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Purification

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


As we transition from our summer activities, adventures and lifestyle into the routines of the fall, many people want to re-establish or create new routines for healthy living and fitness. I think for many of us, whether we are working or on vacation in the summer, we have different routines and rhythms in July and August. Most of us tend to socialize more and perhaps even eat or drink more and while it is fun, it also eventually feels like we all need some kind of routine back in our lives.  The hatha yoga system is based on seven steps that a yogi can work on to achieve the ultimate gift of yoga which is really a sense of connection and reverence with all of life and the energy that creates life. There are many styles of yoga out there and they are all valuable and so it is important to know what your intention is so that you choose a practice that suits your needs. The first two steps in the yoga practice are purification and strengthening. These first two steps are grouped together and called the preliminary stage and basically they are about being focused on the body and getting it ready for the journey (in the yoga practice the journey will take you into steps 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7, but I also like to think that this first stage also prepares you for the journey of your life this fall). Step 1, purification, essentially is about cleansing your body so that you feel light and free and connected to your own soul and spirit. If we feel tired or lethargic all the time it is hard to go on any journey. Yoga postures, breathing techniques and eating healthy are three ways of purifying your body. For many people a glass of wine becomes an evening ritual in the summer. Setting an intention to reduce wine and increase a bit of activity will gently begin to help the body purify. The second step, strength, is about pushing yourself and going against the grain a bit so that you can develop a strong centre (core is the word in our society). Whether you are 18 and going off to college or university, or 45 and going back to work, or 70 and wanting to be healthy to go curling and play with your grandchildren you need strength in your body. And whether it is through yoga, pilates, zumba, biking, hiking, gardening, running etc. we can all keep focused on maintaining and increasing our bodily strength. The yoga practice recognizes that first the yogi must work on their physical body and then the practice starts to address the next stage, which is related to a calm and steady mind. There are so many ways and opportunities to be active and fit in this community.  There are so many role models of all ages out there in the park, on the rail trail, in a canoe, with a dog, etc. We all have to start where we are and feel good about that. I often wonder if exercise really is the best medicine that we give our body.  Have a great transition into the fall everyone. Tuesday, 26 August, 2014

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