Our bodies tell us when are we stressed out. Taking care of the problem is very easy. If you want your body to get the rest and relaxation it needs to heal, then one small action every day is all it takes to make a transformation. The result is releasing pain so you can live in joy.
Creating a sense of well-being for your body has been passed down in the tradition of yoga, which I learned from my teacher. It was well known by ancient mystics that we are at our best, in our relationships, our work, and our own hearts, when we care for ourselves as though we are sacred. Our lives, our desires, are meant to be fulfilled, and we have the ability to do this easily.
When I found my teacher, it was pretty bad, I was struggling every day with two small children, no job, and a recent divorce. I didn’t sleep well, I got new cold sores every couple of days, and often didn’t feel like getting out of bed. I was hanging by a thread, and I needed something to just calm me down so I could get through the day. I had a yoga practice, thankfully, but it wasn’t enough until I found Rosemary and she showed me ways to work with my breath to feel better.
Here’s the first step:
Linking Breath to Movement. Take a moment now to sit upright in your chair, making sure you have room to sweep your arms forwards, pointing upwards in a Y shape. Now, bring your hands back to your thighs. Slowly breathe in, sweeping your arms forward and up. Hold both breath and the position for a moment. Exhale, slowly, lowering your arms back to your thighs. Hold the breath and the position a moment, and repeat. Practice this for a minute or so, working on each breath being linked to the movement of the arms. Bonus! step two: Turn your hands’ palms up, and for another minute, without changing it, notice your breath.
In only a couple of minutes, you will have deeply affected your body, telling it to rest and relax. And how does this transform us? This is what your body needs, whatever the stress. And our world is stressful. You may be in pain from the injury, or it could be work-related. Maybe you can’t sleep, or you’ve had anxiety attacks. You’ve lost a loved one, you’re getting divorced. Whatever it is, your body wants to heal, it wants a break to do that, regularly.
Linking movement in a slow rhythm with breath feels good. It feels so good, you just might like to do it every day! That is how you will transform, a few minutes, one day at a time. Perhaps, you would like a teacher, to show you more techniques for slowing the breath and strengthening the spine, so you can survive and thrive. Join us to try a free class to see if it works for you. I look forward to meeting you!
Frances Adamson is a writer and yoga teacher in Oshawa Ontario,
279 Central Park Blvd, N
Something that we often say about yoga is that it harmonizes ‘body mind and spirit’. What does this mean to you? I’d say the body is easy to define – it’s all the cells making up the organs and structures that we can see, touch, and feel. In yoga, the Sanskrit word for the body means food. So all things physical are food, I suppose, in one way or another.
Let’s skip to spirit because one could say that the spirit animates the body. It’s the ‘energy’ running the ‘body machine’. Some kind of life-force that ‘inspires’ us. And inspire means to breathe in. In yoga, as I have been taught it, the breath is central to the practice, as it is considered a direct link to this life-force energy.
So what is mind? The brain is an organ of the body, but the mind is not the body (or so I am presuming). And here’s an example I hope illustrates my point. My father, who has dementia, seems at the core himself, but he doesn’t smile much anymore, and his memory is failing. His brain is ill or injured in some way, but the mind, or the personality that I think of as him, seems present, and not declining as rapidly as the working of his brain. So not just the brain. Is the mind co-created by body and spirit?
This would explain why the practice of yoga is said to harmonize body mind and spirit. On the one hand, we practice the poses: improve the functioning of the body, make it as a refined and robust as possible: at the same time, focus our body on the breath, refining and increasing our capacity to receive life force. In this way the mind is clearer and stronger, with all the ability that implies.
So where are you in your practice? Have you refined both the body and the breath? You may have concentrated on the physical aspect of yoga until now. Did you know there is a practice that unites your love of a strong, relaxed and healthy body with techniques to reach the same level of refinement in your breath? If you are ready to explore a practice like that, I would love to hear from you and help you assess where you are now and plan your steps to go deeper with the breath.
You know this story, don’t you? A hungry traveler entertains a village woman by showing her how to make soup from a stone. She and the interested villagers supply him with a pot, water, and all the makings of a fine soup.
They all feast afterward, and the traveler makes a present to the woman of the smooth white pebble, with which she is very satisfied. It’s a fine story of community sharing and hospitality.
I have another way of making soup from nothing- or what might otherwise be thrown out. It started first with the Vegetarian Epicure’s potato peel soup. As the child of depression-era parents, I love to save everything. I often cooked and ate the potato peel along with the rest because it seemed wasteful not to. When I found this recipe, I began to peel potatoes and save the scraps in the freezer. When I had enough, I would make soup.
