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sutra244a

curiosity, an open sense of wonder, sometimes leads us to flip perceptions on their head in order to know things in different ways.

yesterday dawned as the last day of summer and ended as the first day of autumn.  it was forecast to be a warm, clear day and so i went to the beach to meet the dawning.

while the movement of planets, moons, stars and other celestial bits and pieces is a complex ethereal dance, the notion of the earth rotating on its lovely axial tilt as it travels in an ecliptic plane around the sun is not at all captured in the notions of ‘sunrise’ and ‘sunset’.

i have been sitting with this a bit lately.

yesterday, i stood still and quiet on beach sand damp with ebb tide while the horizon revealed the sun. in the vastness of that moment where the five elements met — earth, water, fire, air, ether —  there was a dizziness. a giddiness. a lived experience of rolling toward the sun.

as individuals that exist as part of a potentially infinite expanse, getting to know this expanse is part of getting to know of oneself.          ~ nicole katz on patanjali’s yoga sutra 2.44: svadhyayat ishta devata samprayogah

 

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i recently spent a few days camping with my partner.

annually we spend 4 or 5 nights at a particular island campground. we head to the northside of up east, to a cozy place called Campbell’s Cove (if you are not familiar with the geographical directional lexicon of prince edward island, you need only know it is island-centric and, though i can say the words, it remains a mystery to me).

DCIM100SPORTour day of arrival was steely gray, blustery and wet. the ocean was churning red waves upon the shore. the clouds were low, dancing a chaos of squalls. it was pretty much perfect.

the next morning dawned drier and slight bit more calm. clouds scampered along the early morning sky and the beach seemed to invite us down for a post-coffee stroll. it was the thrice daily ritual of ours days.

DSCN4624the way the sands allowed the waves to insistently rock ‘n’ roll, build and surrender, as the horizon shifted grey then blue then cloud then sky, seduced me into the landscape. i stopped being there and began projecting myself upon/into this mirific backdrop. the outcroppings of rocks, upon which the waves released, the uptakes of the stiff breezes, the passage of time with the skuddle of clouds . . . i wanted to place myself into this beauty. i wanted to strike a yoga pose on the edge of the ocean and have it captured with the camera so i could put it on my facebook page.

only seconds after this desire came upon me, my awareness of how ego-based the desire was crashed across my mind, much like the surf upon the boulders. and i let it go.

no.

i did not.

let it go.

the next day, on one of those lovely beach strolls, i capitulated to ego and handed the camera to udo. i was heading out onto that outcropping of rocks, there, i said, and i was going to stand in vrksasana – tree pose – and would he please snap a picture.

there was still a stiff breeze arriving on shore from the atlantic ocean  and coupled with some recent inflammation in my knee, a gradual growing into tree was required. there was a measure of challenge to holding the asana under these conditions.  after i had felt one with the universe long enough for it to be captured for social media, i climbed back over the rocks toward him, asking if he had gotten the shot.

no. he did not.

what??!

and so, i repeated the above process. this time he declared his part, solicited as it was, of my ego escapade a photographic success.

DSCN4699

later in the day i had time to check out the pictures. there were a few of me prepping for the pose, which explained the missed shot the first time around. the second time, the frame was zoomed in, so much so that the perspective, of my lovely self in this beautiful seascape, was lost.

all this to say, my ego was defeated. not by me, but by him. he has been my ego-eradicator from the beginning.

these photos. the ones where we place ourselves into landscapes and then share them — often multiple versions of them; the ones where we take multiple shots, looking for angles on our faces, the slant of light, the one that has that feel of serenity or excitement or pensiveness or unawareness or accomplishment. our lashes, our hair, the tilt of our head, the turn of the body, the shadow defining a muscle, that oh-so-horrible duck-face evolution of lips pursed so awkwardly … the entire process, from idea to selection to adding effects to captioning … these are important. they are important as our teachers. they tell us about how attached we are to our egos and give us more stuff to work with.

he recognized my ego and he deflated it. i am so very thankful for his gurudity in my life. i have so much more work to do. i am constantly amused by and curious about it all.

all

I am not this hair, I am not this skin, I am the soul that lies within ~ Rumi

 

