Yoga at Home (re-post)

As you may know, I offer a weekly yoga session and am an occasional guest blogger at the Sunshine Coast Health Centre.

The world of recovery and the creation of a meaningful life is one that is close to my heart. As a trauma-sensitive yoga teacher, spending time in yoga with people in recovery is an honour and a gift. As a person in recovery from trauma and devoted to living a holistically sober life, the work offers me continuous opportunities to check myself, reaffirm my commitments, and to practice self-compassion and self-care.

Here is re-post from the SCHC blog… maybe it will offer you a little something too!

Yoga at Home

addiction treatment yoga

So, you tried out the yoga program at SCHC and you want to build it into your meaningful life plan at home. How do you go about doing this?

Here are a few offerings from me to you (let me know what you think and what has helped you bring your yoga home and into your daily life).

Remember that yoga is not just the physical asana (posture) practice. Yoga is a holistic system of health & wellness, a practice of self-inquiry and self-care, and is rooted in kindness and mindfulness.

Keep it Simple, Keep it Kind, and Keep it Real.

One day, your yoga practice may be to take 5 deep breaths before you speak to someone about a challenging or triggering topic. On another day, it may be noticing how stressed out you feel and taking 10 minutes in your day to listen to a guided meditation. Today, it might be simply taking a moment to rest in Child’s Pose or another yoga shape to remind yourself of your BIG 5 and your personal intentions.

At SCHC, our yoga practice includes Gentle Hatha, Yin, and Restorative Yoga. We focus on gentle movements, move into a healthier and respectful relationship with our bodies, and tap into our natural resources of breath, relaxation, and meditation.

What is the Entry Point That is Most Meaningful for you, right now?

If it excites you, dig into the philosophy and how this can support you in your daily life. If it fulfills you, find a meditation teacher and sit with them. If it nourishes you, seek out a yoga class (in-person or online) that offers you what you need.

In the yogic spirit of self-inquiry and self-care, ask yourself, “What do I need? What is my intention? What would serve my highest good right now?” Choose a skillful action that supports your meaningful life.

If it is a yoga class, there may be many types of classes and a wide variety of places to practice in your hometown. No matter what your options, I invite you to approach the quest with that spirit of joyful curiosity. You may want to look for a Studio or a setting where the teacher(s) offer a trauma-informed/trauma-sensitive perspective. There may be classes that are specifically offered for those in recovery for addictions. And yoga teachers often offer sessions to help us deal with anxiety, depression, chronic health conditions, back pain and more.

Find What you Need. Explore Your Options. Get to Know Yourself With Kindness and Care.

Commit to your yoga practice. And notice if you start to use that commitment as a way to feel guilty or unmotivated or bad about yourself.

If you do, come back to your centre. Feel the ground underneath you. Come back to your breath.

Remember that you don’t need to do everything at once. Keep it simple, keep it kind, and keep it real. You got this.

In my next blog post, I will offer a few tips on how to stay committed to your practice in times of stress, disinterest, or busyness + a few more resources including my favourite yoga teachers who offer their teachings online.  Check back next month.

Take good care,

A few Resources to Explore

Yoga for Healthy Aging
Posts, pictures, and videos that highlight how accessible and beneficial yoga can be for all ages and all conditions.

Yoga Poses?
Check out Yoga Journal and remember that these folks spend hours being photographed – don’t try to look exactly like them. Yoga is an individual practice, simply use the pictures as a guide.

