Sunday, June 25, 2017

Reflections from the "Circle of Life"

Last night, June 24th I was fortunate to teach a yoga class at the Christopher Lake Nature Area - Circle of Life to celebrate Summer Solstice and International Yoga Day.  A few days late due to inclement weather on June 21st, but it couldn't have been a nicer evening.  Blue sky, enough breeze to keep most of the bugs away and some kind and generous people to share it with.

I had read a quote earlier yesterday - "Bloom where you're planted."  -Mary Engelbreit

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We can each bring our own meaning to this quote, but I like to think of it as giving me encouragement to stay rooted and grounded through all the seasons and cycles of life.  The world seems to be moving so quickly to do more, show more, be more that it is easy to feel uprooted, anxious and not enough.  I know having a strong yoga practice - and strong Tadasana :) - helps to remind me that it is through my stability that I have mobility and balance and can bloom and open up to be my best self.

The class incorporated many standing poses with the outer awareness of nature helping us to bring more awareness inward and break our inert nature.  Flowing sequences connected the body, breath and mind and a feeling of poise, alertness, strength and mental peace.  The seated poses were to give rest and feel a release of tension in the body.  The class ended with Savasana.  A lovely experience to feel connected to the entire planet.

Below is a bit more information about the Circle of Life:

 Christopher Lake Natural Area "Circle of Life" Friends working in harmony with nature Dedicated to the memory of Lionel R.J. Roy Royal Municipality of Lakeland No. 521 Celebrating the New Millennium and Saskatchewan's 100th Birthday 2005

The inscription on the plaque at the Centre of the Circle of Life area.

The "Circle of Life" depicts the Creator as he beginning. It includes gifts from the Creator entrusted to humanity: plants, animals, air, water, and a loving world. The "Circle of Life" reinforces the sharing and interdependency between humanity and nature that have occurred throughout time on this planet, Earth. It serves as a reminder that all life begins, ends, and that the journey in life depends on the legacy that humanity leaves. As the keepers of these gifts from the Creator, we must be committed to live in harmony with nature. We must remember our past and creatively (responsibly) prepare for the future as we enter the new millennium. We dedicate this "Circle of Life" and the Christopher Lake Nature Area to our pioneers, our veterans, our children, and our citizens. [Officially designated as a protected nature area by legislation under the Parks Act on June 27, 2000. Hon. Buckley Belanger, Minister of Environment & Resource Management


Donations from this class will go towards offering Youth Yoga classes in the community.  My goal over the summer is to raise enough to offer a youth session and bring more awareness to the benefits of yoga for youth and teen ages.  With the number of teen suicides rising the need for support to help our youth feel they can 'Bloom where they stand" is essential. 

If you or someone you know in the Prince Albert and area is interested in having youth classes at your school or community centre please feel free to contact me. 

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Happy Solstice!

Pamela Nelson
Certified Iyengar Yoga Instructor


Saturday, June 24, 2017

Summer Yoga 2017

Join me tonight for my International Day of Yoga class.

It was postponed Wednesday due to stormy weather.

June 24th - 6:00-7:30p.m. at the Christopher Lake Nature Area - Circle of Life.

Next week I will have my last weekly class in Prince Albert at Yoga Sublime and the Forest Centre before taking a bit of a break.  Mostly from driving as I still hope to teach a bit for those that are interested.
Here are a few posters for some summer classes:
I will be teaching Wednesday morning at Murray Point Campground beach and am also offering Summer Deck Yoga Classes.  You choose the date, time and place that works best for you and some friends.  What better way to spend your summer. :)

My summer wouldn't be complete without going to some Iyengar Yoga training.  Although I won't be able to go to India this summer as hoped I am going to be taking classes with some amazing Senior Iyengar instructors.
Carrie Owerko and Jaki Nett - Both senior teachers from the states.  Check out their bios.
I am sure I will learn so much from both of them to incorporate into my practice and teaching.
Jaki Nett -
If you have any questions or comments please feel free to contact me.
Pamela Nelson

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

UNESCO - declares Yoga a human treasure

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In an article in Yoga Rahasya information was given on how special this declaration is for India and Yoga.

It was December 2nd, 2016 when UNESCO declared YOGA a human treasure. The official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs said, "In a diplomatic triumph for India, the Inter- Governmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage has inscribed Yoga in UNESCO's Representative List as the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity."

There is very rigorous criteria set out to have this designation. Here is a link to the pdf laying out the criteria if you would like to have a read.

The links below are just a few online articles in newspapers after the declaration was made. If you do a search you can find many more.

This declaration says that yoga is "based on unifying the mind with the body and soul to allow for greater mental, spiritual and physical wellbeing." 

Also, that Yoga is, "practiced by the young and old without discriminating against gender, class or religion and has also become popular in other parts of the world."

It was at UNESCO on December 11th, 2014 that it was decreed that June 21st would become International Yoga Day. The first celebration of this was June 21, 2015 after the announcement was made by the Prime Minister of India - Narendra Modi.

Iyengar Yoga from what I understand played a large part in helping make this declaration happen.  This achievement helps ensure that the purity and integrity of yoga is protected.

I will be offering a yoga class by donation on June 21, 2017 at the Christopher Lake Nature Area - Circle of Life. Proceeds will go to promoting  youth yoga classes. If you are able to attend please let me know.


