Westfest

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!

The princess and the pea

Imagine you’re a princess going to a yoga class. Now imagine a pea a little smaller than a tennis ball. Now, you have to roll around on this kind of hard, rubbery pea. No mattresses between you and the pea. Sound like it’s going to hurt? You’re right. It’s supposed to hurt. Otherwise, you’re not doing it right.

Now, before you think I’m some weird masochistic yoga freak, let me explain.

This morning, I went to a yoga class at lululemon (yay, free class!). Todd was teaching a Tune up class. I’ve done a class with Todd before, at Pure, and I loved it. I had not done his tune up class, but I figured it would be just as awesome. It was, but not in the same way.

He handed us two rubber balls and warned us it was not easy, lazy yoga, but princess and the pea yoga (I didn’t come up with that catchy title on my own). First, he had us take a forward bend and told us to pay attention to what it felt like and how far we could reach without bending our knees. Surprisingly (or not) my hands did not touch the floor. My friend Dominique, who was beside me, had her hands flat on the ground. But whatever. Yoga’s not a competition you know.

After the forward bend, we placed a ball under each heel and rolled it around. We shifted our weight from side to side and back and forth. Then we placed the ball under our arches. Some people did not like this. We ended with the ball under our toes. At the end of all this, we took another forward bend. I did not notice if my hands went down more, but it sure felt better all the way up the back of my legs!

After working on our feet, we worked other parts of our bodies. Arms, legs, back, shoulders, neck. Todd told us that if we found a spot where it really hurt, then we should keep working it, because our body was telling us it needed help. We were also told to make sure that after we stopped, it felt good. If we felt like we had bruised something, well, we did something wrong.

You can’t see the ball too much here, but it’s under my arm. Don’t be fooled by my “I’m at the beach” pose. I was working my tissues something fierce.

Both Dominique and I really liked the neck, shoulder and upper back work. It felt like something was letting go. Of course, that’s after we stopped rolling around on that big giant pea. This is good for runners. It was easy to tell when someone found a good spot because we kept hearing “ugh”, “arghh” and “ahh” noises. Pretty funny stuff for a Sunday morning. I believe I made some of those noises as well, when I was rolling around on my neck.

This class felt like a massage. One of those let-me-find-every-knot-you-have-and-knead-it-like-pizza-dough massages. I went running after class, and I could feel the difference in my upper back. Good stuff.

I had done a little of this tune up stuff before, in Natalie’s beginner class, but I didn’t know what it was called. Now I know, and I’ll definitely do it again!

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!

Fabulous

Fabulous is such a good word. It’s better than awesome, great and fantastic combined. Not everything is fabulous. The word has to be used only at the appropriate time. Fabulous is Sex and the City and mimosas. It’s gold peep-toe heels and that dress that looks like a million bucks but only cost 12. It’s finding something on sale at lululemon, in your size.

You can go days, even weeks, without having to use the word fabulous. Things are good, ok, even wonderful, but not fabulous. Then, it will happen. All of a sudden, you will have so many fabulous moments that you just have to share.

This post is totally inspired by Neil Pasricha’s The book of Awesome and also by a really corny e-mail I have kept since 1999 called Natural Highs.

Fabulous to me is,

– Remembering some random piece of useless information at the right time, like when you’re watching Jeopardy. Double fabulous if someone is there to witness how smart you are and triple fabulous if none of the contestants know the answer.

– Getting asked for my ID the day before my 30th birthday.

– One of the kids in my class telling me I’m pretty with “yellow hair”.

– When people honk their horn and give me a thumbs up when I’m running.

– Not passing out during the hottest yoga class ever. In the history of hot yoga classes, this was the hottest.

– When I tell someone I’m doing a 30 day yoga challenge and they say “3o days? (insert awe and amazement here) Wow!” I have been hearing the word crazy being whispered in my presence a lot more lately, however.

– Making a baby smile.

– Every time one of my students asks if she can get something from the attic. She means closet, we don’t have an attic in the classroom.

– Wearing flip-flops.

– Figuring out how a book will end before I finish it. It just makes me feel so smart.

– Not getting sick after being sneezed on 87 times a day. Teaching is not without risks, you know.

– Not falling out of tree pose.

– When I tell people I did a triathlon and they automatically think Iron Man. Yeah, not going to happen.

– Trying to do a headstand. It doesn’t matter that I can’t do it, I feel fabulous for trying.

– Animals in yoga poses.

Downward tiger?

Have a fabulous Saturday!