Honouring The Men In Your Life – Yoga For A Cause

I started holding karma classes when I ran a yoga studio, many moons ago.

What is a karma class you may wonder, they are heart guided and soulful yoga and movement classes held for a cause.

The teacher donates their time and their teaching, and the cost of the class is by donation. After rent is accounted for, all the remaining proceeds raised go directly to the organization or the family in need. Karma classes are fueled by love, and a genuine desire to help, to do our part in service.

These classes are also a beautiful way to help make yoga more accessible for folks, as they are by donation. The suggested amount is $10, but no donation is too small.

Join me for an hour of soothing yoga on Monday, November 29th, from 6:30 – 7:30 pm, at the Old Town Hall – in support of Movember, honouring all the men in your life.

Covid protocols will be in place, and registration is necessary as in person spots are limited to ensure everyone feels safe and supported.

This felt like an important month to start offering karma classes again. November is a month you may notice more folks are growing their moustaches out, and you may already be familiar with Movember, or perhaps this is new for you. Movember is a global initiative to help increase awareness and support mens health – mentally and physically. As a fiercely protective mother of 2 very young boys, personally growing up with a father who struggled and continues to struggle, and surrounded by so many amazing men in my own life; this care and concern runs deep.

Men are dying on average 5 years earlier than women, and for largely preventable reasons. A growing number of men – around 10.8 million globally – are facing life with a prostate cancer diagnosis. Globally, testicular cancer is the most common cancer among young men. And across the world, one man dies by suicide every minute of every day, with males accounting for 69% of all suicides.

Movember addresses this crisis on a global scale by funding ground-breaking projects all over the world, engaging men where they are to understand what works best and accelerate change. Movember unites experts from around the world to collaborate on projects that will fundamentally change the way men in need are treated and supported. To ensure the impact is significant, far-reaching and long-lasting, Movember prioritizes funding for the three biggest health issues facing men: mental health and suicide prevention, prostate cancer and testicular cancer.

The inspiration of Movember, and holding classes like these, create a ripple effect with the intention to increase awareness, and for everybody to receive the support they need to thrive, no-one should get left behind.

Jay Young (my sweet husband, and 5-year Movember Fundraiser)

As a father of two young boys, this cause is close to my heart. I have raised funds with my boys as my motivation, who inspire me to consider the future of male health; my brothers and friends, who have suffered some of the challenges that Movember is working to address; and my father, who died prematurely from cancer.

Movember is the leading charity changing the face of men’s health and this Movember, as in Movembers past, I’m joining them. Join me to improve the mental and physical health of all young boys and men into the future. Together we can make a difference for men’s health – in prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health and suicide prevention. Help me stop men dying too young. Thank you for your support.

We hope you’ll come out and help us support this incredible organization and the work they’re doing.

Our class will be held on Monday, November 29th, from 6:30 – 7:30 pm.  Amber and Jay Young will be leading this class together.  We’ll have some time for a brief discussion to start our class, as Amber slowly guides you into an accessible gentle yoga class suitable for beginners and experienced yoga practitioners, and we’ll end with an extended relaxation.  This class is for everyone, remember we’re all in this together.

To reserve your spot you can click here or send me an email at amber@suryadaya.ca. Details and Covid protocols will be emailed to you after you register.

Jay is growing his annual Movember mustache. Please check out his link below, or come out on the 29th.  This class is by donation,and no donation is to small – perhaps your donation is simply coming out and dedicating your practice to someone in your life who needs a little extra support.

Jay’s Movember link

You can learn more about Movember here

Mark your calendars for the following upcoming monthly karma classes at the Old Town Hall in Almonte, led by Amber:

Monday, December 20th, 6:30 – 7:30 for Interval House

Monday, January 27th, 6:30 – 7:30 pm for The Lanark County Food Bank

The Thread Of Letting Go

The moon transitions from dark to full as we honour the rhythms of the Earth, moving in cycle.

This time of year, and this particular turn of the wheel, is a potent time to acknowledge the layers we’re ready to shed.

Endings and beginnings, as we move through the cycles of our lives. Loosening the grip of our past, to welcome in what lays ahead.

As the weather shifts, I wonder what you can put down in order to dive a little deeper into the introspective months of hibernation approaching.

