Smash book

My blog turned two in March. My trip to Costa Rica happened just before this anniversary. Such perfect timing.

I feel like, since I’ve started blogging, try has become a word I use a lot more. Sure, I’ll try that. Let me try! I want to try that. I don’t know what will happen, but I’ll try!

It’s not that I didn’t try before. But I started my blog the year I turned 30 and something seemed to shift in my head. It was like I could do anything I wanted, no matter what anybody else thought. The people close to me always support me, so who cares about other people?

In Costa Rica, I found some of that energy I felt I’d lost recently. I tried everything! I was happy, blissed out and exactly where I was meant to be.

Since I’ve come home, I feel much more motivated to write. I used to write in my head all the time, and have to look for bits and pieces of paper to make sure I didn’t forget any of it. (Yes, it would make sense to carry a journal around. What can I say, I like post-its!) I’m doing that again! It’s a small thing, but it makes me happy.

I haven’t been writing here very much, but I have been creating. I’ve started a smash book. It’s kind of like a cross between a journal and a scrapbook. I could never get into scrapbooking, because I could never get it to look just right, but a smash book, now that’s my kind of book. You basically just smash everything you want it there.

At first, my book was mostly just words, but I’ve been adding images too. I tried something new, and I’m having fun with it!

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Running and flowers

I’ve been getting back into running lately. For the past three weeks, I’ve been following the couch to 5k program, and so far, so good. Except yesterday. Yesterday was not good. It was the last day of week three and I needed to get my third run in.

I did not want to run.

I went to a kick-my-butt yoga class in the morning, then ran some errands. All I wanted to do after that was crash on the couch for a while and read my book. The thing is, when my friend Suzanne and I started running together, I made us these motivation calendars. What’s a motivation calendar, you ask? Well, it’s a calendar where you get to put a sticker when you go running. Little feet for running, stars for yoga.

The only thing that made me go on that run was the thought of not getting a third sticker for the week. Not because I really love stickers (but who doesn’t love stickers?) but because if I didn’t go, that empty space on my calendar would mock me every time I walked by it.

So I went running. I’m not going to lie and say that as soon as I started running, I felt amazing. No. I felt like I was on a run I didn’t want to be on. But about halfway through, I got over my crankiness and enjoyed myself. I really, really enjoyed putting that sticker on my calendar!

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Today, Sunday, is mother’s day. My mom is awesome, which is a good thing, because I’m becoming more and more like her. There is no doubt that I am my mother’s daughter and I couldn’t be happier about it. I hope that, when I have kids, I’m just like her. She used to take my sister and I on all sorts of adventures, playing under a bridge (seriously the coolest thing ever when you’re a kid) letting us take all the lessons we wanted (figure skating, horsback riding and step dancing anyone?) and baked, played, danced, sang, read with us all the time. And I mean all the time. She was, and still is, always there for us.

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Every year, since I was little, I pick May flowers for my mom on mother’s day. Last year, I had a nasty cold and I still stopped by the side of the road and picked flowers for her. This year, don’t ask me what happened, but I forgot. I know! How could I forget!? My mom did not say anything, probably so I wouldn’t feel bad, but when my sister showed up, she asked “Where are the May flowers?”

I couldn’t believe I forgot, so I took my two little cousins and drove out to my “secret spot” so we could pick some for our moms. Sadly, my mom only got a small bouquet, as the kids were so into it, yelling “I found one!” whenever they saw a flower, that I just had to leave more for them.

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Here’s a tip: If you’re going to be walking in the cold, mucky woods, don’t wear thin little flats.

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The rest of the day was spent indoors, eating delicious food and spending time with family. And that included doing the dishes!

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Run baby run!

I’m not athletic. I sometimes have shorts bursts of wanting to be sporty. Like people who play sports. But then I remember that I don’t really like sports. Sports require a lot of coordination. Also, if you play on a team, people usually want to win whatever game from whatever sport you’re playing. I don’t care about winning a sports game/match/whatever, because I don’t like sports.

It’s a good thing I have yoga.

