Monday, September 29, 2008

Daily blog: Raw food

There has been great discussion of late about what being vegetarian means.  I have been vegetarian now for about 24 years.  I have only been experimenting with raw food for the past three years.  I am not ready to go completely raw yet.  It could happen one day. For now, I am content to occasionally make a vow and stick to a raw food diet for 2-3 weeks depending on the time of year and the number of stressful or traumatic events on the agenda.  The first few days are by far the hardest.  Visions of pasties, baked goods and warm potatoes dance through my head.  But, as I try to convince myself, here on day one of a three week commitment, that it will be different in a few days.  Relationship to food changes and the taste improves as there are fewer additives and preservatives. The less fat, the less salt, the less mysterious ingredients in my food, somehow it begins to taste amazing.  Very much so at this time of year. Harvest, could food really taste any better?

A very sweet, well meaning, young man was trying to understanding eating raw and asked about cooked vegetables.  I looked at him askance and said, "Well, only raw food is raw." He replied, "They were once raw." To which I immediately replied, "Exactly." I am still not sure that he gets it.  I am accustomed to misunderstanding around food in my life.  Very few people actually commit to eating vegetarian let alone raw.  It is rare and somewhat of a novelty at parties.  

I have been asked what led me to becoming a vegetarian and there is a good story behind that. I will not bore you with it here. If you want to know send a message in the comment section here and I would be happy to talk about it.

If you would like to learn more about Raw food and the benefits of eating raw you can speak to my friend Rosemary Radford here in Cambridge or visit my favourite Raw restaurant, over in Guelph, call WOW Cafe, I think that stands for Wild Organic Way, the owners are lovely and Karen is a very special, incredibly knowledgeable raw food chef.  

Great Raw food website:

WOW Cafe

Be conscious in all that we do, in all that we are, wake up, and wake up again,

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Daily blog: The Uncarved Block

The tao talks about the Uncarved block. How do we get back to a place of being the Uncarved block? Is that possible or even desirable? Or is that the point? Pooh, just is. I somehow, am not. At least not presently. There are deep fissures, creases, designs cut into the block of my life that limit my story to the paradigm that I have subscribed to.  Reading, writing, practicing yoga are all sand paper on this carved block. Erasing the pre-conceived, the identification with the external, the beliefs.  Creating a smooth surface. How to keep the surface smooth and calmly release the carpenters (ego) creative hand. How to surrender? Moving into the flow? What does that look like for you?

How can you begin to move into the flow of the tao?  Right this minute, how could we resist less and be more? How could we just practice being.  Owen wants the light out, Olivia wants her roots done, my blackberry just buzzed, the house is becoming quiet, I type, I am just here now with these words. Letting them flow.  Allowing a sense of beingness to flow over me.  How to practice just being?  

Experiment, look for moments of doing and ask, "What would it look, feel, be like to just be right now?"  Take the time to journal and write your reflections on being. How are you carved or uncarved? Let me know that you are reading this blog by commenting, tell me how you feel, what you are thinking.  

Schedule some empty time. Make a date with yourself. Make a regular date with an alloted time to just be with self, put it on the calendar.  Leave the time empty. Do not fill it with last minute emergencies, or spend it putting out fires.  No social commitments, work or workouts in this time. Keep it sacred.  Ritual requires commitment.  Name it. Respect it and be present for yourself.  It may take time to just be with yourself.  It may feel awkward at first.  Be patient and kind.  Ask how can you make this time sacred and give yourself time to just be.  Let thoughts flow, unhindered, let emotions flow or not. Exercise the muscle of just being.  

Journal, write, blog, express in someway your experiences.

Writing from the block,

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Daily blog: What do you ache for?

I have seen this question before. Expressed differently with sometimes different answers everyday and other times the same answer everyday.  What do you Ache for? Can you answer this?  How can we do what we love, so that the money can follow, if we do not stop and occasionally ask ourselves this question?  Not just love, because there are many things that I love that I don't really ache for. Like right now for instances, I am sitting in bed, my children are sleeping, I am surrounded by warm comfy white linens, it would be lovely to have someone bring me a nice decaf soy latte from Starbucks and leave with a light thank you kiss, for me to meander around in  my thoughts this am.  Do I ache for this? No, meandering around is fine without the coffee. 

