To do: Yoga, Be awesome, Repeat

In my last post, I said it didn’t feel like summer. I take it back. Summer is here and I love it. I just had a four day weekend and it felt so much like summer vacation that I was shocked to realize I had to go to work this morning.

What did I do on this amazing weekend of summery bliss, you ask? The best thing ever: yoga! Six yoga classes, to be exact. And one dance class. Yes, it was exhausting, hot and humid. And yes, I loved every minute of it!

Friday night I went to a flow class where the teacher massaged my feet during pigeon pose. Bliss.

Saturday, I went to a flow class that was hot, hot, hot. Made me feel like I was in Cuba again. Bliss. Then, I went out to dinner with my girlfriends, followed by a night out at a club for a cd release party. Bliss.

Sunday, I made it to a detox class where I twisted out all the bad stuff and inhaled lots of good stuff. Bliss. After class, I went to Chapters to buy a copy of the Bhagavad Gita. I need to read it for my yoga teacher training, which starts in just over a week! Went back to the studio for an intro class. When you do two classes in one day, it’s nice to have one that’s a little easier!

Sunday evening, I was supposed to go to a house dance class with my girlfriends. One friend decided not to go, as she’d had a long day at work. When I got to the studio, my other friend sent me a text to say she wasn’t coming. I wasn’t sure what to do. I didn’t really want to go alone. I considered leaving, but I’d already paid for my class. I decided to stay and I’m so glad I did! It was so much fun. I’ve tried house dancing before, and I’m not very good, but I loved it. Bliss.

Monday was a holiday, so I went to an early class (9:30 is early, right?). Had the amazing feeling I get when I get something done before noon on a non-work day. Bliss.

Had a lunch and movie date with a friend, then back to yoga for a class called Pure Hips. Now, I’ve avoided this class for a long time, based on it’s name. It just screamed “dragon pose” at me. Fortunately, there was no dragon or gecko to be found. It was a lot of rolling out tissues on balls. Sounds weird. It is. It doesn’t feel great, and that means it’s working. It felt good today. Bliss.

Tonight, I went to a yin class that’s got me feeling all soft and sleepy. I can’t believe it’s almost the end of June and the 30 day challenge is almost over!


Looking for the beat

I like to try new things. If you’ve read any of my posts before, you know this. Last week, my friend Ichih asked me if I wanted to go to a hip-hop dance class with her. I couldn’t, because I was busy being a Rocky Horror first-timer, but last night, I was free! I’ve done hip-hop before, although badly, so I thought I knew what to expect.

Well, I was wrong. Not only was it not actually hip-hop, it was some kind of awesome hip-hop-and-something-else hybrid. I’m told this is called house. Wait a minute, I don’t like house. I’m sure I don’t. I think I don’t? Talk about trying something new.

When we got to the studio, there was a dance hall class going on. Right away, I was excited to dance. What we did was completely different, but it kind of set the mood. It was a small, one-room studio and everyone seemed to know each other. But not in a we’re cool ’cause we all know each other and you’re the new girl so we won’t talk to you high school way. Not, it felt like a house party.

At first, we started sliding around from side to side. We rubbed our shoes in baby powder, which made me feel like Nadia Comaneci or something. I’ve always wanted to do that and then slap my hands together and have the white powder go everywhere. I couldn’t really justify putting my hands in the powder, however, so I just pretended in my head.

Sarah and Rise, our instructors, told us the sliding motion was kind of like skating. I’m pretty sure they meant roller skating, but I decided they meant ice skating, because I’m good at that. I convinced myself would be good at this house stuff too. About 15 minutes in, I realized it didn’t matter at all how good anyone was, it was just a bunch of people dancing.

It was like being in a club, but not having to worry about not being dressed right. Before the class, Ichih told me to wear baggy clothes. I realized I don’t have any. None that I can wear in public, that is. So I went with my yoga stuff. When in doubt, go with the lulu.

We slid around from side to side for a while, then slid our feet to the front, then up, one at a time. We had to crunch down while bringing the foot up. Yeah, that wasn’t working for me. I looked like a giraffe getting a drink of water. Awkward.

