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.

Love Is An Action

Today feels like a good day for a little deeper reflection. I don’t know about you, but it’s been quite a week! Take a moment and check in with yourself.

What does this breath feel like? How does your body maybe need a little extra support today? This is where we start from.

It is my hopes that within the window of  Canada Day yesterday, that perhaps there was a moment of reflection for you. Maybe not the celebration of days gone by, but perhaps some time to reflect on the trauma that the Indigenous people of this land have experienced and the pain that continues.  Holding so many in my heart these days, often it feels overwhelming, but then we take a deep breath and know just how important this safe holding is right now.

I know through my own personal commitment that supporting yourself to show up for yourself on a daily basis and doing what you know you need to support yourself in body, mind and spirit; provides stability, gives you strength, and can help build your own resilience and internal resources.

 If we can’t even take care of ourselves, how then can we support others?

I know that being called to be an active support for the injustices in our world asks this of us.  It takes strength, courage and determination to break patterns. My friend Anna Karuna Egan reminded me in an email this morning that living with wisdom and compassion is possible, her teacher taught her that Love is an Action, I think I needed this reminder today. Thank you Anna for inspiring me to share my own thoughts today.

We can act differently as we move forward, being led by love. Don’t underestimate YOUR actions, and the ripples that happen, often with the simplest and smallest of steps forward.  The more we attune to love, the more easefully it shows up in our lives as a constant, and the more we support not only ourselves, but others to heal..  

It’s important to have uncomfortable conversations and to listen to peoples stories. It’s also important to know in your heart of hearts, that you can make very different choices for yourself going forward.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

With so much love,

Amber 

If you’d like to practice together, I offer 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

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

Spring Renewal – Wednesday Wellness Reflection

It’s hard to believe it was a year ago everything changed, I remember thinking about closing the studio for a week or two, trusting we’d be back in our little sacred space in no time.   A huge learning for me, and a process that continues.

Spring is a powerful time to honour the introspective winter months we’ve just moved through, as we begin to awaken like our natural world around us.   This is a time of renewal and a time to set clear intentions as we plant new seeds in the fertile ground, awakening.

Over the next 6 months we’ll be experiencing a slow increase in the abundance of sunlight, we’ll be witnessing new growth all around us,  and we’ll be feeling into an expansion in yang energy (a more outward and active energy).

Allow this to be a slow emergence if you can, I’m here to remind you there is no urgency, this is especially important this year as we have experienced and continue to navigate so much change on a micro and macro level.

Spring is a time we consider new beginnings, the birth of ideas, we cultivate hope, embrace joy, honour the space we need to thrive, and it’s also a good time to lay the groundwork for things you’d like to grow and create.

Sometimes, however,  spring is also filled with anxiety over percieved expectations, or an urgency to get moving.  Sometimes we can feel agitated inside, without understanding the why.  If you’re feeling overwhelmed, turn to the practices you know nourish you – let them be your anchor, and be gentle with yourself – especially this year.

When we consider our spring cleaning; we need to spend time with our homes, our gardens and yards, our bodies, and it’s important to remember to also consider the clearing, cleansing and expression of your emotional truths.  This  is often the hardest part of our spring cleaning regime – but critical to your continued growth and expansion as a human.

As winters ice breaks up and the snow melts,  we are offered an invitation to honour the flow of the currents moving at their own pace.  Sitting with the waters of spring we can witness the nourishment of new growth, in ourselves and in the land, or perhaps reflecting on the growth and impact of this past year.

As we tend to and consider our responsibility in the care of the earth,  I wonder if in that process you can also surrender to earths fertile energy and allow it to also support you –  the planting of seeds within and around us, that may one day, with care and commitment,  come to fruition.

Hold those seeds in your heart and breathe fresh energy into them.

Wishing you a beautiful spring,

Much love

Amber

xo

If you’d like to practice with me I teach weekly online zoom classes , as well, as a response to COVID, I have created, and continue to create, a video library and a weekly video subscription.

Don’t ever hesitate to reach out, my support is here holding you in my heart.

 

Diving Deeper Into Reciprocity – Wednesday Wellness Reflection

By definition reciprocity is a process of exchange in order to gain a mutual benefit.   This action oriented energy plays an important role in the development and continuation of relationships, and it ensures that; people, other animals, the land, our environment, recieve help when they need it and that we too recieve help when we need it.

