Monday, 30 May 2011

Yoga Without Boundaries

Ryan Leier, founder of Yoga Vinyasa for Youth
May 21 marked the 9th Yoga Jam Event in Whistler and for me this event went to a new level. For one, my goal of raising $10,000 has been met and exceeded. For another the event is reaching out to new people of various ages, abilities, health...the boundaries are expanding.

Ryan Leier, a yogi with a remarkable open and loving quality, flew out from Saskatoon, brought a huge posse to the event and connected us all in a soulful and rich practice. He is the Director of One Yoga, Saskatoon and now Vancouver as well as the founder of Yoga Vinyasa for Youth. He is bringing yoga to the most important demographic, our future leaders.

Ryan co-taught with Reno Muenz, his student and fellow teacher. The respect between these two inspired me. His business partner Dustin Fruson assisted the participants in a strong and supportive way. Ryan has a community of friends, co-workers, partners and students that is rich and committed. Much like his own yoga practice.

Big connection and lots of love at the Yoga Jam!
People ask me "how do you get these teachers to come, fly out from various cities and teach for free?" If I had to think about it and plan for it I don't think it would happen. Tension comes into my body when I think about "convincing" people. But the Yoga Jam Event is the easiest event to enroll people into. All I do is ask. Photographers, musicians, volunteers, they are all a big yes, and it has nothing to do with me. Yoga works like that. I have reached out to the very vast Baptiste trained teachers since they all have a special link to the Africa Yoga Project. We're like a big family that supports this incredible initiative and we all have huge respect and admiration for Paige Elenson who is the founder. Both Ryan and Paige share the ability to see Yoga as a means for connection and peace, no matter who, no matter where. They very often face obstacles in their quest to reach out but they keep on saying yes and venturing forward. Paige often says, "I don't know how, but I keep on saying yes." Through them I see now what my vision is to offer Yoga Beyond Boundaries, yes with capital letters.

Each Yoga Jam Event brings new faces and people willing to "give it a try". This last event brought over 60 people of 3 generations together from 6 to 70. Beyond Boundaries. We worked in pairs, connected through breath, laughed as we toppled over, perhaps even went into a pose that we hadn't considered possible. Beyond Boundaries.

Crista Shillington "backpacking"! 
The next Yoga Jam Event is in Vancouver, generously hosted by Gloria Latham at Semperviva, City Studio June 18 from 1-3pm. She has offered up her biggest studio along with three of her most lit up teachers to lead us through an all-styles yoga practice. Crista Shillington, Wes Salter, Cameron Gilley and Gloria will give us a taste of Yin, Power, Hatha and Kundalini yoga set to live music.

All I had to do was ask. Gloria was a swift yes and saw no boundaries what so ever. Now trust me, I do get to hear no, probably more often than I mention. But with this event, somehow I don't seem to care, I keep asking anyway. The yes answers I get are so bright and memorable that the nos drift away. One person, one breath, one yes at a time. I am up to dropping boundaries.
Wednesday, 11 May 2011

The source of being a YES

I recently assisted at the Baptiste Foundations in Action Training in Seattle which has left me brimming with inspiration and passion. I admit that I find myself with an extra wide funnel for this bubbling energy and growth and I'm not sure where to direct the spout. But if there's one thing I took from the weekend it was that sitting with emotions is the route to transformation. So I'm sitting with not knowing what's next and am opening my eyes to pathways of expression.

For me being with uncertainty is a challenge. I come from a culture of "get er done"ness. My husband calls this the "Konantz Cram". For those of you who know my family well will have a good chuckle at this term. A perfect example: my mother. A woman who grew up with a mother in a wheelchair, much older brothers, a father who was taken to war, and bred into a culture of "smile and nod". She was the youngest child to be at enrolled at boarding school at the age of five. Since there were no others her age she was alone in a big dorm room. Smile and nod. She went through life with little resistance and, well, got er done. Raising 3 kids in the age of wife home, husband works was something she took on in a creative way. Finding time to educate herself further, without sacrificing time to do paper maché with us all, she received a degree in fine arts. Get er done. My mother exemplified what we in the Baptiste community call "being a YES". She took on the good, the bad, and cancer with a YES. She taught us to accept what is and if there's something missing go and get it. This attitude showed up big at the last Yoga Jam Event where my 75 year old mother was a YES for a handstand. (The photo shows feet behind her which belong to my father, her feet are in the air!)

So my question is what is it that gets in the way of us all being a YES? Can we create a radical shift in our culture to each live life fully from a YES? What would be possible if so? I believe it would show up as peace worldwide.

Imagine if each person had the mantra of "I am enough. I am a YES. What's next?" Imagine if the world operated from this perspective? As I wrote this a huge sigh came over me and I relaxed into my body. Peace.

My hope is that more people will come to the Yoga Jam Events. Yes, I'm asking you to show up. It's fun, for a great cause and brings us all together. I'm asking you to be a YES to this event. What is it that stands in the way of participation? Can any concern for looking good be replaced by a concern for feeling good? I ask this of myself too so that I can show up more powerfully in my family, community and for others.

I loved that when I rushed over to assist my mum going up into handstand I whispered to her that she didn't have to do it, her response was "I'm doing it". Simple. Nothing in her way. Inspiration in the flesh.

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My name is Erin Anderson, I'm in love with yoga. I found out how to love deeper, live lighter and reach further through yoga. I'm passionate about sharing just that. In order to do that, I created The Yoga Jam Events as a means to elevate spirit, cultivate community and generate abundance. Coming together in play, breath and movement we can make real impact in the world, starting in Kenya with a possibility that knows no bounds. Each Yoga Jam Event donates proceeds to the Africa Yoga Project www.africayogaproject.org. This blog is dedicated to what I've learned along the way.
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