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.

Summer Solstice Blessings

Happy Summer Solstice Blessings To YOU!!

A time we celebrate the light, our inner fire, the obstacles we’ve overcome, our community, our power, our gardens as they grow, (maybe some compassion towards the groundhogs that – yes – they live here to, deep breaths), and we commit to taking steps to nourish ourselves and one another!  

Summer Solstice is a time we also honour the tilting of the earth wrapping us in the longest day of sunlight of our calendar year.  We move through the cycles of seasons and witness our own rhythms as they ebb and flow. 

With every sunrise we’re actually offered a new beginning.

I feel like over the past year, we’ve been reminded in numerous ways, to not live with regrets, because wow, the unexpected can occur at any moment.  If you moved through our circle of balance last week, perhaps take that learning and actually make those shifts – or at least baby steps towards them. Regardless of all the confusion around us, you know you can find clarity within. Clarity of YOUR next steps in your life, but first we need to commit to our self care to have the space to hear that guidance. 

I invite you to light a candle today, and honour your connection to the light.  Get your hands and feet in the dirt, and honour your connection to the earth. Honour the goodness inside of you, and the impact you bring forth with your actions. 

Before I close today, I want to remind you of a powerful practice Sat Dharam Kaur shared with me last year at this time. Carve out a little window to consciously reflect and write out 27 visions for the life ahead of you.  Not with the intention of wanting to be somewhere you’re not, but rather as a way of celebrating all the seeds inside of you. Try to nourish them if you can, rather than pushing them deeper into the darkness.  The simpler the seeds the more profound they can actually be. Feel it in your breath and in your bones, see yourself in those moments of your life, remind yourself why life is worth living. 

Happy Solstice, from my heart to yours,

With 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

Click here to find out more details about our Soul Wisdom Cards, including where to purchase your own deck.

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

COVID, Kids and all the feelings

Written by Nicki Gallo (as published in the June edition of the HUMM)

There’s this exercise that I like do when I work with kids. It helps us to explore how our feelings are something that we experience in our bodies as well as our minds. First, I give the child a piece of paper with the outline of a person. I ask them to colour the location on the body where they feel certain emotions and match it with a colour. For example, they may feel red – anger in their hands “I’m so mad I could punch someone!” Or feel yellow – nervousness in their bellies “I have butterflies in my tummy!” 

Nicki_June_Humm_PictureSometimes, a child may fill the outline of the person with one colour, but this may not match what behaviour is happening on the outside. For example, the child could be acting out with angry temper tantrums or be completely withdrawn, however their outline is covered in just one emotion: fear.  

Anger and disengagement can mask more vulnerable and raw emotions like sadness or fear. 

When I personally take the time to shave down the layers of an emotional outburst, it usually comes down to “I’m scared.” 

This may not be the reality in every case; however, it can give us insight into what may be happening under the surface. 

This is an unfamiliar and uncertain time. Children are extremely empathic and can pick up on the stress that this virus is having on our daily lives. It’s often scarier when things aren’t being said as they can tell that the energy has shifted, but they don’t know why. With the recent news of schools in Ontario not returning this year, despite initial excitement, this can be scary and a big loss for kids. Loss of routine can mean a loss of control. 

We may all be feeling a lot of big complicated emotions right now and not know how to express them. What we are feeling on the inside may not be what we are expressing on the outside. 

How can we help our children increase their emotional vocabulary and express feelings in a positive way?  How can we do the same as adults? 

Here are a few ideas that may work with kids and kids at heart:

Name it to Tame it

The idea “name it to tame it” is a strategy to help make sense of our experience and feel more in control. When big emotions are out of control (right-brain) telling the story of what’s upsetting us (logical left-brain), integrates the brain, names the fears and helps to tame them. 

Rose, Bud, Thorn

Many of our routines have disappeared. Having a simple daily check-in with each other is a great way to put words to emotions. A popular check-in tool is “Rose, Bud, Thorn.” This is good to do at dinner time or at the end of the day.  

Rose: share your favourite part of the day

Bud: share something you are looking forward to doing tomorrow

Thorn: share your least favourite part of the day

Play!

