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.

Your Whole Self

I find so many things swimming around in my thoughts these days, I think perhaps it’s safe to say this may be the case for many of us.

As we’ve moved through this past year and a half, we’ve been given so much to reflect on, and this continues. Identifying priorities in our lives as we understand our own truth a little more, and maybe finding the courage within ourselves to speak that truth with a little more strength.

I think it’s important to also take some time for yourself to acknowledge the collective experience of grief this period in our lives has brought each of us – for lives lost, for moments missed, for forced separation from those we love. I’m really feeling that collective experience right now. This is going to look differently for each of us, but it is felt in some way by all of us. I strongly believe we need to carve out some intentional time to integrate, find out the deeper meaning for you, honour whatever emotions arise and take time to be honest with yourself with how you’re doing – deep down inside. As we transition to this next chapter of our lives, really savour heartfelt hugs, embrace your connections and nurture those relationships where you find unconditional love and reciprocity.

Time on our mats can be a profound place to reflect and to support this integration – in our bodies and through our breath.

It’s easy to get carried along with those around you if you don’t take this time, swimming in all the thoughts. For your own mental, emotional and spiritual health – take some time to ground yourself in how you’re doing now, in this moment.

This morning as I sat in meditation on one of my favorite moss covered rocks I was given the honour of listening in on 2 owls as they had an early morning conversation from the treetops. These moments are magic, and they seem to bring me back to my center without trying to get anywhere. I just seem to arrive.

The sun was rising, the mosquitoes were making themselves known, and these 2 wise beings connecting overhead. I felt like I was listening in on the most sacred of conversations. When I wended my way back down the path to my home, I came across a brilliant quote (certainly not by accident) which I kind of think we all need to hear right now, and perhaps what the owls were sharing with me this morning.

We don’t have to compromise, ever, and settle for an almost version of who we are. We do not have to conform to some external truth, some version of what someone else is telling us is better, or more right, or more holy, more human. We don’t have to fit in. Isn’t that the most blessed thing we could ever be told, or could remember? We don’t have to fit in. We don’t have to contort who we are in order to fit a mold that was never meant for us

Meggan Watterson

Don’t be afraid to have different opinions, or make different choices, especially right now – honour you, there’s only one of you, so if you’re busy being like everyone else then we lose the gift of what only you can bring into this world.

It’s also okay to take your time with your reemergence, as we begin again. Think things through for yourself right now, and lead with compassion (starting with yourself). Try to refrain from judging others for seeing the world differently than you, instead learn from one another – and lead by letting your whole self be seen.

Our world can change in the blink of an eye – so what are you waiting for?

With so much love, Amber

I just want to acknowledge the owl picture above was taken by my dear friend (and soul wisdom cards co-creator) Jessica Hibberd. The owls this morning didn’t let me see them, this was taken a few months ago.

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

I do want to share that I will be taking a teaching break through the month of August – time for me to integrate and renew before the autumn is upon us! My Patreon videos will continue, but apart from my Monday afternoon Carebridge classes – I will be taking a break from live online classes and resuming (online and in person) classes in September.

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.

Circle Of Balance

As a response to the past few weeks,  I find myself thinking alot about how and where I spend my time and focus my energy.

When I teach breast health and relaxation workshops, this is often something we move through together, or people take home to work with. An important support to revisit on a regular basis in considering your overall health and wellbeing.

What about YOU?  How do YOU spend your time?

As we begin to consider the ways we want to step forward in our lives, perhaps in a new way, it feels like a good time to move through this exercise.

Oh, I’ve had my moments, and if I had to do it over again, I’d have more of them.  In fact I’d try to have nothing else.  Just moments, one after another, instead of living so many years ahead of each day

– N. Stair, 85-year-old woman from Kentucky

Before you approach this practice I encourage you to take some time to move your body, in whatever way best supports you.  Turning to your yoga mat, putting on some music that makes your soul happy, going for a walk in the forest, or inviting another form of movement into your body.  Sometimes the safety of your practice gives you the opportunity to release and process wherever you are right now – you have to start where you are.

Once you’ve cleared a bit of space inside of yourself, grab a piece of paper and let’s do some self reflection.

I invite you to draw 2 big circles – one is for your reality now, and one is for your ideal.