After the class was over, everyone just hung out and danced some more. I tried to do all the moves I learned and it was fun, if not particularly attractive. We even did some kind of push-up dance off kind of thing. I can barely do 2 push ups, let alone all these different, crazy varieties. But every push-up session needs someone saying “Why are we doing this? Good job everyone else, I’ll just lay here and watch.”

I had an awesome time and I made some new friends, so I’d say the evening was a success!

Although this is not a post about yoga, I had to add this next part. I went to an amazing power class with Jen at Pure this morning. I’ve been doing mostly yin lately, so it felt wonderful to push myself and try to do things I normally can’t do. Well. I did side crow. Side crow! How awesome is that? I had to share!

Cheating on yoga

1. Make a plan to go to yoga three times during the week.

2. Blog about it, so the whole universe knows.

3. Go to class on Monday.

4. Sweat and fall off the red ball.

5. Go to class on Wednesday.

6. Enjoy.

7. Wake up with twinge in right tricep.

8. Decide it’s nothing.

9. Assure yoga you will be there that evening, as promised.

10. Go on a nature walk with students.

11. Enjoy the sunshine.

12. Try to convince kids the wasps will not sting them while fighting the urge to run around like a crazy person yelling “wasp!”

13. Feel bad when little girl gets stung.

14. Look for frogs.

15. Suffer through 40-minute bus ride with very loud children.

16. Teach after-school dance class.

17. Feel twinge in right arm again.

18. Tell it to go away.

19. Regretfully decide to skip yoga when arm will not go up without face scrunching up.

20. Get text from dad who says he will stop by that evening for a visit.

21. Take it as a sign.

22. Cheat on yoga with The Big Bang Theory.

23. Feel guilty about not feeling guilty.

24. Eat a cookie.

25. Post happy, shiny pictures to distract people with the pretty colours.


Saturday morning, I rolled out of bed at 9:30 and debated whether or not I wanted to go to yoga. There was a festival going on in a part of the city called Westboro. I actually live across the river, but if I lived on the other side, it would be in Westboro. It’s got my favourite yoga studio, lots of great stores and boutiques, coffee shops, even a beach. When I walk around after a hot yoga class with my red face and yoga hair, nobody looks at me funny. It’s part of the norm over there.

One of my favourite teachers, Ichih, was teaching a class for lululemon at 10:30. After I finally got myself out the door, I had to drive there and find a parking spot, so when I got to the store, the class had just started. It was in the street, which was a new one for me, and there were mats layed out, which was good because in my rush I left mine in the car!

It was a great class. It was different being the one practicing while everyone else was walking around and looking on. Yoga is not really a spectator sport, but it was fun to see people’s reactions. Kids and dogs were the most interested in us.

About halfway into the class, the restaurant across the street had an Elvis impersonator start singing. That was another first. Yoga with the King. Ichih said something about hound dog, and at that moment, a dog started howling! Priceless! Sadly, I don’t have a picture of said dog. Or Elvis.

After class, Ichih and I walked around to see what Westfest had to offer. There was a lot going on. We stopped at an outdoor-type store so I could try on some vibrams. After some struggling with my crooked toes, I got my feet in! It felt a little strange, but I think I could get used to it. I didn’t buy a pair right away, I want to research it a little more.

While we were in the store, Ichih got a text from a friend saying her friends were playing drums and dancing and we should check it out. We could actually hear the drums from inside the store! We went out and watched the show. The girl dancing had incredible energy and she was teaching some kids African dance moves.

However, the kids left and she looked around for some new students. We were right next to her, so she pulled us in. I have rarely felt as uncoordinated as I did trying to learn those moves!

It was a lot of fun. It’s something I’ve always wanted to try so I’m happy I did, even if I felt like a duck trying to figure skate.

After the dancing, we got to see some amazing athletes perform on a trampoline. It was incredible.

Some of these girls have even been to the olympics. It was wonderful to watch them in action.

I also bought a really pretty necklace that Megan, my yoga teacher, made to help support the Global Seva challenge. The peacock feather is my favourite part.

When I woke up, I wasn’t even sure I wanted to go to Westfest at all. I’m so glad I went! That’s usually the way it is. When you’re not sure if you should go somewhere, go! You’ll have the best time! I got to do yoga, try something new, hang out with great people, meet some new people. It was really a fantastic Saturday!

