Lotus Mudra

February 14, 2018

Call upon joy, compassion and love this Valentines’ Day by adding the Lotus Mudra to your practice.

Mudra means ‘seal’, ‘mark’ or ‘gesture’ in Sanskrit. It is a symbolic or ritual gesture preformed with the hands and fingers.

These gestures are mostly used in meditation and pranayama practice because they are believed to affect the flow of prana in the body.

Different areas of the hands are connected with areas of the brain and body. When the hands are placed into mudra’s this creates stimuli in areas of the brain and guides energy flow in the body.

The Lotus Mudra is a hand gesture to open the heart centre or heart chakra. By activating the heart chakra the body is open to joy, compassion and love.

Lotus-Mudra-Hands-Pink

To create the Lotus Mudra bring your hands in front of your heart in the prayer position. Actively press all fingers together and then begin to separate them apart, making space between each set of fingers. Almost as if you’re creating a fan with your hands. Keep the pressure on your pinkie and thumbs, think about pressing the tips of them together, while you begin to separate the rest of your fingers and palms away from each other. Like a lotus flower opening its petals up to the sun. To create a little depth to your lotus flower you can try to make space in-between your palms. Think of a ball glove – that little space in the mitt that assists to catch the ball.

This mudra can be used during meditation as well as seated asanas such as padmasana, virasana, sukhasana and tadasana, or … whenever your heart desires!

Restorative Yoga

February 05, 2018

Last week while taking a Restorative class my mind wandered to my first experiences of Restorative yoga.

I had no idea what Restorative yoga was all about. I just knew it used lots of bolsters, blankets and blocks. What could go wrong? Savasana for an hour? Shut the front door.

Well, it’s more than laying in Savasana for an hour. My first few Restorative classes became battle grounds in what I like to call: Combat of The Insistence Mind Chatter.

‘How long are we going to be in this pose for? I swear it’s been twenty minutes all ready.’

‘I wonder if everyone else in this class can hear my stomach growling.’

‘I should have worn a sweater. And socks. I’m cold.’

A friend once called Restorative yoga lazy yoga. I guess to an outsider it does look pretty boring. Laying around supported by props for a prolonged period.

But – our bodies need time to gently drop into the depths of the pose – I have found that the profound stillness of long held shapes enables me to find quietness. Both in my mind, and in my body. It amplifies everything from thoughts running through my mind, to any itch I may feel, to the sound and gentle thumping of my heart.

Restorative yoga is not easy, in fact, sometimes I find it very challenging to reach stillness. But when I do, I find it profoundly peaceful. It is a turning inwards – to both my mind and my subtle body. Where I observe the interplay between the two.

 

BREAKING DOWN RESTORATIVE YOGA (on a more technical level)

To me, Restorative Yoga refers to gentle postures, (poses, shapes) that use props (sometimes loooooots of them) to stimulate and relax the body. It is a therapeutic practice that combines recovery and healing. These shapes, along with meditation and breathing techniques, can offer healing to our bodies by helping to reduce stress, still the mind, and tap into the parasympathetic nerve.

Sometimes called the rest and digest system, the parasympathetic nerve is responsible for conserving energy, slowing our heart rate, and allowing our nervous system to relax. It counteracts the sympathetic nervous system, the one responsible for the flight-or-fight response.

Restorative Yoga shapes can assist us in reaching rest and relaxation in our bodies by teaching us to fully be aware of ourselves. Both mentally and physically. These shapes invite constructive rest – never at ‘The Edge’. That is, at the end of ones range of motion. Being at ‘The Edge’ of ones range of motion is stressful enough (and potentially harming to the body) even without props!

In Restorative Yoga props replace muscles for support. This encourages the body to achieve mind and body ease, in turn assisting us in releasing tension and helping to support the body by promoting relaxation.

Balance

January 29, 2018

Practiced stillness, relaxation, and letting go this past Sunday by exploring the moving meditation of Zen Qigong. As a form of physical exercise – Qigong exercises are soft and flowing, incorporating deep breathing with gentle movements. These movements create physical healing benefits that move beyond the muscle and tissue, working with our ‘Qi’ – the living energy inside us that gives us life and consciousness. (I hope I explained that right. I’m no Qigong expert and thank Google for helping me with that explanation).

Over this past year I found myself moving beyond the strenuous, ‘no pain, no gain’ aspect of exercise. Discovering that there are more ways to strengthen the body than through arduous exercise. I use the terms ‘arduous’ and ‘strenuous’ lightly here, as I don’t literally mean drop-dead-on-your-face working out, or even passing out (Although it’s been known to happen) I mean more Aerobic / Endurance exercise, Strengthening exercise …

While I do believe that these types of exercises (at any level) are important, I strongly believe that Balance is further important. The balance of the above united with the ‘no pain, all gain’ side.

My mind and body was always Go, Go, Go. Increase my heart rate, feel sweat dripping from my face, feel muscle burn. It was almost as if I was going through the motions without really experiencing them. My mind/body never got a break, nor did my mind/body feel completely nourished, or given the stillness that it needed.

Yoga was the first step. Finding the mind/body/breath awareness and bringing that into my then ‘regular’ workout routine. The: stop and smell the flowers. Pause. Think about what I’m doing. Really experience it. I slowly uncovered that my workouts were becoming more mindful. I was no longer going through the motions of checking off another workout. I was almost becoming part of that workout. Becoming more mindful of my breath, my actions, and my being. I was becoming more aware of my energy and the energy that I projected out to others.

