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40 days: six am.

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I recently completed the sunrise challenge through pyc, by attending each six am class for the month of April. Along the way, mostly on my yoga-buzzed drive home, I would take time to absorb the experience that came from meeting with Mike each day for 60 minutes…

one. wake-up call battles, happen.

a five am wakeup call, holds no place for “maybe”. you’re either in, or you’re out. I get it, the bed is warm, the sky is dark and snooze is just a finger tap away. waking up takes willpower people, BIG TIME. there will be part of your mind that challenges you to stay, even begs of you some mornings, flip it off. sit up, plant your feet on the ground and stand. battles over, you’ve won.

two. you forget.

ah, this is really quite wonderful. the thoughts of needing to get a workout in can haunt me some days…the best part of six am is it’s often so early, you forget you already sweat. hold on, did I dream about that class or did that actually happen? those body imprint stains on your mat aren’t just a figment of your imagination, sweat happened and your night is now free to spend however you choose.

three. comfort zones.

one of the really rad things I learned through this experience, was what happens when you challenge yourself to step “outside your norm”. when Andrea first mentioned the sunrise challenge, I laughed, right in her face. no way jose, that ‘aint me, too hardcore. then I shifted my thoughts, why not me? why not try it on? it was uncomfortable at first, but yoga often is. lesson time: staying stagnant sucks & comfort zones are for sissies.

four it’s the best start to any day.

a friend made a spectacular call-out this afternoon when she saw me flailing around wildly: I can tell you haven’t done yoga yet today, because you are acting like such a spaz. touché, noted, I shall do morning classes more often.

five. support systems rule.

my dad called me each morning to make sure I was awake, people from my work constantly joined me in classes (and became hooked, might I add) and pictures of my nephew would be waiting for me when I checked my phone after class. reach out and ask for what you need, lean on family and friends, because you are loved.

six. you feel like a badass.

you woke up before the rest of the world because you recognize the importance of rewarding you own body & mind. enough said you badass, enough said.

so wakey-wakey my friends, how many days do you wake up and have the sun waiting for you? it’s time to return the favour.

Cailey

40 days: beginnings.

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newness is exciting. entering a new realm of possibility, of where we may take ourselves, what we may overcome in the process and expressing what is really holding us back, all demand newness. a new way of thinking is required, not necessarily in changing ourselves, but rather in challenging our current self to WAKE UP.

I started the 40-day personal revolution with the intention of letting go of these thoughts that hold me back, including the one right now that is questioning my writing and what value this blog actually holds (what does it all mean people?!). far too often I allow these thoughts that don’t serve me, to overpower and control far too many aspects of my life. I somehow find warmth in the security blanket of these lame thoughts that keep me cozy, yet stagnant.

so I welcome newness. I welcome these new beginnings. I welcome actions that will shift what I think I know, let go of what I have already learned and bring me new ways of genuinely creating and manifesting myself. I’m welcoming new actions that will allow me to make decisions from a place of intuition and power, rather than fear and doubt.

my intention with this program is to get straight up uncomfortable, I want to tap away at these tiring restrictions I place on myself and ditch the security blanket (it is spring time after all, the sun provides enough warmth now anyway).

this new experience is going to allow me to be surrounded by courageous people who are seeking a revolution of their own and together we shall generate something bigger than our current selves.

as Baron mentions in his book, the notion of ‘facing what is pure, the unsweetened truth of ourselves, so that we can move on and grow in an authentic way’ welcomes this new beginning of self-acceptance and discovery.

cheers to the beginning.

Are You Present?

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PYC ClarksonI’ve lived most of my life from my head – over-thinking, over-analyzing and worrying about every little thing. It wasn’t until I started practicing yoga that I even began to wrap my worried mind around the idea of presence.

My first few practices were confusing.

The teacher would ask me to ‘be present’ and I would think to myself: Well, yah, obviously. I’m here. I’m in the room. Where do you think I am, teacher? Now tell me what pose do to next.
I would hear the words ‘land in your body’ and I’d think: Land in my body? What does that even mean. I live in my body. How can I land in it?