Last week the sacred thread of Samhain and Dia De Los Muertos weaved its way through us, taking a moment to pause and remember those whom we have lost, those who have walked before us, honouring the spirits of the land, and saying our silent prayers of gratitude for the guidance they offer us when we’re quiet enough to listen.

As I prepared for my Saturday morning class this past weekend, the theme of grief kept arising – perhaps the grief found in remembering as a way to hold sacred the necessary time to heal and to also celebrate that which we love fiercely. I honoured its call as we moved through our sequence with the thread of letting go, in so many different aspects of our lives.

I read an excerpt from this piece from Mary Oliver, I come to often as a reminder. I feel inspired to share the full poem with you here:

When Death Comes

When death comes, like the hungry bear in autumn;

When death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse

to buy me, and snaps the purse shut; when death comes like the measle pox;

When death comes

like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,

I want to step through the door full of curiosity wondering:

What is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

And therefore I look upon everything as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,

and I look upon time as no more than an idea,

and I consider eternity as another possibility,

and I think of each life as a flower, as common as a field daisy, and as singular,

and each name a comfortable music in the mouth tending as all music does, toward silence,

and each body a lion of courage, and something precious to the earth.

When it’s over, I want to say: all my life

I was a bride married to amazement.

I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder if I have made of my life something particular, and real. I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened, or full of argument.

I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.

Mary Oliver

We honour it all as we move forward in our lives. This is how we continue to take the fullness of the world into our arms.

Resting on your belly, feeling your hip bones grounded, feeling the support of the earth beneath you. In the stillness, Cobra asks to be explored.

Your hands planted firmly beneath your shoulders, as you lengthen and expand starting with your neck all the way down your spine, invite space inside of yourself. You may find just your head and shoulders lift off, honouring the subtleties of your practice. Close your eyes and stretch, move with reverence and respect, lifting your upper body only if it feels supportive. Invite your breath into new spaces inside of yourself – or spaces forgotten, as you exhale surrendering, allowing the layers to shed.

Take your time with this practice.

Reflect on how you would feel if you could finally put all the layers of restriction down, perhaps layers of a lifetime.

Can you invite this intentional letting go to be a part of your yearly commitment to yourself, breathing yourself anew to allow the healing months of winter to support you as you grow and evolve.

What does the symbol of a snake mean for you?

What are you ready to let go of, remember chapters ending mean new chapters beginning. What are you ready to welcome in?

Sending you so much love on your journey

Amber

xo

In case you missed my Autumn newsletter, you can get caught up on all my latest news here

If you’d like to join me virtually for a class you can register by clicking on the days you’d like to join, and you can purchase class passes here

Supporting you with some soul nourishment and self-reflection, Jessica and I created our soul wisdom cards, made with love from our hearts to yours.  Find out more here.

You can also send me an email amber@suraydaya.ca to find out about upcoming in person offerings, including the return of karma classes.

Because You Matter

Weaving The Threads Of Our Breast Health Through Our Whole Body Wellness

Statistics show that many people experience breast discomfort at some point in their lifetimes, and that the number of folks that will report this pain to their primary care giver, or to anyone, is quite low…why?  Perhaps because most of the time breasts don’t receive healthy attention as an important consideration in a persons overall care.  Breasts are often sexualized rather than respected, which gives many people a decreased sense of confidence in voicing any concerns they may have about their breasts.  

I want to very gently remind you that your breasts matter, that you matter; every inch of your body matters and is deserving of care and supportive attention. 

Our breasts feed and nurture life in our infants, have an extensive role in our lymphatic system and offer us wisdom and insight into our hormonal health.  When we look specifically at our breasts, they have a simple anatomical design and quite straightforward needs; however they are often neglected in the overall care of our bodies. This neglect can create; pain, discomfort, lowered self-confidence and often fear. Emotionally our breasts, with their proximity to our heart and our lungs, hold some of our most profound emotions.

