Photo a day challenge

In February, I did fat mum slim’s photo a day challenge. I absolutely loved it! I really enjoy taking pictures. I don’t call it photography, because I don’t really know what I’m doing. There’s a prompt for each day and I like to find fun ways to represent whatever the word of the day is. I’ve decided to do the challenge for May. Here is the list.

This post is really only a teaser, because the challenge starts tomorrow! I won’t be posting the pictures here every day, but I will post them on my facebook page. If you want to follow my challenge, just click on the link and “like” my page.!/theblissprojectblog

I hope this inspires you to try the challenge as well. It’s so much fun and I already have ideas of what I want to photograph on some days! Have fun with it!

Dalai Lama

Yesterday, I had the chance to hear his Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama, speak. I went to see him with my mom and my sister. I’m glad we went together. Something this special needs to be shared with special people.

Nerd that I am, I brought my notebook with me to record interesting things, so I wouldn’t forget them. After 15 minutes, I realized this would not work, as almost everything he said was interesting and insightful. There to introduce him was Richard Gere, which made my mom very happy!

The publicity for the event said “His words speak to you. After April 28th, they will speak through you.” This is very true.

He spoke of the oneness of humanity. He said he was no different from the 7 billion other humans in the world. He urged us to take care of each other. If I take care of the world, I take care of myself.

He talked about the previous century being one of war and about how we need to demilitarize to build a healthy world. He believes this century can be one of peace. It is the younger generation’s turn to build this healthy world. For my generation, it is time to relax! And by relax, I mean “bye, bye!”

Most of all, he spoke of compassion. He told the stroy of a Tibetian monk who was held prisonner by the Chinese for 80 years. This monk told him he was in danger. The Dalai Lama told us he thought the monk meant his life was in danger, but the monk said “I am in danger of losing compassion for the Chinese.” My mind did not even go there. I would never think to feel compassion for those we deem “the bad guys” in a situation. However, these bad guys need compassion. They need to be reminded that compassion is universal. No matter how wonderful a religion, it will never be universal. Believer or not, rich or poor, educated or not, compassion is necessary.

He talked about our negative and positive attitudes. When something appears negative, 90% of it is your own perception.

There were people demonstrating in front of the event with banners that read “Tibet is a part of China. No to seperation.” He said it was good for them to be there, they were enjoying Canada’s freedom of speech, something we sometimes take for granted.

He answered questions and one was about how to raise a kind child. He said that what children need most of all is affection. You need to spend time with your children. When they are old enough, you must teach them about the value of human qualities. Then he said he did not have all the answers, as he does not have children. He said maybe, even if he’s 77, he should get married and have a child so he would know more!

Everything he said, people already know. Be kind to each other, take care of the world, respect all living beings. But so often, people seem to forget the importance of these things in favour of money, power and greed. I can’t help the homeless, but I will buy a new car. I don’t have time to read my child a story, but I will stay late at work.

I can read his books or watch videos, but being there, hearing him talk about the importance of compassion and humanity, was incredible. It is not likely to be an experience I will ever have again. Also, he was really funny! He told jokes and laughed at them. He really is a great human being.

Yoga hug

Wednesday, I went to my favourite yin class, which I have renamed yoga hug. I was going to write about this yesterday, but I was so excited about my wheel that I had to write about that!

A yin class at a hot studio is something special. For the regular classes, the temperature is anywhere from 38 to 41 degrees celcius (100 to 105 degrees fahrenheit). But for yin classes, it’s warm, not hot.

Before my 30 day yoga challenge, I was not a big fan of yin yoga. However, when I was doing yoga every day, I learned to appreciate the more passive aspect of the practice. Now, I love it!

What I love about Ichih’s class is that it’s always different. Some teachers seem to have a routine and if you go to their class regularly, you do the same thing every time.

All of the poses were done on the floor. No standing, no holding, no dragon pose!

We did half-frog, which I like. I’m not sure how much I would like full frog though. Then, from half-frog, Ichih had us bring one arm up and the other arm out to the side at a right angle. She said this pose made her wish she had brought chalk to trace around us. I had Julie demonstrate because, although it feels great, it looks really funny!

After that, we did some forward bends and then we chilled out in supported bridge. I love, love, love supported bridge. You can just let everything go. At the end of a long day, there is no better feeling!