Take a bit of time to silently reflect and explore the different roles you play in your life, and the ways you divide your time. Be honest here, remember this is just for you.

You might want to make a list of the things you engage in on a daily or weekly basis,  maybe including things such as;

Play  / Family / Work / Exercise / Relaxation / Time alone / Creativity / Spirituality / School + Study/ Time with friends / Sleep / Prayer / Travel / Chores / Rest / etc….

Now we’re going to divide our circle into a visual reflection of how we spend our time.

Focus on your first circle, drawing pie pieces representing the amount of time you engage in different activities throughout your day.  The size of each piece should be representative of how much time you spend in each activity.  You can either base it on a 24 hour period, or a weekly snapshot.

First I encourage you to write out your actual life experience, then take a few minutes and just sit with that circle of balance.

How do you feel?

Now, I invite you to fill in the second circle with your ideal – how could your pie look different to better support your ability to feel more rested, happier, and more whole.  What can you do to make your actual your ideal?  Set some goals of what you can change to make that happen.

How could you manifest more balance?

In what ways, if at all, are you taking time out for you?

How can you honour all “those roles” into an integrated whole?

Remember this is it, this is the only time you get to experience this life in this particular body, what do you need to do different to honour YOUR needs, YOUR life – this is not being selfish, this is being self respectful.  

I honestly believe we are all meant to be happy.

It’s a good idea to post your ideal circle somewhere to keep you on track with your priorities, this will help you to stay inspired and as a reminder to carve out windows for the things that feed your soul.  Maybe check in next month and see how things in your circle of balance have shifted – or not.

Remember your life is how you perceive it and how you experience it, and the way you spend your time is ultimately always up to you.

I wish you for so much health and happiness

I wish for you to be filled with loving kindness

I wish for you to be peaceful and at ease, I know it’s not always easy, but I wish this for you

And I wish for you to be happy, from deep inside.

With so much love

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

After A While

After a while you will learn the subtle difference between holding a hand and changing a soul

You will learn that love doesn’t mean leaning and company doesn’t mean security

And you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts and presents aren’t promises

And you begin to accept your defeats with your head up and your eyes open, with the grace of an adult, not the grief of a child

And you build all your roads on today, because tomorrows ground is uncertain for plans

After a while you learn that even sunshine burns if you get to much

So plant your own garden and decorate your own soul, instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers

And learn that you really can endure, that you really are strong

And you really do have worth

– Anonymous

This piece was given to me when I was 19, and leaving the house I grew up in, almost 30 years ago.   I think I’m starting to finally understand.

Take a bit of time to simply sit with this piece, a little time for self reflection.  Notice whatever arises.

The more we can practice self acceptance and understanding, the easier it is to breathe, and  in time grow a little more fully into the person we’re here to be.

The world needs YOU, underneath all the layers life has thrown on you.

Thank you for sharing this little window with me

Much love

Amber

xo

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

Wishing you wellness in body, mind and spirit on your own unique journey.

Photo by Taryn Elliott on Pexels.com

 

 

Release and Energize – Yoga with Lindsey

Greetings fellow and (hopefully) future yoga-doers.
 As with so many things these days, recording a Yoga class and having it “out there” for all to see is new to me, unfamiliar and somewhat scary.
  We all get used to doing things one way, over and over, so that it becomes routine and comfortable.  For me, that comfortable and routine world was teaching Hatha on Tuesday evenings….at the studio…”in person”….nestled snuggly amongst many familiar faces I’d grown to know and love.
However, we are now exploring uncharted waters…and most, if not all of us, have had to bravely dive into something totally unknown.
In person, we can joke and laugh together.
In person, I can quickly and easily modify the class depending on the students, the energy level, the mood.
In person, I can witness human connection and a beautiful feeling of togetherness.
At this point, nobody quite knows exactly when we’ll be able to gather and practice “in person”…. I KNOW that time will come again, but for now, let’s embrace what IS available to us…. even if it’s not what we’re used to.
This class was recorded with love and with all of my fellow yoga students in mind and heart.  It focuses on RELEASING stress, tension and, in particular, expectations.
Enjoy with curiosity & compassion!
Perhaps we’ll meet again for a second video?
To practice with Lindsey click here
Missing you….
Lindsey
Lindsey Lambden

Day 29 of Amber’s 30 days of yoga support

Namaste to you dear one, the light in me sees the light in you

Welcome to day 29 of our 30 days of yoga together.  I hold so much gratitude in my heart for YOU, for accepting my invitation on this journey, and here we are, day 29.  Our time together is certainly not coming to an end, and I sincerely hope you continue to cultivate a daily practice bringing in more of what resonates with YOU.  Perhaps you have given yourself the space to dive into your practice in a new way and perhaps you’ve allowed more time to simply sit in silence and integrate.

