An Exercise in Trust and Surrender

Tiina Kivinen Blog

Grief does not change you, it reveals you.

I would like to extend heart felt gratitude to my students and community for holding space for me while I have moved through my mothers end of life care, and into the new phase of letting go. On October 10, 2014, my beloved Mom passed away in our home in North Western Ontario, surrounded by loved ones.

Throughout these last few weeks and even longer, many of you have been nurturing me with your kind words, your hugs, and your willingness to go with the flow of substitute teachers. I trust that you were able to source new wisdom from your practice while being guided by a new voice and a new energy. Gratitude to those wonderful teachers who stepped in, sometimes last minute, to offer a class in my absence. I am grateful to have been able to take space at this time, and I’ll see you this week in classes!

Ishvar Pranidhana: An Exercise in Trust and Surrender

I’d like to share with you a yogic teaching that is alive for me at present. A teaching from the Yoga Sutras, within the Yamas and Niyamas (first two limbs of Ashtanga, 8 Limbs of Yoga, Observances and Restraints) Ishvar Pranidhana. Ishvar Pranidhana is a practice of letting go of control, a practice of surrendering to the mystery, surrendering to Life, the Divine, the Will of the Universe.

Ishvar Pranidhana teaches us to let go and trust in the unfolding, to accept what we cannot change and trust in the divine. This practice has been alive for me throughout my Mom’s illness, in consistently needing to dwell in the mystery; not knowing what would happen with her cancer, not knowing a timeline, or how it would feel to have her pass, surrendering to what is, and cultivating trust. Throughout her illness, Ishvar Pranidhana helped me to stay present and let go of control. Now that my mom has transitioned, Ishvar Pranidhana reminds me that she is still with me as a part of creation itself, to trust and let go into the knowing that she is at peace in Oneness with the great mystery of spirit.

Perhaps you have experienced loss, or change that is not expected. Perhaps in these moments you feel like you are losing control, or what is dear to you is slipping out of your grasp. These moments remind us to loosen our grip and surrender; let it be. Open up to the mystery and above all, TRUST. Trust that as you loosen your grasp, you will surrender into an even deeper state of Oneness.

I wish for you deep trust in this unfolding dance of life, death, and rebirth, each breath as a reminder of this natural cycle, and the knowing that our ancestors, our loved ones, and our angels and guides are here, in our hearts, in spirit, joined in union with all that is.
Peace, Peace, Peace
Tiina

Change and Transitions

Tiina Kivinen Blog

Welcome Fall, the season of coloured trees and cozy sweaters. Change is all around us. A time to reflect on the cycles of nature, and letting go. A time of transition.

Lately I have been meditating a lot on transitions. In the busy pace of life, how I transition from sleeping to wakefulness, the transitions from one part of the day to another, maybe with little time to get from one yoga class to the next. How do we make these transitions with ease and peace?  When you are relaxing in the sweetness of savasana at the end of your yoga practice, you roll to one side, sit up holding the peace within and then eventually you have to leave the practice space and transition back to work, home, kids, traffic, responsibilities and everyday demands.

How about the transition from one yoga pose to the next? When I am in a backbend such as Ustrasana, the Camel, if I quickly come out without mindfulness, I feel light-headed and ungrounded, whereas if I arise with the core strong, slow and with awareness, I can then move into the next pose feeling fully what is present, rather then rushing through it all and missing the full feeling and effect.

And then there are the big transitions. Being laid off work. Having a baby. Getting divorced. An injury or illness. Moving to a new place, or a new career. Kids move out of the house. Saying goodbye to a loved one.

In yoga class I call it an ‘awareness pause’. Moments of integration. Pausing and absorbing the full feeling and experience. Sometimes we need to give ourselves extra space for the transitions in our lives, to intentionally pause and tune in to the present. Take time and space to fully experience change and give it lots of room to breathe, and to be.

I invite you to consider transition in your life, and take lots of deep breaths when things are changing. Trust and move forward without rushing. Absorb the moment, and open up to it, with gratitude. These moments are precious, we must cherish them.
Bless,
Tiina

In the Present Moment, is Yoga, Part 3

Tiina Kivinen Blog

Embrace the Moment

“Don’t move the way fear makes you move. Move the way love makes you move. Move the way joy makes you move.” — Osho

Welcome September!
The month in which we savour the sweet lingering summer moments, like watching the final light of a sunset over the horizon. We prepare to welcome the Autumnal equinox and manifest new rhythms in our lives. For me, this season brings a new teaching schedule, new location for public classes, the launching of my yoga school and teacher training, prioritizing family, and building (and hopefully soon taking) a sauna at our farm. Amongst all of it, my personal goal is to stay balanced and centered, and to embrace what lights me up; to cultivate rhythms of joy and connection.

As life tends to speed up in September, remember to consciously slow down and really appreciate what this summer has awakened and inspired in you. As we move toward the fall, savour these final moments of exquisite summertime energy and lush nature… if possible, smell some of the late summer flowers and arise early to enjoy the morning light. Open your self to the peace and joy that arises when you give your self space to just be in the moment and do what you love.

