Every Wednesday from 20h-21h15 until March 21 I am teaching a Restorative Yoga Class complete with props that have been donated to the American Cathedral of Paris I have already two classes and they were fantastic in front of the alter right inside the Church.
ALL of the proceeds go toward the Environmental Defense Fund, a cause near and dear to my heart.
Stabilizing the climate
EDF's bold plan to curb carbon emissions globally, with solutions that have the greatest impact.
Feeding the world
Strong incentives for farmers, ranchers and fishermen ensure lasting food security.
Protecting our health
Safer household products through chemical policy reform and corporate partnerships.
Sign up in advance: firstname.lastname@example.org
There is a Meditation Class led by Mary Haddad beforehand.
Check out this link for a review of the best yoga mats: http://www.reviews.com/best-yoga-mat/
Here is a little article about what I do and how I love Paris in : Wonday Club
Translated from English...perhaps a little lost in translation.
Photo by Roc Chaliand
What I learned in 2016:
1) In the right place things become effortless.
2) When you are brave, you are rewarded.
3) It is not true what they say about carrying your problems with you wherever you go. We are dynamic beings influnced by our surroundings. Only if you are rigid will you carry the same problems everywhere. But if you are elated by change then surely your delight will be transfered and then reflected back at you. This quote summarizes my stance. "No amount of security is worth the suffering of a mediocre life chained to a routine that has killed your dreams" -Maya Mendoza
3) When you make it a priority to love yourself no matter your weakness, no matter your flaws, no matter your mistakes, your resilience is multiplied and you establish a deep unfettered contentment in your heart that very few people can compromise.
4) As the above becomes more instilled in you, you happily leave behind unbalanced relationships and your standard for the people you will your spend time with is raised.
5) When you no longer concern yourself with things that you used to lose sleep over, instead of tossing and turning you wake to remember the oddity of your dreams.
6) When you raise your standard for healthy, fulfilling relationships you find yourself surrounded by balanced, welcoming, loving relationships and your health improves as a result.
7) When you practice (even if it is not easy at first) creating boundaries for yourself, which sometimes means respectfully saying "no"- you carry less resentment and you increase your self worth.
7) When you let yourself love or desire unabatedly, even when it is unsure, you are lifted into the world of poetry. You should take risks for what you think is great, no matter your fears. If your fear comes true- then write, poetry, bleed words that make you unleash the realness of longing. And to have had such passion in your heart is something you should never regretfully experience.
8) Finally in regards to number 7- Oscar Wilde said it best: "Never love anybody who treats you like you are ordinary".
9) Find someone who allows you to be messy and moody, unpredictable and even a bit contradictory. Because alas you are a human influenced by your past, the stars, planets, the moon and the sun.
10) You cannot force yourself to be happy or healthy, you must find the right circumstances that bring that out in you and rest with palms up and a little smile on your face. You can only softly achieve these things.
11) No matter what anybody advises to you, utimately, the only person who knows what's best for you- is you. Learn to trust your intuition. Learn to trust yourself.
Et voilà. Happy New Year. I hope you have had great lessons this year that have woken you up from your depths and enlivened you despite the tragedies and losses. There are always gifts....may you recognize them.
I want to be entranced. I want to meld and merge into beauty and transcend from all that is mad. I want to be swept away. Like a love hold. Like a locked gaze, under the sheets. So close that I lose my sense of time. And all that which separates me seizes to exist. I want to be captivated. And held in loves arms. I want to become that which I seek. I want to weep all out the sadness and fear and be held in warmth at once. I want the warmth to heal all my wounds and crack my heart wide open, I want to forgive once and for all, and walk in peace. I want to hold my own hand with tenderness. I want there to be a smile lingering always underneath the surface. I want to be entranced.
By love. At last. My own.
And I am. I do.
After many years of searching.
Searching outside myself.
Seeking others to give me something that only I can hold. Only I can maintain.
And so now I dare not expect from anyone this thing I can give to myself.
If someone chooses to, they do so on their own accord.
Willingly. And wholeheartedly.
Half way is suffocating.
But in the end, it is only I who can give wholly and completely.
I ask of no one to join me in this partaking.
I expect nothing and appreciate everything.
Everything given is a lesson in how I can transcend myself.
Elevated and Free.
Like a bird.
Like I was always meant to.
Like we are all meant to.
May you be the thing that you seek.
May you breath into your own soul all the divinity that lies in nature.
The impulse of nature to exist- exists in you.
The thin string on which you are hung is delicate and holy.
It is beyond your comprehension and only within the eye of silence.
It is a sound no words can describe accurately.
It is the sigh of understanding.
The colour blue. The shimmer of gold. A vibration.
At the centre of all that is moving. Endlessly moving.
It is the stillness in the middle.
It is why you must tend to your own awakening.