Not liking sports doesn’t mean I don’t like to exercise. I used to go to the gym. I liked it, until I got bored. Also, I used to run. I love running. I still consider myself a runner, even though it’s been a while and I’ve never run more than a 5k.

In the past year, I’ve only been running a handful of times. I was busy. Yoga makes me happy, so I do yoga all the time and I don’t run. But running makes me happy too. Humm, this is a problem that does not require great intelligence to fix (not that I don’t have great intelligence. I’m super duper smart. Just ask my mom.)

I was talking to my friend Suzanne about this a few weeks ago. She just had a baby, and she’s never run before, but she said she wanted to start. Since I’ve been on hiatus for so long, we decided to start together and do a couch to 5k.

If you’ve never heard of this program before, look it up, it’s great! It’s a program designed to get you to run a 5k in 8 weeks.

Today was our first day and it was absolutely fantastic! We had such a great time! I’ve always run by myself before, so this was a treat. Also, it helped that we went to Starbucks when we were done. But mostly, it was the running that was so freakin’ fabulous.

We didn’t coordinate our outfits on purpose. But it is totally something we would do.

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We’ve decided to run together once a week, and do the other two runs on our own. It’s a pretty gentle start, with the first week being a 25 minute run/walk interval sequence. I have big plans for running and yoga tomorrow, so I’m pretty excited!

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This next part has nothing to do with running, but everything to do with helping me become a yoga teacher! Please click on the link to watch my video and help make my dream come true! If you’ve watched it before, please watch it again, every view counts! Thanks!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FymAS1je9o0

One year of Bliss

The Bliss Project is one year old today! Time flies when you’re finding your bliss.

I looked back at my first post. I wanted to remember where I started. Have I lived up to my blog’s name? I think so. The Bliss Project is about trying new things. Recently, I felt as though I hadn’t been having a lot of new experiences. When I started this project, I was looking for something, I just didn’t know it. I thought I wanted to try everything out there, but one thing found me. If you’ve been reading for the past year, you’ve probably guessed it. It’s hot yoga. My practice, my bliss.

After reading the first post, I worked my way through my posts. I’d forgotten some of them! It was like looking through a yearbook. Here are a few of my favourite posts from the past year.

First day of my first 30 day yoga challenge! Who knew what joy would come from those 30 days and the days since.

My yoga pet peeves. Please keep your feet on your own mat!

Last day of my 30 day challenge. I learned so much about my practice and about myself!

Sharing positive motivation. Something has to cancel out all the negativity out there.

Trying to play volleyball. Tip: don’t duck.

I did a lot of these new and exciting things with my friend Julie. I was very sad when she moved away, but she’s coming home for the summer! One more reason to look forward to warmer weather.

My second 30 day yoga challenge. It was a different expericence from the first time, but just as amazing.

Turning 31. It didn’t kill me.

Wearing a dress every day in December. Twirling and feeling pretty for a whole month. Bliss.

Telling yoga how I really feel. It’s true love, and true love lasts forever.

Doing yoga in the snow. Cold but fun!

It’s been a great year. Blogging makes me happy. The fact that people take the time to read about my thoughts and my life is incredible. In one year, The Bliss Project has been viewed by people in 143 different countries. That makes me feel amazing.  I’ve connected with many wonderful people and learned so much. Thank you for reading, you’ve made this girl very, very happy!

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Challenge me

I like challenges. I’ve done two 30-day yoga challenges, one no-spending month and Dressember since I started blogging last March. I’ve also done the photo-a-day challenge last February and May. I tried again in July, but my summers always lack structure, so it didn’t get very far!

Here is the list for February. I thought about participating, especially since I got a new camera and am taking a photography class, but I don’t know. The first prompt is really not inspiring me.

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I’ve been looking for a challenge for February, because it works as motivation. I know I can challenge myself to go to yoga everyday, but it’s not the same. I need more. There are some crazy challenges out there. Here are a few I found:

– No-chocolate February (Why? Really, why?)

– Flexible February (Stretch every day. I’m guessing yoga counts?)

