Busy weekend, happy me!

This weekend has been pretty busy. But it was the good kind of busy. The I-am-so-lucky-to-have-such-a-wonderful-life-family-and-friends kind of busy.

Saturday morning started off with a hot flow class at 8 am. This was too early for me on a Saturday. I enjoy sleeping in. I qualify sleeping in as getting up later than I do during the week. I actually had to leave for yoga earlier than I have to leave for work! The class was perfect for a Saturday morning: the teacher had great energy, but she wasn’t too peppy, there was a good mix of flowing and stretching. Sadly, I spent most of class facedown on my mat or taking a child’s pose break.

Saturday afternoon was my cousin’s wedding and it was great to spend time with my family. I also saw some friends I had not seen in a very long time. I got to wear heels, which I love. Right after dinner, I got to change into my flats because my feet were killing me!

Some of my favourite moments:

Johanne and I pretending to eat our place cards because we were hungry while waiting for our dinner!

Elizabeth giving me a makeover.

My very pretty sister.

Today, Sunday, I went to the farm to have coffee with my mom, aunts, uncles and cousins. Elizabeth wanted us to do yoga together. She had a mat with her and she was dressed specially for yoga.

My cousin Annie, who happens to be Elizabeth’s mom, took this picture of us. I don’t know which one of us is having more fun!

I also got some great loot from the garden. I can’t wait to make it all into fall-tastic soups and muffins and brownies and casseroles and lots of good stuff!

When I came back to the city, I only had time to drop off my stuff, make a cup of lemon-honey tea (I have a little tickle in the back of my throat. I hope it goes away.) before I left for the yoga studio. I went to a karma class with Megan. The class was perfect! It exactly fit my mood and my energy level.

After the karma classes, Megan likes to have treats for everyone. This week, I offered to make healthy zucchini brownies. Seriously delicious and actually pretty healthy. You can’t even taste the zucchini.

The lovely weekend had to come to an end, but my challenge will keep going. I am aiming to find balance this week. I have to figure out how much to give to work, to my practice, to other people, and how much to keep for myself. I really don’t want to get sick!

135 minutes

Since my last post, four days ago, I did 255 minutes of yoga. 135 of those minutes were today. But who’s counting?

As predicted, this past week has been crazy, busy, exhausting and challenging. It has also been fun, filled with laughter and special moments. My favourite was the first grader who told me “Before being in this class, I dreamed of having a teacher like you!”

I couldn’t go to class last night, as I had a parent-teacher meeting. It’s not actually a meeting, it’s more of a presentation and it drives me nuts! I don’t like speaking in front of large groups of people.

Today, however, I more than made up for my missed day. I did two classes! I totally rocked day 14! I had planned on taking the day off to make a wedding cake for tomorrow. However, last week while talking with the bride, we realized she wanted something that kind of exceded my cake-making abilities, so she asked someone else, and I was left with an empty day off. It didn’t take me very long to figure out what to do with it.

I went to Jen’s powerflow class at 9:30. We did a lot of bear pose, which is a good one to know if you’re in the woods where there are no bathrooms and you have to pee. We didn’t do dragon pose because I begged Jen to keep it out. It was great doing yoga in the morning, when I wasn’t tired from work or anything else, really!

This is a picture of Amber, Jen and I on day 4. I don’t have one from today, be we always look the same after yoga: sweaty and smiley.

In between classes, I went to Starbucks for a latte and a muffin. It was raining and it made me want to head back into the hot room to warm up.

I did Amber’s vinyasa class at noon, and I was a little tired. My chaturangas were more of the belly flop variety and my knees came down a few times in plank. At one point, with all the ups and downs, I kind wished I hadn’t eaten the muffin, but that passed and I gave it all I had. My intention was to do what I could and enjoy myself and I did both.

I had done two classes in one day before, and I forgot how much I enjoy it. I wish I could do it more often. I will do it more often. It makes me happy.

