Tag Archives: Hindu mythology

Notes from the B.C. Interior

Kamloops Yoga CentreMy travels for 2014 have started, and in the best possible way. I’m lying on the bed in my hotel room after a weekend-long run of 5 workshops at the Kamloops Yoga Centre, and the community I found waiting for me here completely took me by surprise.

I purposely didn’t research Kamloops before coming here. I was invited to come teach shortly after my stint in 2013 at Wanderlust Whistler (see here and here) and decided to take the gig and bring my teachings over, while exploring more of the beauty that is British Columbia. Seeing the magnificence that Canada holds never ceases to amaze me, but it was way more than the landscape that grabbed hold of me when I arrived here. Within an hour of landing and being whisked into town by Joy, studio manager extraordinaire, I was seeing my image across town on posters and magazine covers. I was humbled, to say the very least.

The community waiting for me is just that – a community. The people here welcomed me with open hearts and arms, and made me feel so grateful for being appreciated. I was adopted into their community, and now, at the tail-end of the weekend, am preparing to leave Kamloops with a bit of a heavy heart. I love it here. The feedback and outpouring of emotion from the students at the end of the 14 hours of time we’ve had together has been everything I could have asked for, and way more. From people telling me that I’m helping them in their personal evolution and development to working yoga teachers telling me that it was a breath of fresh air to have me bring my take on things to their studio, I feel more than loved.

To every single one of you who participated in the workshops this weekend and brought way more than your physical presence to the event, I thank you. To every single one of you who welcomed me to Kamloops and appreciated my presence, I thank you. To Trina and Dwight and Joy and Natalie, thank you for making my visit here possible. To the entire staff at Kamloops Hot Yoga, I hope you know that you’re stuck with me 🙂

I’ll be back later this year when I come back to B.C. to teach for a couple of weeks. Until then, I’m confident in the knowledge that I’m leaving with a bit of Kamloops in my heart and my mind, and I also know that Kamloops is keeping a whole lot of my energetic presence here.

With only love, thank you 🙂


Tales From Out West

I’m in Calgary this week and thought I’d get down some of my thoughts…I came here to not only visit my brother and his wife and kids (one of which I’m meeting for the first time since his birth on Christmas Day), but to bring my Introduction to Hindu & Yogic Mythology workshop to a beautiful yoga studio here, Bodhi Tree Yoga. I was initially also planning on flying from here to Saskatoon to give the workshop there, but the studio there was having trouble getting people to sign up, so we’ve postponed it for the time being. What I would have considered to be a failure a few years ago by not having the workshop happen I immediately recognized as an indication that I am where I’m supposed to be, here in Calgary.

I haven’t seen my brother and his family for almost a year. They used to live 2 blocks from my place in Montreal, but then moved out here as my brother got a job offer he couldn’t refuse. Seeing them leave was a very emotional moment for me, and being away from them for this long simply became unacceptable. I decided to investigate and see if I could incorporate a visit to their adopted city with an opportunity to meet a local yoga community and bring my teachings to them. After being referred to them, I started corresponding with the studio management and I was given the opportunity to come here to teach. I remember when I knew it was all going to work out – I took a moment to thank whatever higher power was working through me for allowing this all to unfold so naturally, and the preparation stage was (obviously) only the beginning.

I got here Monday evening and was met by my brother, who is one of the people who knows me the best. As kids we were inseparable, and I remember taking on somewhat of a parental role with him, assuming responsibility for him and watching over him for years and years. To arrive here and see the life he’s built for himself has resulted in bursts of incredible pride and admiration for him, as he’s one of the greatest guys I know, one with a head for business and a heart for meditation. He drove me back to his house from the airport, and I have since spent as much time as possible with him, his wife, and their three gorgeous kids. These children are absolutely everything. Hyper-intelligent, intuitive, emotive, affectionate, obstinate, beautiful…but most of all, humbling. I see my own childhood in the actions, reactions, and thought processes of these kids. More importantly, I see my relationship as children with my own two brothers in the dynamic between these three beings of light. Suffice it to say that this time is sacred.

As if all that weren’t enough to make me feel grateful and connected to this life, I decided to go pay a visit to the yoga studio where I’d be giving the workshop, so yesterday I went to take the 4pm Nidra Flow class with Anita Athavale. The class was comprised of a soft warm-up and vinyasa, followed by some stretches. The class ended with a session of Yoga Nidra, which I have been practicing on and off for the last 14 years, and which always feels like a return to the source for me. Like the asana practice, it doesn’t matter where I do it, it always feel like I’m where I’m supposed to be. I have no idea how long the guided meditation was, but when I came out of it, I felt like I had rested for a full night. It amazes me every single time how effective the practice is, and Anita was incredible – obviously knowledgable and incredibly personable. I floated out of the class and back to my brother’s house, and continued on with my week of rediscovering my family.

