Yoga and Satya (truthfulness)

‘Yamas’ are ethical values that involve self-restraint, self-control and discipline. They are the foundation of yoga practice. In my last blog  I talked about Ahimsa (non-harming) the first yama.

The second yama is Satya or truthfulness; lack of falsehood; to others and to oneself. You might first think of the obvious…outright lying. You are right. When you tell a lie you are robbing another of the truth. When you lie you also rob yourself of the opportunity to express your truth. This may feel like the easiest route but in the long run will cause problems for you and the other person involved. If you cannot tell the truth then you will never feel the freedom to be you…unedited. If you cannot tell the truth to another; the other will never have the opportunity to learn and grow from your insights and your truths. A no win situation.

If the truth it is offered in a hurtful manner or if we purposely mean to hurt someone with the truth then we should stop and consider what we are doing and how we are doing it. Also, discretion is needed if the person is not in a stable mental state. Do you have the skills to pick-up the pieces of a destroyed ego? At times it might take some deep soul searching as to what is the right thing to do. Maybe even professional advice will be needed.
Another form of non-truthfulness is omission. Even though we are not stating a falsehood we are still robbing another of the true facts.

Ultimately, we want to be as truthful as we can be. This takes constant self inquiry and courage. Analyze any ‘excuses’ for not telling the truth. A lack of courage on your part could be disguised as “it might hurt their feelings” or “I don’t want to rock the boat”.

Truth liberates. How many people have suffered in silence about past abuses? When they find the courage to speak their truth they feel liberated from the events that damaged and controlled them for many years…even a lifetime.
The gay population that finds their courage/truth to ‘come out’ find liberation and freedom to be the beautiful people that they are.

Telling and receiving the truth helps us to be the best we can be.

*Join me for a free ‘sample’ yoga class on Salt Spring Island (just mention this blog post) or better yet join in one of my yoga retreats on Salt Spring Island BC, in the Tofino area and at new locations in Tulum, Mexico and Tuscany,  Italy!


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YOGA & Ahimsa (non-harming)

In religion you go to church to help find your connection to God but also to be reminded of the importance of taking care of moral and ethical values.

In yoga and other spiritual practices, it is no different.
At the very foundation level of the ‘yoga pyramid’ are the yamas and niyamas; a set of moral disciplines that give us guidelines for ethical living. These are much like the morals upheld in religious practices….such as the 10 Commandments.
The ‘Yamas’ include practices of non-harming, truthfulness, non-stealing, greedlessness and directing our energy to the higher good.

 These qualities do not magically manifest in you when you do yoga!  You have to make a conscious decision to try and achieve these qualities.

, or non-harming, is the first of the yamas (restraints).
There are obvious non-harming aspects like not killing or physically hurting any living beings but there are other less obvious ways that non-harming can be employed.
Here are a few:

  • Not using words that are hurtful or aggressive.
    How does it feel when someone speaks harshly to you?  Whether it was your parent, your child, your boss or your co-worker who spoke hurtful words to you; is it time to discontinue the cycle?
  • Not committing actions that can be destructive and cause pain.  
    Violence and non-truthfulness could be the source of these actions.
  • Not thinking thoughts, or doing things, that are harmful to ourselves.
    This can include not overworking, not overdoing it in a yoga/fitness class, not putting ourselves down or not staying in an abusive relationship.

Few of us get through life without causing harm, whether by ignoring someone’s feelings, using more of the earth’s resources than we need, or by buying products made by underage and underpaid workers.

How can you bring more Ahimsa into your life?
Not all yoga practice is done on the mat.  Being observant of ourselves and how we are in the world is part of our yoga practice. We have to dig deep, be honest and try to see our true selves….”Know thyself” Ancient Greek aphorism
How does yoga help? First of all, it is important to set an intention to be a better person. The yoga practices will then support this decision. The poses, the breath work and mindfulness help bring calmness and clarity. We can then see more clearly what we need to work on in our lives.

Then, we have to make an effort to change.


