Saturday, November 29, 2008

TODAY is a gift.'s hard to believe that December is almost here. The warm sunny days we've been enjoying feel more like September.

I recently attended another wonderful yoga workshop.

This time with Rameen Peyrow. Humble friend, inspiring teacher and student of life - Rameen teaches about yoga in the context of our lives. He challenges each and every one of us to dig deeper into what truth may mean and once you think you've found something....let it go and go deeper.

This journey inward, if we choose to accept it, is endless.

In the week since the workshop I taught more classes then I can count. Themes I was left with in the wake of Rameen's wise teachings were 'balance' and 'being present' and below are a few thoughts his teachings brought up for me...comments are welcome!

What does it mean to be balanced? For me ideas of living truth come to mind. In a world where I am constantly bombarded with the external experience of media, friends, family, work and is easy to lose track of my internal truth, what it is I really want??
I believe it is often hard to know what we really want because we are lost in an abyss of meeting expectations, living the life that we have been taught to live...

So, that's where yoga came into my life...a chance to deepen the internal experience, an opportunity to be more connected to my own truths. A chance to really truly know myself. And the balancing act of life is articulating and negotiating the relationship between the internal and external experiences which will forever be ebbing and flowing. Of course, just when things start to feel balanced we are destined to fall once more.
Always balancing - never balanced?

All of this is great in theory, but as humans we need direct experience to really believe things. That's where the yoga posture practice is so amazing. An opportunity to experience first hand, balance - a place to explore your own internal experience (i.e. breath, thought patterns) while staying connected to the external experience of each posture (i.e. injury free alignment and movement).

Balance or truth arises in asana when there is steadiness and ease in both the internal and external expression of the posture. Or as Patanjali says in the Yoga Sutras (2:46), 'Sthira sukham asanam.' In my own life, the experience of this sensation on the mat has definitely left me seeking and striving to find that same sense of truth and balance in every moment of my life.

And, that's where the journey of yoga (for me) has become really interesting!

As for living in the present.
The moments of our lives when the internal and external experiences we are having seem to match up,
The times when we let go of expectations we hold of ourselves and fully accept where we are,
The periods of time where we really engage in listening (whether it be a conversation with our body or our lovers) this is what it means to be present for me.
To fully give my self to a moment.
To go deeper into the NOW.

This week I found myself really encouraging myself and my students to BE PRESENT and GO DEEPER, and even in setting that intention i felt my own engagement with every one of the countless classes i taught more heightened and real.
It felt amazing!
And, after my class last Tuesday morning at the Rec Centre a wonderful women came up and shared the most beautiful quote. It's from a Charly Brown cartoon - if anyone has a copy of the cartoon I would love to see it.

It says.
Yesterday is the past.
Tomorrow is the future.
Today is a gift - that's why it's called the present.

ahh, it's perfect!
Enjoy today!
As Rameen would say - TODAY is the best day EVER!!

more soon - Sarah
p.s. Rameen's website is and he'll be visiting Canmore in January '09. As for all the Squamish readers - he was excited to hear about our new studio and looks forward to gracing us with some wonderful classes in the late summer or fall of '09!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Run run river

Sonnie and I drove to the Fish Hatcheries here in Brackendale, Squamish a couple of days ago and went on a stunning evening hike up to Brohm Lake. The light pixels created a kaleidescope of colours and shapes for my eyes that gave me a reverence for the ability to see. Have you ever just stood still in a high place with a view and taken a deep breath and... just... felt AMAZED? It is both an intoxicant and a sobering experience at the same time. It's no wonder the word light is in enlightened.