It didn’t take me long to realize that all that inner dialogue was exactly what the teacher was encouraging me to step out of. I was NOT present. One moment I was overanalyzing what the teacher said, the next I was fretting about the essay I had to write, then before I knew it, I was getting mad at my sisters all over again replaying some fight from last year.

I wasn’t landing in my body because I was having a conversation in my head. 

That was years ago, and to this day, every time I hit my mat, I struggle between landing in the moment and wandering off in my head. That’s what the practice is for me, an opportunity to bring my body and my mind into the same place, at the same time.

We are on Day 3 of 40 Days to Personal Revolution at Power Yoga Canada and the theme of the week is Presence – bet you saw that one coming. If you are participating, awesome! If you aren’t, you can still join us in noticing when you are present in your life and more importantly, when you are not!

Have you ever found yourself in the middle of a conversation with someone only to realize that you have no idea what they just said?
Have you ever been in front of your computer at work or at school and you get nothing done because your mind is fixated on that fight you got in with your boyfriend/girlfriend/friend/parents last night?
Have you ever pulled into the driveway after a long day and realized that you have no idea how you got there? Scary, right?

These things happen because you weren’t present. You were in your head, thinking about something that wasn’t actually happening in the moment. Take it from me, it’s a tough way to live! I suffered through a lot of my life because of the time I spent in my head dwelling on things that had already happened and worrying about things that might in the future. And this is still my work. It’s a practice that will never end for me, but one that has had an amazing impact on my relationships, life and overall happiness.

When you bring your attention to presence this week, you might notice that you aren’t really there for more moments than you thought. Maybe you’re realizing – like I did – that you’ve spent your whole life in your head.

Don’t get discouraged. It’s a powerful place to be. With the awareness that you’re not present, you see an opportunity that you didn’t even know was available to you before:

You can come back to the moment.

Jenn Dwyer

If you have any helpful tips for practicing presence in your life, share them with the community in the comments below! 

See more of my writing here.

If I just had more time

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I’ve been really struggling with time lately and feeling like I just don’t have enough of it. I’ve used this as an excuse to stay away from writing. The inspiration hasn’t been there. The words haven’t been coming. So every time I sit down to post, I tell myself I just don’t have enough time. There’s more important, more productive things I could be doing and off I go.

I convince myself that if I just had more hours in the day and more days in the week and more years in my life, I could get my writing going again. And it doesn’t stop at this. There’s a long list of things I would do, poses I would master, and places I would see if I only had the time.

In the airport last Thursday, I picked up Mitch Albom’s The Time Keeper. I was looking for a light read – since I don’t have enough time for a long one – and this looked like it would do the trick.

Moral of the story: the moment we started tracking time was the moment that we stopped appreciating life.

How many Sunday’s do you spend wishing you had another day to your weekend? How many work days do you look at the clock and think if you just had more time you could finish everything AND get to add some fun to your life after? How many times have you thought OMG, my life is flying by?

And the funny thing is, all this time we spend wishing we had more time just gives us less of it. We waste the time we do have in our heads. We don’t appreciate the moment.

This quick little read on an airplane taught me an important lesson. I can’t get more time but what I can do is use the time I’m given wisely. I can appreciate it. I can put it towards a good purpose.

This little lesson in time can be applied to so many other things in life. It’s simply really.

Stop asking for more and start appreciating what you have.

__________
Jenn Dwyer
To see more of my writing, check out my blog here.

A Work in Progress

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I remember feeling scared and worried a lot as a very young girl. From the moment I’d wake up in the morning for school, until I got home I was nervous. Nervous about myself, about others, about the world around me.  I was fortunate enough to experience wonderful things like friendship, sisterhood, sports, music and writing…but I never felt like I knew who I was.  A part of that feeling came from growing pains (literally and metaphorically).  However, a larger part of that stemmed from a fear of discovering who I was and learning to accept myself fully. I am 24 years old and I am just learning to do that.  A major part of my self- discovery was catapulted by PYC.

