Tiny yoga people

It’s almost the end of the school year. That means kids who would rather be out playing soccer than doing math worksheets and teachers who would rather be running than grading papers. There’s a crazy energy in the air. It’s like we can all smell the summer holidays.

My students, understandably, are driving me nuts. They’re great kids, but they are hot and tired. They come in after recess all sweaty and sticky. I find myself annoying, always asking them to wash their hands and to stop talking, so I can only imagine what they’re thinking. But, like I said, they’re great kids, so none of them would ever tell me I’m annoying.

I decided we needed something fun, yet calming, at the end of the school day. I suggested yoga. We’ve done it before, and they enjoy it, so they were pretty enthusiastic. I love watching them, they make me laugh every time!

We started off with some cat/cow breathing. Some of them had their knees pretty close to their arms, and wouldn’t move, even when I explained table pose. Their cat/cows were pretty shaky and they kept falling over!

Then, they lifted their tiny butts in the air for some downward dogs.

Nice little child’s pose break.

When you work with kids, they want to know your favourite everything: colour, food, animal. My favourite animal is a giraffe. Every time they see a giraffe in a book, they show me. They draw me pictures of giraffes, who are usually pink. When I told them we would be doing my favourite pose, one kid asked “Giraffe pose?” So cute! Sadly, there is no giraffe pose (that I know of). I meant tree.

I’ve got a pretty strange look on my face here. One of the kids was taking pictures, and his sense of timing wasn’t that great.

Cute little warriors.

We tried dancer pose. The had lots of fun with this one. One little girl even had her tongue sticking out, she was concentrating so hard!

A little more child’s pose to end the day.

Namaste, tiny yoga people!

My tree pose obsession

Tonight I went to a class with Natalie, who is not only my favourite teacher, but one of my favourite people as well! My friend Suzanne and I have decided to make this a standing date because if we wait until the day of, one of us usually can’t make it. It was such a great class! It’s a beginner class, but even though I’m not a beginner, it’s not easy. We did balancing poses while standing on a block. See, not easy.

This got me thinking about tree pose. It’s my favourite balancing posture. If you’ve been reading any of my posts about yoga, you might have noticed that I really like tree pose. I’ve been doing it since I was a kid, before I knew what tree pose was. Just hanging out, doing the dishes, talking on the phone (back when the phone was on the wall and you had to stand in one spot). My sister does it too.

I thought I would share my obsession. Sharing is caring. Several of these pictures, I’ve posted before, but never all together.

Tree pose in the water. Yes, that’s me. My hair colour changes often.

Tree pose on the roof of the cottage. That’s my dad and my uncle fixing something.

Tree pose on the dock. Added challenge, the dock was leaning to one side.

Tree pose in a tree. Yes, I’m leaning on the branch. It wasn’t too steady up there.

Tree pose on a log. My eyes are closed. There were bugs, maybe that’s why.

Bikram tree pose. Why is it different?

Tree pose with Amber and Julie. Humm, I always stand on my right leg.

So you see, it’s always the right time for tree pose. If you’re having a bad day, break out the tree pose. I promise, you’ll feel awesome, even if you fall!

Happy Rainy Day

When was the last time you enjoyed rain? I mean, really enjoyed it? From outside, not from inside a nice, dry, house looking out? It had been a while for me. Then today, I got caught in a storm with 19 kids. How can you not enjoy that?

We went out for a field trip to paint mugs and bowls for father’s day. The weather was calling for an afternoon storm, but it was bright and sunny when we headed out, so I just assumed it would be ok.

I was wrong.

While we were painting, it started pouring. And this was no sissy rain either. Big raindrops that bounced when they hit the ground. Louder than the kids.

I love storms. When I was a kid, my mom used to tell us storms were like movies and we would open to door to watch the show. I try to do this with my students, because so many of them are afraid of thunder and lightning, and I want them to be excited instead. I think it’s working. Whenever the weather reports call for a storm, the kids tell me as soon as they get to school, just to see my reaction. Last year, we had a really big storm one day and we all turned our chairs towards the window and watched “the show”. Some of the kids even mentionned it today. (I have my students for three years, so they have lots of time to get used to my quirks!)

So back to today’s storm. It rained really hard for about 15 minutes, with some thunder and lightning, then the sun came out, so I told the kids we were leaving right away. The sun was pretty much just an illusion, because as soon as we started walking, everything turned grey again. When we heard thunder, the kids actually clapped and cheered! Thankfully, there was no lightning.

