The Kindness Of Strangers – Wednesday Wellness Reflection

My first Ontario winter living out in the country, and some days the snow doesn’t stop falling.

We make decisions sometimes; stop at the corner store, run that extra errand, or perhaps to stop and check the mail on the way home.  I decided to stop and check the mail a few short days ago.  Driving on our country roads you need to pull over to hug the edge as another car comes to pass, and sometimes that hug can pull us right in.

Within seconds, me alongside my two little companions, found ourselves in the ditch.  Over the years, and especially over the past year as we’ve navigated the pandemic, I have come to  realize how much we need eachother.  How much all of life, needs eachother.

Reciprocity.

The kindness of everyone who passed, offering their help.  A beautiful young soul drove the 15 minutes away to borrow his grandmothers tractor.  I didn’t know if he was going to come back, trusting……surrendering into the ditch, breathing with my companions………….and trusting.  When did we stop dropping everything to help one another, especially when we need it the most.  Or when did that become a rare occurence.  I have shared this story with a few friends and I am surprised at how shocked they are by the kindness of strangers.   Once upon a time, there was no question, we helped without hesitation.

Suddenly, we saw the tractor meandering along the snow covered country roads, and this incredible experience of joy bubbled up from inside of me.  Who knew a tractor could bring so much relief and so much happiness (I guess it depends on who you ask).  I turned to my 11 year old son and asked him what he thought I should do to thank this caring young man, in his wise 11 years of life he asked me

Why would you need to do anything? 

If you gave him something in return for his offer of help, he would feel obligated to do the same if he ever needed help, can’t you just say thank you and accept the help?  If you gave him money, he would feel bad asking for help if he didn’t have money.  You would want the same if the situation were reversed. 

Mom, just promise to pay it forward. 

Ahhh my eyes filled with tears, and it made me sad that in our society there are often strings attached, the simple kindness of strangers – helping eachother because it’s why we’re here – at the base of it all, how can we be of service to the greater whole, for no other reason than our innate nature to care.

I am so grateful, and will never walk away when someone has fallen.  This doesn’t have to look big, and there needn’t ever be an expectation of anything in return.  It’s why we’re here.  In community we all do our part, we bring our strengths to the table and we offer our gifts.  Those gifts are anything from knowing how to drive a tractor and having an open heart to help the lady and her 2 children as  they find themselves stuck in a ditch with no way out, to offering a love filled soup to nourish your family or your neighbour, fixing a pipe, finding a book off a shelf for someone, or writing a masterpiece as a creative expression of your soul and balm for the soul of others…….

Reciprocity; nurturing the circle of helping hands, we offer from a place of compassion and gratitude, and we learn to accept, and the circle continues.

This week I ask you to take a bit of time to ponder a few thoughts

  • How would you respond if someone needed help, a stranger?  In small and big ways?
  • How have you recieved the support of someone else’s kindness, often in unexpected ways?
  • What does community mean to you, and what do you think your offering to your community is?
  • What does reciprocity mean to you? What might that look like in your own life?
  • Consider deep gratitude and appreciation as a form of reciprocity.
  • What are you grateful for today?

I’m grateful for tractors, for a lovely young man who offered help, for the snow and the ditch that offered me this learning, and I’m grateful I live in such a special community.

Thank you for taking the time to share my thoughts today, as I watch the snow continue to fall outside my window.

Much love

Amber

xo

Contemplating Our Gifts – Wednesday Wellness Reflection

Sending you a big hug today, I feel like we all could use an extra hug these days.

A few weeks ago I was blessed to be a case study for a dear friend (who happens to be my husband) who recently completed the Core Gift Discovery Workshop, to help support people to dive deeper into themselves and explore the unique gifts we all come here to share.   What I found most impactful, was that some of the more traumatic events of my life were what came through as I discovered my own core gift.  Often its these pivotal moments that don’t always make sense that inform what we commmit our lives to, where we find passion and deep inspiration.

I invite you to take some time over the next little while and contemplate a few ideas.

When do you feel at home in yourself? Or is this a foreign concept?

Contemplate the idea of purpose and gifts.  What do they mean to you personally?   This may be woven into the fabric of your working life, or it may be an area of your life where you recharge or you seem to keep going back to – fueled by passion, emotion, and a deep genuine concern.   Your working life may help to support your purpose, it’s not always that clear.