*Join me for a free ‘sample’ yoga class on Salt Spring Island (just mention this blog post) or better yet join in one of my yoga retreats on Salt Spring Island BC, in the Tofino area and at new locations in Tulum, Mexico and Tuscany,  Italy!

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Fear and Faith. Living in the dis-comfort zone.

Sigh….if only our lives could be simple, easy and predictable.
If only we could have everything we needed and wanted. If only we were always successful at everything we did or tried. If only everyone could live long healthy lives.
Even if we have everything we want or need, we never know what “surprise” is around the corner. Often these surprises involve changes or losses or health concerns and may fill us with fear. Fear is something we all experience; it is inevitable. It is a natural reaction to something that is challenging or threatening to us. How can we keep moving forward in our lives and not be paralyzed by our fear?
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself – nameless, unreasoning, unjustified, terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”

Can we live in the dis-comfort zone and not be filled with fear?
If we could only let go of fear; loosen its grip. This is where faith comes in.
Faith is what reduces or eliminates fear. Faith in yourself. Faith that you will get through the challenge. Faith that when you have done everything you can do, the “great powers that be” will take over. Faith that you will be able to live with the outcome. It involves a certain amount of “letting go”. Letting go can bring great peace. It is not always easy to have faith but if you cultivate it, faith can give you great relief from this sometimes crippling dis-ease called fear.

We need to be strong, healthy and courageous “warriors” to get through our lives. Like the athletes who train for their sport, we need to figure out the best combination of sleep, good nutrition and exercise to prepare us for the sport of life. In yoga we recognize this need to be warriors.  Strong and stable warriors; warriors that are focused and calm and accepting. You may have heard of the ‘Warrior’ poses.  We stretch and strengthen. We focus and calm our minds. By the end of our class we are better prepared to face our challenges with clarity and courage. When we are strong in the body and focused in the mind we are prepared to face what ever comes our way. Yes, we may get knocked down but we will more easily get back up if we are healthy in mind and body.

Make your good health a priority. Yoga is a fantastic practice but there are many physical activities that will help strengthen you physically and mentally. Pick one or two that you enjoy. Start today. Only you can give yourself this gift of physical fitness and mental preparedness.

See you on the mat.
***Even doing one yoga class a week will give you great benefits!
Or try a Yoga Retreat and immerse yourself into the practice for a whole weekend or week….or come and see me at my one day yoga workshops in Vancouver and Victoria!
***See the menu above for information on my yoga retreats in BC, Tulum, Mexico and Tuscany, Italy!

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Weight loss…here is a topic that many grapple with.
I would love to see the focus change from ‘weight loss’ to ‘well being’!
I am an advocate of healthy lifestyle, healthy eating and exercise of all kinds!
I encourage everyone to engage in the physical activities that most appeal to them.
We don’t have to stick to just one…the more the better.
All will help with a sense of well being and weight loss.

Because yoga is my specialty, I can shed some light on why yoga is so helpful.
• Yoga affects us on many levels.
• On an obvious level, a yoga class with a higher energy flow will help burn calories but studies show that even the slower classes help shed pounds.
• Yoga teaches us to be mindful of how the body feels. We will be less likely to overeat and more careful about our food choices.
• Yoga calms the mind. We can make more mindful choices when we come from a calm place.
• Yoga settles the emotions. This will help to reduce the times you indulge in inappropriate foods to satisfy your emotional needs.
• Yoga brings wisdom. When the mind is quiet we can access our inner wisdom. We all know what foods we shouldn’t eat and we all know that we should be proactive in our own health.

Perhaps you think that you can’t go to yoga or fitness class until you are thinner.
That is like saying “I can’t go to a yoga class until I am more flexible!”
Come to the safe sanctuary of a class.

We all have body ‘wishes’…. thinner, taller, shorter….or perhaps we perceive that one of our body parts falls short of ideal. Truth is, we all have something that we feel a little (or a lot) insecure about.
I invite you to quit negatively judging yourself and be the beautiful being that you are.
Let’s make our focus; optimal physical, mental and emotional health. Everytime you eat, drink or do something ask yourself if this is contributing to your optimal wellbeing.