Side Star Superstar

Today is day 10 of my challenge. I’m a third of the way there and I am feeling great! I was talking to a girl at the studio today who said she could never do a 30-day challenge. I know how she feels. I used to feel like that too. I thought there would be reasons not to go to class, or days where I was tired and just stayed home instead. The thing is, not going to class is not an option for me. I decided to do this, and I’m going to give it all I’ve got. So yes, there are days when I’m tired, but the couch will not win.

Even when I feel like this, I’m going to get my butt to class.

I went to Todd’s class at Pure. It was a powerflow class and it was a-ma-zing! I hadn’t done one of Todd’s classes in a while, so I was looking forward to it. It started off right away, with some chair pose, forward bend, flat back, reach up, swan dive down kind of flow. No child’s pose or butterfly pose to start. It kind of threw me at first and I felt a little dizzy, trying to match my breath to the movements.

It didn’t take long however, before we moved into a flow that included side star. I love side star. It doesn’t always love me, but my love is enough for both of us. I usually use a block, as I find it helps my balance. The first time we did it though, Todd said not to use a block and just hover our hand over the ground. I didn’t think I could do this, but surprise, surprise, I can! Sort of. When I was standing on my right foot, it wasn’t so bad. And sure, when I was standing on my left foot, my right foot came down every four seconds, but at least I didn’t fall on my face. (That happened later.)

I sometimes confuse side star with half moon. I think in half moon, you have your hand on the ground, and in side star, you have both arms up. Maybe they’re just variations of the same pose.

This little guy is doing half moon. Imagine his left paw reaching forward so it’s in line with his left leg. Also, his right paw would be parallel to the left one and he would be looking down. It’s not warrior 3, because his chest is still towards the horizon. If you can make sense of this, you can imagine me in side star.

We also did crow, which I enjoy more and more, because I’m finding stillness with more ease every time. I’m working on jumping back into chaturanga, but so far, my feet only get to the middle of my mat and I end up looking like a frog.

Then came boat pose. We had blocks next to our hips, and after going down into low boat (insert lots of shaking here) we would come up, place our hand on our blocks and lift ourselves up. The plan was to swing the crossed legs behind and come up onto the hands in an inversion, but I’m still working on lifting my own weight up with my arms. No swinging yet. At least with the blocks, I don’t feel like my arms are too short to lift me up!

This is not me, but it is what I was doing.

One of my goals is to one day do an inversion. I know I’m not there yet, but I’m working on it. We did some arm balance practice stuff. Both forearms flat on the mat, lifting one leg at a time. At one point, I had one leg up and decided to give a little hop with the other. This usually gives me the impression of being upside down for a half-second. It didn’t really work today and I ended up in a neat little pile. This is progress, however, because I usually wind up in an impersonation of a starfish.

I could go on and on about the fun stuff we did in this class. Well, I kind of already did, but there’s more! What surprised me was how serious some people were. This was tough stuff, sure, but it wasn’t meant to be taken seriously. There were lots of sighs and frowns. I think some people need to laugh at themselves more, it makes for a much better class!

This is Todd and I after class. I told him I would definitely be back, because I enjoy falling down. Also, I have 20 more days of yoga ahead of me, so I’ll need to laugh, otherwise I’ll go crazy!

I can’t fight this feeling

Day 9 out of 30 and I’m still loving it! When I started this challenge, I was worried I would drive myself nuts trying to cram too much into one day, but I’ve been pretty good about leaving work at a decent hour and making time for myself to relax a little at home, either before or after class. The week to come is sure to offer up it’s own challenges, however, as I have a birthday dinner, a parent-teacher meeting and a wedding cake to make. I’m trying to do all I can over the weekend to be prepared for the week and keep from going crazy.

This morning I went to a yang/yin class with Edith. It was a wonderful class, because just as I was starting to get a little tired and hot from the flow, we transitionned into a yin style practice. I’ve gone to the studio every day, so I have 9 stickers! As you can see, not everyone goes to class, some people opt for a home practice or another form of activity.

The flow part was great, although twisting in chair pose was tough. My arms felt heavy in most of the poses, like warrior 2 and crescent lunge. It’s like my body knows it’s Sunday and it’s trying to tell me to just relax and read a book.