Perhaps pull out your journal and  write or sit in silent contemplation, writing and expressing without editing.  It amazes me how often we edit or script our responses – even in our personal journals.  It’s time to drop the scripting and show up – exactly as you are – life is to short to be any other way.  At this juncture in our lives, it’s also a good time to reflect on what you truly care about; what do you think deserves more of your time and energy, and does it also support the whole?

The seeds start within us and the way they are expressed are uniquely ours – but there is a reciprocity that’s necessary, like the seeds in our gardens.   It’s not always easy to recognize that those seeds are waiting for nourishment, deep inside of us, or what that nourishment needs to look like.  When we’re able to move from a place which honours what we contribute to the greater collective (no matter how small or large),  feeling deep gratitude for the seeds we contain, and then we step forward in our lives in a purposeful way – this is when magic happens.

As you ponder the presence of the seeds inside of  you, I wonder what arises?

Is there an area of your life that ignites passion inside of you or fill you with strong emotions that urge you forward?  OR is there something that keeps coming up for you, maybe like a soft whisper, wrapped in curiousity?  Hmmm if you listened to that whisper and offered that curiousity some attention, I wonder what that would look like for you?

What did those hard lessons in your life teach you?? Often the difficult lessons are when we’re shown a glimpse of what our core gifts may be, or they may evoke something so strongly inside of us, that they show us where our voice is needed.  This is not always easy, this I do understand.

I believe we all have the potential to tap into something greater than us, and our seeds which hold are gifts as sacred, are a larger and a necessary part of the whole.  As Elizabeth Gilbert reminds us (thank you Sarah), can you acknowledge any fears that hold you back, invite them along for the ride (suppressing them only gives them more power), tap in, explore, nurture what is stirring softly or loudly making itself known from within you, fear and all.

If you want to move through the core gifts discovery process, there are many amazing humans who can support you, you can go to The Core Gift Institute to find out more.

Sending you so much love, and reverence for your core gifts – whether they are shining brightly or hidden, awaiting the perfect moment to be discovered and nurtured into life.

Love Amber

xo

“Every human being is born with some sort of gift, and inclination or an instinct that can become a full-blown mastery.  We may not see our gift for what it is.  Having seen it we may choose not to accept the gift and its consequences for our life.  Or, having claimed our gift, we may not be willing to do the hard work necessry to nurture it.  But none of these evasions can alter the fact that the gift is ours.  Each of us is a master at something, and part of becoming fully alive is to discover and develop our birthright competence.” 

Parker Palmer

Wednesday Wellness Reflection

Welcome to this week’s Wednesday wellness reflection.

Beautiful YOU!

I invite you to take a moment and close your eyes, or find a calming focus point.  Tune into your breath and notice how it feels flowing in and flowing out.

Is it difficult to concentrate on that rhythm?

 Does this simple breath practice support a calm internal state or do you notice a wave of anxiety? Try if you can to just stay curious to what’s happening for you in this moment.

If your mind is wandering,  perhaps invite your attention back to your breath, consciously invite ease and peace into your body and try to be gentle with yourself.

In this space of stillness, I wonder how you’re doing? 

Take your time here, honouring however you show up right now.

I went for a walk in the woods the other day searching for peace and quiet.  As I stepped outside however things were different, the normal quiet I have been accustomed to in the forest, had been I felt robbed, by the sound of a jackhammer echoing through the trees.

I was craving quiet as it was my first day alone at our home after 6 weeks, needing time to decompress, I had a strong desire and raw base need for silence.

With that first step I could feel my body growing more tense, annoyed at how they could ruin my time of solitude.  I traveled through irritation, to annoyance, to what seemed to be anger bubbling up inside of me.  As I walked and breathed into the whole emotional soup that was steadily brewing, I  could sense all the emotions from not just that moment, but from this past year, coming up to the surface, triggered yes, by the jackhammer – it felt like they were breaking through the stone of how I thought I was, allowing me a window into the truth of my core in this moment.

At a certain point I found myself sitting beside a tree, tears streaming down my cheeks, no longer aware of the jackhammer.

Something happened in that moment, a deep sigh of relief, for that sound that only minutes before brought up anger slowly urged me deeper – deeper into the woods and in that journey, deeper into myself.