I ended up tossing one of my muscle / cardio days. My ‘Total Muscle Conditioning’ (I always say that like Arnold would for some reason) dropped off my work out schedule completely and I replaced it with Yoga.

I had Zero intention of ever trying Yoga. I kept saying, I’m not going to sweat, it’s too slow, I don’t need to ‘Zen Out’. I want to burn, push, and sweat.

I cannot emphasize here how wrong I was.

I left my first Yoga class feeling connected. Like the other half of me had suddenly awakened.

I thought: why didn’t I try Yoga earlier on in life? Like, waaaaaay earlier on. But then again, there is a time and place for everything in life, and it was then that Yoga came into mine.

As I mentioned, Yoga was the first step, but I felt that there was more out there waiting for me to discover. More healing modalities. Fast forward a bit, I became a Reiki Practitioner, incorporated a regular meditation practice into my life, attended teachings to further uncover and further discover how to incorporate these healing modalities into my life and into the lives of others – to help others take the time to pause, recover, relax, feel balanced, and be still.

First Signs of Snow

November 10, 2017

Waking up to the first signs of snow this morning made me think about all the things that I love about the cold, winter months. Warm sweaters, wool grandma socks, a hot pot of steaming tea, curling up with a good book. The crunching sound of snow beneath my boots, layering up in scarves and mitts, and the feeling of your fingertips and cheeks after spending hours outside skating or simply exploring.

Winter is also a time when the wheel of the year enters into its darker half. They days are shorter, it gets darker earlier and it is a season mostly governed by recluse and dormancy.

Life is still and silent. The green and fertile earth has given away to the chill of winter and the hibernation of the earth. With this silence and stillness comes a time of introversion and contemplation. Winter invites us to quiet the mind and still the soul. It is a time to shed and give way to a rebirth of our inner self. To slide along the pure winter whites with reflection and contemplation.

I embrace the landscape and the climate. I immerse myself in the cold white world that is winter. Its beauty and sparkle, the way the snow settles on the trees, creating an icing top that I almost want to reach out and lick off my finger.

Living in a climate where I am able to experience all the seasons is magical and moving, both in their beauty and importance for mother earth, but also symbolic to the workings of my inner self. I will make the most of this winter until the earth is ready to rise again with the new beginnings and enchantment of spring.

Reiki Circle

October 26, 2017

This afternoon I was blessed with hosting a Reiki Circle for Ryerson community members. A wonderful group of individuals came to my session with open hearts and beautiful faces. I am so honoured to have been able to offer a brief Reiki healing treatment to everyone who attended as well as speaking about Reiki and its amazing healing benefits on the spirit, mind and body. Reiki truly is amazing and I am humbled to be able to offer it to others.

Reiki Recess

Because I care about the health and well-being of the people I work with, I am offering a special twenty minute seated Reiki Recharge to my fellow colleagues. Why not make time for yourself and set aside twenty minutes of your day to relax and recharge? Treat yourself to a Reiki Recharge. I will arrive at your preferred location five minutes in advance to prepare for the session.

What’s Included?:
  • 20 minute seated session: 30.00$
  • Consultation before and after the treatment
  • This is an ongoing offer. Contact me for further details

Reiki Healing & Health

In some ways, there is no ‘typical’ Reiki session. Below I have put together some info on what you may expect when you visit me for a session.

Before the Session
  • The room is prepared and cleared of negative energy. That is, I will smudge and clear the room of any negative energies and infuse a natural flow into the space before the treatment.
When the Client (that’s you) Arrives
  • I will ask you questions to get a better sense of what the purpose of the visit is etc. Similar to a consultation. I will describe what I plan on doing.
  • You will be fully clothed, and seated on a chair or laying down on a treatment table (similar to a massage table). Then, administered in a systematic way with hands placements off and around the body, Reiki healing will be sent to you to aid your body in releasing stress, promoting relaxation and enhancing mental, physical, and emotional well-being. Unlike a massage, I do not manipulate the skin muscle tissue.
During the Session
  • A Reiki Practitioner (that’s me) will lay my hands above areas of the body to promote healing and locate trouble areas. Hand placements vary in time according to need or area.
  • You may fall asleep. You may feel deeply relaxed, at peace, and experience a sense of well-being. You may also feel the warmth or coolness of Reiki energy.
  • Blankets, pillows, music, and essential oils will also be available. Whatever makes you feel most comfortable.
After the session
  • We will debrief and discuss any follow up.
  • It is important to understand that Reiki does not guarantee a cure, nor is Reiki a substitute for medical or professional care. Reiki is one part of an integrated healing or wellness program.
Why have a Reiki Treatment?
    • On a Physical level: It is soothing, gentle, and relaxing. Reiki energy can give an extra OOMPH! boost to the system. Similar to a power nap.
    • On an Emotional level: It can create a deep sense of well-being. Increase optimism and positive attitudes.
    • On a Mental level: It counteracts incessant chatter of mind and can make one aware of what is really important by promoting mental clarity.
    • On a Spiritual level: You may experience your own spiritual side, feel a closer sense and connection to your divine, and/or your own unique role in the world. It is important to understand that Reiki is not a religion. Reiki is not attached to one single entity. Reiki is unconditional, unbiased, non-judgemental and it encompasses everything. It is not limited to religion, belief, race or space in time. Reiki cares for everything because it is everything. Anyone can receive Reiki. Reiki is safe.

.REIKI IS UNIVERSAL LOVE.

Reiki Kanji