3 Reasons To Give The Gift of Mindfulness This Season

Namaste Christmas

So much of the holiday season is spent hunting for the perfect gift. We shop for it carefully, pondering what the recipient wants most. We select pretty packaging and wrap it up to conceal the treasure within. It’s so easy to get caught up in the consumerism of the season and forget the greatest gift we can give one another is always within our grasp. There are 3 reasons to give the gift of mindfulness this season:

  1. Non-judgment. There is so enough judgment over the holiday season. We send out letters describing our triumphs over the course of the year. We judge our progress against the goals we set. We compare ourselves to the highlight reels presented by others. We sit through family dinners and get to hear all about the merits of our life choices from well-intentioned family members who know far more than we do. The gift of mindfulness is about taking in the moment without judgment. Just take it in and enjoy, without labelling it good or bad.
  2. Curiosity. If you want to see holiday magic, watch it through the eyes of a child. They are full of wonder about all the magic of the season. Between fabled reindeer, elves, and Santa, their eyes are aglow with the mystery of it all. They approach everything with curiosity. This is a true example of mindfulness. Try taking some time to be curious about the people around you instead of allowing yourself to be distracted by twinkling lights. Take the time to explore your family and learn more about them. Try new foods, start new traditions, and see what the season can mean to you.
  3. Your presence is the present. You can spend all day at the mall trying to find the perfect gift. The reality is, what makes whatever you pick out special is that it’s coming from you. Be present and let that be your present to the people you love. The busy work of the holidays will sweep you away in no tie if you let it. Be there for your family and friends and let them enjoy the gift of being with you. Mindfulness is about being there in the moment, so give all kinds of presents with all kinds of presence to the people you hold dear.

There’s nothing wrong with shopping at the mall and there’s no reason to hold off on pretty bows and fancy paper. Just remember when you are hunting for the perfect gift that mindful moments spent enjoying the company of family and friends never fade or go out of style. They might forget who bought the universal remote, but they won’t forget the time you spent being curious, without judgment and making your presence the present. Have a happy, healthy and mindful holiday season and a joyous new year!

Why Retreat?

wendyantje

Retreat is traditionally a military term. It refers to a withdrawal of military forces from battle. This might be a touch dramatic, but the principle still applies in modern times for everyday people. Retreats are an opportunity to withdraw from whatever you are fighting and just “do you”. There are a number of different reasons to retreat.

Sometimes the purpose of retreat is to heal. It’s an opportunity to recover from whatever battle has been waged upon you. You can rest your weary body and safely nurse wounds. It’s possible to recharge and fuel yourself for the next round. You can strengthen your body, mind and heart at a safe distance from the fray, whatever that looks like in your life. You can develop improved resilience for the future. You can come down to the water and satisfy your thirst that has been building.

Other times the purpose of retreat is to gather. In pulling back from the battle field, there’s an ability to assemble with your team. You can enjoy the comfort of fellowship, camaraderie and commune with people who understand what you have been through. There’s a kinship, an almost audible recognition of one soul by another. While your journey is private and personal, there are witnesses to your growth.

In the security of retreat, you can strategize. Through your practice and in meditation, you can find better ways to approach things moving forward. There’s enough quiet to hear yourself think, build a new plan, and imagine things differently. You can learn new skills and techniques that will enhance your ability to weather life’s challenges.

What does that look like in practical terms? What does it look like for you? That’s a personal question. It’s up to you where you park your tank and rest.  What it could look like is the Freedom & Nourishment Ayurveda Yoga & Meditation Retreat Feb. 26,27,28 at Loon Lake , Maple Ridge, currently in it’s 2nd amazing year.

The experience includes ayurveda yoga & meditation classes with Wendy & Antje, fabulous food to nourish your body, and 2 nights accommodation at Loon Lake (a beautiful log cabin) in Maple Ridge.