 

DCIM100SPORTi step sweet gingerly

on the carpet of wild strawberry blossoms

strewn alongside the driveway

mourning doves scatter as i advance

they lift and spiral outward upward

like the dance of dandelion seeds on the wind

i run awkward

the soles of my feet

have softened in the dewy grass

and have awakened

to the richness of the textures

that is the asphalt

i run solely

my ears fill with the succession of cars passing

and then

they empty of the roar

the kirtan of birdsong rises all around me

and settles venticularly

vibrating

i do not know if it is internal or external

i run blurry

the air sits heavy humid

DCIM100SPORT

DCIM100SPORT

immediately sticky on my skin

my fingers tingle with the coolness of early

the sweet scenty aura

of apple blossoms warms me

and slugs hieroglyph

messages of love I leap over

i run hearty

practice3i unfurl my mat on the deck amidst intoxicants

of barely blossomed lilacs

with just out fragrances

bumbling bees

as they buzz the sound of the universe

morning practice

the 12 students of chair ytt

the 12 students of chair ytt

the weekend before last, i attended a chair yoga teacher training course. getting to the program was a bit of vehicular adventure, but the mishaps and setbacks were well worth it.

the course was held in the very special space of Fall River Yoga Centre and offered by Julie Palmer of Yoga4All in the Annapolis Valley.  Julie has a depth and breadth of presence, knowledge and skill. the eleven other students in the course brought an abundant diversity to the experience; the centre quickly opened into a sharing, practice, exploring and learning space.

chair yoga is an adaptive form of yoga, well-suited to any body with ambulatory or joint mobility challenges, concerns with balance, and a variety of issues often associated with aging, though not necessarily so.

the course started each day with a master class, in which Julie opened the class with a meditation/centering practice. this was followed by pranayama (breathing exercises) and warm up movements.  seated yoga poses and standing yoga poses followed. and then optional resistance training or hand/finger mobility with neurological patterning, self massage and another meditation. the master classes were all wrapped up, of course, in a luscious silky ribbon of relaxation.

chair yoga, in case you’re wondering, can be plenty challenging if that is where your practice is. it is also a mat/chair time which begins right where you are. (yeah, the cape bretoner in me wanted to say: right where you’re at)

over the weekend, we explored seated yoga postures and standing postures using the chair. there was a good deal of fun and creativity in the room, and all manner of learned lessons and tips from the participants.

a variety of pranayama techniques, hand mudras, and do-in self-massage were shared and learned along with some very fun silly shakers offered up by one of the other students.

issues of concern when working with an older adult population were covered quite well. from hearing to blood pressure, from arthritis to osteoporosis. the information was just meaty enough for someone new/er to working with this population to have confidence in themselves and fingertip access to a fantastic reference source.

i had been eyeing this program for a couple of years now and am so glad i had the opportunity to attend. i’ll be using so much of this in the programming i already offer seniors.

i am grateful to Julie, for creating such a wonderful container for our learning and curiosity and to all the other participants who filled the room with comfort and creative energy.

namaste.

cbyphotoJoin me in this 6 week CLUBBELL YOGA series which I am so pleased to offer at a special one-time-only rate as part of the Island Launch.

This 7 and a half hours of practice for $48 + hst.

Numbers are limited.

Sundays. 8:00am – 9:15am

Contact me at thewholeway@wendychappell.com or call 902.894.8943 for information and/or to register

Clubbell Yoga is a fusion of strength training & yoga, created by Summer Huntington and Scott Sonnon, to improve quality of movement. The practice will help to improve shoulder stability, core strength, single leg balances and vinyasa yoga transitions. Every class focuses on refining alignment and motor patterns, increasing awareness of core and shoulders. You will be empowered to move better.

This fusion of two ancient traditions – clubbell and yoga – will help you strengthen and tone your arms, legs and core in every exercise or pose.

Clubbell Yoga Class Format:
Joint Mobility Vinyasa warm up specific to the Clubbell Yoga Flow for the class
Mini conditioning circuit
Clubbell Yoga Flow
Deep Stretch/Fascia Release/Decompression poses
Savasana

Class is broken down into three phases and will be a wonderful addition to your Sunday morning, your week, your life:
Awaken
Condition
Practice

To learn more, listen to Summer talk about this practice:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NiH2E7PD5EE

It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye. ~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

The Occupy[Wall Street] movement, it occurs to me, is a refreshing testament to basic wisdom and goodness.