It was only a 10 minute walk back to school, but about halfway there, it started to rain again. Kids really know how to enjoy everything. They were looking up, jumping in puddles and squeeling. How often, as adults, do we walk in the rain without thinking What’s this doing to my hair? These are new shoes! I’m getting all wet and dirty! I did have to tell the kids to hurry up, however, because as much fun as it was, we had to get back to school.

This is what they looked like. Me too, actually.

When I got home from work, I fell asleep on the couch. I hardly ever have naps, and when I woke up, I remembered why. I was cranky and I just moped around. It’s not good for me to mess with my sleeping schedule. After a while, I couldn’t stand myself anymore and I decided to go for a run. I kind of wished it would rain again so I could get my happy feeling back. About halfway through my run, I realized I felt better and didn’t need the rain. Obviously, that’s when it started to rain! It was only a sprinkle, but it was like the universe was telling me “I hear you!”

My run inspired my picture of the day. The prompt was “a number” so I went with number 2 on my list of 101 things to do in 1001 days. (yes, I know the numbers 101 and 1001 are messed up.) I’m not sure I’ll do it this week, but it will definitely be soon!

If you want to check out all the pictures from my challenge, click here.

Don’t forget to embrace the rain!

The road to headstands is paved with pillows

If you want to flip upside down, you’re going to fall a lot before you get there. I’m very motivated to one day do a headstand. Or a handstand. Or anything that gets me upside down. But that means I fall down all the time.

I read on someone’s blog that she wanted to do a handstand one day, so she did crow every day and practiced cartwheels in the park. I don’t remember which blog it was, or I would post a link. I thought this was a great idea. Well, the crow part, not so much the cartwheel part. You see, I can’t do a cartwheel. I never could. When I was a kid, I spent entire summers trying so hard to get my legs up as I wheeled myself around, down a hill, on the beach, in the grass, everywhere. It just never worked. I’d be willing to try again, but I’m way more self-conscious now.

So, back to crow. I now have a yoga mat set up in my spare bedroom, so I decided to try doing crow pose every day. I usually look like this.

But sometimes, more and more often, I actually get into it, and stay there. Not very long, but a few months ago, crow wasn’t even a part of my practice, so I’m pretty happy with myself!

Then, today, I went to a really great power flow yoga class with Todd. We did a lot of poses to build strength. One thing I really appreciated was that it didn’t feel as hot as it ususally does. I do love the heat, but when you’re trying new things, it’s nice to feel the heat a little less. I was still melting, but like a popsicle, not lava.

We did some kick-ups (I think that’s what it was called) to practice getting into a forearm stand or a handstand. We had our arms or hands on the mat, looked down, kicked up one leg, then the other, before bringing them down. In my case, it was more momentum than anything else, but I liked the feeling of having more weight on my hands or arms. When the whole class was doing it, we sounded like elephants trying to Riverdance, but it created a great energy.

I didn’t do anything perfectly today, which is why it was such a great class. I had fun, I laughed, I fell. I’m really enjoying where I am in my practice. I’m happy about that, because wishing I was somewhere else would just make everything a lot harder. Bring on the inversions! (And the pillows!)

The Tao of Pooh

“What’s this you’re writing?” asked Pooh, climbing onto the writing table.

“The Tao of Pooh,” I replied.

“The how of Pooh?” asked Pooh, smudging one of the words I had just written.

“The Tao of Pooh,” I replied, poking his paw away with my pencil.

“It seems more like the ow! of Pooh,” said Pooh, rubbing his paw.

“Well, it’s not,” I replied huffily.

“What’s it about?” asked Pooh, leaning forward and smearing another word.

“It’s about how to stay happy and calm under all circumstances!” I yelled.

“Have you read it?” asked Pooh.

Have you read it? That is the first page of the amazing book “The Tao of Pooh” by Benjamin Hoff. I bought this book about 10 years ago, because it was about Winnie the Pooh, but I didn’t make it past page 26. It was too philosophical for me, but now, I’m loving it. It explains Taoism through Winnie the Pooh and also Winnie the Pooh through Taoism. They are one and the same.

Pooh is presented as the Uncarved Block. He may seem simpleminded, but he is always happy. He doesn’t over think, he just is. “When you discard arrogance, complexity, and a few other things that get in your way, sooner or later you will discover that simple, childlike, and mysterious secret known to those of the Uncarved Block: Life is Fun.” -page 20. So you see, we could all learn a great deal from Winnie.