Details here: http://www.akashaayurveda.com/retreats/
Registration: http://www.akashaayurveda.com/store/reawaken-detoxify-yoga-ayurveda-retreat-feb20-22-2015
Save $50 use coupon code: love50double
Dates: Feb 25/26/27

This is an opportunity to retreat from battle and give yourself a chance to heal.  Gather with others and draw up your new battle plan. Park your tank and come down to the water to drink it all in.  Retreat!

5 Reasons You Should Try Yoga

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On the fence about yoga? There are lots of reasons to try yoga in Abbotsford. If you are looking to increase flexibility, manage stress, practice mindfulness, improve relaxation and build strength, yoga is something that can help. Instead of sitting on the fence, try sitting on a mat. You’ll be glad you did.

  1. Flexibility. Lots of people avoid yoga because they think that it’s only for flexible people. This misconception couldn’t be further from the truth. A regular yoga practice can actually improve flexibility. Besides, yoga is by nature non-competitive. It’s not about who can reach the farthest  or bend the deepest. Your yoga journey is just that – yours. Regular stretching can assist you in reaching your flexibility goals, and maybe even your toes. Your current limitations are nothing to worry about.
  2. Stress Management. One can find enough things to worry about in every day life. Managing stress can be challenging. Stretching safely in the yoga studio can help balance the over-stretching you might be experiencing outside the studio. When you start to feel the ‘pinch’ of conflicting demands, yoga can help you find the release you need. The outside world can bring a lot of pressure, which is why it can be so helpful to decompress.
  3. Increased relaxation. A state of relaxation can be elusive in a fast-paced world. Practicing yoga is carving out time to just breathe. It’s about leaving behind the rush, panic and scramble and taking an hour to just ‘be’.  Inhaling and exhaling are not on your to do list – but they should be! Yoga can help you sink into a state of calm while you sink into both a pose and the moment.
  4. Improved mindfulness. Mindfulness is about being present in the now. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the anxieties of tomorrow and the regrets of yesterday. Practicing yoga allows you to leave these distractions at the door to be fully present and that can be a rarity. So much of the day is spent arriving places that there is never time to actually be present and show up in a meaningful way.  Being presence takes practice, and that’s what yoga is all about. It’s a practice. Yoga is your opportunity to show up for yourself.
  5. Getting stronger. After all, you are all you need to start building strength. The beginning of your yoga journey is about starting where you are with what you have. You can build muscle with just the resistance of your own body weight. Physical strength is just the beginning. Mental strength comes from the improved concentration yoga can help you develop. You will build emotional resilience by committing to your practice and following through on a regular basis. It’s about developing a relationship with yourself.

Becoming more flexible, managing your stress, relaxing, being mindful and stronger are possibilities when you make the choice to invest in yourself. When you decide to stop sitting on the fence and start sitting on a mat, you will be surprised how many ways your life can improve. You will be glad you made the decision to show up – and try yoga in Abbotsford.

Meditation Teacher Training

I’m so crazy excited to announce this program! I’ve been working on it for several months now  & I’m thrilled to announce that I will be offering  my first Meditation Teacher Training in Feb/March 2015 at Parallel Yoga in Abbotsford.   My long term goal is to create a thriving meditation community here in the Fraser Valley.

Course outline:

– benefits of meditation: physical/spiritual/neurological
– understanding of mindfulness meditation
– knowledge if the 4 noble truths & the 8 fold path
– knowledge of the brahma viharas (heart practices) & metta (Lovingkindness) meditation
– knowledge of the 8 limbs of yoga
– in depth knowledge of the yamas & niyamas
– explore the similarities/differences of mindfulness meditation & yogic meditation
– how to develop a sustainable daily meditation practice (for yourself & your students)
– practice teaching mindfulness & metta meditation sessions
– practice teaching yogic meditation sessions
– teaching methodology: how to teach with confidence, class planning, how to assess students needs, ethics of being an awesome teacher

Prerequisite: 200 hr yoga teacher or special permission may be given to advanced students.