The fall usually brings with it a movement of organizing, new endeavors, perhaps busyness and scheduling… so how do you stay centered within it all? What small rituals can you cultivate each day to remind you of your capacity for joy? Take some deep breaths of gratitude for the simplicity of just being… and open your self up to the joy that arises when you follow your heart into new rhythms that the fall will bring. Carry the afterglow of summer with you.

Costa Rica Yoga Retreat

Looking ahead to the inevitable turn of the season into winter, I invite you to join me for the 3rd annual Rhythms of Joy Costa Rica Yoga Retreat. For one week in March 2015, journey with me and a group of like-hearted friends, to a magical beach side oasis on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica.

If you feel an inner calling to travel and have an adventure of a lifetime, while deepening your yoga practice and taking time for yourself, then please consider joining me for this retreat. It’s affordable, the weather will be beautiful, you may see whales and you will see monkeys and other wildlife, swim in the ocean, get sand in your toes, gaze at the sunset, breathe, meditate, stretch and feel gloriously alive. I have designed and organized this retreat for YOU, so you can take time out of your life and sink into another kind of rhythm, with an afterglow that you can take back to your home, work, family… Register and secure this rate with your deposit.

All in Love,
Tiina

In the Present Moment, is Yoga, Part 2

Tiina Kivinen Blog 0 Comments

This is a follow up to my last blog. Right now I am writing this newsletter from North Western Ontario, where I am busy preparing for Fall offerings, taking in the great northern energy, swimming in the most wonderful clear lakes, and supporting my family through a challenging illness. There’s nothing like cancer to bring up fear, pain, worry and stress. I know I am not the only one who has had a family member or friend go through something like this, and I am amazed by the support I have received from loving friends and comrades. But every day is hard.

Not knowing what is going to happen next. Being in the void, the mystery, trying to stay present and feel everything without pushing anything anyway. I am finding that the practice of being present and coming back to the breath is sustaining through the difficult moments.

Yoga teaches us to be Present, to lean in to a situation or experience rather than away from it. There is no way out, but through. I am forever grateful for the teachings of Yoga, both on the mat and out in the great experience of Life. Yoga reminds me to come home to the Present, through the breath, through the body, and with compassion. Within the present moment lives wisdom and clarity. This Moment is the perfect teacher.

Pema Chodron says it well…

“…feelings like disappointment, embarrassment, irritation, resentment, anger, jealousy, and fear, instead of being bad news, are actually very clear moments that teach us where it is that we’re holding back. They teach us to perk up and lean in when we feel we’d rather collapse and back away. They’re like messengers that show us, with terrifying clarity, exactly where we’re stuck. This very moment is the perfect teacher, and, lucky for us, it’s with us wherever we are.”
Pema Chödrön

She wrote one of the recommended books for the upcoming Yoga Teacher Training, which has been an inspiration for me during this difficult time.

See my previous most recent blog post for some further musings on the deeper teachings of Yoga.


Meditation Exercise

Try this: A Meditation for Feeling Into the Present with Compassion

Lie down in a comfortable position, if possible right on the soft earth.

Allow your eyes to be softly closed and relax the face.

Give the weight of the body over to the Earth. Imagine yourself being completely accepted and held by the Earth.

Feel a wave of relaxation flow all the way from the crown of your head to the tips of your fingers and toes.

Simply notice the sensation of the breath.

From this breath, focus your awareness, and relax into the experience of just being here, as you are, opening up to whatever feelings and sensations arise, with compassion.

If your attention wanders, let the breath bring you back, again and again, and again…..

In the Present Moment, is Yoga.

Tiina Kivinen Blog

Atha Yoga Nushasanam – Now begins the Practice of Yoga… the teachings of Yoga are in the Present Moment.. Yoga is the Present Moment….(1st Sutra of Patanjali) 

So how can we stay present in the reality of our day to day lives, amidst the challenges, the stresses, illness, injury, life change…. how can we practice moving in to experiences rather than away , to lean IN to the moment rather than away from it? To relax, as it is, here and now… and then when things are blissful, not be attached to that particular bliss?

Pigeon The practice of Yoga is the practice of being Present, and that means that its not always going to feel good.  One of our human tendencies/afflictions, or what Yoga philosophy defines as a Klesha, is our constant pushing away what is not comfortable, ‘dvesa’, or clinging or being attached to what we find pleasurable or comfortable, ‘raga’. This attachment and aversion are just a couple of ways that our human conditioning estranges us from the present moment, and thus our natural state of Yoga. The time you spend on the mat, stretching, breathing, exploring physical forms and the interplay of breath, awareness and sensation, becomes a mirror for the rest of your life. How you approach your forward bend or your warrior pose becomes a microcosm of the macrocosm of life itself and how we move through it. For example, do you push yourself to go deeper into a pose, maybe beyond your edge? Or when you are in Pigeon Pose and the sensation in the hips gets intense, do you check out of the moment and go on a mind trip planning dinner? Meeting yourself fully in the Present Moment is a practice that takes … practice. And what you practice, strengthens.  So trust that as you commit to your practice, you commit to your well being and ability to take the practices of Yoga off the mat and into your life and into the world, for the benefit of all beings!

