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February 2010
- Issue 39

Wow!  February already!  Time moves fast.

In a few days we welcome the world to the Olympics in Vancouver.  I haven't any tickets for events, but I'm definitely going to check out the free events.  I'm not sure what I'll find, but I know it will be busy and fun.

The Olympics have good and not so good aspects.  One of the downside ones, is it will affect some of our classes.  We ran Baby Sign Language at Roundhouse early, so that we'd finish before February.  Riley Park will be affected greatly.  If you're coming to classes there, arrive early.  There is no street parking, and the parking lot is for the community center patrons only.  Park your car, go in and get a ticket and bring it back to your car.

Some of our classes run for  10 weeks and others run for 5 or 6 weeks and then begin another session.  For the shorter sessions, we begin offering them again this month.  So be sure to see what's available at www.intoyoga.ca/classes.htm.  Register early to secure your space.

In this month's Newsletter you will find the following topics:

Quieting the Mind and Being Present
Explore Tantric Yoga with Rod Stryker
Sheri in Caricature
Recipe - Ginger Almond Pears
Yoga/Pilates & Nutritional Cleanse Seminars at Work
We Want Your Feedback 
Promote YOUR Business
Quips and Quotes
Find us on Twitter and Facebook
Past Newsletters
Your Contributions Welcome
Our Privacy Policy
Email A Friend 

Quieting the Mind and Being Present
by Gina Lake
Published in www.Yoga.com

The Self speaks to us primarily through intuition. It is the language of the Heart. The value of meditation and other spiritual practices that quiet the mind is that they make intuition more accessible. Most people need these practices to get over the hurdle of the dominance of the mind and into greater alignment with the Self.

Meditation, or any other activity that focuses the mind, causes the mind to become quiet because it keeps it busy with a task. Actually any activity that we are fully engaged in can serve as a meditation. When we focus all of our attention on something, the mind becomes quiet and serves us only when needed.

We tend to skim by on the surface of life, instead of diving into the moment and really experiencing it. The mind keeps us at a distance from the real experience and, instead, substitutes thoughts about the experience. It distances us from the present moment, where life is rich and alive. We can learn to be more present to the moment by just noticing what is going on. This is usually accomplished by taking our attention off of thoughts and putting it on whatever else is happening in the moment.

Exercise: Being Present

This is a practice for every moment, no matter what the circumstances.

Being present means giving your attention to everything that is happening in the moment, not just to your thoughts. If a thought arises, notice it and then continue to notice whatever else is present. When you are engaged in a task and your mind wanders off of it, bring your attention back to the task, to the sensations that are present, and to the entire experience of that moment. Soon it will be natural to be present to whatever is going on in the moment.

Doing a more formal kind of meditation is another very helpful practice. When done on a regular basis, meditation helps establish a calm mental state, which makes the intuition (and the Self’s guidance) more accessible. It is the most effective spiritual technique available for shifting out of the egoic state of consciousness and into the experience of our true nature. It is also no more complicated or difficult than being present to an activity.

Exercise: Sitting in Meditation

Set aside some time in a quiet place for this. Start by sitting in meditation for 10 minutes, and slowly increase this as your enjoyment of meditation increases. Be sure to make this as comfortable, enjoyable, and pleasant as possible so that you look forward to doing this. Try to do this daily, even if only for a few minutes.

Choose something to focus on that you enjoy so that your meditation will be pleasurable. If you are auditory, you would probably enjoy listening to music or to the sounds in the room. If you are more kinesthetic, you would enjoy focusing on any physical sensations that are present and also on any subtle energetic sensations. If you are more visual, you might enjoy gazing at a picture of a saint, a work of art, colors, flowers, or something in nature.

Whenever your mind wanders from what you are focusing on, gently bring it back. Also notice what you are experiencing as you sit in meditation. While the mind is busy with what it is focusing on, experience is still happening. This experience is who you are! As you practice meditation more, your mind will wander less and for shorter periods of time, and you will spend increasing amounts of time in the now.