Shake it on the beach

I’ve been looking for free activities to do this month, and today, lululemon was having a “fitness Friday” event. It was at Westboro beach, so not too far from work, and it was from 5 to 6. It was also a hip hop dance class!

This winter, I was told by my dance teacher that I am “too cute” for hip hop dancing. I took it as a compliment.

Julie and I decided to check it out. I actually wasn’t sure where the beach was, but Julie thought she knew. Turns out she did, but only after we drove past it. One illegal u-turn later, we were at the beach! At first, it felt a little weird, because it seemed like they all knew each other and we were the new kids. They actually all work at lululemon, so that’s why they looked like cheerleaders. I mean that in a good way. They were very peppy.

Mr. Bill was the instructor and he wasted no time teaching us a routine. You could tell he works with kids a lot because he would place his hand on his head to tell us to “take it from the top”. I wonder if I do stuff like that. Maybe I shush people by placing my finger on my lips or turn off the lights to get people to listen to me… I hope not, that would be awkward.

Julie said she learned more from Mr. Bill in an hour than she did in the 10 week session we did this winter. The teacher we had then was very stressed out and she liked to tell us all about it. It didn’t leave much time to actually dance. She was always telling us to be more aggressive.

Don’t we look like aggressive people? Yeah, didn’t think so.

It was cloudy all day, but the sun came out while we were dancing. It was great to actually work out outside.

We took a group shot at the end. Someone had to take the picture, so Mr. Bill’s not in it. One girl said to look gangster, or something about westside, or peace or whatever. Obviously, we did not all hear the same thing.

Next week’s fitness Friday has something to do with kettlebells and the instructor is apparently a kettlebell champion. I didn’t know you could be a kettlebell champion, but I’m impressed. Kettlebells scare me, but it’s free, so I’ll probably try it out!

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.

Lazy Sunday? I think not!

Sometimes I wonder what I did with my time before I started this 30 days of yoga challenge. Today is day 15, so I’m halfway there (yay me!). It’s been two weeks, but I feel like I’ve always done this.

Take yesterday, for example. It was Sunday. I’ve been know to sleep in on Sundays. I’ll say I’m going to the gym, but I’ll end up staying home in my pyjamas. Then, I’ll get dressed and run out to the grocery store to get some food before everything closes. What I did with myself all day, I can’t remember.

Yesterday morning started off with a great yin class with Edith at Pure. Well, it was great until she mentioned dragon pose. Really. Of all the poses, in all the world, she had to pick that one! (Yes, that’s a kind-of Casablanca reference!) My intention for this class was to come out happy, so I decided to just sit it out. As soon as I decided to do that, I felt wonderful. I think, if I were a superhero, dragon pose would be my kryptonite.

After yoga, I danced in a show with my hip hop class. I didn’t sign up for dance class thinking there would be a recital. Even the word makes me feel like I’m six years old! However, it was fun to get all done up and dance in front of an adoring public. Well, they might not have been my adoring public, since I didn’t invite anyone to come, but they still clapped.

I think my favorite part of the show was when we were all waiting backstage for our turn to go on. The girls before us were dancing to “Party rock anthem” and you just have to dance when you hear that song! We had a little dance session right there before our number. It was good, because so many people were stressed out, and this seemed to get everyone to relax. It’s supposed to be fun, I don’t get why people panic.

This is my posse.

All in all, it was a great day. I was busy, but I was doing things I love.

What’s your perfect Sunday?

Zero-energy yoga

Last night was my last dance/yoga night. I had a pretty strange day. It wasn’t a bad day, but one of those days where the kids took everything I had. My energy, my ability to think, my patience. When I got to dance class, I was tired and I didn’t think I would dance with much enthusiasm. Imagine my surprise when I danced like I was a contestant on “So you think you can dance”!

After that, I was sure yoga would be a breeze. Well, maybe not a breeze, but at least possible. There were signs, but I was too tired to see them. I was very giggly. I walked into the yoga studio and thought “It’s kind of hot in here.” I went a little crazy trying to get a bug off my mat. I kept thinking I couldn’t kill it, it was bad karma. Signs.

The class went something like this.

Lay on your back. Humm, I wonder how long we can stay here?

