Goldilocks does yoga

It’s not easy to find that perfect yoga class. When you’re a yoga lover, a lot of classes will count as great, because hey, you’re doing yoga and yoga is awesome and breathe in and breathe out and tree pose and plank pose and savasana.

But often, it’s just a little too hot in the hot room. Or not hot enough. Class is too hard for your energy level, or a little too slow. You’re tired, you’re wired or you’re distracted. The teacher is leading that pose. The one you dislike *cough dragon pose*. There’s music, and you want it to be quiet, or there’s no music and you want some to help you move.

You end up feeling like Goldilocks.

Tonight, I debated whether or not to go to yoga. It’s Friday, therefore I am tired. However, I was thinking of the moment I would get to step on my mat all day, and I couldn’t let go of it just because I was tired.

I made my way to Pure, my yoga home, for Sasha’s class. As soon as I took my first deep breath, I felt like Goldilocks when she finds the bed, the chair, the porridge, that is just right. This, I thought. This is what I live for.

Sasha is fantastic. The way she speaks, slowly but with energy, motivates me. She radiates joy and calmness, a wonderful combination, if you ask me. The classes she leads resemble my own practice more than any other teacher’s class I’ve done. This is the practice I would have done had I stayed home.

We did lots of pigeons, mixed in with our flows. My hips feel delicious right now. It’s been difficult to practice with an injury, and tonight, for the first time in almost two months, I felt like myself again. It felt like my body, moving the way I know it can, making me feel that moment of yoga bliss that’s been slightly out of my grasp as I struggled to modify my poses and let go of my ego as I heeled. I still felt some pulling and twinges, my muscles whispering not to push it too much, but it was the best practice I’ve had in a long time.

At the end of class, we rested in waterfall, with hips on blocks and feet up in the air. Then, a magical thing happened. Sasha took hold of my feet and massaged each one, squeezing out any remaning tensions and worries from my body. When I settled into savasana, I felt like I had just spent a day at the beach.

My whole summer was spent in a yoga bubble. I did my teacher training in July, and even though I injured myself in August, I was still doing yoga, because I was learning, breathing, thinking, discovering things about myself and just being. I was riding the yoga wave and it was blissfull.

Then, I went back to work, and while my yoga bubble didn’t burst, it certainly got smaller. I’m not one of those people who just has a job. My work is my purpose. I’m meant to be there with those kids every day, teaching and learning. I’m happy to go to work. I don’t count down the days to the weekend and get crabby on Sundays because I have to work the next day.

Being invested in my students and my work, my “real life” bubble gets bigger while my yoga bubble shrinks. I’m looking for balance. I haven’t quite found it yet, but I’m a work in progress. I’m trying to make my yoga bubble my life, because it’s so peaceful and happy in there. It doesn’t mean I want to quit my job, it means I want to bring my yoga with me, everywhere I go. Like I said, I’m working on it.

Thank you Sasha for the amazing class. I’ve missed this feeling and I’ve missed writing about yoga. I am one happy yogini.

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Summer days, drifting away

It’s starting to feel like fall. I love fall. I love sweaters and pumpkin spice lattes. I love wearing skirts and boots with no thights. I love the colours of the leaves. I love the way the air smells and how it’s cool but not cold.

However, I also love summer and I wasn’t quite ready to let go! September is usually a slow transition from one to the other, but it feels like fall is here all of a sudden. I’m not quite ready to give up my sandals and summer dresses.

August was a great month for me. After my yoga-bubble month of July, it was nice to have some time to just hang out. I had no plans, I just kind of floated around from beach to cottage, from yoga class to drinks on a patio.

Doing yoga on a boat. Then falling out of fallen angel pose on a boat!

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Yay, I did it!

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More yoga poses!

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And finally just hanging out on the boat!

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Taking pictures by the lake. (This photo shoot did result in a pulled muscle that’s not completely healed, but the pictures are nice!)

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Yoga on Parliament hill.

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Going out for dinner one last time with my friend Julie before she went back to Abu Dhabi. (Also, I cut my hair!)

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More happy moments at the cottage.

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Enjoying the last little bit of summer on the very last day of August.

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Getting some treasures from my mom’s garden.

