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In honour of the winter solstice, a small group of women described their darkest fears and demons on a piece of paper before shredding and tossing it into a consecrated burning bowl Thursday evening

The ancient ritual of burning away fear and stress—held at the Yoga Centre of Niagara on Dec. 20—was designed to prepare participants for the upcoming winter, cleansing negative emotions to clear a path for more positive ones to enter.

According to yoga instructor Cheryl Gordon, “We all have all kinds of demons who haunt us. There are times when we all say, ‘That’s it; I’ve had enough’.”

Gordon said the burning ritual provided “the opportunity to let go of whatever gives us fear and keeps us in bondage, that which is holding us back from our true potential,” and led a chant, “If it doesn’t serve us, burn it all away.”

Following the burning ritual, she said, “A space was created to infuse their bodies and breath with positive energy. Out of the ashes of the old burned energy, new energy has arisen.

“In yoga philosophy, we believe that every person has a spiritual path, called ‘dharma’.” 

To realize our full potential, we need to summon our courage and follow that path, she said, rather than “weakly shrink away from it.”

She also explored the spiritual roots of sun salutations while leading the group through various yoga poses, ending with a pose known as “hibernation,” to invoke relaxation.

“We are looking to create more contemplative rest; to go deep into the earth and rest and hibernate.”

The evening’s exercises were intended to assist participants in feeling lighter; physically, mentally and emotionally rejuvenated and energized for the holidays and winter season.

Additional self-care sessions will be held at the Front Street yoga centre within the next month, including a Knotty to Nice event on Saturday,  Dec 29, from 1:00 – 2:30 p.m., featuring 90 minutes of self-massage and soothing live harp music, free with either a cash donation for people in need, or a donation of personal care items. Participants are asked to pre-register.

A Soul Vision Board Workshop will take place on Sunday, Dec. 30, from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m., and will help participants set their unique personal Intention and vision for 2019, as well as a clearing session, for saying goodbye to 2018.

Gordon will lead six sessions of Yoga Sculpt on Thursdays from Jan. 10, to Feb. 14, from 7:00 to 8:15 p.m.

More information is available at www.yogacentreniagara.com

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