I am Malala: Book Review

imageI am Malala by Malala Yousafzai: Book Review

I finished another AMAZING book and had to share it with you! My review will also be in the Yoga For Today newsletter again this month. I do hope you get an opportunity to read this one soon.

I had been drawn to the remarkable courage of Malala even before I read her book. I followed her on Facebook and read everything I could that was written about her. I was in awe of this very young Pashtun women from Pakistan’s Swat Valley and couldn’t even imagine what it was like to have experienced what she alread did at such a young age.

The book began where Malala’s world changed forever…One October day, when she was just 15 years old, a young boy trained by the Taliban, got on her bus, shouted “Who is Malala”, and then shot her point blank in the head. Her survival is a miracle and due to some quick thinking individuals and the Universe knowing she still had much to do, she was rushed out of the country to England, her parents and siblings joining her at a later date, where she was able to make a miraculous recovery and continue her work.

Malala’s mother was illiterate as many Pashtun women are; Malala’s father, on the other hand, was an educated and very intelligent man who did not always follow traditional rules. He often spoke up against the wrongs that he witnessed and ran a school where both boys and girls of any age were taught. He raised Malala as if she were a first born son and gave her all the tools she would need: support, education, self confidence, and a platform to voice her thoughts and opinions.

Together, father and daughter changed the world and continue to do so. They brought to light the importance of educating every child on the planet and have even set challenges to the first world countries. Her drive and determination is powerful, she inspires me to continue my journey and I hope she will move and inspire you as well.

Happy reading and let me know what you think!
yogapath8@gmail.com

Love &Light
Michelle

Prison Yoga Program

imageIt was Spring of 2013, I wanted to give back to the community in some way as part of my personal karma yoga practice and had just discovered an amazing program down in California that had yoga being taught successfully to the male prisoners in the San Quentin prison. Looking more into this program, I just knew that this is what I needed to do, and as fate would have it, it was around this time that I met Joe Sheen, the program’s director at the Fort Saskatchewan Corrections Center(FSCC). It is with his assistance, support, determination and hard work that this program began. He sought out the funding and space, provided me with an orientation and tour and got everything in place to make sure the program runs smoothly.

The FSCC Yoga Program officially began January 2014, and I can still remember the very first class and how extremely nervous and unsure I felt. I was escorted into the facility by Joe and introduced to the recreation staff, who have been and continue to be, an amazing support to both myself and the program, and I am thankful for all of them. When the first group entered, my plan was to be nice and it would all be ok…or so I thought…I soon discovered the need for very clear boundaries and that I couldn’t be a pushover, I needed to be firm. Those first few weeks were very interesting as I could get a group that was very respectful and open and the class would flow smoothly and on another week, the complete opposite, where there were disruptive individuals who I had to send back to the unit and the class felt like it would never end. The recreation crew and I would work together and through trial and error, we began to figured out how we could offer a good experience to those who wanted it and I learned how to be tough but still kind and compassionate.

Fast forward 18 months…The women enter the gym one at a time in a haphazard line and quickly make their way to a favorite colored mat or to a spot in the front or back depending on preference. Each week new faces are among the familiar, and there is an understanding of what to do and not to do. A quick introduction, an explanation of the rules and we begin. They settle on their mats, preparing for the practice. The next hour is theirs, to forget where they are, to move their bodies mindfully, to breathe and to begin or continue the process of self love, acceptance and forgiveness.

Every class begins with relaxing the body, a short meditation and some breathing exercises, followed by some warm-ups. The class is them dictated by first taking into account that the women have just eaten dinner, then the mood and energy of the class and the behaviors that are showing up. I teach to the group in front of me, most weeks, the class moves seamlessly along as the women move together, breathe together and heal together. As the class comes to an end, the women are given a few minutes of stillness, silence and peace before wiping their mats down and heading back to their respective unit.

Sometimes after a class, someone will come up to me and thank me, share a personal story or ask how they can continue practicing once they get out. It is these moments that my heart fills with joy and my belief that yoga can make a difference is reinforced. It is why I keep coming back.

I have often been asked why I teach yoga to the inmates and my answer is simple, because they need it. There is 100% guarantee that the women who attend my class will return to their communities and if the yoga program can make a difference for even one woman to help her make healthier choices to breathe deeper, to slow down,to be more mindful and present and to love themselves, then, to me, it is a very successful program. We must all, as Gandhi once said, “Be the change we want to see in the word”. I truly believe this and the yoga program at the Fort Saskatchewan Corrections Center is one of the ways I can be that change and for that I am deeply grateful for the opportunity.

The Alchemist: Book Review

Photo Credits to Tonya & Shauna at YFT

Photo Credits to Tonya & Shauna at YFT

I was asked to write a book review for the Yoga For Today newsletter. The last book I actually finished ( I usually have 2 or 3 on the go) was The Alchemist. Rarely does a book take me on such a journey that I actually shift things in my own life because of it. Now don’t get me wrong, if I could have a flying broom, be able to flick a wand and be magical or have a Warewolf or Vampire as a friend, I certainly would…who wouldn’t…right?

So without further ado, here is my brief review as posted in the newslette:

Santiago, the Shepherd Boy, embarks on a treasure hunt that takes him from the hillsides of Spain to a port in Africa, then into the desert towards the great pyramids of Egypt. Who he meets along the way and what he learns will change his life forever.

