Finding Space – Wednesday Wellness Reflection

Sometimes in the sleepless nights seeds are planted.   These days sleep is definitely a rare commodity,  however I’m finding if I can stop tossing and turning and resisting the consistent wake ups, I notice ideas start to flow in, priorities become obvious and greater clarity around where there needs to be space in my own life is put on centre stage in the meandering of my thoughts.

It’s really easy to hold off on all the uncomfortable things and to keep spinning our wheels, during those windows of our lives we often hold the shields a little closer to our bodies.  There comes a point when it’s imperative to create some space between your body and the protection so you can breathe and truly discover who you even are and what you need – independent of everyone else’s ideas.  I love the image of a bed of moss surrounding my own body, moving with my breath – rather than preventing it,  and being permeable to a healthy flow of what is needed both within and without.

As I write this, the birds are just waking up and the early hours of dawn are approaching.  I feel sleepy, but alive and grateful for the magic of our natural world as I gaze out my window.  I am a part of it all, and I realize that a little bit more every day.  The treasures we find outside in our natural world are also found within, but again we need the space to discover, and remember, what those are.

I just finished reading the book Big Magic (Thank you Sarah and Nicki), by Elizabeth Gilbert.  There is a quote that really resonated with me, and I’ve posted it up in my office as a daily reminder.

“…because your life is short and rare and amazing and miraculous, and you want to do really interesting things and make really interesting things while you’re still here…….

It’s what we all want.

And you have treasures hidden within you – extraordinary treasures – and so do I, and so does everyone around us.  And bringing those treasures to light takes work and faith and focus and courage and hours of devotion, and the clock is ticking, and the world is spinning, and we simply do not have time anymore to think so small”

Ahhhh I get goosebumps when I read this.  And those treasures – they may be the simplest offerings; your nourishing and simple vegetable garden, your rose bush, or your incredible cookies that you bake, the way you listen, or the one poem that needed to be written in your lifetime, the care of your children (human and nonhuman), or perhaps the strumming of your guitar played quietly for your soul and your soul alone. The simple treasures are often the most miraculous, remember that.

Elizabeth’s words remind me to stay connected with the moss, making space for my personal practice, reminding me of the magic inside of me –  and you.  It reminds me to listen with all that I am when the birds sing, to breathe fully and completely with every cycle of breath, and to open my eyes with the wonder of a child as the daffodils emerge from their winter slumber – before they fade away.

As my mom fades away, I am reminded of my brief visit here on this earth – in this body, with these unique gifts, for this cycle of my life.  It’s my choice how I show up, and the space I let myself inhabit.

I ask you to find some space to breathe between the shields life hands you, maybe imagine them as a bed of moss wrapping you in love, and offering you protection in a way that doesn’t force you to stop breathing – but rather to start being. 

Taking time to honour the earth as we celebrate Earth Day tomorrow , giving gratitude for the trees who support us to breathe.  David Attenborough reminds us the Earth will continue long after we’re gone, so let’s recommit to our care and stewardship of our home  while we’re here, as we discover our magic during our time here.

Much love. always

Amber

If you’d like to practice with me I teach weekly live online zoom classes , and as an additional support for you to practice on your own schedule I’ve created a video library and a monthly video subscription

Don’t ever hesitate to reach out, my support is here holding you in my heart.

Photo by Jasmin Mori

Spring Renewal – Wednesday Wellness Reflection

It’s hard to believe it was a year ago everything changed, I remember thinking about closing the studio for a week or two, trusting we’d be back in our little sacred space in no time.   A huge learning for me, and a process that continues.

Spring is a powerful time to honour the introspective winter months we’ve just moved through, as we begin to awaken like our natural world around us.   This is a time of renewal and a time to set clear intentions as we plant new seeds in the fertile ground, awakening.

Over the next 6 months we’ll be experiencing a slow increase in the abundance of sunlight, we’ll be witnessing new growth all around us,  and we’ll be feeling into an expansion in yang energy (a more outward and active energy).

Allow this to be a slow emergence if you can, I’m here to remind you there is no urgency, this is especially important this year as we have experienced and continue to navigate so much change on a micro and macro level.

Spring is a time we consider new beginnings, the birth of ideas, we cultivate hope, embrace joy, honour the space we need to thrive, and it’s also a good time to lay the groundwork for things you’d like to grow and create.

Sometimes, however,  spring is also filled with anxiety over percieved expectations, or an urgency to get moving.  Sometimes we can feel agitated inside, without understanding the why.  If you’re feeling overwhelmed, turn to the practices you know nourish you – let them be your anchor, and be gentle with yourself – especially this year.

