You Are Good Enough

How do you feel about your body?

In my university studies I came across some staggering statistics. Looking through several reports I learned the majority of women are unhappy with their bodies. Though percentages varied in different reports, the lowest one I found was 80% of women are unhappy with their bodies. Some studies reported the amount of dissatisfaction up as high as the mid 90s.

Though this occurs more frequently in women, men are not immune. The studies I have seen for men range from between 25-40% of men are unhappy with their bodies.

So, if you are unhappy with your body know that you are not alone.

I have also struggled with body image issues. Some days I still do.

As a new 7 week session of classes begins at my studioI know that some people will struggle to come to class because of how they feel about their body. Some might worry about what to wear. Some might feel they are too out of shape to come. Some might stress about keeping up or doing things ‘right’ (or how they look in certain poses) Some might think if they can lose a bit of weight first, then they’ll show up.

How do I know this? Because I have been there. I have wanted to try a new class or go to a new gym and had all of these this thoughts.

That is part of the reason why when I first decided to teach classes one priority was to offer classes for everyone—all ages, all abilities, all shapes, all sizes—You are welcome.

So, I invite you to come out to in-person classes, or try the virtual options. I want you to know that you are good enough just as you are. You are worthy of your own movement practice. I believe, movement practices should be joyful and fun.

Because I know that despite whatever words I say it can still be hard to show up, this year I will also start offering private sessions for those who might prefer to work one-on-one. These will be offered both virtually and in-person.

The past 6 months I have been working with Mark Walsh as a mentor. He has often said that sometimes it is too much for folks to love their body right now.

He says—If you can’t love your body, can you like your body? If you can’t like your body, can you be polite or civil to your body?

Maybe that is where to start today—just being polite to your body.

Maybe this week you will also join me for a class or two and a bit of joyful movement.

Maybe today you don’t quite believe in yourself, but know that I do.

Namaste

Morning Routines

This summer I aimed to cultivate a nurturing and nourishing morning routine to start my days. Before beginning I had a few ideas in mind, but also did some online searches and looked to people who inspire me.

Before I share what has become my morning routine I want add a couple words of encouragement.

When you see my routine you might think its a lot to add into a morning. I want to stress that I do not do all these things every day. Some mornings I do, some mornings I don’t. However, I have found that even adding two or three of these things greatly improves my mood, focus and wellbeing throughout the day.

I would also stress that the time allotted to each thing can vary greatly day by day. For example, some mornings might be a 15 minute meditation, while other mornings it might be a 1 minute meditation.

For me, the point of the morning routine is not to add more to my to-do list and beat myself up if I don’t check all the boxes. The point is to give myself a great start to my day with a little self-care before all the demands of life.

Finally, I will add that the order I do these things is a just rough framework. Some days I mix things up. Again, the important thing is to be kind and loving to myself, listening to what my needs each day

My Morning Routine

-Wake-up, my alarm is set to binaural beats

-Do a little body scan and breathwork

-Go to the kitchen for a tea, while waiting for tea step outside and greet the day (I often give my feathered friends a little food)

-Turn on essential oil diffuser with invigorating oils (for morning I particularly like citrus, mints, and rosemary)

-Go back to my bed for a meditation

-Mala beads with affirmation

-Cold Shower (see Wim Hoff’s website for more on this)

-Another tea, and some journalling

-Yoga or other movement

-Practice my French or Welsh

-Read poetry

-Move into my day

Now I know on paper this looks like a lot. Honestly, this morning routine can take 15 minutes or an hour. It really depends on what my day looks like, how many things I choose to do, and how long I choose to do each thing.

You might also notice that breakfast is not on this list. I am a big believer in the importance of breakfast. However, I am also a big believer in eating when you are actually hungry. As I tend to rise quite early I am just not hungry yet. The evening before I prep juice in my juicer, store it in a mason jar so it is ready for me in the morning, no work required. Usually when I start to move into my day I will grab this juice. Then, after working for a couple hours I will take a break for breakfast.

The point of this post is just one of reflection. I invite you to think about your morning routine. Is it nurturing? Is it nourishing? Does it give you a positive start to your day? Are there things you might like to do to tweak your mornings?

I encourage you to play with these ideas this month. I also invite you to like my Facebook page where over the next few weeks I will be posting some videos and going into a little more detail about the things that make up my morning routine https://www.facebook.com/LivingSkyYoga

Some Benefits of Meditation

Meditation has been a strange journey for me. I always had a sense it was good for me, but also resisted doing it for so long.

