December 31, 2010

Goodbye 2010

Today has been a very interesting end to my year.  My boss told me not to bother with my two weeks notice and the company would pay me until next Tuesday. Woohoo! And as I stretched and practiced Pigeon pose, the receptionist at my studio came in and told us that the instructor who was supposed to teach had not shown up.  So after a moment of disappointment, about 10 of us decided to just go through the practiced ourselves.

It was a beautiful silent class.  We ended about 20 minutes early.  That's not bad considering we didn't have someone telling us to hold Triangle pose and Standing Bow for what, sometimes, feels like forever.  I deviated from the practice a little and did some advanced poses and extra sets of Standing Bow and Standing Head to Knee, but we all finished at the same time with big smiles on our faces.  It was a major sense of accomplishment.  I definitely didn't sweat as much as I normally do - I felt as though I was practicing in my living room - but the same benefits were there.

I just realized today that there's only a week until competition!  Yikes!

Happy New Year!!

December 24, 2010

A Little Thought

I had a little moment yesterday where this yoga competition came into full light for me.

I was thinking back to the training session we'd had on Wednesday.  Seven of us had gathered outside of our regular yoga practice times to go over the routine with Ida - a few of us had skipped out of work to be there, some had been at the studio all day and we were all there because we truly wanted to be. We are all so very different - we come from different backgrounds, we are different ages, some are teachers, some are students, some have been practicing a long time, one girl has only been practicing two months, we have different strengths, different depths of flexibility and different body types - and every single one of us was there supporting everyone else. 

There was no feeling of competition between individuals in the room - we were all supporting, encouraging and sharing tips with each other.  There was no animosity, no jealousy - only pure joy for what our fellow competitors could accomplish.

Being the center of attention is difficult for me at the best of times.  My face goes red, I get extremely nervous, I worry what other people are thinking and I stumble on what I want to say.  But on Wednesday, in that hot room, I was in one of my most comfortable, safest places that I have in my life and I found peace while I completed my routine in front of everyone - all eyes on me, center of attention, calm, collected and focused.  I have found my peace and my space.

Happy Holidays, everyone!  I hope you all have a wonderful rest with your loved ones. xoxo

December 13, 2010

Pure F#*$king Rage

I worked an extra long day today in order to get some overtime in so I could take the advanced class again tomorrow.  I started work early, skipped my regular 6am class, worked 10 hours and got to the studio in time for the 5:45 class.  I was so looking forward to it - my body being looser - getting some good back bends in - having a nice sweat after a long day.

From the moment the bright lights came on I felt this anger simmering inside me.  I got through Pranayama breathing fine but I wasn't happy.  I thought it would pass - it normally takes the breathing for me to get immersed into my yoga.  But as soon as we started Half Moon pose I was at a full blown boil.  I was so pissed off for being in the room, for having to listen to the instructions from yet another person today, for having all of these stupid people so close to me.  I felt like a child.  I wanted to stomp my feet and scream at the top of my lungs.  I wanted to throw my water bottle and smash something.

So, you know what I did?

I left.  Yep, I left the room in tears.  Angry tears.  I got right into the shower.  And now I'm sitting at home, hair still wet, wondering what the hell happened to me in there.

December 9, 2010

Practicing Blind

Well, not blind but nearly blind.  Picture driving down a street at dawn with an extremely fogged up window and all you can see are shapes and some colours.  That is how I see when I am not wearing contact lenses or glasses.

I have an appointment in a week to get tested to have Lasik eye surgery and am not allowed to wear my contact lenses for an entire week.  This morning was the first time that I have ever practiced with my glasses on.  I left them on for Pranayama Deep Breathing and then they came off.  It was just way too annoying to have them sit on my face.  This probably couldn't come at a better time because, in preparation for the competition, I am trying to practice without the mirror.

It was weird though.  I knew what my surroundings looked like so I felt safe.  I trusted the teacher, who also has poor eye sight, so I felt sympathy.  But, wow, to not see the familiar faces around me or see my own body was very different.  I found that I was less critical of my body.  I wasn't catching myself criticizing my thighs or my stomach and then having to push those thoughts out of my head.  I didn't adjust my yoga clothes as much because I couldn't see when a seam or a strap was out of place.  My balance was OK - mainly because I have been trying to not look in the mirror as much lately.  I would touch my body more - my hips or my feet - to make sure they were in the right line.  As exhausted as I was this morning, I do think I was able to find more focus.  In Savasana there was no where to look because I couldn't see anything and there were very few reasons to fidget because I couldn't see myself.