I ache to know that there are fewer children going to bed hungry tonight.  To know that  I have somehow been instrumental in making the world a more compassionate place.  I ache to make things easier for my children.  I know I must sit back and let them fall, fail, deliberate to become the strong, intelligent, compassionate beings that they are meant to be.  I ache to be on the open sea, wind in my hair, arms open wide to the elements, salt water on my lips, the feel of rushing water under my feet and the feeling of wonder, amazement at the magnitude of beauty in the world.  

When I am drawing I ache for the just the right perspective to express what I am seeing to come through my hand.  When I am teaching yoga I reach out for those moments when transformation takes place in a student, the light in the room, my awareness, those little and sometimes big moments of beingness that give thrill, goosebumps that wakes up the kundalini energy and sends a chill up the spine. 

The Buddha taught moderation, the middle path, but he also taught about right livelihood as one of the steps of enlightenment here on earth.  Finding our passions, living a passionate life, uncovering what you ache for, these are the stepping stones to finding ourselves on the journey of life in this spiritually material world.  We may all experience our creative, sexual, spiritual selves differently and that too is one of the wondrous gifts of being human. Find your gifts, through contemplation, search engines, be in nature, they are there waiting to be discovered, re-discovered, brought out of hiding.  There is an old native story that says  "when the individual is getting ready to be born into this world the creator give each person a special gift that is theirs and theirs alone and that they can only use that gift when they have learnt the lessons that they have come here to learn."  Get the lesson.  Move on.  Use your gifts.  

Take the time to journal, blog, draw, paint, build, express your ideas.  Find your medium.  Start with lists, ask yourself the same old questions.  Find what you ache for.  Even if you live to be 85 you only have 4,420 Saturdays.  How many do you have left? What are you going to do with them?

See you on the open seas,

 One of my all time favourite books for find my way, not just for job hunting but for prioritizing all kinds of things in life.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Daily Blogging

Day 1, September 25, 2008. 8:15pm
Clearing up the clutter. We all know the feng shui benefits of clearing clutter from our lives, but, somehow clutter sneeks up like a stranger in the night and becomes this terrifyingly overwhelming mess of paper that is out of control and can trigger an adreanal response in the most kaphic of personalities.

Getting a plan and sticking to it seems to be the solution for many people. Sarah Ban Breahtnach in her book, Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy, suggests that it is simply a matter of having all the right baskets in all the right places and budgeting the time to sort through the mess on a monthly basis. Friends have been telling me this for years, experts extol about the mental, spiritual and physical benefits of knowing where all your paper is. Some, like me, are delighted when we find an extra $400.00, cleaning up paper, in cheques that we forgot to deposit.

While simple strategies do not work for all of us who collect paper in our purses, our cars, the kitchen table, the kitchen cupboards, piles on our desks at home and at the office, cardboard boxes, rubbermaid bins and plastic containers in every corner of our lives - there is hope.

I have found that the best solution for me is to find a friend or pay someone to sit with me and keep me company. So I am there to help with the decision making and they are there so that I do not feel so overwhelmed and alone in the process. Now if I could just convince myself that this is nescessary on a regular basis and keep this process a priority I am sure I would find the paper nirvana that my friends, family memebers and organizational experts around me elude to.

The creative and emotional energy saved can go into a bank for really important things like hanging out with my children, being present in my relationships, practicing yoga and painting or drawing. What ever does make your heart sing. Half the stress of paper piles is the worrying about getting to them. Find what works for you. When it stops working find a new way to work. Buy into the idea that you are perfect just the way you are and find your system, not someone else's.

Be well and happy,

Interesting article on the Feng Shui of Clutter...

Monday, September 22, 2008

Atlas Studio Survey

Hello again,
I have just created a survey on constant contact to check in and see how we are doing. We have been working hard to improve our service and communications over the past few months. The survey is to see how we are doing. To get our readers opinion. So let us treat you to a yoga class and a coffee/tea and share your thoughts with us about how we are doing. You can find the survey here at this link:

I look forward to hearing from everyone.
Om shanti,

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Well my friend Susie passed on Wednesday and we will go to her funeral today. Yoga Teacher Training is happening this weekend and I find that I am a little distracted but generally grateful to do the work that I do and to be able to focus on something else so intensely.

