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

Rain is grace

Rainy window with John Updike quote

There’s nothing like grey skies, rainy weather, and dropping temperatures to bring out the craving to hibernate.

Indulge your desire to curl up somewhere warm and do nothing at tonight’s yin yoga class at Bound Lotus. Class runs from 6:30-7:45pm and will feature an extra long yoga nidra (guided relaxation or yogic sleep) that lets you really get cozy and settle in to savasana.

The conscious, deliberate relaxation of yoga nidra leaves you feeling thoroughly rested and revived.

Embrace the rain… and bring out your inner grace!

Sing your heart out

Photo from borianag’s photostream https://www.flickr.com/photos/borianag/

Most people have an innate desire to sing, but we we generally relegate our singing to the shower, the car, or an occasional karaoke night. We have all kinds of excuses for not singing (or at least not singing in public!) that deny us the joy of singing in a group.

Body Harmony Yoga Studio is hosting a special kirtan evening on Friday, September 28th from 7 to 8pm, (doors open at 6:45pm). Local composer, musician, and Body Harmony student Anne Leader will be leading the kirtan (a call-and-response chant, so there’s no need to even know the words!) and will be accompanied by live musicians.

This is an incredible opportunity to experience the joy that comes with finding harmony in a group. Our brains are wired to derive satisfaction from being part of something collective (we’re part hive creatures) and chanting in a group often brings a strong sense of well-being.

Everyone is welcome for this special event – you just need a willingness to participate, an open mind, and a small donation for the musicians.

Balance a busy weekend

Photo from Chris Blakeley’s Photostream – https://www.flickr.com/photos/csb13/

Particularly when the weather is nice, weekends can get pretty full and hectic. Between after-work drinks on Friday, dinner parties on Saturdays, and movie dates on Sundays, along with bike rides, hikes, errands, and shopping trips during the day-time hours, weekends can become more energy-sapping than weekdays!

Counter all the yang energy of your weekend activities, with some yin yoga!

This Saturday, I start teaching an 11:15am Yin Yoga class at Bound Lotus in North Vancouver. The late morning start time is perfect for sleeping in (or sleeping off Friday night drinks!) and the early afternoon end time (12:30pm) is great for heading to Burgoo, Raglan’s, Moodyville’s, the Quay, or other Lower Lonsdale locales for brunch after class.

And the long-held postures of yin yoga (which I sometimes call lazy yoga 😉 ) are excellent for assisting with detoxification and replenishing body and mind. 75-minutes worth of meditative movement could be just the thing a busy weekend needs to find balance!