yoga, where selfless service is the focus. There's jnana yoga where knowledge is obtained as a way to understanding the divine consciousness that pulses within our veins.


So Yoga is devotion. Yoga is discipline.

Yoga is more than we perceive.

Yoga grows with you, allowing you to pull on it's threads whenever you need to and weave the cloth that will keep you warm, steady your heart or still your mind. Your yoga is always there for you. So may you lean into your practices today. Acknowledge the power within your dedication and graciously accept the Yoga you're choosing today, even if it's different than the yoga you did yesterday or looks different than the person next to you at your local studio. Your yoga lives within you.

With you on this path,
Lauren