March: Satya

satya- (1).jpgI’ve had this post sitting in my drafts for what feels like forever. March was a chaotic month for me and it lasted 5 weeks instead of the usual 4! This month’s focus was Satya- the second of the Yamas in Patanjali’s 8 Limbs of Yoga. Looking at this one has been really difficult this month as it translates to TRUTH or HONESTY.

What is true in your life? Which thoughts are true and which thoughts are fear based or ego driven? How much do we spin stories about what ‘could’ be or what ‘should’ be instead of what is?

For myself, I’ve been looking at satya as more of a mental health practice than a ‘have I told this person the truth’. It’s a really good tool for checking in with your thoughts and seeing where you are telling yourself ‘stories’, and then returning back to the now.

We all have this compass engrained within us to know what our true self would need, it’s about sifting through the bullsh*#@ to find it.

In the end, satya looked like me ‘changing my mind’ a lot. And thats okay. I wrote a post on Instagram about how frustrated I was with the question ‘are you being kind to yourself?’. Sometimes, honesty isn’t exactly kind or nice. Sometimes Its about facing the truth in order to grow and honor your soul.

ON THE MAT SATYA PRACTICE

In order to practice satya when I step on my yoga mat, I’ve been committing myself to completing a full body scan (10-15 minutes) before practice and then after practice. A body scan is where you either sit of lay (but if you are laying don’t fall asleep!) and mentally move through each part of the body, relaxing muscle by muscle and noticing what is going on in that particular part. There is no judgement. Only observation. I start with my toes and slowly work my way up.

Are the toes tense or relaxed? How do the ankles feel? Are the calves resting or active? and so on until you get the crown of your head.

Why complete this? It helps you slow down and connect with the body before asana. It helps you decipher what is true in the body/mind and what is false. Having scoliosis- I tend to feel like my alignment is incredibly uncentered, when truly it isn’t. My mind views my body different than what it is in reality. My right hip is too high. The left side of my ribs are sinking- These are all things I start to think at the beginning of my practice. I notice. Then, when I body scan before Savasana, it is changed into mind awareness. My body is here and it is doing all the work I need it to.

The TRUTH of the body, is that it tries it’s hardest for you every moment. You are here now in this life- feeling and creating feeling. Whether you are chronically ill, suffer from structural or functional disorders or simply have monkey mind- you are here, and that is truth.

OFF THE MAT SATYA PRACTICE

This is the trickier part. Life has a way of providing several paths or ways of seeing things. Sometimes, our mind persuades us to believe things that aren’t true. You can’t do that. You aren’t beautiful. You aren’t worthy. We tell ourselves these stories at different junctions in our lives and they become misleading-so very misleading. Satya is about looking at what is true. Not berating yourself with it- but understanding that in truth there is a bit of peace.

Off the mat, I ask myself ‘Is that true’ and if it is I go on with my day. For all the chatter we have in our minds on the daily, I think its important when a seed of doubt gets planted to ask ‘is that true’? Doubt isn’t very factual- when faced with honesty it either dissipates or you move in an entirely different direction. Whenever a feeling of doubt or insecurity arises trigger yourself to ask ‘is that thought true’, and then move on.

or try to. Sometimes it’s not that simple, we are human after all.

Most of all, enjoy the peace that comes with this practice. I’ve found satya hard but rewarding to focus on. I feel much more grounded in self or whatever concept of self I have.

xx

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Next on my List

I have a big travel list of where I’d like to go in the works all the time. I took this 6 month part time job abroad to accomplish some of my restless wanderlusting goals and dedicate myself to my yoga practice. During the process of finalizing I had a lot of fear crop up in the way of finances- at 23 you’re supposed to be starting your career and looking towards the future. In one particular moment I remember having a meeting at the bank and the accounts person across from me saying “have you started saving for a down payment yet?” My response was “a down payment for what?” He wasn’t so impressed- “A house, of course. If you want to be in your own place by the time your 26 you’ll need to start saving now…big time.”

And here I am. Student loans in tow, not saving for down payment, spending all my money on yoga classes and tourist traps. I don’t know- the future will most definitely be financially interesting, but I’ve learned that no matter what, its always worked out for me financial wise. Always. I’ve always made it WORK. SO why can’t I make it work for what I really love? 

This list is my 6 month no financial fear travel calendar/ list. I will not ‘put a trip on hold’ because of money- there is always a way to make it work- you just have to work it. 2017 is my year baby!

JANUARY

Luxembourg:

IMG_5763.jpgluxlife.jpgSettling in Luxembourg has taken some time and I’ve tried to be as open book as possible with sharing all the ups and downs. And there have been many ups and downs! A few months ago, back in Canada, I honestly couldn’t have told you where Luxembourg was on a map. Now I’m living here. It still boggles my mind a bit. I’m so close to everything and the country is absolutely more beautiful than I ever could have dreamed of. Sitting on 3 different plateaus I never realized how beautiful a land formation could be with an old and historical city built upon it.

Trier, Germany:

From Luxembourg, Trier is only an hour train ride away and is Germany’s oldest city. Its an ancient Roman capital that was inhabited a thousand years even before the Romans came along. Its been described to me as the perfect historical day trip- which sounds perfect while I’m settling into Europe.

