Thursday, August 28, 2008

Southbound to Brasil - The Adventure Begins....

Expect the unexpected...
lessons have already begun to unfold on this barely born journey to the Amazon.

I spent the night at the Toronto airport after finding out my flight to Brasil was delayed over night. It is currently very early (430 am Toronto time) and i am writing from Terminal one as I sit and wait a few more hours for the rescheduled flight to board.

In the anticipation of a big journey it is always hard to fully embrace delays. To be calm and fully open to the idea of getting there when you get know that it is really nobody's fault that the plane is delayed and to resist laying blame or finding frustration in things I can't control. To surrender control and to simply be in the moment of whatever it is life presents me with. And, perhaps, to even come to enjoy the times when something beyond my control causes me to be still - instead of moving and going and changing.

I often take lessons from my yoga practice and bring them into my life as a whole - but this early morning my mind seems to be working the other way around (perhaps caused lack of sleep). I find myself pondering delays and surrendering control and how much more content i am when i let go of the feeling of waiting for something and simply be. Lessons that I can communicate and understand intellectually with ease but that are most valuable and effective when they are felt with my whole being in my life. I believe that the notion of surrender to being where I am at encourages deep complexity and finely attuned awareness of a self that is ever changing. And with with awareness, it becomes natural to practice & teach & live with images of where our minds and bodies are in the present not where they should be, could be or where we want them to be...

And, in this moment, i am fully feeling the embrace of surrender - giving in to what is and accepting that i simply can't control over when the plane leaves this airport.

I apologize if this turned into a bit of a mumble, jumble of thoughts - I am sleep deprived and have been soaking up flourescent lights for too long...i think the next thing i'll do is roll out my mat in some quiet airport corner for a few sun salutations!

Next time i'll post from the southern hemisphere in Brasil!

p.s. A big thanks to my mom, dad and brother Austin for a great few days beside the lake in Oakville. You amaze me and I love you.

p.p.s. To those of you who will be reading in the next few months - feel free to post comments or note to say hello, Lydia and I always love hearing from you all!!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Little Gurus

Sonnie and I just got back from a week on Clear Lake in the Muskoka area of Ontario. We surprised his parents for their (honorable) 40 year wedding anniversary... (now that's something to be inspired by). The week passed briskly with a cohesion of events such as hide and go seek, wading in the water, sand castle building and treasure hunting. Between Sonnie's two super-mum sisters there are 4 children under the age of 5 years. I know why Richard Freeman calls having children the 6th series of Ashtanga Yoga (there are only 5 to date), I was pleasantly exhausted by the end of the week, and it wasn't from laying out on a beach towel under the glowing orb.
By the first day I was learning a lot from the kids. How to allow proprioception happen spontaneously. To let my belly expand naturally so that my diaphragm has space to do it's ceaseless job... I know these things, but to see them pop out of these purely energetic little beings reminds me of them and allows me to see them so clearly!
Seems to me that children have this gift of reminding us of who we once were and who we still are. They are constantly comingling their senses to experience everything that is NOT them in a way that truly connects them to the world.

Their bodies have the appropriate balance of reflexive strength to soft openness. Seems to be their minds have the same ability... they can let things go as quickly as you can say "Ice cream!". They can jump in the water without looking into the murky depths, being disturbed by their inability to swim, or thinking about the cold sensations- in an instant.
Their voices are constantly rich with inflections and emotions... and they always tell the truth.

We really are children- with a bigger vocabulary and a few more hang ups in our bodies and minds. (Speaking mostly for myself here! I realize not all of "us" have hang ups.) I know that when I am surrounded by these little gurus I forget about the things that may not be as important.

Playing with the kids was a gift and an inspiration for me. For a few days I felt like I could feel more of what they feel and it was, and is, magical. I think we all did. I was also noticing the hard work that it was being a mother (and father and Grandma AND Grandpa). But that's a whole other set of qualities that I'm not sure I'll completely understand until I enter that plane of existence... (I might not get to Grandpa for a long time). I'm sure it is one of the hardest and most beautiful experiences.

Thanks for your work Mum.

I am taking a deep breath and preparing myself for the meditation retreat.

It is nice being in Squamish and smiling at everyone I see thinking... that person could be in my yoga class soon, so may that person...


Sunday, August 17, 2008

One of Mother Earth's Temples...

'Now and then it is necessary
to seclude our selves in the deep mountains
and hidden valleys
and return to the source.' Morchei Ueishiba

A few weeks ago I made the trek up to Applebee Dome in Bugaboo provincial park. We arrived just as the storm clouds left and enjoyed 4 days of summer alpine granite play. Below are some amazing pictures Scott took and a few words I jotted down amidst the beauty of it all...enjoy!

Alpine granite - steep shaded walls compose a skyline beyond this language.
Fake but real.

Up close the walls are filled with green gardens
snowmelt waterfalls
and cracks to fill our days.

In the company of a warm soul
a soft heart
eyes more blue then the clearest of skies.

I pinch myself to see if its' real, and it is.

Each day i am grateful for all that is in this life. I am filled with gratitude for the people, opportunities, places and dreams that grace my days.

I leave in a week to travel to Brazil to guide a river trip on the Amazon. In the context of yoga, these adventures challenge me to let go of any attachment or expectations i have to the physical yoga practice.

On journeys to remote mountains and rivers I always make time to move in my body. And, I find that I often breath deeper and move more gracefully while connected to the rhythms of this remarkable planet.

Mentally these expeditions keep me grounded it what is really important in life - free from the clutter of my life I am reminded that food, clean water, a thin nylon shelter, good work and good sleep, a supportive community and laughter can take me farther in life then money and amenities ever will.

Spiritually, I really believe that I am closer to my truth when i am deep in the heart of the wilderness...breathing deeply and amazed by this world.

So, I suppose these expeditions are just a different flavour of yoga - or as lydia talked about in the last blog - Yoga is delving into and accepting what is yoga.

If I don't see you before I head south...i'll post occassionally from the amazon...much love and i look forward to seeing you all in late october.

stay wild.

p.s. Lydia has officially left Canmore. and i miss her like crazy - she is a dream of a friend, and an inspiring women to work and practice beside.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Thankyou to everyone who came out to join the mysore workshop in Canmore!!
You all teach me so much. Sonnie, thank you for taking such beautiful pictures.

I have spent the past week working in Kananaskis country - teaching yoga and sharing with business students from the University of Calgary. The course is called Leadership in Sustainable Development and it combines first nations cultural learning, outdoor skills, personal reflection and in the true sense of the word.

As a part of the course I was able to participate in a ceremonial sweat lodge in the Ghost river valley. A wonderful man, Sequoyah, shared with us his stories, his traditions and his unrelenting connections with life everywhere.

Following the sweat lodge I had one of the most invigorating, soulful yoga practices I could have imagined.

Toes melting in the moss.
Rays of sun sneaking through the trees.
Each breath awakens my soul, again and again to life all around me.

Each movement is effortless,
a gift
a dance
a life
a prayer.

Cleansed and empty from the sweat the practice took me to places inside of myself i have only glimpsed before.

I am back in Canmore now and will be roaming these parts for the next month - before I head to Brasil to guide a river trip on the Amazon...

much love - i look forward to seeing you all.