Namaste: you hear this word often spoken at the beginning and at the end of a yoga class. But what does “Namaste” mean?
Namaste (pronounced nah-mah-STAY) is an ancient Sanskrit word used as a salutation. Its literal meaning is “I bow to you,” but it’s often translated as “I honour the Spirit in you which is also in me” or “Your Spirit and my Spirit are one.”
The word Namaste recognizes that, though we’re all unique and individual human beings, we’re all part of a greater universal essence. Just like snowflakes: all are made of snow, but each one has its own unique design.
Namaste is not only a mantra (word or expression) denoting honour; it is also a mudra – a hand posture. Placing your hands in prayer at your heart is a sign of respect, humility and gratitude. When you combine the mantra, the word Namaste, with the prayer mudra, hands together at the heart, the symbolism and energy is amplified.
So Namaste is more than just a word used when we do yoga. It’s a vibration of respect and honour you bestow on yourself and others.
Ancient Sanskrit Blessing:
“I honour the place in you where Spirit lives. I honour the place in you which is of Love, of Truth, of Wisdom, of Light, of Peace. When you are in that place in you and I am in that place in me, then we are one.”
Staying Centred in Times of Change
Many people struggle with change. And with everything going on in the world right now, you may be feeling a sense of intense discomfort. However, change doesn’t need to destablize you.
During times of change and transition, it’s important to remember to take the time to centre yourself. This means allowing your focus to move inward and to be present with yourself in any given moment. Sit comfortably. Close your eyes. Take a conscious breath. Experience the sensations you’re feeling in your body in this moment. Then let your awareness remain with your present moment experience exactly as it is, whatever it is, for a few breaths. Slowly open your eyes. Take another conscious breath.
The more you practice finding your centre, the easier it becomes to stay centred in times of change.
Remember: Change is inevitable. Struggle is an option.
Staying centred makes change easier to deal with.
Is your glass half full?
Science and the medical community are catching up to what yogis and traditional healers have been saying for centuries: our thoughts and general state of mind have a direct impact on our overall health.
However, thinking positive thoughts, seeing the glass half full (rather than half empty), or looking for the silver lining is easier said than done. The most difficult part is first noticing our thoughts and catching ourselves in the negativity. Only once we are aware of our thoughts can we then work on choosing positive thoughts. Yes, I did say choosing.
Our thoughts are usually based on old perspectives of experiences we had, usually as a child. We carry those perspectives, hold on to them, and create our adult lives based on those experiences. But, as adults, we have the ability to choose better for ourselves.
Take a moment during the day to stop and listen to the dialogue in your head. That’s the ego mind. If you listen, you’ll likely notice that most of your thoughts are more negative than positive (complaining, judging, criticising, etc.). Make a conscious decision in that moment to flip just one of those negative and self-limiting thoughts into a positive statement.
Become aware! The more you catch yourself in a negative thought pattern and consciously choose to shift it in the moment, over time and with practice, you’ll notice that you’ll be a “glass half full” kind of person.
Is your vibrational “tuner” set to what you really want?
There are a number of Universal Laws that make the world go ’round, but the one you may have heard of the most is the Law of Attraction.
Words, thoughts, feelings and emotions all have vibration, but it’s our feelings and emotions that are our internal vibrational “tuners;” they broadcast (send out) and receive energy most strongly. Think of when you listen to the radio. If you want to listen to rock music, but your radio tuner is set to 580 AM, you’ll be listening to talk radio. We work the same way on an energetic level.
If you’ve ever used affirmations and wondered why they weren’t working for you, it’s likely because your “tuner” was set to the wrong frequency. You can’t generate abundance or prosperity if you don’t feel abundant or prosperous; you can’t draw a loving relationship to you if you don’t feel loving toward yourself. You know the expression: misery loves company. That’s because when you are in a negative state of mind, you will attract others who are in the same vibration.
You are always broadcasting and receiving energy regardless of whether you’re conscious of it or not. What you are experiencing in life is a direct reflection of how you feel. Is your internal vibrational tuner set to what you really want?
If you want to learn more about the Law of Attraction or know how to better manage your energetic body, contact Christie for a coaching session, a personalized energy workshop, or a Reiki treatment.
Therapeutic Yoga is Self-Care
In times of stress, injury or illness, people may feel that they don’t have the energy or strength to do yoga. But it’s in these times that yoga can be most helpful, especially Therapeutic Yoga.
Therapeutic Yoga includes a number of different practices that support the body and mind to heal from and cope with injury, illness, trauma or other physical and mental-emotional stress. Somatic movements, restorative poses, deep tissue release, breathing techniques and visualizations are just a few ways Therapeutic Yoga can help in times of crisis.