There are many things we can do to optimize the  health of our breasts and our overall wellness, as well as empower ourselves, this is a step on that path

The Healthy Breast Program was created by Sat Dharam Kaur to help us to intend towards a decrease in the statistics of cancer incidence, and to realize we can be an active participant in our own health.  It was such a blessing and incredibly inspiring to move through this program in the Spring of 2020. As human beings, Sat Dharam reminds us, we have the capacity to tune into our higher consciousness and use our inner light and wisdom to guide our thoughts, words and deeds.  We have the privilege of choice.  We can choose to be stewards of our health, the health of our families, the earth, other species and future generations, or we can misuse and contaminate our bodies and the resources we’ve been so generously given.

It is an honour to weave the teachings of Debra Curties and her work with breast massage, the work of Sat Dharam Kaur, and my 20 years of learning through workshop facilitation, one – on-one care, yoga and massage with people on their breast health journey, into this empowering 6 week experiential program.

Through this process may you become a little more conscious, and walk with greater appreciation, harmony and care in your sacred body on this beautiful planet, our home.

I would like to acknowledge that as a little girl I lost one of the most important and special women in my life, my Nana, to breast cancer, this offering is created in her honour.

The next session for this 6 week Integrative program, Because You Matter, will be in March 2022.

Why should you mark your calendars?  Because you matter, your whole body matters.

This program is primarily geared towards breast health, but explores different facets of our overall health and the ways we are woven together through body, mind and spirit.  There is an accessible movement and yoga practice each week, with meditations, and a different focus at each session over the course of the full program.

What can you expect?

  • We’ll be discussing the connections between your breast health and your whole body
  • Learn and practice yoga and stretching specifically for your hormone and breast health
  • Learn self breast massage and other self care techniques you can put into practice immediately
  • Learn about different oils that help to support your breast health
  • We’ll explore the lymphatic system and how you can optimize the ways it supports you
  • Explore nutritional considerations for our breast health
  • Discuss the emotional aspects of this sacred part of our bodies
  • Connect with community in a safe way
  • Weekly check in/practice sessions
  • Support through reflective practices, exclusive weekly downloadable videos, electronic worksheets, and handouts, and a live 90 minute (optional) weekly discussion where we’ll move our bodies and dive deeper into the material.
  • Ongoing support during the 6 weeks, as well as unlimited access to Amber’s live zoom classes for the duration of the program.

Enrollment in the full program is necessary, as each week we build on the previous weeks material..

An optional in person day retreat near the course completion (with Covid safe protocols in place) – If there is space, you can also sign up for the day retreat ONLY. More details to come!

There are a maximum number of spots for each session, to maintain a safe space supporting you to show up exactly as you are.

Amber is beyond excited to be offering this very important program and she looks forward to this journey with you…..

Dates: 

October Dates: Registration Closed

Spring Registration will open January 2022

April 4, 11, 25, May 2, 9, 16 Monday mornings 10:30 – 12:00 (no class Easter Monday, April 18th)

Optional evening offering

March 10, 24, 31, April 14, 21, 28 Thursday evenings 7:00 – 8:30 pm (no class March 17th and April 7th)

Cost: $180 (+HST)  Includes all materials, downloadable practice videos, handouts and worksheets, weekly live sessions, an unlimited pass for access to Amber’s Live zoom yoga classes valid during the program dates.

Payment is due on registration to hold your spot as spaces are limited, and does not include the cost of the day retreat.

Refunds (minus 20%) available up to 7 days before program start date, and subject to a 20% admin fee.

In an effort to make this support accessible for all women, I am offering 1 full Scholarship and 1 spot at 50% off of full cost in each session (needs based). Email me at amber@suryadaya.ca for more details and to find out how to apply.

Optional day retreat: Dates TBA

Cost: $65 (+HST) for participants of full program

$95 (+HST) If space is available, for day retreat only.

Inclusivity In A Confusing Time

“I am here to keep becoming truer, more beautiful versions of myself again and again forever. To be alive is to be in a perpetual state of revolution. Whether I Like it or not, pain is the fuel of revolution. Everything I need to become the woman (human) I’m meant to be next is inside my feelings now. Life is alchemy, and emotions are the fire that turns me to gold. I will continue to become only if I resist extinguishing myself a million times a day. If I can sit in the fire of my own feelings, I will keep becoming.”

