SPRING CLEARING – Meditation and Yoga Session

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SPRING CLEARING  4 week Meditation and Yoga Session

At Restless Spirit – Toronto!

Starts: Sunday April 26th – 9:30-11:30am for 4 Sundays (NO class Victoria Day Weekend)

Give yourself the opportunity to tune yourself into the season of Renewal and Revitalization! Come join me for 4 weeks of yoga and meditation to clear the senses and open up the body and mind to Receive the Richness of Spring into Summer!

Please go to our FB page for more info!

What I Offer At The Studio Has A Lot To Do With What I’ve Experienced In My Life…

I grew up with the notion that women were less than. This attitude was perpetuated by both parents and then siblings. I did not believe this but was victim to it time and time again. I became quiet and reserved with my feelings yet expressed my opinions aggressively. I was confused a lot of the time about who I was and what I was doing, who to love and who loved me. It took me a long time to unravel the mess that was my childhood because it was all about me trying to appease those around me, rather than listening to myself… I lost sight of who I was.

My spiritual practice and training – once I realized that it was do or die, allowed me to become whole again. Through this work, I realized my fullness, and I was able to see a way through.

This is (one of the reasons) why I practice and teach yoga, meditation and offer Transpersonal Therapy.

I believe I can assist those who want it, to see a way through as well. I realized both victim and perpetrator are in constant protection mode because of their feelings of emptiness and vulnerability. I can guide the process of unravelling and then the reasserting and rebuilding that comes after.

I grew up in a family that believed that you have to be “crazy” to go to a therapist. But I soon learned that this is a process of growth and discovery (when done well) and not an exercise in labeling and pointing fingers.

I believe EVERYONE should seek out self-knowledge – to practice self-awareness/self-observation through any means – the best of which are: yoga (taught by a teacher that practices this not only the postures), meditation (taught by a teacher that practices to see passed the egoic nature), and therapy (facilitated by a person who believes that the spirit is a huge part of the equation and that it’s not about “fixing” you). All of this can bring you leaps and bounds into another and more full sense of self that calms the storms of self-absorption/self-centredness. (Self-observation/awareness is opposite to self-absorption/centredness).

Why am I telling you this? Because this is what I do. I offer those who seek it – wholeness through the therapy I offer, and the yoga classes and meditation (private or semi-private) I have at the studio. I believe I have experienced all this – the prejudice, the name calling, the putdowns, the self-doubt, etc. – in order to work through them and come out the other side with understanding and equanimity so that I can be a light to those who are still in darkness and who believe and feel that there is more to them than what those around them are saying, and who would like to live more fully and more present in their own lives.

 

Here’s the article that inspired this note:
http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/why-women-arent-crazy/

The Q & A Wednesday evening is postponed this week.

Thursday night

6:15pm – Half hour Intro to Meditation

7pm – Heart Path Meditation (60-90mins)

Next Wednesday (Feb 19th) Q & A will be held at 6:15pm

Please call, text, or email to reserve your spot!

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Answers To Some Questions Someone Asked Me…

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Someone asked me about my practice. It is hard to articulate and I don’t think I’ve expressed it as well as I can. It’s hard for me to express something that I do so intuitively. But here goes – I hope you find this informative and inspiring! 🙂 Peace!

What brought you to devote your energies to yoga?

It wasn’t really my decision. I think all my life had been directing me that way. Since I was a child, I had this feeling that I was to heed the call of the universe but obligations in regular life kept me from seeing my path clearly. It took me years to follow the calling. And when I did, it threw my life into a tailspin. I lost friends and my family because they could not understand the direction my life was taking. I sacrificed a lot but gained so much. I attained a disposition that is contentment itself. I could not have experienced this without the pain and sacrifice, without the missteps. I devote my energies to yoga, because all there is – is Yoga. Everything else is Maya; superficial; unreal.

How does it “in-form” [sic] the person that you are?