The various styles and components of Therapeutic Yoga allow a person to be supported based on their immediate needs depending on strength, physical ability, level of pain, or other symptoms, and is a complementary practice to other treatment or therapy. It's an ideal practice to help individuals heal from physical injuries, deal with various illnesses (cancer, MS, arthritis, etc.), and cope with mental health illness (depression, anxiety, PTSD, etc.).
Therapeutic Yoga can help you:
* relieve fear, anxiety and depression related to your illness, injury or trauma;
* sleep better;
* stimulate your body’s natural immune system to support healing; and
* gain a sense of self-empowerment in times of crisis and uncertainty.
“I took Therapeutic Yoga classes with Christie after each of my chemotherapy treatments. The combination of gentle movement, breathing techniques and relaxation helped me to manage side effects, sleep better and heal quicker.”
Christie specializes in providing personalized private Therapeutic Yoga classes to support individuals during and post treatment/therapy. All private classes are designed and adapted to the client’s specific needs. Contact Christie to discuss your therapeutic needs. Please consult with your doctor or other healthcare provider before undertaking any activity, including yoga.
Health begins in the energetic body
The last place that illness and dis-ease manifest is in the physical body. It all begins in the energetic body. However, most people are too busy worrying, stressing out, burning out, and ignoring how they feel to notice the state of their health until they actually get sick.
There are many factors that affect our health. Of course, we all know that diet, exercise and a good night’s sleep impact our well-being; but did you know that your mindset and outlook on life, how you deal with personal issues, and even your job satisfaction can play a huge role in your overall health?
Though our energetic health may not be as tangible as our physical health, it is just as important! There are a number of things you can do to cleanse your energetic body and improve your overall health. Below are just a few examples.
* Practice abdominal breathing
* Reduce stress
* Deal with personal issues
* Experience gratitude and appreciation
Are you ready to change your “negative” habit?
People often tell me that they find it difficult to change their negative thoughts into positive ones. My response, which many people don’t like to hear, is that your negative disposition, your negative mindset, is actually a habit.
The only way you can change any habit is by being conscious and aware of it. After that, it's a matter of time, effort, practice and patience. Habits are created over time; habits can be changed over time.
The first step to changing your “negative” habit is to become conscious of your thoughts and thought patterns. We have approximately 60,000 thoughts each day and, if you start to pay attention to them, you’ll notice they will tend to be negative in tone. When we become aware of our thoughts we can then make a conscious effort to shift the negative into positive.
In his book Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl explains that the last of our human freedoms is our ability to choose our attitude. We actually choose our thoughts, our perception and our feelings! The question then becomes: are you choosing consciously or by default (habit)?
An experience is neither negative nor positive in its essence. It’s our perception of our experience that we label as “positive” or “negative”. Therefore, it’s our perception of our experience (not the experience itself!) that determines whether we’re having a “good day” or a “bad day”. It’s based on our perception that we then decide how we feel in any given moment or situation. So, how you feel, in fact, has nothing to do with what someone else did or said to you, or something that happened. You decide how you feel. The problem is that we’re caught up in a pattern, a habit, of negativity and habits are difficult to change. Difficult, but not impossible.
There are three simple steps you can take to help break the habit of negativity. But, keep in mind that simple doesn’t mean easy…
Remember that it’s not about denying your reality and pretending that everything is perfect. It’s about choosing your state of mind and how you feel. With time, effort, practice, patience and mindfulness, you’ll create the new habit of choosing your feelings and outlook in each and every moment.
Energy healing through cards
There are many paths that lead to energetic healing and spiritual wellness. Reiki, yoga, meditation, and life coaching are just a few examples. But did you know that card readings can also be part of energy healing?
Most people think of oracle and tarot cards as fortune-telling parlour games. However, card-reading sessions provide gentle and insightful guidance that can help you better understand issues and patterns in your life.
Traditionally, tarot cards are based on an ancient 78-card system that describes a storyline which includes a look at the “shadow” part of life, the part of one’s life that is hidden from view. Over time tarot has become feared through negative and scary depictions of cards like “Death” or “The Hanged Man”. However, tarot cards are simply a representation of various experiences of life. Oracles cards are different from tarot cards. Oracle cards tend to focus on a theme, such as life purpose or relationships, or may even be based on a particular realm, such as angels or fairies.
A reading can be as simple as pulling one card, or as complex as a multiple card or multiple deck reading. A card-reading session is intended to uplift, encourage, support and guide you through a particular life situation or event, leaving you feeling empowered and inspired.
