calgary

Mental Health Awareness Week

2018 came in with a bang and I am reminded this week (being Mental Health Awareness Week) that I have not taken time yet to slow down and do a solid reflection and self-inquiry session with myself. This is my process of tending to my own mental health and ensuring I am listening to my body and noticing the patterns that are arising - to send more energy to what is working and redirect where I am feeling stuck or stagnant. 2018 has been one big project after another, at least a couple of events each month, and a roster full with clients, and while I am in awe of the growth and momentum that I have cultivated, I still need to remind myself to slow down, reflect, and edit my direction mindfully. 

I was fighting off a cold last week (I think I won) and to me that is a clear sign that my body needs and wants some time to feel where I am and engage in more gentle movements and self-care. My meditation habit has been slipping more occasionally, and every time I recommit to that simple five minutes of stillness, breath and presence in the morning, I notice a huge difference in my energy all day long (truth be told: I meditated for two minutes this morning and I felt amazing about that). So, to truly honor the signals I am getting and my desire to lead by example, here I am...reflecting, asking and answering high-quality questions, and recommitting to the course that will serve the sustainable growth I desire to flow through. 

What's the reminder I need today?

  • Take in quiet and peaceful moments as often as I can. Sit in gratitude and enjoy exactly who and where I am right now. 

 

What would I tell/remind a client if they were in my position right now?

  • Your body wants to heal you. It’s main job is to keep you alive. But one of the fucked up ways that it does that is that it is on lookout for danger at all times and it is overly sensitive to little things that could potentially be dangerous. Like an unmet glance, and unmet expectation, and something as simple as déjà vu that reminds you of something that was uncomfortable in your past. We are triggered 50 to 300 times a day to feel as though we are unsafe and in that state digestion stops, healing stops, and we lose access to higher levels of thinking. Little bit of stress is good for you but too much of anything is no longer a good thing. This is why mindfulness is so important. With Mindfulness we become aware of how we are feeling and what we are thinking about. From this awareness we are able to calm him down and redirect her mind towards what we want more of rather than focusing on what we do not have or where we lack. Continue calming your system down by recommitting to your morning meditation. That simple few minutes in the morning primes your system for the rest of your day!

 

What is Mindfulness?

  • Mindfulness is mono tasking. It is fully investing in this present moment as it is, even when it is terribly uncomfortable. With practice we start to realize that we are not just our emotions or our thoughts or our body or our actions. We are all of those things and none of those things. If you can witness something and you are more than the thing you are witnessing. When we develop a stronger relationship with the witness we are no longer attached to the emotional pendulum swing of our day and rather find a calm and steady state where we are witnessing our emotions and able to efficiently calm her self down so we can be problem solver’s rather than sitting in the energy of the problem. The goal is not to protect ourselves perfectly because then you will not grow and you will not build the resilience through experiential learning that you need. Let yourself be imperfect. Let yourself be messy. Embrace yourself as a work in progress and a masterpiece right now as you are. A non-dualistic approach to life and growth that allows you to love and except who and where you are right now will still striving and working towards your goals and your ideal future. It is when we embrace the space between where we are now and where we desire to be that we get access to a reservoir of high-quality energy And tap into the magical flow of life.

 

What are my priorities this week?

  • Be mindful of my tendency to overexert myself when I am already feeling low on fuel. Choose more gentle movements, and when I am creating my own workouts, commit to 20-30 minutes rather than a full hour. Bring more diversity into my diet and slow down my eating process by being mindful with each bite. Connect with the people in my life who are creating and loving life and feed off their energy as we create together and celebrate struggles and successes. Take time each night to reflect on my day with high quality questions, and organize my to-dos for tomorrow. And, block off at least one full afternoon to just be and allow myself to engage with whatever feels appropriate and nourishing at that time. 

 

I am committed this week to getting back into a rhythm of writing and pursuing my balance and contentment by being in conversation and creation around mental health awareness. So I will be posting on my blog a few times this week, and sharing more of my journey (struggles and successes) through the many platforms I am grateful to have at this point in my life. 