The workshop itself was everything I hoped it would be: a coming together of like-minded people sharing the common goal of aspiring to new heights of spirituality. We not only delved into the myths and all their colourful characters, but we applied the essence of the myths to our own lives and then to the asana practice itself. I found myself doing what I do in my daily life, but this time immersed in a different yoga community, one that welcomed me into its fold with warmth and generosity. I got to meet wonderful people, and am so grateful to have found myself having connected with an entirely new group in a different environment. I really am grateful for being able to travel the globe and meet people who reflect back to me everything I believe the world and its inhabitants to be.

My week here is almost over, and as much as I don’t want to tear myself away from my family, I’m blessed to be looking forward to getting back to my weekly classes and mentoring students. I’d say that things are going exactly how they’re meant to, and in keeping with what I’ve learned so far this year, I’m staying focused on what is…what’s directly in front of me in any given moment, while keeping my heart, mind, and energy open to whatever comes next (can we all say “Istanbul” together?).

Peace to you all…


The Phoenix From The Flame

I’ve been preparing for the workshop and lecture I’ll be giving later this year for the Luna Yoga Teacher Training on Hindu mythology and how it relates to the yoga postures, and I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t passionately loving every second of my research. I’ve been going over the myths I’m already familiar with, as well as hearing some of the more obscure ones for the first time, and I keep having these moments of realization where I can really stand back from my life and see how the path I’m on is truly my dharma…it’s unreal, intense, and satisfying, all at the same time. As I finish with one myth, I put down my books and walk away from the computer, and sit down in silence to think about what I’ve read, and how it applies to my life and my approach to life. The approach that I have to yoga is 90% philosophical and 10% physical, and this is why: I believe that the asana practice is purifying for the body, absolutely. But I also believe that the practice allows for a shift in consciousness, one that opens up new windows of insight and belief systems that challenge who we find ourselves in this moment, how we got to this point, and where we see ourselves moving forward with the knowledge and insight that we have at our disposal. I believe that the mission for all of us in this life is to fully realize that the only thing that matters is to re-connect to the higher energy that is the source of every single thing in existence around us, and within us. Everything else is secondary. How we come to that realization is really up to each of us to figure out, but I can attest to the fact that yoga absolutely opens up gateways to the soul, gateways that can shed a bright, refreshing light into the annals of our consciousness to allow us to see with new eyes.

One aspect of the asana practice that has always fascinated me is the final posture we take before closing out the class: savasana, deep relaxation, corpse pose. When I first started practicing in 1999, savasana was the lifeboat at the end of the long swim through what was then my practice. Whatever happened during class, I knew I could collapse at the end and recharge through the act of doing nothing. At that time, I remained conscious of the fact that my thoughts kept whirling, my eyes would continue moving around, and all I could do was stand in judgement of myself, staying critical of the fact that I couldn’t let go. That changed after a while. I then found myself hearing a voice telling me to connect to the sky, which became my mantra and which enabled me to visualize a beam of light emanating from my third eye and beaming upwards, and it was through this connection to a higher energy that I found myself completely letting go and finding that I had indeed drifted off to some other place during my savasana, a place where I was still conscious, but not of, or in, the body. And now, recently, 12 years later, I have had another revelatory awakening from my savasana: this posture of letting go, where we allow the body to absorb the physical practice we’ve just treated ourselves to, has taken on a new role, one where I set my intention as I lay down to put to sleep that which does not serve me and which identifies with the ego, so that I can rise up at the end of the relaxation period re-born and re-focused. Ever since the adoption of this new approach to savasana, I feel like I have been speeding closer and closer to a new place of spirituality and connection to all that is. Call it re-birth, call it a step closer to a state of enlightenment, whatever. All I know is that yoga has once again offered me a tool where I can be responsible and accountable for shedding off the attributes, events and conversations that have only served to weigh me down and distract me from my focus towards truth, so that I can rise up again after my repose with renewed focus, strength and determination. Focus on my soul and tapping into what it already knows, strength to be unwavering in my journey, and determination to pass on what I myself am living and learning, understanding that if I don’t share these insights, then I’m truly missing the point. And so I hope that you reading this will try out this approach..to savasana, or to any process that you find yourself undertaking that has both a beginning and an end. Allow yourselves to infuse whatever it is you do with the knowledge that you have the power to let go of what doesn’t serve you, and to come out the other side of it with a new sense of clarity and understanding. The tools are already there…we just have to pick them up and use them.

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