Plastic Free Yogi: Back to EARTH SCHOOL

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HEY. SO I have a challenge for you? I really really need you to take an honest look at all the disposable plastic waste around you. When look in your fridge and have an eyes wide open look at the contents and its packaging. Peak in your garbage bin and go look really closely at the grocery store. We are wrapped in waste and choking on plastic. It's really time to get some better practices. I am really looking forward to calling in more community leaders to help support plastic free yogi and get this project in more movement. Want to get involved? Send me a note at danielle@lovelightyoga.com and start encouraging your studios, workplace and homes to break up with plastic. Just say NO. 

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LOVE these glass straws from my sisters at Simply Straws. They have gifted the last two Yin and Justice crew their awesome straws and encourage us to all get on board and #stopsucking. I would LOVE if you told your local restaurants and cafes that you would like to see no straws as as start to great changes. I am SUPER curious to get involved in policy change in Vancouver too this year. We are supposed to be aiming for the greenest city by 2020, but I see so much waste in your streets, so many businesses using styrofoam and just lots of talk. Where is the direct action and by-laws? Lets craft mega change today and gather our yogis for the great shift. 

Danielle 

East Van Roaster Community Project.

Do you love coffee and love chocolate?

You have to check out one of my favourite social ventures in Vancouver called East Van Roasters

East Van Roasters (319 Carrall Street in the Rainier Hotel) is a 16-seat specialty cafe and social enterprise of the PHS Community Services Society.  Designed to provide pre-employment training and work opportunity for the women residents of the Rainier Hotel, East Van Roasters creates organic ‘bean to bar’ chocolate and coffee roasted and prepared on site.  Delicious organic drinking chocolate and coffees, hand rolled truffles, single-origin chocolate bars and select pastries are offered Tuesday-Friday, 9am to 5pm and Saturdays 10am to 5pm. East Van Roasters will supply freshly roasted coffee and cacao nibs, as well as couverture and customized chocolate wholesale to industry professionals and businesses.  Come in and see how chocolate is made right from the bean! 

Our Yin and Social Justice Group took a visit and a information session as part of our program to understand creative ways to support community, different ways to leverage our connections and really understand the complicated levels to social ventures, fair trade, travel, production and more. We are also using this project to keep us connected as a group... Chocolate is heart medicines by the way! Check out some images below and have a peak at their products. Where do you get your coffee from? What cafes in your area carry EVR? What does your company drink? Got special events that could benefit from a chocolate catering? I encourage to go check them out and also watch in the big glass viewing chocolate making space. its AMAZING. Thank you Shelley and Sarah for the great night and continued 

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Honouring Your Process by Dia Penning

This past week, I was in Vancouver with an amazing group of folks. Many were First Nations or mixed First Nations. We were all at a different place in our process for understanding how we have been colonized. With my co-leaders we compared the process of understanding oppression to the five stage grief.

At first there is denial. It may be what we tell ourselves as young folks, or believing the interpretations of those around us. Maybe, you assume that racism is not happening on a micro level or that it doesn’t effect you because you have a middle class job or live in an affluent area. You might hold on to the idea of meritocracy and believe that everything is equal, if only everyone worked equally as hard.

Finish Reading here on Dia's blog The Equity Collective 

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Guest Blog with Hannah from the Social Justice Training.

I sit here, writing, still embodied by the practice of yin yoga. Three days into the four day training and I feel as though I have opened up new channels in myself and have begun to bridge the two worlds in which I study, both Yoga, and Social Work.

 

In the yin and justice training, we have been discussing the concept of two opposing worlds, from internal and external, to right and wrong. We have been learning how to understand such concepts as binary, and as created by Western society. Additionally, we have been feeling into the exploration of everything as being fluid, everything as fluctuating, and everything as being in or part of a transition. Yin is an individual practice that, again, to bypass the paradox, is practiced in community, and is perfect for those who are seeking some rebellion.

 

Yin is a different yoga practice than the usual. Dynamic styles of yoga trend more so toward the reinforcement of tyranny in our systems at a micro and mezzo (individual and group) level of practice. Styles such as flow or vinyassa encompass more so the Western ideas of “getting it done”, and “right and wrong” , or as one woman in our training described as “being a good student”. The combination of yin yoga and social justice aim to decolonize our yoga practices in the West, primarily through recognizing that every person’s experience is different, and that every person, no matter what, has a gift to offer.

