Saturday, December 31, 2011

"A good intention clothes itself with power."~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Here it is, that time of year where we look at what is working well in our lives and we also look at the things that might not be going so well. Millions of people will toast to a brand new year and a brand new “them” at midnight Dec 31. Will you? What are you resolving for 2012?

For years and years I made (and failed at) new years resolutions, but everyone doesn’t fail! I am however in the majority though, statistically. This morning I read that out of those who make new years resolutions 22% of folks fall off the wagon after a week, and after 3 months 50% just give up altogether on them. Depending on where you look the statistics are a little different but still unfavourable. If you have found yourself disappointed and discouraged in the past with resolutions, or just plain not had any success with them, why not set a sankalpa instead? Sankalpa is a Sanskrit word from the yoga tradition meaning will, purpose or determination. The word san means “highest truth” and kalpa means “vow.”
A sankalpa is an internal vow you make to yourself. Its like planting a seed within. Its private. Its similar to a resolution only instead of focusing on what you don’t want (want to give up etc), you focus on what you’d like to bring into your life and manifest. Instead of saying “I won’t” you say “I will” and you see and feel your vision it in all it’s glory. It’s a resolve that resonates deep within your core. It’s a good intention that brings you into alignment with your highest self and your greatest good. It may sound a little hokey but its really quite powerful.

There are lots of ways to practice sankalpa and I highly recommend it. And if you’re not clear on your sankalpa? Just be open to receiving it and it will come. Maybe it’s a new energy you‘d like to cultivate? Or something you have already been working on for a while? Or it may be something entirely new you’d like to manifest. You can begin each day with your sankalpa. You can reflect on it often, meditate on it, or bring it to your awareness anytime your mind is quiet and receptive. Some good times to focus on it would be: at the beginning of a yoga practice, during shavasana (deep “on purpose” relaxation), meditation, relaxing in the tub, walking in nature, or any period of mindfulness (cuddling your child, eating, walking, chores etc.). You can journal or recite a mantra, or you can simply get quiet and breathe while you focus on what you are inviting into your life. It's important to not get your ego involved or invested. Try and remember that you aren't trying to fix anything about yourself.

We are always growing, changing, and evolving, and with a sankalpa we’re not attached to a specific outcome so that means never beating yourself up or getting upset or disappointed, so there isn’t ever a reason to throw in the towel. And real change doesn’t happen over night anyways. We stay very much in the present moment as the seeds grow and things evolve. And lastly, remember the practice of ahimsa (another sanskrit word) which means non harming-non violence. Its really important to practice your self compassion. We aren’t pressuring ourselves. We are already perfect exactly the way we are. We really are. We are just living with intention in the constantly changing flow that is life. Right here and right now. Good luck to you and all the best in 2012!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Heres what the new year is looking like for me so far!

You really must click the image to enlarge (due to my lack of computer skills haha..)

I haven't updated my winter schedule on here quite yet but heres a quick look at when classes are and where! Mount Pleasant's classes start up again on Dec 26 (Mon) and Dec 28 (Wed) and ALL my Roundhouse classes start up the following week (first week of Jan.)
Hope everybody is having a really stellar weekend. Thanks for all your support over the years and sharing your practice with me. Can't believe 2012 will be number 8!

Read this quote a week ago and haven't been able to get it out of my mind.

"If people knew how hard I had to work to gain my mastery, it wouldn't seem wonderful at all." MICHELANGELO-Renaissance sculptor and painter who spent 4 years lying on his back painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel

Friday, December 16, 2011

We are shaped by our thoughts

We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.

~ Buddha Quote ~

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

If you had one wish for Christmas what would it be?

John Lennon answers in the video below:
Peace on Earth.
That implies no violence.
No starving children.
No violent minds.
No violent households.
No frustration.
No fear.

"We think the future is made in your mind"

I've have had quite a few yoga students confide in me lately. This isn't always the greatest time of year for everyone.

I have likely posted this in the past, but I just came across it again in my documents and thought I'd repost. There are some real words of wisdom written here. Keep your chin (s) up and don't lose hope! You know who you are...

People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.

What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.

Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.

In the final analysis, it is between you and the Divine. It was never between you and them anyway. -Mother Teresa

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Mindfulness=Stress Reduction

HERE is an article I wrote for last week on stress reduction and mindfulness over the holidays (and anytime).

