February 2017

Happy February!
 

On February 1st, we are halfway between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. The Celtic calendar celebrates this day as Imbolc (i-MOLK) or “Ewe’s Milk” acknowledging the traditional lambing season. It is a time to celebrate some of the first signs of spring as the days gradually lengthen and the earth begins to slowly warm.  Underneath the snow, seeds are responding to the increased minutes of daylight by beginning to stir!

In this part of the world, we have Groundhog Day, on February 2nd when we wait for the Wiarton Willie to predict how much winter is left. Whether he sees his shadow or not, there are still 6 weeks left until the Spring Equinox!
 

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Update on Classes

We are half way through our Winter Session at Yoga East which runs until March 2nd.

There is no class on Monday February 20th for the Family Day Holiday.

Class times remain the same as those in the fall session.

Please note that all of our classes are full. Unfortunately, we are no longer able to accommodate any drop ins or offer make ups for missed classes.

If you would like to be put on a waiting list for the next session, beginning March 6th, please contact Valerie or Catherine.

 

Valerie Hobson:

Valerie’s Class Schedule:

Tuesday       9:30 – 10:45      gentle yoga and meditation   
Wednesday  9:30 – 10:45      mixed level

 
Fees
$90.00 to register for 8 week session
Cash or cheque only payable to Valerie Hobson

To register: contact Valerie at (519) 702-0534 or ahimsa1st@rogers.com

Catherine Heighway:

Catherine’s Class Schedule:
Monday     11:00 – 12:15   mixed level 
Thursday   10:30 – 11:45   mixed level  

Fees:
$90.00 to register for 8 week session
Cash or cheque only payable to Catherine Heighway

To register: contact Catherine at (519) 871-0661 or catherineheighway@hotmail.com

To see our schedule, please click here
 

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Restorative Yoga

Valerie’s Sunday afternoon Restorative Yoga Classes continue through this session. There is currently one space available so please contact Valerie to register: (519) 702-0534 or ahimsa1st@rogers.com

Dates:  February 19th and March 19th.  

Time:   1:15 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Fee:     $15.00 per class or $30.00 for both classes

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Springtime in Paris Retreat
May 26 – 28th 2017
Five Oaks Retreat Centre – Paris, Ontario

Please note that due to a scheduling conflict, we have had to change the date for our retreat. As we are ahead of the Summer Solstice, we are returning to our original theme of “Springtime in Paris.” Once details are finalised later this month, we will be able to take your registration and payment. If you are interested or would like more information, please contact us to let us know and we will add you to our list. 

 
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February Practices 

To feel in greater harmony with nature, we bring more fire (Pitta) to the practice to balance out the earth and water (Kapha) energies of this time of the year. This helps relieve any congestion and sluggishness that we may be experiencing. On the mat, we can continue to create opening and heat in the body through more dynamic standing poses, posture flows, back bends, side opening poses and twists. 

Warming cooked foods continue to be recommended, with spices like ginger, turmeric and cumin. Remember to stay hydrated and support your skin with a warm sesame oil massage before or after a shower.

Essential Oils to use in February to strengthen immune system and help fight colds/flu viruses that have lingered through this winter are Lemon, Tea Tree, Oregano and Rosemary.  The essential oils can be diffused into the air, or diluted in a carrier oil and applied topically over chest, back, sinuses and soles of the feet.  Add 1-2 drops in favourite carrier oil to apply topically.
 

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Easy Winter Brew

To one cup of hot water, add:
 
2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 Tsp Honey (or sweeten to personal liking)
1/2 Tsp grated fresh ginger.

To warm, cleanse and nourish the body on these cold days!

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The February sunshine steeps your boughs and tints the buds and swells the leaves within
William C. Bryant

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We look forward to welcoming you at Yoga East!
 
Namaste
Catherine and Valerie

January 2017

 And now let us welcome the New Year, full of things that have never been – Rilke

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Update on Classes

Our Winter Session at Yoga East will start on Monday, January 9th and runs until March 2nd (8 weeks).

There is no class on Monday February 20th for the Family Day Holiday.

Class times remain the same as those in the fall session.

Please note that all of our classes are full. Unfortunately, we are no longer able to accommodate any drop ins.

If you would like to be put on a waiting list for the next session, beginning March 6th, please contact Valerie or Catherine.