To awaken beyond the confines of your limits.
That which limits you is keeping you captive.
May you go beyond yourself.
If these words do not speak to you- If they are too intense.
Go on then . I do not ask that you read them.
They are for those who find them of use.
If you fear depth or earnestness, Go on then. Stay only on the surface. It is there that you will be perpetually dissatisfied and full of judgements and ignorance.
May you never know sorrow. Sorrow that digs a cavern of richness to house the delight of joy.
May you always feel free in light.
But if you have had anxiety so wretched and sadness so great that your heart ached, and you wept for it to stop.
Then, you must encircle yourself, as with a woolen sweater on a brisk day.
Encircle yourself with something beyond the silence.
Even the silence will not be enough.
You must give yourself the gift to explore the space that makes you know darkness.
The down talk met with valor.
Because in the darkest moments, even deep breaths are not enough.
Even a quiet mind.
Even positive thinking.
It is only love my dear. Only love that will do the trick.
You must love the one who you see looking back at you.
You must love your flaws. Your ugliness. Your wretched self.
You must love what you have thought was not worth loving. What you question others cannot love.
You must be intrepid, and see things as a whole.
Only in wholeness can you be loving.
Neither half nor intermittent will suffice.
In your depth grows a place that enables you to hold a love so great you could cast it out in every conceivable direction.
And go forward. Not seeking. But being.
Being soft. Being tender. Being raw.
Spilling your guts out to those you love. Unafraid of their reciprocity.
Unafraid of your tender heart. In your tenderness is beauty. In your tenderness there is the courage of real living. Living fully. Moment to moment.
But most of all, be true to yourself. And love for the sake of loving. For the sake of treating yourself to the pleasure of this gift.
Do however demand respect. Demand courtesy.
And if this is lacking. Walk away dear friends.
Walk away not because of dignity alone, but because you seek balance.
Because dignity you have already established. But balance you must constantly tend to.
You can only demand integrity if you yourself have it.
And at last, there are no rules.
You can make it up as you go along. You can find your own right way.
And if you love yourself.
If you respect yourself.
If you know your own worth.
If you know your beauty.
Skin deep and beyond.
The beauty of your own soul, because you have indeed tasted, felt, seen and experienced it for yourself.
Then, you will recover from whatever ails you.
From whatever discomforts you are feeling now.
If at last, you love yourself.
Then, you will always come back to yourself with the tenderness you need.
And you will meet your own needs.
And you will heal.
You will become that which you seek.
You will transcend.
Over and over.
You will be entranced.
I don't want you to think I am suggesting that we can just decide to accept ourselves as an intellectual construct and that we will then be able to experience that indefinitely.
I don't want to pretend it's as simple as deciding or choosing. If we simply could choose to do so, we would have already, unwaveringly.
Our complexity lies in our indecisiveness. In one moment we think yes I do. Yes I can be on my own side. And in the next moment it's an impossibility.
We want to, we want to be happy. But we are mired with fear.
We are confused by our own complexity. We are believing so many things from one moment to the next and sometimes simultaneously we believe conflicting things.
We are so deeply influenced by others telling us- yes we are worthy one minute and no we are not the next. We cannot separate our own opinions from others.
So I am not saying it is easy, or as simple as choosing. But I do believe it is necessary. We cannot flourish otherwise. We cannot use our pain and turn it into growth.
What I am suggesting is that you love your pain. Love your anxiety. Love your loneliness. Love your melancholy. Your unmet desires. Your anguish.
To love is to be patient, to be kind, to give space, and to hold with care.
Do not resist these things. Do not push them away, do not avoid them. Instead, attend to them with a welcoming nature. With an open palm.
And they will transform with your love. You will transform with your love. We must love ourselves into changing. Rather than berating or shaming ourselves to.
It is not easy, it will require our remembrance in each moment- because we will forget and go into our old habits.
So it will feel like work at first- until it isn't anymore. Until we have to remind ourselves less. And then it simply is a thing that exists in us, wavering less.
Then we will know these things called integrity, dignity, patience, kindness and tenderness. And we will extend these lovely things that we have grown inside of ourselves to those who we come into contact with. And they will be inspired by our treasures. The treasure chest of strength we have grown inside of ourselves.
Go on then...soften- moment to moment to that sweet thing of loving thyself. Don't wait for other people to do it for you. For they cannot sustain it for you. We can barely sustain it for ourselves.
But the one thing we can do is remember to extend care to ourselves in our difficult moments- to be loving then- when it is the most difficult to love ourselves. When you question your worth, your abilities, your beauty, your intelligence, your strength.
Go on then...
These words were birthed after this pensive picture was taken at the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.
