I’ve got nothing to do today but smile

It’s already April, yay! It seems like not too long ago, I was complaining about snow and posting happy pictures of my best February moments to get over the winter blues. It’s still so cold, it feels like winter, but at least now, the snow is melting!

Today, I’m home sick, so I thought I would post some of my favourite moments from March as well. Maybe this will become an every month thing, but I’m not comitting to it just yet, in case I forget to do it next month!

Yoga in my happy place with some of my favourite people.

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Doing yoga in the snow.

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Spending time with my friend Suzanne and her new baby Stella, a.k.a., the mini muffin.

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Funky ashtanga flow to the music of Madonna with Natalie, most awesome yoga teacher.

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Making a cake for my little sister’s birthday.

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Sisterly love.

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Deciding to stop eating sugar. I still really, really want a chocolate bar, but it’s been a few weeks and I don’t feel tired as much. I guess it’s working! (Confession: I had a Luna bar yesterday. I was sick and grumpy and couldn’t help myself!)

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This salad. Oh.My.God. Bulgar and quinoa mixed with almonds, cucumbers and tomatoes, drizzled with lemon juice and lemon infused olive oil. So simple, so delicious!

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Learning how to get into a new yoga pose. Fallen angel. Amazing.

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Making sugar free cookies. Delicious!

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New books! This always makes me happy. I actually got more than three. This is just a sample.

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Learning a new way to get into an arm balance. Something fun to work on.

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What made you happy lately?

A modified posture is a perfect posture

On Saturday morning, (I use the term morning very losely here. It was noon.) I went to a power flow class at my favourite studio. Sasha was teaching and it was the best class I’ve had in a while. It was my best class, because the teachers always lead an amazing practice, but some days, my energy is low, I’m tired or I’m just not quite as into it. Saturday, it felt like a perfect balance. I was well rested, energetic and motivated.

Something Sasha said really stayed with me. She was explaining how to jump back from crow pose into chaturanga, and then she said “Or just step back. Modified is perfect.”

She’s right. Modified is perfect. We modify postures because we are all at different levels in our practice. Sometimes, we let our ego get in the way and we convince ourselves we can do a posture we’re not ready for, or that our body just can’t do. It’s difficult to find the line between trying our best and pushing too hard. There are postures we can do one day, but not the next. Listening to our body is a major part of yoga.

We also did an awesome arm balance. If you haven’t been reading, you might not know that I love arm balances! We started off in a seated twist, then placed our hands down on the floor and kicked one leg back and the other to the side. I need to work on straightening my legs, but it was fairly easy to get into.

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It’s the little things

Some bloggers have a schedule. They post on certain days, or make lists on a specific day. I think that’s great, but that kind of commitement scares me. Amber, over at The Usual Bliss, blogs about the best parts of her week every Wednesday and calls it bliss bits. I enjoy reading it and I’ve thought of starting something similar, but I’m afraid I’ll do it once or twice, then forget, and then feel bad about forgeting, but still not do it, and well, you get the picture.

However, today, I’m feeling like I need a little pick-me up. My car is stuck in the snow. Again. I can’t move it, so I just left it there. I’ll deal with it later. Maybe. Or maybe I’ll just walk everywhere until the snow melts and sets it free.

I decided to look back on my month and think about the things that made me smile. There are quite a few!

Going to the museum of nature with my students.

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Practicing arm-balances on a semi-regular basis.

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Making vitamin water.

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Learning how to take long-exposure photos during my photography class.

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Making this girly pink cake for baby Stella’s baby shower.

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Baking.

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Skating on the canal.

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Exploring my wild side.

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Finishing my blanket in time for Suzanne’s shower.

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With a little help from my grandmother!

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Ah, I feel better already!

Balance is the key to life

Earlier this month, I decided to do an arm balance challenge. One arm balance a day. It went pretty well for a while, then I lost a few days to random excuses such as I’m tired, I forgot, I have bruises everywhere from falling over. Oh well. I can’t go back to those days and actually do an arm balance, so I’m going to focus on today and the rest of the month.

Here are a few shots from before my little break and from today.

Side Crow – Parsva Bakasana

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Crow pose – Bakasana

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Teddy bear headstand

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More side crow

I’m doing something funny with my toes here!

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Crow pose from another angle

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Scissors pose – Astavakrasana

The scissors pose that wasn’t meant to be. I couldn’t get my toes off the ground.

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Eight angle pose – Astavakrasana

Well. Sort of.

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To be fair to myself, there were days where I might not have taken a picture, but I did go to a yoga class where I practiced arm balances. I’ve realized I am awesome at side crow on one side, but I fall over on th other side. Something else to work on!

If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough

A while back, I saw that written over a picture of a girl doing a headstand and I thought “yes! This is exactly it. This is what I want.” I tell everyone that I’ll do a headstand one day. Any inversion, really, but the headstand is my goal.

However, I realized I talk a lot, but I don’t do much. I’m happy when we practice arm balances in class, because that’s where I need to start. But what about all the classes I go to that don’t have arm balances? Or the days when I don’t practice at all?

At the begining of the month, I wrote about challenges. I love a good challenge, but it has to mean something, it has to lead somewhere. That’s when I rememebered my headstand, and my arm balance challenge was born. It’s pretty simple. Do one arm balance pose a day. That’s it. Oh, and take a picture. Because I like pictures.

