my birthday gift to you

my birthday gift to you

Today is a BIG day!! It’s the first day of Spring – the Vernal Equinox, which for us in the Northern Hemisphere is a huge deal. Finally the days are getting noticeably longer, the temperatures are warming, snow is melting and you can just feel that new growth vibe all around.

It is also a Full Moon, in Libra, the sign of balance. This particular Full Moon is about boosting the intimacy in all of your relationships, and asks you to deepen your trust, honesty, and authenticity. It is an auspicious time to repair suffering relationships and to be more present for our loved ones.

Tonight at sundown, the joyful Jewish holiday of Purim begins. Purim commemorates the salvation of the Jews in ancient Persia and is celebrated with costumes, sharing food, donations to the poor and lots of hamentaschen (triangle cookies filled with jam) and wine.

And….it is my birthday! Today I am celebrating another revolution around the sun. I’m pausing to acknowledge all the amazing gifts and blessings in my life – a healthy and capable body, a beloved partner that I adore, 3 extraordinary children who inspire me every day, loving and supportive friends, a yoga studio with devoted students, a career that embraces my dharma and engages my passions and devotions…and YOU! I am so grateful to you for being a part of my life.

So to thank you for being here, for reading my musings, for staying connected, for being part of a global shift of consciousness to make our world a better place for all beings everywhere, I want to offer you a small gift on this special day. I created this Spring Equinox meditation for just you. Take a moment to get comfortable, connect with your breath, drop in and nurture your Springtime intentions as we move into this season of renewal, beginnings and growth.

Thank you again for being here and I hope you enjoy this most special day.

Honouring Your Aliveness

Honouring Your Aliveness

On Monday I received the heartbreaking news that a good friend of mine suddenly fell very ill and is in the ICU. The unexpectedness of her illness has hit me quite hard and I’ve been experiencing many waves of sadness over the past couple of days.

I’ve also felt called to drop deeply into my body to feel and experience her in her aliveness. To pause and just let myself feel everything – the emotions and the sensations that become available in a moment of presence. As is said, life is indeed precious. Pausing, sensing and just being makes me feel more connected to my dear friend.

It is easy to take life for granted. I do it all the time – life is happening, often like a whirlwind and rarely slows down. And it is often only when there is some terrible misfortune that we briefly acknowledge how fragile life is.

I invite you today to drop in and appreciate your life, your body, your capacity to have a human experience simply because you are a miracle and are worth honouring.

  • Sit in a quiet place where you feel comfortable and close your eyes.
  • Take a few deep breaths, inhale through the nose and sigh out through the mouth. When you feel more relaxed and settled, come to breathing in and out through the nose.
  • Notice now, how you are feeling…. how you are doing right now in this moment.
  • How does your body feel? Scan your body for a moment now, starting at your feet, simply noticing how your body is feeling. Continue scanning your body, moving upward until you reach the crown of the head.
  • Visualize that your crown is opening and above you is a beautiful column of light. Receive this light in your body from the crown. This light is filled with the luminous qualities of appreciation, gratitude and honouring.
  • Let this light, like liquid honey, pour into you – filling every part of you from the head all the way to the feet. Notice what this feels like. Create even more potency by using conscious breath to activate the healing qualities of this light.
  • When you are full take your hands to your crown and stroke/touch the entire body as a blessing. Enjoy.
  • Finish with a few deep breaths and when you are ready, open your eyes.

If you enjoyed this meditation, why not call a friend and offer to guide them through experience this as a gift of recognition for their presence in your life. If you do, I’d love to know how it was received. Just hit reply to this email so we can connect.