When I first joined PYC last summer, I came into the studio every day for several weeks with that same sense of fear, anxiety and self-consciousness. Eventually though, it became really difficult to keep up that way of being, once I knew what was possible. What was and is possible is total self-acceptance, freedom, and a higher level of consciousness. Basically, my brain was turned off autopilot and I felt awake for the first time ever. I realized that I no longer had to suffer, because I could choose how I felt, who I surrounded myself with and how I led my life. The greatest gift I have received from yoga is the ability to accept all challenges in my life, while also accepting myself.

When my dad passed away a few years ago, I completely shut off. I still functioned like a “regular” person. I went to university, had a long-term relationship, worked out, went out and had adventures. However, I wouldn’t let myself fully experience what I was going through. Whether it was a positive emotion or a negative one, I’d do my best to neutralize it upstairs so that I wouldn’t feel too much. I kept a peaceful appearance, but I was screaming inside.  The pain of that loss was far too much for me to comprehend, so I simply hid inside myself for a while. It’s taken me many yoga classes, cry fests, temper tantrums and talks to realize that I deserve to be happy and healthy…and sometimes that means addressing the most painful things.  I can now say that I love myself through thick and thin, and this new appreciation has expanded my capacity to love others unconditionally.

Some of the teachers at the yoga studio say that at some point in your practice and in your life, you will learn to “drop the struggle.” I remember hearing that in class and thinking to myself…easy to say, difficult to do. However, it wasn’t something that required a real effort. It just took patience, persistence and dedication to my wellbeing. One day I was on the train to work and it dawned on me: I don’t have to make everything so hard. It’s literally that thought that I haven’t been able to shed. Stop seeing every workday, relationship, workout, or piece of bad news as another mountain to climb.  It’s merely an opportunity to use your inner strength and show how resilient and calm you can be in the centre of the storm. That display of power builds an immense amount of confidence, and with that confidence comes self-love, courage and determination.

I am a work in progress, but I like it. I like not knowing exactly who I’ll be or how I’ll feel when I leave this world. We never stop evolving as human beings and we never stop learning about ourselves and others, if we so choose. I’m happy I’ve made the choice to let myself grow and become the best version of myself that I can be so that I can contribute better to the world around me. I truly want to thank PYC for taking me in like family and for showing me what’s possible. The kindness and connection are invaluable to me. I look forward to what the future may bring.

-A PYC Yogi

Connection: What does it mean to you?

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The impact of connection with yourself and others can be the difference between a happy, joyous life filled with love, and people who support and nurture you, or a sad, angry and resentful existence full of loneliness and wondering why.

For many years I lived a life without connection. I thought I was happy and joyful because things were going well for me. I had a great relationship, we travelled, we were great friends, we lived very comfortably, we laughed, we played, we had a great time together. I had a job I enjoyed, close to home, doing things I liked doing (I still have this job today and am working on ways to show up differently to make it even better). I was active in sports, running, doing triathlon, hitting the gym (again, still do these things daily, they make me feel alive). Through all of this, I felt alone. I never felt like I truly had friends of my own or connected to the people in my life. I had my sisters and family and a few close friends, but there was always something in the way. In fact, all of my relationships had something in the way. I didn’t understand. I could make friends easily and have a great time, but I never felt like I was connecting with them, or that I could hang onto these relationships  forever.

Through a separation, transformational work, 40 Days, and Your Life Design, I discovered what was missing in my life, what I felt was important to me, what I needed to have a happy, joyous and loving life. That was connection with myself and others. Turns out, I was afraid to let people in, to see me for who I really am. To ask for help when I needed it. I would give people a glimpse from time to time, but I would never truly let them in. This included my ex-boyfriend, my family, my friends and colleagues.

