"Self love is an ocean and your heart is a vessel. Make it full,
and any excess will spill over into the lives of the people
you hold dear. But you must come first."
~BeauTeplin | Self Love
I absolutely love this quote! It is a great reminder that self care is so important. If we don't take care of ourselves first how can we then take care of others?
This summer I took five weeks off from my job. Even though it was the third time I had strategically aligned my leave to get the maximum amount of time off, it was the first time that I truly felt renewed when it was over. Unlike my past breaks there were no "must do" lists or things to accomplish. I traveled twice, practiced yoga, taught yoga, and truly enjoyed the hot lazy days of summer. Somehow the small every day tasks were completed without stress and angst and I regained my passion to give and do more.
Bringing the idea of nurturing yourself first to your mat can translate to finding and honoring your breath. Taking deep mindful inhalations and exhalations with each posture to first create space within the body and then within the mind. Allowing the dedication of your practice to completely fill your vessel with self love.
Off your mat know that you can continue to honor your breath and the abundance of love within you will help to nourish your interactions and relationships.
Practice and all is possible, but fill your cup first.
It's that time of the year again, the temperature is dropping and we are awaiting the first real snow fall. Even though I was born right here in Toronto I can't stand the cold. I am trying not to complain as much this year. Instead I have been popping my vitamin D and finding ways to cope with the weather.
To help with warding off the cold I like to gravitate towards warm drinks and my favourite is a very simple homemade ginger tea. Not only is it delicious it also has many great health benefits.
It has been awhile since I shared my journey here on my blog. I am not going to justify my absence by complaining about my busy schedule or make promises to get here more often. I am however going to express my gratitude for this present moment and the opportunity to share a beautiful experience I recently had with my MYSO (Moksha Yoga Square One) Sangha.
Last week the Hindu community celebrated Diwali, the "festival of lights". Diwali is an ancient Hindu festival celebrated in autumn or spring (depending on the hemisphere). The festival represents the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil and hope over despair. Communities who celebrate it display lights shining throughout their homes, neighbourhoods and temples. MYSO has celebrated Diwali for the past couple of years and this year was just as special. The evening involved our community coming together for a candle light practice followed by a beautiful Kirtan. For those not familiar with a Kirtan, think of a spiritually uplifting sing-a-long with beautiful chants and drums.
The real beauty of this night was not so much in the actually events but in the community that was gathered together. The group was made up of students, teachers and their love ones. There were people who have been members of our sangha for years and people who just heard about the event and felt the urge to take part. It did not matter how or why they entered the studio that night, what mattered was that they left knowing they had enlarged their "circle" and combined their light with others to create a beacon of hope in the world.
I encourage you to keep an eye out for the next time there is a Diwali celebration in your community and take the opportunity to spread a little Light and Love.
"Accept - then act.
Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it...
This will miraculously transform your whole life"
~ Eckhart Tolle
It has been awhile since I shared my thoughts here on the blog but I am very happy that I can take the opportunity today to check in. Check in with anyone who may read this post and take something from it but also check in with myself. Over the past month I have been studying towards a promotion that I truly was unsure as to whether I really wanted it. After returning from my yoga teacher training I felt so clear on the direction I wanted for my life. While I still had and appreciated the career I had built, mainly because it afforded my family and I a fairly decent life. I knew that teaching yoga and building my personal practice and business was where my heart was at. Since October I have been teaching my practice classes at two studios and building up the attendance in my classes and the confidence in my voice.
Truly finding that inner guide. It has been a beautiful journey which I am proud to say has landed
me a permanent spot as a community class teacher at both studios.
While being spoiled with the opportunity to teach my passion, the management within my full time job posted an opening in senior management for three positions due to retirements. My initial reaction was "no thanks, I will pass". This was not because I don't enjoy my job but because I knew it would mean more responsibility, more stress and probably less involvement with the people I current work with. Why would I want to add more stress to my life after learning throughout my training that this stressful lifestyle has not benefited me at all? Enter the EGO stage left. As coworkers started approaching me and encouraging me to apply,
slowly my mind started to waiver and more and more I started to feel as if I had to apply in fear of disappointing. Nonetheless the ultimate decision was made and I applied.
It is amazing how the ego feeds off of praise and before long you become your own biggest fan.
Believing that your shit doesn't stink and why stress when you know you got this. Keep in mind this is a position I was still unsure I wanted or so I thought? The last stage of the process was this past Wednesday and I took 4th place overall out of seven people who applied. While this does not guarantee me a spot right away I will temporarily fill a seconded spot and remain on a wait list that is held for a year.
Before my training this would have been disappointing news for me and to be honest I have spent the last twenty four hours after finding out where I placed thinking of what I could have done differently to take first, second or third. Which has lead me to question this reaction. I thought my training had helped me to rid myself of this self-deflating behaviour of not accepting situations and myself as I am?
As I write these words exposing my inner struggles I realize that this growth like my practice is a journey.
Being able to recognize when my past counteractive behaviour starts to rear its head is an indication that I am on the right path. Instead of being critical of myself for being human it is at this time I most show myself the utmost compassion to release, let go and accept what is. In the yoga traditions there are certain principals called the yimas and the niyamas. These principals represent a set of rules or governance towards "right" living. One of the principals is called santosha: contentment and acceptance of other's and of one's circumstances as they are. How perfect is that statement? I could not ask for a better mantra to adapt after this process. I think we all could use a little sanotsha in our lives.