 

Valerie Hobson:

Valerie’s Class Schedule:

Tuesday       9:30 – 10:45      gentle yoga and meditation   
Wednesday  9:30 – 10:45      mixed level

 
Fees
$90.00 to register for 8 week session
Cash or cheque only payable to Valerie Hobson

To register: contact Valerie at (519) 702-0534 or ahimsa1st@rogers.com

Catherine Heighway:

Catherine’s Class Schedule:
Monday     11:00 – 12:15   mixed level 
Thursday   10:30 – 11:45   mixed level  

Fees:
$90.00 to register for 8 week session
Cash or cheque only payable to Catherine Heighway

To register: contact Catherine at (519) 871-0661 or catherineheighway@hotmail.com

To see our schedule, please click here
 

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Restorative Yoga

Valerie’s Sunday afternoon Restorative Yoga Classes will be begin again in January.

Please note that these classes are full and cannot accommodate any drop ins.

Dates:  Sunday January 15th, February 19th and March 19th.  

Time:   1:15 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Fee:     $15.00 per class or $45.00 for all three classes

If you would like to go on a waiting list for the next session, please contact Valerie at (519) 702-0534 or ahimsa1st@rogers.com  
 

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Winter Solstice Candlelight Meditation – December 19th, 2016

We raised just over $400.00 for Wellspring Cancer Support Centre! Thank you for your generosity!

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Winter Yoga Practice

As we are experiencing very cold weather now, our practices can help to keep us warm and uplifted. Sun salutations or other posture flows after a gentle warm up for the joints are recommended. Our lungs and immune systems are particularly challenged through this time, so continuing with back bends and chest opening postures is helpful. Working with a strong foundation in standing and seated postures will help to keep us grounded and stable in this contracted season. Increasing the length of the inhalation and Surya Bhedana (Sun Piercing) or right nostril breathing are energising pranayamas that brings focus and clarity.

A good way to replenish energy throughout the winter is to eat cooked, spicy foods. It is the perfect time of year to make soups, slow-simmered stews, beans, roasted root vegetables, and warm drinks. Spices such as garlic, ginger, black pepper, cloves, and basil add a warming effect. Avoid raw vegetables such as salad greens and cold drinks.

A gentle self-massage with warm sesame oil will help to fight the drying winter weather. The oil helps to pull out toxins from the skin and also leaves a protective layer between your skin and the harsh winter environment.

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The following recipe is excellent for fighting winter colds, flus and bronchitis. Ajwain and ginger help to decongest the lungs, while onion and garlic warm and stimulate the immune system and circulation. Sweet potato is rich in vitamin A, which soothes the lung and bronchial membranes and supports the immune system. This Kichadi decreases Vata (air) and Kapha (water) while increasing Pitta (fire). It is relatively hot and spicy, so adjust according to your taste. Check out Indo-Asian grocery stores or the Indo-Asian section of your grocery store for the less familiar flavourings. Or make the recipe without them and you will still have a tasty and warming dish.

Winter Kichadi – serves 2 – 3

1/2 cup basmati rice
1/4 cup split mung beans
6 cups water
2 tablespoons ghee or other oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/8 teaspoon hing*
1/2 teaspoon ajwain**
1 stick of kombu***
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/4 teaspoon cardamom seeds (about 1 pod)
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon turmeric
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 small onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 medium sweet potatoes
2 – 4 cups fresh vegetables: carrots, greens, beans, zucchini or your preference
2 more cups of water, as needed

Wash the rice and split mung until the rinse water is clear. Warm a tablespoon of ghee in a medium saucepan and add the whole cumin seeds, hing and ajwain. Lightly brown them. Add the rice, mung, sweet potato, kombu and water and bring to a boil. Cook for about 45 minutes.

Warm a tablespoon of ghee in a small skillet. Add the coriander, cardamom, peppercorns and ginger. Saute for 2 – 3 minutes. Then stir in the rest of the spices, onion and garlic. Put the sauteed spices in the blender and a little water (about 1/2 cup) and grind well. Pour this spice mixture into the rice and mung. Rinse out the blender with the last 2 cups of water and add it to the kichadi as well. Add the remaining vegetables. Cook for 20 minutes until vegetable are done.

*Hing – also known as Asafoetida is a spice used as a digestive aid, in food and in pickling. Very pungent!