Come to the safe sanctuary of a class.
When I see my students walk out the door with that peaceful, radiant glow I know that we are working in the right direction.
Bring your beautiful body to the mat and let’s see where the journey will take us!
See you there!

*Join me for a free ‘sample’ yoga class on Salt Spring Island (just mention this blog post) or better yet join in one of my yoga retreats on Salt Spring Island BC, in the Tofino area and at new locations such as Costa Rica, Bali or Italy!

*Attending even one yoga class a week will acheive many benefits that can last many days after the class. Think what a yoga retreat could do for you!


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Yoga and the ‘Blahs’!

Depending on the weather we may be suffering from seasonal ‘blahs’. One reason for this is that we tend to spend a lot of time indoors during the colder, wetter months.
We have to give ourselves a ‘boot out the door’ to maintain our physical and mental health….Yes, even on those dismal days. When you are feeling a little depressed or overwhelmed you might not feel like doing physical activity but it is important to get energy moving in your body.
There is nothing like fresh air and a brisk walk, a quick jog or a bike ride to perk you up and clear your mind.
Fit them into a daily routine if possible. You don’t have to devote a lot of time. The key is to move stagnant energy.
The benefits are immediate!

Once a week you might consider one of the following… 
Hiking, swimming, kayaking, sports groups, yoga  classes as well as martial arts classes.
If you are into running or cycling, aim for short 10 min sessions daily and a longer session once a week.
(Check your nearby Visitors Centre for maps of hiking, walking and cycling trails in your area)

Most of us work too hard and don’t give ourselves enough time for play.
If you want to feel different, do something different.
Life can be a lot more fun when we get physical.
We become vibrant and alive!
We set a good example for our children, our friends and our neighbors.

Making the decision to make your good health a priority is the first step.
Spring is a time of new beginnings. Consider what new beginnings you would like to make for yourself.
Then, find time slot in your day for some physical activity (keep it simple, 10 minutes is better than nothing!)
Then….try to stick to it!

Yoga is wonderful way to move energy, plus it has a powerful calming effect on the mind and nervous system.
Every cell of the body is affected by a well rounded class.
Your cells sit up and take notice of this new energy and right away you feel a new sense  of calm yet vitally alive!
The calming effects from a yoga class can last several days!
Imagine what a yoga retreat could do for you!

Taking responsibility for your health is a big step….nobody else can do it for you!

See you on the mat!
*Join me for a free ‘sample’ yoga class on Salt Spring Island (just mention this blog post) or better yet join in one of my yoga retreats on Salt Spring Island BC, in the Tofino area and at new locations such as Costa Rica, Bali or Italy!

*Attending even one yoga class a week will acheive many benefits that can last many days after the class. Think what a yoga retreat could do for you!

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Yoga and Relationships

For many people, a “love partner” relationship is considered successful only if all of their sexual and emotional needs are fulfilled, and their economic and social-status aspirations are met. Obviously, things often don’t work out in this manner and there can be a feeling of disappointment in the relationship.
Disappointments can also arise  in family relationships and in friendships when you feel your “idealized’ needs have not been fulfilled.

How can yoga help?
Yoga is about relationship awareness.
Relationship of our mind, body and breath.
Relationship of movement and breath.
Relationship of our body and the space around you and others around you.

Yoga brings mindfulness. It requires that our mind and body become compatible and work together. We learn to be “realistic” about what our bodies “can” do and  not push our bodies into an idealized vision of what we would like it do. With our yoga practice, although we strive to improve our health, wisdom and well being, we grow to love and accept ourselves for who we are.
With yoga we find clarity in what is possible and what is not possible. This innate wisdom starts to overflow into our daily lives and helps us find clarity in many areas of our lives….including relationships.

As we bring mindfulness into our relationships, we begin to see that the mind endlessly grasps after things, clings to expectations and idealized fantasies, and then resents our partner or loved one if he or she doesn’t share the same values or does not meet our expectations. Love and affection are easily forgotten amidst such hindrances. Often the mind clings to images of how things are “supposed to be”.  Consequently “what is” is never explored as a chance for deepening love with our partner or a  family member.