Once you begin spending more time in the now, meditation becomes very pleasurable. The now is intensely pleasurable. It has everything: joy, bliss, peace, contentment, fulfillment, love, and wisdom. You will wonder why you ever wandered from the now, but then you will catch yourself doing it again. The mind is very seductive even though the now is so joyous and full. Even those who live mostly in the now find themselves wandering through the corridors of the mind from time to time.
Thinking can be fun. The Self enjoys thinking when it is appropriate, and thinking can serve the Self. Not all thinking is a problem. It is our relationship to it that causes the problem. When we become identified with our thoughts, we lose awareness of the now. It is possible, however, to think and not become identified with our thoughts. When we remain aware of the Self while we are thinking, then thinking is kept in its rightful place.

Thinking can be like any other activity we are present to. We can be present to our thoughts just as we are present to whatever else is part of that moment. When we are present to our thoughts, it doesn’t feel like we are thinking them but more like we are noticing them being thought, which is very different from the usual way of thinking.

Exercise: Being Present to Thoughts

You can practice being present to thoughts whenever they arise. Through this practice, your relationship to thought can change.

Notice whatever thought is arising right now. Observe it as if you were standing at a distance from it. What is the experience of thinking? Notice that thinking seems to be contained in your head. What is aware of thinking? Is this Awareness contained by anything, even your body? How big is it? Does it have a boundary? What is the experience of this Awareness? This is who you are. You are the Awareness that is aware of thoughts coming and going.

The thoughts that arise in your mind have nothing to do with who you really are. What arises in your mind is not up to you. It is just the conditioning you were given. Without following a thought, commenting on a thought, or holding an opinion about a thought, simply observe how your thoughts come and go: One thought replaces another. Where do they come from? Where do they go? Notice how little coherence there is between thoughts and how they jump from subject to subject. At times, it seems they are designed solely to get your attention. What else do you notice about them? Are there different voices attached to them? Do you notice certain themes? How true are they? Do they have an impact on this Awareness?

Being present to thoughts this way allows us to be objective about them. With objectivity, we can examine them in a way that is not possible when we are identified with them. Through this examination, a great deal can be learned about the nature of our conditioning, and this can free us from it.
This new relationship to the mind is very freeing. It not only frees us from our conditioning but it frees us to be aware of the fullness of the moment. Because the mind no longer has the power to draw us into identification, we are free to give our attention to the whole of life instead of only to our thoughts. What we discover is that part of what is happening in the whole of life is that the Self is speaking to us in its own way—through intuition.

Excerpted from Gina Lake’s new book, Radical Happiness: A Guide to Awakening. Thanks to author Gina Lake  who has a Masters degree in Counseling Psychology and over twenty years experience supporting people in their spiritual growth. In addition, she has authored several books on spirituality, including: Pathways to Self Discovery and Symbols of the Soul. She also compiled and edited Nothing Personal: Seeing Beyond the Illusion of a Separate Self, based on the teachings of her husband Nirmala. Together, they offer satsang (inquiry into the nature of being) and spiritual retreats.  You can visit Gina at www.radicalhappiness.com.


Explore Tantric Yoga with Rod Stryker

South Okanagan Yoga Academy and Okanagan Yoga Essentials present…
Rod Stryker
Explore Tantra Yoga Friday 6pm to Sunday 1pm June 11-13, 2010

For more information or to register go to www.soyayoga.com/stryker.html


Sheri in Caricature

While I was at the Bay Downtown the other day, there was a fellow doing really cool caricatures of people.  I had mine done.  I can't figure out how to embed it into this newsletter, but if you'd like to see it, I've included it as an attachment. If you want more information talk with Mark at www.crueltyfreecartoons.com.  


Arm & Leg Stretch

1. Stand erect with your arms at your sides

2. Find a focus point on the floor or wall ahead of you

3. Slowly bend your right knee bringing the heel up to the buttock. Grab the top of your foot with your right hand

4. Inhaling, slowly raise your left hand overhead, keeping the arm beside the ear. Stretch up

5. Exhaling, push your heel into your buttock

6. Inhaling, look up towards your raised hand

7. Hold posture and breathe

8. Inhale. Exhaling, slowly lower your arm then your leg

9. Repeat on the opposite side


DANCER’S POSE (Natarajasana)

A more advanced version of the Arm & Leg Stretch

Follow the first 6 steps of the Arm & Leg Stretch

7. Exhaling, stretch your left arm forward, leaning forward from the hips, pushing your right heel away from your buttock, while raising your thigh

