Parliament Hill Yoga

Today is the first Wednesday of my summer holidays. You might think it’s just a regular day, but maybe you haven’t heard of Parliament hill yoga. It’s a yoga class in front of the Parliament buildings. That’s right, the Parliament. Canada is awesome like that.

These classes started six years ago. The first one had 6 people. Today’s class had 768 people. We’re taking over the world! Well, ok, maybe not the world, but Ottawa anyways.

The first class this year was in April or May, I’m not sure. I just know that I couldn’t go! I had to work and I’m not close enough to make it to the hill, get my yoga on, and get back to work during my lunch break. I’ve been waiting for this day for a very long time, and it didn’t disappoint!

It was a power class, and it was hot. The sun adds a totally different level to the term hot yoga. Thankfully, for the first half of the class, there were wonderful clouds blocking out the sunshine!

I went with some of my friends from work. It’s great to do things together that have nothing to do with work.

We did wheel, and my friend Lisa took my picture. I’m still impressed with myself everytime I do wheel. I was happy to have a picture, because it’s not a pose where you can ever see yourself in the mirror. If you’re in a studio and not outside, of course. So, I’ve noticed that I need to straighten my legs more.

There was still part of the setup from Canada day on the hill, including the stage, so it was a little strange. The lawn usually feels so much bigger. But it still filled me with amazement that these events actually happen and that so many people participate. My friend and teacher Ichih, who is the mastermind behind these fabulous classes, is teaching the August 15th class and is hoping to get 5000 people. Let’s hope we make it!

Peace out, yogis!

Super Saturday Flow

I went to an amazing flow class this morning. Well, it was actually at 12, but since it’s Saturday, that’s considered morning. It was with Jen at Pure. This is good because Jen is one of my favourite teachers and Pure is one of my favourite places to be!

I was amazed at how my energy level was so much higher than when I go to a class after work. This turned out to be a great thing because Jen had all kinds of things for me to try. Well, for the whole class, but it felt like it was all for me.

We did crow pose. Awesome, because I can do this one now!

Then we did flying crow pose. I ended up looking an actual crow who has flown into a window, as I was always falling to the side. To keep things interesting, I alternated between falling to the right and falling to the left.

Then Jen said we would be doing some forearm balancing postures. She came up to me and said “I’m doing this for you!” It’s a really great feeling when your yoga teacher becomes your friend and she does whatever she can to help you achieve your ultimate yogic goal. In my case, it’s an inversion.

I tried to bring as much weight as I could into my arms and kicked up. Jen held my legs up. I actually don’t think they went all the way up, but it was fun. Then, when we did it again, I think I got overexcited and kind of gave a little hop, which made my right arm move off the mat. There was no saving this one and I ended up in a sweaty pile on my mat.

I could have kept going, but there were other people in the class who might not have been quite as interested by my attempt at a forearm stand, although I’m sure it was very entertaining to watch.

I also did bird of paradise, which I really enjoy, even if it’s another pose that gets me tangled up. I did wheel again too. That was a lot of fun, because I did my first wheel in Jen’s class. Now, I’m like a wheel expert. Ok, I’m not, but I can do it most of the time.

After class, I saw this on another yoga teacher’s facebook wall, and I felt like it was written for me!

I wanted a picture of Jen and I to post here, but I forgot my camera. We took some with my phone, lovely yoga hair and all, but I can’t figure out how to get them out of my phone. True story.

When I came home, all I wanted was a hot shower, but I knew that if I didn’t spend my 30 minutes outside right away, then I probably wouldn’t do it at all. I was already wet and sweaty, so I figured running in the rain wouldn’t be that bad. There’s a park close to my place, but it only takes about 5 minutes to run through it, as there are only 2 paths. Actually, it’s more like 1 and a half. One of them leads nowhere. I didn’t really want to run in circles, so I didn’t stay in the park, but I looped back at the end of my run to go through it one more time and I walked, to make it last longer.

I could smell the trees and the leaves like you can only when it’s raining. I saw some very pretty flowers I considered picking. I’ve done it before, even though I’m not sure it’s allowed. I know, I’m such a rebel. Outlawed flower picking.