When we consider our spring cleaning; we need to spend time with our homes, our gardens and yards, our bodies, and it’s important to remember to also consider the clearing, cleansing and expression of your emotional truths.  This  is often the hardest part of our spring cleaning regime – but critical to your continued growth and expansion as a human.

As winters ice breaks up and the snow melts,  we are offered an invitation to honour the flow of the currents moving at their own pace.  Sitting with the waters of spring we can witness the nourishment of new growth, in ourselves and in the land, or perhaps reflecting on the growth and impact of this past year.

As we tend to and consider our responsibility in the care of the earth,  I wonder if in that process you can also surrender to earths fertile energy and allow it to also support you –  the planting of seeds within and around us, that may one day, with care and commitment,  come to fruition.

Hold those seeds in your heart and breathe fresh energy into them.

Wishing you a beautiful spring,

Much love

Amber

xo

If you’d like to practice with me I teach weekly online zoom classes , as well, as a response to COVID, I have created, and continue to create, a video library and a weekly video subscription.

Don’t ever hesitate to reach out, my support is here holding you in my heart.

 

Karma Yoga Class For Interval House

For the past 2 years, since transitioning into Surya Daya, we’ve held a karma class for Interval House on the afternoon of Christmas Eve.  I can’t imagine this year going by without holding that safe container to help support a very needed resource in our community – as well to offer you a peaceful practice of self care to nurture YOU during the holiday season.
There are so many things I miss most about our studio space.  Seeing all of your beautiful faces, holding safe space for you to explore yourself in body and mind while offering a more personal in person support, and our monthly karma classes in support of our community.
We know this year is a different year in so many ways, but the strength within our community has only grown, and the realization of how important it is to reach out when help is needed.
 I will still be holding this special class, but this year you can practice in the comfort of your own home as we move through a nourishing restorative practice together – online.
The class will be held at 1:00 pm on Thursdsay, December 24th, and the cost to register is free, but we encourage you to take some time to reflect on the importance of Interval House in our community.
In years past we have collected items for Interval House, but this year we’ll be holding this sacred space inviting you to hold the women and children, and all the supports and services at Interval House in your heart. This special class will also give you the space to compassionately take some time in silence to hold all the people in your own circle of care that perhaps need a little extra support this year (that may include you).
If you’re able we would like you to consider making a donation directly to Interval House, or you can send an e-transfer to info@suryadaya.ca with Interval House in the message and once all donations are in we’ll get it to them to help support their work and the people they offer respite to.
Sadly, this year domestic violence numbers have increased and funding for these needed resources in our community have decreased.
100% of all proceeds will go directly to Interval House.
We hope you’ll carve out this time to recieve the nourishment of our practice together, taking time to be still and connect with the peace within your heart.
To register click here (preregistration is required)
Remember, we’re all in this together,
With so much love
Amber

Non – Negotiable Time For YOU

Sat Naam and Namaste Beautiful You

Happiness is a state of mind, so the real source of happiness must lie within the mind, not in external conditions.

– Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatoso

This is not always that easy to attain.  We all have a history and our own unique story that brought us here, to this moment in time.  I want to offer you a very gentle reminder to take some time for YOU.  We need to carve out windows for our self care, to access that state of happiness that lives inside of each of us, it just gets lost sometimes.  Did you know that your nervous system gets overwhelmed by the constant stimulation of our present day world; we start to break down if we don’t take time to restore equilibrium.  It is vital to our health to take the needed breaks in our day to re-calibrate, reconnect with our breath, and give ourselves space to let go of the stress we accumulate over time.  This can be as short as a 3 minute breath practice.

To join Amber for a simple little practice and a check in click here

The majority of individuals use only 1/3 of their lung capacity; we have forgotten how to breathe fully.  People are often unconscious to their breath, letting the chaotic external rhythm of life dictate their internal rhythm.  When our bodies are under a lot of stress, or we’re deeply concentrating we often hold our breath, or revert to rapid shallow breathing, which in turn creates more internal stress on the body and the mind.  Only when you’re breathing fully is your body actually capable of responding positively to stress.  Taking a simple full deep breath helps a person to relax, decrease their stress, and calm their mind.