When I think about reciprocity on a personal level, I find motivation from an innate place of compassion and kindness, knowing that we’re all part of the whole.  When we take care of our neigbours and the land we call home we can also acknowledge that we are offering care to ourselves,  when our motivation rests in the betterment of the greater good, reciprocity naturally happens.

It’s easy to lose ourselves in the I, sometimes forgeting about our responsiblity to the we.

Have you ever considered gratitude as an offering of reciprocity?  Waking up and acknowledging what you’re grateful for in your life, you’re offering the energy of your heart as an exchange, a form of reciprocity, and the wheel continues to spin. The more we acknowledge and give our thanks, the more we also start to care and take action to make sure we continue to have forests we can walk  through, oxygen to breathe, soil that nourishes our vegetables, a community to call on when we too need help.

We are all interdependent and I think during this global pandemic we have been given the opportunity to become acutely aware of how interdependent we truly are.

I have a sweet little reflection to share with you, when I think about reciprocity. When we moved out to the country, I started feeding the deers that we share this forest with. Why some of you may ask, becauase I wanted to see the deers, I wanted my children to see the deers.  They never came, but I kept feeding them.  As I started to develop a relationship with my surroundings, I started to also develop a deeper sense of gratitude for the wonders of the forest, this land, and a relationship with the creatures I share this home with.

Slowly, without even knowing it was happening, things started to change on the inside for me.

One day in my meditation, I looked deeper, considering my intention behind offering food to these four legged creatures.  I realized I actually feed the deers because I am grateful they share their home with me.  I know they often have a short life, and I want it to be a good life, because all of life is sacred.  I want them to know they can seek refuge here, in their home.  I still feed the deer, and from time to time they offer me a glimpse and sometimes even peer into our window – as curious about us, as we are about them.  When I leave the food now, I give thanks without any expectations, it is my way of saying thank you to the land and all of the creatures for letting me rest here during my brief window of time upon this earth.  Reciprocity.

I will nourish the soil so the earth continues to thrive and in exchange that same soil, from the earth, will nourish the seeds I plant for my family to thrive.  Reciprocity.

Robin Wall Kimmerer’s book Braiding Sweetgrass goes with me everywhere I go at the moment.  Elizabeth Gilbert was spot on when she described this book as a love hymn for the earth. It is a lullabye of reciprocity for all the wonders around us.  I strongly recommend you get your hands on a copy and read it, and then read it again.

I commit to nurturing the land, to supporting all of life, to help it to thrive – I know in my heart, it’s my responsibility while I’m here.

The moral covenant of reciprocity calls us to honor our responsibilitys for all we have been given, for all that we have taken.   It’s our turn now, long overdue.  Let us hold a giveaway for Mother Earth, spread our blankets out for her and pile them high with gifts of our own making.  Imagine the books, the paintings, the poems, the clever machines, the compassionate acts, the transcendent ideas, the perfect tools.  The fierce defense of all that has been given.  Gifts of mind, hands, heart, voice, and vision all offered up on behalf of the earth.  Whatever our gift, we are called to give it and to dance for the renewal of the world. 

In return for the privilege of breath. 

– Robin Wall Kimmerer (Braiding Sweetgrass)

Wishing you a beautiful day,

Much love

Amber

xo

If you’d like to practice with me I teach weekly online zoom classes , as well, as a response to COVID, I have been working on creating a video library and a weekly video subscription.

Don’t ever hesitate to reach out, my support is here holding you in my heart.

 

Wednesday Wellness Reflection

Welcome to this week’s Wednesday wellness reflection.

Beautiful YOU!

I invite you to take a moment and close your eyes, or find a calming focus point.  Tune into your breath and notice how it feels flowing in and flowing out.

Is it difficult to concentrate on that rhythm?

 Does this simple breath practice support a calm internal state or do you notice a wave of anxiety? Try if you can to just stay curious to what’s happening for you in this moment.

If your mind is wandering,  perhaps invite your attention back to your breath, consciously invite ease and peace into your body and try to be gentle with yourself.

In this space of stillness, I wonder how you’re doing? 

Take your time here, honouring however you show up right now.

I went for a walk in the woods the other day searching for peace and quiet.  As I stepped outside however things were different, the normal quiet I have been accustomed to in the forest, had been I felt robbed, by the sound of a jackhammer echoing through the trees.

I was craving quiet as it was my first day alone at our home after 6 weeks, needing time to decompress, I had a strong desire and raw base need for silence.