Pamela Nelson

Friday, June 9, 2017

Book Review - Green Dharma by:Georg and Brenda Feuerstein

Green Dharma - A Book to Challenge your Practice
 by: Georg and Brenda Feuerstein
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Green Dharma was written by Georg and Brenda Feuerstein and published by Traditional Yoga Studies. This book has 11 chapters and is 215 pages.
Traditional Yoga Studies offers many online courses and are dedicated to promoting authentic yogic teachings.  Here is a link to the website:
Brenda Feuerstein recently posted a free copy of Green Dharma so I wanted to make sure I read it right away.  Thank you Brenda!
I found a free link online so I am sharing the link to the book so you can read it too.

Green Yoga was written before Green Dharma and the authors write in the preface that Green Dharma "grew our of the same environmental and social concerns that we raised in our other related work, Green Yoga." 
This book is written more from the point of view of the Dharma and that of the Buddha's teachings. 
 The book is written with stories from the Buddha, weaving in current ideas and statistics about the environment today. For example the first chapter is about noise pollution and the benefits of silence or healing sounds and vibrations. 
Each chapter is a story, which is very interesting to learn some history about the Buddha and the teachings as well as how we can relate to this even today.

Chapter 11 gives many suggestions on way we can all make small, yet considerable differences to helping sustain the environment that supports us. 
Here are a few very simple ones:
- Think twice before you purchase something.  This really is one of the first places we need to start.  Is it a need or a want? If a need, really how much do you need it?
I know I have purchased those impulse buys in my life, but they are getting less and less. 
Sometimes my best purchases have been things I have wanted, yet waited and worked hard for.
My husband tells me his mom used to get them to wait two weeks when really wanted something to see if they still wanted it as badly.  Most often they didn't or had forgotten all about the item.
-Buy products with as little packaging as you can.  This is a huge burden on our waste systems and the garbage materials making its way into the soil and water is enormous.  I just listened to The Current recently on CBC  in Saskatchewan on how the oceans are in a crisis from all the plastics and micro plastics in it.  The link is below if you want to listen too.

-Go paperless.  In this day of technology going paperless is easier and easier.

-Wash in cold water and hang to dry as much as you can.

Those are just a few simple but helpful tips given.  The book has pages of websites to visit to get more ideas and information on how we can help save the planet as well as links to many online documents and documentaries.

I hope you enjoy your read and as Mahatma Ghandi is often quoted, "Be the change you wish to see in the world."

Pamela Nelson

Monday, June 5, 2017

Notes from Yoga: From the Core

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On June 3rd I was fortunate to have the opportunity to teach a workshop in Saskatoon at JNS Yoga Studio.

My theme was Yoga: From the Core.

I spend many hours working on my workshops - and I'm not complaining, as it only enhances my own practice and understanding.  I also know that in all the prepping I also have to be open and flexible to what is happening in the moment and from what I see in each class and workshop.  Not everything I try out in my home lab turns out the same in a larger class:)

Really why I love yoga and teaching so much!  It is never dull and I always learn something from each class and situation.

So, I thought I would share a few of my notes from this workshop here today. 
I won't give it all away as I am planning on teaching a version of this workshop on September 16th in Prince Albert at Yoga Sublime Studio.

This ideas that sprang up from the title gave me lots to work with as yoga is about finding your core, your true Self and about moving from your outer body inward.

Core defined in the dictionary is: the central most important part of something. 
It is often the tough, central part of fruit that contains the seed – or essence.
This really clicked with me as my idea was to weave in the Kosas.  Kosa means layer and there is said to be 5 main kosas - physical, mental, emotional, energetic and spiritual, and you really can't address one without influencing the others. 

Our physical core helps us stay upright and balanced and maintain the health of the spine.
Our emotional core connects us to our true self because yoga is a way of life. 

In Yoga Rahasya, vol. 17, No. 4, 2010 Dr. Naik wrote an article explaining how Asana (postures) are actually neurological, not physical.  Asana consists of doing the right action and undoing the wrong action.  Asanas are not movements, but actions as the movement of the joints is only possible with the help of the mind using the brain and its associated parts.

What does this have to do with our core?  In the beginning we start with the physical, outer alignment in a pose.  Over time as we refine - sensory feedback and mindfulness give ease in the pose, in body, breath and mind. 

The mind begins to feel the pose and at the same time the mind is sensed.  This moves a pose from at the very beginning from movement to action to sensations, feeling and perceptions.  When the right and left coordinate with the centre there is harmony between the head and heart.

We can think of our core as being the abdominal muscles or we could think of our core as where the spiritual heart is - both are correct really as we need to find our physical centre, our plumb line to be able to move inward.  The breath is the bridge between the body and the mind.

Take a few moments to sit tall with the chest lifted and normal inward curve of low back.  Feel the deep abdominal muscles work to assist the spinal and pelvic control.  Relax head and neck, because if habitually tighten in head and neck can invite hardness to the abdomen.  Begin to feel the fluid movement of the breath moving in and out.  With each exhalation feel a release in the outer body to penetrate deeper inward, yet at the same time feel a spaciousness within as if expanding gently out.  Through the stability of the body, feel and experience  a state of equanimity.

Pamela Nelson