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I’ve already made potato-leek soup, apple crisp and apple sauce, a yellow bean casserole that was the most amazing bean dish I’ve ever eaten (not that hard since I didn’t think I liked beans until this summer), not to mention salads and juices!

I’ve had a great summer, so I guess I am ready for fall, hot chocolate, crunchy leaves and pumpkins!

Half-moon disaster

Ever have one of those days where you wake up thinking everything will be awesome, and then it isn’t? Yeah. Not fun.

I got up early yesterday morning (9 am is early when you’re on holidays) to go to yoga. A road was closed, so I had to detour. The detour was so long and far away from where I wanted to go that I not only missed my class, I got lost and it took an hour, a closed bridge and another closed road before I made it back home.

Determined not to let this ruin my day, I decided to head out to Pink Lake to take some fun yoga shots. I asked my cousin Annie, who is a photographer, to take some yoga pictures of me, so I thought I’d practice a little.

Last time I took yoga pictures, I hid from people, so they wouln’t see what I was doing. I started off the same way, on a small trail away from the lake, in the only patch of sunlight I could find.

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Does this sunlight make my butt look weird?

Half-moon pose. Not the disaster part yet.

Half-moon pose. Not the disaster part yet.

I wasn’t really satisfied with this location, so I headed for the lake, thinking if people saw me, so what.

Sun warrior in the sun.

Sun warrior in the sun.

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Upward dog by some trees. I waited until there were no kids around so I wouldn’t set a bad example.

This looks like a slightly more dangerous version of upward dog on a railing, but the water was there in the previous picture, you just can't see it.

This looks like a slightly more dangerous version of upward dog on a railing, but the water was there in the previous picture, you just can’t see it.

So far, everything was great. Then I came to this spot.

Something terrible is about to happen here.

Something terrible is about to happen here.

I set up my camera, hit the timer and went into half-moon pose. This time, I grabbed for my left foot with my left hand, a variation I’ve done before. The worst thing that usually happens is that I lose my balance and fall down. My balance was ok, but as I held my foot, I felt something move, and not in a good way. It felt as though two muscles were pulling away from each other, but I’m thinking it was just one muscle and it wasn’t happy.

This is the picture I got.

See me reaching for my right glute? Not fun, not fun at all.

See me reaching for my right glute? Not fun, not fun at all.

Here is a more detailed photo of my injury.

Talk about pain in the butt.

Talk about pain in the butt.

It wasn’t terrible at the time, it just felt kind of weird, so I took a few more photos. I didn’t attempt half-moon again though.

Crescent lunge.

Crescent lunge.

I didn't dare go into the full expression of camel pose because I didn't know how my butt would take it.

I didn’t dare go into the full expression of camel pose because I didn’t know how my butt would take it.

A little side crow fun stuff.

A little side crow fun stuff.

And that was it. I came home, sat on an ice pack, then spent the next few hours glued to my couch watching Doctor Who. Today, I have to go outside and talk to people, so I’m going to take some advil and hope for the best.

The worst thing about this whole disaster is that I can’t practice yoga for a little while. The horror!! Remember kids, half-moon has hidden dangers. Be aware!

From a place of love and joy

Before I started my yoga teacher training, I thought I would be writing about it almost every day and sharing all the new stuff I discovered.

It didn’t really work that way.

I learned so much about myself and my practice, but it was such an intense process, I didn’t have time to figure it out. Half the time, I didn’t understand what I was feeling, learning and experiencing. There was no way I could seperate it all into neat little blog posts.

People ask how yoga teacher training was. I don’t know how to answer. I wasn’t just one thing. It was everything. My life, my practice, my goals, my emotions, they’re all connected and I can’t pull out one thing and say it was good, or it was bad.

I do know how I feel now. I feel limitless. I can do anything and be anything.

Also, I know that I want to teach yoga from a place of love and joy. That’s what I have to share with the world.

Here’s a little look at my journey.

Day 2: Learning how to instruct pyramid pose.

Day 2: Learning how to instruct pyramid pose.

Learning about anatomy. This is Severus showing off his spiral line.

Learning about anatomy. This is Severus showing off his spiral line.

Practicing inversions.

Practicing inversions.

Getting ready to attempt a headstand.

Getting ready to attempt a headstand.

Supported headstand.

Supported headstand.

Breaking through limiting beliefs. (Yes, I broke that board with my hand!)