If Yoga speaks through me then there is a truth that is in my eyes. I cannot hide or “get rid of” the organism I am; the human I am. I cannot ignore that I am a very sensitive human being. Not only in emotions – because I’m not as sensitive that way as others – but my organism is sensitive. I taste more, I smell more, I feel more, I vibe more. This, when attached with an ego, can get very irritating and precarious and at the same time, can make me acutely aware of my surroundings and the other humans near me. Yoga takes my hand and leads me through the jungle, swamp as my teacher likes to call it. So yoga doesn’t take away the uncomfortable moments as it doesn’t take away the blissful moments. Yoga doesn’t distinguish one from the other. It is all experience. It is all about being human. Being a restless spirit. Yoga informs my organism by allowing my humanness to express itself without judgment. I feel the embrace of god no matter what I do these days. Yoga – as I become transparent – accepts the incarnation of whatever happens through my ego.

How does it relate to seeing in terms of sacred and profane and to your quest to integrate these poles?

Yoga then is ultimately a heart path. It is not just an intellectual path. It is not just a physical path. It is not just a mindful path. Once the ego has been exposed to the Yogic path; after all the fighting and resisting, the heart opens up to all possibilities of expression; that there is no right way or wrong way to attain Yoga. The heart, in the ego’s evolution to spirit, casts a wide net and sees which way to turn next. All movements toward deepening are accepted and in line with the dharma – whether it is sitting in meditation or learning a (big or small) lesson from a decision made. The stronger the heart path the more sincerity, with sincerity there’s honesty and humility, with honesty and humility comes equanimity. With equanimity, there is acceptance of all. Integrating the sacred and the profane in one place, one organism, is to practice non-dualism or advaita and that is what I think is the truth of the universe. The restless spirit goes through stages of evolution and revolution to reach Yoga and anything can get you there if you are listening and done with sincerity.

 How is your practice related to architecture?

When I was practicing architecture, I was concerned with how the ‘spirit’ was expressed through building. I turned to a lot of the modern architecture of Europe but also and more importantly of Japan.

Japanese architecture always fascinated me – at least when the architectural space expressed the concepts of opposites and their juxtapositions through materials, expression of space and how they use it. The Zen garden was a part of that as well as placing cool water in relationship with warm wood, or stone floor as transition between garden and tatami mat. And so on. To me, this created an experience of balance between sensations of the senses. A yin yang of living if you will. It reminds me of Hatha yoga – balancing energies through the physical manifestation of opposites.

As well, I studied a lot of medieval architecture and urban landscapes because they showed how humans met their needs in built form and at that time it was unstructured (to a certain extent), unhindered by intellectual notions of design and unself-conscious. Take gothic cathedrals for instance – they were built simply to express their devotion to the Divine. And like gothic architecture, the spiritual path takes time, patience, devotion (to the work as well as god), vision, concentration, and contentment (because you might not see your efforts come to fruition in this lifetime).

And finally, Sacred Geometry and Alchemy. My studies informed me that there are unseen forces which can be expressed through certain parameters – that the Divine is revealed through them. In built form, sacred geometry harnesses the energies from the universe – the sun and stars. The architecture then becomes the energy field. It is then interesting to compare the practice of yoga asana with this harnessing of energy of the universe. Sacred geometry is expressed through form and mathematics. I suppose you could say that asana can be and, in theory, is that precise and practical. Sacred geometry and its expressions need to be precise in order to harness these energies. Hatha yoga need not be – precise – in form. Every body is different and can not express postures in the same way. Then what is it? It needs to be precise in ‘energy’. Energy to me equals mindfulness (or right-mindedness) plus perseverance (dedication) plus forcefulness (effort) with breath. Enacting Hatha yoga postures in this way is the harnessing of divine energy from within – not without. Where sacred architecture draws from outside and then contains the energies within, a human being creates the energy within and contains it. This is known as Prana, created through breath and enacting the postures with force (Hatha yoga – the ‘forceful’ practice). Both the architectural space and the individual contain the energy within.

Is yoga as you practice it a kind of embodied, spiritual architecture?

I suppose if I read this like: that the practices of yoga and meditation are a kind of architecture which endeavors to express the restless spirit – so in a way, to find new form by building or by practicing; by sensing the changes that are needed and making adjustments; by recognizing the potential and limitations of what you have to work with; by harnessing and containing these energies (prana) within, and finally, by knowing that this kind of embodiment is much bigger than you. To that, then yes, I’d say so.

How do your Buddhist meditative practices relate to or complement your yoga practices?

