This weekend, I will be joining some of the Nourish crew and Emma from Plant-Based RHN for a day long retreat at Woodwardia, home of the Salish Coast Land and Marine Conservation Society & a vegan sanctuary, on Texada Island. This promises to be a day of deep nourishment as we gather together to soak in nature through yoga & meditative walking, plant-based meals, free time, and sound healing with Cindy from Crystal Music, Art & Books. It would be lovely to see you there — you can find more details and, if it resonates, please register here.
I am honoured to offer a 45 minute Yin / Restorative Yoga session in the afternoon. As we soften into supported heart-centred shapes, I will be reading poetry and offering guided meditation that encourages us to rest in self-compassion and deep restoration.
Self-compassion is really a necessary part of wholeness and resilience. When we invoke our natural capacity to engage in self-compassion, we remember that kindness can lead the way, that a balanced view of ourselves is more useful and relevant than harshness or critical judgment, that we are not alone in all of this, and that our basic nature of joy and wisdom is always available to us – especially in the midst of overwhelm, agitation, or despair. It is not always an easy road, however, self-compassion is a balm to our uneasy hearts and helps us tend to ourselves with what we need: tenderness, truth, skillful action, and so much more.
When we cultivate our capacity to rest fully, we offer to ourselves a great gift: to relieve ourselves of unnecessary tension and connect to natural inner ease and freedom. It has been shown that approaching rest from a place of self-compassion, rich & resonant belly breaths, and a devoted intention truly soothes the nervous system thus relieving rigidity, over-activity, and dullness in the mind, body & spirit. We become nourished and attuned to our deepest nature – joy, wisdom and presence.
I have found that it is like a spiral… learning, falling and learning again. And yet, my foundational practices continue to ground me, help me to stay curious, to approach with mindfulness, and to remember my intentions more quickly when things get a little / a lot messy and unwieldy. I have also found these practices naturally flow outward and I have become more more curious about how to extend compassion, rest and relaxation off the mat and into my relationships with ourselves, friends & strangers, and the earth. And it is my intention with my teaching that we gather together so that we may recover and replenish ourselves and move into the world more deeply connected to what is truly important, with gratitude.
One of the ways I replenish my heart is through poetry. And so, I would like to leave you with ‘The Peace of Wild Things’ read by the poet Wendell Barry. I hope it offers you a sweetness on this day and invites you to take time to take time in your daily practice to be nourished by nature, rest in self-compassion, and be restored.
The Peace of Wild Things
When despair for the world grows in me
And I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
~ Wendell Berry
Source: On Being
Post Direct Resources
Self-Compassion: Kirstin Neff
The Relaxation Response