– Fat Free February (I get it, but I don’t want to do it.)

– February Anime Challenge (I wouldn’t even know where to start with this one. Also, this has never interested me. So, no.)

– February in Russia reading challenge (I have never made it through Anna Karenina.)

None of these really appeal to me. I loved the fashion apsect of Dressember, but it’s very cold now, so a fashion challenge would be, well, challenging. This one looks like fun, but like I said, Canadian winter/ice/snow/cold/wind up my skirt here.

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A challenge works best if it’s something I love, like yoga, dresses and photos. I also love blogging, so I think I’ll challenge myself to post every day. I need something to blog about, so maybe this will motivate me practice yoga, even when it’s cold and I’m tired, take lots of pictures and wear dresses (under my snow suit).

Are you participating in any interesting challenges this month?

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Hitting the reset button

Since October started, I haven’t been to yoga very much. Twice, to be exact. The first week, I was taking it easy after my 30 day challenge in September, so I only went to one class. But this past week, I’ve been feeling lazy and unmotivated. Every evening, I found a reason not to go to class.

Challenges work well for me. I like the motivation they bring me. Without it, I feel a little lost. I convince myself I am too tired, or sick, or busy to practice, but that leads to me feeling worse, not better.

This morning, I decided enough was enough. I went to a noon detox flow class at Pure. I felt better just walking through the door. A fellow blogger wrote a post about finding your yoga home recently, and it made me realize how much I missed my yoga home. I missed the people, the classes, the energy.

At least five or six people said to me “I haven’t seen you in a while!” Another sign that I’ve been neglecting my second home.

Class was great. I thought it would be a little difficult, since it had been over a week since I’d practiced at all, but it made me feel wonderful. I don’t know why it’s so easy for me to forget how amazing yoga makes me feel about myself. That class was really like hitting a reset button. I’m going to forget about the last two weeks and just focus on what’s to come.

I kind of missed not getting a sticker after class, like I did during the challenge, but Jen gave me a Pure Yoga bumper sticker, so that’s even better!

I’ve decided to try a little experiment. The yoga challenge helped motivate me because I felt like I was being held accountable for doing what I said I would (even if it was just to myself). So now I’m putting it out there that I’m going to three classes this week.

Monday, 7:30 pm Power class with Todd

Wednesday, 7:30 Yin class with Ichih

Thursday, 7:30 Flow class with Jen.

I reserve the right to change my plans, but only if I make other plans instead, like dinner with friends. No cancelling yoga to sit on the couch and watch tv. Hopefully, this will help keep me motivated this week!

27 out of 101

On October 1st, 2011, I started a list of 101 things to do in 1001 days. It’s been an amazing year. Some of the things I imagined I would do right away have yet to be done, while some of the things I thought would be done towards the end of the 1001 days have been accomplished already! It’s been great. If I’m feeling restless or bored, I look to my list and find instant inspiration and motivation!

Here is a recap of what I’ve done so far. For the full list, click here.

12. Try snowboarding.

I did this last year with my friend Julie. We went out a few times and I fell in love with it! I’m actually looking forward to snow this year. Sadly, my friend Julie moved to Abu Dhabi, so I lost my snow buddy, but I’m still going to make it out to the hill, because I enjoy it so much! I fall a lot, but that’s nothing new!

13. Go to Central or South America

When I wrote this, I had Costa Rica or Brazil in mind. However, not everything happens as planned. I went to Cuba this summer and although I’m not sure the Caribbean counts and Central or South America, I have decided that, for the purpose of this list, it does! It doesn’t mean I won’t go someday, but 1001 days is less than three years, so I’m not sure I’ll make it before then.

18. Do 108 sun salutations

I did this twice! Once for the spring equinox and once for the summer solstice. There was supposed to be an event held for the fall equinox, but it was outside and it was cancelled due to rain. I was disappointed, because I thought I might do 108 sun salutations for all of the seasons in 2012. It’s definitely not easy, and your legs feel it the next day, but it’s a great experience.