It is a movement of people who, having experienced sufficient injustice and inequality in their lives, sufficient frustration of their basic needs, sufficient deprivation of honesty and integrity in government, stepped into courage.

They have found and are expressing a shared compassion; an understanding of each other’s pain.

When circumstances exist that seem to threaten us, we just might harden our hearts. We construct barriers to protect; armour placed around our hearts, blinding us and numbing us.  But within all this fortification there remains a soft spot, a spot which can love and be compassionate.

It is this spot which we must occupy. 

Occupy your heart.

When everyone finds the courage to occupy their heart, the world will be a safe, peaceful, just place.

The thousands upon thousands of people expressing themselves through the Occupy movement are true everyday warriors. I am grateful to them, for the rawness of their bravery, for the vulnerability they have willingly exposed, for their collective challenge to protected hearts.

There are many paths to opening a protected heart. Social justice work, pivotal life experiences, spiritual exploration, meditation and yoga are but a few.

Daily meditation to open your heart will not only go a  long way toward creating a more just and peaceful world, it can decrease risk factors for coronary disease. Profound in its simplicity, meditation is a gift and a fully accessible means of personal and social change.

If you need help with a daily practice, try the following:

  • Stand or sit in a place where you feel comfortable. Close your eyes.
  • Place your finger tips onto your low back if standing or onto the floor behind you if sitting.
  • Begin opening and lifting the chest, drawing the sternum upwards, pulling your shoulder blades together in back.
  • Breathe into your chest, lengthening and deepening your breath as you settle in to the expansiveness across your heart centre.
  • Keep your focus on your breath while you feel your heart beat steady, strong and calm.
  • Maintain this sense of opening for up to five minutes.
  • Gently open your eyes, smile, and return to a natural breath.

You can get a visual of this practice in the following video. The first three minutes is sufficient to derive great benefit from a daily practice. Should you wish to move further into the pose, enjoy the colours.

 

And, if you wish to go further in opening your heart and balancing heart energies, Anmol Mehta has shared this wonderful Kundalini Yoga Kriya.

 

A further sign of health is that we don’t become undone by fear and trembling, but we take it as a message that it’s time to stop struggling and look directly at what’s threatening us.           ~ Pema Chodron

Hey. There are a number of changes being made to the studio class schedule. Please check out the Google Calendar (…where it says “click here” on the top of the left column on the home page) to see the full month lay out.

The evening Yoga Classes have been taken off the schedule. I’ll miss these classes so very much.

Creative Core has been moved from Tuesday at lunch time to Thursday at lunch time so there aren’t core classes on two consecutive days.

The Thursday lunch time Kettlebell Class has been moved to Tuesday at lunch time.

A 1pm Kettlebell Class has been added to Fridays! Yay for even more Love Kettlebell options!

A TRX Kettlebell Combo Class is now on schedule! Wednesday’s at lunch time you can have your backside served to you as appetizer and main course.

Wednesday night passed was the closing celebration, at week 10,  of Community School at Charlottetown Rural High School.  I had the privilege of teaching yoga to a friendly and enthusiastic group of mostly new-to-yoga students.

If you missed my earlier post on this, I’ll bring you up to date.  Community School is this fabulous concept offered across the province: instructors volunteer their services and students, for a truly minimal price, get to experience or participate in an educational experience, usually hobby-based or basic skills.

The yoga class I instructed was challenging.  More than 30 students, at least half of whom were entirely new to yoga, in a school cafeteria.  Yes.  Unyielding floor below too thin mats, overhead fluorescent bulbs, a loud heating system which revved into our poses on a regular basis, and cafeteria tables, tilted on end, providing an all-too-inadequate barrier to the busy-ness of half time coffee and snack prep at the back of the room.

Oh, but it was fun.  And fulfilling.