**Ajwain – these small fruits resemble caraway and cumin, with a bitter and pungent taste, a flavor similar to anise and oregano and a scent similar to thyme

***Kombu – edible kelp, widely eaten in East Asia

from: The Ayurveda Cookbook by Amadea Morningstar and Urmila Desai (1990)

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Summer Solstice Retreat
June 9 – 11th 2017
Five Oaks Retreat Centre – Paris, Ontario

We have recently learned that Five Oaks Retreat Centre in Paris, Ontario did not close and is still accepting bookings through 2017. After meeting with the new Executive Director this past week, we are confident that the standards we have come to expect will be maintained. We have booked for our annual Summer Solstice Retreat on the weekend of June 9 – 11th, which is just ahead of the Solstice and will give us a wonderful opportunity to welcome the most expansive and joyful time of the year. 

There have been some changes in the organisation and we will be once more be looking after the registrations and payments for the retreat. Details will be posted on the website shortly so stay tuned. 

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We look forward to welcoming you at Yoga East!
 
Namaste
Catherine and Valerie

December 2016

As we move more deeply into the darkest part of the year, it is easy to forget that the days will very soon begin to get longer. The Winter Solstice marks the shortest day of the year, which will occur on Wednesday, December 21st at 5:44 a.m. From that time forward, the minutes and hours of daylight will gradually increase.Throughout history and around the world, people have marked the Winter Solstice as a significant turning point on the wheel of the year, a time to reflect on the past and look to the future.

Yoga practice at this time of year can become quieter and more introspective. We need to keep moving to lubricate the joints and stay warm so sun salutations and standing poses are helpful. We can add forward bends and gentle hip openers, followed by some restorative poses, meditation and a longer Savasana. These practices as useful, especially at this juncture of the year which for many is busier than usual and stressful. 
 

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Update on Classes

Our fall session at Yoga East will finish on Thursday, December 22nd.

The Winter Session will run from Monday, January 9th until March 2nd (8 weeks)

Class times remain the same as those in the fall session.

 

Valerie Hobson:

Valerie’s Class Schedule:

Tuesday       9:30 – 10:45      gentle yoga and meditation   
Wednesday  9:30 – 10:45      mixed level

 
Fees
$90.00 to register for 8 week session
Drop in – $14.00
5 class pass for three months – $65.00
Cash or cheque only payable to Valerie Hobson

To register: contact Valerie at (519) 702-0534 or ahimsa1st@rogers.com

Catherine Heighway:

Catherine’s Class Schedule:
Monday     11:00 – 12:15   mixed level 
Thursday   10:30 – 11:45   mixed level  

Fees:
$90.00 to register for 8 weeks session
Drop in – $14.00
5 class pass for three months – $65.00
Cash or cheque only payable to Catherine Heighway

To register: contact Catherine at (519) 871-0661 or catherineheighway@hotmail.com

To see our schedule, please click here
 

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Restorative Yoga

Valerie’s Sunday afternoon Restorative Yoga Classes will be begin again in January.

Dates:  Sunday January 15th, February 19th and March 19th.  

Time:   1:15 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Fee:     $15.00 per class or $45.00 for all three classes

To register, please contact Valerie at (519) 702-0534 or ahimsa1st@rogers.com  
 

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Winter Solstice Candlelight Meditation

We will be offering two Winter Solstice Candlelight Meditations this year. In the midst of holiday festivities, align with the energies of the Earth to welcome the returning light. Join us for a celebration of the Winter Solstice through music, readings, guided meditation and quiet reflection.

Each will be fundraisers – one for the Unity Project and one for Wellspring London and Region.

 

 

Fundraiser for “The Unity Project”
Saturday, December 17th – 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.
Yoga East, 537 Ontario Street
 

A minimum donation of $20.00 is suggested for “The Unity Project,” dedicated to the relief of homelessness in London. Chairs are available for those who prefer to not sit on the floor. Refreshments will be served following the program.

Space is limited so please register with Valerie or Catherine.

For information on “the Unity Project” please click here
 

 
Fundraiser for Wellspring London and Region
Monday, December 19th – 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.
YMCA Centre Branch, 432 Waterloo Street
 

Chairs are available for those who prefer to not sit on the floor. Refreshments will be served following the program. Receipts will be provided for donations of $20.00 or more.

