Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Spiritual Alignment

With a new session in the near future I thought it would be helpful to address some of the benefits we can anticipate through our Yoga practice. There seems to be this cliche' about mind, body, spirit that is often used to describe wholesome wellbeing. I refer to it as cliche' because it is often used without a clear understanding of what it truly means. We are great at reasoning how certain actions benefit our bodies and are getting better at doing this for our minds as well. There seems to be a gap however in regards to later of the the 3, our spirits. It is known, that when all of the parts of who we are are in alignment and nourished we are healthy and vibrant. In order to truly nourish our spirits we have to be able to feel and experience our truest self.

Eating nourishing foods and taking care of our physical body will definitely aid in our spiritual alignment but it is not a guarantee. The true work is in the act of self acceptance, compassion and letting go. So how does this apply to our Yoga practice? We know that through the practice, our bodies have the opportunity to align as we physically move them in ways that open and strengthen areas that need opening and strengthening. We discover that as our body movements coincide with breath, we are able to quiet the incessant noise of mind chatter and strengthen the ability to become focused. Therefore, it is evidenced that our minds and bodies are benefiting from the practice of yoga each time we come to our mats. Using words to explain how our practice may also align our spiritual aspect may be a futile effort but I am up for the challenge.

“People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within” (Elizabeth Kobler Ross ).


Allowing this light to shine means that we have to ensure that our energetic blockages that smoother our light are undone. What sets a true yoga practice apart from "Indian Calisthenics" is the ability to come face to face with these blockages, our darkness and sit with it for long enough that we realize its' delusion. When we realize that we are at its truest form compassion and pure light, we no longer have judgement, only acceptance for what is. We begin on our mat, with the experience we are faced with at that moment; perhaps our body's alignment or what our mind may be fixated about in regards to our past or future and witness the truth of our Samskara (habitual mind patterns that are now imprinted in our subconscious and act as obstacles for spiritual alignment). Our practice has the potential to undo these blockages as we witness them on the mat and eventually in our day to day interactions. 

My wish is that your practice becomes a tool for holistic alignment, allowing you to experience your radiance and embrace this beautiful gift of life.

Namaste

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Baby Announcement

We Have Big news to share!
First of all, a huge thank you to all the students who participated in classes over winter/spring and supported me on this journey of sharing my love for Yoga while my body nourished new life. Your understanding and love allowed the experience to be more than I could have imagined. 
Nixon Alexander Huard was born on July 16th at 8:46 pm, weighing 7lbs 14 oz and 21 inches.



During my pregnancy a wise woman told me that this baby would teach me about what it is that I am passionate about. The love and support I have received from the Yoga community in Warman over the last 9 months has been an amazing journey in itself. Reminding me everyday that I practiced with you my passion for teaching. As baby took up more and more of my body I became more and more taken by your ability to move and breath with openness and sincerity. Thank you for your practice. Thank you for your kindness. 

Sending love and laughter to you this summer!

Hope to see you in the fall!
Namaste,
Stacey

“When you have come to the edge of all light that you know and are about to drop off into the darkness of the unknown, FAITH is knowing one of two things will happen: There will be something solid to stand on or you will be taught to fly” ~Patrick Overton

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Feed Something Deeper

Feed Something Deeper

            


If you are anything like me when it comes to fully showing up in my life, I totally freak out. It took me some time to recognize this pattern, like 30 years. I am finally realizing the pattern of feeling something great in the horizon and closing the door abruptly. Fear, self doubt, lack of self-confidence are the door closers and I would like to share with you how they can be released. It is through letting go that you are able to let in and feel the power with in you expand. As you shed that which does not serve what remains is a powerful force. A force that has been there the whole time, that only you have the power to uncover. It is time to stop looking outside for ways to build up what you already have within. Break away from old patterns and find a new way home. What self limiting beliefs can you let go of today? 

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Perspective

How do we perceive ourselves in this world? Sometimes we need to be pulled out of our day to day experience to get a clearer view.

The ego self makes us feel like our needs are of utter importance that we are huge in the grand scheme of life. But put into perspective we are like a spec of dust in relation to this vast universe. Place yourself in the middle of the ocean….how big do you feel? Place yourself in line at Tim Horton’s, the needs change, the perspective changes. When we see ourselves as a piece of the greatness rather than the greatness we can enter into what we call the flow. We move with the current of the universe rather than against it and all that is really important is at our finger tips. And this is why I love spending time in nature, or in meditation; it puts my ego self in its place and the replacement of ego driven insanity is ease and acceptance for where I stand, for what I offer, what I think I need. Feel yourself for who you really are energetically; you hold a piece within you that is connected to all that is. You are that ocean, that tree, the child in tears from pain, the father in tears for joy. It really doesn’t get much bigger than that! J

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Breaking Free

Dare to Break free

What if we could release the grasp of self doubt? What if we could turn off the limiting beliefs that leave us feeling less than perfect? There are moments, some are blinks in time while others allow you to get lost in time. There are moments where we have the potential to meet the wholeness of who we are. Regardless of how we parallel the experience of time with this connection, there are moments were the perfection that we are can be felt and can be as real as our very breath. 