The closing celebrations were attended by…

The Spanish Class singing Amazing Grace in Spanish, displays by the rug hookers, painters,  and scrapbookers, the guitar students (taught by two high school students) playing Dark Side of The Moon (loved that), swedish embroidery, computer literacy, personal financial management, line dancing, and more.  I’d say 150+ folks turned out for this grand finale…a lovely cold cut and salad meal, camaraderie, presentations, applause and laughter.  This was a fabulous Community School!

I was the recipient of much joy and gratitude.  Imagine!  Community School presented me  with a certificate, a gift card to a local grocery store, and an appreciated cheque to cover my weekly travel expenses (it was a 40 minute drive in each direction for me).  My class participants took up a collection and I humbly accepted a gift certificate at a local soap manufacturing business (how did they know?) and a gift card to the book store (they admitted to creeping my facebook site to get ideas).

Best yet, one of the participants, Margot of Line Dancing Fame, wrote a poem and it was put in a card with loads of lovely signatures.  I want to share that poem with you:

Yoga is divine

It helped align our spine

We stretched those abs

And toned those flabs

A BIG THANK YOU to Wendy!

Yoga is so fun

Salutation to the sun

The mountain pose

And yoga clothes

A BIG THANK YOU to Wendy!

Yoga is so bendy

We strive to be like Wendy

We moaned and giggled

While our bodies jiggled

A BIG THANK YOU to Wendy!

Yoga is the best

Especially when we rest 🙂

From your CS (community school) crew

Na-ma-ste to you

A BIG THANK YOU to Wendy!

A BIG THANK YOU to everyone who made this such a wonderful Wednesday night experience.  I had the time of my life.

Namaste.

resting in savasana

I am teaching an 8 week Yoga class for the PEI Community School Association.  Community Schools are held across the Island and are attended by thousands of fine folks.  Instructors volunteer their time, participants pay a nominal fee, and everyone has an opportunity to learn a new skill or hobby.  The location at which I am teaching has classes in line dancing, guitar, computer apps, rug hooking, conversational spanish, landscaping, and more.  The school just buzzes with energy every Wednesday night, the parking lot is full, and friendly faces abound.

Savasana is an opportunity to calm and rejuvenate the mind and body.  It can alleviate anxiety and mental stress, increase focus and concentration.  What a great way to finish off the challenge of teaching yoga to a very large group of mostly new-to-yoga enthusiasts.  I am so very grateful for this most favourable circumstance.

Namaste.

lance's swings help his postural alignment

lance performs kettlebell swings - great for posture

How you sit affects your self beliefs. So says the results of an Ohio State University study.

Researchers found that people who were told to sit up straight were more likely to believe thoughts they wrote down while in that posture concerning whether they were qualified for a job.  On the other hand, those who were slumped over their desks were less likely to accept these written-down feelings about their own qualifications.  The results show how our body posture can affect not only what others think about us, but also how we think about ourselves…

Also quite interesting in the study was the lack of self-awareness involved in the postural influence.

…participants didn’t report feeling more confident in the upright position than they did in the slouched position, even though those in the upright position did report more confidence int he thoughts they generated,” Petty says.

That suggests peoples’ thoughts are influenced by their posture, even though they don’t realize that is what’s happening. “People assume their confidence is coming from their own thoughts  They don’t realize their posture is affecting how much they believe in what they’re thinking,” he says.  “If they did realize that, posture wouldn’t have such an effect.”

This just gives us one more reason in addition to the many, to strive for and maintain correct posture:

  • spine health
  • pain free living
  • allowing for ease and depth of breath and full diaphragmatic breathing
  • unencumbered circulation and digestion
  • full use of the diaphragm in speech and voice quality
  • musculo-skeletal efficiency

Developing, correcting or maintaining strong, healthy posture can be achieved through exercise.

tadasana alignmentYoga and kettlebell training are both first rate avenues for encouraging healthy postural alignment.  Both have a strong and mindful focus on functional movement patterns which

  • strengthen muscles and connective tissues
  • promote the full range of movement of the joints
  • endorse flexibility
  • correct muscular imbalances

If you are finding yourself slumped, rounded back with head jutting forward, while sitting at your computer, watching television or chatting with a friend over coffee it is past time to create change.

Improving your posture will improve your life.

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