I am here for you if you need someone to chat with or if you want more direction in how to be in the practice of tending to your own mental health. We are stronger together. Bye for now xoxox

 

5 tips to find your way into yoga

I was the typical busy-bee with a monkey mind before I grew to love yoga. And yes, I grew to love it. My first yoga class was in Victoria - ten years ago - while I was a student there. I hated it. I remember thinking "this is so not my thing." It was exactly what I hoped it wouldn't be: slow and boring. What I didn't realize at that point was that I had just walked into a yin class, which is supposed to be slow and it's okay if I felt bored. I didn't know the complexity of yoga or the many styles and variations that can be offered based on studio, teachers, geography, and experience level. I didn't give up though.

My mental health was in a dire state and I knew I needed to explore more of what yoga had to offer. I had transferred to University of Alberta in Edmonton and was introduced to bikram yoga and fell in love. It was tough, sweaty and predictable. It was what I needed at that point in my life to be the gateway into the world of yoga. After one year of practicing bikram yoga a couple times a month, I had the foundation I needed to explore other styles and I fell in love with the creativity, the self-expression, the many teachers, and the empowering tools that came from being a witness to my mind on my mat. 

Fast forward ten years and now yoga is a huge part of my everyday life. When I am not on my mat, I am still practicing yoga. Yoga has taught me so many beautiful and important lessons in life, and I get excited to share this gift with others as I step on my mat as a teacher and fellow-student. 

Being a beginner in anything can be uncomfortable, so here are five tips to lessen the uncertainty and help you step onto your mat with an open mind and receptive heart. Yoga is for everyone!

 

1. Convenience is key.

Find a studio close to home or hop on YouTube and look up yoga for beginners. Yoga is as accessible as coffee--it's everywhere. Whether you commit to following a YouTube video or find a studio close to home or work, build it into the schedule you already keep so that you pave the way for a new habit that will fit into your current lifestyle.

 

2. You don’t have to be flexible.

I hear this all the time: "I'm not flexible enough to do yoga." To me that sounds like a great reason to do yoga. The pose is not the point-- your breath and your mindset that matters most. If you are stuck in comparisons and can't see past the fact that others are more flexible than you, it’s probably getting in your way in more areas than one. Get out of your head and step onto your mat. Rather than focusing on your lack of flexibility, bring your awareness to your breath. I like to bring micro-movements in with each breath, allowing each pose to be a process of exploring and feeling my posture and balance shift. From this perspective, it is not about how deep you go in the pose, but rather feeling your inhale lengthen and strengthen your spine and your exhale release and surrender to wherever you are right now.   

 

3. Focus on a pose.

When you choose one pose as your goal, it makes it easier to commit to your home practice. Each time you notice bits of progress you will get bursts of happy chemicals that will encourage you to keep practicing.

 

4. Start with a physical, emotional and spiritual practice.

How do you want to feel in your body? What emotional energy would support that journey? What is your higher purpose behind your actions and choices in life? Take time before your class to set your intention. It’s so important to be grounded in self-care while also expanding and embracing the impact we can have on those around us. When you bring in what you are curious to explore or what you want more of in your life, you build healthy new habits in your physicality. Everything is connected.

 

5. Ask for support!

There are so many different styles and ways of teaching yoga. If you have a negative experience at one class, don’t give up!. Tell your teacher you are a newbie so you can get the extra attention you might need. If you know you struggle with certain poses or aspects in class, ask for support or tips from your teacher or fellow students. There are also many resources online or people in your community that want to educate and have conversations in this area, so don't hold back. There is a yoga style that will suit who and where you are now, and from that space you will explore and expand and will find the wellspring of quality fuel that comes from being in tune with your mind-body connection.

 

Set & Flow

I am so excited to be creating an ongoing collaboration with my friend Jordan Smuszko at his space The Village (4039 Brentwood Road NW). Our goal is to host a simple event that is focused on mindful movement and building forward momentum as I guide you through a journal session at the end to reflect on the past month and create actions and good vibes for the month ahead. 

Every first Sunday of each month, we will meet from 7 to 815pm, and we ask that you arrive 15 minutes early to sign a waiver and have some time to chill on your mat before we begin. We also want to make this as accessible and sustainable as possible, so we are asking for only a $10 cash drop-in (or $12 on credit card). If there is a good turn out and there is a want for more of these classes, we will be happy to add more. So show up and be a part of this movement!

This is an amazing way to build in some accountability and spend your Sunday evening with power, intention, and some inspiring people. 

Here are the dates for the summer. No need to register before hand, just show up and be ready to flow. All levels welcome!

Sunday June 4, 7pm

Sunday July 2, 7pm

Sunday August 6, 7pm