Another thing that makes this class wonderful is that Ichih tells us stories while we’re in our poses. Sure, you can breathe into a pose and focus on how it feels, but you hold poses for so long in yin that it’s nice to combine that with inspirational stories and quotes.

I always sleep so well after this class. As much as I love the rush I get from an intense flow class, the feeling of peace I get from yin is definitely as addictive. See how relaxed we look after class?

If you haven’t tried yin yet, do it! You don’t know what you’re missing. You could be so relaxed right now!

Yoga magic

Today was one of those days. It was raining, it was cold. It was blah. After work, Julie said she was going to a powerflow class at Pure. I wasn’t sure I wanted to go. Actually, I knew I didn’t. It felt like a crash-on-the-couch-and-watch-a-movie day. Then Julie said we could go to Booster Juice, which is good, and that it was Jen’s class, which is great. I decided to go and just do what I could.

This is where the yoga magic happened. As soon as I walked into the hot room, I felt better than I had all day. I think the girls at the studio should offer a time slot where people can just come in and hang out in the hot room.

This is what I love about Jen’s classes: she gets you into poses you’ve never done before. Ever hear of bird of paradise? It’s this awesome, twisty, arms linked, leg up thing, and I did it! It wasn’t perfect, but I was pretty impressed with myself, because it was the first time I ever tried to do it. We started off in crescent lunge, then somehow wrapped our arms around one leg, took two steps forward, lifted a leg, and voilà, awesomeness! This is what it looks like when you’ve been doing it forever. I don’t think I looked like this, but I was smiling!

I think feeling pretty pleased with myself gave me energy. When we went down on our backs to do some back bends, Jen suggested we first do bridge or supported bridge, then try wheel, if we wanted to. I’m a big fan of supported bridge, but I decided to go with bridge. I haven’t done wheel since I was a kid. I always stick with bridge.

For several reasons (a, I felt like a superhero after bird of paradise, b, Jen is awesome and c, there was really good music) I decided I wanted to try wheel. I told Jen I couldn’t do wheel, thinking there might be a variation I could try. She said I could do it. I said no. She said yes. I said I wasn’t strong enough. She said I was, but maybe I was scared.

This made me think. Maybe I was scared. I didn’t want to be scared. Jen said “What’s the worst that could happen?” Insert yoga magic here. I decided to go for it. My first try was not quite right. I tried again. Jen helped me lift my hips, then asked if she could let go. I felt pretty strong, so I said yes. There I was, hanging out in wheel.

I can’t stop smiling. Even now, hours later. And to think, I didn’t even want to go to yoga today. I would have missed out on the yoga magic!

My yoga pet peeves

If you’ve been reading my posts at all, you know that I love yoga. More than chocolate. If I had to choose between yoga and a cupcake, I would choose yoga. Most days, anyways.

But, even when you do something you love, there are those annoying little things that keep life interesting. Yoga is no different. Here are my top 10 yoga pet peeves:

1. People who walk on my mat.

If I don’t know you, or you’re not the teacher, don’t put your sweaty feet on my mat. Please.

2. People who om like it’s an olympic sport.

We get it, you have good lungs. It’s a group thing, we don’t want to just hear you.

3. When the yoga teacher says “Reach out and touch your neighbor”.

Eww, really? It’s hot yoga, I’ve got sweat dripping into my eyes and even my hair is sweating, and you want someone to touch me? Even more gross, you want me to touch someone else? Yuck!

4. Pep talks

I know, it’s weird to put that in my pet peeves. Pep talks are usually good. But when you decide to sit out a pose and the teacher chooses that moment to encourage the class to “give it all you’ve got!”, well, you kind of feel like she’s talking to you.

5. When bad yoga happens to good people

I went to a yoga workshop and the teacher messed up all the names of the poses. Plus, he made all these weird “mmmmmm” sounds. I felt like he was checking me out. He was very pretentious and obviously thought he was amazing. He wasn’t.

6. Pretzel-like people

You’re flexible. That’s great. Could you move your mat to the other side of the room please? Thanks so much!

7. People who mess with my savasana

If you’re going to leave early, could you do it before I enter my coma-like blissful state? Also, to the yoga teacher who once told the class “don’t think about your laundry, your dishes or all the other things you need to get done”, that had the exact opposite effect.