Requirements for graduation:

Attend a meditation retreat – I suggest Birken Monastery in Kamloops

Required Reading*:

A Path with Heart – Jack Kornfield
Yoga Sutras of Patanjali – Mukunda Stiles
Lovingkindness – Sharon Salzberg
Against the Stream – Noah Levine
*books are not included with tuition

Suggested Reading:
The Yamas & Niyamas – Deborah Adele
Dharma Punx & Heart of the Revolution – Noah Levine
Meditation for the Love of it – Sally Kempton

Location: Parallel Yoga in Abbotsford

Cost: $695
Hours: 42 (Yoga Alliance Certified)

When:

Feb 27,28 & March 1
March 6,7 & 8
March 13,14, 15

Fridays 7:30 – 9:30pm
Saturdays 9-6
Sunday 1:30 – 5:30

To register contact Kara at info@parallelyoga.ca
Click HERE for online registration

Please feel free to contact me anytime if you have any questions or concerns about the program. wendyweymann@telus.net or 604-850-4799

Love,

Wendy

For the LOVE of Meditation

5 Reasons you should try Meditation

Don’t wait –> MEDITATE

5 Reasons you should try Meditation

All the scientific research is pointing towards one thing: meditation is extremely good for you. If you want to get healthy by reducing stress, anxiety, depression or negativity meditation is a fantastic place to start.  Here are 5 reasons I love meditation:

  1. Reduce anxiety ~ I’ve been anxious since I was a child & meditation has been extremely helpful in helping me manage my anxiety level.  If I take time to meditate every day I’m WAY less anxious & when I miss a few days of meditation I can feel my anxiety start to creep up again.
  2. Get CLEAR ~ should I get a new job?? go on a vacation?? go back to school?? There are always lots of decisions to be made & sometimes it can be really confusing to find the answers.  When you meditate you create the space to get clear on what you REALLY want out of life.
  3. LET GO. ~ sometimes life is tough, relationships deteriorate, marriages break up, people get angry & it’s easy to get stuck in negative thought patterns.  It’s easy to say “just let it go” but it’s much harder to do.  Meditation is the “How to” process of letting go.  When you sit down to meditate start with an intention “I’m ready to let this go” it might take a while but it’s a great place to start.
  4. Increase Focus & Concentration ~ Life is busy & there are so many distractions out there – if you have an iphone I’m guessing it’s a bit of a distraction for you! The good news is concentration can be a learned skill & meditation is the perfect way to practice your concentration skills.
    Distraction wastes our energy; concentration restores it. – Sharon Salzberg
  5. Enjoy your life ~ after 10 years of daily meditation I can honestly say my life is so much more joyful than it used to be.  I’m way happier in my day-to-day life & it’s a direct result of my meditation practice.  When you take the time to find that stillness within you start to realize what’s important & what’s no longer serving you.

What are you waiting for??  Happy meditating!!

Thanks for reading!

Love,
Wendy

whatsonmeditate

5 Reasons you should try YOGA

5 Reasons you should try YOGA

I’m not a big fan of telling people what they “should do” but if you’re looking for a reason to try yoga here are a few:

1.  Stress Reduction

Busy, tired, stressed & scatterbrained?  A regular yoga practice will help you manage your stress level, a lot of us hang on to stress in the body & if we don’t find a way to release that stress it will manifest into injuries & chronic pain.  Because yoga offers a physical & a mental workout you’ll be able to work through your stress and let it go.

2.  Community

There is a saying “go where you’re celebrated not where you’re tolerated”.  Yoga studios are a great place to connect with your community, other students will smile at you, every yoga teacher I’ve ever met genuinely cares about every single one of their students.  There is an unwritten rule in most studios “leave your ego at the door”; this creates a safe, nurturing community for anyone who enters the studio

3.  Weight loss

If you struggle with weight loss and are always trying to lose weight you might want to try yoga.  A lot of us are emotional eaters, we eat when we’re stressed and unfortunately this always leads to weight gain.  A regular yoga practice will lower the cortisol levels (stress hormone) in your body which will also help lower your appetite.  Another reason some of us hang on to weight is because our digestive systems aren’t working as well as they could be.  Many yoga poses are directly connected to the digestive system and will improve your overall digestive health.  Increased body awareness from a regular yoga practice will also help you tune into your body when it’s full & discourage overeating.