Glennon Doyle

Becoming a more truer version of ourselves, perhaps that is the biggest learning of this pandemic. I have never questioned my values, my relationships, my integrity, my responsibilities, and the people and things that I love and care about, so much as during the past year. 

My whole life has pivoted, in ways that were necessary both professionally and personally.

 I listened to a video the other day, with Simon Sinek, which seemed to encapsulate exactly what I was feeling.  We can’t go back to the way things were, that is the nature of change.  Many people talk about when things go back to normal, when things are stable again – but you know the truth is, life isn’t stable.  And I wonder what the heck is normal?  In the history of my life, I  don’t think I could ever describe my life as “normal”, nor would I truthfully want to. 

We are constantly changing, and resisting that change only limits our growth.  Can we be creative in how we move with the flow of life, especially when the waters are a little extra choppy.  I urge you to look at how you respond in times of crisis in your own life, be honest with yourself here.

 Then I urge you to look at the ways you keep yourself resourced?  On a daily basis.  How do you fill yourself back up?

 People are feeling a lot of different emotions, and if you’re anything like me you are feeling not only your own often intense waves, but also the ripple effects of those around you.  My anchors keep reminding me to be a little extra gentle right now, and I want to remind you to do the same. 

One of the saddest things I am attuning to these days is all of the division.  What makes your decisions more right than anybody else?  For you, absolutely, but for them?  For them, the only person that knows their whole story and understands their reasoning – is them.  So please, maybe ask more questions, and be a little extra gentle right now. 

As I make decisions in my own life with the ways I am in service, I am really sitting with it all.  I feel we should all have the space to speak our truth, and to not face judgement for that truth – is that not how we grow stronger in ourselves, and as a community?  As humans it is my hopes we would have empathy for one another, especially during times of crises. 

I was vaccinated so I could see my mom who lives in a different city from me, probably for the last time.  I was told I would not have been able to have touched her had I not made that choice, and potentially not even be able to be with her – I knew that was how I could best reach her.  I have an autoimmune disorder which added to this picture, and made all these decisions a little more complex, none of this has been easy.

To the best of my ability I sit with all sides of this story we’re moving through globally, I certainly don’t have clarity and am not afraid to admit I don’t know what the best thing to do is, I am confused – I sense like many. 

 I often sit long and quietly with all of this.

 I have had conversations around holding in person classes again, and I started to cry as I imagined myself on one side of the fence, and people I have held safe space for over the years, people dear to my heart – on the other side of the fence because they made a different choice in alignment with who they are and what they need.

I have decided to continue with my online classes as we move through the fall and winter, a safe neutral space where people can just be held. 

I don’t want to exclude anyone, or add to the division, especially holding classes responsibly with the intention to  help us all to heal and to find our way again.  For me, I need to sit with this all a little longer, so I can move with integrity, honouring the deep respect I feel in my soul for all of you, and staying anchored with compassion regardless of what and who shows up. 

 These decisions are complicated, especially when we’re faced with hurt hearts because people, it seems these days, often don’t even want to take the time to really listen to your story.  Many are also scared to be honest and talk about being confused or decisions made – for fear of rejection. 

We all have our stories, and can we try to hear eachother, especially when it’s not comfortable  – it’s when we need it most.

Sending you so much love on your journey,

With a gentle heart

Amber

If you’d like to join me online for a class you can register by clicking on the days you’d like to join, and you can purchase class passes here

I will continue to hold some outdoor forest classes, private sessions, and move with fluidity through these changing times – the changing times of an entire life lived. I will eventually return to in person classes, but I need more time to sit with this all.

Supporting you with some soul nourishment and self-reflection, Jessica and I created our soul wisdom cards, made with love from our hearts to yours.  Find out more here.

A Time Of Balance Between Shadow and Light

As we move into the fall equinox, welcoming Autumn, we are once again given the opportunity to reflect. As our natural world embraces this time of equality between light and dark, I wonder if we can find that same honouring in our own lives.

A time of harvest and celebration as the air cools and the trees start to change colour and gradually shed their leaves.

During this season of change we take stock of how balanced we are in our own lives – does the amount you give away outweigh the amount of nourishment you take in? During this turn of the ancient wheel of the year, we can take that insight and start to prepare ourselves for the cocooning that lays ahead, as the steps we take now inform the months to come.

