This past weekend was my annual September women’s retreat at Camp Friendship just outside Prince George. Nineteen powerful, inspiring and radiant women came together in nature to laugh, practice, breathe, dance, eat, meditate, ceremony, explore and connect deeply into the Divine Feminine. We kept our hearts soft and open, we honoured our bodies, we revered each women’s unique gifts, and held sacred the wisdom of each other and the great mother Earth.
I feel beyond blessed to be able to share sacred Shakti teachings within such an incredible community ~ I am so grateful for the power of sisterhood!
One of the many practices we explored was a very simple and divinely delicious self massage. The Ayurvedic system calls this Abyhanga. The first practice of the day, self massage is a devoted expression of self-love. It is also a way to detoxify the body’s largest organ (the skin), stimulate your body’s energetic channels so your energy flows freely, and revitalizes the mind preparing you for your day. And it feels amazing!
Here are the basics – remember to breathe deeply throughout:
- Begin at the head. Massage the scalp and do a little hair pulling to release the fascia around the skull and face
- Sweep your fingers across the face, from the midline outwards with your first 2 finger. Move from the hairline to the lower jaw
- Gentle rub the throat and hum a couple of times
- Massage the back of the neck, the shoulders and as far as you can reach on your upper back
- Knead the arms. Use softer circular motions at the elbows and wrists. Massage the entire hand right to the finger tip. Repeat on other side
- With flat palms, make circular motions across the front of the body including the breasts. Large clockwise circles around the abdominal area
- Rub the side ribs, waist and hips
- Rub the kidney area getting it nice and warm
- Make a loose fist and pound the buttocks and thighs, or rub briskly with your hand if you prefer
- Massage & knead the legs. Soft circular motions around the knees. Press into the back midline of the calves.
- Massage the feet – linger here, it feels so good! Lots of acupressure and reflexology points here. Repeat on other side
- When complete, shake out the hands, close your eyes and take several deep breaths savouring the experience and the feeling of energy running freely in your body.
To see how I do my morning self massage, check out this video.
Why not make this a part of your morning routine? Try it for a few days and send me a note to tell me about your experience and how this practice changes your day.
love & pranams,
PS. Would you like to join me on a 3 day women’s retreat outside of Prince George? 2019 dates are March 28-31, 2019 and Sept 12-15, 2019. Reserve your spot early, these retreats almost always sell out!
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,
Moon rituals are an ancient and sacred practice that have been celebrated for millennia in India, China, Babylonia, and Egypt where moon worship was an integral part of the culture. The ancients observed that the phases of the moon influenced the growth of plants, the tides and the behaviour of animals and human life. Savouring moonlight throughout the month was seen as both a sacred and necessary part of the cycle of life.
Our modern world tends to be dismissive of the power and effect of the moon, but many still realize and celebrate the internal and psychic connection of this cosmic body in our lives. A moon ritual enjoyed today has just as much sacredness as in years past and brings a beautifully ancient and quiet practice into our never-stop contemporary world.
One complete cycle of the moon takes exactly 28 days to complete, ebbing and flowing just as our menstrual cycles do. Rituals related to the moon invite us to go inward and get quiet, free from distractions. We have the opportunity to be one with the energy of our environment and mindfully plant seeds of intention.
When you begin syncing your ritual and manifestation practices with the moon, you are aligning your energy to the potent energies already existing around you, magnifying your abilities to attract what you desire and release what you don’t.
OVERVIEW OF THE MOON CYCLES
New Moon: A New Moon happens when the sun (yang energy) aligns, or conjoins, with the moon (yin essence). This is a time to get still, breathe new life into areas that might be stuck and invite new intentions. This new cycle of energy heralds fresh opportunities, visions and dreams.
Waxing Moon: The moon is growing, which also signifies the growing of your intentions. Be open to continued inspiration, guidance, and vision to result in direct action of your dreams. My advice is to focus on one intention and spend time visualizing and creating space for manifestation daily.
Full Moon: The moon is now in her full feminine splendor. This is the culmination of power, peak creative energy and incredibly powerful intuitive breakthroughs. It is the time to celebrate embodiment and what has come to fruition. At the Full Moon, the energy is potent, all consuming and and intense. This energy gives you the impulse to take action, especially regarding the intentions you set during the New Moon. This can also be a powerful time to release emotions, beliefs, people, experiences from your life, or anything you have outgrown.
Waning Moon: As the light disseminates, we begin to draw ourselves back in. We can reflect on the past lunar cycle – what happened, what we have learned and what lessons we can bring forward. Re-read your intention and evaluate how you have changed since it was written. Consider how you want to move forward during the next lunar cycle.
On August 26th we will welcome the Full Moon. And I’ll be sharing more in my next email on a special ritual you can weave into your Full Moon practice.
love & pranams,
I’ve just returned back from a week adventuring with my kids in Alberta. We enjoyed the majestic mountains of Banff and Jasper, the incomparable hoodoos in Drumheller and some big city time in Calgary. And while our days were quite full with exploring our surroundings, we also had the time and space to simply experience doing nothing. Something I realized that I need a whole lot more of in my life.
Doing nothing really means doing NOTHING. Not reading, journaling, drinking tea or even meditating. That’s right, even meditating is an activity.
Lianne Raymond calls this practice Wild Idling. I love this. She describes doing nothing as exploring the original, un-domesticated, authentic and wild part of you. This is a part of ourselves that many of us do not know well or even at all. It takes time to cultivate this relationship. Lianne says that you can’t love what you have no connection to. This practice is about making that connection.
The beauty of doing nothing is that there is absolutely no wrong way to do it. Just sit or lie down and experience simply being for about 5-10 minutes. Five minutes may seem like an eternity when you are not used to spending any time with yourself. Bored? That’s ok. Mind busy with thoughts? Totally fine. With enough practice your inner landscape will begin to reveal itself and this is where the magic is.
And there are other great reasons to spend time with this Wild Idling practice:
- Quiet the overactive Left Brain – no purpose or accomplishment driven mindset here. This practice is an antidote to our constant goal striving and busy-ness.
- Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable – doing nothing is an opportunity to start a conversation with being uncomfortable. Many of us constantly seek distraction in our lives. Discomfort can be a gateway to incredible growth.
- Creative juices will flow – space in your day allows ideas to germinate and powerful connections to appear.
- An inspired life – a greater sense of calm and possibility will emerge in all sorts of aspects in your day to day life. This can take time, so keep sticking with the practice.
Doing nothing is in our DNA. Animals do this naturally all the time. And before the advent of so many modern distractions, we also were accomplished at doing nothing. We are designed for this practice.
So my challenge to you today is to commit to a 7 day do nothing practice. Find a place where you are comfortable and set your timer for 5 minutes. Remember, you can’t fail at this – there is no wrong way to do nothing. You may experience resistance and that’s ok. Notice what changes throughout the week and at the end of 7 days, recommit to another 7. Repeat.
As always, I love hearing from you – drop me a note and share your insights and experiences with this do nothing practice.
love & pranams,
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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,