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Gratitude is a pretty big deal to me. I have had a regular daily gratitude practice for a number of years, it has changed my life for the better in so many ways. More on that in the videos below, but first a little history lesson.
Very few of our US neighbors (or Canadians for that matter) know that the origins and history of Canadian Thanksgivings are quite different from our neighbors to the south.
The origins of Canadian Thanksgivings are actually connected to the traditions of Europe rather than of those in the United States. Long before Europeans settled in North America, festivals of thanks and celebrations of harvest took place in Europe in the month of October. The very first Thanksgiving celebration in North America took place in Canada when Martin Frobisher, an explorer from England, arrived in Newfoundland in 1578. He wanted to give thanks for his safe arrival to the New World. That means the first Thanksgiving in Canada was celebrated 43 years before the pilgrims came to Plymouth, Massachusetts.
For a few hundred years, Thanksgiving was celebrated in either late October or early November, before it was declared a national holiday in 1879. It was then, that November 6th was set aside as the official Thanksgiving holiday. But then on January 31, 1957, Canadian Parliament decided that on the second Monday in October, Thanksgiving would be a day of general thanksgiving for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed. Thanksgiving was moved to the second Monday in October in order to give Remembrance Day (November 11th) its just due (Thanksgiving kept falling in the same week).
Thanksgiving is a time that many people take extra time for gratitude. Have you ever considered what a daily gratitude practice would be like? My Daily Gratitude practice has changed my life in so many ways, I cannot recommend it enough. In honor of Thanksgiving, I made a little video for you which includes a Guided Gratitude Meditation. Enjoy!
The other video I mention
As a Yoga and Meditation teacher, I hear some funny misconceptions about Meditation. I confess I believed a couple of them myself before I had any Meditation training. I suffer from the busy brain syndrome (I’m sure none of you can relate) ;-).
I naively thought that I would just sit on a cushion, bring my fingers into an Ancient Mudra and presto, a deep Meditative state leading to enlightenment right?
Imagine my disappointment when I realized that it wasn’t quite that simple. Now some years later, I wish I knew then what I know now About Meditation.
Here are some of the most common Meditation Myths:
Myth #1: I can’t Meditate! I can’t stop my mind from thinking.
The Truth: We all have a busy mind; Racing thoughts, thinking, planning and mental list writing, are normal, everyone has this tendency. In Meditation, we are not trying to stop thinking. Instead, we are just focusing our thoughts on one thing.
Different styles of Meditation use different “things” to focus on but the point of all Meditation practices are the same – to concentrate our awareness on one thing for the duration of the Meditation time.
This can feel really challenging at times. This is why having a Meditation teacher is SO important so you learn the skills and get help and support along the way.
Myth #2: I Don’t have the time to Meditate. I am too busy and stressed!
The Truth: There is an old Zen saying: “You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes a day unless you’re too busy. Then you should sit for an hour.” There are plenty of very busy and productive people that have a regular Meditation practice; I am one of them. Again a good Meditation teacher can help you carve out time in your busy schedule to sit in Meditation.
Once you experience the benefits of a regular Meditation practice, you will more easily find windows of time to sit. We make time in life for what we value. When you learn to Meditate, you realize how much time you were unconsciously spending on things that you don’t value. Those little pockets of time = Meditation time.
Myth #3: Meditation isn’t for people like me. I’m not a “New Age”, Spiritual or Religious person.
The Truth: You Don’t have to be “New Age”, Spiritual or Religious person to Meditate. Although Meditation is a cornerstone of many Spiritual paths, Meditation itself is not Religious. There are so many practical, real-world benefits of Meditation that are not at all ‘woo woo’ or New Age.
Myth #4: It must take years to get good at Meditation and experience the benefits.
The Truth: Although some of the long-term benefits Meditations are cumulative, there are many benefits that you can experience right away. A couple common ones are reduced stress, more restful sleep, a sense of calm and more patience and tolerance.
Myth #5: Meditation is for Yogi’s, Swami’s, Monks and Nuns.
The Truth: People from all walks of life Meditate including CEOs, Students, Athletes, Moms, and Dads. Pretty Much anyone who wants to improve their life can Meditate. My Meditation Practice has made me more calm, patient and tolerant of myself and others. I feel more energetic, clear and focused. I sleep better and really cherish my Meditation practice as a way to recharge and take much needed time for myself.
I only wish I knew earlier in life what a gift Meditation could be; I would have started years earlier.
If you are interested in learning how to Meditate. I encourage you to check out my Meditation Course: Meditation 101~Meditation Made Practical. I have taken many Meditation classes over the years, and although some were good, none of them had it all. I have made sure to include all the missing parts from other courses I took in my course Meditation 101
I remember the day like it was yesterday. A number of years ago, I was chatting with my best gal pal, when she dropped the bomb “So you know Lululemon Isn’t made in Canada anymore”. This simple statement threw me into the first 2 stages of grief:
Shock: What Are You Sure? She assured me a Yogini friend of hers had just been in store and the tags now read “Designed in Canada, Made In China”
Denial: No it can’t be true; this Yogini doesn’t know what she’s talking about.