It has been just a little over a month since I returned from my training in Montreal. On one hand it feels as if it was almost a life time ago and on the other hand it feels as if it was just yesterday. The adjustment back into my daily routine and life has been a bit more difficult than I expected. I missed my family dearly and I am extremely happy to be home however with each day that passes I feel the magic from training slowly slipping away. Even though we spent our month of training in a major city, it felt as if we were all encased in an euphoric bubble. Wishing to be back in that bubble takes away from the growth which we experienced and knowing that that moment could never be recaptured again is what makes it so special. Keeping up with my daily practice has helped me to remain connected. Along with remaining in contact with my other sangha members through our Facebook page.
It was my intention to try and capture my favourite moments of training in my journal but I also thought it would be a great idea to share some of them here in a top ten favourite things about yoga teacher training list. To be honest there is no particular order. All of these things could very well rank #1 but for the sake of creating order I will list them one through ten. Hopefully this will give a glimpse of this incredible experience.
10. Training in Montreal, Quebec:
When I initially started scouting out dates and locations for training I was a little disappointed that they did not have a training in Toronto. However now I understand why they keep their training in locations where the majority of their teachers are not located. Being away from home allowed me to dedicate my time to training and bond with my sangha in a way that probably would not be possible if I was in Toronto. Not to mention being in Montreal in the fall was absolutely beautiful. I enjoyed the food, the culture, the sites and the people. I even developed a new found love for French.
My first time hearing about the AirBnB website was from a fellow yogi who had done her teacher training in Montreal. She suggested the site to find affordable accommodations for my month there. The site was very easy to maneuver and offered a wide variety options and price ranges. It did not take me long to find a really nice place which I called home for 30 days. Our host was amazing and was always available when we needed him.
8. Opening Circle:
On day one of our training we all met in what would be our lecture space during our training. The space was located on St Laurent Blvd. just a few blocks from Moksha Yoga Montreal. Everyone showed up very excited and eager to begin our time together. The day was full with learning the names of our 56 sangha members and sharing what brought us to teacher training. I knew I was going to be nervous since public speaking is not my forte. I was amazed at how much we all had in common even though we all came from different walks of life and how easy it was to share with these total strangers all gathered for a united cause.
7. Silent Mornings:
During orientation on day one the faculty explained the contract they expected us to adhere to. One of the provisions was that we all had to practice mauna which in Sanskrit translates to the observance of silence. So every morning we observed silence from the moment we woke until the end of our first asana practice, which generally meant a duration of approximately 3 hours. At first it sounded impossible but surprisingly I looked forward to the personal challenge and welcomed the opportunity to quiet the unnecessary chatter. Each morning there were new sounds I heard that I never realized existed. I had a new appreciation for the sounds that constantly surrounds us but we overlook or better yet talk over.
I am a suburbanite and always have been. I could not imagine not having a vehicle to get around until teacher's training. I will admit it was challenging and took a bit for my body to get use to the daily journey back and forth from our lecture space and studio to the apartment I rented. However it slowly became a welcomed change. I realized how many opportunities I missed to interact with people and nature by getting in my car. If you ever feel overwhelmed or losing touch with what's really important in your life, take a nature walk.
5. All Things Food:
This is why I say any of these could be number one on the list. Even though I am listing this at five, believe me food was definitely a high point. I must admit it was a bit easier for me than others in my group. I had already been a vegetarian for two years prior to my training so when our contract suggested we remove meat and poultry from our diet, it didn't phase me which was fortunate because Montreal has AMAZING food! I was very impressed to find vegetarian and vegan options on every block, not to mention the BEST vegetarian poutine I have ever tasted.
4. Morning Meditation:
Prior to training I had been developing my meditation practice with online group meditations, so I was very pleased when our faculty told us we would meditate prior to our morning asana. Each day brought more ease is sitting with my thoughts, my aches and my sangha. Such a powerful way to start day.
3. Group Asana Practice:
One of the valuable lessons I will take from training is how important the breath is during practice. Some of my favourite teachers focus on the breath and while I appreciated their breath cues during class I didn't realize how powerful it can be until my training. Some of our most inspiring and mind blowing classes were facilitated with an incredible unified breath of 56 yogis. Hearing my neighbour's breath helped to carry me through the postures even though it was day 7 of 7 consecutive days of yoga, 3 times daily.
2. AHA! Moments:
There were so many moments where I was speechless by what I was learning, hearing our experiencing. These moments always seemed to present themselves at just the right time. They were lessons within lessons that reverberated throughout the body. There are no words to explain this one. I believe this is something that happens when you are exactly where you are supposed to be experiencing exactly what you need.
I had to leave the home I own and my well paid corporate job to realize that I was not living as if I was free. Even though I had material things I still felt trapped in what I thought was expected of me. Training helped me realize that yes one does need money to buy the necessities in life and even to pursue their dreams, such as training. However it is up to each of us to decide what is necessary for our lives and not society. We are the ones that can make it as simple or as complex as we want it. My freedom came in accepting that I can scale my life back at any time and my world will not fall apart. Strive for those dreams, shake things up. You really are the artist creating the life you want.. Jai!