Christie is very happy to now offer card-reading sessions to the public! She has been reading cards for well over 20 years in a mainly informal setting, for friends and family, but her clientele has been steadily expanding since 2013. She has experience working with various decks ranging from traditional tarot to angel and fairy tarot cards, as well as a wide variety of oracle decks related to the angels, the elemental realms, and other themes.
Christie’s card-reading sessions are available by 30-minute and 60-minute appointments. For an additional charge, you can add a mini (15 minutes) card-reading session to your private yoga class or Reiki treatment.
Contact Christie to book your card-reading session now!
The Benefits of Earthing
When was the last time you walked around outside barefoot?
Our body is made up of energy and our modern lifestyle can throw our energy out of whack. For example, electromagnetic fields (EMFs) caused by electronic devices, environmental pollution and toxins harm our body’s tissues causing inflammation and disease. Even wearing shoes with rubber or plastic soles can impede your overall health.
When our skin comes into direct contact with the ground, the energy brings our body back into a balanced state. Positive ions caused by the disruptive energies around us can damage our body. Negative ions neutralize these effects and help stimulate our body’s natural healing capabilities.
Curl your toes into the grass in your backyard. Sit up against a tree. Walk barefoot along a sandy beach. Remove your gardening gloves and let your fingers play in the earth as you tend to your garden. There are an infinite amount of ways to "earth" so just have fun!
Studies are showing that earthing can reduce stress and muscle tension, improve your mental clarity, and strengthen your immune system. It’s as simple as being barefoot outdoors, even for just a few minutes, on a regular basis.
The Importance of Nose Breathing
Have you ever wondered why we breathe through our nose in yoga class?
Breathing through the nose is actually our natural way of breathing! The nose hairs catch dust, dirt and other impurities, and act as a filter to either cool or warm the breath before it reaches the lungs (depending on the temperature outside).
But there is another very important reason we want to breathe through our nose: It helps to maintain a balance in the oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in our bloodstream. Studies show that when we breathe through our mouth we release carbon dioxide more quickly which makes it more difficult for oxygen to reach the cells in our body. When our body feels that there is a lack in oxygen, the sympathetic aspect of the nervous system is activated putting the body into stress mode (“fight or flight”). Some studies also show a possible correlation between mouth breathing and asthma, high blood pressure, heart disease, and other medical conditions. When mouth breathing is dominant, it can lead to chronic hyperventilation, depleted carbon dioxide levels, reduced blood circulation, and even a build-up of toxins in the body. Nostril breathing, on the other hand, tells the brain, through the use of the olfactory nerves, that it is “safe” keeping the nervous system in its natural rhythm (parasympathetic).
So, breathing in and out through the nose is not just a yoga thing. Turn off your emergency receptors! Nostril breathing increases blood circulation, slows the breath rate, improves over all lung efficiency and capacity, and will keep you healthier in the long run.
Yoga - It's more than just exercise
Numerous studies over the years have looked at the physical health benefits of yoga. But now, the medical community is beginning to more closely examine the benefits of yoga on mental and emotional health.
Yes, doing yoga helps keep the body healthy, strong and flexible. But doing yoga is also now being recognized as an effective tool to help individuals who suffer from various mental illnesses, including anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. It has shown remarkable results when used in conjunction with other treatment programs. Yoga’s approach to mindful movement, its focus on breath, as well as its complementary components of relaxation and meditation, have shown to have a significant effect on one’s mood and emotional well-being.
Without trying to force the body and mind to relax, a well-rounded yoga practice has the ability to help naturally shift the nervous system out of stress mode (sympathetic) and into a relaxation mode (parasympathetic). This is where the inner healing begins, on the physical level as well as mentally and emotionally.
Maintaining your energetic boundaries over the holidays
Have you ever noticed that when you’re around certain people you feel strong, happy and energetic, and around others you feel tired, unhappy and drained? The people whose company we keep have a huge impact on our state of mind and overall well-being.
Often over the holidays we are surrounded by friends and family members who are critical, overly dramatic and negative. It’s hard (impossible, you say!) to avoid the chronic complainers or those who refuse to accept any responsibility for their circumstances. The thing is: you are responsible for maintaining and managing your own energetic boundaries!
There are a number of ways to keep your energy level (and mood) up around others. All that's required, really, is awareness.
Ultimately, we take on an other person's issues because we feel the need to help them or to fix their problem. Maintaining our energetic boundaries doesn’t mean we’re rude or unfeeling. It’s about respecting our energy and feelings, and empowering others to do the same for themselves.
If you have questions on energy practices or would like to learn specific techniques to help you maintain your energetic boundaries, contact Christie to set up an appointment.