Be gentle with yourself

Quote over cluster of startsThere are a couple situations that reliably bring on negative self-talk and increase the nasty thoughts I think about myself. A couple nights of disturbed sleep and the grey nastiness of the slushy weather outside have led to recurring thoughts that I don’t care enough about others and that I’m not nice enough, considerate enough, or loving enough; that I’m just overall not enough.

Days like this, I need a reminder that I am enough. I need a reminder that it’s okay to be gentle with myself. I need a reminder to treat myself like I would anyone I love.

I’d never accuse a loved one of being a terrible person for the same perceived sins I’m calling myself out for… not even in my head.

I am enough. And I will be gentle with myself first.

Be gentle first with yourself if you wish to be gentle with others.

~Lama Yeshe

Savasana-spiration

Animals know how to relax… something that many people have forgotten how to do.

My dog Sofie does savasana (corpse pose)Here’s my dog Sofie totally relaxed.

If her stillness inspires you to find some relaxation of your own, join me at Bound Lotus Meditation & Yoga Centre tonight!

The evening yin yoga class on the last Friday of every month features an extra long savasana (corpse pose), including a long guided relaxation. The guided relaxation (also known as yoga nidra) encourages you to mindfully and deliberately relax your whole body and then sink into that relaxation and stillness for a few minutes.

Class runs from 6:30-7:45pm… and I’ll see if I can convince Sofie to come along and provide savasana-spiration in person!

 

Smile because it happened

Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened.Tonight I teach my lass class at Body Harmony. The present studio space is being redeveloped and the owner is taking a hiatus before re-opening in a new location.

While I’ve only been teaching there since spring, I’ve grown really attached to the space, other teachers, and, of course, the students. I’m going to miss teaching there and it’s hard not to feel melancholic about the transition.

Dr Seuss brings a little perspective to the situation. Instead of being sad that I won’t be at Body Harmony in the coming months, I’m focusing on being grateful that I’ve been able to teach and practice there.

Catching the tail end of the space farewell celebration tomorrow evening should help with the smiling part, too 🙂 On Friday evening, Body Harmony teachers and students will be celebrating the space with live music and good food. Nothing like a party to drive away sadness!

And if you’re in the mood for a hatha class this evening, join me from 7:30-8:45pm tonight for the last evening class at this incarnation of Body Harmony!

Change the way you think

If you don't like something change it; if you can't change it, change the way you think about it.

Practicing meditation can be a powerful way to change the way you think.

The Happiness Hypothesis by Jonathan Haidt posits that there are three ways to change your thinking and permanently alter the way you view the world: Prozac (or other similar medications), cognitive behavioural therapy, and meditation.

Meditation is the cheapest and comes with far fewer side effects that medication!

And I highly recommend taking a look at Haidt’s website and reading his book. It’s a scientific approach to why we think the way we do… and how to make ourselves happier.

If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.

Mary Engelbreit

Remembrance

My dog, Sofie, at the North Vancouver cenotaph
Sofie remembers at the North Vancouver cenotaph

I was struggling to find the right words to mark Remembrance Day… and then an email from Elizabeth May arrived that captured almost exactly what I wanted to say.

It helped crystallize my own thoughts and I’ve included the original (with a few adaptations) below.

On Remembrance Day, I remember and I am grateful.

I am grateful for my peaceful existence and all the small joys that come with that.  I am grateful to live in a land where I am free to live as I choose. I am grateful to be able to walk my dog to the nearby cenotaph, to remind me to always remember and be thankful.

I am grateful to all the men and women who protected my freedoms. I am grateful to all those who serve now. I am even more grateful to those who lost their lives in pursuit of peace and while defending our liberties. I am grateful to their families and loved ones.

I am grateful that I have not been called upon to be that brave. I am grateful that members of the armed forces are strong enough to carry us along with them.

I remember and I am grateful.

Adaptation of the Green Party Statement on Remembrance Day

November 11th is a day to remember that soldiers die believing they serve for a reason, a noble cause; that their service is to defend, to liberate.

Women and men of the military are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice and we owe them our respect and gratitude. November 11th is a time for national reflection.

We remember those who gave their lives willingly.

We remember the shattered lives of soldiers who return wounded not only physically, but psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually.

We remember that the sacrifice comes from not just a single soldier but their entire family and often an entire community.

We remember how easy it is to begin a war but not to end it. There is no such thing as a short war–the effects of violence remain long after the last shot is fired.

We remember the sacrifice of those who work for peace and to end violence.

We remember that violence does not happen just between nations but spreads through entire societies and permeates our way of thinking.

On November 11th we remember, with gratitude.

On November 11th, we remember and hope that war will be no more.

 

Learn to relax and rest deeply

Restorative yoga is a practice of being, rather than doing. Opening, rather than stretching. Resting, rather than sleeping.

Restorative yoga poses help us learn to relax and rest deeply and completely.
Judith Hanson Lasater

I did Relax and Renew® training with Judith in September and it deepened my appreciation for the benefits of restorative yoga. I liked teaching restorative yoga before doing the training with Judith, now I love it.

Thankfully, I get to teach restorative yoga every Monday night for the next four weeks! I’m teaching hatha/restorative at 8:15pm on Mondays at Bound Lotus Meditation & Yoga Centre up to (and including) December 3.

Restorative yoga poses help us learn to relax and rest deeply and completely

An apple smoothie a day…

Hunger-busting smoothie and a couple applesYoga can wreak havoc with eating. Between not eating before doing yoga (ideally eating lightly two hours before practicing) and teaching classes that coincide with regular meal times, I often find myself starving, but not wanting to eat heavily.

Thankfully, smoothies and energy bars (I like Larabars best) are there to fill the gap and soothe my grumbly tummy 🙂

The only problem with smoothies is that they need a supplement like protein powder to up their nutritional and calorie content and I’ve yet to find one I like the taste of.  I also lean towards vegan protein powders, which sometimes means that they taste even worse!

Thankfully, there are lots of creative flavour combinations to hide the generally artificial taste. My current fall favourite features homemade apple sauce and autumnal spices. Yum!

Maybe an apple smoothie a day will keep the doctor away 😉

Here’s the recipe:

Vanilla apple smoothie

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce (homemade and chunky is best, but store bought and pureed works too)
  • 3/4 cup non-dairy milk (I like almond milk best)
  • 1/2 cup apple juice
  • 2 tbsp vanilla protein powder (or one serving as recommended by the package)
  • 1 tbsp plain or vanilla non-dairy yogurt  (I like Amande, a cultured almond milk)
  • generous 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon (plus more for topping)
  • scant 1/4 tsp ground allspice

Method

  • Combine all ingredients in a blender and swirl until smooth; add extra non-dairy milk if it’s too thick, or extra yogurt if it’s too thin
  • Pour into a glass and sprinkle with cinnamon