22. Take a trip with my mom

My mom and I went to Cuba together this summer. I love my mom and I like her too! We have a great time together. I always feel bad for my friends who don’t like to spend time with their mom, or who just don’t get along. My mom rocks.

23. Go running along the canal

The canal is beautiful and I always see people running and think “I want to do that.” So I did. It was a beautiful day and it made me happy.

24. Get a cellphone I can text with

I got one for my birthday, last November. I enjoy my phone, but it is not surgically implanted in my hand. It’s not an iphone, it doesn’t do anything special. It lets me text, which makes me thing I have caught up with technology, although deep down, I know I haven’t.

30. Visit the National Gallery

I went to see the Van Gogh exhibit in September. The gallery is beautiful, which is why I wanted to go again. It’s right across the river, I should go every time there is a new exhibit.

34. Go hiking

I’ve done this several times since last October, and I hope to do it again before the 1001 days are up. There are so many wonderful places to hike and walk in the woods around here, there’s no reason not to go!

37. Make a dress

I wrote this thinking I would make myself a dress. However, last year, for my class play, I made two dresses for two very happy little girls! I think two mini-dresses equals one me-size dress!

38. Eat beets

I don’t like beets, but, at a restaurant for my birthday last year, I discovered fried beets. They were delicious and did not taste like regular beets at all. This means they did not taste like dirt.

39. Climb a tree

Trees are made for climbing. I’ve discovered I can climb a tree when it needs to be climbed, it doesn’t matter if I’m wearing white or a dress. I can do it.

43. Play volleyball

I’ve done this twice. I’ve discovered I’m not very good (ok, I knew this already) but I do enjoy it very much. My goal is to get better (meaning not duck when the ball comes my way) and maybe play on a team next summer.

45. Get an IMAX teacher movie pass

I’ve been to several movies, and it’s definitely worth it! One and a half movies paid for my pass, now all the movies I see are free!

46. Go on a road trip

I don’t know if going to Montreal, which is 2 hours away, counts as a road trip, but it was a car full of girls with one bride-to-be, on a mission to find some dresses, singing ABBA songs and eating chocolate cookies. I say it counts.

58. Play Monopoly

I played with some of the kids in my class, and it wasn’t quite how I remembered. They didn’t want to spend their money on anything, so they just kept going around, passing go, collecting 200$. I felt bad buying properties and making them pay when they landed there. But it was still fun!

61. Try a yoga dance class

I’ve done Madonna flow yoga with Natalie, one of my favourite teachers. It’s ashtanga yoga, but it’s to the music of Madonna. We sing, we dance, we vogue. If this isn’t a yoga dance class, I don’t know what is!

63. Try a new kind of tea

I’ve tried many. I even went to a tea house with the road trip girls, although not during the road trip. I love tea. Must keep trying new kinds.

64. Do yoga on the beach

I went to a moonlight yoga class which was held at the beach. I also did some yoga poses on the beach in Cuba. Not many though, it was too hot!

68. Give someone flowers

I picked some May flowers for my mom for mother’s day. I’ve been doing it every year since I was a kid. They grow in the woods and I used to go walking to pick them. Now, I usually park by the side of the road and wave at people who look at me like I’m crazy, in the woods in my dress and sandals.

72. Do the hula

I had the Hawaiian hula in mind, but I did a couple of hula hoop dancing classes. Lots of fun and a great workout!

74. Donate to a good cause

I thought I would donate a big amount to a charity, but I realized I donate regularly, just smaller amounts to different causes. I always give to the kids packing my groceries for their sports team, the man sitting at the table in the mall for cancer, the run for the cure, the fundraising for my 30-day challenge. I give in small doses, but as much as I can.

77. Make a list of the books I read (up to 101)

I’m at 54. Number 55 is taking me a while.

84. Write a list of 101 things that make me happy

I’ve started. I’ll post the whole list when I’m done.

86. Do yoga every day for one week

Well, this one took on a life of it’s own! I not only did yoga for a week, I did it for 30 days. Twice! Once in the spring with my friend Julie and once in September. I will probably do it again!