SunflowerWhen I learned how to let go of my resentments, and to love and accept myself for who I am, I started noticing a huge change in my life. I started feeling lighter, happier, peaceful and positive, more accepting of myself and the things in my life (especially burdens I created). I started asking my friends, family and colleagues for help, and the most amazing thing happened, they were all there for me. They all listened to me, made time for me, helped me through what I was going through. I was overwhelmed and overjoyed with this experience. It truly touched my heart and my life. I started coming out of my dark state. I started seeing a fuller social calendar. I started seeing easier times at work and with my family.

The conversation that had the most impact on my life was when my half-sister told me that she felt my connection with her for the first time in her life. That every time we’ve been together, we have both wanted to have a relationship/connection, so very badly, but something was always in the way. She told me that it was gone. I was so touched and happy by this statement and her vulnerability to share her true feelings with me. I will forever be grateful for her honesty. I soon started hearing very similar comments from other friends, and acquaintances. The love and connection I now feel for myself, my life, and my family, friends, PYC and colleagues, is incredible. Each day I learn something new, drop an old fear, let something go, live a rewarding life. I don’t know what my full purpose is on this journey yet, but I feel the picture will be revealed to me soon. I know my story is not true and I trust the universe to take me where I need to go. I am following my heart, not my brain. I am so excited to embrace my journey with love and open arms, because the changes I have chosen to create in my life, have exposed a vulnerability, and a side of me I saw, but didn’t know how to express. Never ever be afraid to be you, show your vulnerability or connect with the people in your life. The impact is life changing.

– Kyla Werrett

What are you so scared of?

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I’ve found that I ask myself this question more times than I’d like to admit. Everyone has their own past, their own experiences and their own things that we try to avoid because we are scared. Have you ever taken the time to ask yourself what it is that you are scared of? And taking it one level further, is it actually worth your time and energy to be scared? Is <insert your fear here> (mine being getting hurt, maintaining control to avoid any bad things happening to me) actually real?

Is it possible or plausible?

Is there any evidence to support my feelings?

If you’ve ever suffered from anxiety or depression, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. The downward spiral can begin so quickly, and can escalate out of control even quicker.

When I was in my early 20’s, I went through a horrible ordeal with an ex boyfriend. There was a ton of abuse involved, and it’s definitely a fear that I now carry with me in some form or another. (My mom told me last night, after going through a rough patch with my current partner, that it almost seems like I’m self sabotaging.) It’ll vary for everyone who has been through this kind of situation, but mine manifested in a crazy elaborate imagination. In 30 seconds or less, I can think of a terrible situation that could happen, whether it be to my family, my friends, or to myself. Within those 30 seconds, I change from the bubbly, happy person that I am, into a withdrawn, emotional wreck. I could break up with my boyfriend, quit my job, and move to another province or country if the resources were available to me. And what I fail to do every time I feel this way is ask myself “Is this real? Is this possible that any of these things could happen?”

What are your tools to fight off these feelings? Mine include yoga, both the physical practice and the mental practice; a close support network, where no one will look at me like I’m crazy; your family, friends, community… etc.

Sadly, we don’t have an on and off switch for our feelings,  but we do have the tools to de-code and decipher and help us work through the anxieties. Know that you are never alone, know that the person or group you chose to confide in can help see the reality, and help bring you back to it.

– Liz Bauer

All That I Can, I Will

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A couple of weeks ago a great friend of mine left the company that I work for. Her and I had formed a bond beyond the normal superficial relationships you develop in the corporate world. We did have a ton in common (come from small town backgrounds, we are both divorced, we like to travel) what drove our bond was that we each realized that despite our work achievements, neither of us was really happy or satisfied in life. This lead both of us to pursuing other means of seeking what we were looking for.

When she left, she gave me a card with a French Proverb on it. It said “All that I can, I will.” She really felt that this was a saying that resonated with her, and specifically felt that it was something that suited me, as if it was a gentle nudge saying “Kevin, listen to this”. At the time, I kind of got it, but to be honest, it did not resonate for me. After what happened to me today, I get it now.