This is an important anchor point to feel deep gratitude for the abundance of your own life, but also to consider the parts that you are ready to shed.

I find the autumn and spring equinox very grounding, they offer us this space of transition where there is no dominance. Permission to pause and reflect on all of our amazing beautiful bits, but also to gently ponder what lays in the undergrowth. You see if you dig a little deeper over the coming months, and uncover what lives there, it often paves the way for deeper healing, deeper self understanding and in time a whole lot more of the beautiful bits to surface.

The equinox is a perfect point of integration and acknowledgement, if we are able to give ourselves permission to rest here for a while. This place of being and becoming, of longing and belonging, of light and dark, of stillness in between ……

The transition into Autumn is a time to both honour our wholeness and at the same time shed layers that inhibit our continual growth, without urgency but an innate understanding of what needs to go, honouring the mystery and the stages of transformation.

“In this stillness, I am the trees alive with singing. I am the sky everywhere at once. I am the snow and the wind bearing stories across geographies and generations. I am the light everywhere descending. I am my heart evoking drum song……. and I am time captured fully in this now. I am a traveller on a sacred journey through this one shining day.”

Richard Wagamese from his beautiful gift to all of us: Embers

Living in harmony with the natural rhythms around you, creates a profound shift in the way we approach our lives and our reciprocal relationship with the precious earth we are all a part of.

Wishing you an easeful Autumn equinox, with joy in your heart at all the abundance around you, the courage to acknowledge what can be put down, and the reverence to hold it all as sacred.

With so much love, and respect,

Amber

Click here to find out more details about our Soul Wisdom Cards (including where to get yours). Each deck is personally bundled and filled with a special blessing for you.

I’m just preparing my fall and winter teaching schedule, starting the week after Thanksgiving, stay tuned for more information! Plus I’m super excited to launch my Self Reflective Breast Health Program, Because You Matter, later this October.

Invariant Constants – Reclaiming Our Inner Guidance

“For thousands of years sailors have used the stars to help establish their position upon the earth. We need a similar series of inner reference points to help guide us through the waves of change which are appearing on the ocean of our times. There is a name for such stars which arises out of a scientific way of depicting the world, invariant constants. Invariant constants are those qualities, processes and hidden organizing fields of life which endure throughout all changes. They are known as truth. The discovery of these invariant constants is the life task of any human being. And in the mystery of the universe, it appears that each one of us is afforded the opportunity to arrive at such constancy through our own particular journey. Stray too far from the truth and the chaos of change will tear you apart. Place your trust in it and you will find guidance though the seas may grow rough around you.”

– David La Chapelle

Taking a deep breath as I reread this important reflection, and I find no coincidence in stumbling upon this pondering at this precise moment in my life – and in our lives collectively.

As the macrocosm of our world is changing, I wonder about your microcosm experience? Like Chapelle reminds us “stray too far from the truth and the chaos of change will tear you apart.” What is your truth? Your invariant constant that keeps you anchored through times of change? I think often the sadness or the overwhelm we feel can be traced back to the inability to connect with our own inner guidance. In a world such as the one we find ourselves presently living in, I think the noise and chaos around us can easily throw us off course, and often quiets our guidance so it seems almost imperceptible.

I think perhaps our ancestors have much to teach us here, as the stars have provided constancy and guidance for thousands of years.

The more time I spend amongst the rocks, sitting at the roots of the trees, or pondering my place in this wild world while gazing up at the stars and the moon – I find I can come back to a place of belonging – not outside of myself but right here in my own heart space.

As you shift and change through this phase of your life, make sure you’re carving out at least 3 minutes a day to connect with whatever it is that anchors you.

As I close, I share a little early morning window of anchoring time

To join me for a guided breath practice click here

I’m just preparing my fall and winter teaching schedule, stay tuned for more information! Plus I’m super excited to launch my Self Reflective Breast Health Program later this October.

Click here to find out more details about our Soul Wisdom Cards (including where to get yours). Each deck is personally bundled and filled with a special blessing for you.

If you’d like to get in touch and practice together, you can reach me at amber@suryadaya.ca

The Birth Story Of Our Elephant

As we move through this lifetime we encounter many different ways we are supported to feel whole, this is our birthright, even though it can often feel like we’re being pulled apart. 

