August: Margot Schelew
Yoga has been a part of my life for 40 years. I was very lucky to be introduced to yoga by an Indian woman when I was a student at Simon Fraser University. I don’t believe we even had yoga mats back then. We certainly didn’t have special yoga clothes! Transcendental Meditation was also very popular at this time, thanks to the Beatles and a few other celebrities. My next few teachers were men and I actually taught yoga in Bridgewater in the early 80’s with no credentials at all (just a little experience). Those times have changed and yoga has morphed into something completely different. There are so many types of yoga, something for every mood.
I am an outdoor person and I’m really drawn to water. So I am in my element practicing yoga on a dock. At 6:00 am. Yes, I salute the sun when it rises. I salute the sun even when it is hiding behind a thick layer of fog. As long as I’m not slipping on my mat in the rain, I’m saluting the sun outdoors on these beautiful summer mornings. It is so easy to find gratitude when you start your day by doing something that you love. If you ever have the opportunity to do yoga on a dock – do it! Especially the balance postures on a windy day. Worse thing that can happen is that you fall in and have a swim. What is cool about this is when a bunch of people step forward for Warrior I, the dock reacts so you have to step lightly so you don’t all go over like dominos. Last year, at the end of August, it was so dark at 6:00 am that we found we were saluting the stars before we saluted the sun!
When I was doing my Yoga teacher’s training, my mentor was Sandra Ryan. I remember her saying to me “Life is Yoga”. By that she meant that by living life mindfully, following the principles of the Yamas and Niyamas, we are doing yoga every day. Sometimes we do Hatha yoga on our mat and sometimes we are doing Karma yoga by volunteering in our community or opening the door for a stranger. Sometimes we are doing Bhakti yoga by forming a healing circle for a loved one, by chanting or drumming.
I have been inspired by Sherry Zak, my fellow teachers and by the teachers she has brought to Halifax Yoga from far and wide. My all time favorites are Ryan Leier and Eoin Finn. I have been greatly influenced by the teachings of Baron Baptiste and Coeli Marsh. My message to you is if you have the opportunity to attend a workshop – DO IT!!!! Sometimes we think we are not ready, but if you could summon up the courage to sign up, you will be pleasantly surprised.
I come to my mat to get out of my head; to take a break from the busy-ness. How about you?
~ Margot Schelew