Monday, 24 February 2014

Grandmothers to Grandmothers

Image Source: Grandmothers to Grandmothers
Sherwood Park Yogini, Candice is about to embark on an amazing trip with the Stephen Lewis Foundation to meet with grassroots community groups who work on the frontlines of the AIDS pandemic in Africa!

As part of the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign Candice will see first hand what its like for African Grandmothers who have stepped up to care for millions of orphaned children, sometimes as many as ten to fifteen in one household! 

She will bear witness to the love, courage and resilience that allows these Grandmothers to act as caregivers, leaders and advocates in the survival and education of Africa's children as well as the many challenges they face to do so.

If you, or anyone you know would like to donate Aeroplan points to this worthy cause, it would be much appreciated by Candice, by the Stephen Lewis Foundation, and by our brothers, sisters, grandmothers and grandchildren in Africa.

Candice, best wishes for a healthy, safe,  heart and eye opening journey!  Om Trayambakam!

We look forward to hearing about it when you return!

Thursday, 13 February 2014

The Five Bhavas; Expressions of Love

Sanskrit Valentines, Introduction to Sanskrit Workshop
When we think of how we relate to the Divine, most of us in the west think of just one form of love, something akin to the love of a parent or respected authority figure.

In Yoga there are five very distinct ways of embodying and expressing this love.  They are known as the Five Bhavas.

According to Swami Sivananda:

"There are five kinds of Bhava in Bhakti. They are Shanta, Dasya, Sakhya, Vatsalya and Madhurya Bhavas. These Bhavas or feelings are natural to human beings and so these are easy to practice. Practice whichever Bhava suits your temperament.

In Shanta Bhava, the devotee is Shanta or peaceful. He does not jump and dance. He is not highly emotional. His heart is filled with love and joy. Bhishma was a Shanta Bhakta.

Sri Hanuman was a Dasya Bhakta. He had Dasya Bhava, servant attitude. He served Lord Rama whole-heartedly. He pleased his Master in all possible ways. He found joy and bliss in the service of his Master.

In Sakhya Bhava, God is a friend of the devotee. Arjuna had this Bhava towards Lord Krishna. The devotee moves with the Lord on equal terms. Arjuna and Krishna used to sit, eat, talk and walk together as intimate friends.

In Vatsalya Bhava, the devotee looks upon God as his child. Yasoda had this Bhava with Lord Krishna. There is no fear in this Bhava, because God is your pet child. The devotee serves, feeds, and looks upon God as a mother does in the case of her child.

The last is Madhurya Bhava or Kanta Bhava. This is the highest form of Bhakti. The devotee regards the Lord as his Lover. This was the relation between Radha and Krishna. This is Atma-Samarpana. The lover and the beloved become one. The devotee and God feel one with each other and still maintain a separateness in order to enjoy the bliss of the play of love between them. This is oneness in separation and separation in oneness."

So, which type of Divine Lover are you? 

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Opening the Anahata Chakra

Rose, Candice's Garden Tour, Raja Yoga Summer Camp, 2013

"Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it."

- Rumi, Sufi Mystic

The Heart Centre, or Anahata Chakra, is the main portal through which we relate to and accept ourselves and the world.  It is also considered the main knot in our energetic bodies.

Here are a few simple suggestions for opening the heart:

- Volunteer!  Karma Yoga or helping others, feels good for everyone and breaks down perceived barriers between "us" and "them".

- Sing!  Bhakti Yoga, chanting, singing, dancing, ceremony, arts, crafts and cultivating an connection with the Divine are wonderful ways to release and express pent-up emotions.

- Practice Yoga!  Hatha Yoga moves prana or energy, and shifts feelings of stagnation or contraction.  Energetic vinyasas like Surya Namaskar are great for strengthening the physical heart, and backward bends like Bhujangasana (Cobra), Dhanurasana (Bow), and Chakrasana (Wheel) are considered excellent "heart openers".

- Breathe!  Connecting with your breath is calming for the mind and the nervous system.

- Study the lives of those who live love!  Read the poems of MirabaiRumi, and Hafez.  Celebrate the lives of Jesus, St. Francis of Assissi, Mother Teresa, Mata Amritanandamayi, The 14th Dalai Lama and so many others who live loving-kindness or make a habit of doing small things with great love.

- Stop and smell the roses!  Roses have an exceptionally high vibrational frequency.  Even if you don't have a bottle of precious rose essential oil at home, you can visit your favorite Middle-Eastern grocer and buy some rose water to use instead of commercial facial toner, spread rose jam on your toast, and infuse dried rose petals in your tea.  Or take a trip to your local florist or greenhouse and bury your nose in the most fragrant blossom you can find!

For more inspiration about the Anahata Chakra and more suggestions for exploring your heart, check out this lovely post on the Free People blog.

Monday, 10 February 2014

Reiki for Pets and People Coming to Alberta!

Animal Reiki Classes in Sherwood Park
Do you want to bring more healing into your life?  For your loved ones,
your animals and yourself?    Everyone can learn Reiki!

Reiki is a gentle and powerful form of non-invasive energy healing that relieves stress, promotes relaxation and can enable profound healing on the mental, emotional, physical and spiritual levels.  And animals love it!

Level I & Animal Reiki: The Basics
Saturday, February 15th, 10:00 - 6:00
~ open to all animal lovers ~

Level II & Animal Reiki: Advanced Techniques
Holiday Monday, February 17th, 10:00 - 6:00
~ open to anyone with Reiki Level I or higher in any tradition, who wants to begin working with animals, or to deepen their current connection and practice ~

Level I  $150         Level II  $200        Level I & II  $325

Fees include taxes, certification & a training and resource manual.

Registration and more information at 780-966-1044

Love is About Appreciation


Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Yoga Teachers Training this Saturday at Yoga Within

Krishna and Arjuna, in The Bhagavad Gita
Workshop this weekend:  Yoga and the Bhagavad Gita

This is a continuation of the Yoga Philosophy section of the Yoga Teachers Training Program at Yoga Within, Edmonton.

When: Saturday, February 8, 2014 from noon - 6pm

Students, please feel free to bring your own copy of the Gita so that we can compare translations, and be prepared to discuss the Yamas and Niyamas assignment from our last session.

Considering taking Hatha Yoga Teacher Training?  Find out more about Yoga Within's 200 and 500 hour programs here.

We're baaaack... at Yoga for Today!

Image Source:
After more than three months of repairs following a fire in the building, Yoga for Today in Shewood Park, Alberta has reopened its doors and our classes are back "Om"!

Please join me on Sunday mornings from 9-10:30 am for Hatha Yoga Intermediate.  (Actually, all levels are welcome, just listen to your inner guru and adapt, adjust, accomodate!)

Come check out the new flooring and fireplaces and enjoy the warm and welcoming atmosphere!