Then a couple of days later when the shock had worn off, I had to see for myself. So I marched into my local LuLulemon to prove her wrong and said hello to the next 2 stages of grief.
Anger: OMG it is true! Walking around looking at the tags I found “Designed in Canada, Made In China” Made in China! Made in China!! Made in China!!! As someone who does her best to be socially responsible, I had been doing my best to avoid buying things made in China. The thought of some 8 year old child in a sweatshop making my Yoga clothes was breaking my heart.
Bargaining: Ok, but I have this gift-card I was given for my birthday ….I’ll just spend that, then I’ll never set foot in here again. It was a gift after all I can’t be rude and let it go to waste.
Depression: It had taken me forever to find cute, well-made Yoga clothes that lasted. Was I going have settle for ill-fitted Yoga pants that don’t last. Was I going to have to wear leotards or learn to sew?
Testing: Ok so if I wasn’t going to shop at Lululemon, where could I get my Yoga clothes? So I poured myself a glass of wine (organic of course) and pulled out the laptop. Ahhh the power of Google, I started to search for Yoga clothing made in Canada and Yoga clothing Made In the US. Whadda Know there actually was alot out there.
Acceptance: Once I realized the Love affair was over and could see things clearly, I realized the signs were always there, I just didn’t want to see them. I mean I never really jived with their message or values. I once had the misfortune of over hearing and employee review in a coffee shop and well …it was a bit cult-ish. There was also the lack of larger sizes which always bothered me, as a girl gifted in the bootie they really only had 1 style of pants I could wear. The music was always WAY too loud and I felt like I was at a club. So yah, it was a good thing in the long run Lulu and I were never really meant to be after all.
Lately I have noticed more and Yogini’s ending their love affair with Lulu and many have asked me for recommendations to other lines that are made in Canada or the US. Well since I’ve spent hours online researching this, I’ll be happy to share and save you the work.
I have divided the list according to where they are made, and many of these (although not all) are sustainable as well. There is a little bit for every style of Yogini ranging from the Sporty, The Chic, to the Woodland Fairy and the Punk Rock (or is that just me?)
I hope this helps you shop in line with your values and let me know if you know some I have missed so I can add them to the list.
Disclaimer: At the time of this post I personally checked these sites out, however the companies policies could change at anytime. Always best to double check before ordering to ensure a sweatshop free experience 😉
Esty has a ton of hand made local options as well try typing in Yoga clothes made in ____ (country of choice)
How do we heal our broken hearts in the wake of the flood? I am sure it will take us all many weeks to begin to heal. It’s normal to be processing and healing for a few months and we are likely to feel up and down emotionally and extra drained physically as well.
Although I live in a neighborhood that flooded and was evacuated, I am beyond lucky that my home was dry and safe when I returned. Still, my heart aches for all those who have lost so much. Many of us may have never been through a natural disaster and have no idea how to heal our broken hearts.
I have a few tools to help you cope in the weeks to come:
1) Get involved! Helping others heal helps in turn to heal ourselves. Community is very important right now. If you are looking to volunteer,www.yychelps.ca is a great resource. If you can’t volunteer, consider feeding volunteers; food dropped off to volunteer sites is a great help.
2) Raise Funds. There are many ways to donate money. I have created a Karma (donation) Yoga class to raise funds for my local community, you can see the details by clicking the link below the picture. You can donate through that link even if you cannot attend in person. You can also bring cash to class the day of.
3) Take time for self-care. Now more than ever it is important to take time for yourself to recharge and heal so you can be available to those who need a touchstone or a lighthouse right now. Summer Yoga classes are open for registration and some classes still have spots left. To See All Summer Classes In Detail Including Links To Sign Up Click https://nykdanu.com/yoga/class-schedule.
4) Shop local. Many of the small businesses lost thousands of dollars of stock and lost business during the floods. Small businesses are unlikely to have the float fund that a big box store would. So now, more than ever, is the time go and visit the areas that were devastated by the floods, have meal go for coffee and do a little shopping. Visit http://yycisopen.com/ for a list neighborhoods and businesses that were affected by the flood.
5) Here is a video with a Yoga practice to help in times of stress and insomnia.
Insomnia & Stress Yoga To The Rescue
6) Practice Gratitude. Take some time everyday to be thankful and grateful. It helps to keep things in perspective and focus on the good in our lives, and now is a great time to count your blessings.
To all of you who have been affected by the floods, my thoughts and prayers are with you and together we can heal. Our hearts maybe broken but our spirits need not be.
Much Love & Gratitude,
Nyk Danu Yoga ~ Victoria, BC, Private Yoga Sessions & Yoga Classes
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