Breaking through limiting beliefs. (Yes, I broke that board with my hand!)

Awesomeness.

Awesomeness.

One thing I am sure of: This is only the begining. There is so much more to learn.

Bendy straws and popsicle sticks

I could write a book called “Tales of an unflexible yogi”. Instead, I wrote an article for elephant journal.

I was really pleased with this article. I wrote it a couple of weeks ago, before I started my yoga teacher training, and I felt like it really represented how I felt about being a popsicle stick in a bendy straw world.

However, I wasn’t thrilled with the way the piece was edited. It doesn’t feel as much like me anymore. Certain parts are in bold font, or italic, and I feel like it puts emphasis on the wrong words and thoughts. They even changed the title. Also, they spelled my name wrong (but then they fixed it).

I am still happy with the content of the article, and I invite you to read it and tell me what you think!

Will I be the only yoga teacher who can’t touch her toes?

I see this sign every morning on my way to yoga teacher training!

I see this sign every morning on my way to yoga teacher training!

Things I’ve learned after a week of yoga teacher training

Ponytails get in the way.

You can’t french braid your hair at a red light.

Bangs are the devil’s work.

Just stop doing your hair. Really.

Downward dog is still not awesome.

Chair pose is awful when you do it every day.

I don’t know everything.

In fact, I barely know anything.

That’s ok.

Ayurveda is fascinating.

I am kapha pitta.

Crying is expected.

Anatomy is complicated.

Does anyone know what a rectus femoris is?

I do.

(It’s a muscle in your quads. I’m so smart now.)

You have to step outside your comfort zone.

Warning: It’s not going to feel great.

Everyone has an opinion on what you’re doing.

Sometimes it helps.

Sometimes it doesn’t.

Wine helps.

You can’t eat a big breakfast because you might throw up during yoga.

You can’t eat too little, because then your stomach will cry for help during bridge pose.

Finding your voice as a teacher will take time.

You’ll get there.

Speaking to a group won’t kill you.

Probably.

Ask questions.

Ask more questions.

Don’t expect to get it all at once.

If you cry, you’re entitled to ice cream.

Be happy.

Enjoy the experience.

Teaching yoga poses is fun.

People vibrate at different levels.

Surround yourself with people who bring you up, not down.

There is still much to learn.

There is a lot to read.

You can’t do it all.

Don’t let your yoga stress you out.

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D is for discomfort

I cried during yoga teacher training yesterday.

Before I started, every single yoga teacher I talked to told me it would happen at some point. I didn’t think they were lying, but I wasn’t really sure it would happen to me. I’m not a crier.

The thing is, it’s making me uncomfortable to write about it. This blog has always been my happy place. I have no problems writing about my emotions when they involve positive feelings or memories. Smiles, laughter, joy, love. I can write about those things easily. Writing about me crying and figuring out why I was crying? Something I usually avoid. I had no problem telling my mom and a friend about this, but that’s not the same as putting it out there for the whole world to see (well, the part of the world that reads my blog).

We were learning how to write out instructions to different poses, and I got overwhelmed. I felt like I was asking question after question, not getting the answer I needed. I realize that I got caught up in the moment and panicked a little, thinking I had to get it all right away. In that moment, it was too much for me and the tears just appeared.

Why am I writing about this if it causes me discomfort? We’ve all heard the saying “The magic happens when you step out of your comfort zone.” Mark, my teacher, challenged us to do something that makes us uncomfortable every day for a week. I feel resistant to this because I avoid things that make me uncomfortable. I don’t like them, so I stay away. I realize this must be true for most people, but I can only feel what emotions come up for me, and I’m not looking forward to it.

Am I hoping that something great happens in my life and the way I perceive people and situations after this? Yes, absolutely. Does a part of me think that all it’s going to do is make me uncomfortable for a week, then things will go back to the way they were? Yes, definitely.

All I can do is trust myself and believe that this will bring positive change. If I focus on the negatives, nothing good will come of it. So I’m going to try. I’m going to make myself uncomfortable and see where that leads me.

What makes you uncomfortable?

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Reaching for my toes

Today was the second day of my yoga teacher training, and it started with an experiential anatomy master class on the superficial back line. Now, that’s a lot of words that just two days ago would have made me say “umm, what?”