Slowly my breath too deepened, and I could truly connect with the contact points beneath my own body as I leaned into the constant comforting support and nurturing embrace that I find only as I sit upon and connect with the earth.  As the soup simmered I sat in silence, gratitude seemed to flow through me for the workers who are simply helping my neighbours to create a home in the forest, they were not intentionally trying to steal away my silence.  Gratitude for the miracle that has brought me and my family to these healing woods.  I felt gratitude, believe it or not,  for the sound that urged me deeper inside, yes the jackhammer itself.

I was able to detach from the external distractions, realizing to immerse myself in that much needed quiet I first needed to find it in myself, regardless of what was happening around me.  There is no cave that can bring us that silence, it is what many spend their whole lives searching for, and meanwhile it’s always here patiently waiting inside.

We talk about this so often in our yoga classes, and we experience glimpses of the practice with the hopes that those glimpses will come with us as we roll up our mats.  Sometimes those distractions or external “annoyances” we attach to and blame for a practice that we feel didn’t serve us, that pulled us out of our center – however often those are the times on our mats that often serve us the most – helping us to realize sometimes how far from our own centre we have actually strayed.

With everything happening in the world, I feel the fragility of life a little more these days, recommitting to my own life experience for this brief time I have in this body.  I am also reminded to step out of the experience of I a little more often, and reflect on the bigger picture, all the pieces in the grander puzzle.

If you can, I encourage you to take a little bit of time over the next while to:

Think about your own motivations as you move through the ups and downs of your days. 

Think about the way you respond or react to life.

Consider the impact of the stress, the pain, and the uncertainty in our global community on you. Are you able to acknowledge how perhaps your feeling the feelings that are being felt outside of yourself.  Hmm, you may want to read that again, less confusing on the second read through!

Can you be gentle with yourself, and carve out windows for you – despite the jackhammers, and all the other external distractions that will assuredly arise in those moments.

Consider what triggers you, and perhaps dive deeper.

Transformation is not accomplished by tentative wading at the edge.” – Robin Wall Kimmerer

Thank you for taking the time to consider my thoughts, I hope this reflection helped you in some small way on your own journey.

Please know I’m holding you in my heart,

With so much love,

Amber

xo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you want to practice with Amber on your own schedule, in the comfort of your own home, consider subscribing to her exlusive weekly wellness capsules and practice videos.  To find out more click here

Where Are Your Roots?

I am so grateful you are here as we explore this weeks Wednesday Wellness Reflection.

As I ponder our practice today the snow glistens on the tree branches and the sun is shining, nourishing the earth and the trees that take root upon her sacred ground.   Personally I love the snow (for brief windows that is),  gazing upon the magical white flakes – each so precious and so incredibly unique, hmmmm like each of us.   I consider the winter as  an invitation for a little deeper introspection, a time to cocoon so we are clear when the spring arrives.

Today I offer you the exploration of tree.  Take a few moments to connect with your breath, feeling into the rhythm you arrive with – in this moment.  Notice how you feel today, are there parts of you that need a little extra care?  Take as much time as you need here, and then when you feel ready we’ll explore this powerful posture.

In Sanskrit tree pose is translated as Vrikshasana, Vriksha means “tree”.  In this posture we explore balance, steady and rooted as we bring one foot against the lower leg or inner thigh of the other.  Your arms may raise from prayer pose at the heart and slowly stretch over head just as the limbs of a tree stretch up towards the sunlight. You will wend  your own way into your perfect tree today.   Some days my tree is found lying on the ground covered in moss, somedays I embody a brilliant Charlie Brown Tree, and others I rise into my favorite majestic white pine.

As you approach your practice today, I suggest you also call on the support of a chair, a tree, or wall if you’re working with your balance, being gentle with wherever you are.

To come into tree feel your feet grounded, sensing your own roots traveling from the soles of your feet down deep into the earth.  We steady ourselves on one leg, engaging the muscles so our trunk is strong – but our knee remains soft.  Our opposite leg slowly lifts either resting toes on the ground with your heel against your lower leg or ankle, or perhaps it raises up from the ground resting against the inner aspect of your calf, or it may go even higher pressed against your inner thigh.  We create stability by counter balancing our lifted leg and our sturdy trunk.  As we find strength here, our hands come up to rest at heart center in prayer pose or they may lift up towards the sky, stretching your branches out exploring.  Keep your gaze at a steady point, and don’t forget to breathe.