The yin part started off with a nice long child’s pose. Bliss. Then we did dragon pose. Arghh! I don’t know what’s up with this pose lately. I feel like I’m always doing it, yet I don’t like it one bit. Edith was telling us how important it is not to fight the pose and fidget, but all I could think was “Let me out of this torturous pose!” A better title for this post might have been “I’m fighting this feeling with all I’ve got”. Part of it is physical, because, as one of my teachers says, I’ve been “blessed” with tight hips. However, most of the resistance is in my head. I’ve gotten so used to disliking this pose and the way it makes me feel, that as soon as someone says “dragon pose”, I tense up. I’ve got 21 more days to this challenge, so I’ll try to work on it!

On a more positive note, I did not lock my keys inside my locker this week, so added bonus there! Although, I don’t actually have a lock anymore, so I don’t have keys either, but whatever. Also, the girls at the studio bought some lock cutters because someone else did the very same thing as I did! This makes me happy because now it’s not just me.

Edith and I after class. She’s wonderful.

After class I came home and made a smoothie using protein powder for the first time. It’s got raspberries, strawberries, orange juice, tofu, green tea and brown rice protein powder. I’m not sure about the texture. I can taste the powdery texture of the protein and it’s not going down quite as fast as my smoothies normally do. Maybe I’ll cut the serving of powder in half until I get used to it. I know lots of people add kale to their smoothies, because it’s some kind of super-food, but I’m taking it one step at a time here!

Now I’m off to get myself ready for the week ahead, and hopefully do a little bit of nothing as well! Enjoy the rest of your Sunday.

Rainy day yoga and cookies

Yesterday was day 7 of my 30-day yoga challenge. One week! I did it! I feel great. The only parts of me that are a little sore are my shoulders, from all the arm balances I tried to do on day 6. Every time I feel a twinge, I remember how much fun I had falling all over the place.

I went to a 7:30 flow class last night with Sacha. I’m not sure if Friday evening classes are good for me. I forgot my mat, so I borrowed one. Then I went to get set up and realized I had forgotten my water bottle as well, so I had to buy one. This made me a little worried about what would happen during class, but it was amazing! Sacha was great. We flowed, of course, but we also did a lot of balancing postures like dancer’s pose and some standing twists. I arrived feeling tired and frazzled, but I left energized and happy.

This what I looked like when I arrived.

And what I looked like when I left.

Today, on day 8, I went to a noon power flow class. I wanted to sleep in, but I woke up super early and could not get back to sleep. So much for that. The class was with Jen and it was fantastic. I pleaded with her to not make us do dragon pose and she didn’t! Woohoo! The class was still pretty intense and near the end, we did some weird, fun, one arm, one foot balancing thing. I can only do it on one side, but I like it!

As per usual, my spectacular visual.

It was pouring rain from the moment I woke up this morning, so I figured it was the perfect day to spend in the kitchen. Along with the yoga in this challenge, we get nutrition tips with yummy recipes every morning. When I log on, I click on that’s day’s link. However, I realized I was reading it all, but not actually making anything. The tips and recipes involve a lot of ingredients that I never use, so I don’t have them on hand. I’m trying really hard to not feel rushed all the time with work and yoga, so I haven’t taken the time to shop all week.

I’ve been looking at the website one day at a time. I know I could click on day 9 when I’m on day 8, but I always waited because it felt like one of those advent calendars, where you get a chocolate every day. Instead of chocolate, I’m getting healthy advice. This wasn’t helping me be prepared, however, so this morning I broke down and looked ahead a few days. After yoga, I stopped at the health food store, which is right next door to where I live. I stocked up and came home ready to attack my recipes.

Chocolate chip cookies

My appartment is starting to smell like the hot room, with my sweaty clothes and towels hanging all over the place. What better smell to replace that with than freshly baked cookies? This is not a challenge recipe, it’s from my friend Edith‘s blog. There is sugar and butter in these cookies, but I figured if I eat one every now and then when I’m craving something sweet, it will keep me from scarfing down a chocolate bar in the car on my way home from work, so they’re an investment in my health. Also, I used arrowroot flour, which was new for me.