Yoga International
Classes, articles, practices, and courses from a range of highly skilled and experienced teachers.

a bit of the beginning

1 J Leavens - this is what grief looks likethis is what grief looks like: acrylic, charcoal, golddust.
artist: heartashome , 2009.

this re-post visits a time when, earlier in my practice and before my yoga teacher training, i was quite ill and wildly discontent. in that time, my practice offered me what i did not have – a ground, a moment of respite from my fears and worries, and moments of breath and relief from pain. it was also confusing and difficult. and work. it was/is a lot of work to be with myself.

now, after a few more years of intentional, committed and consistent practice, i am called to share these words again.

as a reminder. as a celebration. as witness.

move the body, spark the soul

there is a part of me that is stuck. stuck and sad and tired. this ill health is, yes i know, an opportunity. but but but  i am struggling. some days i just want to get off the busy mind train and into the wide open space of heart. and some days i just want to sit in it.  and i do.

the tracks of my mind are rough and tumbled and i see the same scenery …. i dip into the stories of loss and done-me-wrong … the trees whisper ‘forgiveness’ and ‘light’ … teachers say ‘let go’ …whatever that means … and little bolts of joy come every so often …

i know it is true that to stay disempowered and sad doesn’t serve anything or anyone and yet, the tracks seem to be getting more and more worn and harder and harder to jump off … fear, anxiety, self-hatred — such strong words but present here, now in the spiral of disease and discomfort.  so, where to go from here? today? right now?  what to do with all this fear bouncing around in my mind?

how bout some yoga?  move a little.  breathe in. breathe out.  stretch to the sky. and fold to the earth. letting the flow move through me and keeping my mind on the movement is sometimes the most grounding thing i can do.

When I move my body to the rhythm of yoga, to my breath, and to my teacher’s voice, i am sometimes able to just be right there. no where else. not on the train. not locked in my mind. not completely afraid. here, with intensity, with calm, with emotion, with feeling, with sensation.  i feel a little spark in my soul. i remember. and then i forget again. and then i remember. try to just come back with gentleness. sparking the soul. moving the body. jumping off the train.


basic goodness: wool, copper, thread, chesnut, fabric map, message in a bottle, acorn squash mold.
artist: heartashome, 2013

oh what sweet relief it is to reflect on this piece of writing and recognize – i am now able to hold my own heart with a depth of kindness and care unavailable to me at that time. over time, my practice has cultivated a compassionate resilience within that i did not dream possible, ever. in truth, i have experienced a cellular transformation from a place of self-hatred to a deep knowing of my own basic goodness. woah.

yes, i still dip onto that track and sometimes take a ride on that train. it always takes time and practice and work and breath for me to find my way through. but the moments in between are long, sweet, and filled with gratitude. i have jumped off the train and into a wider sky-heart-field. and i am so grateful.

all of this is the ground from which my offerings flow.

this is recovery.

take good care,

listen to the sea

We keep on diving into the heart of the matter.

As we move through this season, what has Autumn offered you?

 Here in this place, we still have much green and the dandelions continue to thrive. And yet, the leaves fall and there is a presence of decay, of clearing, of interiority. All is moving into the roots.

In this season, I am reminded of a few gifts from my past.

A few years ago, I was very sick. My body was in full revolt. It craved a revolution. It didn’t recognize itself. It was out of my control. I felt betrayed. I just wanted to be well. I didn’t know how. And yeah, healing is not the same as cure.

I heard this…

Listen here:
Go deep into the roots.
Get curious.
Make your way into the spaces you can explore, into what you might be able to transform.

Consider this:
What wants to die?
What is ready to simply be let go of?
What within is asking to have a sweet death so that you can breathe again?

Please make no mistake: I am not talking about suicide or physical death here.

This inquiry does take me to some scary, shadowy, and crowded places within. And I find old truths. Other people’s beliefs. Space. Practice. Tight gripping. Expectations. A broken heart. Basic goodness. Achy wounds. Rusty fences of distrust. Apathy. Love.

The usual.

A resilient, resourceful, tender, self.
Cover allll that with a blanket of kindness. Immense kindness. Loving kindness.

Move through this:
What is workable here?  What can be given gratitude and a grave? What is becoming compost?

My yoga practice is one of my places to listen deep, to notice what is arising, and to explore how to move through. So, in this season, I use these gifts:

What wants to die?
I notice a ‘going-through-the-motions’ kind of attitude.

And how does this affect my practice?
I am stiff, distracted, spacey, distrustful, tired, unbalanced.