We came down from our hike and stood by the river to watch all the chum salmon swimming upstream with patient and unwavering determination to reach the nearby lake. A kind man who has been working at the Hatchery for years came down and spent half an hour teaching us about the fish. Those salmon were about 4 years old and had been born in the lake- their final destination. When they were old enough they ventured out into the ocean through the river we were standing by, and began a long journey towards Japan. They make it all the way back to this river by SMELL. They have the accuracy of smelling 1 part in 1 billion. They know what their birthplace smells like. So these fish make it all the way back here to have their fry. Once they enter the freshwater on their way home they stop eating and live only on their own fat. They labour for a few weeks to dig up a clean space in the river bottom and drop their eggs. The eggs get fertilized and stay under the wet earth for a few months before they break out of tiny vessels. When the babies are born most of their parents will be dead.
I don't know why, but I was really touched by this. Watching the fish battle up the running river I was amazed by their beauty and intelligence. By the acuteness of their senses. Somehow I felt like I could relate to them. I don't know how or why, but maybe because I saw them as beings instead of fish. I also felt humbled. I had just been marveling at my own senses and suddenly they felt dim and vacuous in comparison. I wondered if they could speak now what they would say about their life... it is no wonder so many indigenous tribes told stories (and still do) of animals who spoke and understood... who were gods and friends.
And there is the circle again. The cycle. The rhythm of the universe.
When we close our eyes, we can actually FEEL this with every inhale and exhale. One cycle. One circle. Onc birth and death. One generation.... organization...destruction. (Acronym for something in there somewhere?)
Sometimes I feel like I am seeing and understanding the same thing over and over again in many different ways.
Do you?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Art of Slowing Down - Learning to feel...

Yesterday I took a workshop in Calgary, with Susie Hately-Aldous, called Advancing your yoga practice - The Art of Slowing Down. Susie has a real curiosity and immense knowledge about the human body that translates into a lot of amazing questions and discussion.

There are tonnes of things we played with yesterday that I look forward to using, both in my own practice and in my teaching. Some things I enjoyed most about Susie's sequences is that they were exploratory yet simple, they encouraged relaxation and they created space in my torso for the breath to expand more fully in my body. Thanks Susie!

I have always been intrigued to explore postures more deeply and softly in my own body and this workshop was no exception. I felt myself listening keenly throughout the day, often closing my eyes and following the breath to find a great sense of release and awareness in each posture. I found myself asking new questions about the way the shoulder blades move on the backside of my body and inquiring within myself about how i can more fully let go and surrender the weight of my body into the earth. Furthermore, how can i help my students to move beyond their thinking minds towards a place where they intuitively and accurately feel their bodies? feel their hearts?

Ultimately moving them towards a deeper place of surrender and acceptance of what is - with the belief that true change begins when we can fully accept where we are right now, in this present moment.

Since returning from Brasil I have been thankful each morning for the time and space I have to practice and delve deeper into my fascination of movement and in the process widening my understanding of myself. Yesterday, that sense of gratitude expanded to appreciating and loving every downward dog, giving myself fully to feel the posture each time as if it was the first time I had ever experienced it.

And then,
This morning i awoke to a thick blanket of white.
A winter wonderland.

As days shorten and temperatures drop it seems like an appropriate time to contemplate the art of slowing down.

So this morning I decided to take the time to walk down to the Yoga Lounge where I was teaching a mixed level ashtanga class. Based on my experience yesterday I wanted to bring people to the present moment of each posture. I wanted them to FEEL and LISTEN to their bodies. So as a class we moved through the standing series, doing each posture twice - the first time I gave people a few cues, the second time I had people feel and move their own way into the pose. I encouraged people to let go of the perceptions they carried about what the postures should feel like or look like and instead explore the layers of language that their bodies could share with them about what was going on.

I suppose only they know if they heard or felt anything new. It is my hope that i created the space and possibility for softness, listening and freedom.

happy winter!
i'm going to make a snow angel.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

In Darkness there is Light.

Last night there was a planned power outage scheduled during a restorative yoga class I was teaching. With a little bit of prior planning and a few extra candles I taught one of the most memorable classes I have ever been a part of. For a little bit of context, the whole end of the street was totally dark. We had countless tea lights and a few larger candles sprinkled around the room creating enough just enough light to see our toes.

Below are a few words i jotted down after class as i watched the full moon light up the mountains.

Deep darkness is broken by faint flames
and a full moon overhead.
Our eyes openly adjust to the new reality.

Natural stillness.
Pure truth.
Intense quiet filled with the sounds of our souls.
Sinking deeper,
it's like we are moving and breathing among the stars.