How Yoga Can Improve Your Relationships

How Yoga Can Improve Your Relationships

As some of you know, I am in Melaque, Mexico leading a yoga teacher training and we just hit the 1/3 mark. In many ways the students have successfully moved through the most challenging part of the course – the initial getting used to the long days (13.5 hours!), experiencing and absorbing new material at a rapid pace, cultivating an increasing sense of curiosity and wonder about the science of Yoga and possibly most importantly, nurturing relationship within and with each other.
Relationships are inherently challenging, and rarely easy. They take work, time, strength, commitment, love, and so much more. In fact, relationships can quite possibly be the hardest thing you could ever attempt.
During the past several days I have been closely observing the nuances of relationships and want to share how the practice of Yoga on the mat can help on this journey of partnership – with yourself and others.
Listening: As you move and flow through a sequence, you learn to listen to your body, you learn to listen to the cessations of your mind. You listen to yourself, and calm the externalities that often matter little to your true connection with this world. The next time someone engages you in conversation, pause and really deeply listen to them – and yes, this means no phone around.
Focus. As your practice of Yoga progresses, you’ll find yourself deeply focusing on some of the more important things in life. What are they? Only you can know that for yourself – we give away our power when we let someone else decide. Increasing your capacity to focus will help you be considerate and mindful in every action of your life, especially towards those you are in relationship with.
Strength. Your mat will show you strengths beyond your greatest imagination. Asana teaches you that only after weeks, months of practice you grow STRONG. This involves conversations with yourself, even pep-talks that build inner strength to do the hard things relationships require of you. A strong belief in the long term benefits of the work.
Meditation. Moods are contagious. If you show up calm, clear, and full of only love and positivity, I can guarantee that will flow into you and those you are connected to. Ever tried eye-gazing with your partner? Pure. Magic.
Open. The vulnerability of our practice can be overwhelming sometimes. Frequently hip opening poses cause tears. Returning again and again to this open space will give you the confidence to return again and again to opening yourself up to your loved ones. Positive relationships require this opening, this softness, this vulnerability, and you’ll need strength to remain open when the natural instinct is to withdraw. Don’t retreat.
I have so often experienced how the benefits on the mat flow so effortlessly into my life and my relationships. I’m curious, how has your practice inspired how you live your life? How has your relationship to yourself and to others changed since you started practicing Yoga? Hit reply to this email and tell me more.
love & pranams,
carla

Love Shower Meditation

Love Shower Meditation

Can you imagine what this world would be like if everyone practiced some form of mindfulness or meditation? I believe this is possible. Every time we create the space to be present with our breath and intentions, we create a shift within the collective – a shift that ripples out and inspires others, even at a subconscious level, to make that same space within themselves.
Today I’d like to share a simple and beautiful practice of healing, forgiveness and inner peace that always leaves me feeling amazing.
THE 5 MINUTE LOVE SHOWER MEDITATION
In this practice, you shower yourself with acknowledgement, self-respect and love. It can be done anytime, maybe after your yoga practice, a quiet moment at home or on a walk outside enjoying nature. This is simply a time to reflect on how beautifully you’ve turned out, right now, exactly as you are! If you feel some resistance to this, that’s ok. With practice you will notice that resistance beginning to fade and the capacity to fully receive being celebrated starting to grow.
As you inhale, feel yourself taking in praise, love, and pride from the Universe – and on your exhale allow this shower of love to sink into your cells, enlivening and rejuvenating them.
Feel the love of all creation being washed over you, and give yourself permission to soak it all in. Allow that inner love to wash away feelings of doubt or fear.
Remember, your challenges, your wounding, your pain, and your lessons are what have created the amazing, loving, and inspiring human you are today. All of you is worth celebrating.
“I am blooming from the wound where I once bled.” – Rune Lazuli
love & pranams,
carla

Celebrating Summer Solstice

Celebrating Summer Solstice

The longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere arrives tomorrow when the sun stops moving North and reaches its highest point of the year ~ the Summer Solstice. Cultures all over the world and throughout history have celebrated this day. They observed that the expansion of consciousness opened through meditation, practice and ceremony on the Solstice is magnified in a very powerful way. Taking pause on this special day can be a very potent experience.
The Summer Solstice is celebrated at this time of peak bloom, and of great appreciation for the bounty delivered by our earth Pacha Mama. As Cait & Maura acknowledge:
“Summer is a festival of this inner fire/power, the power that makes abundance and nourishment grow from tiny seeds. The power that brings things to fulfillment, and expands and brightens our lives, that makes good things come from seed ideas and plans. And as we watch the ripening and flowering and fruiting all around us, we can’t help but be moved by and grateful for the generosity of the Earth Mother, who gives says what we need so unstintingly. Summer is a perfect time to discover our earth connection; by receiving her gifts with respect, taking only what we need, and doing what we can to minimize our impact on the delicate balance of the planet, we strengthen and nourish the bond we were given a birth with the great parent who sustains us all.” – ~ Cait Johnson and Maura D. Shaw from Celebrating the Great Mother
We can honour the balance between what Cait and Maura call the ‘intense activity and lazy, idle hours doing nothing” by celebrating this magical day tomorrow with this easy Summer Solstice Ritual:

  1. Go out into nature, whether forest, beach or park, and allow yourself to bask in the delicious feeling of nothingness for an hour (or at least 20-30 minutes). Let your toes slip through grass uncovered, do cartwheels among the trees or even take a dip in some brisk water. Celebrating the bounty of nature’s beauty through our simple enjoyment is one of the most powerful ways of appreciating our Mama Gaia.
  2. During your time, make a nature altar giving thanks. If you’re at a beach, gather and organize water plants, rocks, and sticks into a beautiful altar on the shore. If in the forest or a park, stack twigs, leaves, flowers and fallen debris into an installation celebrating the beauty found in mother nature.
  3. Sit back and open to the joy of seeing or imagining someone discover your creation!

Play, have fun and remember all that you’ve generated this year & honour what has burst into creation!
love & pranams,
carla