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!

Enjoy the moment

There are few moments in life where it’s good to be selfish. Really and truly selfish. Where it’s all about you and only you.

Today, as I started a power yoga class, Laurie, the awesome teacher, told us to be selfish. That’s never been the word that comes to mind when I think about yoga. But it makes sense. When I’m on my mat, it’s my yoga, my practice, my time. When I’m off my mat, I live my yoga differently. It’s about community and sharing. It feels good to be selfish every once in a while.

My energy level today was medium. Medium low, actually. I planned on just doing what I could and sitting out whatever I didn’t feel like doing. I imagined it would involve chair pose twists and a few updogs. As soon as class started, however, I forgot what I had planned. I did all the twists, but put my knee down in side plank. I enjoyed the moment I was in, then moved on to the next one. If I wasn’t feeling it, I modified. It was a great, medium-energy-level practice.

I was selfish today. I did my own practice, not my teacher’s. I didn’t care if everyone saw me take child’s pose instead of half-moon. I didn’t beat myself up because I didn’t stay in crow pose as long as I usually do. My yoga, my practice, my time. Bliss.

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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.

Teddy bear headstand

My 30-day yoga challenge is coming to an end, and I’ve learned two very important things. More than two things, actually. But here are two of them.

1. I love yoga (I knew this, but now it’s reaffirmed. Again.)

2. I love other things too. I love running, reading, baking, my friends, my family. I haven’t had much time for any of these things for most of September.

This past week has been the most challenging. Motivation was down and grumpiness was up. Last night’s class was a perfect example of the low-energy practice that has been annoying me. On my way home, I told myself to suck it up. There were only three days left to the challenge and I had two choices: finish kicking and screaming (ok, more like whining and dragging my feet) or give it all I’ve got left.

I chose option 2. (Not finishing was never an option.)

With this new determination to just enjoy myself and make the most of it, I went to a power class with Laurie after work. I love Laurie’s classes.

When we did crow pose, she said we could bring our head down and stand in tripod. Then we could bring our legs up into a tripod headstand. My first reaction was “No way! I’ll smash my head into the floor and that will not go well with the whole fun vibe I’ve got going on here.”

I hesitated for just a second, then I went for it. It looked something like this. (The placement of my legs on my arms is a little off, but I took these pictures when I came home and I was trying to do it fast so I could shower and eat. I was starving!)

First crow.

Then teddy bear headstand. How cute is that? (The name, not my butt up in the air.)

I’m actually a little disappointed in this picture, because it looks nowhere near as awesome as it felt. During my pity-party practice last night, I had an Eeyore moment during standing splits where I thought “I’ll never do a headstand.” This pose made me realize that I’ll get there one day. I tried lifting my legs up off my arms, but they were not moving. One step at a time!

I can’t do this, but I’m doing it anyways

Today is a holiday in Québec. Good thing, too, because I have to go back to work for three whole days before I’m off for the summer. I really needed a long weekend. Haha, ok, enough with the being funny. As you can tell, I’m pretty happy to be almost free!

I haven’t been to a yoga class in two weeks, what with the heat, the dressing up as Cleopatra and the end of the school year. I was aiming for the 9:30 class this morning, but that turned into the 12 o’clock class. Much better.

First of all, I forgot my mat, due to the fact that my brain has started to replace the yoga info section with the many ways to keep calm and not throw your students out the window on the last day of school info. Hopefully, my brain and I can go back to the yoga zone soon, as I will not see my lovely students untill September.

When I walked in to the hot room, it had that hot-yoga smell. And no, it’s not a yucky, icky, sweat smell. It’s more of an “ahhhhh, I get to spend an hour on myself” smell. Ok, there is a bit of sweaty mat smell in there, but only a little! I felt like I did the first time I walked into that room. Two weeks sure can feel like a long time when it’s two weeks without yoga.

The class was powerflow with Jen, and it was hard! But, “good hard” as Jen puts it. The first part was the most difficult. Going through the vinyasas and holding plank pose, I felt like I was starting over from the begining.