This satisfied my thrifty nature, and it wasn’t long before I began to save carrot peelings, broccoli stems, and whatever other scraps I would otherwise throw out. It all made fine broth. One day I read with interest an article in Vitality Magazine about onions and using their skins to make a tea that is antibacterial and antiviral. Recipes for broth often called for a whole onion, and I had wondered whether I should peel them. (I always had, now I don’t)
You guessed it, I began to save the peelings of onions along with the other scraps! If there is a lot, it turns the broth a lovely red color. (Do not make broccoli soup with this, it turns brown.) But the broth will not taste super oniony.
Now, I had learned to make chicken soup from my mother, but I only made it when I roasted a turkey or large chicken which wasn’t often. Then one summer I was visiting mom and she served chicken thighs. As we cleaned up, she put the bones in a bag in the freezer. It had never occurred to me to do this. Now, into my scrap bag goes every bone from any meal!
Cooking up the scraps used to be reserved for days I knew I could tend the pot for a few hours until my dear friend Rebecca of Karma spirit shared her way- the crockpot. Now I just dump the scraps in, fill with water, add salt, and walk away until I smell it. One of those celebrity chefs said never to let a broth cool at room temperature or it will sour, so in the winter it goes outside to the porch as soon as I`ve strained it. In warm weather, I pour into smaller containers and put it straight in the freezer.
So Voila! Soup and I didn’t even need a stone! Now I often buy beef bones too, since I seldom have those, and when it`s cold outside, we warm ourselves with homemade soup. I look forward to sharing those recipes with you soon!
A long time ago there was a people who lived on the land in joy
When they opened their eyes in the morning and looked on their loved ones they felt joy. Emerging from their homes in the morning they saw the rosy shadows of dawn and were glad. Most times, the land offered a feast and they were well and happy. Once in a while, there was starvation, and then many passed on to the great spirit, but enough always survived, and the ancestors looked down on them from the winter skies in great streaks of coloured light. Then the people felt loved and safe.
But one day another kind of people found their land. These people came across the ocean, and when they saw the sky meet the land from far away, they were not feeling the great mystery and beauty of life, but seeing a land to conquer, harvest, and make use of. They were adept at mining ore and oil to build great machines that helped them create more miraculous machines. They mowed down forest and prairies to feed armies of workers that built more machines and planted more corn. Soon there was barely any room left for the people who had lived there first.
These people were a great mystery to the new comers. They seemed to be very lazy and ignorant, and did not build houses or sit in chairs. They had very little, and seemed happy anyway. These people must be taught the proper way to live, especially since they take up too much space, and we need more room so we can mine and create power to make our machines. But the old people did not get the hang of the new way, and the new comers didn’t mind, because they were very powerful with all their machines and couldn’t be stopped anyway.
It was a very dark time for the people who used to live on the land. Many died, and there were always new comers who would prey on them and bring harm to them, and the other new comers turned a blind eye, because they didn’t want the trouble of dealing with this people who had become weak and sick because their way of life was destroyed. And also, they were so busy with all their business and machines, they had forgotten how to see beauty, and without beauty, the ugly suffering was less visible. The sad truth was, they were suffering terribly too, because they had forgotten the habit of looking with joy on their world.
But the old people did not give up, and they did not die out. They kept doing things like the Ghost Dance, a ritual to bring healing to our land. Suffering terribly from disease and addiction and hopelessness, they still managed to be a thorn in the side of the machine ones. And the years of suffering took their toll on the people of the machines too, as more and more people got sick from the lack of beauty and joy. They looked to the people of the land who were still standing and fighting for all they had lost, and they joined voices with them. The machine people were made to say they were sorry, and people from both sides made great efforts to bring beauty and joy back, but without avail.
Until one day a handsome and intelligent man rose up to power among the machine people, and he vowed to right the wrong done to the people of the land, and use all the creativity and resources of the machine people to bring it to pass. He listened to the voices of the people who wanted beauty and joy, and they told him of all the ways they had discovered to live with less oil and machines. Harvesting heat from sun and wind, and even the earth, to keep warm, grow food, and make all the necessary things for a happy and safe life. These new kind of homes were called Earth Ships. Together, both people worked to build homes and community gathering places, and gardens and wild life preserves, as well as light industry. Then they connected these places with the most beautiful trains that spanned the countryside so no one was isolated and everyone could visit these beautiful places to learn about truth and joy.
Soon everyone wanted to live like this- growing their own food, making the things they liked to make and trading them with friends and relatives. Absolutely everyone wanted to stop paying bills for oil and food and to start waking up each day and drinking in the beauty of their children and the light filtering in through the trees. So step by step they began the transformation. Changing their homes to use sun wind and geothermal heating and power, and whenever new ones were built they used the best methods for gridless regenerative communities.
