Thank You Yoga

In My Adventuresby Grace Van Berkum7 Comments

 The term yoga comes from the Sanskrit word which means yoke or union, of body, mind, & spirit.  It is a way of living and perceiving your life with an elevated consciousness and connections to all living things.  I totally did not get this when I began my teacher training several years ago. Like many people I meet, I thought yoga was a bunch of stretches on a mat.  Indeed, my yoga journey began ON the mat, and now I realize that my yoga really happens OFF the mat.

When I started my yoga journey 2 and a half years ago I NEVER imagined how much my life would change. Since then I have moved to Nicaragua without knowing anyone and started up my own Gracious Living Yoga Nutrition Adventure Retreats in special unique spots around the country, educating and guiding people about the many levels of health (yoga, breathing, meditation, nutrition, connecting to nature, moving out of your comfort zone) so ultimately people can live the lives they were meant to live. Suddenly, over the last year I have also had numerous requests for me to travel to other countries teaching these things that I am so passionate about because they have changed my own life so drastically. I didn’t plan on any of this happening!

In the last 5 months I have travelled from Nicaragua, Bahamas, Toronto, St. Lucia, Toronto, Nicaragua, Toronto, Muskoka, Cape Breton, and I have just finished up a week here in Clearwater, Florida. This week has been especially touching teaching my nutrition workshop at a Wellness Rehab Addictions Centre. Nourishing food has helped to heal my own broken heart and spirit at one time and is so paramount for spiritual health.  Addictions are a symptom of a heart that needs healing, and eating foods that nourish the body help to cultivate self-love and self-respect, and more energy and strength that can then be allocated towards healing the root of addictions.  Whether you have addictions or not, (and we all do on some level) the foods you eat are a reflection of how much you respect yourself.

Empower yourself with knowledge and then make your choices based on self love and respect.

I am now moving onto month 6 of my 7 month teaching tour. It is so fitting that my last leg of the trip will find me travelling to Orlando, Florida to teach at a Cancer Recovery Centre for the next 7 weeks.  Not only teaching people dealing with cancer or recovering from cancer, but also to the doctors and surgeons at the cancer facility. This is another one of my passions and I feel my entire life has lead to this very moment!

Teaching people that we are indeed what we eat, that what we put in our mouths affects not only our bodies but our lives, relationships, future, and the environment.

Teaching people to move the body and train the mind using this beautiful FREE gift we have, THE BREATH.

Using the body, the mind, the breath, to find clarity, answers, and inspiration. To live an authentic life that has meaning.

Never did I imagine when I did my teacher training 2.5 years ago that this thing called yoga would take me to the most beautiful spots in the world. I have met some of the most special people who have touched my heart and continue to do so wherever I go.  I have seen the most beautiful sunsets (more than sunrises, ha!), swam in the most beautiful oceans, climbed spectacular volcanoes, and sat under gorgeous trees eating the freshest foods from the earth. In the last 6 months I have taught in yoga studios, people’s houses, a yoga ashram, 5 star holiday resort, treehouse wellness resort, in a beautiful heritage B&B and barn, Corporate retreat on a golf course, Rehab facility, and now Cancer Recovery Centre and hospital.  Teaching the same things….yoga and nutrition, but in so many diverse places to people at all different levels. Learning to eat, learning to move, learning to be positive is something that everyone benefits from! Sometimes I get a moment of shock or awe come over me when I think of this miraculous journey that keeps unfolding for me beyond anything that I could have ever imagined…but things are moving so fast I don’t even have time to go there.  I am just going with the flow and enjoying every moment with deep felt appreciation, curiosity, (and often amusement!) When you stop fighting life, everything changes. Drastically.

I am so grateful, inspired, and humbled.

Thank you yoga for teaching me. For helping me to expand and release tension in my body. For showing me where I need to expand and release fear in my life.  Thank you for making me to pack light, not just with my luggage (although I still struggle with that one, ha!) but also with the pains I have been carrying in my heart that have been weighing me down. Thank you for enlightening me about  forgiveness not only towards others, but also towards myself.  Thank you for helping me connect to my truth and my dreams, so I can live my best life possible. For illuminating where I need to heal so I can guide others to healing. For reminding me to open up my heart to all the love around me.  Thank you for teaching me what I can change, and what I can’t change. Thank you yoga, for nudging me to embrace the flow of life and tap into the abundance the universe provides. Thank you for teaching me what is real and what is not real. Thank you for showing me time and time again that life is best in the present moment.  When I am present, I am open to receive. When I am not present, I miss out on life’s opportunities and gifts.  Thank you for reminding me that if a food, situation, or relationship, doesn’t nourish me, then I don’t want it. Thank you for making me realize that everything I have been seeking my entire life has always been right inside of me…I was just too blocked to see it.  Thank you yoga, for helping me become more alive.

This has become what yoga means to me.

Nourishing my body and nourishing my soul so I can live a life of meaning. Knowing that I can control my future. Knowing that I can choose to suffer, or I can choose to be happy. No one is stopping me but myself.

Everything I am is a result of everything I think.

And as I move into the last month of a totally amazing (yet sometimes exhausting) 7 month Gracious Living Yoga & Nutrition tour about to embark on THE most important and meaningful job I have ever had (because my dad healed his cancer….read more HERE), I will continue to remind myself  that we are all connected, we are all one, we are all united, we all feel the same things, we are all bald underneath our hair. With a smile on my face, I will continue to remind myself to breathe. When I breathe with awareness and grace, I am reminded what life is. When I breathe with awareness and grace, I open my heart.  This is my yoga.


It will change your health AND your life!

Click Here

You are what you eat.
You are what you think.

~Gracious Living Lifestyle  XO


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  3. A most amazing testimony to the power of yoga… and the inspiration you as a person bring to all those who, during our respective life journey, have crossed (and recrossed) paths with you!

  4. wonderful post. beautifully put. well worded. you can so feel you’re passion, excitement and calmness throughout it. your positive energy lives in your words. again, thanks for inspiring me once again to continue my path. xo

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