What is workable here?
I become still. I listen. I take a wide view. I slow my practice down. I set the intention of deep devotion.
I recognize my broken heart with kindness.

I do a wall-based Yin practice with a focus on breath to regulate my nervous system. In my active practice, I alternate between steady, strong, basic postures to remind myself of my strength and flowing dancey moves to invoke my curiosity and fluidity. I take longer savasanas and naps. I write about it.

I pay attention. I take it easy.
These messages are asking me to to attend to myself, as this manner is mirrored off of the mat and into parts of my life. I take action.

I know that the roots are deep, things are clearing, and patience is my friend.

Take good care friends,

This reading is from Mark Nepo, Book of Awakening, October 26 passage.

heart of the path

gratitude day 16“It takes six million grains of pollen to seed one peony, and salmon need a lifetime of swimming to find their way home, so we mustn’t be alarmed or discouraged when it takes us years to find love or years to understand our calling in life. Everything in nature is given some form of resilience by which it can rehearse finding its way, so that, when it does, it is practiced and ready to seize the moment. This includes us. … Each person we love and each dream we try to give life to brings us closer to the mystery of being alive. So, we must try as many times as necessary until our many loves become the one love, until our many dreams become the one dream, until heart and path feel the same.” Mark Nepo, Book of Awakening, October 16.

craftwork by heart as home yoga and art

heart of the matter

This is the time to dive deep into the heart of the matter.

As we move through this seasonal change, what does this Autumn offer?
Nature begins to prepare for winter by sweeping away what is unnecessary – the leaves turn and fall, the gardens move to winter mode, the rains wash away the dust of summer – and what of us?

What does this season ask of me?
What messages does it hold?
What practices do I need to integrate into my daily rhythm of life to support and nourish me throughout this season?

I hear a few things so far…

An invitation to be vulnerable, flawed, authentic, and be okay with it. Really okay with it. Really.
An invitation to let it (whatever it is for me right now) drop into the earth to become compost for the next growing season
(I think I know what it is and I will write about it soon).
Listen deeply and hear the space within: don’t move to quickly fill the space and silence.
Slow down.

From those in my life, these are the gems that resonate…

 We are stressed out, tired, achy, surviving the daily grind, holding ourselves together, overwhelmed, grieving without a sacred space to truly grieve…

We are bursting with creative, soulful energy, making deep and sustainable commitments to self, others, and the earth, simplifying to be transformed, offering warmth, space, and comfort to where it is needed.

I need to rest. I need to step just one step further into this fire. I need to trust.
We are building what we need.
We are holding it all, at the same time.

Take good care,

this is a bit of a dream

Friends, I have some lovely news to share with you.

Last fall, I was invited to be part of a wonderful project and a team of awesome folks. The project is one that captured my heart and imagination. The team is so dedicated and passionate about health, wellness, and soulful work. The work is in alignment with my heart’s deepest longings.

So happy to announce the opening of  nourish yoga and wellness studio and
T-Fit Training Centre in Powell River.

Originally T-Fit yoga and fitness studio, Terri Cramb (the owner) had a vision to separate the spaces and allow each studio’s unique character and feel to emerge. And it has.

nourish is a gentle space… focused on yoga, dance, and gentle movement practices. We are held in its embrace by a long wall of windows and flowing curtains, high bright walls that reach up toward warm cedar beams. Our little reading library is part of our tea lounge, featuring local tea and local art. Our studio is spacious and inviting. The teachers are passionate, skilled, and bring a variety of traditions, perspectives, and class types.

This is truly a space of transformation. Of healing. Of community.
And I am so honoured to teach and work there.

And the Training Centre is pretty great too. Energetic, friendly instructors teaching fantastic classes like cycling and pilates.

It is pretty dreamy to work with like-minded friends and community members to dream and vision and co-create this space in our town. I am so grateful to my many teachers, students, and colleagues who share time, space, and energy with me on this path of yogic grace and love.

