Lucky Star

You know how people say “I thank my lucky stars”? It makes sense. We wish on stars (well, I do), so why not thank them when we get what we want? You know what’s even better than getting what you want? Getting what you didn’t even know you wanted.

I write a lot about yoga and about Pure, the studio where I practice. It’s my yoga home, my happy place, my favourite place to be. But my love affair with yoga started long before Pure opened a year ago. I used to be a yoga nomad, wandering around, going to different classes at different studios.

At one particular class, a Madonna flow party, to be exact, I met Natalie. I thank my lucky stars I went to that class, on that day. Natalie is a yoga teacher who became a friend. She’s a big part of the reason I fell in love with yoga. I was already pretty into it, but practicing with Natalie felt like a perfect fit. I was challenged, I laughed, I discovered so much about myself and my practice.

Now that I practice at my happy place, I don’t see Natalie as much as I would like. She teaches at different studios. The perfect thing would be for her to teach at Pure. How happy I would be!

Today, however, I got to attend one of Natalie’s amazing ashtanga classes set to the music of Madonna. I’ve written about it before, here and here. I’m writing about it again, because it’s just so unbelivably incredible!

Imagine how open your heart is in a chair pose twist when you’re singing “open your heart to me”. I kid you not, that actually happened.

Natalie and I took a before class picture, when we all pretty and not sweaty. I wore my bow during the entire class. It got a little sweaty, but it’s the only time I get to wear a huge lace bow, so it stayed on. I brought Natalie a bow too.

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We also took an after class picture, where Natalie looks as fresh and lovely as when we started and I look like I went through a car wash. I do, however, love the way my hair ended up in a side pony. Very 80’s Madonna-ish.

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The only thing that kept this evening from being totally perfect was the fact that my friend Julie wasn’t there. We always went to these things together, but she’s busy being awesome in Abu Dhabi. Hopefully when she comes home for the summer, Natalie will have another funky Madonna flow!

Open your heart

Valentine’s day. Some people love it, some people don’t. Many are indifferent. Some say it’s all about consumerism, others say it’s a day to share your feelings.

Here’s what I think. Focus on the love. Give love, get love, share love. Love your friends, your family, your other half, yourself. Be kind, be thoughtful, be happy. Smile, sing, share. Let yourself believe that love is all you need, even if it’s only for one day. Open your heart and let love in.

I work with children. Children are naturally open to love. They tell you they love you so easily. They feel it, so they say it. Between them, it’s about friendship. On Monday, each child pulled another’s name out of a basket and had to do nice things for this person all week. No presents, no consumerism, just small kindnesses and smiles. They tried to be more patient, play together and share.

They each made a card for their “secret friend”. This afternoon, watching them open the enveloppes and try to figure out who had been being so nice to them all week was, I was happy. They were so excited! And it didn’t cost a thing.

After work, I made my way over to the yoga studio where Amber led a heart-opening class. Backbending and heart-lifting, it made me realize that letting the world in is a conscious practice. We can’t just expect good things to happen to us, we have to open ourselves up and ask for them.

Love, love, love. Namaste.

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Don’t lose your Christmas spirit!

When I was a little girl, I was always sad when Christmas was over. I waited so long for it, and after a quick blur of hugs, laughter, presents, Santa, cookies and family, it was gone. I knew I would have to wait very long for it to be Christmas again.

Now that I’m an adult, I know it won’t be long until Christmas comes again, because time seems to speed up the older you get, but it still makes me sad that it’s over. People are nicer around the holidays and I miss that when the world goes back to normal. To help people be happy, smiley and nice to each other, I’ve compiled a list of 10 ways to hold on to your Chirstmas spirit for a whole year!

1. Play

We play during the holidays, so why not play all year? Play whatever you want. Play a board game or play with your Barbies (you know you want to). Build a fort or go on a scavenger hunt. In my family, we play cards. The day after Christmas, we play poker. I dont usually win (ok, never), but that’s not the point. It’s fun! This year I made it to the final six (out of 13). Yay me!

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2. Sing

People who say they never sing can be heard singing Christmas carols if you listen closely enough. They smile while they’re doing it. If you recognize yourself here, then this message is for you: Sing!

3. Eat

At Christmas time, we let ourselves eat what we want to without feeling guilty. What if we did that all year? Now I’m not saying go nuts on the brownies or the french fries every day, but if you have a cupcake, eat it, enjoy it, then forget about it. That is all.

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4. Be nice

Being nice to people is not just biting your tongue when someone who got a really bad haircut asks for your opinion. We give to those in need around Christmas, but they need us to be nice all year round, too. We can’t give to everyone, all the time, but sometimes, we can give time, patience and love without it costing us anything at all.

5. Get excited

I love Christmas as much for the time spent with family and friends as for the days leading up to it. Baking, finding gifts for people I love, decorating, all this makes me happy. It’s good to get excited, to look forward to something we know will bring us joy. I’m still enjoying Christmas time, but I’m also looking forward to going snowboarding!

6. Love

We all have people we love, and we love being with them, but sometimes life gets in the way of us remembering how important that is. Spending time with loved ones is not just a Christmas thing, it’s a guaranteed-to-make-you-happy thing.

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7. Read

Maybe this one isn’t a Christmas thing, but more of a time-off thing, but curling up with a good book and forgetting the world for a couple of hours is magical. Bonus points if there is a snowstorm or a thunderstorm. When you finally tear yourself away from your book, you feel as if you’ve been on an incredible adventure. Unless your book is boring. Find a new book.

8. Watch TV

This is like the reading thing and the eating thing. It’s like reading because it’s not necessarily a Christmas thing, but if you have time, I recommend you watch several hours of television without feeling guilty (like the food thing). My mom and I spent a good amout of time (ok, 439 minutes) watching The Pillars of the Earth mini-series yesterday. Last year, it was The Thorn Birds. I don’t think it’s a good idea to this every week or anything, as you might lose all your friends, maybe your job and probably your dog, but once in a while, go for it. Enjoy it. Then go for a walk, you’ll need it!

9. Sleep

Ahh, sleep. For most of us, functioning on very little sleep is like wearing a badge of honnor. It might not be possible to sleep as much as you like, but we tend to indulge ourselves and sleep in during the Christmas holidays. Do this as often as you can. Well rested-people are 38% happier than other people (yes, I made that up, but it sounds good.)

10. See the magic

If you’re lucky enough to have children in your life, you get to see Christmas through their eyes. It’s magical. Santa might only come once a year, but kids are amazed daily. Imagine if seeing a butterfly take flight or finding the perfect snowflake still brought you the same joy it once did. You might have to find new ways to see the magic, but it’s there, if you look hard enough.

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