90. Not buy any new clothes for one month

This one also became something else. I did a no-spending challenge last May, where I did not buy anything but essentials. It’s crazy how much money I saved. It has made me realize I buy way too much crap I don’t need. I’m not as strict with myself as I was in May, but I have changed my spending habits.

98. Ride in a limousine

Did this last December for my friend’s birthday. I don’t like champagne, but it tasted lovely in a limo!

99. Run on the beach

I went for a run in the spring in an area that was somewhat unfamiliar, and I was surprised when the path brought me to the beach. It’s not a large beach, but I ran next to the water to get to the path on the other side. It made me happy because it was unexpected!

So far, I’ve done 27 things on my list. I can’t wait to do the rest!

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!

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!

Side Star Superstar

Today is day 10 of my challenge. I’m a third of the way there and I am feeling great! I was talking to a girl at the studio today who said she could never do a 30-day challenge. I know how she feels. I used to feel like that too. I thought there would be reasons not to go to class, or days where I was tired and just stayed home instead. The thing is, not going to class is not an option for me. I decided to do this, and I’m going to give it all I’ve got. So yes, there are days when I’m tired, but the couch will not win.

Even when I feel like this, I’m going to get my butt to class.

I went to Todd’s class at Pure. It was a powerflow class and it was a-ma-zing! I hadn’t done one of Todd’s classes in a while, so I was looking forward to it. It started off right away, with some chair pose, forward bend, flat back, reach up, swan dive down kind of flow. No child’s pose or butterfly pose to start. It kind of threw me at first and I felt a little dizzy, trying to match my breath to the movements.

It didn’t take long however, before we moved into a flow that included side star. I love side star. It doesn’t always love me, but my love is enough for both of us. I usually use a block, as I find it helps my balance. The first time we did it though, Todd said not to use a block and just hover our hand over the ground. I didn’t think I could do this, but surprise, surprise, I can! Sort of. When I was standing on my right foot, it wasn’t so bad. And sure, when I was standing on my left foot, my right foot came down every four seconds, but at least I didn’t fall on my face. (That happened later.)

I sometimes confuse side star with half moon. I think in half moon, you have your hand on the ground, and in side star, you have both arms up. Maybe they’re just variations of the same pose.

This little guy is doing half moon. Imagine his left paw reaching forward so it’s in line with his left leg. Also, his right paw would be parallel to the left one and he would be looking down. It’s not warrior 3, because his chest is still towards the horizon. If you can make sense of this, you can imagine me in side star.

We also did crow, which I enjoy more and more, because I’m finding stillness with more ease every time. I’m working on jumping back into chaturanga, but so far, my feet only get to the middle of my mat and I end up looking like a frog.

Then came boat pose. We had blocks next to our hips, and after going down into low boat (insert lots of shaking here) we would come up, place our hand on our blocks and lift ourselves up. The plan was to swing the crossed legs behind and come up onto the hands in an inversion, but I’m still working on lifting my own weight up with my arms. No swinging yet. At least with the blocks, I don’t feel like my arms are too short to lift me up!

This is not me, but it is what I was doing.

One of my goals is to one day do an inversion. I know I’m not there yet, but I’m working on it. We did some arm balance practice stuff. Both forearms flat on the mat, lifting one leg at a time. At one point, I had one leg up and decided to give a little hop with the other. This usually gives me the impression of being upside down for a half-second. It didn’t really work today and I ended up in a neat little pile. This is progress, however, because I usually wind up in an impersonation of a starfish.

I could go on and on about the fun stuff we did in this class. Well, I kind of already did, but there’s more! What surprised me was how serious some people were. This was tough stuff, sure, but it wasn’t meant to be taken seriously. There were lots of sighs and frowns. I think some people need to laugh at themselves more, it makes for a much better class!

This is Todd and I after class. I told him I would definitely be back, because I enjoy falling down. Also, I have 20 more days of yoga ahead of me, so I’ll need to laugh, otherwise I’ll go crazy!