As always, whenever I get going on these posts, I have to give a lot of context, so here goes …

Earlier this year I had the most profound experience of my life: taking a Seva Safari with the Africa Yoga Project. A dedicated group of yogis, 10 of us from Toronto, came together and accomplished a major feat. We built a playground on the rooftop of the Kibera School for Girls in the middle of the largest slum in Kenya.

I came back from this experience with a new outlook on life. It was unlike anything I have ever felt in my life. And after 17 years at my company, I was finally convinced that I was going to quit my job and pursue a career as a corporate trainer. This was something in my heart that I knew was good at doing; but it was also, something that I liked doing very much.
Instead of quitting outright and pursuing this career, I decided to take a series of courses at Centennial College to obtain a certificate in teaching first. Towards the end of this course, I was asked to write a Learning Journal, reflecting on what I learned and how I was going to apply it to my teaching. After seriously reflecting on this, I realized that I did not want to teach full time. I realized that I really wanted to do it part-time. The reason for this was that I really liked blending teaching theory with real life practice and vice versa. I wanted to do both.

This was a shock to me, because that was not the answer I expected to get when I started these courses. I fully expected to start teaching full time at some point in the future. In reality though, I got what I really wanted out of this experience: clarity.

Back at work, last week, I went to Bolivar, Missouri to visit a team of people working for me. If this place sounds like it is hick and rural to you, in reality it is even more so. There are more churches in the town than fast food places, the town is basically dry, at the Peach Tree diner there was a man over 60 wearing a long sleeve shirt and overalls, and on the drive in one day an old school red pickup truck was being driven by a man with a cowboy hat.

While I was there, it is safe to say that I veered way off my yoga practice. Also while I was there, and to a larger extent slowly but surely since I came back from Africa, I also veered way off many good habits I have worked hard to form: major lack of sleep, I effectively was free-basing diet coke, water disappeared from my diet, fast food and steak was the norm, and having a beer or two at dinner was standard practice.
I came back to Canada and my mind was spinning. I was reverting to all of the same poor thought patterns that had bothered me for so long. It occurred to me that these were tied, what you do to your body ends up in your head.

Because of this, last Friday I decided to recommit myself to those habits:
– I slept 12 hours that night, and I went to bed before 11 each day this week
– I hit my mat, doing two solid yoga practices that weekend
– My water bottle never left my side and I refilled it often
– I reduced my diet cola intake to one a day (as a treat)
– Protein shakes and vitamins came back in
– Solid meals with healthy snacks throughout the day became the norm
– I re-introduced short meditations sessions in the morning and the evening
– Each night before I went to bed I listed out the five things that brought me the most gratitude that day
– And I went all out dry, no booze
All of this really started to lift me back up. I started doing all that I can.

This past Tuesday night, I visited my therapist. This is a program I utilized that is offered to all employees at my company. I enlisted this program because I realized that there was no one single person who had the time, the training, and the level of detachment to listen to everything I was dealing with. Over the last couple of months I have had many sessions, Tuesday’s was the first one in the “weaning myself off” stage.

I started describing to her many of the things I stated above. Gaining clarity in my career direction, devolving down into a spiral due to bad habits, and then recommitting to the good habits.

I left the session in good spirits because the act of sharing opened me up to many insights.

During the session I described that earlier this week I had received an e-mail asking for people to teach a class in San Jose towards the end of August. With my new found clarity of career direction, I realized this fit perfectly, so I decided during that session that on Wednesday morning I would act on it. The key thing I did say then though was that if the spot was already taken because I had waited a couple of days, I would be fine with it. I was just going to do what I could do, and I was happy with that … all that I can, I will.

Come Wednesday morning, I send a note off saying that I would be interested in teaching this class, with no expectations.

Within 5 minutes, I received a reply. Unfortunately they had filled that class with an instructor already. They asked if I was available to teach in Chicago starting on holiday Monday. I politely declined the Chicago class, my work schedule would not allow me to do that, but I made it clear that if they needed me for any other classes to please keep me in mind.
At that point in time, I was completely content. I followed through on something I wanted to do. Nothing came of it, and I was ok with that. I did all I can.