 

Today in “class”, we divided ourselves into pairs and discussed the difference between Sameness and Oneness, each person had 5 minutes to talk about their thoughts on the question without interruption. What I found myself saying was profound, theoretical, and empowering. Yoga, and other mindfulness practices, tend to idealize this concept of ‘oneness’, without actually differentiating between sameness, of which may be very hurtful. None of us have the same story, and to interpret another's story through a biased and personalized lens is egocentric and potentially destructive. I believe that the concept of oneness has a theoretical and mystical resonance.  Oneness may encompass connection, emotion, and relationship, inter/ra personal relationship and our relationship to the earth we live from, and hopefully with.

 

The yin and justice training seems to be guided by multiple theories. A feminist theory arcs over and weaves through the room filling each breath with a depth of understanding social justice from a lens, that I believe, needs to be the first thing sold in the glasses store down the street. Similarly to the Social Work program I am in, we discuss the differences between equity and equality, honouring that each body needs to be met where they are at, and not necessarily where the individual beside them is. We discuss intersectionality, racism, whiteness, and oppression.

 

We learn that paradox only creates opposition. There is no need to choose, either love or hate, or to live externally or internally, but to move through it all.

 

I grew up with a Western perspective of my senses, learning from an early age that just as we can control our thoughts, we can control our emotions. Of course, I still believe is true, however, it is in this mindset that I’ve also learned to avoid my emotions, and be “strong”. I’ve learned to live from my mind rather than from my heart. Chastity Davis spoke of this today in the training as she was presenting on her idea of “heartfulness”. She spoke of the value and importance of mindfulness, and also that heartfulness (her new coined term) needs to be the next step. Yoga has been this for me, I have learned that through mindfulness, or rather, cultivating an awareness of my body, my thoughts, my emotions, etc, I am able to consciously sink into my emotions and allow myself to feel them. It is like writing poetry. Personally,  I write the best poetry when I am angry. Like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly, it is through feeling that we are able to move through the emotion and come out on the other side. Metamorphosis. Change. Through this process, with appropriate support, we are then not only connected to our bodies on a deeper level, but we are able to take the anger (for example) and use it to fuel our passion that brings us out into the world to take on the injustices. Talk about empowerment!

 

And then the day of training ended, and as I came out of a deep 2 hour yin practice, I heard Danielle’s voice as she softly guided us to move and feel our mouths, to wiggle our ears, and to gaze into our eyelids.  These are the places where our senses connect from internal to external, where we hear one another,  where we speak truth, and where we see change happen. She then guided us to feel into our entire bodies that are guided by and smothered in senses. It is through these senses that we make sense of the world (no pun intended..).

Acting shapes and playing games in yin and justice. gotta find the balance between the parts. 

Acting shapes and playing games in yin and justice. gotta find the balance between the parts. 

Yin and Social Justice Shapes.

We had a great offering of the 30 hour Yin and Social Justice in Vancouver with Dia Penning and Chastity Davis. Join Danielle and Dia in 2018 for Yin and Social Justice at Hollyhock on Cortes. 

Enjoy an exploration of these shapes from our 4 day training with a diverse group from across Canada and California. 

Day 1

  • Float on back, with a bolster or rolled blanket under the knees

  • Right knee to chest, holding with both hands. Knee could be wide or narrow: 3 minutes

  • Right ankle to left knee, like a number forth. The right hand could reach between the legs and both hands clasp beyond the left thigh. 6 minutes

  • Repeat the last two poses!

  • Left knee to chest. 3 minutes

  • Left ankle to knee. 6 minutes

  • From the back. Knees wide and fall open, soles of the feet together, heels can be close or far from the body.  6 minutes

  • Supine Twist. From your back, hips off to the right a bit, knees over to the left. Knees and ankles stacked. Knees in line with hips and feet moving more towards the left. 5 minutes. Switch sides

  • Final Rest

 

Day 2

  • Bolster under the spine. Heart opener. 6 minutes

  • Child’s Pose with a bolster under the chest. Neck turned to one side. Switch sides of head halfway throught. 10 minutes

  • Heart Opener on the wall. Sit with the right side of the body to the wall. Extend the right arm out behind the body. Wrist in line with the shoulder. Start with the palm facing on the wall, than change the arm height and wrist angle as you explore the tension in the body: 3 minutes on each side.

