I offer a unique style of yoga imbued with nature appreciation. I believe that by caring for and about our own bodies, minds and spirits through the practice of yoga that we generate the resilience we need to care for and about our relationships, our communities and our natural environment. This is in keeping with the concepts promoted by my teacher, Eoin Finn in the Blissology Project.
During my career in environmental management within federal and provincial government agencies, I experienced and also noticed that many of my colleagues suffered from stress, anxiety, depression and other illnesses. Ironically, trying to conserve a healthy natural environment often feels like a losing battle, with negative health consequences for the people working in this field. More and more, these jobs involve sitting in offices in front of computers, on conference calls, or at meetings. Formulating and presenting scientific and technical information to unreceptive audiences, providing technical and policy advice, mediating disputes among various groups all wanting more and more access to land and natural resources, as well as managing staff and trying to complete the work assigned with less and less funds, all take their toll. This type of work often results in frequent aches and pains and weight gain. Increasing competition for scarce resources leads to tense interactions among workers and expressions of anger, aggression, cynicism, bullying and one-upmanship.
Based on my personal experience and observations of others, I believe that Yoga, including an invigorating physical asana practice, the rejuvenating power of breathing and meditation, and the restorative influence of yogic philosophy, can help build resilience. Healthy, resilient individuals communicating in a compassionate manner make the world a better place.
My husband Ian and I enjoy exploring different places on foot, bicycle, cross country skis, snowshoes, or in a kayak. Often, we are moved by the beauty and prana of an area and feel inspired to practice yoga there. We believe that the feelings of well being and bliss that result from practicing yoga outdoors in natural environments improve our physical, mental and spiritual health.
Taking yoga classes from a certified yoga teacher is important. It helps you learn how to safely practice yoga, expand your repertoire of asanas, deepen your knowledge of the benefits of pranayama and meditation on the nervous system, immune system and mental state, and raise your awareness about ways to live a positive and healthy life. Having a daily yoga practice at home or elsewhere in town is also valuable. Nevertheless, I encourage you to venture out of the human built environment, be it a yoga studio, a recreation or community centre, or your house, to practice yoga outdoors wherever you are and whenever you feel like it. At first, you can just try doing some yoga poses and/or meditation on the deck or patio, or in your backyard. Then try taking your yoga practice to a neighbourhood park, a regional park, or even a provincial or national park. Incorporate yoga into your vacation time, stretching at airports, on the ferry, bus stations, etc., and when you reach your final destination. Wherever you go, Yoga can be with you.
The word “Yoga” in Sanskrit means literally “to yoke”, often interpreted as “union”, usually considered as a union of body, mind and spirit. However, Yoga also inspires an awareness of union or connection with others, be they other people or other sentient beings, and the practice of loving kindness or metta and a feeling of harmony. This awareness of the connections among living things is also a central tenet of the science of ecology, the study of ecosystems. Practicing yoga outdoors amid the sounds of birds, frogs and laughing children, can help us feel more connected to those ecosystems in the natural world, something that is becoming rare in our increasingly urbanized, technologically driven and stressful world. Nature appreciation is Commitment #3 in Eoin Finn’s Blissology approach.