 I offer you some reflections to ponder in tree pose:

Where are my roots, are they solid or just skimming the surface?

Have my roots spread?  Do they continue to deepen?

When the wind blows do I stand tall, or am I blown out of the ground?

Where do my roots get their nourishment? Am I feeding my roots, or depriving them of that nourishment? 

Which roots are mine, and where have my roots become tangled with something or someone else’s?  

Am I willing to prune my tree, releasing that which stands in my way for optimal growth?  

There is a lot of medicine in the tree.  I recommend coming into the posture 2 times on each side if that resonates for you, stay focused on your roots, feel your breath, invite ease into your body as you stand strong.

“The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation for goodness.” —Dalai Lama

What are you grateful for today?  Take some time, and feel your gratitude right in your heart, send it out into the world.

I am grateful for the trees; they provide shelter, oxygen to help nourish, homes for so many, medicine in it’s bark, needles, leaves, flowers and for all the bounty they offer us in numerous ways.

I am grateful for the history of my own roots, and all the rocks along the way.

With so much love from ME to YOU

Amber

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A morning walks reflection

Breaking Out Of Boxes To Be Who You Truly Are

Welcome To Your Wednesday Wellness Reflection

Flowers don’t open and close according to who walks by. They embrace all of what they are and show it to the world around them. The peony doesn’t try to compete with the cherry blossom, and the cherry blossom doesn’t try to compete with the tulip – they own what they are and trust the timing of their true nature. You’re being called to do the same.

Rebecca Campbell

Do you own the truth of who you are?

Or do you change depending on whose company you keep?

Regardless of past patterns, or how others sometimes like to put you in a box – it’s important at this stage of our lives to break out of any boxes.

In yogic anatomy we think about this being human in terms of having 10 bodies that comprise components of our unified self. We consider all these precious aspects; the good stuff and the stuff we often try to hide away, understanding that there are many elements to living a balanced life. On our practice mats we have the opportunity to remember that we are more than just a body, or just a mind, we have the opportunity to reconnect with all these amazing elements that make us whole.

In last week’s reflection, I mentioned taking just 3 minutes in your day – is it that hard to find for your self care.

Well it definitely can be, I understand. Being in another round of lockdown with my boys home, I am juggling the responsibilities of not only my own care, my professional responsibilities, but also the new territory of having us all home yet again, establishing a new rhythm with school, work and hmmmm self-care.

Finding 3 minutes is not always that simple, but it is essential to maintaining peace of mind and moving from a place of wholeness and truth, especially when we’re being challenged. Believe me, I understand.

If that window becomes blurry, be gentle with yourself as tomorrow is yet another opportunity to find at least those 3 minutes.

The place we’ve been finding most of our deep breaths together has been in our backyard forest classroom, where we’ve also been greeted by many friends whom we share this land with. A beautiful buck, many white tailed deer, our friend the wise owl, all the winged beings, the voles, and our constant companion and new friend the woodshed bat. Breathing in the healing that the forest offers us, I find my 10 bodies and all the aspects that come together within me, seem to easefully weave together as one.

From a yogic lens, what are your 10 bodies??

This is a very brief snapshot, simply intended if you’d like to keep reading, to give you a little more insight and a consideration in supporting these elements within yourself. Which might I add, spending time in nature is the best medicine to help you integrate all these beautiful aspects of yourself.  Perhaps this isn’t of interest, but I thought you would like the choice to read on or not.

I realize, this is a bit of a longer piece, some food for thought.

1) The Soul Body – your inner light and foundation, where you connect with feelings of safety. When strong and balanced you easefully live from your heart and there exists a gentle flow with the ups and downs of life. We accept easier, and we find comfort and stability in our inner guidedance. To support : Singing, dancing, heart opening postures and practices, truthfully anything that helps you feel alive and inner joy.

2) The Negative Mind – provides you with discernment and protection.  Important as it helps to warn you of danger, helping to keep you safe, strengthens your trust in your own intuition and personal judgement. To support: Commit to yourself care, no matter what –  commit and value that time for you. Quiet time in meditation is very supportive, practicing saying no when something doesn’t feel supportive.

3) The Positive Mind – allows you to see all possibilities and opportunities in front of you. The positive mind creates an expansive worldview within, it supports an inner framework of hope and trust. To support: Use positive affirmations, doing postures to strengthen and support your naval point, open around your heart centre, waking up the energy inside of your body every day.