  • Arms behind the back. Reach the right arm behind the back and reach for the left elbow. Reach shoulders and breath. Explore turning the bed to one side. Switch sides. 3 minutes each side

 

Day 3

  • Half Square pose with bolster. Right knee bent and on top of bolster. Left leg long. Fold forward and support knees if needed.

  • Supported Fish with bolster wide: 3 minutes

  • Dragonfly: 5 minutes

  • Dragon/Lunges: 5 minutes

  • Supine Twist: 6 minutes

 

Day 4

  • Forward Fold: 10 minutes

  • Cat Pulling its Tail.  Its like a supine twist with the top leg straight in line with the hips. Deepen the twist with your shoulder and hip placement:: 7 minutes each side.

  • Toe Squat. From hands and knees, tuck your toes (toenails facing the shins) and sit back on your heels,  4 minutes. 

 

Day 5

  • Hamstrings on the back. One leg at a time. Holding on the leg: 7 minutes

  • Flat Cat. From your belly. lift your left leg flat on the ground and up towards your armpit. Switch sides.  4 minutes each side

  • Sphinx. Starting from your stomach, press up on your forearms with your elbows under your shoulders. relax the legs long and left the head drop back, or hand forward, or supported with a block: 5 minutes.

 

Guest Blog: Learning the Language of Our Body

Welcoming our guest blogger Hannah how just completed our Yin and Social Justice Training in Vancouver. Giving thanks for this great group and looking forward to the Holly Hock Edition in September 2018 with Dia Penning. Register early for a discount and apply for a scholarship. 

 

It was not so long ago that I raised my hand in class and asked why it is that people who have been emotionally hurt or offended can't work through it on their own (in their minds). The class response repeats like a slow-motion video consistently in my mind's eye. Immediately, ten hands shot into the air as I watched their jaws drop, like someone had physically yanked them all towards the floor. This was the moment when my heart and soul truly recognized the privilege in which I bathe. Supported by a community of wonderful people, a tight knit family, intellect, education, ability, and yes, even my society to an extent, I am mostly able to manage with western psychology. This is my privilege. However, in all this, I feel there is a disconnect in my mind, body, and spirit. My culture does not support my intuition, or my authentic, wild, expression. For this, I have found support through my practice of yoga, and through my involvement in the spiritual community in Vancouver.

There are multiple angles in which I thought about writing this blog post. Initially I was drawn to speak solely of intuition. In this search for direction, I realized that perhaps intuition is the basis, and what I wish to explore is the whole-istic framework of mind, body, and spirit. I believe this approach to be the ultimate solution for free expression, for healing, and for connecting with our intuitive, natural, selves.

Over the past year as I've been studying social work at the University of British Columbia, and it feels as though my thoughts have been rewired. In the program, I am constantly reflecting on my social-location, my biases, my prejudice, and my privilege.

Throughout the past year, which was my fourth year of university and my first year of social work, I must have written 80+ journal entries reflecting on class discussions, theories, approaches to practice, case studies, counseling, and even as far as reflecting on my reflections (metareflection)! At the time I thought this to be tedious. In reflection, however, I recognize the huge impact this constant digging through my mind and actions has left on me. As I've mentioned, it really did change the way I see myself and the way I act. It is as if the window I see out of has been dirty and the thoughtful reflections acted as windshield wipers, washing away smears of bias and prejudice to help drive me on the road towards clarity. Most profoundly, I've recognized my privilege.

I speak of this written reflection because this is one piece of the holistic puzzle in which I've begun to understand myself more deeply. As I've learned to unravel strange biases and dissect deep secrets, I am able to create a space within myself for a fundamental feeling of peace and appreciation. In counseling, there is a specific kind of therapy called narrative therapy. Narrative therapy cares mostly about using client-centered approach and on building a client-counselor relationship. This is achieved through story telling. I bring this up because I see narrative therapy as equivalent to yin yoga, diving deep into our stories, packed with intense emotion and attachment. With the release, whether through talking (to a trained counselor) or through breathing and stretching,  we learn to discover a comfort within our discomfort, within the stories we have created.

I understand yoga to be a holistic practice on its own, although I am also a believer in yoga as one branch of the holistic tree, complementary approaches in both eastern and western medicine encompassing the rest of the tree. Just as Yoga is one branch, so is the mind in a mind-body-spirit holistic practice. Journaling is the mind piece, the piece that brings an understanding of justice and of privilege.

Body is another piece.

