Barrie's Blog

The Path of Reunion

Jun 18, 2018

Here's a thought: Yoga is about returning to oneself in this deepest sense. During most of our day, our awareness and attention is likely (and necessarily) focused outward on actions, tasks, conversations. In yoga, we turn our awareness back into ourselves. The first thing we do in class is sit, close our eyes, and become aware of our breathing. We start to turn our attention inside.

During practice, through consciously moving the body and engaging with the breath, we deepen this inner connection.
Consider how your yoga practice offers you a conduit back to yourself. Through breath, attention, kinesthetic and energetic awareness, the practice brings us home to ourselves again and again.

As we forge the pathway of return, we might recognize how far we’ve allowed ourselves to depart. Our relationship with ourselves might feel long forgotten. Our inner being might seem distant and far away since we last took the time to connect within.

In those moments, it can be helpful to remind...

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Perfectly Imperfect

Jun 18, 2018

So, the other day I had the first of several photo shoots for my forthcoming book.

How many of the poses I did that day were perfect?
Uhh, none.

And, how many were completely and undeniably perfect?
Well, all of them.

The truth is, I’ll NEVER do a PERFECT asana.

Yet, truthfully, how could my asana be ANYTHING BUT pure perfection?

Just as I was mulling this over (because its something I’ve been thinking about for only, say, 20 years now), THIS shows up in the comments of my program (written by a student, of course):

"You are neither good enough nor not good enough. An apple seed is neither good enough nor not good enough, it simply is in the process of becoming an apple, and then falling from its tree, and then transforming yet again to become food for the earth and maybe even the tree itself. And yet we could never say of a seed that it is not whole because it is not yet an apple, nor could we call a rotting apple imperfect. It just wouldn't make sense. And so you are...

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Being and Becoming

Jun 07, 2018

 

Some teachers will tell you that yoga is not a path, that it’s a journey and not a destination. That it’s simply about being present to what is.

I partially agree with this. Yoga IS a way of BEING with ourselves, a practice of inner attention, a way of seeing and responding to what ‘is’, with a stance of compassion and unconditional self-acceptance. Yoga IS in the things we do that we call yoga. Yoga IS the practices.

But it’s more than that, because JUST that can feel aimless and undirected. And, for me, the gifts of yoga are cumulative and progressive.

Yoga is also a process of BECOMING. It’s a path we travel. Yoga sets us on a clear trajectory toward inner expansion, freedom, and greater consciousness in every part of our lives.

Yoga has a goal. And that goal is awakening to the fullness of our inner being and, from that experience, becoming more benevolent human beings.

Isn’t it the case that over time (even after a single class)...

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Listen...

May 31, 2018

There’s always a moment on retreat where a palpable shift happens. I go from being like a butterfly flitting about from flower to flower to being more like an eagle perched on a branch, quiet and focused. 

When my mind finally relinquishes its attachment to its usual preoccupations an expansive inner horizon opens up. I’m free, untethered from the pull of my thoughts. I tap into a tremendous sense of peace, expanded perspective, and vast possibility, as if I hold the fullness of the sky inside myself. 

It feels at once like an extravagant and luxurious gift to myself, and at the same time like the most basic, necessary nourishment for my soul. 

Isn't it true, that
Once you’ve bathed in the sweet waters of inner stillness, 
Once you’ve heard the voice that speaks without words, 
Once you’ve tapped into the awareness that exists beyond what your mind tells you, 

You recognize that this, and only this, is the...

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Your Yoga Renaissance

May 22, 2018

 

In a workshop this past weekend, longtime teacher and author Richard Rosen said something that echoed my thoughts on about longevity in yoga (I’m paraphrasing here):

Progress in yoga is not linear. This is especially important to remember as we continue over time. We might go from a to b to c, then back to a, and even find ourselves at minus a.  The important thing to remember is that this is natural. Plateaus in yoga and even times when we seem to regress in our practice are to be expected. Furthermore, these are usually positive because it means we are shedding old patterns that no longer serve us, and with that have the opportunity to discover new possibilities for our practice.

I would add:

Whether you are at point a, b, c or minus a, know that ALL of these places can be equally as interesting, rewarding and hold the same rich possibility for growth.

In many ways, continuing in yoga is simply about responding to what is. And ‘what...

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11 Ways Yoga Teachers Sell Themselves Short: Don't Spend Another Dime on Yoga Teacher Training or Continuing Ed Until You Read This!