With that first step I could feel my body growing more tense, annoyed at how they could ruin my time of solitude.  I traveled through irritation, to annoyance, to what seemed to be anger bubbling up inside of me.  As I walked and breathed into the whole emotional soup that was steadily brewing, I  could sense all the emotions from not just that moment, but from this past year, coming up to the surface, triggered yes, by the jackhammer – it felt like they were breaking through the stone of how I thought I was, allowing me a window into the truth of my core in this moment.

At a certain point I found myself sitting beside a tree, tears streaming down my cheeks, no longer aware of the jackhammer.

Something happened in that moment, a deep sigh of relief, for that sound that only minutes before brought up anger slowly urged me deeper – deeper into the woods and in that journey, deeper into myself.

Slowly my breath too deepened, and I could truly connect with the contact points beneath my own body as I leaned into the constant comforting support and nurturing embrace that I find only as I sit upon and connect with the earth.  As the soup simmered I sat in silence, gratitude seemed to flow through me for the workers who are simply helping my neighbours to create a home in the forest, they were not intentionally trying to steal away my silence.  Gratitude for the miracle that has brought me and my family to these healing woods.  I felt gratitude, believe it or not,  for the sound that urged me deeper inside, yes the jackhammer itself.

I was able to detach from the external distractions, realizing to immerse myself in that much needed quiet I first needed to find it in myself, regardless of what was happening around me.  There is no cave that can bring us that silence, it is what many spend their whole lives searching for, and meanwhile it’s always here patiently waiting inside.

We talk about this so often in our yoga classes, and we experience glimpses of the practice with the hopes that those glimpses will come with us as we roll up our mats.  Sometimes those distractions or external “annoyances” we attach to and blame for a practice that we feel didn’t serve us, that pulled us out of our center – however often those are the times on our mats that often serve us the most – helping us to realize sometimes how far from our own centre we have actually strayed.

With everything happening in the world, I feel the fragility of life a little more these days, recommitting to my own life experience for this brief time I have in this body.  I am also reminded to step out of the experience of I a little more often, and reflect on the bigger picture, all the pieces in the grander puzzle.

If you can, I encourage you to take a little bit of time over the next while to:

Think about your own motivations as you move through the ups and downs of your days. 

Think about the way you respond or react to life.

Consider the impact of the stress, the pain, and the uncertainty in our global community on you. Are you able to acknowledge how perhaps your feeling the feelings that are being felt outside of yourself.  Hmm, you may want to read that again, less confusing on the second read through!

Can you be gentle with yourself, and carve out windows for you – despite the jackhammers, and all the other external distractions that will assuredly arise in those moments.

Consider what triggers you, and perhaps dive deeper.

Transformation is not accomplished by tentative wading at the edge.” – Robin Wall Kimmerer

Thank you for taking the time to consider my thoughts, I hope this reflection helped you in some small way on your own journey.

Please know I’m holding you in my heart,

With so much love,

Amber

xo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you want to practice with Amber on your own schedule, in the comfort of your own home, consider subscribing to her exlusive weekly wellness capsules and practice videos.  To find out more click here

Day 3 Yoga Challenge with Amber

Day 3, Yahoooo!

Thank  you for inviting me into your living room, or wherever you are when you opened this link.

Today I bring you our yoga from the woods, at a sacred space called Blakeney.  Imagine the water you hear rushing behind, taking all your stress and tension away as we explore our bodies through tree pose.  We taped this yesterday when the sun was shining, bringing you a little sun on this rainy day.

In sanskrit tree pose is translated as vrikshasana, Vriksha means “tree”.  In this posture we explore balance, steady and rooted as we bring one foot against the lower leg or inner thigh of the other.  Your arms are raised from prayer pose at the heart and slowly stretched over head just as the limbs of a tree stretch up towards the sunlight.  I suggest you use the support of a chair or wall if you’re working with your balance, being gentle with wherever you are.

To access the video click here – Day 3

Questions to reflect on in tree pose:

Where are my roots, and where have they spread?

Where do my roots get their nourishment? Am I feeding my roots, or depriving them of that nourishment? 

Which roots are mine, and where have my roots become tangled with someone else’s?  

Am I willing to prune my tree, releasing that which stands in my way of optimal growth?  

Enjoy our practice today.  I recommend coming into the posture 2 times on each side, stay focused on your roots, feel your breath, invite ease.

Looking forward to being with you tomorrow!

So much love from ME to YOU

Amber

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Photo by veeterzy on Pexels.com