Its full of self care tips and things that have helped me.
And if they have helped me,they can help anyone! Believe me. I have a stress disorder!

I love and I believe its the greatest resource out there for mom's, dad's and families. If you haven't already, check it out HERE
Hope you are keeping your cool this holiday season. Namaste.

I think we all know that its the season for more than joy. Its the season for heart attacks.

Its likely all the rich foods, booze, and all the pressure. None of us are immune.
A girlfriend of mine emailed me this the other day, and its been on my mind ever since so thought i'd copy it on here.

Its an account by an ER Nurse (female) and her own experience having a heart attack. Both my dad and my grandmother had heart attacks in their early 40's, and being in my late 40's right now its something its something thats never far from my mind. None of us are immune to having a heart attack and women have very different (and often ignored) symptoms.
Below is her account. its long, but worth a read and worth sharing with your loved ones.

I am an ER nurse and this is the best description of this event that I have ever heard. Please read, and pay attention.


Women and heart attacks (Myocardial infarction). Did you know that women rarely have the same dramatic symptoms that men have when experiencing heart attack.. you know, the sudden stabbing pain in the chest, the cold sweat, grabbing the chest & dropping to the floor that we see in the movies. Here is the story of one woman's experience with a heart attack.

'I had a heart attack at about 10:30 PM with NO prior exertion, NO prior emotional trauma that one would suspect might have brought it on. I was sitting all snugly & warm on a cold evening, with my purring cat in my lap, reading an interesting story my friend had sent me, and actually thinking, 'A-A-h, this is the life, all cozy and warm in my soft, cushy Lazy Boy with my feet propped up.

A moment later, I felt that awful sensation of indigestion, when you've been in a hurry and grabbed a bite of sandwich and washed it down with a dash of water, and that hurried bite seems to feel like you've swallowed a golf ball going down the esophagus in slow motion and it is most uncomfortable. You realize you shouldn't have gulped it down so fast and needed to chew it more thoroughly and this time drink a glass of water to hasten its progress down to the stomach. This was my initial sensation--the only trouble was that I hadn't taken a bite of anything since about 5:00 p.m.

After it seemed to subside, the next sensation was like little squeezing motions that seemed to be racing up my SPINE (hind-sight, it was probably my aorta spasms), gaining speed as they continued racing up and under my sternum (breast bone, where one presses rhythmically when administering CPR).

This fascinating process continued on into my throat and branched out into both jaws. 'AHA!! NOW I stopped puzzling about what was happening -- we all have read and/or heard about pain in the jaws being one of the signals of an MI happening, haven't we? I said aloud to myself and the cat, Dear God, I think I'm having a heart attack!

I lowered the foot rest dumping the cat from my lap, started to take a step and fell on the floor instead. I thought to myself, If this is a heart attack, I shouldn't be walking into the next room where the phone is or anywhere else... but, on the other hand, if I don't, nobody will know that I need help, and if I wait any longer I may not be able to get up in a moment.

I pulled myself up with the arms of the chair, walked slowly into the next room and dialed the Paramedics... I told her I thought I was having a heart attack due to the pressure building under the sternum and radiating into my jaws. I didn't feel hysterical or afraid, just stating the facts. She said she was sending the Paramedics over immediately, asked if the front door was near to me, and if so, to un-bolt the door and then lie down on the floor where they could see me when they came in.

I unlocked the door and then laid down on the floor as instructed and lost consciousness, as I don't remember the medics coming in, their examination, lifting me onto a gurney or getting me into their ambulance, or hearing the call they made to St. Jude ER on the way, but I did briefly awaken when we arrived and saw that the radiologist was already there in his surgical blues and cap, helping the medics pull my stretcher out of the ambulance. He was bending over me asking questions (probably something like 'Have you taken any medications?') but I couldn't make my mind interpret what he was saying, or form an answer, and nodded off again, not waking up until the Cardiologist and partner had already threaded the teeny angiogram balloon up my femoral artery into the aorta and into my heart where they installed 2 side by side stints to hold open my right coronary artery.

I know it sounds like all my thinking and actions at home must have taken at least 20-30 minutes before calling the paramedics, but actually it took perhaps 4-5 minutes before the call, and both the fire station and St Jude are only minutes away from my home, and my Cardiologist was already to go to the OR in his scrubs and get going on restarting my heart (which had stopped somewhere between my arrival and the procedure) and installing the stints.
Why have I written all of this to you with so much detail? Because I want all of you who are so important in my life to know what I learned first hand.