And that’s how the first earth ships were built, and how the people living on the land joined the machine people to create a culture that keeps our eyes open to what is really beautiful. (This is my best ending, anything to add?)
I was so unhappy and unsatisfied with my life, and it was so obvious, a couple of friends took me aside one day and said, look, we think you are depressed. And this was their advice: Don’t quit your job, don’t get divorced and don’t move out of the country.
Go to your doctor, and get some help. And what do you think she said? Try these meds for 6 weeks and see how it goes. Wow, that’s better, and it’s legal! On my follow-up appointment, I was told I’d be on these serotonin inhibitors for at least 6 months if not longer.
But I really didn’t believe in taking prescription drugs that altered my brain, because I was sure I could do it naturally, with yoga.
Backing up a little… when I was young I wanted to be an artist, actress and writer, and my mother thought I should be a dental technician. She didn’t doubt my talent, she just thought it was more practical. But I wasn’t going to be shifted, I went to university and took English and Theatre, with Anthropology mixed in for good measure.
Inside though, what I really believed, was that my true gifts and talents were not valuable or appreciated in the world.
Summer jobs were slim pickings, and I ended up running a small student business cleaning windows and doing lawn work which made me pretty good money. I liked the work, it was satisfying to see the gleaming windows and perfectly trimmed lawns. But I have always been someone who thinks big, and I like to help people. (And I also wanted to show everyone just how amazing I really was.)
Not to mention, what if this could make me a whack of money too? So I worked really hard, I became a great window cleaner and I pioneered organic lawn maintenance in my neighborhood. As the business expanded I learned tons about customer satisfaction, systems and organization. Strangely though, the bigger my business got, the unhappier I was.
People thought I was successful, and I liked it- but really I was miserable.
I’ll never forget the shift. I was at a family reunion, and I was making a good impression with everyone. I was talking a good game and lapping up the favourable attention. Then I happened to glance up at my brother. He had on his ‘deer in the headlights’ look, and I got the sudden feeling that he was unhappy and that he was struggling to figure out just what he was doing with his life.
That’s when I realized I was a complete fraud. I knew I wasn’t doing what made me happy and that I was doing it to impress other people. It was a long slippery slope from there to the bottom. It got so that I’d get my crews going in the morning, and more often than not sleep on the sofa afterwards. I wanted to quit, but my life partner was in university, and his exact words were always “don’t sell the family farm”.
I was unhappy in my job, my life partner didn’t support me, and I felt completely stuck.
And the advice of the experts was, here, take these meds, and don’t quit your job, don’t leave your husband, and don’t leave the country. Well, I don’t know about you, but I think my brain was trying to tell me something! It was saying “hey! wake up! You’re not happy, better do something ’cause I’m getting sick!” And what my heart was yearning for was to learn how to relieve my suffering and be free.
I had been taking yoga for years, I even practiced daily, but I wanted more. The universe offered this in the form of a teacher of martial arts, yoga, dance and energy healing. I sold the business, left my husband, and moved to Saltspring Island B.C, to learn from him- basically, I did exactly what they told me not to do.
Taking a leap of faith I chose a life path searching for joy.
I can’t say it’s been easy, I can’t even say it’s been all joyful. But I must say, I am really glad I’m not still running that cleaning business and married to that guy. Really, really, glad that I have undertaken the journey towards what makes me truly joyous without compromise.
I found this system that works better than any other kind ever did. Yoga has always given me a means to stay tuned into myself, but I had been doing yoga for over 10 years and still ended up deeply unhappy. There are many different types of yoga, and through the years I tried most of them. It was all part of my journey, but when I discovered ‘Yoga from the Inside’ it took me farther than anything else, and I really began to make progress.
And now you can learn this too, because I’ll show you how. This yoga is centered around your breath. There is no other form of yoga that goes quite as deeply into this step, and it is the key. Some call it vini-yoga, and it translates into ‘yoga for each individual’ . Since the focus on the breath is central, it doesn’t matter if you are flexible or not, have injuries or illness, or, on the other hand, are at the peak of fitness.
For every person there is a possibility for a completely unique yoga which suits you perfectly!
Because we are each different, and yoga should be enjoyable. There should be no strain or stress, and it should be safe to do. The results are immediate, yet the journey never stops. You will learn how to do yoga practice on your own, and move forward at your own pace. And from this develop a connection to the Joy Core: strength in your physical body, and faith in your spirit body.
Please contact me to book a personal Joy Core Exploration- there is no obligation, and it’s free of charge.
I only have 6 spots per month in my schedule available for these sessions, so book now so you can get started right away: tapping into the limitless potential you have to be living the way you truly desire. Right now.