Owl is presented as the shcolar who is so concerned with knowledge that he doesn’t do anything else. The opposite of Pooh, really. I think knowledge is good, obviously, it’s what you do with it that counts.

Then there’s Rabbit, who’s Clever.

“Rabbit’s clever,” sais Pooh thoughtfully.

“Yes,” said Piglet, “Rabbit’s clever.”

“And he has Brain.”

“Yes,” said Piglet, “Rabbit has Brain.”

There was a long silence.

“I suppose,” said Pooh, “that that’s why he never understands anything.” -page 15.

Piglet is worried and nervous about everything, never able to just be, because he might be doing it wrong. Eyeore is pessimistic and negative about all that surrounds him. There’s also Tigger, who is unable to control himself. He  didn’t like Kanga and Roo at first, because they were different. It’s very interesting to see yourself through these characters, who seem so innocent and childlike. I like to find something about myself in Pooh, not so much in Rabbit, who seems very Annoying.  I think there’s a little part of all the animals from the Hundred Acre Woods in all of us. Once you are able to recognize that, you can work with what you like about yourself and what needs more love.

I could quote the whole book, but I think I’ll end with this one.

“Tigger is all right, really,” said Piglet lazily.

“Of course he is,” said Christopher Robin.

“Everybody is really,” said Pooh. “That’s what I think,” said Pooh. “But I don’t suppose I’m right,” he said.

“Of course you are,” said Christopher Robin. -page 65

Pink Lake

I had the most amazing day today. I went hiking with my friend Suzanne around Pink Lake. Can you believe there’s actually a lake called Pink? Sadly, it is not really pink. It’s this pretty, green-blue colour. Apparently, it has an unusual colour because of a lack of oxygen in the water. And something about the different layers of water not mixing. Also some kind of super-algea or plancton, or something, that eats everything else. Whatever. It’s really pretty!

This lake is only 10 minutes away from my house and I had never been there. It looked pretty big, but it only took about 45 minutes to go around. And that’s with stopping to take plenty of pictures.

This is us just before we started our hike.

Apparently, it was very important that we stay on the path so we wouldn’t mess up the ecosystem even more and turn the lake purple or something. We did our best, but when we saw this platform, we just had to stop and do some yoga. That meant that the person taking the picture was off the path. Since it was in towards the trees and not the water, I’m thinking we’re ok. If not, it wasn’t us.

Most of the path was kind of like a boardwalk, with railings, to keep you from going too close to the glow in the dark fish, or the magic seaweed or whatever it is that makes the lake shimmer. We took advantage of these railings to pose for more pictures.

After we made our way around the lake, we found another trail that had really cool trees. Well, all regular trees and one awesome tree. It looked like it had a little fairy house inside. At first, I thought I could fit in the hole, but I think I would have gotten stuck and had what Suzanne called a “Pooh Bear moment”.

We also did some yoga on a log. I think it could really catch on as a new kind of yoga. It makes postures more challenging, what with the balancing and the swatting the bugs away, all while not falling off the logs and into the leaves.

Tree pose on a log.

Warrior one on a log.

Eagle on a log.

After all the yoga and the hiking and the posing for the pictures, we had a snack and a wardrobe change at home, then went to see an Imax movie about polar bears. The movie was great, if a little sad, what with us humans pretty much wrecking everything for the polar bears. There was a scary part too, when a really hungry male polar bear goes after two little cubs. I actually put my hands over my 3D glasses so I wouldn’t see, but the momma polar bear growled really loudly and that was that.

We then went out to dinner and had drinks on the patio. Nothing tastes more like summer than a beer outside.

After all that, we decided to go to Chapters because I wanted a particular book. I am doing a no-spending challenge, but I had decided to allow myself this book. However, they didn’t have it. I was tempted by a copy of the Bhagavad gita, but since that wasn’t the book I was looking for, I didn’t buy it. I have an Imax teacher pass and I had a gift certificate for the restaurant, so this whole wonderful day was free!

Today was such a perfect summer day, I think it means summer has officially started. Even if it really hasn’t, not officially. Happy summer!

Update overload

When I started blogging, I didn’t think I would be writing about so many different things, so I didn’t have any categories for my posts. Lately, I’ve been noticing that I’m getting lost on my own blog, so I created different categories. To categorize all my posts, I had to edit them. If you follow me, you have probably received about a million e-mails today! Sorry! I figured it would be better to do it all in one day than to drag it out and do a few each day. I’m done now, I promise! Only e-mails you will get will be new posts! Have a great day!.