Some of the best conversations take place while doing something else. Play is a child’s language and sometimes, to talk about big feelings, it’s easier to play while doing it. We can gain insight into their inner worlds or it may just be a great way to distract ourselves. Doing activities your kids like to do makes them feel connected and more secure. This goes for adults too. 

Providing space for kids to express themselves and acknowledge that it’s okay to feel a lot of feelings right now is a wonderful way to support them in this bizarre time we’re in. 

Nicki2Nicki Gallo is a Certified Play Therapist. She runs play and creativity workshops and is not afraid to use glitter. She is a retired Toronto SickKids Hospital therapeutic clown and is currently creating online content to help children recognize and express emotions with her new clown, Emerald. You can check out the videos here.

We are super excited to have Nicki joining our collective.  She’ll be helping to support and assist in making sure we can continue to offer you inspiring and educational events and community initiatives (as soon as we’re able to).  Nicki is excited to be offering amazing workshops and one on one sessions to support families and individuals in our community.  She is magic and reminds us to stay connected to our inner spark of joy and play, she looks forward getting to know you better!

 

Resources: Anxiety Canada, About Kids Health/Covid19, Child Mind Institute

Under The Oak Yoga

20200805_162819We have been feeling so grateful for our time spent under this most magical oak tree with YOU.  Our Outdoor Yoga sessions have been a highlight for us this summer.

This all-level class, from beginners to advanced students, consists of a gentler, flow combination of simple accessible poses to stretch and strengthen your body, mind & spirit as well as a soul nourishing relaxation supported by the birds, crickets and the winds softly flowing over us. Practicing with our feet on the earth and the trees as our practice companions gives us an extra boost in our mental emotional state, and a lift for our immune system.  There is no greater medicine than nature.

All you need is a water bottle, your own practice mat/blanket, and a willingness to release stress!

Our lead teacher for this class will be rotating weekly, you can check our  schedule to see whose teaching each week

WHEN: Wednesdays from 5:00 – 6:00 pm

September 2, September 9th ( we will be continuing into the fall – stay tuned for more dates)

WHERE: A private outdoor space close to downtown Almonte,
Exact Location will be disclosed to registrants through email 24 hours before scheduled class.

COST: $12 (HST Inclusive)

Maximum of 16 participants, with social distancing measures in place.

** pre-registration and payment are required due to maximum number (based on health regulations) 💚  Book soon as spaces will fill fast

20200805_162641Please click here to look at our calender and decide when you’d like to join us.

Search for the dates you’d like to attend and our handy system will walk you through the registration process.  Please double check the date before you complete your registration.  If you don’t receive a confirmation email, just send us an email and we’ll make sure you’re registered for the night’s you’d like to attend.

If you have any problems, or would prefer to pay through e-transfer, just send us an email at info@suryadaya.ca and we can answer any questions and help you with the process.

 

These classes are weather dependent, if there is rain or inclement weather you will be notified by email (a minimum of one hour before the class start time) if the class needs to be cancelled, in which case we’ll transfer your credit to another outdoor yoga session of your choice, we can offer you a refund, or it will be available on your account for an in studio class when we can safely practice indoors again.

We require a minimum of 48 hours cancellation notice, and no shows will still be charged for the class registered for, due to limited space.

Just a reminder: Mats and supports will not be available, you will need to bring your own mat or practice blanket

Class Two In Our For The Love Of Water Series

Good morning on this beautiful Monday.  We hope the weekend found you nourished and that you were able to savour sweet moments that filled you with joy.

Tomorrow (Tuesday, September 1st from 8:30 – 9:30 am) is the second class in our For The Love Of Water Series.  We are very blessed living where we do, with The Mississippi River running through the heart of our community.   Take some time over the next few days, and in the sacred pause consciously sit by the water and remember how essential this incredible element is to life; to our survival, the survival of our planet, and the survival of all living species we share our home, the Earth, with.

Water is where we begin this journey called life and it is pivotal in how we thrive during a lifetime.   Water also teaches us to go with the flow; as we adapt to our changing lives, moving with the tides of our emotions and life circumstances.