4.  Be more attractive

If you feel good, you look good!  Now that you’ve lowered your stress level, connected with your community & lost some weight you probably look great and feel even better.

5.  Increase productivity

Do you find yourself running around trying to get stuff done while your mind is racing?  Stop what you’re doing and go directly to Yoga!  In this scattered state you probably aren’t getting much done and your productivity level is probably pretty low.  There is a yogic saying “minimum effort, maximum results” – yoga will give you a complete mind body workout, which will help you get into that magic space of effortless effort.

Thanks for reading!

Love,
Wendy

whatsonyoga

If you are going to teach private yoga make sure you do this!

#yogateachertourI’m thrilled to be a part of this yoga teacher blog tour – big thank you to Kate Connell for spearheading the tour! #yogateachertour Of all the things I’ve done throughout my yoga career there is one thing that I’m forever grateful for ~ my daily meditation practice.  It never lets me down, it’s always there for me when I need it & it’s helped me to step forward & teach from a place of truth & vulnerability. Here are 5 ways a daily meditation practice can help you be an awesome private yoga instructor:

  1. Avoid burnout ~ working one on one with people can be really fulfilling, it can also be a real challenge {often people that seek out one on one classes need them for a reason} if you don’t take care of yourself you will risk getting burnt out.  Taking time for daily meditation even if it’s 5-10 minutes a day will help you restore your energy & stay connected.
  2. Get clarity ~ whenever I’m working with a private client I’m always asking the question “How can I best serve this student? What does this student need?” the answers don’t always reveal themselves right away but when I take time to meditate I often get the answers I’m looking for, my meditation practice is a way for me to take a step back, assess what’s working & what’s not working & really figure out what the student needs & how I can help them.
  3. Surrender your EGO ~ it happens to the best of us, the EGO takes over & we get stuck in rigidity, fear & attachment.  Because the ego is completely involuntary we can’t control it, we can however tune into when we are acting from our ego & when we are acting from our higher self.  Whenever I notice I’ve slipped into my EGO I use my meditation practice to help me reconnect.
  4. Be the REAL DEAL ~ almost every yoga teacher I know has struggled with self-doubt at some point in their career.  Early in my yoga career I made a deal with myself à as long as I have a daily meditation practice I will continue to teach.  Be the REAL DEAL :: show up on your mat & meditate daily.
  5. Self-LOVE ~ go ahead try & give your students your loving & kind attention without offering to yourself first – it doesn’t work {trust me ~ I tried it for many years} If you are teaching yoga you are exposed, physically & spiritually.  Every time you sit down to meditate you are showing yourself love, you are taking care of you inner life, nurturing your essence.

My daily practice has paid dividends over the years, whenever I’m looking for answers I always find them in the still moments of my meditation practice.  I’m a huge believer in reading & researching as much as possible but if the answers were in the books all we would have to do is read them. I hope you love meditation as much as I do. Namsaste, Wendy If you missed yesterday’s post, check out Ellie’s post here: http://www.elliemcmillan.com/musings & you certainly don’t want to miss tomorrow’s post by Christina at Satya Live Yoga ~ happy reading yogis! #yogateachertour

How to develop a daily meditation practice if you have kids.

How to develop a daily meditation practice if you have kids.
Do I have to wait til my kids move out to start meditating?

Here are some tips that I have used over the years.

