Yoga Wisdom

Below is a beautiful article by my beautiful cousin, Judith Windover that I just had to share. Namaste xo

A Day in the Life of a Buddha: Yoga

Dr. Oz recently asked his fans about their experiences with yoga. With almost 40 years of yoga and yogic practices I suddenly realized the vastness of my experiences and was eager to share. It is this experience I share with you here, now.

Even if you are a seasoned yogi or yogini, it is important to remember to start out slow. Learn the absolute basic postures first. Give your body, mind & emotions time to adjust to not only the asanas but to the breathing and many other hidden aspects that take place with each pose.

At best yoga can be the catalyst of a deep inward exploration into expansion of consciousness. At worst it is daily and weekly physical exercise.

Fear creates mental and physical rigidity, that is why it is essential you connect your mind and body to your breath. Vigorous asanas that move you quickly from one pose to the next make this body, mind, breath connection more difficult. Hatha yoga is one of the slowest and most grounding practices, meaning it connects you more deeply to the inner workings of your body and mind through breath. This will become important once you realize yoga is just as much a practice of body consciousness as it is about spirituality and movement.

There is no place for ego in yoga. That said, don’t compare yourself to anyone including yourself. Forget about what the person beside, behind or in front of you is doing. Don’t compare yourself to others. More importantly, don’t compare yourself in what you do today versus what you did yesterday, last week, or even one or two poses ago. Be content with yourself in this moment, and in this moment, and in this moment.

A teacher who constantly instructs you on breath-work, form, and safety is vital to your overall wellbeing and continued practice. Incorrect form, holding your breath, competing with others, and pushing yourself carelessly through poses will only result in rigidity, frustration and possible injury.

Try various yoga practices and styles until you find the one that fits you where you are in the moment. The style of yoga you practice is a reflection of where you are in the moment as well as any and all visible and invisible changes taking place within you. Thus your style of yoga practice will most likely change as you change, thus the reason why Power Yoga worked last month while Hatha Yoga is what you need today or vice versa.

Understand that the human body is a very precise scientific machine with a built-in healing system at cellular level. Each cell in the body contain intelligence, memory, and emotion. Whenever we undergo any type of trauma it is often stored at cellular level away from consciousness and is oftentimes released through particular asanas (poses) at the most inopportune time, the result of which will most likely see you weeping uncontrollably in tears and heaving convulsions. Try not to be embarrassed by this. Rather, accept this as part of the healing process even if you never knew you were in need of healing.

Yoga is meditation in motion, an expansion in consciousness, and is not limited to your hourly practice or the mat. Take everything you learn about yourself, your body, your mind and emotions and practice it in your moment to moment encounters with self and others for the rest of the day.

Yoga is often a catalyst for healing and deep spiritual yearning and growth. For this reason you may find yourself wanting to periodically retreat from others, to spend more time in silence with yourself, more often in Nature. At times this may cause you inner conflict, stress and worry because you will perceive yourself as losing interest in and with the world. You may fear there is something wrong with you, but there is not. We often spend our lives vacillating back and forth between doing and being inward and outward. This ebb and flow is natural to living and is a huge part of the spiritual yogic journey. Think of your yoga practice as a guru or teacher who is there to instruct you on how to embrace the moment and yourself in each moment. When you are in the moment you are closest to Oneness. Master not the moment for the moment needs no master. Instead, master yourself in the moment. This is the ultimate goal of Yoga.

Bless you and have a blessed day,
Namaste.
Judith Windover

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Joker & Harley Quinn

The other night I was discussing the 100 Strangers Project with my friend, Simone, who had just returned from a trip to Berlin. She said that she had seen gangs of homeless street kids and their dogs every time she took the subway there and what colourful subjects they would have made for my photo project. I instantly imagined all the unique and eccentric characters walking the streets of the city and fought a strong desire (fuelled by a couple of glasses of wine) to hop on the next Berlin bound plane.

A few days later, however, I spotted a group that looked like the Canadian version of the vagabond gypsies Simone and I had been discussing and I really, really wanted one of them to be my sixth stranger. I approached one guy, my card held out to him, quickly explained the project, then asked if I could take his photo. He looked at me, abruptly said “No”, and turned and walked away. During this exchange, out of the corner of my eye, I had noticed a man watching us, so I thought “What the heck. I’ve got nothing to lose” and approached him instead. He agreed to let me take his photo. Then chuckled and told me that the other man said no because he wasn’t very photogenic. I asked him his name and then his dog’s name. He said he was called Joker and his dog, Harley Quinn, like the comic book characters.

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After chatting with him for a while, I found out that Joker is originally from Ottawa and Harley Quinn, whom he described as Quebecois, is from Montreal. He became her guardian when she was a puppy and they’ve been travelling together for years, crisscrossing  Canada a few times.

Sometimes when I see people and their pets on the street, I feel sort of hopeless, both sad and scared for them. There was something about Joker though, that made me not too worried for him and Harley. A toughness or inner strength maybe? He definitely had the vibe of a survivor.

Part way through our conversation, Harley Quinn lifted her paw and put it in Joker’s hand, staring at him and I could see the powerful bond between the two. Joker and Harley Quinn make such a great team and I really think they’re going to be okay. I wish them all of the luck in the world and I hope they have years of endless adventures together.

Thank you Joker and Harley Quinn for being my sixth strangers. Safe travels.

New Year’s Detox

I LOVE the holiday season and part of the reason I love it so much is that we all have carte blanche to do a little guilt-free binging. Huge boxes of chocolates are lying around, beckoning us as we innocently walk by. Nights on the town, eating, drinking and then eating and drinking some more. And holiday feasts, with second and third helpings and lots of holiday bubbly and holiday wine.

But what happens when January rolls around and you’ve got a depleted bank account and a bulging muffin top?

It’s Detox time.

I found an ultra-healthy recipe a couple of months ago and have been saving it for the January bulges and blues. So, if you want to get back on track fast, blend this for breakfast for a couple of weeks and I guarantee you’ll have your waistline and your energized self back in no time.

2014 Power Detox Smoothie

  • 1/2 bunch parsley
  • 6 kale leaves
  • 1 cucumber, peeled
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 2 organic apples
  • 1 cup blackberries (or blueberries)
  • 1 cup pomegranate juice
  • juice from 1/2 lemon

Blend. Drink. Glow.

detox