4) The Neutral Mind – This aspect of yourself corresponds to your heart centre, allows you to weigh in the positive and the negative coming to a neutral and equanimous place. To support: adopt a daily silent meditation practice, working with breath practices where we allow a pause after our inhale and again after our exhale, tuning into your heart centre when making decisions. Increased awareness of breath patterns.

5) The Physical Body – This is your sacred body temple, it requires your consistent and dedicated care. When your physical body is at ease you’re able to more fully participate in life. This also represents our teacher aspect and gives us confidence when we feel strong physically. To support: move your body daily, nourish yourself with water and foods that support you, ensure a balance between exercise and healing rest.

6) The Arcline –An aspect of your energy body. This gives you the ability to clearly project your truth out to the world, and supports you to feel stable and centered.  This corresponds physically with your heart center and your pituitary gland. To support: spend time in meditation with your eye focus at the point between your eyebrows, and explore movements that move the arms across the front of the body and over the head.

7) The Aura – The protective energy around your body. A strong aura supports you to attract what you need to thrive, and to repel anything that drains you or negatively affects your life force. Helps you to feel confident and secure. To support: hot and cold showers, dry brushing, practices that help you to clear negative energy and create healthy boundaries, meditation, singing, cleansing pranayama.

8) The Praanic Body: Life giving force, the flow of energy through you. Helps you to feel awake and alive, and often more trusting that you are exactly where you need to be and have clarity in steps you need to take to move forward in your life. To support: Any pranayama (breathwork) practices.

9) Subtle Body: Your sensitivity, your patience, and your calmness in whatever life hands you. Your ability to respond to your intuitive knowing. To support: Quiet listening meditation, and committing – with an open heart – to a spiritual practice for an extended amount of time.

10) The Radiant Body: This is your radiance, your courage, your personal power and presence. When this is strong you feel you are the flow of life, and attract what you need to do what you’re here to do in this lifetime. To support: daily exercise, pranayama, dancing and singing, surrounding yourself with people that uplift you, committing to your daily self-care.

Sending you love as you travel on your path, holding you in my heart

Till next week,
Amber
xo

If you want to practice with Amber on your own schedule, in the comfort of your own home, consider subscribing to her exlusive weekly wellness capsules and practice videos.  White Pine members also get unlimited access to online classes with their membership.  To find out more click here

Wednesday Wellness Reflections

Welcome to our Wednesday Wellness Reflection, I’m so grateful you’re here.
Today  I offer you a little food for thought. 
I find this a powerful reminder to enjoy the journey, and all the paths along the way.
 
That we are where we need to be in this moment, not always “ideal” or comfortable – but the only place we can be at this precise moment in our lives.   I know this is especially hard right now.  
If we can release our attachment and clinging, to things being a certain way – or the way they used to be, we often find we can find peace and surrender into our life as it is now – Acceptance.  
It’s important to keep dreaming (especially right now), and to not ever give up on those dreams while you take steps forward, but also to feel deep gratitude for the life you’re living in this moment – sometimes messy, confusing, often hard, but part of the whole hidden picture.  
 The true gift of arriving in each and every breath.  
 I read this quote in class on Tuesday, written by Meggan Watterson, as I felt into today, it felt important to share again here. 

“The guru, the saint, the magi, the “perfected” ideal of yourself that can radiate beams of light like Princess Fiona after Shrek’s true love kiss, and remain that way, is an illusion.  This is often used as a way for us to feel inadequate.  To constantly compare ourselves.  To constantly suggest to ourselves that we’re not there yet.  We haven’t arrived.

The good news is we never arrive.  None of us.  Not even the holiest person you can think of in this moment…… We never get there.  That’s the whole point of being human.  The point is to constantly arrive.  For some of us with each breath.  We constantly return to love.  This is the good news; that we can.  That it’s set up that way.  That no matter who we are or how long we’ve been seperated from feeling the presence of love, it’s actually right here.

Within.” 

Take a few moments and simply notice what arises inside of you after reading these thoughts, perhaps take some time with your journal.

I wonder as you move through the next few weeks if you can offer yourself the invitation to arrive in every breath.  With all of your senses can you feel the complete cycle of each breath – inhale and exhale.