In yin, we hold our bodies in positions for longer periods of time and allow our bodies to stretch deeply, massaging and loosening our fascia and connective tissue. It is in these poses that our bodies are able to process and reflect, in the same way our minds do on paper. In my own practice, holding deep poses like pigeon pose for long periods of time has allowed me to get into my own body and feel what my hips are holding onto. It makes me feel very uncomfortable at times, but in this discomfort I am able to breathe, and I am able to be, so be.

In recognizing my privilege and really honouring all of the support there is around me, there are still times when I am hurt, sad, disconnected, or to put simply, dealing with shit. Sometimes I wonder if my lack of religious and cultural upbringing has me searching for a deeper meaning, and if a lack of cultural practices actually breed a soul with less meaning and/or purpose in life. I question this because I see myself and those around me searching through various cultures from the East, from Africa, India, Indonesia, etc, in search of something, a form of understanding. I am so thankful for the exposure to different cultures, practices, and rituals that have been brought to the west for the lessons they carry with them.

Through an exposure to these various practices and teachings, I have learned how to tap into my own centre, my own heart, and into my own body. Yoga has been the support I've needed for my own self-care and self-healing.

Additionally, yin yoga is empowering. This practice reminds me that if I tune into my breath and ground myself, I am able to find comfort in discomfort through an exploration of my senses and by drawing them inwards. Feeling my own body is so empowering, it gives me control of the way I choose to move, it gives me choice, and in choice there is freedom.

May we all take time to learn the language of our own, unique bodies..

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To Hannah, yoga is a practice of deep inward connection and of surrendering with integrity and joy. With a dedicated practice over the past 5 years, Hannah has found yoga to be the tool she has needed to not only release and strengthen physical body tension, but to return to a calm and easeful state of mind in times of stress. Having completed her 250hr Hatha Yoga Teacher Training in February of 2016 at Langara College, she has been sharing her teachings ever since while also now completing her fourth year of Social Work at UBC. Hannah's grounded and warming energy holds space for deep restoration, connection, and playfulness.

Guest Blogger: Yoga and Social Justice Thoughts with Atum

For any practice to take effect in the outside world, or to have enough meaning to propel us to
want to share it with the world, it must start internally. It makes sense then, that in any conversation
about our practice of yoga or of justice, before even combining these elements or considering their
reach with others, we must grasp them for ourselves. In order to truly understand the world and the
way things are, we must first start from an understanding of ourselves and where we stand as
individuals. It is key to note that yoga and justice are not separate or distinct ideologies, but lend
elements of themselves to each other. One informs the other.
So where do we stand? We can begin by asking a few simple questions. What do I know about
justice? What are my biases and prejudices and where did I learn them? Who taught me to be biased
and who taught them? To what I do display hate/resentment? What is this school of information based
on and where did it come from? How does what I believe serve me? Who am I helping when I act on this
information? Maybe write it down and think about how you are serving justice in your own life. There is
a lot that we have come to learn and live by that we never stop to question or re-evaluate. It is my belief
that any practice of justice must involve a constant and consistent self-evaluation, and an openness to
receiving new insights. Are my ideas of justice consistent with my culture only? Do any of these things
amount to reciprocity and balance? Fairness? Equality? What else can I learn? And having knowledge of
this, what can I do, as an individual, to upheave some of these patterns and replace them with
something more progressive, more inclusive, and more open. We must always challenge ourselves to
see more and learn more and to be exposed to more ideas that can help to inform our opinions about
the world, about each other, and none more important than about ourselves.
This is not an abstract think-piece. These words serve only to encourage self-observation and
self-evaluation, without judgement. So often our social structures give us reason to believe that justice
is a form of or is tied to judgement, but let us explore an idea of justice without consideration to
judgement. (A strange consideration, since how is something just or unjust without a judgement, right?
But…) let us just for a moment, conceive a world where we have no need to judge, because what is just
is what already exists, underneath the layers of injustice and hardship. These things that we deem
unjust about ourselves, are they really what makes us who we are, or are they things we have inherited
from the outside world; and if they are the latter, what can we do to release them, to make way for that
which is just and true to shine? The answer may lay in the softening of our edges, the pattern of our
breath, the difference between resistance and surrender, the relief during the release, the letting go of
some our learned behaviours and practices. Spirit dwells in ease.
In our practice of yoga we are often confronted with ourselves sometimes in ways that can be
frustrating or difficult to face. When the conditions seem too much to bear, it may just be a calling to
find ease. Find more ease with yourself, ways to be less tense, less rigid, less formal and structured.
Sometimes, allow yourself to just soften, to root and ground in the midst of uncertainty, to find the
patience to flow through changing tides. Sometimes we do would do well to put down the façade of
surefootedness and allow the unknown to be our guide. Sometimes we have to trust in the things we do
not yet understand and be moved by them. These very things can inform us greatly, and perhaps bring
to light new concepts, new ideas, and new ways of looking at old things. We might see ourselves a little
differently, and in so doing find a new way to see the world.
Maybe just breathe a little deeper into your belly for the next few moments and write down
what justice feels like to you right now, and whether you think you have been a just person, and how
you could bring a little more justice to your own life and to your own self. Let your yoga practice inform
a deeper relationship with yourself and thereby all these things about you that you are beginning to
remember. Breathe and go slow…
Love & light till a nex’ time
Atum