Buddhist meditation practices complement my yoga practice because of its simplicity. I practice Zazen, which really means to “just sit”. I take that into my asana practice and although I’m very aware of structure, my meditation practice helps me to “just practice” and breathe. We sometimes like to put values or qualifications on our practice – do this and you will be healthy or fit or whatever; do meditation and you will be calm or mindful and so on. Really there’s no guarantee that any of that will happen for you. We say, build your core and you can do handstand easily or this or that arm balance. But in truth there’s a lot more going on in an asana, which does not relate at all to how strong your core muscles are that would hold you back from realizing that goal. So then, in the “just sitting” or the practice of Ashtanga (in my view) is the means to the end. The practice or rather to practice is the goal. And you do the best you possibly can in your body, your organism with sincerity.

How do you see the evolution of your path?

Really to just keep doing. Keep making myself available to my own practice, to the universe, to others. Making myself available to others also drives me down my path. Making myself available to the universe means to cultivate intuition, heart and mind. So on that note – thank you for asking these questions because it has helped me to articulate these things that I do intuitively.

I hope I’ve answered your questions for you. Please feel free to ask me to clarify anything that you are unsure about.

Peace!

Christine

Anniversaries: A moment to reflect…

Anniversaries. I hardly celebrate my own. I even just quietly remember the death of my father on the day (November 1st, 2009; 11am) by lighting a candle, kissing his picture and saying “I love you Papa”. Anniversaries are things that we celebrate in public and it is not a part of my nature to outwardly talk about the passed past. Pain of loss is a personal thing to me.

Today is just another day in my doings. But the lessons of the heart that/this day are always with me.

The years for me have taken away the palpable experience of the horror and pain of that day. For the most part, it is a faint sensation. That day was so painful for everyone and painful for me to witness their pain; I remember crying constantly as I watched what was happening. As the days went on, watching as innocent lives get taken because they had no other choice but to surrender to the fate of that day. To hear about those who went down with a fight and the stories from those who survived. Hearing about the sacrifices of those who went in to do their part in rescuing, searching, seeking and cleaning up. The aftermath was excruciating. People searching for their loved ones. The vitriol from those who only wanted to blame and attack back, and the pleads of those to let calmer heads and softer hearts prevail. And then, the pain of those innocent people who took the blame in the wake of the evidence against a select group.

But I don’t express it outwardly. Maybe it’s because it wasn’t my country, so therefore not really my experience. I remember that day. I taught a yoga class – Ashtanga. At the time, I felt it was appropriate to have the class do 108 sun salutations (suryanamaskara) for the class. 108 is a sacred number. Like the number of times you are to chant the Gayatri Mantra or the number of beads on a Mala string, the 108 sun salutes were to be a prayer for peace: the chant heard across the land that we are with you in our hearts and souls. I said a few words about something, I forget. I went around partaking in the practice as a teacher would. Assisting to deepen the students’ experience.

The experience of what was happening, for me, still felt close to home (I spent weeks at a time for a number of years in the city). I had a dear friend living there at the time. He lived on Bleeker St. and was actually taking a run down by the river as it was happening, not realizing what was going on as he jogged passed people running covered in soot the other way. Himself almost getting caught in it. (A lot of people afterward talked about how surreal and unreal it felt at first.) During the days that followed he talked about his feelings of helplessness. That even bringing socks and footwear for the volunteers to the salvation army did not ease the confusion, deep pain and the need to be able to do something. Living there was a constant reminder: the smell in the air of smoke and soot, and the posters of the missing up for months and months. It was not normal. I’ve kept the feelings of this day deep in my heart because although I am not American, I wasn’t there and I have only tenuous personal connections, my friend’s experience, my connection to the city, and witnessing it all on tv made it a part of my deeper experience.

I still mark the day in my heart. I still feel a kind of alertness on this day: A vigilance to treat everyone with kindness and to maintain a softness in my heart even at times when I feel frightened and alone. I still feel the loss and pain of those who experienced it directly, and I am only too aware of how this feeling is experienced by people around the world daily. It reminds me to take the feeling of that day and turn it into compassion in the present.

I was fortunate I feel anyway, to be able to go to Ground Zero on New Year’s Eve 2001, to pay my respects and to pledge to always have them in my heart and yes today I am reminded again to do so. Because, of all the lessons we learn from day to day, the one that keeps coming back to me is, to Pray for Peace in the World and in Our Own Hearts.

Thanks for letting me share.

LOVE WITH ALL YOUR MIGHT!

Peace!

Christine