Comforted by the soft shades of honesty that paint the room,
warmed on this cool murky night
by an authentic gleam of reality
a glimpse of what it truly means to explore
the unknown within myself
in the context of this world.

An opportunity to remind myself that within the deepest darkness we all have the potential to shine.

Thanks to all who joined.


p.s. i added a few pic's from Nicoragua below, enjoy!...I've been meaning to add some more pic's from the amazon and Central America. Soon i hope.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Walking in the forest in the morning I find a seat
high enough to gaze down on the red rooftops and the grey ocean.
I sit.
Close my eyes from top to bottom.
The percussion of the rain. Pitter-patter. Tic-tac. Splash.
Speaking to me with gentle taps, "Are you awake?" it says.
A cold trickle down the back of my neck, a stark opposition to my stillness.
The wind.
The medium for the rain.
I feel it underneath my nose.
Whoosh. Whip. Whorl. A cold breeze. A warm lull.
Inviting me to breathe it- to live.

A sound behind me.
Is there someone there?
I am not afraid.
Whoever you are, come and sit with me.
It is not my seat, it is ours.

Walking home there is so much more for my eyes.
A rich vibrant matrix of colour. It widens me.
For my nose, the smells of cedar, smoke, the neighbors dog, the writhing earth underneath the ceaseless pelting of the sky.

There is something else in my step,
there is everything.


(by Lydia... have an amazing day...)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

It has been an eventful couple of days.
Sarah and I are here together and we just registered our domain to have internet credibility on the worldwide web. We bought the url It all seems (Sarah and I having a yoga space in Squamish) like it is a little more real now and is starting to metamorphosize from it's latent ethereal quality. Sarah got a feel for the space and we had numerous meetings to get the ball rolling. This weekend we taught two classes together and I can tell the Squamish Connection of yogis are already falling in love with Sarah's powerful yet peaceful energy. To me it feels like things are forming a circle. Something that I have been contemplating on this week. How the circle represents union and the cycles of life.
And it is everywhere. It is the circumference of the diaphragm that never ceases to recieve life and breath in my body. The cylinder of the nasal cavity that warms the Squamish air and allows it to flow through me. The life giving sun. The opal coloured moon. The pupil of the other. The tangy orange fruit and the spot on the lady bug. The index finger and the thumb coming together in mudra. The shape of our arms in a hug. A crater. Even the rim of the candy flavoured, pink-filled goblet that Sarah and I sipped on Halloween in our 15 minute thrown together costumes.
Beautiful how there are so many of these circles in our world and how symmetric they are and similar. Just like us.
And they all have a center.

So I'm handing off to Sarah now, I am tired, happy and satisfied after another great meal. It is so nice to have company and to share great food. And life is just beginning, again.

Oi tudo - Hello all!!

And, love from Squamish. It is so wonderful to be here with Lydia and it feels so real to be sharing with the world that we are opening a yoga studio together.

In the same breath it is hard to believe I returned to Canada less then a week ago, and i am still processing the wild ways the jungle expanded my mind, touched my soul and forced me to let go for a while. I am so thankful for the adventure that embraced the whole reality of my existence over the past few months and i am certain that the stories and lessons will seep into my life the same way a river so gradually and beautifully flows to the sea.

Amidst the lessons of letting go, I am reminded not to hold on too tight to any one thing, otherwise i might miss new and wonderful opportunites on this extraordinary planet. Here in Squamish the next journey is beginning already and I am beginning to weave the two worlds together into the story that is my life.

I am energized to begin to share and grow with Lydia and the Squamish community. Lydia's contagious humble energy has already sparked a keen yoga interest in this community and it seems so right to be embarking together on a new path. Or, perhaps this has always been my path, but I am only now becoming aware of it??

Cruising down colourful autumn trails
misty granite faces drip from last nights haunted rain.

Heading to teach, beginning to learn
about ourselves and this world
a new journey is borne -
The Yoga Studio?

I'll be in Canmore till February, then heading west. We are hoping to open the doors in March and look forward to any and all of you who want to join us on this new adventure!
Sarah and Lydia