Spending time in nature, connecting with the waters, the trees, and with all the creatures we share this planet with offers us another way to heal, and  a deeper understanding and appreciation of how we are all connected.   Often these are the moments we can feel whole again, even just for a breath. 

As we nurture opportunities for self reflection, we may notice along our journey that there are certain animals or places we feel are kin, in ways often difficult to articulate in words.   

I have loved elephants ever since I was a little girl, and have always felt a soulful connection with them (I sense I’m not alone here).  When I reflect on their deeper meaning for me,  what arises is this strong sturdy foundation, a reminder of the importance of healthy nonjudgmental community, ancestral wisdom, overcoming obstacles, deep listening, and supporting one another – in a true unconditional soul supportive way.  This is why they easefully made their way into my Surya Daya symbol (thank you Auni Milne), our circle of elephants.

When Jessica and I were at a women’s retreat, in the fall of 2019, our beautiful Elephant Wisdom card was born.  I was so excited when I saw the beginnings of Jessica’s creation.  I can close my eyes and we’re there again, the sun shining down as we sat on the wooden steps by the soft flowing water in Quebec, such a healing and soul nourishing few days. 

I share a very special and sacred connection with my mom.  She has always loved elephants, so I grew up with a love for them as well. When I met Amber, not only did she and my mom have the same birthday, they also shared a love for elephants.   

My mom had journeyed to Thailand many years ago now, and I’ll never forget how happy she was when she recalled the time she spent with the elephants.  A few years later, in my own travels, I moved to Thailand to teach English.  The colourful and soulful markets were filled with these creatures; wooden carvings, silk pillow cases, clothing, jewelry, furniture, all with elephants! I loved my time living there, it was an experience like no other to be immersed in such a beautiful culture.

The wisdom of the ages lives inside of you.

Open yourself to the unconditional love and nurturance in your heart tribe, you know who they are.  Now is a time in your life to hear their stories and let them hold you in silence. Listen to the wisdom they share, and attune to the wisdom of your own heart.  There is healing found in deep listening, as understanding emerges.

Feel all of your connections in the web of life, now and through time.   Gentle power and knowing is quietly waiting inside of you, but first you need to listen.

You are a being of light, treasured by all those who truly see you

Fast forward 13 years, I am now sitting on the steps at a beautiful retreat, looking onto the lake, I feel peace. It had been a challenging few years and I felt true peace when the tip of my pen made contact with the pink and blue watercolour foundation I had created. As I started my ink drawing our elephant was born.

Every time I read Amber’s words, the message the elephant offered to her, I feel comforted and reminded to listen to the wisdom of my heart,

always.

While we sat by the water, I spent time writing and reflecting on the unconditional love and support that has shown up in my own life. Thinking also about how I’ve experienced community in both unhealthy and healthy ways.

 When I think back to that time, it reminds me that when we feel supported in the world, I think perhaps we can move through our lives with greater ease and compassion, genuine curiosity and our full presence. 

This is where our elephant was brought to life, through the healing of that sacred space, nourished by the water, held in loving soul nourishing community.

We hope our beautiful elephant can serve as a wise friend, holding safe space for you when you need it most.

We want to give an extra special thank you to Victoria  and Sonia  for offering us safe space that weekend.

Photo credit to Jasmin Mori, of Joy in Motion Photography

With so much love, light, and joy,

Amber and Jess

Click here to find out more details about our Soul Wisdom Cards (including where to get yours). Each deck is personally bundled and filled with a special blessing for you.

 

The Gift Of Relaxation

Did you know that there is no greater gift you can give yourself than a little break from all the busyness, even just a few precious moments of relaxation.

YOU can help yourself restore equilibrium in any moment. 

We often think we need a physical vacation (which don’t get me wrong after a year and half being in a roller coaster of lockdown and isolated in our homes this would probably be pretty helpful), but there are ways we can also revitalize ourselves without having to go anywhere.

I invite you to make your way into a comfortable position, either sitting or laying down. Make sure your body feels supported, taking your time to settle. If it feels comfortable you may want to slowly close your eyes and start to deepen your breath. Bring your awareness to your belly and simply feel the gentle rise with your inhale and the softness in your belly as you exhale.

