2019 felt tough. Not bad, just challenging. A lot of time spent intentionally alone. Listening. Being in discomfort. Creating space for letting go, clearing and also to make room for what is coming next. (Whatever that might be). Part of my practice has been letting go of needing to have a backup plan, of needing to be in control & of knowing what is next.
I have a lot of gratitude for still being in school this year. I am most grateful for Yoga North and my collective of Yoga Therapists in training. They have been the container that has held me through this time of transition and transformation. My greatest lessons have come from the fire of our time together. The following reflections are the result of running this year’s experience through the lens of Yoga’s Guidebook to Connection; both internally, (Self Care) & externally, (Relationship with Others).
- Kindness & Compassion: I can only give to others what I have already learned to extend to myself. I can’t give away what I don’t have. I always have a choice; respond vs react. I continue to add to my toolbox & grow my skillset. Being resilient takes practice. Daily.
- My truth is always changing: Show up authentically. Sharing through the beauty of vulnerability. Perspective. Seek to understand vs. agree.
- Fixing & saving steal from the experience of others: Take off the cape. Sell the white horse. I respect & honor the choices of others.
- Enough: Pleasure without excess. Right relationship with everything; food, exercise, sleep, learning, play, self & people. Universal/Individual Connection. Fall in love with people. Seek to see, hear & connect with others.
- Attachment is looking externally to have my needs met. How heavy is that backpack that I’m lugging around? What is heaviest in it? Expectation? Fear? Emotions? Roles? Schedule? Plans? Identity? Resentments? Letting go for growth. Breath as Teacher: Just like each breath; In order for there to be space for what needs to come in, I need to become aware of and let go of what is no longer working. I can’t take in oxygen if I don’t exhale the CO2. All of Life is learning to be in right relationship between taking in and letting go. If I don’t make room, don’t make time and space to notice; what is held too long becomes toxic. If I keep taking on more and more, instead of growing I become overwhelmed. The breath also serves to demonstrate that everything is always changing. Change is the only constant. Can I learn to live with the freedom to work & do what I love without worrying about the outcome, to rely less on the external, and to experience life, (both the challenges and the pleasures), as they come? Intimacy without possession…hold your loves with an open hand.
- Clarity: How can I lighten the load? Purge & Lighten. Clearing and cleaning my internal and external environments leads to Freedom of Mind. Mental Freedom comes from Calming, Clearing & Observing the Mind through Relaxation, Silence & Solitude. (SomaYoga, Meditation & Yoga Nidra are 3 great tools to start).
- Contentment: The moment is complete. Falling in love with my life as it is while noticing where I feel content and where I don’t. Allowing myself to feel the discomfort of challenging times instead of numbing out. Happiness is the ability to stay centred in both pain & pleasure.
- Self-Discipline: The transformation of desire. Choosing discipline and growth. Moving the energy of desire towards higher purpose.
- Self-Study: Knowing myself on all layers. I am more than just a body and mind. I am a living, breathing, experiencing being. My breath is the bridge between the two. Studying & knowing the breath is the gate to freedom in mind and body. It starts with the breath. Having appreciation and compassion for all the versions of myself. Direct Experience.
- SURRENDER: Reverence. The Sacred is always present. Devotion. Purpose. Meaning. Connection. Inspiration. Love. Freedom.
I welcome 2020 and all the potential that a new year brings. There are several opportunities swirling about; how they will all land is yet to be seen. Travel plans are tentatively set for Mexico this weekend, in addition to travel this year for work and school. I am most excited for the next 2 weeks in Merida. Very little is planned, with the exception of wandering around in the sunshine and enjoying my morning practice in temperatures above 20 degrees! I am looking forward to checking out Om Sayab, an Ayurveda & Yoga Retreat Centre, created by my dear friend Robin @universeembodied. Follow my Instagram @mindbodywholewellness to stay connected.
In February I will be travelling to Kenora to Co-Facilitate the Centre for Mindfulness in Public Safety’s MBWR Program, (Mindfulness Based Wellness & Resiliency), for the Ontario Ministry of Corrections. This 10 week paid program for Correctional and Probation Officers offers training in the 4 areas of Emotional Intelligence: Self Awareness, Self-Management, Social Awareness & Relationship Management. It covers all the needed skills to train body, breath, mind and find meaning. I am very excited to be going back to my first jail. This program has given me the opportunity to come full circle with a career in corrections to being able to support those still doing some of the toughest work on the planet.
June is the International Association of Yoga Therapists SYTAR Conference, (Symposium on Yoga Therapy & Research), outside of Chicago. I’ll be attending as a Student Therapist and helping support Yoga North’s presentation on SomaYoga methodology. There is an entire feature on the work being done in Corrections and Law Enforcement that I am looking forward to checking out!
I am working in partnership with Yoga North International SomaYoga Institute to bring education on the benefits of Yoga Therapy to Healthcare in Northern Ontario through weekend Intensives on the SomaYoga methodology. These body-based, experiential weekends will lead healthcare providers through movement practices and education on how yoga therapy can serve their patients in resolving chronic pain. If you are interested in participating in one of these 3 Day Educational events please reach out. I will be sending invites to those who have already indicated interest.
Finally, back home in Thunder Bay, I will continue offering Yoga Therapy beginning in February.
Group Yoga Therapy Classes (10 Week Series) $160
- Sunday Night Relax @JET Wellness February 2nd-April 5th
- Mink Mountain Resort Tuesday’s February 4th-April 7th
- Registration for both series’ due January 27th
Mobile & Online Private Yoga Therapy
- $75 for 90 min
- 3 Session Pkg $200
- Contact for specialized package pricing*
“Freedom is CONNECTION to and exploration of our internal landscape.”
Freedom through Connection & Self Care
Jen Aarnamo RYT500
Mind Body Whole Wellness
Yoga Therapy & Counseling
Cell: (807) 621-0615
FB: Mindbody Wholewellness
iTunes Podcast: Freedom through Self Care