Cultivate Your Creativity with Fragrances and Yoga

How fragrances enhance my creativity on and off the mat

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A dear friend of mine, Céline, is a perfumer. She goes through life following her nose, so to speak; apprehending her environment with her sense of smell. She has never been to Hong Kong and recently asked me to describe the city from an olfactive point of view.

I started by telling her that:
HK is a city where people’s senses are constantly stimulated.The sense of smell is probably the one that people notice the less.Let’s start by the obvious, the malls.
Each has a signature smell, as do hotels and most modern buildings.
IFC used to smell like green tea when I moved here, and now their fragrance is a clean cologne (very close to CK One).
The Ritz Carlton is a traditional gentleman, with its woody fougere smell. K11 has a gourmand scent like sweet caramel and vanilla.
Hong Kong gets more interesting if you start walking on the streets.
In Sai Yin Pun, Queen’s Road West smells like dried fish and Chinese herbs.
The harbour on Tsim Sha Tsui side smells like tepid water, a very humid and penetrating smell.
The part of Tsim Sha Tsui where I live has many smells of food and people mixing all the time depending on which street corner: the clean smell of household products coming out of the supermarket, cold smoke and ashes on Prat Avenue, coconut waffles on Carnarvon Road, a potpourri of fragrances coming out of Sasa, the incense burning in a temple on Haiphong Road …

What struck me most from our conversation was that in describing to her the smells, I was intently focusing on my sense of smell and I was more present. It is very easy to go on autopilot mode when living in a city like Hong Kong for a while. Our senses get stimulated, overly and non-stop in this steroid-driven city.

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I like to remind myself and my students how essential it is to be present in the here and now, present whatever we are doing. Our senses are a way to anchor our awareness in the present moment. We can repeat a mantra, light an incense, play a Tibetan bowl, choose a method that resonate with you.
To ensure that I am being present, I have created some ritual to help me reset and connect with my centre. For instance, after being out and about in the city, I go to my sanctuary corner , unroll my yoga mat, light a candle and then choose an incense to burn or a fragrance for my diffuser. I then sit down for a few moments with my eyes closed and senses inwards. I listen to my breath to help me tune in.
The simple act of sitting on my cushions starts the relaxation. The silence and fragrance help me  reach a deeper level of awareness. As I sense further inwards, I become more present and eventually, the smell, noise and thoughts fade away. Then I meet myself in that sweet silent place.

Smelling the city for Céline reminded me once more how living with intent and awareness is crucial in our modern world. The fragrance you decide to smell, the food you choose to eat, the silence you surround yourself with. Everything counts. It also made me realise that my sense of smell is one of the most potent ones to enhance my creativity.
After this experience Céline and I decided to combine our passion for yoga and fragrances and offer a workshop at Luxe Nova; a nice afternoon (re)treat and rejuvenate yourself  with yoga, fragrances and creativity.  I will lead you through a yoga practice and guided meditations, and the tailor-made fragrances will activate your senses and intuition.
This unique combination of yoga and fragrances will help you become more connected with your inner self and gain clarity on your personal intention.

Join me and let your inspiration and your creativity flow. Early bird ends in 5 days!!!

TIME & DATE
14:30 – 17:30

Saturday, 3 June 2017
VENUE
Luxe Nova Lifestyle Studio

9F, V Plus, 68 Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong
INVESTMENT IN SELF
HKD600 (standard)

HKD500 (early bird rate by 15 May 2017)

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From Immersion to a Daily Practice

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The house is calm
The city is slowly waking up
The morning sun is gently spreading its rays.
I light a candle, go to my mat, sit on my cushion, close my eyes and start my morning practice
I orientate my awareness inside, tune in to my breath, observing a moment of gratitude for this practice
Allowing me to be present and filled with joy
After a few slow spine movements and some breathing exercise, slowly my body starts to stretch and my breath deepens
I then sit in stillness, start chanting and afterwards meditate
This has become my morning practice, a daily ritual that grounds me and enables me to choose the energy that will lead me through my day. It feels so natural to me now. But it hasn’t always been the case.
Let’s go back in time to the Spring of 2015…

