How you can heal yourself with a yoga practice.

Are you feeling tired, stressed, anxious or burned out?  Did you know that yoga can help you heal & feel more like yourself again?

Maybe you already practice yoga, and you know this.

Maybe you've never come to a class but you'd love to try.

Or maybe you came to a class or two, but haven't been able to make time in your schedule to come back for more.

It was about 9 years ago that I first discovered yoga. I finally decided to go to a class after feeling like it was something I "should" be doing for quite some time.

And, I loved it.

From the first pose onward, yoga has captured my spirit. To me, it feels so good to be conscious in my body, to move slowly with the teacher's instructions and to feel the impact of slow, strong & stretchy movement on my bodymind.

It was only a couple of years later that I enrolled in teacher training and I have been teaching yoga full time since graduating in 2011.

It hasn't been an easy journey, and over the years I've fallen more madly and deeply in love with the practice but I've also gone through moments of deep despair and frustration with it too. In the end, I can say that no matter how I have felt about yoga, the thing that remains true is that yoga has always been an incredible teacher and tool for growth in my life.

Yoga works best when you open yourself up to the depth of the practice beyond just doing the postures. Patanjali describes how to practice yoga more holistically in his Yoga Sutras (ii.1):

"tapah svadhyaya ishvara pranidhana kriya yogaha"

Translated, this sutra means that to practice yoga you must work toward changing what you can (tapah), while also having a conscious awareness of yourself obtained through inquiry and self study (svadhyaya) and finally, you must surrender to the natural forces over which you have no control and can not change (ishvara pranidhana).

When we recognize that the inquiry and awareness we bring to yoga is as much a part of the practice as the postures are, we begin to open ourselves up the powerful healing contained within the practice.

It is important to understand that from the perspective of yoga, the mind and the body are not separate entities. They are one and the same. We live in a culture that over emphasizes the mind, and often relegates the body to the role of "machine" or "vehicle" that simply transports our brain around. This creates a disconnection that disempowers us, disengages us and often results in disease. When we are not tuned into our bodies through a practice of self awareness (svadhyaya), we miss our body's messages telling us when to slow down, stop, say no, say yes, play, express anger, or experience enjoyment. Instead, we listen to the stories in our mind running over and over again ad nauseam. We relate to the world through our stories, and we lose our connection to presence.

Yoga is a tool for rebuilding our connection to presence.

This is really where the magic happens. It is in our ability to be present with it all. Sensation, emotion, the FLOW of life.

And now science is starting to prove what yogis have known for thousands of years, yoga really does work when it comes to transforming our health and well being. Check these studies out:

~ In a study done by Neuroscience Nursing, 133 older adults ages 53-96 who practiced yoga saw an improvement in their cognitive function due to increased blood flow to the brain.

~ Clinical & Diagnostic Research found that diabetics who practiced yoga over six months saw a significant reduction in blood glucose levels.

~ In other clinical trials regular yoga practice has shown to decrease the severity of depression by 33%, anxiety by 26%, and psychological distress by 34%. It has also shown a 13% increase in resilience, a 20% increase in mental health function, and a 12% increase in perception of happiness.

Yoga heals because it creates relationship. The word yoga itself means "union". The relationship we create with our body through practice allows us to feel more deeply, thus sensitizing us to our body's experience so we recognize that our sensations are giving us clues to how we actually feel in the moment. This sensational awareness gives us some space between our experience and our perception, between our story and what is actually happening in the moment. This spaciousness offers an opportunity for making new choices and creating new ways of being in the world that are in alignment with our authentic sense of self.

When yoga is combined with coaching or therapy it can become even more profound in its ability to transform our lives. Our healing begins to move beyond the conscious mind, into the deeper layers of the subconscious mind through embodied practice. When we have our entire system online for our healing work we are empowered to create lasting transformation in our lives.

I can honestly say that, today, I am more in love with the practice of yoga than I have ever been.

About a year ago, I was totally burned out. I had given everything to teaching, and I had forgotten to listen to my body or my heart along the way. I ended up feeling disillusioned, numb and tired. I even found myself contemplating quitting teaching.

Thankfully, I didn't quit. But I've definitely taken a new approach to my practice and have been training with Layla Martin at the Tantric Institute of Integrated Sexuality so that I can expand upon what I currently offer. Through the tools I'm learning from Layla and being gentle with my body on the mat, I've restored my body mind into thriving health again and am now sharing what I have learned with all of you!

I've learned more about yoga over this past year by not doing regular yoga poses than I have ever learned in all of the years I have practiced. As I recently returned to my mat for a more active daily practice I am recognizing how valuable this practice has been in my life and how it continues to teach me even when I'm not regularly getting on the mat. Returning to my practice with a beginners mind (and body) and a willingness to go deeper, explore more, feel more, and teach more has lit up my passion for yoga again.

Without a doubt yoga and the coaching tools I have learned from Layla Martin have created big profound shifts in my life.

Shifts that are making themselves known when I notice all of the abundance flowing my way these days:

My most exciting news is that I was asked by lululemon athletica in Regina to be an Ambassador for their store! This is something I've dreamed of for YEARS! I'm so honoured to be a part of the lululemon team, and look forward to creating amazing things with them in the near future.

I have also started working with my first Conscious Vitality coaching clients! This is a six month coaching package that I have created using Layla's incredible tools. I am coaching women in their journey from feeling stuck in their lives back into re-discovering their innate aliveness, their original wholeness and their joy using nourishing and enjoyable pleasure practices, breathwork, meditation and yoga.

To be sure I knew I was on the right track, my husband and I won $1600 in the Chase the Ace Lottery, a fundraiser for the local Grand Theatre where I taught my first yoga classes in Indian Head three years ago! YES, how cool is that??!!!

In addition to all of this, I was recently asked to speak at the Women's Wellness Day at the Treaty 4 Governance Centre in September and am feeling humbled and deeply honoured to share the teachings of self empowerment through pleasure with this incredible group of women.

Finally the icing on the cake is I have been teaching the BEST, most aligned with my soul classes at Katepwa Beach this summer and the participants are some of the most appreciative and loving students I have ever taught, they make me realize the value of teaching yoga.

And the beauty of realizing the value of yoga is the deep gratitude I feel for being able to teach people to teach this practice to others! We are starting our second 200 hour yoga teacher training program in just under two weeks! There are only three spots left in this training, I'd LOVE to have you join us if you'd like to get in on all this amazing yoga action with me!

Things are good. Really good.

I want to end by extending a heartfelt thank you to all of you - those who come to my events, who practice in my classes, who watch my webinars. Thank you. From the depths of my Being, I am grateful.

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