FEBRUARY

Paris, France:

I think hitting Paris in February is the perfect time- not only because its valentines but it’s also my Mama’s birthday. I think we should meet in Paris- how romantic!

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-MARCH-SAVING MONTH-

APRIL

Amsterdam, Netherlands:

Meeting my parents in Amsterdam for a week of biking & yoga would be a perfect holiday! I get holidays in april & may so these trip will be longer and more thorough. Amsterdam seems like a good relaxing city- walking along canals and visiting museums.PLUS, the tulip festival is in April!!

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MAY

Greece-Anywhere & Everywhere:

May is my birthday month and I plan on making it a big one. I’d like to be in Greece for a week, island hopping, doing yoga and getting salt water cured. I’d love to get the history of Athens mixed with the relaxation of a good ol’ blue and white beach. 24 couldn’t start any better in my opinion.

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-JUNE-SAVING MONTH-

JULY

This is my big one. My big dream. My most expensive. I’d like to finish these 6 months with a yoga retreat in Bali. Its all to be decided…to be dreamed of more…but its on my list and I can’t seem to get it out of my mind.

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Those are all my MUSTS but I do have a list of optionals OF COURSE, depending on cost:

  • Rome, Italy
  • Barcelona, Spain
  • Florence, Italy
  • Lisbon, Portugal
  • Provence, France
  • South Africa
  • Marrakech, Morocco
  • Croatia
  • Goa, India (but thats big dreamin’)

Where else shall I go and write about? What are some of your best travels?

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**Most of these inspiring images are not mine.

Trust

I’ve always felt like a fairly brave person.Not brave as in, no fear & solid as stone, but brave as in willing to walk through the fire and get what needs to be done, done. The cross-over to this year is teaching me that bravery is actually useless & harmful. Trust is much harder than bravery… Why? Because it’s a hell of a lot harder to trust what you are unsure of than to power through it without feeling the flames.

In bravery we are arrogant, in trust we are humbled.

I felt brave making this move to Europe. I felt I was making the hard choice to move and last month I began to doubt that a lot. Now I see that there is no right or wrong. There is no brave moves- only those that require a lot more trust. I trust that this is neither good nor bad but that it will lead me where I am meant to be. I don’t know that this will all work out and I’m not so fearless as to think that it will be without its hardship. So far I have been shown so much generosity and kindness that it has been overwhelming at times. There have been so many moments when fear creeps in and tells me ‘this is where everything comes crashing down and you return a failure’ and every time there is such a peace after the fear. Such a moment of quiet connection to ‘now’ that I feel humbled enough to trust whatever will come, even if it’s catastrophically horrible.

Yesterday,I went to the airport with my dad to fly to Luxembourg. When we got in the car I was nervous and ready to get it over with. I looked up at the driver to see on his dash board  2 ganesha sculptures. I laughed to myself- it’s meant to be, I’m moving obstacles, I’m making changes, I’m in the right place at my right time. Fast forward- past getting searched at security and a very chaotic Heathrow post New Years- I got on the plane to Luxembourg, nervous and shaking. The plane took off under the most beautiful sunset-a scene I will always remember. The seatbelt sign switched off and I got a gingerale to settle my nervous stomach. Then we hit turbulence. Then more. Then the captain (who kept saying ‘gentlemen welcome to your flight’ and ‘gentlemen please take your seat and fasten your seatbelts’ as if women were non-present on the flight) came on and advised that it was about to get even rockier so to please remain seated. I’ve been on flights with turbulence before but none quite like this. The woman next to me was losing. her. shit. and I found myself looking at her and thinking ‘thats what inside my head has looked like for what feels like my whole life’. I found my grip on my seat loosen and my mind wander to those two ganeshas. I’m not in control. I’m not making changes. I’m not walking through this fire. I am trusting that the obstacles are meant to be there. That they need not be moved by me– that they will move on their own accord when the time is right. I’m trusting it all will be exactly as it is. My insides suddenly didn’t reflect the girl freaking out next to me and neither did my outsides. I found myself grateful to her and her fear and to me and mine. I found myself happy to be beside someone who was entirely in her own experience while I was so entirely within mine. And that is the difference between trust and bravery…

According to J.M Barrie, one of my favourite authors,
“All the world is made of faith, and trust, and pixie dust”

That may sound hokey and too sunshiny / naive to some but I’m starting to believe more in the power of trust…even if it takes me to ugly places where i’m overwhelmed and lonely.It’s all life and that is more empowering than being brave ever will be.

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Surrender to the Difficult 

Peace isn’t easy.

Serenity isn’t easy.

Stillness isn’t easy.

It’s all so flipping hard sometimes. To be present. To be here. To let go of what comes next. It’s hard. You can repeat it 108 times and still be scared. You can repeat it another 108 times and still be lonely. And you can stare at the ceiling with your legs up the wall thinking “give me a sign, any kind of sign” and still nothing comes.

It’s difficult…the trusting. Of yourself. Of the universe. Of your karma. Of your history. Of the connection to it all.
But still we try. We inhale. We exhale. We find space between. And little by little we start to learn what we already knew.
That everything is going to be

Alright.

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