“Oh, I’ve had moments, and if I had to do it over again, I’d have more of them.  In fact I’d try to have nothing else.  Just moments, one after another, instead of living so many years ahead of each day.”         

N. Stair, (85 year old woman)

Where ever you are this is a beginning.  The real gift is when we are able to wake up everyday and approach our life with the attitude that today, and this moment, is a beginning.  This is one of the basic fundamental attributes to a  mindfulness based practice and life approach, is to enter every experience as if it was the first time you had ever been there, your breath, movement, relationships, problems, the gift of a meal, the taste of a fresh berry or a square of chocolate, can you allow yourself the opportunity to enter your moment to moment life experience as if it was the first time.  A beginning.

Every day I approach my mat I unroll it with reverence, acknowledging I am being given a fresh opportunity to discover myself.

“If we have ideas about how our practice should unfold, these will often get in the way, preventing us from honoring the phase that is actually with us.

Jack Kornfield

Today we’re going to explore a beautiful posture of strength, control, balance and grace.  This is going to look different for each of us – and it will look different every time you enter the posture. Be sure to hold on to support if you need assistance with balance postures, move softly into the different phases and depths available for you to explore in this shape, you may just hold your foot behind your body, you may just bend your leg at the knee, you may tip just slightly forward, or you may dive right into Natarajasana – dancer, a posture of grace.  Wherever you are is perfect because where ever you are is where you are – you can’t be anywhere else.  I would love for you to be very gentle with your practice today, allow the quality of a beginners mind, and move with curiosity.

To view the practice click here

Thank you for joining me today, it is an honor and a great privilege to be welcomed into your day.

With so much love, till tomorrow

AmberWIN_20200411_08_17_02_Pro

 

 

Day 28 of Amber’s 30 days of yoga support

Sat Naam and Namaste!  Welcome to day 28 of Amber’s 30 days of yoga support during this challenging time.

“I was coming to understand that at its deepest levels, life it not a problem, but a mystery….At one time or another, each of us confronts an experience so powerful, bewildering, joyous, or terrifying that all efforts to see it as a problem are futile.  Each of us reaches the end of reason’s rope…… we can either grip harder and get nowhere, or we can let go, and fall.  For what does mystery ask of us?  Only that we be in its presence, that we fully, consciously hand ourselves over.  That is all, and that is everything.” – Philip Simmons

I am so grateful you are joining me today.

We had a morning today where the wheels definitely fell off!  You know those mornings….or is it just in my family?  I believe we can all relate if we’re being honest, and during this time of “mystery” perhaps the wheels are a little less stable.  Today we took a different approach.  The sun was (and is still radiantly) shining, and we heeded its call.  Putting our bodies in motion with our running shoes on we moved the chaotic energy through us.   Walking, jogging, frogs, dancing – just move, remember it’s all energy and it’s up to us how we use that energy.

When we live with a mindfulness approach to our moment to moment life we can recognize what’s not working and when we’re starting to grip a little harder.  Slowly we allow ourselves the opportunity to make different choices that are truly more in alignment with our evolving selves.

Running shoes off, we decided to create this little practice for YOU.  The sequence we move through today is a simple posture set, but there is a deep wisdom and a gentle but far reaching release available in each of the shapes we will be guiding you through.

As we explore butterfly and camel, we are also subconsciously inviting space into long held stress and memories in the body.  Try to stay present with your breath while you’re here in the postures.  These powerful asana’s help us to release the layers  and the patterns that take up residence in our body, the layers that once served you – but if we reflect and reassess we realize they are no longer helpful.  In this simple practice, we respectfully create space and if you allow yourself time to integrate you may just notice you feel more easeful, and happier as you roll up your mat today.

To view the practice click here

If you’re able this is a beautiful practice to sink into in your backyard, allow the sunshine to energize your body and your soul.