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GUEST BLOG: Healing Occurs When I Feel.

Please enjoy and reflect on this wonderful guest post from a Social Worker in Vancouver that prefers to not be named. I am very excited to be starting this series of guest posts when I have been posing yin questions out to the community. I am very interested in telling new stories about yoga, who practices and its social impact. I hope you enjoy this! Want to contribute to this blog, send me a note at danielle@lovelightyoga.com and lets tell new narratives together.

Love and Justice, Danielle

from our Yin and Justice offering in Jamaica in March. Staying connected, feeling in and making change. Yoga in Action! 

from our Yin and Justice offering in Jamaica in March. Staying connected, feeling in and making change. Yoga in Action! 

Healing occurs in my body when I take the time to feel through my discomfort. When I give myself space. When I let my body tell me what it’s feeling, when I let my emotions bubble up and out, when I acknowledge and breath into the tightness, constriction, pain. There’s a lot of pain. Some days my body needs time to heal and I am learning about what it means to allow that and not push myself to “get my work done”. There’s a lot of work. 

 

I am from the Musgamagw Dzawadenuex First Nation (Kwakwaka’wakw) on my mothers side and of mixed European descent on my fathers side. I am a cis-gendered able-bodied light skinned woman and if I did not explicitly share my First Nations lineage, you would assume I was a white woman. I am a Social Worker and over the past ~7 years, I have worked with many different people across many different scopes of practice from DTES community work to prevention work in schools to working in long term care facilities for seniors. 

 

I grew up without my Indigenous culture. Growing up, I did not have access to our language, our dances, our songs, our traditions. The beginnings of my education about my culture and my people was through academia, studying Social Work in a program that centred Indigenous voice and perspective. I liked school, I liked education and learning. I had a intellectualism that I kept close, it felt safe. When I learned about the painful history of colonization, I got angry and stayed angry for a while, but tried to keep that anger contained in academic pursuits, in heady conversations about anti-oppression and social justice and decolonization, not realizing my body also held that anger and trauma. It still does. When left unchecked, I still centre my intellectual experience. I stay in my head and I ignore my body until it screams at me and I can’t ignore it anymore. 

 

What I have found in both my work as a Social Worker and my own personal work re-claiming my identity and my voice as an Indigenous person is that I have to take things slow and take things in my own time (on my body’s time). When my body insists I slow down and I refuse to listen, I get sick or I get debilitating pain in my body that slows me down anyway. I’ve learned to stop pushing my body past it’s limits  and that means saying no and slowing down a lot more than I feel comfortable with. This can also make me unpopular in my Social Work practice, in social justice circles, and even within my own family where the unspoken norm is to go, go, GO, without stopping even when sick, tired, or in pain. In a world where we normalize over-work, being “sooooo busy”, and chronic stress, it’s hard to stand up for being slow and gentle. 

 

 I know, love, and work with many incredible thinkers, community builders, makers, creators, and warriors and I respect and honour their commitment to action. They inspire me with all the work they do for our communities. However, I often find that all this action creates a culture of being so busy and overwhelmed, that the bar is impossibly high. I wonder about who’s important voice we’re losing because of the impossible pressures we’ve created in our colonial capitalist society and then replicated in our social justice communities. Who loses access to community and social justice work because it’s so centred on what our bodies and minds can produce? When your worth is measured in how much you can get done for an organization or cause, what happens to folks that can’t keep up?