Zucchini hummus

This one is a challenge recipe. It’s like regular hummus, but with raw zucchini instead of chickpeas. I made mine extra-lemony, because I wasn’t sure I would love the zucchini flavour. I usually only use zucchini in brownies or cupcakes, so this was definitely a change. It’s very tasty and I’m glad I tried it!

Tomato soup

Rainy days are perfect for making soup! I always make a huge batch of this soup and freeze it in round containers for lunches. The containers have to be round, because we eat soup in bowls and bowls are round. It’s perfectly logical, but it makes people think I’m weird. The recipe is pretty simple (it’s not from the challenge, but it’s really good!)

– 3 cans of diced tomatoes

– garlic and olive oil to taste

– fresh thyme

– piece of parmesan cheese

– 3-4 medium potatoes

– 1 cup of cream

Brown the garlic in the olive oil, then add the tomatoes and potatoes (cut in small pieces). Add fresh thyme and cheese. When the potatoes are cooked, blend it all together, then add the cream. That’s it, you’re done!

I went for lighter cream than I usually use, to make it more challenge friendly and it still tastes great.

Protein smoothie

I am a protein powder newbie. I’ve never used it. Kylie, who’s giving us the nutrition tips, suggested brown rice protein powder. I used to make smoothies all the time, until I developped an intolerance to bananas. I know, that’s weird. I find the texture of a smoothie without a banana to be very strange, so I tried tofu and it worked out well. I havent made my smoothie yet, but I’m ready for tomorrow morning. I even froze green tea with lemon into cubes to use instead of regular ice. Can’t wait for breakfast!

All in all, it’s been a perfect rainy day and now I’m more prepared for the next week of my challenge!

I don’t think I can, I know it!

Yesterday, my friend Dominique, who is participating in the same 30-day yoga challenge, asked me “How did you do a full 30 days of yoga last time? It’s only day 5 and day 30 seems so far away.” That’s a great question, and something I asked myself many, many times during my last challenge. I don’t have the perfect answer. I think it depends on a lot of things: why you’re doing it, how you manage your time, what you’re willing to let go of during the challenge (I vote for housework).

I realized I have an advantage here. I’ve done this before. I know I can do it! That’s not to say it’s going to be easy. Combining back to school with 30 days of yoga is not perfect timing. Then again, there is no perfect time. If you wait for everything to fall into place before making a change, you’ll never do anything.

One of the many things I love about this challenge is the e-mail I receive every morning. It’s got yoga options for home practice, nutrition tips and challenges and info about holistic healing. The first thing I do every morning is check my e-mails. It starts my day off right.

This morning, there was a little comic in the e-mail that really made me smile. I wanted to be on that top step.

Today was day 6 and I was headed to a power flow class with Jen. I told her I was a little tired and to take it easy on me and just have us do tree pose. I also whined to her and Amber about all the dragon and gecko pose stuff going in their studio. They didn’t seem too alarmed. Jen and I decided to take a picture before class, to avoid the sweaty yoga hair look.

Jen asked me if I wanted us to start on our fronts or our backs. I said on our backs because I really enjoy butterfly pose. I even know the sanskrit name, supta baddha konasana. I did have to google the spelling though.

I wasn’t really as tired as I thought, because class rocked! The intention I set for myself was to have fun with it, and I did! We did  tree pose, and lots of flowing. Then, we did dragon pose! That thing is following me around! I know it was part of the sequence we were doing and that Jen didn’t just throw it in there to mess with me, but still, yuck. The first thing she said to me after class was “Sorry!” It’s ok Jen, I forgive you.

One good thing did come out of this dragon catastrophy, however. We did a pose I’ve been calling flying crow, but from my googling, I’ve found might be called scissors or simply one-legged arm balance. I fell over many, many times, adding to the fun aspect of yoga. Then, I held it for about 2 seconds. Success! I had been working on this pose early in the summer, trying to do it every day. Maybe I’ll try that again.