After a few cycles of breath, give yourself a moment to sense yourself – you may feel recharged already, or you may be a little more aware of how much you’re holding in this moment.

I wonder if you can now bring your attention to the top of your head and your forehead. With your inhale – tensing every muscle in this area and as you exhale release and relax your muscles. Welcome in a deep breath. Now bring your attention to the muscles around your eyes and your nose, again tensing as you inhale and allowing a slow release as you exhale. Make your way from the top of your head to the tips of your toes, alternating between tension and intentional relaxation, not missing a part of your beautiful body temple.

When you’ve journeyed through every part of your physical body, take a big full breath and tense EVERY part of you, pause after your inhale holding the tension, and with a big powerful exhale release and soften through your whole body.

Engaging in a full body progressive relaxation practice, offers us an important reminder of the difference between a restrictive and an easeful relaxed state – we often forget what the experience of relaxation feels like, especially if we spend a lot of time unconsciously holding the weight of the world in our bodies.

As you cycle between contraction and relaxation, it’s important to give yourself permission to surrender into the experience of relaxation. Believe me, I know this is not always easy.

The history of our lives weaves a web through our tissues; the small day to day stresses, the life changing moments of joy, and also moments of trauma that touch our lives.

Working hands on with people for the past 20 years, I have felt and witnessed the effects on the mind and the body when we just keep going. The stories and the associated stress continue to accumulate in our tissues, unless we make a conscious choice on a regular basis, to give ourselves permission to unwind the imprints of stress and to create, or recreate, internal space.

This is a practice remember, and the more you carve out time for intentional relaxation, the more you’re also showing yourself compassion and self love.

This complete relaxation exercise supports the parasympathetic branch of your autonomic nervous system – this is where we heal from. As we release tension through the body, we also may start to notice that many of our self imposed limitations and our armoring begins to fall away.

Over time you may notice you have more patience, you may find you feel clearer and you have more energy, and as you start to shift internally you simply begin to feel better in body, mind and spirit. I wonder if Edmond Jacobson knew the gift he was giving us back in 1920 when he invented and studied the effects of this practice. For this I am grateful.

If you can, take at least 10 – 15 minutes after the progressive relaxation practice to relax and simply breathe, soak in the effects of this mini full body renewal.

We are living in such a wild time, and so much is coming at us from all over, I write this today as a reminder that your nervous system needs this time, not only your nervous system, but every part of you needs this time.

Be gentle with yourself and I urge you to send compassion and kindness to the parts of you that may resist this experience. Honour their stories, and offer them a new way of being in your body.

Sending you love on your journey,

Amber

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Just a reminder that I’m taking the next little while off of my live teaching – following my own advice and honouring the need for some integration. I will also be taking a journey this month to sit with my mom.

I do have additional wellness support which will continue during this time, offered to you in a way that honours your own unique schedule, through a monthly video subscription

Click here to find out more details about our Soul Wisdom Cards.

Unbinding

Welcome to your Wednesday wellness reflection.

This week I find myself reflecting on all of our relations; those we know through our maternal and paternal blood lines, those we know in our blood, breath and bones, those we share the land with.

As I witness the unbinding of my mom, I am urged to reflect a little deeper on my own place in the world, and the stories that make up the web of my own life.

She has been fading for many years now, as Dementia steals the narrative of her life and with it parts of my own.

What makes it so difficult is their constant struggle and confusion, and the repeated goodbyes.  Over time your heart breaks a little more.   Never knowing if they’ll know who you are the next time you connect, if they’ll remember the sound of your voice, the stories you’ve shared or even your relation to them.

Sometimes, with hope in your heart, they’re back – often for a fleeting moment, and then they’re gone again.

Witnessing her journey, it reminds me how we ruminate over so many things, often things that in the grand scheme of a life lived, don’t really matter.  All of sudden, one day, all those worries unravel and disappear.

I think about those things so many of us dream about doing “one day”, the stories you intend to write through your life once you reach a certain stage, or simply “one day” – I beg you to consider to write the first word of that chapter today, even if you’re just taking a baby step in that direction.  Respecting your circumstances, make yourself your biggest priority, because one day, we’re all immersed in the big mystery – and those stories don’t have the opportunity to be written in the unique way you would have created them in this lifetime.