Have a great weekend!

Free your soul

This is not really a post about my soul, but it is about being free. Being free from what, you ask? From buying stuff I don’t need. Do I really need another dress? Or a latte every day? I have to pay taxes this year, and I really want to take a trip this summer. I don’t want my travel money to become my tax money.

I decided the only way to keep that from happening was to do another 30-day challenge. This one is for the month of May, so 31 days, really. It is an I-will-not-spend-any-money challenge.

These are the essentials:

– Food

– Rent

– Car

– Yoga

Anything that is not on that list, I will not buy. It’s not going to be easy. A friend told me I should let myself have one treat, like a latte, every week. I think this is a good idea. I’d rather cheat a little than give up on the whole thing. I will try at least one week without buying anything though.

I tried to think of free things I can do. I don’t want to stay home all the time just because I don’t want to spend any money. Here’s what I can do fo free:

–  Go running.

– Yoga (I already paid for a bunch of classes).

– Ride my bike.

– Visit museums (some are free for teachers).

– See as many Imax movies as I want (I already have a teacher pass).

– Picnics! I love picnics.

– Go to the gym (I have a membership, so I have to pay for it anyways).

– Lululemon events like Sunday morning yoga, run club and fitness Friday. But, sadly, no lululemon clothes!

– Read the books I already have. There are so many I haven’t read yet.

– The May photo a day challenge.

– Blogging.

– Barre workout at a new studio. First class is free!

– Have dinner with friends.

– Go walking in Gatineau Park.

I’m pretty excited about this challenge, even though it scares me a little. I like to shop and the school where I work is between two coffee shops. I think I’ll probably end up doing so many free things that I won’t miss spending money. Well, I hope so anyways!

On a side note, I did wheel again in yoga today. Pure bliss! And, feeling pleased with myself was free!

If you have any ideas of free things for me to do, please let me know!

Yoga magic

Today was one of those days. It was raining, it was cold. It was blah. After work, Julie said she was going to a powerflow class at Pure. I wasn’t sure I wanted to go. Actually, I knew I didn’t. It felt like a crash-on-the-couch-and-watch-a-movie day. Then Julie said we could go to Booster Juice, which is good, and that it was Jen’s class, which is great. I decided to go and just do what I could.

This is where the yoga magic happened. As soon as I walked into the hot room, I felt better than I had all day. I think the girls at the studio should offer a time slot where people can just come in and hang out in the hot room.

This is what I love about Jen’s classes: she gets you into poses you’ve never done before. Ever hear of bird of paradise? It’s this awesome, twisty, arms linked, leg up thing, and I did it! It wasn’t perfect, but I was pretty impressed with myself, because it was the first time I ever tried to do it. We started off in crescent lunge, then somehow wrapped our arms around one leg, took two steps forward, lifted a leg, and voilà, awesomeness! This is what it looks like when you’ve been doing it forever. I don’t think I looked like this, but I was smiling!

I think feeling pretty pleased with myself gave me energy. When we went down on our backs to do some back bends, Jen suggested we first do bridge or supported bridge, then try wheel, if we wanted to. I’m a big fan of supported bridge, but I decided to go with bridge. I haven’t done wheel since I was a kid. I always stick with bridge.

For several reasons (a, I felt like a superhero after bird of paradise, b, Jen is awesome and c, there was really good music) I decided I wanted to try wheel. I told Jen I couldn’t do wheel, thinking there might be a variation I could try. She said I could do it. I said no. She said yes. I said I wasn’t strong enough. She said I was, but maybe I was scared.

This made me think. Maybe I was scared. I didn’t want to be scared. Jen said “What’s the worst that could happen?” Insert yoga magic here. I decided to go for it. My first try was not quite right. I tried again. Jen helped me lift my hips, then asked if she could let go. I felt pretty strong, so I said yes. There I was, hanging out in wheel.

I can’t stop smiling. Even now, hours later. And to think, I didn’t even want to go to yoga today. I would have missed out on the yoga magic!