Relationships begin with our self – a relationship that deepens and grows and changes just like any other. Only when we deepen our appreciation of ourselves, and what we have to offer; and learn what is realistic and what is idealized, can we begin to truly appreciate and truly support and love another.

See you on the mat!
*Attending even one yoga class a week will acheive many benefits that can last many days after the class. Think what a yoga retreat could do for you!

*Join me
for a free ‘sample’ yoga class on Salt Spring Island or better yet join in one of my yoga retreats on Salt Spring Island BC, in the Tofino area and at new locations such as Costa Rica, Bali or Italy!

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Yoga can help!

Did you know that only a very small percentage of people who make New Year’s Resolutions actually keep them? Yoga can help!
The most common resolutions have to do with weight-loss and fitness/health commitments…it’s natural and healthy to want to do these things!
As a yoga teacher, I know that it takes practice and patience to change a long-held pattern. Yoga can help you achieve your goals (and …forgive yourself if you fall a little short, too!).
With regular yoga practice (even one class a week) we get more focused in the mind and attain stronger and more flexible bodies. We gain body awareness and develop gratitude for the amazing gift that our bodies are. Yoga helps us to love and accept ourselves no matter what our body image concerns are.
When it comes to weight loss, because yoga teaches us to be mindful of how the body feels, we will be less likely to overeat and more careful about what we put into our bodies.
Changing our focus from a ‘weight loss diet’ to an ‘eat only foods that will make me as healthy as possible diet’ will go a long way. Often it is what we choose ‘not’ to eat that can make a difference to our health. If you eat a healthier diet you will be more likely to loose weight.
If you are facing a tough challenge like quitting smoking or drinking, yoga practice will help keep you calm and steady and help you get through the stressful times when relapse is most common. As we develop deep gratitude for our bodies, through our yoga practice, we will be less likely to participate in harmful activities. Replacing an unhealthy activity with a healthy activity like yoga, running, working out at the gym, swimming etc will help.
Let these tried and true methods help you achieve your resolutions.
• Set Realistic Goals
If it’s not realistic you will automatically be setting yourself up for failure!
• Chart Your Progression Towards Your Goal
Either journal your progress or keep track on a calendar.
• Have a Support Group and Success Team
Find someone or a group of people to share your challenges and successes with!
Whether it is January or July, let yoga help you with your commitments to good health.

See you on the mat!
*Treat yourself;  jumpstart your yoga practice with a wonderful yoga retreat on
Salt Spring Island, BC or Tofino, or Mexico!

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Relaxation during the holiday season…???

Ideally, Christmas and the winter holidays could be a time to focus attention on our deepest emotions, togetherness and spiritual feelings. Unfortunately, for many this time of year is full of stress.

For many with hectic, stressful lives, relaxation means zoning out in front of the TV at the end of the day or snatching some extra sleep on the weekend. Unfortunately, this does little to help reduce the damaging effects of stress on the mind and body.

To effectively combat stress, we need to activate the body’s natural relaxation response. You can do this by practicing relaxation techniques including yoga, deep breathing, visualization, and meditation, or by performing rhythmic exercise, such as running, cycling, or mindful walking. Finding ways to fit these activities into your life can help reduce everyday stress and boost your energy and mood. They’ll also help you to stay calm in the face of life’s unexpected events…and the holiday season!

If you are beginning a new practice or coming back to one remember it doesn’t have to be fancy, you don’t have to have all the new gear, just START! Start with something simple and a realistic, manageable amount of time. You want to be successful and create a solid foundation to build on, so set yourself up for success!
For some activities, weekly classes can be the ideal way to keep practice regular.

WHEN stress suddenly arises, taking some slow deep breaths will activate the body’s natural relaxation response and will you help navigate through. Then asap engage in a physical activity such as a brisk walk or run or hit the mat and do some yoga. Chances are you will feel much better after this and will prove how you can manage stress in a healthy way!


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