Honour the life you have been given, perhaps it’s not the most comfortable journey – but perhaps tomorrow you will take steps to better support yourself.  Maybe breaking patterns, maybe asking for help,  maybe taking the long talked about road less traveled – it exists.

Try not to regret your stories, rather learn from them.  Integrate the lessons from the challenges, and remember the joy found in those moments that were so beautiful you don’t even have words to reflect on them.  TRY if you can, to savour more of those moments and notice them when they arrive.

We’ve been through a hard story, that we all share the baseline to, let’s remember to listen to eachother and honour each other’s stories, as we start to come together in community again.  Reach out to those people that bring you peace and honour the core of  who you actually are.  DO those things you have always dreamt about starting – life is fragile and fleeting, I am acutely aware of this truth.

Remembering my mother’s stories, and the stories that created her foundation, also offers me a softness towards who she was and the life she lived, one I wish I could show her now.  We don’t always realize the gifts we were given until they are gone.

Sending you love on your journey

Amber

xo

Wishing you wellness in body, mind and spirit on your own unique journey, emerging in your own time and honouring the narrative of your life.

If you’d like to practice together, I offer weekly live online zoom classes, and as an additional support for you to practice on your own schedule, but together, I’ve created a video library and a monthly video subscription

Photo by Virendra Verma on Pexels.com

Bringing Our Hands Together At Our Heart

How are you doing?   Take a moment and listen to what arises for you today – honour the truth of how you are, in this moment, in this breath.  I don’t want a patterned answer, or one you might think I want to hear, I want to know how you truly are in this moment – on all ends of the spectrum. 

Last week I was guided to explore Anjali Mudra a little deeper by one of my own teachers, Barrie Risman.  We’ve been exploring this practice in my community classes as well. 

Anjali means “reverence” and refers to the honouring of the divinity within ourselves and all beings. When we come into Anjali mudra we are balancing all of our polarities – within and without. Joseph and Lilian Le Page remind us that this gesture directs breath, awareness and energy into the center of the chest, supporting us to turn inwards toward our authentic being and understanding on a subconscious level that we are all connected.

Anjali mudra calms the mind, reducing our stress and potentially lowering the blood pressure.  This posture helps to release tension through the shoulder blades, and supports the health of your immune system.

As we consciously bring our action oriented hands to meet at our heart center, we honour the guidance found within. When we meet ourselves here, the answers often flow clearly through us – not always easy, but the answers we seek become clear. This reminder supports us in making decisions and traveling our path with compassion and integrity.

As my hands came together this morning, I was filled with a memory. Many moons ago I studied various massage and cancer trainings with Tracy Walton, she invited us to massage as if it was the last time the person you were working with was going to be touched – or perhaps the last time you were ever going to touch someone.  She asked us to really show up and be present to not only our time massaging – but to our whole life experience – to live as if it was equally the first time and the last time you were here experiencing this moment. Arriving with curiosity and departing with reverence. The sacredness that ripples into our life experience with this perspective is beautiful. I extend this invitation to you, to be present in every moment; from exploring Anjali mudra as your hands make contact, to holding a hand, to sipping your tea, to yes, even doing the dishes. 

Sometimes I think about how my life would be without these practices, and then I return to my mat.

Please join your hands in front of your heart with your palms facing together, fingers directed up towards the sky.

Press your finger pads, the base of your fingers, and the inner and outer edges of your hands gently together

Allow a slight openness at the center of your palms.

Fanning your fingers apart from one another – honouring the space around your heart.

The outer borders of your thumbs coming into contact with your sternum ( breastbone).

Relax your shoulders back and down, with your elbows held slightly away from the body and the spine naturally aligned. 

Bring a slight nod to your head, and follow the gentle journey of your breath

I bring my hands together at my heart center, and I bow to you.

With much Love, Amber

xo

If you’d like to practice together, I offer live in person and online zoom classes, (which will be taking a break through the month of August and resuming in September) and as an additional support for you to practice on your own schedule, but together, I’ve created a video library and a monthly video subscription

Click here to find out more details about our Soul Wisdom Cards.