I was sitting in a very shaky airplane from Hong Kong on the way to Rishikesh, located on the foothills of the Himalayas, where the River Ganges starts. I was going to spend a month of immersion in the teachings of yoga in this scared land of the Rishis.
I would soon meet my teacher Kia Miller and follow her training in order to become a yoga teacher. I had never met her before the trip but followed my heart – though this bumpy flight did make me wonder if it was a good omen. Nevertheless, I knew that I had made the right decision and I was in the right place.
In the following morning, I found myself sitting in a circle with Kia and 25 other yogis, sharing what led us to this yoga teacher training. When my turn came, I told them that I just wanted to have my own practice and that I had no interest in teaching (eh eh, little did I know then that the universe had other plans for me!). After about ten years of practicing Hatha and Iyengar yoga, I felt ready to dive deeper in the practice, focus on breathing and meditation. Above all, I would like to be able to practice on my own without relying on a teacher, being able to practice in silence, just following the rhythm of my breath and the needs of my body.
As it turned out, coming to India was one of the most transformative experiences in my life. Being in the place where yoga has been practiced for thousands of years gives you a different perspective.
Every day we started with a sadhana (spiritual practice) at 6am. This involved some movements (asanas), breaths (pranayama) and meditation. It was all very new to me, but from this day on, I was hooked. This is where it all started. The quiet time in the morning before the whirlwind of life kicks in.
I remember meditating in the yoga shala: wrapped in my scarf, eyes closed, senses inward, yet aware of the world around us waking up – noises from the animals like the monkeys running on the roof (maybe this is where the concept of monkey mind comes from), the smell of the fire being started from the nearby houses, the sound of the river…An hour later, we gathered to have breakfast and spent the rest of the day studying, practicing and becoming familiar with the various aspects of Yoga.

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This was a transformative month of intense learning on a physical, spiritual and emotional level – mostly about myself. And a new journey began.
Practicing yoga daily during the training has changed me in many ways. Although I had practiced yoga for more than ten years then, I had never had a daily practice like sadhana (spiritual practice).
During this month of immersion, we had the daily practice together in the wee hours in Rishikesh. I discovered a new relationship with my body, my mind and even my soul. I started to let go of things that didn’t serve me and thoughts that were negative and harming me. My whole vibration started to change. I started hearing from people how I looked differently. At the same time, I definitely felt that I was more centred and happy – and overall I knew I was changing for the better. What an amazing journey toward a new way of being!

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After I came back home after this India trip, I wanted to continue with this daily practice. So I started practicing a short and simple sadhana: 10 minutes of some movements to warm up my spine and some breathing exercises. I find it easier to practice in the morning as there are less distractions – as the whirlwind of the day hasn’t started.
As I look back to the month of immersion, it was a beautiful privilege to start and create a new habit of having a daily sadhana with a group of yogis – it is the support of a sangha that really helped kick start my daily practice.
Naturally, when I am alone, it would take more effort to keep up – and the key is to do a little bit every day. Kia told me to choose a practice that would be realistic and easy to integrate in my daily life. With that in mind, I think that is why I can stick with it to this day. Just keep it simple.|
Over the time, I have started to add more elements and increase the length of my sadhana. The content changes regularly, too. To make it less dull (like counting the days for the sake of it), I usually do a special practice for a period of 40 or 90 days (e.g. a kundalini kriya or a special meditation). By keeping the content consistent for a period of time – though it may appear to be the same – shifts start to take place for me and I find myself in a different place each day.

Today is a special day for me – as I have been doing my sadhana for 700 consecutive days. A daily practice that has taught me so much about myself, life and universe. I am thankful for the gift of yoga that brings me from darkness to light.
In kundalini tradition, they say that once you pass one thousand days of sadhana, the whole world will change – what an exciting journey I have ahead!

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This article was just published in NAMASKAR magazine April 2017

click here to see the full magazine

 

“Stretch Breathe Meditate” class at Blue Door Studio


Join Virginie tomorrow Wednesday @ 12:30 for her class 

STRETCH ~ BREATHE ~ MEDITATE
This is the perfect lunch break as you will

* gently move and stretch you body

* do breath exercises to relax your nervous system

* meditate with the help of mantras to help you unwind and be grounded
This class is suitable for people of all levels and especially for people who wish to develop a meditation practice but don’t know where to start. 
✨book your class and spend a relaxing hour with yourself ✨

28 Sau Wa Fong. Wanchai (star street area)

http://bluedoorstudiohk.com/

Book with them, me or on the Mindbody app

Weekly practice

Have you booked your spot to practice with me this week? My classes typically include movement, breath, meditation and sometimes even chanting. Hatha and Kundalini yoga. Give it a try and you’ll feel grounded, relaxed and centered. 

All levels of practices, body, flexibility and ages welcome!

Book your class with me:

atelierdivalys[@]yahoo.com

40 Day Journey to a Radiant You

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The other day, a friend of mine asked me what I love the most about Kundalini Yoga. Having practiced yoga for the last eleven years, my love and passion for yoga continue to grow. So, I wanted to tell her what makes this particular style different.