Can you be fully present in this moment – this one, right now, you will never be here again.

Can you give yourself permission to connect with the very beat of your heart.  Your center of compassion and kindness, bringing you back to that deep well of love – with every breath.

Sending you love today, from deep within,

Amber
xo
Just a reminder that tomorrow (Thursday, December 24th) is a live online Karma class for Interval House from 1:00 – 2:00 pm.  I’ll be leading you through a nourishing and restorative gentle practice, offering you a little nurturing self care before the holidays.  If you’d like to find out more click here
If you want to practice with Amber on your own schedule, in the comfort of your own home, consider subscribing to her exlusive weekly wellness capsules and practice videos.  To find out more click here

Welcome to Day 1 of Amber’s 30 days of yoga support – Riding the precious waves of gratitude

Welcome to the beginning of our 30 day journey together.

Thank you for accepting my invitation – this is truly an invitation for you to become better acquainted with yourself and with the gifts of a practice infused with gratitude, as we explore our breath, movement, traditional and exploratory postures as well as some beautiful meditation practices.
Beginning on Thanksgiving Monday is no coincidence, as this 30 day challenge is anchored around the vibration of deep appreciation and the pure exchange of kindness in our experience of life.
We are living in wild times, but one thing that remains certain and can give us stability is our daily practice and the daily acknowledgement of gratitude.  
Gratitude can help us to understand the light at the center of the darkness – and to appreciate the darkness around the light.  Consciously exploring gratitude reminds us to celebrate the small miracles of our moment to moment life, and helps us to not take the gifts in our life for granted –  food, nourishment, friendship, family, a roof over our heads, the sun shining, a simple breath, the moonlight, the fire that warms your hearth – we have much to be thankful for, and it can be all to easy to forget.
For these next 30 days we’re going to cultivate and nurture an attitude of appreciation, remembering the importance of gratitude.  Often our biggest challenges can hold within them amazing gifts and growth.  The more we attune to what we feel gratitude towards, the easier it is to recognize these gifts, and the more it would seem we have to feel grateful for.   As we build on this practice, we attract more of what we need to feel supported in our heart of hearts, and we begin to notice we feel happier, more open to life,  and more connected to the people and the earth surrounding us.  
“Enough.  These few words are enough.  If not these words, this breath.  If not this breath, this sitting here.  This opening to the life we have refused again and again until now.  Until now.”
                                                                        David Whyte
Today we begin with setting intentions and connecting with our breath. I encourage you to grab a journal, take a few deep breaths, acknowledge and embrace the life in front of you – even if just one tiny element of your life, and let us begin.  Click here to view today’s practice video.  
If you want to follow along with the whole 30 day challenge, daily practices will be posted on my patreon page
(as above)
If you’d like to just check in throughout the 30 days; Day 1, Day 10, Day 15, Day 20 and Day 30 will be posted additionally here on our Surya Daya blog, as check in points.  Even if you just join me for today I AM SUPER GRATEFUL!
May these practices nourish you, bring you balance, and help you to feel more at home in yourself.
With so much love
Amber

Joy Filled Blessings for the Summer Solstice

Summer Solstice is a time we celebrate all the light in the world, as we honour the tilting of the earth wrapping us in the longest day of sunlight of our calendar year.  We move through the cycles of seasons and witness our own  rhythms, being mindful of the ebb and flow of life.

2020, the year that was prophesied to be the year of clear vision, the year of clarity and truth.  I understand this is not what we expected this unfurling to look or feel like, but it is our reality and an uncovering of so much truth, so much for us to ponder.

Summer solstice is an invitation to lean into what works, and to release what no longer serves us.   It is a time to uncover what you know deep inside of you is waiting to be revealed.  We are sitting on the edge, a precipice of sorts, wondering what happens next.

For many there is an increased anxiety during this time, as people begin to venture out of the safety of isolation, exploring this concept of reemergence.   It’s important to be responsible and respectful to others, and also to lean into the practices that support you to rise above any fears that may be surfacing.

It’s okay to take your time with these next steps.  It’s okay to not follow the crowd and simply do whatever those around you are doing.  It’s important to follow the lead of your heart, now more than ever.

Silence to me means the calm quiet that comes when fear has lost its voice.

Silence…is not an absence of sound, but it’s the end of the clamour, the racket the ego makes.  It’s the rest we can receive when all we are hearing is the sound of what the heart contains.