May 10, 2018

 

Before you enroll in another yoga training or professional development program, make sure you’ve checked off all these boxes:

1. Confirm that your teacher is available and happy to offer you personal guidance and one-on-one support during the length of the training, whether in person or by distance.

2. Check out your teachers’ teachers, know whom they’ve studied with. Consider it a red flag if the faculty of your training does NOT willingly and openly share the history and background of their own learning. 

3. Make sure that your teachers are also continuing students of yoga themselves, and that they are committed to their own ongoing and active development as a teacher.

4. Join a program that promotes an ongoing, supportive, and respectful community gathered around yoga practice and study, not just the business of teaching yoga. 

5. Find a teacher who lives their yoga, who has plumbed the depths of their own experience through internal practices...

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Moving Forward: How Do you Know If You're Making Progress in Yoga?

May 10, 2018

 

I welcome and celebrate forward movement in yoga. Like melted snow rocking its descent down the mountainside, yoga is a dynamic journey with purpose, direction, and flow. It’s a continual unfolding of the truth inside.

Without the momentum of moving toward greater levels of authenticity, freedom and independent happiness, we’re likely to feel that we’re just spinning our wheels in yoga practice (and teaching).

We crave results, signposts that tell us our practice is actually working for us in the tried and true arena of REAL LIFE.

It’s the gifts of our practice that propel us forward.

Greater consciousness in relationships is rewarding. 
Purposeful living is invigorating. Shedding limiting habits of mind generates power. Naturally expressing kindness, respect and generosity toward others is deeply satisfying.

How do we ensure that these kinds of shifts happen regularly and consistently? How do we keep moving forward in yoga?

It’s worth...

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7 Reasons *Not* to Choose Our Small Group Retreat This Summer (Yes, You Read That Right):

May 04, 2018

 

Was it just a coincidence that I (unknowingly) scheduled my teachers’ retreat at the same time that Wanderlust comes to Quebec? Maybe. 

Or it might be the universe’s clever way of inviting me to share what I believe to be the differences between a yoga music festival and our small group intensive. 

 

Unfortunately, you can’t attend both. That’s why I have included 7 reasons you may want to choose Wanderlust and forego our intimate intensive planned at the same time… and 7 reasons you may be better served by attending our intimate, sacred and nature-based retreat. The choice is always — of course — yours. 

7 REASONS TO CHOOSE WANDERLUST
1. To be in a high-energy, action-oriented scene

2. It can be really fun way to spend the weekend with your yoga buddies

3. To practice with cool lighting, awesome playlists and see some impressive asana demos

4. For making connections

5. You get to try out different...

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πŸŒ€Let's Talk About Twists πŸŒ€

Apr 25, 2018

 

Okay, I finally can talk about Spring without feeling like a fraud. Here in Southern Quebec, it is now officially warm enough, the earth thawed out enough, to call it Spring. The birds are singing, the fiddleheads are ripe, my 3-week cleanse feels easier, and I'm even starting to consider changing over my closet.

It's time to talk about spinal twists.

Although twists are not necessarily “big” poses, don’t be fooled. Even though sometimes it might feel like not much is happening, they are deeply detoxifying, rejuvenating and stimulating. Twists are powerful and fortifying not only for the spine but for the organs as well. After a good twisting practice you should feel lighter.

Twists are the perfect spring cleaning poses.

Here are some pointers for working deeper in twists and feeling great in your back after:

I'll start by addressing the perennial (or at least very common) question about spinal twists.

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QUESTION: Should I square my hips...

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πŸ¦ƒOn Not Letting The Turkeys Get You Down πŸ¦ƒ

Apr 06, 2018

 

I’ve loved this mug ever since the stationery-store wandering days of my youth.

Where I live now we have real turkeys. Wild ones. While they have their own charm, there’s no denying their clumsiness. They’re big, heavy, and slow, really awkward fliers.

We all know what its like to be held down by the turkeys that show up in our own lives everyday. They’re the little annoyances that nag us, snags that need untangling, and misunderstandings that need to be clarified. They’re the myriad frustrations that tighten our jaws, hunch our shoulders, restrict our breathing, and contract our energy.

And of course, there are also the inner turkeys that sabotage our freedom and hold us down. The habits, foods, even relationships that no longer serve the forward movement of our lives.

This poor elephant seems to have surrendered and accepted the reality of his situation.

But we know that isn’t the only option. Yes, letting go and releasing the weight of...

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