8. Yoga advice

I love yoga advice from my teachers or fellow yogis. But, if you don’t do yoga, please don’t tell me about the dangers of the practice just because you read an article about it.

9. Freestylers

If you want to take breaks, then by all means, take breaks. I do. In fact, last night I might have spent more time in child’s pose than actually doing Amber’s core stuff. But when everyone is facing the back, and you’re facing the front, it’s weird. If we’re all in tree pose, and you’re doing a headstand, that’s weird too. If it happens once, maybe you got confused. If it happens a lot, I’m going to think you’re trying to mess me up on purpose.

10. People who breathe too loud

I know! It’s yoga. Breathing is a part of it. I get it, I do it, I’m not complaining about that. My problem is more with the Darth Vader like breathers who sound like they have awake sleep apnea during savasana. It’s the part of class where we’re supposed to go back to our natural breath.

I like to laugh at all the little things that bug me. I’m quirky. (That sounds better than whiny.) But really, I enjoy my practice so much, it wouldn’t matter if all those things happened in the same class. But remember, keep your feet on your own mat! Namaste!

Playing tag

Remember playing tag? Freeze tag, chain tag, and my favourite, BBQ tag. If you’re not familiar with BBQ tag, it’s pretty simple: when you catch someone, you have to kiss them. Made for some interesting playground time! I actually played tag (the regular kind) the other day with my students. It’s not easy running in ballet flats and a skirt, but it is fun.

Today, I got tagged by Miss Four Eyes. This is a grown-up, blogging version of tag! You don’t really get to say “you’re it!”, but it’s still a game. We don’t play enough as adults, so I decided to give it a try.

Here are the rules (Anyone who’s spent any time at all on a playground knows that rules are very, very important. Otherwise that girl who tries to tell everyone what to do will ruin it for everyone.)

  • You must post the rules.
  • Post eleven fun facts about yourself.
  • Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post, and then create eleven new questions to ask the people you’ve tagged.
  • Tag eleven people and link them on your post.
  • Let them know you’ve tagged them.

First, the questions from Miss Four Eyes.

1. What do you really think about George Washington’s pants?

I don’t think anything about his pants. I’m Canadian. What’s up with his pants?

2. If I gave you a penny, what would you do with it?

Smile awkwardly, say thank you and throw it in my purse. I will use it next time I run out of cash and the coffee shop does not have interact and I’m digging through my purse for enough change to get a cup of tea and a lemon muffin.

3.What is your toilet paper preference?

Whatever is on sale. Why pay lots of money for something you flush?

4. Would you live in a house made of candy?

Yes and no. Yes, because I love candy. Also, it would be like Candyland. Or a Katy Perry video. Or maybe Hansel and Gretel. Which brings me to no. No, because I would get fat from eating all the candy, as I have no willpower, then a witch might try to eat me. And there would be ants everywhere.

5. What do you think is the best feeling ever?

Surviving a hot yoga class. Or maybe eating an entire chocolate bar without anyone knowing.

6. What determines a hot butt?

Humm. A hot butt is one you want to see when the person in front of you is doing cat/cow.

7. If I gave you $100, would you eat a worm?

For 100$? No way! Maybe for a million dollars or a lululemon gift card. Nothing less than that.

8. Would you work in a circus?

Yes! I would be a trapeze artist! I would find a way to work out my fear of plunging to my death. But it has to be a circus that doesn’t have any clowns. I don’t like clowns.

9. Do you really like high-fiving people?

No, I don’t like it at all. I’m never sure when the right time to high five someone is, and I’m always afraid I’ll miss.

10. If you had a catch phrase what would it be?

Get up, be amazing, go back to bed.

11. What do you think about peeing on a fire hydrant?

Myself? No thanks. But for dogs, it’s great. It’s a cliché, but hey, it works!

Now, fun facts about me.

1. When I am in a difficult situation, I ask myself “WWBD?” What would Buffy do?

2. When I get home, I take of my socks and shoes and put on my flip flops, even in the winter.

3. I have a whole closet for my dresses. Yes, I am aware that I have a problem.

4. I love Britney. Always have, always will.

5. I would make an awesome rockstar.

6. I like baking. Cupcakes, cookies, cakes, you name it, I make it. And eat it.

7. I’m trying to bring the crimped hair look back.

8. I don’t like sushi.

9. I don’t believe in e-readers. I love books as much as I love to read.

10. I change my hair colour often.

11. I have a One Tree Hill obssession. I would live in Tree Hill if I could.

Now my questions!