Did you know that we are all guardians of the waters, and it’s our responsibility to act in ways that lessen our footprint and help to care for our waters for their continued health and longevity, understanding the ripple effects of our actions. We have a found a few resources to get you started, reminding us all of simple ways we can actively do our part.   Protecting Canada’s Freshwater,   100 ways to conserve our ground water protecting our watersheds

We are so honoured to partner with Ocean Bridge to offer you this all levels 2 part yoga series dedicating our practice to water conservation and education on how we can all do our part to protect our waters.  Join us tomorrow morning for the last in this free community series from 8:30 – 9:30 am (Tuesday, September 1st) for a mindful and accessible yoga set honouring the rhythms of the water.

Ocean Bridge connects Canadian youth from coast to coast to coast empowering them to make a difference towards ocean and water conservation. Each year 160 youth (ages 18-30) form a national team engaged in co-creating and delivering service projects for their home communities and two immersive expeditions addressing Ocean Health and Ocean Literacy in Canada.

We have many amazing designated natural conservation areas within, as well as just outside of our town.  The Mill of Kintail is but one example of our many resources here in the Ottawa Valley, they have some wonderful initiatives and are a great  connection for learning more about the importance of our actions in light of water conservation.

We hope you can join us, as Ali from Ocean Bridge and Amber from our studio, lead you through these classes!  Please bring your own mat, whatever supports you will need, and your own water bottle.  This is a special opportunity to learn more about water conservation, to move your body and explore postures that will deepen your connection with the water that flows through you, to connect with community in a meaningful way, and to reconnect with the water we are all a part of. We’ll be meeting at our own local waters,  at  Metcalfe Geoheritage Park

We’ll practice with a socially responsible distance between all participants, and masks are optional.  These classes are weather dependent, although if a little rain is falling it will simply support our practice!

pexels-photo-133682

Bringing People Together Through Yoga

Thanks to our community partners, we have FREE yoga this afternoon, Wednesday, August 26th,  from 2:00 – 3:00 pm at Gemmill Park (by the baseball diamond), brought to you by Carebridge Community Support and The Mississippi Mills Youth Centre, we are so honoured to be partnering up with these incredible and invaluable organizations in our community.

This program is supported by the Forever Young Foundation, and it is our hopes programs such as this one will help to bridge the gap between generations, working to build stronger communities.  These classes are intended to bring people of all ages together through an accessible yoga based movement practice; connecting, cultivating understanding and building resilience together.

Amber will be leading this all levels yoga class, to support you to invite a sense of calm into your body, and release any stress and tension as we prepare for the upcoming fall.

We hope to see you there!!

For The Love Of Water

We live in an amazing town, with The Mississippi River running through the heart of our community.  It’s important to take some time to reflect on our relationship with this essential element; essential to our survival, the survival of our planet, and the survival of all living species we share our home, the Earth, with.

We are so honoured to partner with Ocean Bridge to offer you this all levels 2 part yoga series dedicating our practice to water conservation and education on how we can all do our part to protect our waters.  Join us tomorrow morning from 8:30 – 9:30 am (Tuesday, August 25th) for a beautiful and accessible yoga set honouring the rhythms of the water.

Ocean Bridge connects Canadian youth from coast to coast to coast empowering them to make a difference towards ocean and water conservation. Each year 160 youth (ages 18-30) form a national team engaged in co-creating and delivering service projects for their home communities and two immersive expeditions addressing Ocean Health and Ocean Literacy in Canada.

We have so many amazing designated natural conservation areas within, as well as just outside of our town.  The Mill of Kintail is but one example of our many resources here in the Ottawa Valley, they have some wonderful initiatives and are a great  connection for learning more about the importance of our actions in light of water conservation.  Please take the time to increase your own understanding so we can all be an active participant in protecting our waters.

The classes in this mini series are free to the public and an amazing opportunity to learn more about water conservation, to move your body and explore postures that will deepen your connection with the water that flows through you, to connect with community in a meaningful way, and to reconnect with the water we are all a part of. We’ll be meeting at our own local waters,  at  Metcalfe Geoheritage Park

We hope you can join us, as Ali from Ocean Bridge and Amber from our studio, lead you through these classes!  Please bring your own mat, whatever supports you will need, and your own water bottle.

We’ll practice with a socially responsible distance between all participants, and masks are optional.  These classes are weather dependent, although if a little rain is falling it will simply support our practice!

 

nature water drops of water liquidpexels-photo-416528

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