Thank you for being with me today, this is a special little window for me

Remember you’re not alone, we’re all in this together.

With so much love, till tomorrow

Amber (and Noah)

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Photo by EDD Sylvia Nenntwich on Pexels.com

Day 27 Yoga Support with Amber

“That which we constantly affirm becomes true for us” – Louise Hay

Welcome to day 27!! Sat Naam and Namaste!!  When I close my eyes, I see your light shining so brightly!

Thank you for being on this journey with me, my heart is full of gratitude to each of you!

Including today we have 4 more days of daily practices together.  If you choose, you can start back at day 1 for another 30 days, the videos will always be available for you to return to.  I will continue to do a weekly video for you, a little bit of a longer practice to help support you during this time, and when we’re on the other side of this.  This has been a powerful way to connect with each of you, through the gift of our breath and our collective practice.

Today, Can you take a moment and close your eyes, and repeat that simple word, with softness?  Can you simply begin today by repeating today on a wave of nourishing breath.

Try not to focus on the details that haven’t even happened yet, we do that alot – predicting often a negative unraveling of a day that hasn’t even started yet.  We base these predictions on past experience and we feed those feedback loops in our brain often attracting those same experiences to keep happening in a similar way.  I wonder if today could be different, no expectations of how the day will unfold, just softly inviting the day to simply be what it will be, a healthy alternative is to affirm in your mind and simply invite the quality of ease, openness and peace into your day, not with expectation but simply an invitation.  Much of our experience is based on our attitude and how we approach what we are faced with.  This breath, this moment, this day – nothing has to come – invite ease, notice your breath.  Notice how your day unfolds from this place of peace and openness.

Jon Kabat-Zin reminds us that as long as we’re breathing there is more right with us than there is wrong with us, and maybe going even further, rather than focusing on the rightness or wrongness can we just experience breath with gratitude?  Take a few minutes to sit with this…………

In our practice today, we’ll be exploring our hips and releasing through the low back.  We hold alot of physical tension in this part of our bodies, as well as alot of our deep often uncomfortable emotions.  Join me as we move through a stretching sequence that is wonderful for releasing scar tissue in the hips, opening up the joints, releasing the muscles of the buttocks,  and open up the tissues of the lower back.  Moving through these postures can also help us to naturally feel more at ease in our own bodies – physically and emotionally.  I encourage you to move through the sequence with me, and then take some time on your own, taking at least 5 or 6 breaths, if not more,  in each phase of the sequence.

To view the practice click here

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out, I’m here.

Have a beautiful day, and if you’re thoughts start to get ahead of you, can you come back to the breath with kindness and simply repeat today, ease, peace, today.

With so much love, till tomorrow

Amber

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Day 26 Yoga Support with Amber

And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul”  – John Muir

Welcome to day 26 of our 30 days of yoga together.

What a time, presenting a doorway for each of us to dive into a deeper understanding and inner knowing of what we all need to thrive, that looks different for each of us.

I hope you’re finding time everyday to reconnect with that place of ease inside of you, and that you have tools in place to help you arrive there.

Today we spent our morning out in the woods, and were in awe at all the winged beings and their beautiful birdsong.  Our practice today is inspired by the eagle.  A powerful posture, Garudasana in sanskrit.  When we explore Eagle, we can connect with this upward spiral in our inner experience, as the body folds and wraps around itself, directing our energy upwards.  All our precious internal organs receive a flushing of blood as we compress our extremities and breathe in this majestic shape.

Some good questions to ask in this posture are:  Where I am in my life?  How do I need to spread my wings?  How do I need to conserve my energy?  What are the obstacles in my life?  What is being revealed?  Can I face challenges with strength, control and grace? How do I soar in my life?  

As you approach the physical posture, can you be there for a few breaths with that single pointed concentration, maintaining balance?  Please modify the shape in any way your body needs today.

To view the practice click here

Thank you so much for joining me, it is an honor working through these 30 days with you.  Such a powerful project infused with love and compassion for each of us.

Take your time with this posture, slowly entering and releasing out.  Take a little time once you’re finished to sit with the experience – let yourself integrate.

May you feel the expanse of your own wings, and know that you can safely open them.

So much love, till tomorrow

Amber

eagleJohn Muir Quote