Sit somewhere quiet where you won't be disturbed and allow the heaviness of your eyelids to be felt. As the lashes meet, feel the appreciation for the ability to withdrawal from the calling of the outside world and find comfort in stillness. Feel the eyes soften and the space between the brows dissolve. Can you feel your breath move through your body? Draw your attention the space behind the breast bone and allow your breath to be felt only here. As you inhale, are you able to feel the lift and softening of the front body, as you exhale the blackbody dissolves. With greater appreciation for this moment the expansion flows. 

With loving kindness send this softness towards the crown of your head as you inhale and back down to the heart as you exhale. Draw your attention to the lower portion of your shoulder blades and notice the attachment of your wings. Allow your breath to guide their unfolding. With nothing holding you back acknowledge your true potential and break free from your restricted view of self and know all is possible. Leap into the knowingness that you are the essence of positive energy here for the full expansion of all that is. Soften the grasp that holds you defined by boundaries that exist only due to the belief that you are less then this moment. 

You are this moment, you are free, you are freedom. 

Saturday, 5 October 2013

The Teachings of A Child in New Delhi


The Teachings of A Child in New Delhi

            As we drove away from the 5 star hotel the conference had arranged for us, the jungle that is the roadways of New Delhi, India greets us. The lanes are only a suggestion and sidewalks serve motorized vehicles and pedestrians simultaneously. The boisterous sounds of honking horns are now but a gentle humming in comparison to our day of arrival.  Within the congested traffic a little girl no more than 7 years of age approaches our car. Her tiny frame and soiled clothes were a sight of gloom in comparison to her bright smile. The gentle tapping on our vehicle window was followed by a hand to mouth gesture indicating her request for one of the basic needs for survival, money for food.
            Along our travels to various parts of the world, including our hometown, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, we were not strangers to the impoverishment that people endure. However, this encounter sent an ache through my body that was powerful and demanded my attention. I was paralyzed with awe, and all I could do was stare at her innocence and then follow her little pitter-patter of movement back to the street side where the rest of her family remained.
Within days of our arrival into India, the government had passed a food security bill promising 2/3rds of the population subsidized food, however, there is much skepticism that this would not unfold as planned due to inherent flaws which are complex and multifaceted. Some feel it is just a ploy for re-election and others can see through the error of providing a country with low quality nutrients such as cereals and white rice.
Malnutrition is the problem that is improved through the right combination of amino acids, highlighting the importance of combining vegetables with grains, especially with the absence of animal protein. Some fear that this new initiative will not only fail at correcting the hunger that approximately 46% of the residence experience but also increase malnutrition and inflation by serving cheap calories and encouraging farmers to produce the same.
            The little girl’s father was pacing in one direction and then the other and her mother was lying on the sidewalk covered with a blanket. The economic crisis that India currently faces has forced more and more people into unemployment and is only predicted to increase. I wonder if their circumstance was different years ago, maybe even days ago. Their clothes and other belongings were hanging on the wire fence just behind them. The little girl quickly picked up a small aluminum bowl and began washing it with the small amount of water that it contained and poured it into the street.  The efficiency in which she moved was an indicator that she was no stranger to this form of labor.
            As we drove passed, the tears were uncontrollable, as if the dam had opened its gates and allowed the emotions from the year past to release.  The only thought that was recognizably concrete was the question why. Why is this her life? Why was I unable to give her anything but a blank stare? Why was I meant to see this? Every interaction we have here on this earth is in the form of a lesson or divine encounter. Was I able to learn the lesson of this particular interaction? What was this beautiful child teaching me today and why is she on this path?
             As a witness to this perceived pain, my husband looked over at me and as our eyes met I was sure that he felt it within himself as well. We were on our way to the Jama Masjid, the largest Mosque in Delhi.  As the taxi weaved in and out of traffic we held each other’s hands tightly, secretly hoping it would act as a spiritual hideaway from the pain. Was it as foolish as believing that a new sweater or brand new home could fix the un-happiness within? I would soon find out. 






           






  During the short time visiting this diverse country it has provided me with a beautiful portrait of spirituality and culture, painted on the canvas of the majestic Himalayan Mountains. Our time at Rishekesh was filled with Yoga, meditation and prayer. Every evening witnessing the Ganga Havan and Aarti on the Holy Banks just steps away from the Ashram where we are staying. The energy and devotion of the people who travel from all over India and beyond to participate in this ceremony of worship to the holy waters was inspiring and beautiful and we are grateful just to be present. The fog that hovers over the luscious green mountaintops is like a blanket, softening the glow of the sun over-head. Evening after evening I experience a sensation of calm and serenity in the background of my expanding heart.
          