8. Hold posture and breathe

9. Release

10. Repeat on the opposite side


-strengthens and relieves pain in lower back
-improves balance, concentration, poise and posture
-relieves tension in back of thighs
-strengthens and tones the legs and arms
-expands the chest
-increases shoulder mobility



Ginger Almond Pears
(6 Servings)

Pears are one of the few fruits that actually improve in texture and flavor after being picked a little green. You can store them in a paper bag for a couple of days to speed up ripening. A little softness around the stems and a change in skin color means they're ready. Bartletts, red Bartletts, or Anjou varieties have the best flavor and are good for cooking. When the time comes for thickening the pear sauce, I prefer arrowroot over cornstarch, although it is a little harder to find. Arrowroot comes from a tropical tuber whose root stalks are dried and ground into a fine starchy powder that's very easy to digest. Sauces thickened with arrowroot are a little finer than those thickened with cornstarch but you can use either.

The most potent ingredient in this dessert, and the one that gets it into my cookbook though, is the ginger. Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is known throughout the world for its tonic and spiritually uplifting properties. When used fresh, it's especially effective at improving digestion and calming nausea and indigestion — making it a great follow-up to any hearty meal.

5 firm ripe pears
3 cups apple cider
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger root
3 tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
Salt to taste

1. Peel the pears, quarter them lengthwise, and core. Slice pears thinly and place in a saucepan with the apple cider and ginger root. Add a pinch of salt.

2. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until pears are tender, about 15 minutes.

3. Dissolve cornstarch or arrowroot in 1/3 cup cold water and add to the simmering pears, stirring, until the sauce is thick and clear.

4. Remove from heat and stir in almond extract. Serve warm or cold.

Nutritional Value Per Serving:
184.9 calories
0.9 g total fat (0 g sat)
0.0 mg cholesterol
46.7 g carbohydrate
0.8 g protein
4.7 g fiber


Yoga/Pilates & Nutritional Cleanse Seminars at Work

How are your New Year's Resolutions going?  You can help them along by inviting us to your office for on-site Yoga/Pilates classes.   We'll provide a qualified instructor to guide you and your fellow staff in Yoga or Pilates classes. 

We have instructors available to suit your time - early morning, lunch time, or after work.  You choose.  Clear a room, bring a Yoga/Pilates mat and we'll be there!

If you want to look and feel better this year, what could be easier than taking a break at work and moving into a state of perfect bliss for 45 minutes once or twice a week?   Classes start as low as $5.

Or ask us to come talk about nutritional cleansing.  This is an easy, affordable, proven method of ridding body fat bringing your body to optimal health, recommended by doctors.  A 45 minute talk at lunch, you can brown bag it, or try some of our delicious products that will fill you up in no time.  There is no charge for these talks.

Call 604-421-9872 or email info@intoyoga.ca.  Visit our Corporate page on our website at www.intoyoga.ca/corporate.htm.


We Want Your Feedback

Have you experienced classes with us before?  If so, we'd like to hear from you.  The good and the bad.  Tell us what you like.  How have they improved your life?  What keeps you coming back?  Plus, tell us what we could do better (but be kind).  What can we improve and what would you like to see that we're not providing?  Email your comments to info@intoyoga.ca.  We're listening. 

Promote YOUR Business

Are you a woman business owner, professional or entrepreneur interested in creating more referrals for your business

I have become an area coordinator for The Heart Link Network, a fun, non-threatening, non-membership networking event showcasing women who are serious about growing their business.

Our events are held in a warm environment with dinner provided. It is a powerful, unique and effective marketing tool specifically designed to link women so they can nurture, support, enrich and resource one another in both personal and professional ways.

Consider joining our Heart Link Networking Group. You can find more details at www.meetup.com/Burnaby-Heart-Link. Or simply register and lock in your business category at www.V5A4B7.TheHeartLinkNetwork.com.  Be added to our news updates and invites by emailing sheri@cleanseyourbody.ca with ADD ME TO HLN in the subject line.


Quips and Quotes

A life of awareness and simplicity enables one to cultivate one's inner life and to be in the state of complete harmony. Sato

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Past Newsletters

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Your Contributions Welcome

If you would like to contribute in some way to upcoming newsletters, please contact us at info@intoyoga.ca.  We welcome your views, thoughts, enlightenments, articles, etc.  When contacting us, please be sure to let us know that you'd like to have your contribution inserted into our newsletter.

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