And here is some of the juiciness of it for me …

* This work is a way for me to more fully awaken and to become aware of some of the unskilled parts of myself. I love that and it is hard. Shining the light of awareness onto my inner workings. Sometimes I don’t know what to do with it all. But I hold myself with compassion and then things seem to ease up a little. I slip up, I fall, and I spin out.. and then I come back to the breath, this body, and our basic goodness within as my anchor.

*Wow! This work has also been a way to check in with my remission process and remain committed to my own wellness. There is always one more thing to do, one more email to send, one more facebook post to make. So, I am continually reminded to find steadiness and ease. To hold myself with kindness. To state my boundaries and limits and then stay committed to them when I can. With reverence, I offer my body and heart the rest, silence, and stillness that it so thrives upon to be well.

*My heart’s deepest longings continue to emerge. And I love the surprises that my soul and this life brings to me. I do love this work and what it brings forth in myself and others. And there is still more to uncover.

take good care,

this love

Yoga has taught me to nourish the longest relationship that I will ever have – my relationship with myself.

I began to explore yoga asanas (postures) in 2008 when I moved to  Saskatchewan. Although I had always been interested in it and felt that ‘doing yoga’ would be good for me, I had never committed to a practice or taken many classes. I didn’t feel comfortable or connected to my body AND I really felt that yoga was for people who could already do the poses, who were flexible and fit, and who liked wearing stretchy pants – not me!

But, with no furniture in my new hardwood floor apartment, a bitter winter, and a yoga video, I decided to give it a go.

No one needed to know. And it felt good. It felt right.

I began the process of moving my body, getting to know it, and eventually befriending my body (a continual deepening relationship). As I gained a bit of confidence with some basic poses, I decided to check out some yoga studios. I found my favourite teachers and kept at it. In certain poses, I still hear their voices reminding me, encouraging me, challenging me.

For me, yoga (the physical practice and the philosophy of living) is a way to come back to my body in a gentle, slow way. And as this trust-respect-befriend process continues, I am more and more able to enjoy movement, to play, to learn about my strengths, to challenge myself a little. And yes, my yoga practice ease my joint pain, strengthens my body, and helps me breathe!

My practice brings to light hidden parts of myself – both positive and shadow.  My practice is an opportunity to work things out – emotions, kinks in my body, experiences, sensations.  It helps me come to deeper understanding of myself, my patterns, let go/integrate traumas, and simply be.

When I became sick with a life-threatening illness, it was my yoga practice that was one of the cornerstones of my recovery process and guides me as I now navigate the ways of being in the world as a person with a disability.

So, I am committed to this practice that helps me learn how to take care of myself.

Because I know what it is like to live in spaces disconnected from the present, disconnected from body-mind, ashamed and afraid, sometimes frozen, sometimes frenetic.

And I also know that these things are workable.

I know that it is possible to live in spaces full of light, connection, integration, and joy – a lot of the time. Yoga is a path of loving-kindness, self-compassion, awareness. I wax poetic, it’s true.

This is the heart of the matter: yoga wakes us up – in body, mind, soul, and spirit.

I took my yoga teacher training to deepen my own practice. I took it when I was so sick that I could hardly breathe; I couldn’t do all of the poses; I needed to rest a lot (I still do). I desperately wanted to learn some tools to help myself and others with our chronic conditions, trauma, and emotional suffering. I just wanted to be well.

With this decision, I began to intentionally cultivate and uncover one of my soul’s deepest desires – to co-create a sacred space for healing, rest, and relaxation where we can wake up together, again and again, bathing in the light of our true nature. I try to never lose sight of how awkward and unattainable this practice seemed at first (and still does sometimes).

Yoga is for every body. Let’s meet each other where we are at ….no flexibility, level of fitness, previous knowledge/experience or even stretchy pants needed (they are comfy though!).

And with gratitude, I continually commit to this practice that teaches me to shines my light into every area of my life.

thanks for stopping by,