As much I love being able to see clearly, this was a good experience for me.  The next week will definitely continue to be challenging and I'll soak in all that I can learn, but I can't wait to put my contact lenses in again!

December 8, 2010

Wall Walking

I stayed after class this morning to practice a few extra poses with a teacher.  It was awesome.  I am loving this extra yoga I'm doing.

I tried wall walking for the first time ever.  Man, was it freaky.  Basically you stand 3 feet away from the wall with your back to it.  You put your hands over your head and bend backward until your hands touch the wall.  You then walk your hands down the wall while backward bending.  As you come down to the floor you come up on to your toes, lift your chest and press your chin and chest against the wall while locking your arms.  You then just walk back up the wall to come out.

Going down was OK.  I got down to the floor in the first couple of tries.  Coming up was another matter all together.  Figuring out how to push your hips forward, stay on your toes and then walk your hands back up is hard!  It just was not happening.  I swore loudly a couple of times but my teacher was wonderful and got me out of the pose.

I'm excited to try again!

December 7, 2010

Advanced Class

I took my first Advanced Bikram yoga class today.  I skipped out of work for a few hours - feigning an appointment - which it was and went back to the studio at 11 this morning.

All I can say is that it was amazing.  The first thing Ida Ripley said to me was that I was there because I was advanced enough in my yoga practice to know my own limitations.  Holy, compliment!  I did poses I never thought I could do.  I learned that my right ankle, that has been sprained many times, needs time to loosen up before I can sit in Lotus pose.  I realized that my back is rather flexible.  I found two possible poses I will do in the competition.  And I bailed hard when I was trying to do headstand!  I had to laugh - I fell hard flat on my back with a loud and wet smack!

I went back to work a few hours later and felt high as a kite.  I still feel amazing.  Challenging myself with these new poses has given me a little push - a push I've been needing for while.

The Dancing J gives a great break down on the Advanced Series here.

December 4, 2010

To Know

"Know yourself.  Know what is good.  Know when to stop."
- Lao Tzu

I feel as though it is so important to know when to stop - when to take a step back and evaluate what's going on.  This pertains, not only, to things that do you harm - too much food, booze, drugs - but also to those things that are good for you.  I have been, in the past, obsessed with food and booze as well as exercise and yoga.  I remember not only overeating but also exercising too much.  An obsession with food is, in my opinion, just as bad as an obsession with over exercising.  I used to feel horrendous guilt if I missed a day of yoga or hate myself if I ate ice cream.  It's important to find balance in all things, whether they be "good" or "bad".  I've started to find that balance, especially with food and yoga.  It's OK if I miss a day or two of practice and it's OK if I've eaten a handful of homemade cookies today.

December 3, 2010


I've been thinking about fear a lot lately.  The way I am afraid of competing.  The way I am afraid I will be in the same job in 5 years.  The way I am afraid of many irrational things that are out of my control and that are not happening when I am worrying about them.

Iyengar helped me remember that it is unnecessary to worry.  In his book, Light on Life, he says, "Forget about fear.  In the future there is fear.  In the present there is no fear."

I need to live in the moment.  As I practice my asanas in my living room there is no reason to be afraid of the competition because I am in my living room practicing MY yoga.  That moment - this moment - is mine.

December 2, 2010

Words of Wisdom

I was blow drying my hair the other morning while reading Bikram's book and he says that if you fall out of Standing Head to Knee you need to try again and then if you fall out again you need to try again.  This is not only good for your determination but it also helps your muscles "remember" where and how they are supposed to work.

I've been focusing on this asana in the past few days because it has been ages since I've been able to complete the posture to it's full expression - with the forehead on the knee.  The other night I got there - held it for a couple of breaths - came out of it gracefully and since then it's been a little easier to get into the pose every time I try.

Huh, who woulda thought he knows what he's talking about?

December 1, 2010

Like a Bird On a Wire

Leonard Cohen's concert was nothing less than amazing.  I feel truly previledged that I got to see this amazing poet and musician perform.  From the moment he walked on stage, Mr Cohen exhuded a graciousness I have never seen before in a performer.  He was polite and kind and as humble as a 76 year old celebrated poet and singer can be.  He walked on the stage at 8:05pm with an amazing entourage of musicians and singers and they didn't stop until 11:30pm!