HOW TO BREATHE FOR RELAXATION:  THE FULL RESTING BREATH – TECHNIQUE

  1. Sit in a comfortable position, with your back as straight as supports you (using support if needed) – this allows for a greater ease in your breathing.
  2. Inhale slowly, through your nose – breathing deeply and consciously
  3. Take 5 seconds  – first fill the lower part of your lungs, feeling your abdomen push out as you inhale making space for your diaphragm, bring the breath to the middle of your lungs feeling your ribs expanding, now into your upper chest – the upper part of your lungs
  4. Slowly begin your exhale to a count of 5, allowing the air to leave from your upper chest, your rib cage, and now slowly pulling your abdomen back and in towards your spine – allowing your body to rid itself of any stale O2 and stagnation in the bottom of your lungs
  5. Briefly pause after the exhale, and allow the next inhalation to begin
  6. Repeat steps A to E at least 5 times in repetition, 3 times a day
  7. If it helps, while introducing this breath into your body, do so with your eyes closed and simply concentrate and feel the inflow and outflow of your breath, if your mind wanders, gently bring your focus back to your breath.

Did you know that a seemingly simple resting breath, as described above, provides your body with the following benefits:

  • Purification of the blood stream
  • Relaxes the chest and diaphragm
  • Allows a more relaxed state in the muscles of the chest wall
  • Strengthens the lungs, thorax and abdomen
  • Increases resistance to colds
  • Calms the nervous system, calms the mind
  • Aids digestion, massages your internal organs
  • Increases confidence
  • Clears phlegm
  • Helps to lift depression

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With so much love

Amber

 

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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International Nurses Week

I just want to say a huge thank you to all of our nurses, in our community and beyond – all working the front lines during the outbreak of COVID – 19.  I can only imagine what this time has been like for each of you, and continues to be.  Our nurses working in hospitals, health clinics, palliative care units, in our extended care nursing homes, birthing units, in all capacities, our thoughts and strength are with all of you.

Please  know we are holding you in our hearts with so much love and support as we navigate this time in our lives, and look ahead to the time when we are able to reemerge on the other side of this.

A dear friend, who happens to be a warrior nurse, asked me if I would consider making a video for the nurses to celebrate each of you and help to restore your reserves for all the ways you give.   Such an honour for me,

To view the practice click here

Please make sure to honour the wisdom of your body, and be really gentle with yourself as you move through this 60 minute practice.  A yoga set to help restore your reserves and to remind you to take time for your own self care, especially during this time.

Much love

Amber

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Day 13 Yoga Support Challenge

It hardly matters what day it is any more, since the future is so unclear. I sit quietly, and I open my heart and mind for the unexpected. My prayers of the heart are “humility, through mystery,” and “peace, through acceptance.” 

– C. Thorman

I am so grateful you are here.  Thank you for joining me today, day 13 of our 30 days of yoga support during this challenging time.

Today we’ll be exploring some standing postures and movement for the pelvic girdle and our organs of elimination.  A healthy body and immune system need to have a healthy foundation and careful consideration of all the ways you care for yourself.

It’s important to take time to reflect on all the ways your body is nourished, or depleted.

Close your eyes for a moment and think about the air you breathe, the water you drink and the quantity you bring in, the nutritional value of the foods you eat, as well thinking about where your food comes from and any processing taking that food from it’s original form, your level of activity,  do you express or suppress emotions, how much do you laugh, how do you feel when you’re with certain people, and thinking about our collective toxic overload and what that does to our body systems.

The human body is really quite amazing, and we are born with these self-regulatory mechanisms which are self – healing,  however we do need to care for ourselves to support that state of homeostasis – or balance.

If you notice your energy levels are low and perhaps your moods are also heavy,  you will want to consider how your body is eliminating toxins and the health of your internal organs.  Think also about how much you’re moving  – creating a more dynamic energy state for yourself.  We need to move and make space for new energy and new ideas to flow in.

Today my yogi friend Noah joins me as we do some simple movement based postures to help support YOU in all these ways.

To view the practice click here

We want you to feel the best you possibly can.

From our home to yours, wrapping you in so much love and light

Till tomorrow

Amber and Noah

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Day 3 Yoga Challenge with Amber

Day 3, Yahoooo!

Thank  you for inviting me into your living room, or wherever you are when you opened this link.

Today I bring you our yoga from the woods, at a sacred space called Blakeney.  Imagine the water you hear rushing behind, taking all your stress and tension away as we explore our bodies through tree pose.  We taped this yesterday when the sun was shining, bringing you a little sun on this rainy day.

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 are raised from prayer pose at the heart and slowly stretched over head just as the limbs of a tree stretch up towards the sunlight.  I suggest you use the support of a chair or wall if you’re working with your balance, being gentle with wherever you are.

To access the video click here – Day 3

Questions to reflect on in tree pose:

Where are my roots, and where have they spread?

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 someone else’s?  

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

Enjoy our practice today.  I recommend coming into the posture 2 times on each side, stay focused on your roots, feel your breath, invite ease.

Looking forward to being with you tomorrow!

So much love from ME to YOU

Amber

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Photo by veeterzy on Pexels.com