I would not be writing this blog post if the story ended there.

An hour later, I am siting in a meeting, with my laptop (something I normally do not do). I get an e-mail. The assigned instructor cancelled on the class in San Jose. I was now assigned as the instructor. I sat in the meeting in shock. This is something that I wanted to do, something that I followed through on, and in reality I was not attached to the result; why, because I had done all that I can. Then it came to me: I was doing all of these great habits, I had attained career clarity, I was grateful for so many things in my life, then I did all I can. Of course, it was obvious that something great happened.

After this I started to reflect. I realized that for so long in my life, I have been doing as much as possible to get what I wanted, obsessing over it in some cases to the point of depression. And if you really wanted to see it, set your mat up next to me and you will see someone trying SO hard to get something, over-extending to the point of all out drama on the mat.

The majority of my life leading up to this, I was not doing all that I can, I was trying so hard to do so much more. I was pushing through pain to get what I needed. I was stretching myself too thin, on and off the mat, to achieve so much. I was not pursuing those things in life that I wanted, or if I was pursuing it I was doing it so hard that it was obviously over extension. I was doing everything possible to make it happen. And if I did not make it happen, I was beating myself up over the smallest missed thing (you know that person who gets 98% on a test and is pissed because they blew that 2%, ya, that’s me).

Little did I know, the words that I was meant to hear, were sitting on a card on my desk at work “All that I can, I will.”

It is so simple, yet it fits so well. My friend Karen, she knew something about me that I did not know. She knew the perfect thing to say to me, the perfect advice that I needed to hear, something that would fit my life. Then in one simple small situation I applied it. Turns out sometimes “all that I can” is just sending off a note and being happy with doing that, and now I will get a free trip to visit San Jose, with a small little summer vacation to see San Francisco.

At PYC, we often ask people “What are you up to?” It took me a bit to formulate my own answer to this. I now have an answer, even though it really is not a logical direct answer, you know what I do not care. What am I up to? I am up to “All that I can, I will.” (plus I am going to throw on a little extra something for good measure “… no more, no less.”)

-Kevin McDonald

From one of the worst days of my life…

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About one year ago I was entering into the summer of my dreams. I was registered to play in two hockey leagues, a soccer league and a basketball league. With some very light dry land training, I was sort of ready. My first event in this amazing summer was basketball. I found a league with a great group of guys and was ready for action. To prepare, I did my usual shoot around for a warm-up and waited for the whistle to start the game. About 30 mins into the game, I was running down the court and felt a sledge hammer hit my leg. At that exact moment, I also heard what sounded like a champagne bottle exploding. After about 10 seconds of trying to figure out what happened, I realize I had a complete rupture of my Achilles tendon. I considered this to be the worst new guy performance of all time.

So there I am at the hospital, wondering about surgery, recovery time, money lost, what my summer would look like, my leg strength and what I am going to do about work (I have an amazing job teaching Phys. Ed). Not once did I think that this moment would change my life, make me better, stronger and more physically fit.

One of my friends came to stay with me and my wife. He had some time off and wanted to come down to help. He lived with us for a month driving me to physiotherapy, to the gym and keeping my spirits high. When I got the soft cast removed, my wife had just joined Power Yoga Canada. She went to a class and came back radiating, excited and joyful. She kept telling me, “You should come. You should come! Everyone there is so amazing…”. 

Always wanting a new experience, I decided to give it a try. And this is where my transformation occurred, from the worst day of my life to one of the best decisions I have made.

I went in to yoga wanting to rehabilitate my leg, but what I did not expect was a rehabilitation of mind, body and soul. I have now been practicing for 6 months, once or twice a week. I have made a full recovery and am having more success at hockey than ever before (I don’t think basketball is in my near future). But more importantly is the gratitude I owe everyone at Power Yoga. It is so rare to be surrounded by so many wonderful and inspirational, instructors and people practicing.  The energy is so contagious. With the full support from everyone, we have taken a leap of faith and are now going to Kenya to build a school through the Africa Yoga Project.