 

 In my professional life as a Social Worker, I am constantly asked to do more and be more. Funding cuts, high turnover rates, increased caseloads and other insidious systemic issues make this work demanding and increasingly, unsustainable. I have witnessed other Social Workers and health care professionals burn out, get sick, and then be replaced by someone new. I have seen that cycle repeat itself over and over. It’s become normalized. We lose important voices in Social Work, usually the voices of BIPOC folks, because of the unsustainable demands of the work. When it becomes normal for organizations to lose workers to workplace stress and vicarious trauma, it’s easy to feel dispensable. 

 

My work as a Social Worker and my work in re-claiming my identity is inextricably linked to collective healing. I have realized how important it is for me to listen to my body and let my body guide me. The work of healing myself is also a collective healing work. Body based therapies and practices are not frivolous acts of “self care” for only the privileged few, these are important times of collective healing. When I listen to my body, it usually has a lot to say. It takes strength and courage to listen to my body in a world that puts so much value on what our minds can produce. 

 

I think of yin yoga as important collective healing. The act of slowing down, focusing on the breath, and listening to the body is needed across all sectors, but most importantly for people doing social justice work. This type of healing has sustained me in this work. It’s helped me remember that my body is a sacred site of wisdom. My personal resistance to our capitalist colonial white supremacist reality is to stay soft, slow, and gentle. My work in this world is to be a voice for the importance of listening and being with our bodies. 

Chastity Davis: An Introduction as special guest for Yin and Justice

Chastity will be contributing over the weekend for your Yin and Justice Training in Vancouver. We are excited to have her share with us her experience working with First Nations across Canada. Chastity is a yoga practitioner and great studier of yin yoga, that is supportive fuel for her advocacy and justice work.  We are excited to have her share her diverse offerings with this course and share teachings of this land. 

Too Much Yang will Bang: Guest Blog by Aljah Mystic

Bless up the Yogi Brother Alijah Mystic that took part in our Yin and Justice Training in Jamaica in February 2017 and in March 2016 in Kingston. Check out this latest song inspired by the yin trainings and look out for his classes soon!  

Aljah Mystic: Check out this You Tube offerings and stay tuned for this yin inspired album. Soon come! 

Aljah Mystic: Check out this You Tube offerings and stay tuned for this yin inspired album. Soon come! 

 

PART ONE

Too much yang will bang I take my reference point from the yin and yang energy
That represents the balance between/of two main energy in the world ok I said main energy  so let me give some idea of how these two energies or represented 

We have hot and cold 

                 In and out

                 Up and down

            Left and right 

I we were to make a song or poem  out of these power words it would go like this. We must be in and out flow left and right getting  hot and cold as we go up and down releasing  energy that makes the globe goes round and round ever yining and yangING to the sweet music of life. halo Jah 

That would be if the song was so in the world that we are living in to day the mines of most of the people and mainly world leaders,act on only one energy and that in my view is the yang energy . Please don't yang at me yet for my accusations am just here to open a new site the sight of balance  vision

    Let us bring back the energy words back instead of using the conjunction and we will use or with the or as the middle word you get the feeling that you are doing one or the other and if you are doing one or the other you are not balance  things are not equal you are inefficient etc etc

We are living in a world that believes in dominance we will all most for sure activate our most dominant energy at the time all the time without any thinking of balance or is this the right energy for this moment 

         This is the song that we are singing .I must be hot or cold in or out Up or down Left or right as long as I continue to live. What a boring song there is no dance no music such ego one or the other the best one that serves my purpose so much yang no blance and this is the way people are living today they think mainly about individual dominance and that's where the yang energy is very high

PART TWO

I spoke about yin and yang,now I will talk about one way they are represented as energy bodies around us. We will use a tree for example,the outside of the tree could be the yang side and the inside could be the yin side within those moments of representations the yang would represent out for out spoken outgoing etc and the yin would represent in for inner strength inner talent what I can do from within like within the tree lies countless art work halo Jah.keep your mind on the tree let's look at it from a different angle look at the inner core of the tree that is known as the heart of the tree we find the yang energy and on the out side of the tree you find the yin energy now you might be saying how is the inside yang and the out side yin and you just said that yang is outside and yin is inside,remember I also said  within those moments of representations and within those moments yin and yang was representing in and out and within these moments yin and yang is represented in the manner of Wich part is harder and Wich part is softer and the inside is harder representing the yangenergy and the outer part of the tree that is softer  is the representing yin energy do note that some trees are harder on the outside  and softer on the inside yin and yang dances again we rest on yin and yang for now and talk about  world leaders I say that they are full of yang energy and I need to explain