– Meggan Watterson

This summer solstice we are also blessed with a new moon, making it extra powerful.  A time to take steps to actualize our dreams.  We have been reminded through this time to not live with regrets, because wow, the unexpected can occur at any moment, our lives have the potential to change in the blink of an eye .

pexels-photo-356661

Light a candle, and honour your connection to the light.  Honour the light inside of you, and the light you bring forth as you move through your life.  Honour the seeds of creation within you, reflecting on the life you lived, but also on the life yet to come.  Sat Dharam Kaur reminds us of a powerful practice, to consciously reflect and write out 27 visions of the life ahead of you.  Not as a means of wanting to be somewhere you’re not, but rather as a way to plant seeds for what’s to come.  Feel it in your breath and in your bones, see yourself in those moments of your life, remind yourself why this life is worth living.  It’s powerful to allow the pictures to run through your minds eye as you move your fingers along a mala, cycling through the visions 4 times to come to the full 108 beads.  I am so grateful for this practice. 

As part of a solstice ritual, it’s beautiful to set a clear intention honouring the energy of solstice and then  move through 108 sun salutations as the sun is rising.

I’m attaching a reminder of the sequence in a simplified sun salutation, the flow we often move through in our Saturday morning kundalini class.

To view the practice click here .

Last year we met at the park and moved through these in community, that morning is etched in my heart.  This year, honouring the circumstances of our present day reality, I will be moving through them, imagining you with me at my home – I invite you to  join me energetically.

When we move through our sun salutation flow, Surya namaskar, we are creating space inside of ourselves for our life force to move through us, giving reverence to the energy of the sun.  We give ourselves an invitation through the sequence to allow a deep inner awakening, as we honour our bodies, releasing stress and connecting with the dance between the flow of asana and our breath.  It’s a good idea to move through in 10 sequences of 10, and a final sequence of 8 repetitions – in the final 11th round I like to honour each chakra with each cycle of the flow.  Here is a variation of  beautiful affirmations to cycle through the chakras as an anchor.  I have adapted the affirmations for my own practice and I invite you to do the same,  this was originally shared with me by Mary, and it’s an honour to share with you here.  This is a powerful daily practice.

Root Chakra – Muladhara – Self Acceptance – May I be rooted, grounded, and secure.

Sacral Chakra – Svadhistana – Fearlessness, Creativity – May joy and creativity flow through me.

Abdominal Chakra – Manipura – Inner Strength – May I be a lighthouse, May I feel my strength and my power – grounded in kindness and truth, May I be committed to my self care.

Heart Chakra – Anahata – Compassion, Forgiveness, Service – May love and compassion flow through me.

Throat Chakra – Vishudda – Trust, Truth, Integrity – May I speak my truth fearlessly.

Third Eye Chakra – Ajna – Purpose – May I trust my intuition and strengthen my connection to my inner wisdom.  May I be guided by it.

Crown Chakra –  Sahasrara –  Highest Self – May I feel my connection with all of life, May I confidently align and step into my higher purpose.

Aura – Radiance, Vitality, Protection – May I honour my radiance and project out strongly to the world. May I remember my purpose and surround myself by who and what nourishes and strengthens me.

At the end of your physical practice, take some time to allow any movements to move through you, and when you’re ready come laying in shavasana for a at least 10 minutes, sense yourself, notice sensations, notice your breath, invite that flow of life force into all the space you created, notice the quality of your thoughts, acknowledge the healing that’s happening inside.

Coming back to a seated position, closing your eyes down and maybe inviting a little more depth into your breath.  Remind yourself of your intention and breath it right into your heart.  I am going to share a lovely little meditation with a  pranayama practice to help seal this sacred time on your mat.  The meditation is for a calm heart.

To join me in this practice click here.

This practice helps to calm and soothe our nervous system, it can bring us back to our center.  It is also a powerful practice if you are being challenged, invite that challenge and all those involved, into your awareness, and try sending an invitation for peace and an easeful resolution.   Life is so  short to hold on to the experiences that cause us pain and suffering, this is a good time to give gratitude for the lessons learnt and release it’s hold on you.   This practice also teaches us patience on a subconscious level through the breath practice – patience with our process, and patience with the dance of life  and others we are in connection with – we are all doing our best in every given moment.