1. What do you want to be when you grow up?

2. What was the last thing that made you smile?

3. What is your best memory ever?

4. When was the last time you played?

5. What would your superhero powers be?

6. Do you know how to start a camp fire?

7. Do you sing in the shower?

8. What was your favourite childhood tv show?

9. Would you rather be the tooth fairy or the Easter Bunny?

10. Chocolate or vanilla?

11. What are you reading?

I get to tag these people without having to run after them!

Swells of the Heart

Màoxian in the Middle Kingdom


Adventures for a life you love

Fit for my fork

Erin has thoughts

The Almost Awesome Blog

This aMACEing life


Green Thumb Mama

Adirondack Jersey Girl

And now, I leave you with the picture I will use to apply to the circus.

Earth day

Today is Earth day, and I decided to make a list of green things I can do to help the planet. I already do the basic stuff : recycle, reuse, reduce, compost, but there are more things I can do, I just need to make an effort.

Here’s what I will do to help the planet:

– Meatless Mondays. By not eating meat one day a week, you can help reduce the environmental problems associated with the meat industry. It’s also good for your health. I’m not sure I’ll always do Mondays, but I can definitely manage one day a week.

– Bring a reusable cup with me to the coffee shop.

– Buy more locally grown food. I have to admit, I don’t usually pay attention to where my food comes from.

– Educate the kids at school without scaring them. Children take the fate of polar bears very seriously.

– Post more pictures of kermit. Can’t get greener than that.

– Do more yoga. I’m not sure how this helps the planet, but I’m sure it does.

Often, being green becomes a competition and people who consider themselves more green than others feel it is their right to comment on other people’s actions. This is too bad, because every little bit helps. Also, maybe you use sustainable materials to renovate your bathroom and drive a hybrid, but when you fly to Europe 5 times a year or or buy 3 newspapers every day,  that impacts your carbon footprint too. Please don’t judge other’s efforts.

Hug a tree, plant some flowers, recycle and have a great Earth day!

Yoga rave

Friday night, I went to a yoga rave. What is a yoga rave, you ask? Good question. I asked myself the same thing. I have never been to a regular rave, as I was very quiet and did not go out much when I was a student. Ha! Who I am kidding! I went out all the time, just never to a rave, so I wasn’t sure what to expect.

It was at a new studio, and when we got there, everyone else seemed to know where to go and what to do. It was a little strange, but we figured, since we were here, we might as well give it a shot. After all, we bought glowsticks for this. We painted designs on ourselves with glow-in-the-dark paint, which was fun. We made jewlery out of our glowsticks, also fun.

We went into the rave area, which was decorated with glow-in-the-dark flowers and butterflies and blacklights. It was pretty cool, but there were a lot of people in there.

We started off with some yoga, but it was so crowded, I did not enjoy it much. Also, it was hard to hear the teacher and I couldn’t see her, so I spent a lot of time in tree pose, trying to look chilled out and enlightened, which was my mental image of how you feel at a yoga rave.

After about 20 minutes, the yoga part of the yoga rave was over and we moved on to bhangra dancing. Bhangra is a dance that is part of Bollywood dancing, so I was excited. I have taken Bollywood dance lessons in the past and I really enjoyed it.

It was hard to follow all the moves, but some people decided bhangra was no fun, so we had a lot more room to move. We were pretty good, I think.

It’s hard to see Julie in this picture, because she was wearing dark colours, but she’s there!

After the dance lesson, we did some chanting. I’m not a huge fan of chanting, but I was there, so I figured I would give it a try. This was pretty much my view on the whole thing “I’m here, might as well give it a shot.” We had to chant something that sounded like “har”, slap the floor, then clap our hands. This was ok for about a minute. After that, my hands were numb. The whole thing, which I learned is called a kirtan, lasted for 8 minutes. I did one minute of chanting and seven minutes of people watching.

Then came the meditation. Again, not my usual thing. Again, one minute of trying and then people watching for the rest of it.

After all of that, it was just like a big party. It was a lot of fun. How cool is it to bust out a dancer pose or a crow on the dance floor? Some people seemed to take themselves very seriously, but we just had fun acting silly.