What began as a dream and was encouraged by a gypsy woman and a king, turned into an epic adventure for young Santiago. Leaving everything he knew behind, he takes a giant leap of faith and goes where no one in his family has gone before…in search of a treasure that he is not even sure exists. He experiences setbacks, one by the hands of a thief that gets away with everything he owns, but he also gains knowledge and self respect as he learns new skills and grows into someone he can be very proud of. The characters he meets, especially the Alchemist, give him wisdom and the guidance he needs to keep moving forward to succeed. He receives countless lifelong lessons, that readers can also learn from, and soon he discovers that by listening to his heart, following his dreams and not giving up, the treasure he seeks is closer than he ever imagined.

imageThis novel puts into words the journey many of us go on as we dive deep into our soul to the quest of self discovery and awareness. We all have a treasure we seek and by observing Santiago’s strength and courage, it may invoke a new passion to continue to dig deep within ourselves.

Happy reading and let me know what you think!
yogapath8@gmail.com

Love &Light
Michelle

Yoga For Parkinson’s Disease

I love my job…I feel so privileged that I am able to teach yoga and meditation full time and get to work with some amazing individuals on a daily basis. However, sometimes a class comes along and teaches me more than I could ever teach them and touches my heart deeply. This is the case with my class at Parkinson Alberta.

The courage, resilience, hard work and positive attitudes of the men and women who consistently show up despite the obstacles they must overcome, demonstrates that if there is a will, there is a way. I am always humbled that they come to my class. Did you know that one of the winners of the Amazing Race had Parkinson’s Disease? This fact not only gives me inspiration, it reinforces that anything is truly possible!

Parkinson Disease is a neurodegenerative disease that robs people of their motor functions due to the death of the cells that normally produce dopamine. It is a movement disorder. Some of the symptoms of Parkinson are fatigue, sleep disturbances, constipation and problems with hand writing. Also, the voice can become quiet like a whisper; movement becomes small, more like a shuffle; smiles become nonexistent; and tremors shake parts of the body. And then there are the emotional concerns of stress, anxiety and depression. Medical treatment is used to help with some of the symptoms and it is also strongly recommended that physical activity is consistently done. Yoga is an amazing complementary therapy for movement disorders as it exercises both body and mind, provides a way to fight back against the disorder and creates an opportunity for fellowship and social support.

The weekly yoga class at Parkinson Alberta focuses on ways to help with movement, balance, breathing, strength and emotional wellbeing. Big movements are done to keep the body limber and to help with day to day tasks of getting dressed, brushing teeth and putting on shoes. Balance is practiced, as it is an everyday challenge for people with Parkinson’s. Deep breathing and working with different breathing exercises help with projecting the voice and keeping the lungs functioning at their best. Building strength helps with stamina. And a relaxing guided meditation at the beginning of the class sets the stage for a mindful practice where stress and worry are encouraged to take a back seat. Together, the class meets challenges with humor, compassion and focus. They refuse to let Parkinson’s get the better of them, they continue to show up in their lives and live! They are my teachers!

The difference I see from doing yoga these past few months with these individuals is astounding. Arms are above the head and big smiles are visible…I truly have the best job in the world and I am so blessed!

Inner Fire Luminary

imageI am very excited to announce that I have been welcomed into the Inner Fire Luminary Program! Inner Fire is a Canadian Company that creates lifestyle clothing that fosters connection and honors Mother Earth. Their core values are: Respect for the planet, Nurturing of global community, helping one find their inner passion and promoting peace through positivity, laughter and mindfulness…the same values I hold dear! Visit their website at http://www.myinnerfire.com and use my personal 15% discount code (michelled) should you decide to make a purchase. Let’s support these companies who are making a difference!

New Journeys and Opportunities

This year has been amazing this far. I have learned so much about myself and I turned 40!

I have embarked on yet another path, where I have jumped in whole heartedly into the world of essential oils. The option of having a natural solution to so many ailments is wonderful. As my body begins to detox and release all the toxins that I have been hoarding, I begin to feel lighter, airy almost. I notice that I am much more sensitive to things…or perhaps it is that I am more more aware…my allergies have been extremely manageable, and I haven’t taken a single medication for it! Thank you lemon, lavender and peppermint!

Because of this renewed love affair, I have been sharing my discoveries with family and friends, and really any one who will listen to me. The result, I have created another aspect of my business, which so nicely flows into my existing work. So much so, that I now incorporate essential oils into 2 of my weekly classes and use the oils to enhance my own personal meditation practice as well as help others too.

When you believe in what you are doing, there are no boundaries, when you believe in yourself, the solar system is the limit!

Essential Oils

Pure Essential Oils can be difficult to find but their natural benefits are amazing.

I am so happy to be an Essential Oil Wellness Advocate with doTERRA oils. Their oils are so pure that most can be ingested to enhance their therapeutic quality even more.

I am passionate about using essential oils to replace chemicals and toxins from my environment and I would love to share that knowledge with you.

I offer free essential oil classes at the YogaPath Home Studio but can also come to your home or business to share this info as well.

Please contact me at yogapath8@gmail.com to book a class today!

Previous Older Entries

Journey with Parkinson's

A blog for Parkinson's education, research advances, new treatment strategies, and personal reflection: the goal is to provide support and information/resources to anyone with Parkinson’s.y

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