Be aware that something very different is happening in your body, not the usual men's symptoms but inexplicable things happening (until my sternum and jaws got into the act). It is said that many more women than men die of their first (and last) MI because they didn't know they were having one and commonly mistake it as indigestion, take some Maalox or other anti-heartburn preparation and go to bed, hoping they'll feel better in the morning when they wake up... which doesn't happen. My female friends, your symptoms might not be exactly like mine, so I advise you to call the Paramedics if ANYTHING is unpleasantly happening that you've not felt before. It is better to have a 'false alarm' visitation than to risk your life guessing what it might be!

Note that I said 'Call the Paramedics.' And if you can take an aspirin. Ladies, TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE!

Do NOT try to drive yourself to the ER - you are a hazard to others on the road.

Do NOT have your panicked husband who will be speeding and looking anxiously at what's happening with you instead of the road.

Do NOT call your doctor -- he doesn't know where you live and if it's at night you won't reach him anyway, and if it's daytime, his assistants (or answering service) will tell you to call the Paramedics. He doesn't carry the equipment in his car that you need to be saved! The Paramedics do, principally OXYGEN that you need ASAP. Your Dr will be notified later.

Don't assume it couldn't be a heart attack because you have a normal cholesterol count. Research has discovered that a cholesterol elevated reading is rarely the cause of an MI (unless it's unbelievably high and/or accompanied by high blood pressure). MIs are usually caused by long-term stress and inflammation in the body, which dumps all sorts of deadly hormones into your system to sludge things up in there. Pain in the jaw can wake you from a sound sleep. Let's be careful and be aware. The more we know the better chance we could survive.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

anybody out there you need to forgive?

“Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.” ~Paul Boese

I love the ripple effect.

It takes very little to create real change. Love this little video. Glad I came across it this morning. Goes perfect with that morning coffee :)

A little weekend holiday humour

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

We can't always change our outer world but we really can change our inner world.

Meditation makes us more resilient. One moment at a time is all it takes. Whether you have a formal meditation practice or not, just "be here now" as often as you can.

If you 'd like to meditate/learn to meditate in a group setting I'd love to show you. Thats exactly what we do when we practice our Yoga. We not only change our body, we change our brain. Its never about perfectionism, and thats why its called a "practice". All of my classes are perfect for beginners and affordable. Registration at Mount Pleasant CC (Main @Broadway) is on now. Registration for The Roundhouse starts this Friday Dec 9 (online) and Sat the 10th in person/by phone.

its almost 2012!

If you're looking for a 2012 calendar for that special someone I recommend Thich Nhat Hanh's. It's really beautiful and full of lovely quotes from him and artwork by Adam Guan (you can click my pic to enlarge).

Below is a beautiful video of Thay and his calligraphy. I really hope to purchase a piece on his next tour. I didn't have the cash this time around but felt so lucky to hear him speak just the same. Namaste.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Every Dec 1st two things come to mind when I awaken...

The AIDS crisis and the Montreal Massacre (Dec 6 '89) and I just can't help it.
And I believe its a good thing as neither one should ever be forgotten.
Its world AIDS Day and HIV/AIDS Awareness week in Canada.
I remember the years before this horrible disease was discovered and changed our lives forever. I was just reading that there are 34 million people in the world living with HIV and that 80% do not have access to treatment.Thats so tragic.The numbers of people here in Canada (and everywhere else) continues to rise.

Apparently most teens believe that there is a cure for HIV...and of course there is not. More reason to educate our children is that: According to the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research (“CANFAR”): “A quarter of Canadians with HIV are not aware of their infection and young adults (aged 15-29) account for approximately 26 per cent of all people diagnosed with HIV in Canada."

**Don't forget The Shanti Uganda Society **and all they do in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Shanti's Mission statement is:
"The Shanti Uganda Society improves infant and maternal health, provides safe women-centred care and supports the well-being of birthing mothers and women living with HIV/AIDS in Uganda." and helping is so easy and the ways are countless.
click here for more info.

One last note is that ALL Vancouver Whole Foods locations will be donating 5% of their net sales today to Aids Vancouver Grocery! Click here for more info on that.
Have a FAB day friends and Happy December! Hard to believe its here already.