That doesn’t really seem to make sense. Perhaps, for me the resistance was fear based. I worried too much if I was doing it right. Whenever I gave it a small try, I always felt I was doing it wrong.

Slowly, over time I allowed myself to let go. I allowed myself to try meditation with less judgement. I won’t pretend that it was easy. Meditation is a practice. Like with anything, the more you practice the more little successes you will have.

I continue my meditation practice. Some days are easy, some days are more challenging. Yet, I keep showing up. One reason that I continue is I have found a meditation practice to benefit my life. Below are some benefits I have experienced.

-Learning to experience and enjoy the moment (and isn’t that what life is? just a whole bunch of moments)

-Increased self-awareness

-Increased confidence

-More focus and discipline

-Greater feelings of calm

-Accessing imagination and creativity

-Being able to look at challenging situations with patience and compassion

-Deeper breathing into the body

-Better sleep

I often encourage people new to meditation start with just 1 minute. That is how I started. I would also encourage you to try to set aside a block of time, perhaps 2 weeks or 1 month. In this time, play with this a practice, see where it might take you, and what benefits you might enjoy.

#RealLife

In the March newsletter I said I was going to launch some yoga courses the first day of spring.

I didn’t forget. As the first day of spring was approaching I knew I wasn’t going to do it yet. The yoga part of these courses is so much fun for me. However, the technology part of setting everything up stresses me out.

I imagine most of us have things that cause a bit of anxiety. Playing with new technology is one of my things. However, when I take a deep breath, sit down and just do it, I often find it’s not half as bad as what I envisioned. Once I get to it, I even find myself having fun. I love learning new things.

Maybe yoga is something you would like to learn more about. Perhaps, the idea of learning yoga even stresses you out a bit. That is actually part of my inspiration for these courses. I believe everyone deserves to have their own personal yoga journey. I want to share some tools to empower you for that journey.

Whether you are brand new to yoga, or want to deepen your knowledge in the practice, I invite you to check out the three courses I am currently offering, Foundations in Yoga Level 1, Foundations in Yoga Level 2, and Yoga with the Chair.  
https://livingskyyogafitness.ca/online-courses/

Registration is now open until April 4. Courses begin April  7.
In these courses you work through them at your own pace. They are yours to use again and again.

I invite you to join me
Warm Wishes
Denise

What is Yin?

Yin is a yoga practice where we are applying healthy stress to connective tissue of the joints- tendons, ligaments, and fascia. We are not trying to stretch or strengthen the joints.

During a yin practice we hold poses longer than we do in other yoga classes. Generally, we will hold poses from 1-5 minutes.Because we are holding poses longer, slow, safe opening of the connective tissue is encouraged within the body.

Throughout a yin practice I will often remind you to round, release and relax. We want to work as far as we can go, but not further. We want to gain benefit, but not injure. As we move into a pose we want to find a place where we can stay.

Most poses in yin are done from a kneeling, seated or lying position. Many of the poses are similar to those we do in other classes. However, our focus is different as we hold these poses longer. Moving into the poses we want to come to an appropriate edge where the body naturally stops. We will then allow the body to find stillness. Throughout a pose we may check in with the body. As the body begins to open we may find we can naturally release a little deeper into a pose. Sometimes though, we might notice that we need to back off a little. Learning to listen to your own body and respect its needs is an important goal in any yoga practice.

While holding a pose we’ll try to be conscious of our attention. I will encourage you to note what is going on in the body. I will invite you to notice what you might be feeling. We will also focus on being aware of the breath. We’ll also try to notice if the mind wanders. If it does, no judgement, just gently bringing the attention back to body or breath.

When ready to come out of a pose I will cue you to gently return to a neutral position. Of course, one is always encouraged to come out of the pose earlier if needed.

Yin is very different from many other yoga practices. Though slower than some other practices it can be more challenging to some people. I had no interest in practicing yin for many years. My thought was that if I was going to be doing yoga that I wanted to be working hard, having challenge and working up a sweat. For me the idea of being so still for minutes at a time sounded horrible. However, when I eventually tried yin I found myself enjoying it. Additionally, I found my body benefitting it.

When in my studio I often offer yin as the last class of the evening. With the lights off and the flicker of candlelight it is a fabulous way to end the day. We use several props in this practice including bolsters, blocks and pillows. Many people bring blankets or eye masks to use throughout our practice and in final Savasana. I am often told that people sleep very well after some evening yin. I invite you to try a yin class soon and see if it might just be something you also enjoy.