Greetings and good wishes for a very special holiday season and a happy new year of 2017!
Reflecting on the winter solstice yesterday, the image that came up was a single candle flame glowing the darkness. Not original, I know, but it signaled to me what might be obvious. These are the days to restore light and find ways to share it -wherever and with whomever I can- by being a kind and compassionate person.
I debated what to say in this last blog post of the year. On the one hand, I have a lot to tell you. At the same time, all my individual goings-on seem quite insignificant in the face of the huge upheavals we’ve experienced this year.
Wherever we stand on the political spectrum or how strongly, I think all of us can agree life on this planet doesn’t feel quite as stable as we might be accustomed to. Many of us feel deeply unsettled, still stunned and in grief at the state of affairs in the US and around the globe. Collectively and personally, we are being called to leave behind what was familiar and comfortable to stake out new and uncharted territory.
I think we are all (or at least I am) searching for ways to find steady ground, whether that is taking up daily actions and communications with the American leadership, staying informed or turning to our local communities for comfort and support.
Nourishing connection has been a great support for me during this last part of the year. I feel renewed gratitude for all the great people I know - teachers, students, healers, sadhana sisters and brothers, and friends. You form an extended, expansive community of like-minded souls I feel blessed to be part of. And I’m genuinely interested in knowing what all of you are up to!
So it’s in this spirit of kinship and connection that I’m writing this end-of-the-year letter.
Year 2016 was a year of big change for me on a professional level. In April 2016, I sold my share of Shri Yoga, the studio I helped to create and co-direct since 2011. I’m still a part of the teaching staff there but I’m no longer involved in the management of the studio.
This shift has freed me up to work on my upcoming book Evolving Your Yoga and its companion workbook. I hope it will be a valuable guide for students of all styles of yoga to deepen, evolve and enrich their practice, as well as expand and integrate the benefits of practice into their lives more fully. I’m excited to dedicate more time to this project in the new year.
In the past several years I’ve become more and more interested in supporting continuing students and new teachers to become more independent in and actively engaged with their practices and the subject of yoga. A vision started to take shape that led gave rise to the idea for the book and my online teaching.
In 2015 I developed The Skilful Yogi, an online mentoring program for yoga teachers. (Skilful only has one ‘l’ in its Canadian spelling). For the past 2 years I’ve led teachers through this 3-month program of guidance in personal practice, study of yoga philosophy and refining their teaching skills. I worked with many wonderful teachers who blossomed with the opportunity to come together and hone their skills in this online format. I hope to expand upon this really valuable form of continuing education and professional development for yoga teachers in the future.
Also last spring, I fulfilled a 20-year dream of travelling to Africa to launch the World Spine Care Yoga Project in Botswana. Co-creator Erin Moon of Vancouver and I worked for 1½ years to create this program without ever meeting face to face! We trained 13 Batswana to teach classes in posture, breathing and mindfulness to spinal care patients at World Spine Care clinics. Thanks to all of you who supported this project. It is thriving and making a difference in the daily lives of many people. The opportunity to share yoga with underserved communities like this is so gratifying. I’m on the lookout for more service projects closer to home in the coming year.
Thank you for all you do to uphold the light in yourself and in your communities. I send you and your loved ones all my best wishes for peace and meaningful connection in the days and weeks ahead.
If independent Practice is something you’re being called to focus on in the new year, I invite you to my free webinar On Wednesday, January 11, 2017. I’ll discuss:
- The top 10 challenges to practice and how to overcome them
- How your practice serves you in your life right now
- How to structure your practice
- What to practice whether you have 15, 30, 60 minutes or more
- Tips that work for getting to the mat and really making practice happen
- And, you’ll create an intention for your practice this year and a personal practice plan to serve you in the weeks and months to come.
My new online course begins on January 23, 2017. It’s called Love Your Practice! and it’s designed to help deepen, reinvigorate and enrich your personal practice through sequences, videos, inquiry, more sequences, more videos, more inquiry …You get the idea. For any of you who know its time to recommit to practice, I highly recommend this course. Based on the feedback I’ve gotten from students, I think you will love it.
For Montreal folks…
We’ll dive right into the New Year with a one-day retreat at Shri Yoga on Monday, January 2.
I’m delighted to announce that beginning January 6, I’ll be teaching a new weekly class on Friday 4:30-6pm at Happy Tree Yoga, Melanie Richards’ sweet and welcoming studio in Westmount, I’ll also be part of the Master Class series there this winter.
And, I’ll be leading more Evolving Your Yoga talks and workshops at studios in the Montreal region.
Meditation 101, my 4-week course designed to help you establish a regular meditation practice, is happening at:
Shri Yoga - Tuesdays, 7:30-9pm in January
Sun & Moon Yoga in Dorval - Thursdays 7:30-8:45pm Thursdays in February