  1. Surrender to it – use your meditation time to listen to the noise, let yourself be irritated, acknowledge the distractions and continue to bring your awareness back to the practice.  This is true mindfulness.
  2. Give the kids your timer – I have a battery operated kitchen timer that I use for meditating – my daughter used to consistently knock on my door & ask a question or say when are you going to be done? This is a serious buzz kill when you are meditating!! I set the timer, gave it to her & told her to come & get me when it rings. It really worked.
  3. Get up ½ hour earlier – I’m not a morning person so this was really hard for me but it worked, I was totally frazzled & grumpy most mornings so I started getting up 30 minutes before the kids got up, meditated for 10-20 min & had my coffee.  It was hard at first but it made the whole morning so much easier for all of us it was worth it.
  4. Go to bed ½ later – if it’s easier for you to stay up late & take time to meditate after the kids go to bed try that.  I found it easier to do the morning thing easier, if I got it done in the morning & didn’t have to think about it all day.  I found I was too exhausted at the end of the day to really commit to staying up later.
  5. Make it a priority – I always meditate before I do my chores.  Dinner always gets made, groceries always end up in the fridge & the dishwasher always gets unloaded.  I found if I meditated first everything else always got done.  If you do all your chores first meditating always seems to be the thing that you don’t have time for.
  6. The frazzle test – that moment when you are the most stressed, frazzled & chaotic is usually a pretty good cue that it’s time to meditate.  Chances are you’re not being productive or getting anything done so take 10 minutes out to meditate.  This technique worked really well for me, I was consistently able to take the time out & be WAY more productive when I came back to whatever I was doing.Hope this helps, if you have anything to add please share!
    love,
    Wendy

What’s wrong? What’s right?

*This post was originally written for Sharon Salzbergs 28 day Meditation Challenge (Real Happiness at Work)

Focus on what’s working:
I mentioned in my last post that my meditation practice has helped me shift from a negative mindset to a more positive outlook on life – it’s been one of the many benefits of having a daily meditation practice.

So I loved reading about appreciative inquiry in Sharon’s book:

Appreciative inquiry is a method that focuses on increasing what an organization is doing well rather than eliminating what it does badly.- pg. 158

This small shift to asking “what’s right?” instead of “what’s wrong” is astounding not only in the workplace but on a personal level as well.  I try to live in the solution but admit it’s easy to get caught up in the problems.  Here is a list of questions I put together to ask myself the next time I’m stuck & focused on a problem:

What am I good at?
When was the last time I was truly happy? What was I doing, who was I with?
Who are the people that bring out the best in me?
What activities/jobs/projects have I worked on that I really loved?
What are the last  3 successes I’ve had  in the past week/month/year?
When was the last time I laughed out loud?

I’d love for you to answer this question in the comment section below:

When was the last time you were truly happy? What were you doing, who were you with?

love,
Wendy

Buy my ENEMY a gift?

*This post was originally written for Sharon Salzbergs 28 day Meditation Challenge (Real Happiness at Work)

Anger is my go to emotion; it works for me on many levels.  Anger feels powerful; it makes me feel like I’m doing something about whatever problem I’m struggling with & whenever I get angry I also feel kind of energized.  But I realized years ago that I didn’t want to be angry anymore, it does work on some levels but I didn’t want to be that angry, negative person anymore.

My daily meditation practice has helped me shift from an underlying feeling of negativity & anger to an underlying feeling of joy & happiness – this benefit of meditation caught me off guard; I thought it was possible to shift from anger to neutral but I didn’t really believe I would be able to access joy & happiness (it just seemed to Polyannish to me I would always think: “those people who seem truly happy must be on something or totally faking it”)

Recently I noticed the anger & negativity sneak up on me again so I was relieved when I read this in Sharon’s book about self-compassion:

This is a dynamic practice because it must be continually renewed – p. 85

I had a right to be angry, I really did! I found out a co-worker had been trash talking me,  not just any old trash talking but trash talking that could really compromise my career & also compromise the whole industry in which I work.  I take this seriously & my anger was justified.  So I had to LAUGH OUT LOUD when Sharon suggested in her book that we buy our enemies (or whoever irritates you at work) a gift! Seriously you want me buy a gift for someone who is such a bad egg???

Time to wake up Wendy! Even just thinking about buying this person a gift softened my anger around the whole thing & made me realize this person is a human being who has feelings. This shift in perspective made me realize just how much this anger & negativity was affecting me.

I don’t want to be angry any more, I really don’t.  All it really does is exhaust me & take me away from all the things that I love.

 

Don’t hate, meditate!

Wendy