The real nectar of Yoga comes alive in the inquiry of the Self, the journey of self realization and the awakening of the heart to compassion, love, and acceptance of what is.

Are you called to deepen your inquiry of the Self? Join me for the upcoming Yoga Teacher Training in Peterborough, Ontario, launching this October 2014. For me, this training is born from 11 years of teaching to diverse communities, 500 + hrs of certification, and my continued commitment to being a student of Yoga myself. After spending many years supporting Yoga Teacher Trainings as staff and faculty at the 200 hr and 500 hr levels with Nosara Yoga Institute and Kripalu Centre for Yoga and Health, it is time for me to give birth to a training with my own newly accredited school, Amrita Living Yoga. Through this training you will receive a 200 hr Yoga Alliance accredited certificate, as well as experience the myriad benefits that come from making a commitment to your own awakening, self love, and Self Realization. Space is limited. Apply here. 

 

Open up to Nature to Come Home to Yourself

Tiina Kivinen Blog

bio.tiina.sunsetjpg

As we move toward the soulstice… just a week away… I look to nature for healing, inspiration, and rejuvenation. Living the day to busyness of teaching classes, farm life, householding, program development and all of this wonderful yet busy stuff of life, an afternoon to gaze out at Little Lake reminds me of the magic of being by the Ocean in Costa Rica. This was an epic, long, vortex winter for all of my fellow strong and very resilient Canadians…and its time for me to announce that YES Costa Rica Yoga Retreat is happening again! We have booked a beautiful ocean side retreat centre, La Cusinga Lodge. http://www.lacusingalodge.com/

From March 2 – 7 2015 we will gather by the shores of the pacific, practice yoga and let the magic of Costa Rica penetrate our souls into heightened states of natural joy. The area is known for its lush rainforest, sandy beaches, natural pools, waterfalls, amazing wildlife, like monkeys and whales… overall a paradise in which you can come home to yourself. Believe me, yoga in the tropics is a fine addition to your winter plans, you will find that a week away has a lasting impact long after you have returned home. Just a few more days until the website is updated with more information!  So, stay tuned to learn more and in the mean time, enjoy these long soulstice days of Sun Light!

RETREAT INFO IS HERE! EARLY BIRD HAS BEEN EXTENDED TO SEPT 1st!

 

Into the Rhythms of the Rainforest: A Yoga Retreat in the Tropics

Tiina Kivinen Blog

This January, 15 beautiful souls went into the Costa Rican rainforest to retreat, sharing 7 days of transformational yogic practices for my 2nd annual Rhythms of Joy Yoga Retreat. We gathered in a vibrant rainforest oasis, Finca Luna Nueva, a retreat center/biodynamic farm that exists as an inspiring model of sustainability and living in harmony with nature. I couldn’t imagine a better place for us to dive into practices that cultivate wholeness, harmony, and unity consciousness.

Our delicious, healing food was grown and raised with love and compassion…..spinach trees, turmeric, ginger, so many fruits, happy chickens, pigs and water buffalo cheese and ice cream! YUM!


Creating Space

Holding a sacred space for transformation and heart centred self exploration with my dear friends Joshua and Luna is a dream come true, again. Luna, Joshua and Jaya are bright lights who illuminate the space around them.

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In Praise of Economic Localization!: Now Accepting Kawartha Loons

Tiina Kivinen Blog

I am excited to announce that I am now a member of the Kawartha Loons Exchange and now accept the Kawartha Loon Currency! The KLE is a local initiative focused on moving our City and County toward economic localization. One of KLE’s first initiatives is spearheading the launch of the new Kawartha Loon currency, which I now accept as payment for Yoga classes! This is so exciting to me, as I am very passionate about LOCAL everything!
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Deepening Yoga Practice

Tiina Kivinen Blog

While I was on my holidays this august in thunder bay I had the intention of finding clarity and inspiration within my life's work. I was enjoying practice and allowing new intentions and inspiration to flow. People often comment that I must be so relaxed and tranquil all the time, with being in a yoga energy all day every day, but the reality is, even yoga teachers get stressed, overworked, and need vacation time!

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Why Practice Prenatal Yoga?

Tiina Kivinen Blog

‘What would it feel like if you could go deeper into the sensation? If you could surrender a little bit more? … connect with your body, breath, and baby… find your strength, open, and surrender… ‘

This is some of what you might hear in a Blooma Prenatal Yoga class. After experiencing 100 more hours of Blooma Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training in Costa Rica, I am re-inspired by the amazing power of prenatal yoga and am excited to teach it in Peterborough, Ontario.
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