  Walking up the steps to the mosque with tears behind my eyes, I could feel the density of my physical body, as if my energy, my light I was able to experience in Rishikesh had left and all that remained was darkness. I am hopeful that the previous weeks experience of spiritual beauty can be found once again. The guard at the door covered me with a gown and directed me to remove my shoes. My hopes of feeling release and connection as I entered the temple drifted away leaving me with a sadness hovering above and all around me like a cloud of darkness. I walked towards the pond in the center of the red stone structure and closed my eyes and cried. I cried through my prayers; my prayers for understanding to see through the eyes of love, through the eyes of truth.
            As my eyes fluttered open, the comforting gaze of a young girl in a beautiful green sari met them. Time paused as our eyes met and was intrigued by the familiarity in her face.  What was her story? Was she wondering the same about me? A part of me felt like she knew…a part of me wanted to believe she was with me in this moment. As my gaze held her, I could feel her strength, her joyful acceptance of the present moment, a powerful innocence. She was like an angel, and I could feel my being fill with life once again. I was hopeful in this moment of relief and felt a strong desire to be present with her to share this mysterious exchange.
It is said that angels are all around us. Today I am thankful for the ability to see but mostly for my ability to listen within. I am comforted with a gentle message that seemed to be breathed through me like a soft wind.  It was not given through sound or words but as an interpretation of knowing beyond the 5 senses.
           
“Do not cry for us…love us.  Do not cry for us, but love us”.
           
In the taxi ride to the next destination, the Lotus Temple, I reflect on the message and feel a sense of ease, a lightening on my once heavy heart. With every in-breath I feel lighter and send out appreciation for this new- found space within me on every exhale. The architecture the temple portrayed was a representation of the metaphorical meaning the lotus flower instills. Just as the glistening flower emerges from its bed of mud, the building was a glowing display of awe immersed in the Indian Capital city. It was constructed of 27 free standing white marble clads from the Penteli Mountain in Greece joined together to form 9 petals each with its own doorway into the 40 meter tall concrete structure.
            Walking towards the Lotus Temple, a place of prayer that does not distinguish one religion from another but welcomes all prayer from every faith, I am enjoying the lightness I feel from the shoulders releasing down my back, allowing my heart to open in anticipation for the unfolding experience. Prior to entry we are asked to remain silent and stay for a minimum of 10 minutes. As I placed my bare feet on the stone floor beneath and feel the vibration of the room, I am aware that 10 minutes will not be difficult to achieve. We slowly walk towards the center and find a place to sit. I am instantly embraced with a calm that surrounds my entire body like soft cotton. With every breath I feel my body move from the inside bringing me closer into the arms of this sensation. Bringing me closer into the arms of surrender.
            As if I had been here a thousand times, I close my eyes and trust that the path the moment has brought me to is part of a divine plan for deeper understanding and I humbly ask that I am ready to learn. With eyes closed, I can hear the gentle release of the women behind me quietly crying and I am reminded that we are all releasing the bondage of fear; we are all working towards freedom of the mind, body and soul. With gentle breath, I send my heart towards her and surround her with light and feel my skin, my cells, and my inner essence alive in gratitude and surrender and I am for the first time in months, in peace.
            It is a rare occurrence to find a love so deep and true that it’s entry guides you home, to where it originates. I am brought back to the message, “Do not cry for us, love us.” And I feel that which rests within my heart expand and move to the edges of my being and beyond. Every breath carrying the love for the little girl and her family and I wonder if she can feel it as powerfully as I. I rest here in this place between the past and the future, the place where freedom is alive merely by releasing the clenching hold we have to this life. As the release is now past tense, I am aware of a place without time, without meaning and enter an atmosphere that holds the perceptions I am now a part of.
            I may not be able to articulate the reason for the little New Delhi girl’s life circumstance, but I am open to the teaching our encounter instilled. I could attempt to intellectualize and judge the circumstance with words and action, but for today I am grateful for the feeling. Today, I am grateful for the gift that she presented to me and I bow down to her in gratitude. I bow down to her in deep appreciation for igniting my heart and soul and reminding me how to love without condition, without circumstance. For, it does not matter why we are in the place we are in life, what matters is our ability to see the sameness that resides within each of us and send love anyway. As I sit in reflection on this experience, I am comforted with the knowing that I am always the space in which all arises in my reality, as are you.  When we can let go of the thoughts and emotions, which are the cause of our suffering, we find freedom in the truth that love is always waiting for us. It never abandons us.  It is my hearts deepest wish that the earth bound angels that expanded my experience here in India are also comforted in the arms of love and surrender.