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Nepal Fundraiser

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Kamal and I

by Meghan Muldoon

I met Kamal in 2009 in Kathmandu. I was looking for a guide to take me on a two week trek around Annapurna and he happened to come into the office while I was talking to the manager. He had a gentle and kind energy and as soon as I learned that he was one of their guides, I asked if he was available to guide me. It was one of those split second decisions that I was glad I made. Kamal is exactly as my instinct told me he was. He was patient and caring and saw me through all of the trials and tribulations of an inexperienced hiker. I had unforgettable adventure and am so thankful to him for an incredible experience.

Last week, when I heard the news of the earthquake in Nepal, I wrote him immediately to find out if he and his family were ok. I was relieved to hear that they were not injured but heartbroken to find out about the circumstances they are dealing with in Kathmandu. Kamal and his wife, Rita, along with their 11 year old son, their daughter and nephew who are both 7 years old and his two sisters have all lost their homes and are living under tarps. They have no where else to go and no idea of when they will have a home to return to. There are hundreds of thousands more like Kamal and his family in Nepal so please give generously.

Join us for our Nepal Fundraiser at OG on Wednesday, May 6th. We will have treats, 30 minute massages with Emanuel and yoga from 6-9 pm – all by donation. OG will match all donations. We will be giving the donations to Canadian Red Cross and the Canadian Government will be matching all donations.

Shake It Up

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danceWe all get stuck in our patterns and our habitual ways of moving. Take yoga for example: maybe you have been doing level 1 yoga classes for the past 6 months; by moving only in set ways, you might go on automatic pilot. Consider trying a new movement modality to wake yourself up. This might mean stepping outside of your comfort zone and taking a risk. Sometimes we need a new teacher, a new voice, a different perspective to facilitate further growth and development.

Recently, Octopus Garden has been hosting Trusting Movement workshops led by Taeji. I decided to dip my toe in the water and try one in January after hearing Scott Davis talk about Taeji and what we might experience. I am happy that I did. Sometimes the right teacher appears.

Taeji is a kind, gentle presence. Right away, I felt that he was able to create a safe, open, caring environment in which I could “put it all down” (his words). I love this phrase. I interpret this as emptying your cup and letting it go. Taeji invites you to sincerely participate in the best way you know how and to leave your judging mind at the door. We are encouraged to be fully in our body as he makes suggestions for spontaneous movement, often to music. Sometimes you move independently, sometimes with a partner and sometimes in a small group, often without verbal communication. It is liberating to be with self and others without dialogue. There is power in raw experience and I am reminded that I learn by doing. I often make profound connections through my body that would normally take me much longer to understand through talk therapy. I am in awe of the body’s ability to know, yet I am also aware that in every day life I can disconnect from my body. Society has conditioned me to assign high value to the thinking mind, but I do value the wisdom that is appearing through the body.

I show up at these sessions with Taeji because I yearn to connect more intimately with myself and to get out of my head. I understand that I am training myself to do this, to discover and appreciate other ways of knowing and being in the world. I experience a parade of emotions in a class, and I learn that they move through me and move on. Sometimes I feel extraordinarily vulnerable and I feel myself quivering. Sometimes I feel joyous, surprised , or have intense bursts of anger. I am NOT a dancer. But I AM movement. Sometimes a feeling of self-consciousness emerges, then it fades as I regain my flow. I remind myself to breathe, to put it all down and stay with myself. The other movers are engrossed in their own experience, yet simultaneously connected and inspired by others’ expressions of movement. We are together in doing our own dances.

 Join us on Sunday March 8th for the next Trusting Movement Workshop. You don’t have to be a dancer and you don’t have to be good at movement, you just need to feel a little bit curious. Come shake things up and feel more alive. Thank you Octopus Garden for offering these sessions. I am deeply grateful.

 Lisa teaches Mobilize and Restore a new class offering at Octopus Garden on Wednesday at 4 p.m.

By: Lisa Mitchell

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A Reflection on the Relationship between Yoga and Knitting

Artwork by Alannah Cavanagh

Artwork by Alannah Cavanagh

I’ve been knitting and practicing yoga now for several years and the more I do of both, the more I want to do of both. Yoga is known for its healing and holistic, life enhancing properties, but knitting? That is not so obvious until you begin to experience, over time, its own unsung, holistic qualities.

Knitting is calming and relaxing. The rhythmic nature of the knits and purls coming off the needles as you practice can be almost hypnotic. Most knitters agree that knitting is like a form of meditation.  It also has a grounding quality, much like you can feel during and after a really good yoga practice.

Knitting also requires concentration. One cannot hold onto one’s ‘story’ and knit. You have to stay present and focus on your stitches. To allow yourself to be swept away with thoughts and emotions is to guarantee a mistake somewhere in your project- your moving fingers are bound to start doing something you are not expecting. Even, regular breathing helps with the evenness of the stitches.

Knitting helps develop patience. It can be frustrating at first when you are trying to learn to knit and then to master other techniques. But going back and sitting down with it, ripping out and starting over to achieve a result you want in a project is necessary. It’s also rewarding, like when after doing a hundred bow poses suddenly one day you reach back, and there are your feet to grab! It all then seems worth it and you don’t get as mad when you ‘don’t get’ a technique

Both practices help keep me humble and keep me real. No matter what I do I feel good at the end of either activity.  Even if it means I had to decide to pull back- taking out my knitting and starting all over or taking a step back in my practice to strengthen my core before trying to grab by foot in Half Moon pose- it’s for my own good, my health.

There is something very grounding and nurturing in knitting and yoga practices, a strength and a tenderness that is inherent in both things.  I read recently another article that knitting aligns well with the Yamas and the Niyamas of the Yoga Sutras.

It’s so interesting… and makes me want to learn more and share more about both knitting and yoga. To that extent, I have become a yoga teacher and immersed myself in the yoga world. I have recently also taken the dip into the knitting world: This Sunday, January 6th, 10am-12pm,  I start teaching Beginner Knitting at my favorite knit shop, Ewe Knit!   (located at 585 Markham Street in Mirvish Village, ph.416-530-4848) Looking forward to seeing you on the mat…or on the needles.

– Written by Scott Fech

Happy New Year!

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Be brave.

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Love.

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