I have been eating comfort food - popcorn, apple pie, humm 1/2 a bag of chocolate peanut butter cups. I think that I am trying to fill up the empty feeling of missing her. Hummm, maybe this afternoon I will just watch that space and see what happens.

New course starting next week at the Cambridge Art Center. For those of you who would like more anatomy this is a great fun way to integrate your knowledge about the body.
See you on the mat,

Anatomy of Life Drawing

This course will explore the complex workings of the human body. Many of the great artists used the cadaver to understand the body. This course will cover the skeleton, the musculo-skeletal relationship, and kinesthetics of movement. Through drawing assignments and explorations, we will discover bone structure, how muscles drape over the bones, and what happens with movement. Nude models will be used at class end.
Instructor: Denise Davis-Gains
Thu, Sept 25-Oct 30, 1-3pm
$60 (Members $51) + GST
Bar Code: 130231

To Register in this course contact:

Tamara Louks
Arts Coordinator
Cambridge Centre for the Arts
60 Dickson Street
Cambridge, ON N1R 8N1
Tel: 519.740.4681 ext. 4367
Fax: 519.624.0379
TTY: 519.623.6691

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Reiki healings for the body, mind spirit and soul.

Reiki healings for the body, mind spirit and soul.

What is Reiki?

Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. It is administered by "laying on hands" and is based on the idea that an unseen "life force energy" flows through us and is what causes us to be alive. If one's "life force energy" is low, then we are more likely to get sick or feel stress, and if it is high, we are more capable of being happy and healthy.

What does a Reiki treatment feel like?

A treatment feels like a wonderful glowing radiance that flows through and around you. Reiki treats the whole person including body, emotions, mind and spirit creating many beneficial effects that include relaxation and feelings of peace, security and wellbeing. Many have reported miraculous results.

What can Reiki help us with?

Reiki is a simple, natural and safe method of spiritual healing and self-improvement that everyone can use. It has been effective in helping virtually every known illness and malady and always creates a beneficial effect. It also works in conjunction with all other medical or therapeutic techniques to relieve side effects and promote recovery.
Cost per treatment is $70 an hour.
To learn more please visit
Email me at
Thank you and blessings
Cindy Pearce-Jacobs
Reiki Attunment September 27&28 Level I
Contact Serenity at Atlas to register 519.884.9877
post a comment on this blog with your email address to receive a free yoga class when you register for the Reiki Attunment weekend.

Monday, September 15, 2008

New Entry Door Kitchener!!!

Hello All,
I will send out a constant contact newsletter asap. But in the mean time the doors at the Kitchener studio may be blocked from time to time with our new construction. So we have a new entrance for when you cannot get in the regular door please go to 113 Charles Street. We have the schedule posted on the door and the "Yoga Class On Now" sign in front of the new door. Serenity is posting signs as I write this to help everyone find their way in. Not too complicated as old buildings go. But do excuse any inconvenience that this might cause as we will have a wonderful newly rennovated building through the process.

Exercising the muscles of patience and holding the pose of acceptance,
Yours in yoga,

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

More exciting News from the Frontlines of Yoga

Hi Everybody,
The fall schedule is in full swing and we have great energy in all the classes this season. The weather remains sparklingly (is that a word?) beautiful. A weekend on the boat in Dover has left me feeling well rested, strong and feeling great. A great practice this morning and a good work out at the gym and may I say, God Bless the Steam Bath, ooohh, that feels good.

The website is a little behind the times I will cut and paste the most recent newsletter here so that you can see the most up-to-date schedules and list of workshops and events.

