Are you travelling this summer and wondering where to go for a yoga class, check out Stylights article on the best yoga studios across the country.
"(...) in celebration of International Yoga Day on June 21 (which, fun fact: International Yoga Day was officially declared by the United Nations General Assembly in 2014), we’ve created a Canada-wide map pinpointing the very best studios to get your namaste on across the country.
From Whitehorse to St. John’s, Haida Gwaii to Saskatoon, this is where Canadians go to find their zen."
Sun Studio is honoured to be placed among these wonderful and inspiring places.
Click here to read the full article.
This morning, at the end of the Kundalini Yoga class, we meditated, chanted and focused our intention on tranquility and peace within ourselves, throughout the world and for the universe. Tranquility and peace can be found in stillness and quiet. But not everyone resonates the same way. For some stillness and silence can be scary or intense and they don't equate it with peace.
After class I found myself walking Spirit Lake trail contemplating this issue. I was struck by the natural silence and stillness in this magical place. I sat at the edge of the lake and could not detect any man-made sounds aside from my breath; hearing only the sound of birds, frogs and the wind gently whispering through the leaves.
It's human activity that creates noise, and lately I have been wondering whether we keep making noise, out of fear for silence and fear of our mental chatter.
“Silence is for bumping into yourself,” a monk tells George Prochnik, the author of “In Pursuit of Silence: Listening for Meaning in a World of Noise,” a meditative exploration published in 2010 about the costs of noise and the benefits of pursuing quiet. How many of us are afraid of "bumping into ourselves" ?
So silence may not necessarily be peaceful, as we become uncomfortably aware of the mental chatter and stories that are downloaded and broadcasted into our inner hearing each second of the day. So many people rather avoid this discomfort and turn up their outside noise and activities, rather than listen to their inner world. This discomfort and fear of silence comes at a cost. Not only a cost on our wallet, but also on our well-being.
With more than half the world’s population living in cities, it seems almost impossible for most people to find some peace and quiet these days. Sadly, street noise, cellphones, and traffic provide a constant soundtrack to most peoples lives.
Even on remote Haida Gwaii, we are not immune to the stimulations and sounds of the modern world. We all live under an assault of constant inputs, demands, tedious bureaucratic tasks or requests. The email dinging on your desktop, the text that has to be answered this instant, the Twitter troll you can’t stop yourself from answering — our nervous systems are taxed to the max, it’s no wonder we crave silence.
Silence can be peaceful because it reduces stimulation. And silent places tend to be slower places, inviting us to go within, yet at the same time to connect with the larger world without being overwhelmed.
When it is hard to allow yourself to slow down, to allow yourself silence, then you may want to look at ancient tools and techniques of yoga, meditation and sound healing. Any yoga or meditation practice will lead you to become aware of the mental chatter within, but it also shows a way to be with it, rather than to keep running into busy-ness to escape it.
Ironically, Kundalini Yoga uses a lot of sound tools in order to quiet the mind. Whether we use the vibrations of repetitive mantra, or the sound of the gong; these are very effective tools in order to find a quiet place in the mind.
The gong and chants are excellent for the parasympathetic nervous system, which is ruled by sound. Each of these tools has the power to release us from the torrents of thoughts. The intensity of the sound puts the entire nervous system under pressure to heal itself.
Another way to unwind the mental chatter and to find silence is through practicing Yin Yoga. Yin Yoga is a slow, meditative practice where you may hold poses for a minute or so for beginners to five minutes or more for more advanced practitioners. The idea is to really settle into the pose and let your connective tissues relax. Yin Yoga offers a way to deal with the quiet, with the silence and alone time.
When we're not overwhelmed by our inner thoughts and stories, then we can take in the silence of nature without feeling threatened. We can allow ourselves to slow down and become aware of the peace and quiet that's here, right here, right now:
Could this be a key in 'saving the world'? It seems to be a key for our own well-being and for the well-being of this precious planet.
For now, it’s still possible to find forests, seashores or mountains on Haida Gwaii where you can relax for 15 minutes or more completely free from the clatter of human existence. Let's not take this for granted.
This weekend Sun Studio was honoured to host many artistic performances, ranging from spoken word and music by talented local performers to the authentic offerings by The Cookers, a Toronto based jazz combo.
I am deeply moved by the genuine sharing and offering of the gifts by all of these performers. When artists offer their gifts from the heart, our soul recognizes the truth in their offering. When the artist can allow the work to come through without being caught up in their own stories, their own drama of life, then it can speak to the soul of the listener.
What I witnessed last night, as the Cookers showed up and shared their music with a small audience, was a Divine offering, a meditation, a deep, deep listening between the 5 players. The Master of Kundalini Yoga, Yogi Bhajan, often talked about this state of consciousness called Shuniya, where the ego is brought to complete stillness. A power exists there. We do not hassle or try to act.
Last night was a lesson in Shuniya to me.
The Cookers were willing to show up as their authentic selves without judgements and pre-conceived notions. They were willing to create music from a place of deep trust, to listen deeply to each other and to treat their rented and borrowed instruments with reverence and curiosity, bringing out the very best.
The Cookers treated the small audience with the same reverence as if we had been a large crowd in a well-known performance hall in the big city. They were as honoured as we were, to be able to deeply connect to each other and share their gift with the audience. I felt privileged to be part of this intimate sharing.
What I witnessed this evening is what I understand to be yoga: Union between Mind, Body and Spirit. The Cookers showed us yoga, how to become one with our gift, with our body (instrument) and with each other.
May we all learn to recognize our gift and may we all learn to show up and share this gift in the authentic and honest way that the musicians and artists did this weekend.
Wow! Wahe Guru! 16 Brand new Yoga Teachers on Sun Studio's stage! They travelled from far (Halifax being the record) and near, made time and space in their lives to commit to 20 days of studio yoga teacher training time, 30 hours of observing and taking live yoga classes, and many, many, many hours of homework and practice! I believe it's taken more than 200 hours to come to completion.
Jay Suttonbrown from Manipura Yoga College offers a unique foundational training, teaching students wisdom, knowledge and experience of both Hatha Yoga and Kundalini Yoga traditions in her 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training. Hatha practice and teachings inform Kundalini Yoga practice, as students learn safe adjustments and alternate postures. Kundalini Yoga practice informs Hatha Yoga practice with a deeper understanding and experience of energetic bodies and a wide range of use of 'Naad', or Sacred Sound Current.
I am just in awe of all these amazing people, who worked so hard since February. It takes strength, courage, discipline, commitment, power to surrender and sacrifice to get there.
CONGRATULATIONS to all!!! The hard work pays off. I witnessed huge transformations and people stepping up, showing their authenticity, vulnerability and finding their voice.
And a HUGE THANK YOU to the amazing, powerhouse, FireStar Yoga Teacher Trainer: Jay Suttonbrown from Manipura Yoga College. Without you making time and space to step out of your busy life in Nanaimo, this would not have been possible. Haaw'a, haaw'a, haaw'a.
I stand in awe and am so grateful for this community of yogis and fellow teachers, you all know how much it means to me!
Blessings to all,
Siri Kirin (Kiki)