      Lets take a moment to think then I ask the question how do we select a leader of most group,organization,companies etc.I wonder if we took a moment to think before we say in yang mode who is the toughest of us all (yang) who is the most outspoken the best the baddest,fastest roughest strongest biggest etc lets face it in most cases that how most leaders are selected 

   Mantra of the yang leader

I am the biggest am the baddest 

am the toughest am the fastest 

am the roughest am the strongest

Am better than the rest I could care

Less am the best you can't test 

I win all contest  yang yang yang

  I would say yang where is Yin in your fight to be the king you have only task her in the bin,yang would say so what if am bigger badder etc We are living in a competitive world yin moment take yin out the  bin who or what is the competition !!hey I said something!! Yang said something  yin said something yang would  say again I compete against all yin would say there is know  competition lets  put them together yin and yang the competition in within all let us all do our best yang is the competition that most be kept like the tough yangheart of the tree lies within the soft yin barks of a tree ,and if we most be yangon the out side because the sun warm in our face we most all remain cool as the inside of the tree remains cool knowing that there is always the support of the Forrest. yin on the inside yang on the outside, yang on the outside yin on the inside in the everlasting dance of life .Its a dance not a race of life.I said race or races leaders or selected among races and sometimes world leaders and maybe because we think it's a race we think we need the yangest leader to lead and if every race pick and  yang leader to run its going to be yang on yang

 

Yin Warriors in Jamaica, 2017.

Call to Action: Guest Blog with Dia Penning.

Call to Action by Dia Penning

The point of my work, why I do the things I do, is to make the world a safer place for my son.

He was my point of radicalization.

He is what gets me up in the morning and keeps me moving when I am tired of talking to white people about how to do better.

He keeps me asking questions when I have been told that I am not black enough or educated enough or when I face my own imposter syndrome. I keep myself moving because I know that it takes everyone of us working as hard as we can in order to create change in the world. It takes us all to be open to accepting our own pitfalls or spaces of ignorance.

Activism that produces change takes humility.

I am a teacher. Over the years, I have taught and created curriculum for every age from pre-k to seniors. I’ve worked with pre-school parents, college faculty, high school artists, dancers that hang of sides of building and park rangers. I use techniques for deep reflection and community building. I encourage connection from the heart and a deep listening to acknowledge the wholeness of other human beings. In all the spaces I have worked, there are two questions that I ask.

When was the first time you noticed race?

And

What was your call to action?

I ask these questions so that we have a compass for one another and learn that while we share similarities we also have many differences. I learned this way of understanding this way of looking at the world in two spaces. The first was the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Technology Education at Columbia College in Chicago, the second was at World Trust Educational Services.

In both spaces, I was able to examine my own learning curve in the company of allies and friends. I built my capacity for humility, for being ok with not knowing and for finding opportunities to learn. When I had my son, I was able to recognize the stirring in my soul to create a space to keep him safe. The challenges that I faced up until his birth provided me a map for question asking and collaboration. Every year that he grows, the more he is able to see and understand, the more committed I become to forming alliances across the globe to create spaces of sanctuary and learning.   Read the rest of Dia's post here. 

Holding Space: Guest Blog with Dia for Yin and Justice

r the newsletter, please connect to this blog with this intro:

 

Co-Teacher Dia Penning of Commonweal and the Equity Collective  collaborates with a number of folks regularly. She uses a series of agreements to support the work and transformation. In the following blog she outlines these agreements indicating that we all have work to do. Internal work. External work. Collective work. 

 

As we take time to examine our relationship to violence and honesty, there are ways that we can be intentional about how we interact with one another. These agreements shape the time that she spends with students, clients and in workshops. They have become a calling card for how she interacts with folks, professionally and personally. They will also serve as a foundation for the upcoming workshop Yin and Social Justice.

https://theequitycollective.com/2017/06/13/holding-space/

Sound Salutations: Reggae Yoga at Bass Coast with Tank Gyal.