Instantaneously, these words came up:

Empowerment – radiance – presence – breath – surrender – letting go – meditation – chanting – feel good…and so on.

As I reflect further, it is clear that I could sum up all these benefits in one single word: AWARENESS.

Over the time, I have become more aware of my body and my surrounding. I am more mindful, whether “on” or “off” the mat. My newfound self-awareness continues even after the class is done. I usually feel the effects for a long time and each time, I can delve little deeper than before.

These effects are amazing:

  • my stress level is lowered;
  • I sleep better;
  • I am more patient;
  • I smile more;
  • I have less cravings; and
  • my mind became less busy.

Little by little, I am living a better life with a clearer sense of who I am. The transformations that I saw in myself have happened from the inside out and quite rapidly. It is a living and on-going transformation for the better.

I am so grateful for having found yoga (especially, Kundalini yoga). As a yoga teacher, it is my love and passion to share the practice and transmit the benefits to students, giving them the tools to empower themselves.

As Yogi Bhajan (who introduced Kundalini Yoga to the West) used to say often – “Doing is Believing”. One cannot fathom yoga through words – just like you have to smell a fragrance in order to appreciate the scent and the perfumer’s craftsmanship – you need to practice and experience yoga for yourself.

Intrigued and wanting to know more?

Allow your curiosity be your guide and come join me for a session of Kundalini Yoga or the other related activities.

I am hosting a “40-Day Journey to the Radiant You“, starting from 1 November. Come and join me and discover the beauty of the Radiant You.

Namaste, Virginie

Introduction to Kundalini

Namaste yogis

If you are still wondering what Kundalini Yoga is all about, or would like to learn a bit more about this fantastic tradition which is also called The Yoga of Awareness, join me this Saturday October 15th, 10:30-12:00 at Luxe Nova for a 90minutes practice.

We will do a sweet practice and I will tell you a few interesting things and fact of Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan.

Sign up now, and if you bring a friend along you each get 10% off

https://www.facebook.com/events/1241559735937774/

Looking forward to seeing you there,
Virginie

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The love-hate relationship with Savasana

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I’ve always been a fan of Savasana; that moment at the end of class when the teacher tells you to lie down on your back, close your eyes and to totally let go of any tension. The reward after going through poses that are demanding on a physical level: sun salutations, lengthening your hamstrings, releasing your hips, stretching our arms up, twisting your spine… and then pure bliss!

Sava means corpse and Asana means pose; savasana = corpse pose. From a yogic point of view we prepare ourselves for a conscious death, acknowledging that death and ending is all around us. It is not to be seen in a macabre way, but rather in a way of celebrating life and practicing gratitude and mindfulness.

I had never questioned Savasana before I started teaching. At the end of class my students lie down and most of them seem to enjoy it, but some people cannot be still: they open their eyes, they fidget with their hands, move their feet… this made me realise that some people dislike savasana very much and would rather leave class than lie down motionless for what seems an eternity; but here’s why they should stay, and give it a chance:

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My teacher says that Savasana is the equivalent of hitting the SAVE key when you are working on a document on your computer. It helps you absorb all the benefit of the whole class you just went through. You can absorb the healing energy that is going through your body, enabling your body to fully recuperate, and to release the stress it accumulates everyday.

Remember that savasana is different from sleep, it is a deep state of quiet consciousness; your body is completely at rest, and gives in to gravity. Total surrender.

If you are one of these people who doesn’t enjoy Savasana, here are a few tips to help you:

  • Cover your eyes, this will help your system relax more easily
  • Take a few deep conscious breaths, focusing your awareness on your inhales and exhales, then gently return to a normal breath (observing your breath and letting go of the control)
  • Put a blanket on your hips and belly. The weight will enhance the relaxation mode
  • Put a bolster or a rolled blanket under your knees to relax your back
  • Add a drop of lavender to your wrist, this essential oil has relaxing properties.
  • Keep your hands on your belly (or one on your belly and the other on your chest) to feel your breath and connect to yourself, and also to feel less vulnerable than with arms stretched out with palms up
  • Silently repeat to yourself the mantra So Hum (I am that) following your breath: Inhale SO, Exhale HUM.
  • If all of the above doesn’t work you can try to lie on your belly or to sit back on your heels in child’s pose with your arms along your body.
  • If you are in one of my classes, ask me to help you with a few marma points (some acupressure points from the Ayurvedic tradition), as they might help you relax.

I hope this helps you. Good luck and hope your next class will be a breeze till the end.
And remember that it takes practice to surrender to this asana (as to any pose!)

Namaste,

for more info on my classes and where to find me: Atelier Divalys on Facebook

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