Dragons are real

Today was a long day for my brain. It had to think a lot. Not that it’s normally on holidays or anything, but today,  my brain was tired.

I decided to go to a yin class. I figured a restorative class was a good day to get out of my head. It’s pretty interesting in there, but sometimes, it’s a bit much.

After a seated meditation and a five minute, wide knee child’s pose, I could start to feel myself melting. This was good stuff. Just what my brain and I needed.

And then it happened.

Dragon pose.

Seriously? Today?

Now, if you’ve read any of my post about yin yoga, you know how I feel about dragon pose. If I was writing dragon pose’s report card, I would say “Does not play well with others. Tests my patience. Is not good for my mental health.”

You see, dragon pose has the same effect on me as a Nicky Minaj song. It makes me aggressive. It makes me mean and grumpy and unpleasant. My teacher Ichih has said that we hold emotions in our hips. I believe her. I also believe that all the anger, sadness and fear I avoid (Because that’s what I do. It works for me. Well, obviously it doesn’t, not during dragon pose.) comes out and breathes fire at me when I get into dragon pose. I don’t like stress, I don’t like unpleasantness. I’m not saying I’m happy all the time, I’m not a robot. But I’m not a dragon either.

I made my way into the pose, sighing and twisting and turning and fidgeting. I stayed for a little while, but when it turned into gecko, I though “Forget it!” and made my way into child’s pose. I always feel resistance in this pose (mostly mental, not physical), but I at least try to work through it. Today, however, I didn’t want to feel mad and annoyed. My brain and I needed space and happiness. So we decided not to compare ourselves to all the other people and their brains who seemed to be enjoying dragon pose. And by enjoying, I mean they weren’t dead yet.

After dragon, the rest of the class was fantastic. I loved hanging out in supported bridge the most.

My brain and I are now happy, sleepy and ready for tomorrow.

Namaste.

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!)

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?

Unleash your inner dragon

Last night I went to a yin class. Normally, when I’m a once week yogini and not a once a day yogini, yin is not my favorite. It’s slower paced and I like to move. However, since I started my challenge, I appreciate yin a lot more. That’s not to say that a yin class is a break, or that it’s easy. You have to let your body sink into a pose and I’m not always very good at that!

I’m not bendy, stretchy or in any way pretzel-like. Sometimes the teacher will say “Let your hands fall on your feet” and I’m thinking “Feet?! I can barely reach my knees!” This makes some poses less interesting than others.

Take dragon pose. I don’t like it. The h-word is a bit strong for yoga, but I really, really, really dislike it. It’s supposed to look something like this.

I can do dragon pose, for about 10 seconds. After that, forget it.

Nothing about this feels good to me. It hurts my knee. If I lay my hands on my other knee, it feels like I’m pressing down with ciment blocks. If I take the option of placing my hands on the floor, I feel as though my arms are too short. Forget about reaching up, it makes me lose my balance and fall over. This is yin, where you hold one pose for about an hour and a half. I fidget and try different ways to position myself, which totally defeats the purpose. I end up feeling like this.

So here’s my suggestion. Why don’t we all just stop doing dragon pose, and maybe it will go away? Dragons aren’t even real. We can substitute in a nice child’s pose. Or maybe a supported bridge. Now that’s bliss!