Sometimes, It is true, just because you can do something it doesn’t mean you should. I stopped doing advanced and deeper forms of asana for about a year. Partly by choice as my relationship with yoga became complex. I resisted the popularity of yoga being merely a physical practice. In an attempt to explore the deeper aspects, and honoring the inner rebel in me who often goes against the grain of what is popular- I stopped doing poses I knew I could do, because I wanted yoga to be more meaningful. I wanted yoga to be a transformation of my mind and not about achieving arm balances that I already knew I could do, or didn’t see much value you.
Somewhere in the middle of this time, another complication to my relationship with asana struck down. For about four intense months my body began to call out to me in mysterious nerve pain and fatigue similar to that of fibromyalgia. I could only occasionally practice because I was so tired all the time and nearly always in pain. I also had a lot of nagging discomforts when I would practice from overstretched ligaments weakened by deep twisting, folds and back bends. So in a way my mysterious pains were the start of letting my ligaments regenerate.
Eventually, and very fortunately, the pain subsided, and by this time my ligaments had healed. When I moved to Paris and taught my first yoga class after very little practicing for month, I was running out of breath as I tried to do a little of the class with the students, I could barely do chaturunga for the first time in years. As I continued to teach I kept instructing to lower from plank slowly into chaturunga with all of the students. Before I knew it I was strong again and because of the break, I wasn’t overstretched. I stopped experiencing the pains of overuse. I no longer practice the same way anymore. I focus on building strength and stability and don’t do every pose just because I can.
Now that my body has recuperated, I occasionally play around with poses that I used to do and am amazed that I can still do them with a little practice. I recognize for me now that the value of doing more advanced postures is to remind myself of my bodies potential and capacity.
I am reminded that doing things like this are a celebration of what I have the skill to do. So while it's true you shouldn’t always do things just because you can, it’s also true that if being able to is combined with being safe- then in fact it can be incredibly empowering. I don't believe in doing yoga every damn day per say. I know that’s bad for business. But, I do believe in meditation every damn day, or a simple yoga practice indeed. These days I have found an appreciation for being playful with postures for the little sake of doing exactly that- being playful...period. It is really as simple as that. Play. Celebrate your beautiful temple of a body that is carrying you around all day long. Do things that make you feel strong and capable and full of potential, if only for that reason alone. I've realized that in fact, it is a good enough reason.
At Paris Yoga Shala.
Come join myself and musician Francisco Martin. He will play live flutes to serenade your mind and body into a deep state of relaxation while I guide you on where to relax and how to experience your internal resources during this 40 minute session of yoga nidra.
The first hour is about learning the benefits of yoga nidra, a little about the subconscious mind and crafting your own personal sankalpa (intention).
Finished off with a deeply therapeutic rest to live music.
Bring a pen and paper and if you can something to cover your eyes. Your brain will relax more with less light.
Here is a sample of what you will experience:
I am holding a donation based class on June 11 at Rue Saint Roche through Affordable Yoga. All proceeds will be going toward Pachamama Allliance.
Why: I have spent the past nine years looking deeply into the human condition, at my own suffering, human behavior, the nature of the human mind, how to illuminate and bring consciousness to what is dark, how to accept what is difficult and how to connect to something greater that resides within. I have studied the Patanjali Yoga Sutras front to back three times, learning to chant the sutras. I have delved into Tantric knowledge and the psychology of the chakras, human behavior, neuroscience, how to work with a brain that is inclined toward the negative, how to be more like a wild animal in regards to stress, how to use the bad, see the good, and understand the subconscious mind.
Through all of that work I found myself going deeper and deeper into the ugliest parts of myself while simultaneously having glimpses of the purest, most profound self-understanding that is beyond what words can accurately describe. One could say that I connected to what is known as a soul, to my own soul. Yet, my naturally flawed mind, neurotic and human would come find me again, knocking at the door to remind me that the pure-awareness I had just touched upon could only exist temporarily in moments of deep quiet. Teachers will tell you the more you do it, the more you will be able to handle conflict with responsiveness, instead of reactivity, and this is indeed true. That you can literally re-wire your brain the more you practice creating positive loops, and this is true too. That you can learn to understand your fears, your hold ups, and embrace the negative, using the negative as a means to transform yourself. While I would agree with all of these things, it is an enormous and never ending amount of work. Once you start, you realize there is always more to do. Once you've understood one thing about yourself, there is always something else just beneath the surface to work on. I gave myself a solid eight years of it. I am glad I did all that work and I would never take it back or reverse it because it gave me the tools that I can use when I need them which is less and less these days, more importantly it has given me the tools I can use to offer to others who need it who ask for my help.