STOKED to be bringing some epic Reggae Love to Bass Coast again with the ever epic Tank Gyal on Sunday 1:30pm.  I had a BLAST last year at Bass Coast, dancing til I couldn't move any more, time with old friends giggling over sunrises and stories, and made connections with so many new peeps. West Coast, you are a VERY special place of creativity, empowerment, healing and FUN. THANK YOU for reminding me how to play and move endlessly and joyously! Bring your mats, your nice vibes, snacks to share and your favourite dancing boots. SOOOOON! 

Yin and Justice with Dia Penning

 

I am stoked to have Dia Penning has a guest blogger here. She will be joining LLY for another edition of Yin and Justice in Vancouver, a 30 Hour Yin Teacher Training.  More info here.   You can also have a listen to your podcast interview here, Dia and I were interviewed by Jesi Carson during our training in Jamaica. Music by the talented singer and yin yoga student, Aljah Mystic

Habits and Change by Dia Penning. 

My work in social justice and yoga has dovetailed a number of occasions over the last 5 years. More often, I find myself in spaces where we talk about spirit and demonstrate our long held physical tensions as parallels for the tensions in the world. How can one do effective public work if their internal landscape is a mess?

Justice is not, strictly, an external concept.  As we continue to examine normalized violence and our collective capacity for self-harm and dishonesty, the sickness in our world becomes much more sharp. 

What could happen if we stopped lying and saw the world as a collective representation of history and policy that places profit over human dignity?

What would happen if we individually and collectively made choices that supported, embraced, or encouraged growth instead of minimizing, silencing, and erasing?

How much more responsibility would each of us have to take?

For me, the meeting of justice and yin yoga are natural. One asks questions of a cultural and society, the other asks questions of a spirit and a body. We move into areas of discomfort rather than avoiding or working around them. We ask the hard questions, sit with the things we would rather avoid and investigate what might be on the other side. 

For years, I searched for the thing that would fill me –a number of high profile jobs, repeatedly a gained and lost 40lbs, I moved across country and back, drank too much. I did all the things one does when trying to work around discomfort. Prolonged attention is what gave rise to a feeling of security inside of me, prolonged attention and importantly attention to my discomfort. 

We avoid the spaces that cause the most distress—fear of being wrong, personal ignorance, lack of historical context, difference of life experience—we cling to the things that make us feel confortable, even if it is making our communities more unbearable.  Change on any level requires commitment and attention. It requires vigilance, honesty and being able to laugh at ones self. 

When we are less self-absorbed, we are much more able to be present in our own lives, show up for those that need it and attend to the things that need attending to. When we are able to meet our minds or our world where it is at, we have a greater capacity for making change. 

Practice is practice is practice, whether you are seeking to do a handstand in the middle of a room, open up years of tension in your hips, or develop new pathways for inclusion and understanding, the process is practice. We develop a muscle for change by working it. 

If you commit to the process, you find the way to make that change, albeit slowly and with discomfort. I challenge anyone who has considered that the world might be more holistic and inclusive to examine their behavior off the mat and see what habits might be keeping them back.

___________________________________________

Dia Penning is co-teacher for Love Light Yoga’s Yoga and Social Justice Curriculum. She is founder of The Equity Collective, a social justice experiment in radical honesty and inclusion, and has written three volumes of curriculum for World Trust Educational Services

Dia lives in Oakland California with her wife, son, mother, dog, cat and invisible pony, Sparkle.

Chastity Davis: Acknowledging Land and Welcome Ceremony for Yoga on Dub

 

Chastity Davis is a mixed heritage woman of First Nations and European descent. She is a proud member of the Tla’amin Nation, located in Powell River just off the beautiful Sunshine Coast of BC.  Chastity strives to keep her sacred First Nations culture, traditions, and values incorporated into her modern day life. She feels it is her life purpose to facilitate the building of bridges between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people and has dedicated her professional and personal life to do so.

Chastity is sole proprietor to her own consulting business, Chastity Davis Consulting and has been a successful entrepreneur for 6+ years.  She is a board member at the Minerva Foundation and Chair of the Ministers Advisory Council on Aboriginal Women.  Chastity co-founded the Professional Aboriginal Women’s Network and is currently serving as Co-Chair for this important network that creates a shared space for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal women to support each other in their respective careers.  Chastity will be completing her MA in International and Intercultural Communications in Spring 2017, has a BA in Professional Communications and a Diploma in Marketing Management and Professional Sales.  Chastity has spoken at several international, national, and local events on the importance of building bridges between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.  She dedicates her work to her 2 nephews, niece, and 10 year-old brother, as they are the future generations.