The back line of your body is just that, the muscles that make their way from your heels all the way up to the top of your head.

We worked on the feet, then the achilles tendon, then the calves. We kept working our way up, but the big aha! moment for me was when, after working out my calves, I was able to touch the floor in my forward bend. I’m not usually able to do that without bending my knees and I was sure the problem came from my hamstrings. I love how I’m getting to know my body better!

After lunch we had a discussion on Gunas. We’ll talk more about this tomorrow in class, so I’m going to wait a while before I try to explain it. It’s very interesting. We’re also going to talk about Ayurveda, which I’m looking forward to.

Later on in the afternoon, we practiced naming the different movements of the body. Todd, my teacher, had us stand around in a circle and name the movements as we were doing them.

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Then he said we would all give out three instructions to the others. I was first! Just yesterday, this would have made me panic. However, we are a small group of only six people, and in just two days, I feel comfortable enough around these people to speak without being nervous.

We then tried to get the others in a pose, just by giving out the same instructions on movement. I tried triangle pose. I was missing a few steps, but it was pretty good for my first time!

Later, we took turns getting into pyramid pose and having the others give us instructions so we could adjust our pose.

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Tomorrow morning there’s another master class, this time focusing on hips. I really hope there’s no dragon pose involved!

First day of yoga teacher training

It’s been a long time since I’ve had a first day of school where I was the student and not the teacher.

Today was my first day of yoga teacher training.

I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’d gotten a lot of tips and advice. I was also told that I would have breakthroughs and breakdowns. I was told that my head might explode from all the information and that I would either come home and become a hermit after a long day, or just be filled with the need to talk to someone, anyone, about anything but yoga.

So far, after one day, none of this has happened.

I was a little worried that everyone would be flexi-bendy-straw people and I would be standing there like a popsicle stick. But, honestly, I didn’t notice anyone else’s flexibility. During all of the practice we did, I was so interested by what I was learning and trying to figure out how to apply this new knowledge to my poses that I wasn’t looking around at anyone else.

I also learned that I’ll get to go home a little earlier than I thought each day, which is great, because I’ve spent so long on a school schedule that I don’t remember anything anyone says to me after 3:30. However, it’s not time to go to the beach, but time for homework. Today, I read about anatomy and muscles I had never heard of. I’m going to be so smart.

I also got to experience something new today. Getting stuck in traffic. How do people do this every day? And why? If I had to do this every day, I’d move. I didn’t know what to do with myself, so I ate a muffin and an apple. (I had brought a big lunch because I didn’t know how hungry yoga teacher training makes a person. For the record, it makes you regular hungry.) I would have eaten something else, but I couldn’t reach my crackers. I might weigh a ton at the end of this challenge.

I was pretty happy not to have to teach any poses yet. I know it was only the first day, and that I will eventually have to speak to the whole group and lead a class, but I’m glad it wasn’t today. I need a little more time to get ready for that.

I’m looking forward to the next 27 days! (The yoga, not the traffic induced weight gain.)

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Junebug

No, I am not particularly fond of insects, I just think it’s a cute name (for a bug that is anything but cute!)

June was a great month, as it was my third 30 day yoga challenge! I can’t believe the “Do yoga every day for a week” goal on my list of 101 things to do in 1001 days turned into three month long challenges! Amazing.

June was such a busy month, I didn’t blog about my challenge as much as I thought I would. I didn’t take many pictures either. The thing is, it felt less like a challenge (for the first half, anyways). I was going to yoga three to four times a week anyways, so going everyday wasn’t quite as difficult as you would think. The second half happened at the same time as report cards, field trips and end-of-the-year crazyness, so it was a little tougher to motivate myself to go to class, but I think all the yoga helped me deal with everything.

Now, on to the best moments of my month caught in pictures!

Midsummer Madness

midsummer madness

30 day yoga challenge

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Goody bag from the lovely ladies at Pure Yoga Ottawa

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Learning a new yoga pose. Bird with a broken wing, grasshopper or dragonfly, depending on who you talk to!

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Going to the library book fair.

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Spending father’s day with my dad.

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Seeing the Supermoon. Awesome.

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Going ziplining with my students. Kids are brave.

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Viking day with my students.

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And, with the end of June came the completition of my 30 day yoga challenge and the start of my summer holidays! Bliss.