This is not me. One day it will be.

After class I hung out with Jen until she had to teach her next class. That’s another thing I love: combining yoga with being social. I’m not going to be going out quite as much during this challenge, but it doesn’t mean I can’t spend time with friends. For some people, yoga is very personnal and quiet. For me, it’s about laughing and having a good time, among other things of course!

If you’re thinking about doing a yoga challenge, or any kind of challenge, tell yourself you can do it until you believe it. It works like magic! (But please, teacher me is asking you to spell correctly!)

Yin by candlelight

Last night, after I got the time wrong for my yoga class, I was all “To yin or not to yin?” because the class was kind of late and I was worried I would fall asleep and maybe drool while everyone else got their yoga on. I decided to go, which, as it turns out, was an excellent idea. Not only was it a yin class, it was a yin by candlelight class. Doesn’t that sound romantic? Well, it’s not. But it was nice and relaxing.

I am learning things about myself already during this challenge. I don’t like dragon pose, I’ve made that clear. I don’t like his cousin, gecko pose, either. Stupid gecko. Let me explain.

Class started off nicely, with a wide-legged child’s pose and pigeon pose. I didn’t find pigeon quite as annoying as I did last time, maybe because I was expecting it. I hung out in rag doll for a while, then came the gecko. My inner voice was all: This is stupid. I don’t like this pose, it’s not doing anything for me. I don’t even want to be flexible anyways. Why am I even here? Do I even like yoga? Who comes to class at 9pm? I could be in bed by now, but nooooo, I had to come to yin. Stupid gecko.

Yin brings out a whole different side of me. If I were a superhero and my superhero name was Yogini Girl, or something equally awesome, I think my evil alter ego (or however that works with superheros) would be Whiny Girl. At least I only whine in my head. And on this blog. Lucky you!

Unlike pigeon pose the other day, where, as soon as I came out of it, I was fine, gecko wasn’t as easy to shake off. It took all of supported bridge and part of a twist before I felt human again. After the twist, we came into shoelace, which Mark, the teacher, warned us might be uncomfortable. I could have been all “Here we go again with the Whiny Girl attack”, but I actually like shoelace.

Here is a great picture, for all you visual people, like me. Ok, it’s not a great picture. It’s me doing shoelace pose in my pyjamas on my bed. Not the best place, it’s too smushy. I wanted a picture, so this is it. Also, it’s off-center.

Today is day 5 and I went to another yin class with Ichih. I love Ichih and her classes, but she was in Whistler teaching at the Wanderlust festival, so I haven’t seen her in a while. I was so looking forward to this class, because even though I did yin last night, I knew I couldn’t do a power class today.

It started off easily enough: table pose, some forearm stretches, leg stretches. Just as I was thinking “ahhh…I can relax”. Ichih sets us up for… gecko pose! Are you kidding me? Seriously? Seriously? What’s with all the reptile poses all of a sudden? I could just feel Whiny Girl getting ready to stomp on the next gecko she saw. Stupid reptiles. Ichih said it was normal to feel grumpy. At least I was normal for once..

Does he look happy? No. That’s because he has to live his life in this pose.

Thankfully, apart from my gecko induced Whiny Girl attack, I felt like myself again after fish. Then we did a six movement yoga something. Despite my very vague description, it was wonderful.

After class, my friends Dominique, Jacynthe and I got to put our sticker on the board. There’s a big board with everyone who’s participating in the 30 day challenge’s name on it and we get a sticker for every class we attend. I thought it was a little silly at fist, but I love getting my sticker!

This is us pointing to our names on the board and Ichih pointing to herself because she’s such an awesome teacher!

I would like to end this post with a plea to Jen and Amber : Can you do something about the unnecessary reptlie poses please? It’s your studio, just ban it or something. Thanks!

Also, I would like to add that I wrote this post in two sittings. So my first rant about gecko pose was written before the next gecko pose even happened. I don’t know what this means, I just thought it was worth mentionning.