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Yin Yang Playlist: Tunes to Bring On Spring

Spring is taking it's sweet time from where I am sitting. On this gloomy day I wanted to share some of the songs I am flowing to right now that get me feeling lively on my mat until the sunshine and warmer temperatures decide to stick around.
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The Problem With Dreams and Success

You might think the title of this blog is strange since I write so much about big dreams and re-thinking the idea of success, but while planning my upcoming meditation series at De La Sol Yoga and the Spring Revitalization Retreat on April 30, I have been talking to students about why they started their yoga or meditation practice and why they continue. Reducing stress, improving well-being and attitude are the most common reasons. While it is true that practice can help with these things, I am interested to know why so many of us feel stressed out, sick and negative in the first place. Most of my students have really good lives. They have careers, homes, families, love and safety. Having all of those things in a world where so many have so little should be a recipe for lasting ease, health and happiness.  Sadly, countless studies show that our culture as a whole struggles to find meaning and contentment. Even though you probably have wealth and security in many domains of life, you might also be struggling with an unspoken stress that is silently damaging your health and well-being.
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Elemental Yin Yang Yoga: Wood and Realizing Your Dreams

“They [the spirits of wood] endow us with the ability to discern our path, stay clear on our direction, imagine possibilities, move forward toward our goals and take a stand for what we believe is right.” ~Lori Eve Dechar “The Five Spirits”    In preparation for my next retreat with my Yoga Teacher Trainees I have been writing about and contemplating the Wood element in Chinese medicine and the nature of Spring energy.  The magic of this element can both inspire and empower you with its various themes but there are three concepts that I feel most drawn to for our work because they not only provide fertile ground to realize our life's goals and aspirations, but they are incredible meditation instructions in and of themselves. Yin Yang Yoga is more than just asana, it is a companion on your life journey.  To understand these core characteristics of the Wood Element we can use the metaphor of a tree. The Roots - Being Grounded When standing in the presence of a breathtaking tree, it is easy to forget that what you are looking at is only half the picture. Below the earth is a system of roots that spread deep and wide gathering nutrients and forming the foundation for the growth that happens above the ground. Without the roots the tree wouldn’t have everything it needs to flourish and would easily be toppled at the first strong wind. In our culture we often look at the outward achievements of someone and forget the years of "behind the scenes" work that went into their success. You can’t get a degree or build a business overnight. It takes a strong foundation to bring long term growth and success. Being rooted as a person may not sound sexy, but if you know who you are and where you stand it, is easier to move forward with confidence towards your life goals.
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Yoga on the Beach {VIDEO}

A few minutes of yoga is 100% better than none at all. A good friend said this to me years ago and since becoming a parent, this could not be more true. Like so many of you, I have had to learn to adapt my practice in a way that supports my new lifestyle.  The transition into parenthood brings with it a serious learning curve. On top of the beautiful and challenging effect a tiny person can have on your world, the physical transition plus the lack of sleep can make yoga a life raft instead of a hobby.  In February when our little one was four months old, I had a few precious moments to practice in the warm sand of a black sand beach in Maui. Here is part of that practice (no narration on this version, just the waves).
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Floating - A Path to Meditation

If you follow Aquin Yoga on social media you know that for months we have been talking non-stop about the benefits of "floating". Today I am thrilled to announce the opening of Zee Float. The beautiful float space owned by my dear friends in Hamilton, Stacey and Jay Ziebarth.  As an Ambassador for Zee Float, I had a sneak peek at their space yesterday and it is truly the nicest Float studio I have been to, complete with an oxygen bar and Kombucha on tap. However when I speak with people about my excitement over the new addition to Hamilton's wellness community, it surprises me that so many don't know about floating, its benefit's, and how a yogi can use it for meditation.
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Yoga and Living Your Wildest Dreams

Yesterday I woke up very early. Actually, I was woken up by a symphony of birds living in the tree outside of the condo we are renting in Maui. Steve and I, along with our sweet little baby are starting the second half of a month in Hawaii. The next two weeks will be our official vacation. No work or meetings for him, no teaching or course creation for me. If we feel like working on our various creative projects we can, but the focus will be on renewal and adventure.  We got up early and had a two hour class with our inspiring meditation teacher trainees and I spent most of the day finishing work, accompanied by Audrey laying beside me on the patio enjoying the endless birdsong. I don't say this to make you feel jealous (especially my beloved Canadian friends who are all telling me how cold it is at home right now) but this is my personal heaven. I am beyond grateful to be here right now, in this place, at this point in my life, living my dreams. I wanted to share this with you because there is a magic in making this trip happen that deals in the domain of yoga and I hope that my contemplation might help you make your own dreams come true, on and off the mat.
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A Winter Yin Yang Yoga Playlist

Every Friday night for about five years before I moved to the US, I taught a Yin Yang Yoga class for the amazing students at De La Sol Yoga in Hamilton, Ontario. Our Friday nights together felt like a total yoga party. We came together to practice, end the week and celebrate life during a 75 minute class that flowed (the yang part) into a series of long held postures (the yin part). It was definitely a highlight in my week of teaching and I still think about it every Friday night.  In honour of that amazing group of yogis who joinned me each week, I put together a playlist. If I were heading to teach that very class tonight, here is what I would play to warm us up on this cold winter's eve.
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A Free Guided Meditation To Start Your Day

We are just over halfway through our 30 Day Meditation Challenge (if you missed the beginning you can still sign up for free until the end of the month) with a fantastic group of meditators from all over the world. Yesterday morning, Steve led a beautiful guided ten minute practice via Periscope that I just had to share with you all.
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Replace Your Resolutions, Try These Tools Instead

If you know me, you know I don't much care for the ritual of making annual resolutions. However, I can't deny that this is a wonderful time of year to reflect on all the changes can happen in just journey around the sun.  This past year was spent making space for our little one and while that was the main event, I also published my first book, traveled all over the continent, got married for a second time (we had the Canadian edition of our wedding this summer), and made deep connections with the amazing people I met along the way.  There were so many wonderful and unexpected moments to celebrate this past year and yet it wasn't until I sat down to write it all out that I realized just how fantastic it really was. 
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Join my yogi birthday party

Today is my 33rd birthday and you had better believe I am celebrating. In years past, I asked my yoga students and friends to help me celebrate by making donations to support water projects for charity:water or even to join me for 24 and 48 hour meditation marathons. This year things are a little different... Six weeks ago, Audrey was born and there simply hasn't been time or mental bandwidth to prepare a birthday fundraiser. Instead, Steve and I donated half of our worldly possessions as we transition to a much simpler way of living. I have blogged about this before but the criteria for purging our excess stuff was simple. If it wasn't actively useful or we wouldn't pay to have it shipped if we moved far away, it went into the donate pile. When I was a kid most of my wardrobe and many of my toys consisted of hand-me-downs from other families so it brings me joy to pass along things I no longer need or love to someone who will appreciate it. It feels wonderful to be helpful to another even in small ways. My birthday wish is for you to feel good and do some good too.
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