Sometimes, I can only hold the pose for the few seconds it takes for the picture to be taken. But that’s ok. It’s better than not doing anything at all.

Here’s what I’ve got so far.

February 3rd – crow pose

I started off with my favourite, because it’s the easiest for me.

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February 4th – side crow

In a skirt, no less.

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February 5th – Eight angle pose

In my bird dress and feather necklace (it’s a whole avian concept, in case you don’t get it). This pose needs a lot of work. I know you can’t see my feet, but I assure you they’re not on the ground. My arms are the only thing holding me up.

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February 6th – shoulder-pressing pose

I don’t like this picture. The angle is weird. But the only other picture I have from this day is me falling out of crow pose. I have a big bruise on my knee now. This pose is difficult because I always feel like either my arms are too short or my butt is too heavy. Let’s go with the arms. Also, my legs really are nowhere near my shoulders. something else to work on.

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February 7th – teddy bear headstand

I’m not sure if this is the actual name for this pose, but I like it. It’s cute.

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February 8th – crow pose

This is the crow pose that almost wasn’t. I forgot to do my pose of the day until I was going to bed, so I was tired and cranky. I could barely lift my toes up off the ground.

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February 9th – scissors pose

Again, not sure if this is the right name. It looks like my head is on the ground, but it’s not, it’s just my hair. I see the placement of my left arm is a little off. This one is hard, but it’s one of my favourites.

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I’m enjoying this challenge so far. Some days, I don’t really feel like it, but after I’ve done it, I feel really proud of myself, even if I fall over. I like taking pictures because it’s like a mirror. I can see exactly what I need to work on. It’s one thing to feel the pose, but sometimes, seeing it helps too.

An open letter to hot yoga

Dear hot yoga,

I love you. You don’t have to say anything, I know you feel the same way I do. How do I know? Easy. You give me so much.

Some people don’t understand my attraction to you. They say you’re too hot, too sweaty, too intense. Don’t worry, I always defend you. I tell them how amazing you make me feel.

I think our relationship is based on the little things, like that time we did side crow. Remember that? We should do it again soon. I also love it when we practice inversions. Keeps things interesting.

My love for you is so strong, it’s got me almost regretting my latest haircut. I wasn’t thinking of you when I got bangs. I had one of those “I need to be my own person” moments and chopped off my hair. Now, it’s always sticking to my face, no matter how many bobby pins I use. I know, I know. My fault, not yours.

You bring out the best in me. You make me feel so strong, like there’s nothing I can’t do. I never imagined I would do an arm balance, and look at me now. I might still fall sometimes (ok, a lot of times) but I know that’s just because you’re giving me time to get there.

It’s almost magical the way you can completely change my mood. If I’m having a bad day, I just spend an hour with you and I feel so much better! If I’m tired, you give me energy. I try to give you as much as I can. Time, sweat, energy, effort. If I have it to give, it’s yours to take.

I know I spend time with the others sometimes, but running and gym are just not in the same league as you. You have nothing to worry about. Dancing is pretty cool, but she’s different. It’s like comparing apples and oranges. Both of you are awesome. (But I love you best.)

I might not see you this weekend, but that doesn’t mean I won’t be thinking about you. I can’t wait to see what you’ll make me discover about myself next time!

Thanks for everything,

Me.

P.S. I’ve included one of my favourite pictures of us. It was the first time we did wheel!

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The yoga diaries

Last Saturday, I was sick and I did not go to yoga. I know! Crazy. But I needed a rest day. I want to make up the missed class, but I haven’t done it yet. I’m thinking Saturday’s my day.

I haven’t been blogging much, because yoga has taken over my life. I do realize it’s day 27, and I’ve been doing this for close to a month, but this week it felt like I had even less time for other things.

I thought I would give you all a little update, since I know you’ve all been dying to know about my classes!

Sunday

I felt better than Saturday, so I went to a yang/yin class with Edith. The yang part was obviously the most difficult, as I kept thinking “It’s so nice and warm in here, I’d really like a nap.” Also, when I had my head upside down, like in downward dog, I couldn’t breathe. Fun stuff. Also very attractive. Yin was bliss.

Monday

Power class with Jen. I was a little worried, even though I felt better. However, I worried for nothing. It was a-ma-zing! It had been almost a week since I had enough energy to actually enjoy a power class. We did dragon (yuck) but also that awesome arm-balance thing that I can actually do now! Only for about 3 seconds, then I fall over, but still, it’s fabulous!

Tuesday

Low-energy day. When I got up that morning, I had great plans to do two classes, but as the day went on, I realized that was not going to happen! I went to candlelight yin with Mark and it was just what I needed.

Wednesday

I also thought this might be a two-class day, but I had a headache at work, so I decided against it. It was yin again, this time with Ichih. It was the yoga hug I didn’t know I needed. I felt so much better after class.

Thursday

Today, I had a grumpy practice. I thought I had more energy and motivation than I actually did. So when class started and I realized I would rather be crashed on the couch than at a flow clas, it was kind of a shock. I tried to shake it off, but I was kind of like Eeyore. I sighed my way through chair pose and sat out side plank. Near the end, we did eagle and dancer, and although my balance was not great, it made me feel better.

Here’s hoping tomorrow is more Winnie the Pooh like, and less Eeyore like!