Balm for the Soul: Beauty and Stillness

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Everything inside and around us wants to reflect itself in us.
We don’t have to go anywhere to obtain the truth.
We only need to be still and things will reveal themselves
in the still water of our heart.

~Thích Nhất Hạnh

Autumn at the Pond

Wedge Pond, in Kananaskis Country, is a justifiably popular destination in the summertime and I am delighted that so many people get to enjoy its beauty at the height of the summer season. But, since my partner and I prefer to go when fewer people are about, we generally choose to go off-season, when we are able to truly enjoy the quietude, serenity and beauty of this lovely mountain pond nestled in the Rocky Mountains. My favourite time to visit Wedge Pond is autumn, when the larch, poplar and aspen trees start to turn their stunning fall colours, creating ridges and valleys of gold.

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A Simple, Powerful Breathing Technique: 4-7-8 Breathing

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When the breath wanders the mind also is unsteady.
But when the breath is calmed the mind too will be still,
and the yogi achieves long life.
Therefore, one should learn to control the breath.

~ Svatmarama; The Hatha Yoga Pradipika

Breath Work

I was totally smitten with yoga after taking my very first class many, many moons ago, and I’ve been a regular practitioner ever since. I loved it so much, I became a certified yoga teacher and taught for a few years. I haven’t taught for a long time now, but yoga will always be part of my daily life.

Most people think of yoga as simply stretching exercises, but the true practice of yoga is so much more than that. While the physical yoga postures make up what most people call yoga, pranayama, or breath work, is as important and as beneficial to any yoga practice as the yoga poses.

While breath work is a big part of yoga, it is not unique to yoga practice. Historically, many cultures and disciplines have recognized the value of the breath as the interface between the body and the spirit and many have integrated the concept into the language and fabric of their cultures.

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Meditation on the End of a Beautiful Day

Death is not extinguishing the light;
it is putting out the lamp because the Dawn has come.

~ Rabindranath Tagore

A Tribute to Two Beautiful Men

This time-lapse video is dedicated to two beautiful men whom I dearly love and whom I have been blessed to have in my life: my own dear father and my dear father-in-law. Two years ago, they both left this world just a few weeks apart. They each lived a long, rich and happy life and I often feel their joyous spirits around me. Continue reading

A Summer Oasis: Sibbald Meadows Pond

To fully tap into the peace and beauty of Sibbald Meadows Pond, I recommend watching this video in full-screen mode.

Life at Sibbald Meadows Pond

This video is a short vignette highlighting some of the life, tranquility and beauty at Sibbald Meadows Pond, one of our favourite places to find inner replenishment. Nestled in the beautiful foothills of Kananaskis Country (see my previous post) and surrounded by aspen groves and stands of spruce and pine, Sibbald Meadows Pond is only a 45 minute drive from Calgary.

My partner gets the credit for shooting all the video footage (taken over several visits to Sibbald Meadows Pond a couple of summers back). I did all the grunt work of uploading and sorting through hours of footage and selecting the best bits to work with. We did the video editing together and my partner did all the fine-tuning and rendering.

More importantly, however, I made all the desserts for the picnic baskets we took on our various visits to Sibbald Meadows Pond (including my homemade Rhubarb Buttermilk Cake with Streusel Topping, Angel Food Cake made from scratch, and my Honey Almond Squares).

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Meditation on a Clear Mountain Pond

“When you recover or discover something that nourishes your soul and brings joy, care enough about yourself to make room for it in your life.”

~ Jean Shinoda Bolen

Envision Something Beautiful

Few things ground us more, or help us to get back in touch with who we really are, than being outside in nature. Interestingly, our brains don’t distinguish between actually being somewhere, watching a peaceful scene, or just imagining it with our mind’s eye. Whether you are actually there seeing a beautiful scene or whether you are envisioning it, your brain responds in the same way. Whenever you elicit a feeling of peace within you, beneficial neurochemicals flood your whole body, helping you to feel more relaxed, calm and peaceful. And the more relaxed and at ease we feel, the more our bodies, minds and spirit benefit.

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