How I teach yoga these days: The way I can help someone is by educating them on what I have studied in an intellectual sense, not by being their guru or spiritual teacher. When I teach yoga, I do of course hope to give someone a peek into something inside of them that is at peace, to find the space of inspiration that exists inside of them. I want to give people this experience. But that is where my spiritual guidance stops. I do not philosophize in class anymore, I will not teach yogic knowledge in my yoga classes now. If you ask me however, I will tell you or share resources with you, so you can go to the right people. When I teach yoga these days, it is largely to teach how to do yoga well, with alignment, with safety with exploration of ones body, to move stuckness, to be in the vehicle that is the body well, and to make the body strong and healthy. This is what I will offer you, but I will not offer you questions that will send you down a neurotic rabbit hole of your values and ethics whilst teaching you asana (postures). I will teach breath and good alignment, I may offer a chant, some mind calming prananyama, or a relaxing embodied relaxation.
The reason is this: Whilst I did all of that self work, my world became incredibly self-focused, I was constantly checking in with myself; how did that make me feel, what was I thinking now, was I acting from fear, or something more wholesome? My self-obsessive micro-world through what I called my yoga practice was perhaps making me more neurotic than I had been before. I cared about how I acted all the time, how I’d handled things, how to do it the best, kindest, most graceful, most fair, most conscious way; was I being reasonable, compassionate, honest, too direct, too forward, too judgmental, lacking generosity, flexibility, etc etc…it was exhausting. I won’t kid you, and say that I don’t still have the habit of asking myself if I could have done it better, but fortunately for my own happiness, less than I used to. I noticed asking myself why I was feeling the way I was feeling, and whether or not I had behaved well, did not make me do life better, and it did not improve the lives of others around substantially enough to make all of that worth it.
My spiritual practice now: Now, I focus on loving myself no matter what, spending time with people where questioning myself is greatly reduced, doing things I love, forgiving myself, being creative, learning new things outside of the world of self-improvement, travel and exploration, and not on question my own behavior all the time, or what kind of practice I can take on to make me a better person. The new form of yoga for me is a yoga where I am focused equally on what is happening around me and in the world and less on how I can do me better. To me the new way of being conscious, is not focusing on myself all of the time, it is expanding my micro-world and extending some concern toward the planet. Pick your area of interest, there are plenty outside of your own self- improvement to work with. I want to wake up to what is happening in the world. Instead of only reading articles about self transformation, I read articles about the environment, and social engagement.
Mastering a handstand is not going to change the world. I have always known that mastering a handstand wasn’t going to give me some magical ability to see the world from a different perspective and change the way I was in the world. As much as it is a nice analogy. Doing yoga, doing meditation, calming the mind, increasing digestion, calming the nervous system, improving circulation in the body in order to feel healthy yes, I believe in yoga for these things. You cannot contribute to the world around you unless you are physically and mentally able. So absolutely do yoga for these reasons. It will open you up to new realities, and you must go deeply into them if you are being called to do that. You must go into it as deeply as your curiosity desires. Like I did, that may take you years. But if you find your world is shrinking, then don't forget to step up and look around you, because in my opinion the new wave of yoga, is a yoga of union with our planet.
The planet needs us more than ever before. We must act, and focus some of our attention on what is outside of us, all around us, what we depend on, what we cannot exist without, what doesn’t have a voice, what needs us to take action. In many spiritual lineages you often here to term “wake up”.
To wake up to your greatness, to wake up to your heart (the spiritual heart is the soul), when I used to hear the term wake up- I felt a disconnect, what did that mean? and how was I supposed to implement that in my daily life? But now I can proudly say “wake up” to our planet who is in need of some attention. Mother Earth, in need of action. To wake up and stop using so much plastic, and to reuse things as much as possible, to create less waste, to purchase things from ethical businesses, to support local farmers, to know where your food is coming from, to eat less meat as difficult as that might be (for me included), to eat organic food as a part of supporting the bees, to plant some milkweed to support the monarchs, to learn about indigenous people who are seeing their land deteriorate in front of their eyes, to ride a bicycle, to get involved in a organization who cares.
To no longer only ask: How can I save myself, how can I make myself the best person I can be? And to turn some of your attention to how you can save the planet, and how you can be the best guest on this planet while you are here, to live lightly and consciously not only for your own micro world but for the ecological system of which you are a part.
Panchamama, you can do their "Awakening the Dreamer Program"
Plastic Pollution Coalition
La Ruche Qui Dit Oui
Save the Bees
Hope to see you June 11th!
All proceeds go to Panchamama.
Hailing from a suburb of Toronto, I moved to the West Coast of Canada in 2004 to study Environmental Science in Victoria, BC. Always passionate about the health of Mother Earth and the health of those who occupied it. I studied yoga in India in 2007 returned to Vancouver in 2008. I taught yoga and worked at one of Vancouver's leading Naturopathic Clinics as a Clinical Associate. I continued to study yoga with some fantastic and respected North American teachers and returned to India for more studies in 2011. Now, I live in Paris, France and teach both group classes and privately. My aim is to bring about improved well-being, in whatever form is required.