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Lightening December’s dark days

Winter Solstice Celebration to lighten your mood

Don’t let a whirlwind of holiday demands or diminishing hours of sunlight darken your mood this December.

A series of uplifting sessions are being hosted at the Yoga Centre of Niagara, designed to de-stress, rejuvenate and empower your mind, body and soul.

Start off today with Stress Reduction for the Holiday Season, which will assist you in taking control of your holidays. Instead of dreading December, you’ll learn how to embrace it during this session, which runs from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Centre at 24 Front Street South. The cost is $30.

On Thursday, Dec 20, renowned yoga teacher Cheryl Gordon will lead a Winter Solstice Celebration at the Centre, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. 

In addition to showing participants how to shed negative thoughts that are weighing them down, Gordon will assist them in cleansing “out with the old, in with the new” rituals; explore the spiritual roots of sun salutations; “utilize our voices to express our joy at life, as well as take lots of time for reflection and deep relaxation.”

“It’s actually very powerful,” she told the Thorold News. “At the end, you will feel physically, mentally and emotionally renewed, and we will honour the season by going into ‘hibernation;’ a deep relaxation pose.”

For millennia, humans have used the year’s darkest days to reaffirm their faith and devotion to life, Gordon added. “Sun salutations and its variations provide a general detoxification effect on not only the physical body, but psychologically.” The session prompts “references to courage and compassion, and other qualities you’d like to cultivate, tied in with the history and philosophy of the various postures.” 

Yoga newcomers, and people with physical limitations are all welcome to participate, she emphasized. 

“Chair support will be available, and I’m hoping these events might appeal to people who are looking to infuse some spirituality in their lives, and making sense of what’s happening in the natural world.”

While December is a “glittery” time, added Gordon, “All the excess food and decorations are a good distraction from the darkness, but if you’re just running and running, is it going to contribute to health problems and create imbalance? Your body knows you’re out of synch with nature” at this time of year, as we typically withdraw indoors.

This session will act as a form of “counter-balance,” she said.

The cost of the course is $20.

A Knotty to Nice event will be held Saturday,  Dec 29, from 1:00 - 2:30 p.m., featuring 90 minutes of self-massage to relax tired bodies, and soothing live harp music to relax busy minds.

This course is free with either a cash donation for people in need, or a donation of personal care items (feminine hygiene products, toothpaste, deodorant, or soap). Participants are asked to pre-register.

A Soul Vision Board Workshop will take place on Sunday, Dec. 30, which, according to Gordon, is designed to help “Transcend the normal panic wiring we all have and say, ‘I’m not a victim. What if I can co-create my life’?”

The interactive workshop runs from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m., and will lead participants in setting their unique personal Intention and vision for 2019, as well as a clearing session, for saying goodbye to 2018.

In addition to a mini oracle card lesson, there will be instruction on managing your power, Yin – nourishing, Yang – developmental, and a host of other self-care techniques. 

To create their vision board, participants will need to bring a journal, markers, a personal photo, magazines, Bristol board cut in half, scissors, and glue. The cost is $50.

Once your vision board is completed, said Gordon, “You put it up where you see it constantly, and it’s not such a pipe dream anymore; it can become a reality.”
In 2019, Gordon will lead six sessions of Yoga Sculpt on Thursdays from Jan. 10, to Feb. 14, from 7:00 to 8:15 p.m.   

“As the sculpture patiently chips away at what is unnecessary, so does the classical practice of yoga. Eventually, the natural radiance and beauty that was always there is revealed. This course is based upon the traditional teachings from the Yoga Sutras and will cover exercise, nutrition, relationships, spirituality and relaxation practices. The ancient teachers lovingly share with us the path to a healthier, more vibrant and satisfying life.”

Participants should be comfortable with low-impact exercise and have a doctor's clearance to make lifestyle changes such as movement, deep-breath training and changing diet.
The cost of Yoga Sculpt is $110 for six sessions.

For more information, visit the website at