The second part was just as hard, but also lots of fun. We did crow pose and I’m happy to report that I held it for the longest time ever, in my whole life. I really have no clue how long it was, because there was no way I was going to try counting on top of all the balancing and the avoiding of the falling on my face. I just know that, not only did I get both feet up, I found some stillness and balance. Woohoo!

Then, Jen said that if we were comfortable in our crow pose, which I was (how amazing is that?!) we could try jumping back into chaturanga. Well, why not? I tried, and ended with the most amazing face plant of my life. Really, it was quite spectacular. Then Jen suggested that I try only one leg, to see if that helped. I guess face-planting doesn’t have a sanskrit name. I tried again, with one leg, and was rewarded with a spectacular belly-flop. I mean really, it was quite the accomplishment. No one else can belly-flop quite like me. Not today anyways. To be fair to myself and my attemps at all this crazy jumping stuff, not many people tried, so I was pretty proud that I gave it a shot, even if the results were less than perfect.

After this wonderful display of my falling abilities, Jen got us (well, again, not many people tried) to do flying crow pose. I’ve tried this before, and it’s not pretty. But I figured I was on a roll, so why not go all out. Well. In between the falling, the slipping and the slow-motion tipping to one side, I did it. Kind of. I still had my back toes touching the floor, but I kind of got my other leg up on my arm and held it for maybe half a second. Success!

Jen said that once I get the feel for it, I’ll be able to do it. I actually believe her, because she got me into my first wheel, and now I can do that pretty easily.

Last time I tried to get a picture of Jen and I, they got stuck inside my phone forever, so this time, I used my camera!

I cannot wait untill my holidays, when I can do yoga every day, sleep in and go to the beach. Bliss!

Super Saturday Flow

I went to an amazing flow class this morning. Well, it was actually at 12, but since it’s Saturday, that’s considered morning. It was with Jen at Pure. This is good because Jen is one of my favourite teachers and Pure is one of my favourite places to be!

I was amazed at how my energy level was so much higher than when I go to a class after work. This turned out to be a great thing because Jen had all kinds of things for me to try. Well, for the whole class, but it felt like it was all for me.

We did crow pose. Awesome, because I can do this one now!

Then we did flying crow pose. I ended up looking an actual crow who has flown into a window, as I was always falling to the side. To keep things interesting, I alternated between falling to the right and falling to the left.

Then Jen said we would be doing some forearm balancing postures. She came up to me and said “I’m doing this for you!” It’s a really great feeling when your yoga teacher becomes your friend and she does whatever she can to help you achieve your ultimate yogic goal. In my case, it’s an inversion.

I tried to bring as much weight as I could into my arms and kicked up. Jen held my legs up. I actually don’t think they went all the way up, but it was fun. Then, when we did it again, I think I got overexcited and kind of gave a little hop, which made my right arm move off the mat. There was no saving this one and I ended up in a sweaty pile on my mat.

I could have kept going, but there were other people in the class who might not have been quite as interested by my attempt at a forearm stand, although I’m sure it was very entertaining to watch.

I also did bird of paradise, which I really enjoy, even if it’s another pose that gets me tangled up. I did wheel again too. That was a lot of fun, because I did my first wheel in Jen’s class. Now, I’m like a wheel expert. Ok, I’m not, but I can do it most of the time.

After class, I saw this on another yoga teacher’s facebook wall, and I felt like it was written for me!

I wanted a picture of Jen and I to post here, but I forgot my camera. We took some with my phone, lovely yoga hair and all, but I can’t figure out how to get them out of my phone. True story.

When I came home, all I wanted was a hot shower, but I knew that if I didn’t spend my 30 minutes outside right away, then I probably wouldn’t do it at all. I was already wet and sweaty, so I figured running in the rain wouldn’t be that bad. There’s a park close to my place, but it only takes about 5 minutes to run through it, as there are only 2 paths. Actually, it’s more like 1 and a half. One of them leads nowhere. I didn’t really want to run in circles, so I didn’t stay in the park, but I looped back at the end of my run to go through it one more time and I walked, to make it last longer.

I could smell the trees and the leaves like you can only when it’s raining. I saw some very pretty flowers I considered picking. I’ve done it before, even though I’m not sure it’s allowed. I know, I’m such a rebel. Outlawed flower picking.

Have a great weekend!