We even got smudged. Smudging is a Native American custom that consists of burning sage and waving it onto people to clense their aura, or their soul, or their bad day, or something. It also keeps the bad spirits away. It was nice, I’ll take all the positive energy I can get.

I’m not sure if I did the whole rave thing right, but it turned out to be a pretty fun time.

My day in photos

In February, I did fat mum slim’s photo a day challenge and I loved it! I decided to take a break for March, thinking I would do it again in April. However, as I was in the middle of a 30 day yoga challenge, I didn’t really have time for a photo a day. They would all have been yoga pictures!

Then, I found this.

I decided to try this yesterday. Right away, I realized I could not take a picture exactly on the hour, but I did what I could. This is a day in my life.

7:15 Get up. I wish I was still in bed. Mornings don’t like me.

8:10 The calm before the storm: my class before the students show up.

9:20 Checkerboard multiplication.

10:10 Second graders working very hard.

11:45 A view of my school while walking to the coffee shop to get something for lunch. (It used to be a monastery)

12:25 A cup of tea after lunch!

1:20 Chilling out with some books.

2:30 Showing off their research projects to the 3 and 4 year olds.

3:10 Tiny yoga people.

4:45 Red light on my way home.

5:30 Blogging and snacking.

6:20 Dishes. Not everything is fun.

7:15. What did I do on my first day “off” after my yoga challenge? Went to Pure for a yoga class, of course!

8:35 My friend Dominique and I after the world’s best yin class. Don’t we look zen?

9:30 Shower.

10:25 Reading some awesome blogs before bed.

So there you have it. A day in my life. It was not terribly exciting, because after all, it was a Wednesday, but it was a good day!

Yoga challenge, last day!

I did it! I still can’t believe it. Yesterday was the last day of my 30 day yoga challenge. I did yoga every day for 30 days. That’s just over 35 hours of yoga.

Since it was our last day, Julie and I decided to do two classes. Last time we did two classes in one day, we took the day off and had a two hour break in between classes. This time, it was after work, back to back classes.

We were so excited before class, because on day one, this day seemed so far away! It seemed almost impossible, on some days.

Our first class of the day was powerflow with Amber, which was perfect, since our first class of the challenge was with her too! If you want to do a challenge like this, find a place where you are comfortable and get to know your teachers. It makes a huge difference. Get to know the other people who work at the studio too. Chances are, they’re pretty awesome!

Also, don’t wait for a good time. This was a terrible time for me to do a 30 day challenge, and for Julie as well. But if you wait for the perfect time, you’ll never do it. It’s better to try for 30 days and miss a few, than not to try at all.

At the end of savasana in Amber’s class, she mentionned that two girls had just completed a personnal 30 day challenge. That’s when it hit me. That’s us! We did it. We’re so cool! I was so excited at that moment, because I always did one day at a time, and now it was like reaching a finish line.

After that first class, we relaxed for a while. We also had a snack.

Then, we did a yin class. Since it was the last day of our challenge, I did dragon pose instead of sitting it out. I didn’t like it any more than usual.

The girls at the studio really are wonderful. They even had a gift for us, which was so nice of them! We got tops with the Pure Yoga Ottawa logo. I think we look very pleased with ourselves, our new tops, our whole experience.

I thought I had learned a lot during my first week of yoga, but I learned a lot more after a month. Here are some things you might learn if you do yoga every day for 30 days.

– You will learn to love downward dog. Also, your heels will come down more.

– You will realize you might never be one of those super-bendy people. You will be ok with this.

– You will become really motivated to one day do a headstand. It doesn’t matter if it takes a while.

– You will realize that even if you miss your favourite tv show, you will be happy.

– You will be proud of what you can do. Hello, tree.

– You will never be able to use “I don’t have time to go to class” as an excuse again.

– You will figure out how to balance work, yoga and a social life. You might have to give up on housework.

– You will learn the importance of the buddy system. I couldn’t have done it alone.

– You will discover what type of yoga you love best. Hot yoga all the way!

There were some days during the challenge where I was super motivated. There were some days where I only went to class because of the challenge. But that’s ok, the challenge got me there and that’s what counts. Some days were easy, some were hard, but I never thought of giving up. I’m glad I did it all the way. I feel more amazing right now that I have in a long time!