Tag: betterment

Hot Yoga: First Step

Although I’ve been practising hatha yoga for a few years, my relationship just got serious.


Unlimited hot yoga, you say?!?

I’ve committed to one month of unlimited hot yoga. I’ve already started sweating just thinking about the commitment this represents (and potential wasted dollars if I don’t follow through). Pressure cooker!

In order to take full advantage of this membership, I’ve decided to pre-register to a few classes this week. There’s nothing like putting something in your schedule in order to carve out time to get it done. I’m also writing about it because, well, if you put it out there, people will ask you. I’ve decided that when it comes to my physical health, just as with other aspects of my well-being, it’s time to take mindful action.

For some, a team sport would be the best choice for exercise and present awareness. For an introvert like me, yoga is the best group-activity-that-does-not-require-socializing-or-competition. Essentially, it meets my needs for stillness, body awareness and self-care. My other discipline, dance, fulfills a completely different emotional and social need. Right now, my life needs a bit of dance and a LOT of yoga.

My first experience with hot room was an adaptation. The room was full of alone-together people. In that regard, I fit right in! The heat was another story. As I lay in savasana, waiting for my quirky zen instructor (picture a hipster buddha with a kind smile and a laughing voice), I felt my face tingle as though I was on the beach. Except the beach was less like warm sand and a lot like my hard, damp bathroom floor. I was sweating. It was going to be a long class. It turned out the pace of yin suited me perfectly. It’s a good thing because all my focus was on regulating my body temperature and listening to my body, in order to ensure I was not overdoing it.

Source: unknown

Source: unknown

Another observation was that I was the curviest person there and my dance fit days were a distant memory. I could compare myself or I could turn my gaze inward. I chose to be there for myself and leave judgment. What? I couldn’t bend this way anymore? Hmm. Oh wait, what is happening? I was learning about my today-limits. I was leaning about my today-best. I was learning to relax into poses in a way that was different from other yin classes. I learned to recenter myself and take the inventory of my own journey.

I’ve heard so much about the benefits of hot yoga, but I think that with any physical activity, fitness or meditation, personal experience is the surest way to *knowing* yourself. You may think about an experience, you may have read the figures and studies, but what is it like for you? Present awareness is key.

I’ll be posting updates on my journey, as I learn about my body and about the practice.

How will you challenge your mind-body-heart? What will you commit to for your well-being?

Lightworkers – Lanterns In The Dark

Lightworkers have a responsibility to hold a lantern in the dark.

“We’re not meant to live in a righteous, isolated group of enlightened or aware people and leave everyone else in darkness without tools.”

I’m paraphrasing my reiki instructor. This is how I heard her explanation of professional responsibility as reiki practitioners and more globally, as healers. I suppose it’s akin to the Robert Baden-Powell quote: “Leave this world a little better than you found it.”

This teaching has resonated with me greatly when completing my second level of reiki this past weekend. Why would we surround ourselves with people who do not need our help?

What is the point of service, if not to assist, through our gifts and abilities?

I’ve wrestled with the idea of not living my purpose as my career, and of being in places that feel so “wrong” to me. To a highly sensitive person (HSP) like me, may environments feel like an assault to the senses.  (SIDEBAR: If you think HSPs aren’t real, look it up as they comprise about 20% of the population. We’re real and our sensitivity is a gift!) I’ve been seeking peaceful and loving relationships, while being confronted with complicated and sometimes even toxic ones.  I’ve had, as many folks do, my challenges with my family as with friendships and workplaces. It’s happen to me so often that I’ve felt out of place, wishing to just find the “right” environment that would allow me to blossom and just be. I’ve been looking for an everlasting sunshine.


Source: Elley Ray

As it turns out, flowers and plants grow in dirt. Funny enough, this analogy didn’t occur to me, despite my hardcore gardening habits since I’ve become a home owner. Flowers and greenery add colour to any landscape and they tend to brighten up most people’s day. Guess what flowers and plants also need? Water. That’s right. Sometimes, it’s got to rain.


I’ve come to realize, as this lesson is being hammered home, that I can embrace my unique set of abilities and my sensitivity, and I can be proud of how far I’ve come. I can continue to grow and should do so for my own well-being. I can love who I am and accept where I am on my path and still hope for growth. I can be excited about what I learn. I am entitled to healthy retreats. By all means, when I need to self-care, I do so – finally, guilt-free!

However, it’s important to remind myself never to become righteous or condescending (even in my head! That darn voice…). I mustn’t make the mistake of thinking that my path is any wiser or better than anyone else’s. A solution for me, as obvious as it may seem, may not be one suited for another. Everyone has a story.

I shouldn’t hope to live in seclusion, protected from “the others”. My growth was helped by so many people and experiences who must have smiled, in understanding, at my process.

We aren’t islands or “monks on mountains“… As we all share the Earth, we should share our resources, literal and figurative.

I wanted to share this insight with you because it ties in nicely with the spirit of this blog; it’s storytelling and sharing from an honest, heart-centred place. And so it is… hoping to be shielded from the world through the quest for enlightenment or through intentional living is fruitless. Wishing to be saved from “this place” by “becoming better” isn’t going to lead anywhere either. And what would be the point of a race to “awareness” and “understanding”, especially if it meant leaving our brothers and sisters permanently behind?

stock image of a lanternIt is one of the greatest responsibilities to work in service or in healing of any kind. I believe when one has mastered a skill or discovered a great treasure, one has the duty to share it. Besides, it’s impossible to keep it to yourself without extinguishing it. It’s a little bit like holding a lantern in the dark. If you hold it up, you help others find their own way. If you try to hold it tightly, either you get burned or you snuff it out.

This simple teaching has helped me integrate, in yet a different manner, that in order to grow, we need to do so while facing challenges. Initially, we’re in the dark and we’re digging through dirt – often of our own making. We can curse the dirt, or we can be grateful for what it feeds us: opportunities to morph and grow. We soak up the sun when it’s in our sky, because it’s going to rain. And when it does, we drink it up and we’re our most beautiful, authentic selves. Someone needs to see you shine. Someone needs to see the rays of sunshine through the droplets on leaves and petals.

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