Space is limited. Registration is required by contacting Wellspring London and Region – 519-438-7379

For information on Wellspring, please click here
 

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Celebrating the Returning Light – Clava Cairns, Scotland
 

Ancient peoples celebrated the return of the light in remarkable ways. We can see evidence of this reverence in sacred places around the globe. In September, I traveled to Scotland with my husband. We made a special trip to the Clava Cairns just outside of Inverness.The Clava Cairns were an important place for ritual and burial activities in the Bronze Age, 4,000 years ago.

The three well-preserved cairns each have a central chamber. Each cairn is surrounded by a ring of standing stones. The standing stones are graded in height, with the tallest facing the setting sun in the south-west. On a modern note, these standing stones are said to have inspired author Diana Gabaldon’s “Outlander” books! 

The passages of the cairns are aligned towards the south-west, with the midwinter sunset.

We visited the cairns just as the sun was coming up. We were the only visitors for about an hour, when a tour bus pulled in! It was quiet, mystical and awe inspring. I was struck by how much careful thought, planning and massive effort must have gone into the construction of the cairns, illustrating the deep respect earlier peoples had for the winter solstice.There are many similar monuments across the British Isles and around the world. These sites remind us of the sacredness of the earth in all her seasons.

To read more about the Clava Cairns, please click here

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Love and Joy come to you and to you, your Wassail too!
 

photo: Wikipedia

Wassail began as a greeting – Waes hael, in Old English means “be you healthy” or “be whole.” Eventually, wassail became associated with the hot drink made of ale, sherry, sugar, spices, and roasted apples.  A piece of toasted bread was traditionally floated on top of the wassail. So when you hold up your glass and say “Let’s have a toast” you are honouring this very old ritual.

On Christmas or Twelfth Night, revelers would carry a large bowl from door to door, asking for it to be filled, a custom known as wassailing. The spiced cider was also used as an offering to the apple trees. Wassailers would make the wassail and soak pieces of bread, cake or toast in it. They would then travel from apple orchard to apple orchard, burying the wassail-soaked pieces of bread or toast at the tree’s roots or hanging them in the tree’s branches to ensure a good harvest for the coming year. These actions were thought to appease the tree spirits and feed the trees well until the next harvest.

There are now many versions of wassail, which may or may not contain alcohol. 

from: www.nourishedkitchen.com

Slow Cooker Spiced Wassail

  • 2 quarts unfiltered apple juice or apple cider
  • 1 quart cranberry juice cocktail
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 27 whole cloves
  • 15 allspice berries
  • 4 (4-inch) cinnamon sticks
  • 5 small firm cooking apples of your choice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 medium orange
  • 2 cups Calvados (optional)

 

  • Combine the apple juice, cranberry juice, and brown sugar in a 6-quart slow cooker. Place 12 of the cloves, the allspice berries, and the cinnamon sticks in a small piece of cheesecloth and tie with kitchen twine to make a bag. Add to the slow cooker, cover, and cook on low for 4 to 5 hours.
  • Meanwhile, heat the oven to 375°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Stud each apple with 3 of the remaining cloves and place in an 8-by-8-inch baking pan. Add the water and bake until the apples are just a bit tender when pierced with a knife, about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  • After the juices have stewed for 4 to 5 hours, add the apples to the slow cooker. Using a vegetable peeler, remove the orange peel in wide strips, making sure to avoid the white pith, and add the peels to the slow cooker.
  • Remove the spice bag and stir in the Calvados. Serve hot (leave the slow cooker on to keep the cocktail warm).

from: www.chowhound.com

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Winter Solstice Blessing – Selena Fox

As we celebrate this holiday time with lights, songs, gifts, evergreens and other customs of our ancestors from many lands, let us remember the ancient and sacred spirit of Winter Solstice – that of renewal, peace and interconnectedness.

As days grow longer again and we embrace winter and the new calendar year, let us kindle within ourselves a deeper awareness of the divine circle of nature of which we are all part.

Let us celebrate our relationships with our families, friends, communities, cultures, all of nature and the Divine as unity and multiplicity.

May we be filled with joy, love and harmony.

May this Spirit of Yuletide shine within and around us throughout the year, as the Wheel of the Seasons continues to turn.

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Good Solstice! Merry Christmas! Happy New Year! Happy Holidays!
We look forward to welcoming you at Yoga East!
 
Namaste
Catherine and Valerie