Schedule Additions & Updates
Here is the complete up-to-date schedule for next week.
Fall closures: September 1, October 13,
December 22 - January 4, 2009
(open for special celebrations & classes watch the website)

Cambridge - Galt
Free Class for a friend with a food bank donation in September & October
Cambridge Food bank -learn more
10am Deepen Your Yoga Practice, Elizabeth
12pm Hatha Yoga, Elizabeth
5:30pm Intro to Yoga, Matt
7:00pm Intro to Ashtanga, Matt
9:30am Basic Back Care Yoga, Denise
12pm Hatha Yoga, Elizabeth
4:30pm Hatha Yoga, Heather
6:15pm Prenatal Yoga, Heather
12pm Hatha Yoga, Elizabeth
7:30pm Ashtanga Yoga, Intermediate, Matt
9:30am Deepen Your Yoga Practice, Denise
12pm Hatha Yoga, Elizabeth
5:30pm Hatha Yoga, Elizabeth
9:30am Deepen Your Yoga Practice, Matt
10:00am Ashtanga Yoga, Matt
10:00am Atlas Hot Vigorous Yoga, Matt

Free Class for a friend with a food bank donation in September & October
Kitchener Food Bank - learn more
7:00am Asthanga, Serenity
10:00am Intro to Ashtanga, Serenity
12:00pm Kundalini Yoga, Ashley
3pm-5pm Kids Yoga, Ashley
5:30pm Kundalini Yoga, Ashley
7:00pm Hatha Yoga, TBA
12:00pm Hatha Yoga, Matt
4:00pm Mysore, Denise
6pm YTT, Denise
7:00am Ashtanga, Denise
10am Deepen Your Yoga Practice, Serenity
12:00pm Stamp Out Stress, Chantal
5:30pm Deepen Your Yoga Practice, Denise
7:00pm American Tribal Belly Dance, Valizan
8:00pm American Tribal Belly Dance, Valizan
7:00am Ashtanga, Denise
12:00pm Yoga, Serenity
6:00pm Ashtanga, Serenity
7:45pm Dance, Tanya
7:00am Ashtanga, Serenity
12:00pm TGI Belly Dance, Chantal
10am Ashtanga, Intermediate, Asia
2:30pm Community Yoga Class, Matt

Atlas Fall Events & Workshops
September is Yoga Month
Bring a friend to yoga as your guest on us
Please bring a food bank donation

Yoga for Cyclists - 30.00
September 14, 12-2:30pm

For mor info and registration contact Serenity at Atlas Studio
Kirtan - with Cindy Pearce
bring an instrument if you have one, a cushion to sit on and an open playful heart
by donation - sliding scale 5-20.00
September 26
October 24
November 21
December 19

Reiki Atunement - with Cindy Pearce
Level I September 27 - 28
Level II October 25-26
Level III November TBA
Atlas Children's Workshop
Professional Development Days
children 3 and up
9am - 3pm (early and late arrival/departure available)
45.00 in advance
November 7
December 5

Monthly Reiki Circle Share:
Sunday, September 14th, 6-8pm
An Evening of Indian Classical Music & Dance - Tabla Guru Pandit Divyang Vakil Workshop & Perfromance
Friday, October 3
workshop 5-6:30pm 30.00
concert 7:30-9pm 25.00 advance 30.00 at the door
45.00 for both advance ticket purchase
Students 20% discount
To learn more about Rhythm Riders click here

Thai Massage Workshop
October 27 - 30

This 4 day/30Hr workshop is for anyone wishing to learn healing knowledge for themselves friends and family or as a foundation for those wishing to practice on a professional level.
For more info and registration contact Serenity at Atlas Studio.
watch the website for more information or email

Life is hard. It's breathe, breathe, breathe ... all the time.
My new mantra - Change - greet it with joy. Noticing when sadness is really love disguised by my minds attachment to the past.

We apologise to any and all who have missed classes in the last year. We are offering an amnesty for the month of September. Come out and celebrate yoga month on us. If you have come to Atlas Yoga for a class and due to weather, missing keys, missing or sick instructors have missed a class for any reason come out in the month of September and enjoy a class on us.

Office Hours for Serenity our divinely wonderful and gifted ashtanga yogini and administrative wizard. If you have questions, concerns would like a private introduction to yoga Serenity can now be found at the Kitchener studio from 11:30am - 2pm, Monday - Friday.

Bright Beautiful Blessings,
Denise Davis-Gains
Atlas Studio