One year ago it was all about my summer, and what was taken from me; remember, the worst day of my life. Today thanks to Power Yoga it is now the best time of my life. I am truly living. I have not left for Africa yet and still need to raise a lot of money, but I am already excited about how we can help by building the school and help the next group going. My wife and I are fundraising for AYP, meeting amazing people who are so helpful and loving the challenge. This experience so far has taught me several lessons. One is that there are amazing people in this world.  The other, is that changing the world is a next to an impossible task. But if you change your own world, then the world around you changes. 

– Jonathan Gardner

Block Party: July 8 from 1-5pm
AYP Website: www.africayogaproject.org
Jessica and Jonathan’s Fundraising Page: https://www.z2systems.com/np/clients/ayoga/campaign.jsp?campaign=135

Things that Make You Go Hmmm…

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We were stuck in a rut, living everyday like the movie Groundhog Day. If you haven’t seen the movie Groundhog Day, Bill Murray wakes up, eats, goes to work, works all day, comes home, eats, goes to bed and that repeats. That was what we were in a habit of doing. We have a great life but it had become very comfortable, maybe even a bit boring. We wanted more. We hungered to be inspired. Deepak Chopra defines the word inspired, as “in spirit”. We didn’t realize how removed we were becoming from our true nature. However, there were signs along the way. Oprah calls these whisper and C+C Music Factory refers to them as…”things that make you go hmmm”.

All year I taught my grade 7 students lessons about social justice, making a difference in the world, and how to be active in the community…hmm. We heard about the March 2012, Seva Safari service trip that a bunch of the PYC community were going on to build a playground…hmmm. We went to their slide show when they returned…hmmm. I went to Oprah’s Life Class tour and listened all day to the world’s best inspirational speakers tell me to find my purpose…hmmm. One day those whispers turned into a strong voice-Pauline’s! It was at the end of class and Pauline said, “We need three more people to go to Kenya to build a school. See me if you are interested.” Immediately I felt my breathe catch- I heard, “just go”, “DO IT!” It wasn’t my conscience; it was the row behind me which consisted of 5 of the people who had been in March. I don’t believe in coincidence. I went home and told my husband. He thought it was an amazing aspiration but an impossible reality to raise $10 000 in a month. I told him how Pauline’s words hit me squarely on the heart. He said that that happens so rarely in life, that once it does you have to listen. So here we are listening to our spirit and amazing things are happening in our life.

We have just started our journey to Africa and it began in our home. It started by stopping our common, comfortable, repetitive routine. Instead of watching TV, we spent our time working together to commit to raising money to support the wonderful work that AYP is doing. It is spreading to our community. My students were the first to hear of this idea and they immediately put into practise the lessons they learned throughout the year, wanting to be involved with helping to raise the money for kids like them half a world away. Now I see them using their skills and talents to encourage their peers to make a difference by doing what they can.

The tremendous support from PYC began our first yoga class after making the decision to be a part of the July Seva Safari. Jenn, Monica and Heather were cheering us on the very next day. Pino, Isabel and everyone in the 40 Days to Personal Revolution team echoed their support. Pauline, Kelly, and Denise are making the Africa Yoga Project Fundraiser Block Party not just a plan but a reality. People we haven’t seen in ages or don’t even know are offering their support. We are so much more connected to ourselves and because of that we are more connected to others. We feel such positive energy from everyone, we are lit up! We are inspired to shine this light brightly so that other people see the power they possess. This is the light that we will take with us on our journey to Africa.

– Jessica Gardner

Block Party: July 8 from 1-5pm
AYP Website: http://www.africayogaproject.org/
Jessica and Jonathan’s Fundraising Page: https://www.z2systems.com/np/clients/ayoga/campaign.jsp?campaign=135