Come up to seated. Already?

Take plank position. Hold for two seconds, then knees to the floor.

Downward dog. Arghh! Downward dog.

Go through a flow. My aha moment: OMG I have no energy!

Chair pose. 3 seconds, then sit on the floor.

Plank position. Have some water.

Full locust. Keep hands on the floor.

Child’s pose for 5 or 6 breaths. Did she say 5 or 6 minutes?

Gecko pose. No way.

Bridge. What?! Not supported bridge?

Savasana. Finally!

I kind of looked like this throughout the whole class.

After my initial moment of panic at realizing that what I had left to give to my practice wasn’t very much at all, I just did what I could. I’m actually surprised it hasn’t happened before day 11. I was a little disappointed, because this was my first class with Jen, and I heard good things about it. I could tell it was a great class, I just couldn’t really appreciate it. I’m not worried though, I have plenty of days left in my challenge to give it another shot!

Why yoginis should paint their toenails

Maybe you’re one of those people who has this great motivation that comes from within. You like getting up at 5:30 to go running and going to the gym “is fun!” If so, good for you! I mean it, that’s wonderful. I’m not one of those people. I like to sleep. I am not a morning person. I enjoy watching television.

I like running, I love to dance, yoga is becoming an addiction, but that doesn’t mean I am always motivated. Sometimes, I think of how nice it would be to just sit on the couch and watch a movie. I know I would not be happy with myself afterwards, and so I get myself to the gym or the studio or I go for a run. Once I’m doing whatever it is I was trying to justify avoiding, I feel great!

I’ve found that little things help motivate me, like painting my toenails. If I’m going to be doing 73 forward bends, at least I’ll have something nice to look at!

Shaving my legs works too. There’s nothing like reaching for your ankle and feeling smoothness instead of prickly skin, especially if it’s hot yoga and you’re all sweaty.

Promising myself a treat also does wonders. “After this, you can go to Booster Juice!”

I know this is silly, but for the days when the couch is calling, I take whatever motivation I can find!

What motivates you?

Yoga vs Hip hop

Today is day 4 of my 30 day yoga challenge. It’s also Thursday, which means it’s hip hop day. Julie and I have been taking dances classes together since January. We decided to go to the 4 o’clock yoga class, then hip hop at 6. This presentend a challenge because I work untill 3:30. I’m a teacher, so it’s not like I can tell the kids “I’m heading out early today, see you tomorrow!” I decided to get them ready to leave 5 minutes earlier than usual, so I could leave as soon as possible. But when we got outside, the parents, who apparently had not received the memo about my bright idea (which I thought up 10 minutes earlier), arrived at the same time they normally do. When I got to the yoga studio, I was out of breath and worried I would be too late for class. I was greeted with a relaxed atmosphere, a smile and a “Go ahead in, you’re fine”. I learned something today: Chill out. It’s yoga.

When I got to hip hop, I considered passing on what I had learned to my dance teacher. She’s pretty stressed out. And she stresses me out with her stress.

Yoga today was a hot flow class at Pure. My teacher was Edith. She was great and she didn’t stress me out at all! She made us do things I haven’t done often, like seated pigeon. Much better than regular old pigeon. But the thing is, I can’t say “I nailed it!” because that’s not very yogic-minded.

I can say I’m good at hip-hop. I’m not a superstar, but I can pick up choreography and follow the beat. I like being able to toot my own horn!

At the end of my yoga class, I was happy with myself. I didn’t feel so good today at lunch, so I didn’t eat much. I only realized I was hungry during my first downward dog. It’s not easy concentrating on eagle pose when you’re thinking about peanut butter sandwiches and cupcakes (Not what I normally eat, just what I was thinking of)  but I did it!

See how Julie and I are not touching each other? That’s because we were all gross and sweaty. But we were also pretty proud of ourselves for having completed the first part of our crazy Thursday schedule!

Hip hop is not something I had done before, and apparently, I’m “too cute”. You really have to bring out your aggressive side. I usually can’t find mine. Also, I wear pink and smile a lot. This is our tough look. Intimidated, aren’t you?

One of my favorite yoga poses is dancer, and it’s definitely because of the name! Today was a good day. Can’t wait to see what happens tomorrow.