I too am learning, a lifelong student on this journey of life.  There is no urgency, life is unfolding in the only way it can.

Just in case you  missed our last newsletter, here is the link studio news

Wishing you so much love and light, as we celebrate this time of great change.  Know we are here holding you in our hearts, as we too evolve in ways that will only strengthen our community.

Much love Amber, and all of us at  Surya Daya.

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Ahimsa – Can we be kind to ourselves?

Yogic greetings to YOU!

Sending you the biggest cyber hugs I can possibly manage today……

I wanted to share a little practice, a meditation for cultivating ahimsa – or nonviolence.

When we consider what violence is for us, we need to reflect on the potent power and effects of our body actions, our body language, how we listen (or not) to others and our selves, our words and the tone which we express them.  We need to consciously consider the foods we nourish – or not – our bodies with and the effects of these choices, the thoughts and the stories we tell ourselves, the people we surround ourselves by.  We also need to consider how patient and gentle we are with ourselves through changes in our lives and during times of uncertainty.  This is when we need to be extra gentle.

I invite you to bring mindful attention to this concept of nonharming, and understanding it’s thread in your own life.

During this time of change, I’ve been spending some time revisiting the ethics of yoga.  The foundation and roots of these amazing and ancient practices, which invite yoga to not only be a practice on your mat, but if it resonates for you, also a conscious way of living off your mat.   

To view the practice click here

This particular practice I found in a treasure called Mudras For Healing And Transformation, by Joseph and Lilian Le Page, this phenomenal book was introduced to me to by one of the  many incredible inspirations in my life, Kathleen Burr.  Kathleen is a phenomenal yogi, and a very dear friend.  She teaches us about resilience and trauma informed yoga, as well as powerful ways for us to remember to care for ourselves.  She  offered our teachers at Surya Daya a beautiful and nurturing afternoon of self care last year and it is our plans to have her back to hold a community offering when it is safe to do so.

I invite you to come into a comfortable seated position, and give yourself some time to explore this beautiful meditation practice.

Much love, Amber

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Day 10 Yoga Support with Amber

“We who have lost our sense and our senses – our touch, our smell, our vision of who we are, we who frantically force and press all things, without rest for body or spirit, hurting our earth and injuring ourselves:  we call a halt.

We want to rest.  We need to rest and allow the earth to rest.  We need to reflect and to rediscover the mystery that lives in us that is the ground of every unique expression of life, the source of the fascination that calls all things to communion.  We declare a sabbath, a space for quiet:  for simply being and letting be; for recovering the great, forgotten truths; for learning to live again.” 

-United Nations Environmental Sabbath Program

 

Sat Naam and Namaste, welcome to Day 10 of Amber’s Yoga Support Challenge.

I was reflecting on that title this morning, and I think of this project rather as a 30 day yoga support during a challenging time, as a little daily check in infused with self care practices.  It is my intention as well that if any of the practices resonate for you, that you will revisit the video and practice as often as it would be supportive for you.

Today we’ll be sharing in a quiet reflective mindfulness based meditation.  We are inundated with so much stimulation in our present day world and as a culture often push past our limits regardless of how we feel, this is a time to reflect.

.  Our bodies start to break down, and we can suffer from mental and physical illness if we don’t give ourselves permission to integrate and process all the stimulation of our moment to moment life events.  The use of breathing exercises, meditation, prayer, visualization, positive affirmations and sensory awareness practices can help to create a safe space for integration and an internal invitation for healing so we can stay strong and vital.

I’m presently taking an online 12 week breast health intensive with Dr. Sat Dharam Kaur and she reminds us that we ideally need to take a break every 2 1/2 hours to offset the external stimuli,integrate our life experiences, and keep our reserves full so we can keep going.  When we lose sight of our self care, we fall apart.   In our society we often neglect our body and minds need for this 20 minute or so break, we often replace this potential window for self care with another coffee, TV, sugar, emails, work, alcohol, recreational drugs rather than taking a break with nourishing activities that are needed to fill us back up; such as a nap, a cup of herbal tea, a walk, journaling, breath work, gentle movement, meditation or any other activities that will nourish rather than deplete you.

I hope you enjoy today’s practice, and give yourself this window to reset.

To view the practice click here

Thank you for carving out this time just for you,

With so much love, until tomorrow

Amber

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