His voice (Listen!), is an amazing deep baritone.  The songs they played were often very similar to the recorded versions but they were far from boring.  Every note sung and played was deeper and fuller than I've ever heard on any of his albums.  He brought life to the music and the music to life with his voice and stage presence.  It brought tears to my eyes when he, so genuinely, thanked the audience for having him back to Victoria.  And how grateful he seemed to be creating music with the other artists that graced the stage.  I spent a lot of the concert wondering what it would be like to meet him.  How many stories he must have.

I've been to a few amazing concerts in the last couple years.  I think Leonard Cohen has come out on top.

Like a Bird on a Wire

Like a bird on the wire
Like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free

Like a worm on a hook
Like a knight from some old fashioned book
I have saved all my ribbons for thee

If I, if I have been unkind
I hope that you can just let it go by
If I, if I have been untrue
I hope you know it was never to you

Oh, like a baby, stillborn
Like a beast with his horn
I have torn everyone who reached out for me

But I swear by this song
And by all that I have done wrong
I will make it all up to thee

I saw a beggar leaning on his wooden crutch
He said to me, "You must not ask for so much"
And a pretty woman leaning in her darkened door
She cried to me, "Hey, why not ask for more?"

Oh, like a bird on the wire
Like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free

November 30, 2010

Day is Over

It's night.  The terrible day is over and in T minus 1 hour I am taking my LW out for his birthday to see Leonard Cohen!

I can't wait!


Lately, I feel as though just one thing after another is trying to knock me down.

I've developed allergies to something.  I randomly break out into hives.  They are ugly and terribly itchy.  I have been waiting for over 6 months to see an allergist.  I know I should just go to a Naturopath but that costs money.  Doctors in Canada are free.  My shoulder has been sore for months and months because of my job.  I tried to follow the proper steps and file a claim, hoping something would be done, something would change because nothing changes or is done in my office.  I was just told my claim most likely would not be accepted and my physio bill will be up to me to pay.  I'm having a major dissagreement with a friend and it's wearing me down.

I'm just tired.  Yet here I go challenging myself with this yoga championship.

All I want right now is big plate of pasta, Parmesan cheese, fresh bread, a few glasses of red wine, my bed and continuous episodes of Project Runway.

November 29, 2010

New Teacher

I practiced this morning in Jane's class.  It was her fourth class teaching, after coming back from San Diego.

It was great!  She has a really soothing voice, but it's firm. She was really inspiring and I can't wait to take more of her classes.

November 28, 2010

Whoa, Anxiety

This morning I was excited to get to the studio.  My plan was to get there early, practice Standing Head to Knee, and then stay after class and practice Standing Bow.  These are the first two poses that you must do in the competition and Ida had recommended that we work on those outside of class first.  All was fine before class and during class until I got to Triangle pose.  And then my brain started screaming at me.  Telling me I wasn't good enough to compete.  That I should lose 10 pounds before competing.  That I'm not strong enough.  That I'm not flexible enough.  That I'm not pretty enough.

Oh my god.  I was ready to scream because I knew none of this was true.  I pushed through.  But by the end of class I was defeated, dizzy and just wanted to go home.  I left the hot room wondering what I'd gotten myself into.  I felt completely out of my element and was ready to burst into tears.

On my way out I saw one of the teachers who had been practicing in class and who is also going to compete.  I spoke to her and she made me feel a million times better.

I came home and did 5 sets of Standing Head to Knee and 3 sets of Standing Bow.

I will do this.

November 27, 2010

Victoria Hatha Yoga Championships

My studio, Bikram Yoga Saanich, is hosting the first ever Victoria Hatha Yoga Championships.  They've decided to set this up for fun but to also encourage people to compete and prepare them for the Western Regional Championships that occur in Vancouver.

I'd had a few of the teachers approach me or call me out in class and tell me that I should compete.  I hummed and hawed about it and about as far as I got to making a commitment was saying I would go to the info session.

Well, I just got back from the info session.  The teachers were so inspiring.  Ida Ripley spoke to us as well as another man who has competed many times and Abbey, the owner of my studio.  They were so inspiring.  They told us that there was no need to be perfect.  That in the long run this was for us - to push ourselves a little further.

So, I committed to it.  I signed up for the competition.  I'm excited, nervous and excited!

I'll post more details about the competition soon!

Meanwhile, here is Ida competing.

November 26, 2010


"Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in."  
- Leonard Cohen, Anthem
My mum is very adept at placing lyrics to life experiences.  She pointed this lyric out to me this morning and that it relates to yoga.

I see these lines as an invocation to allow yourself to practice yoga.

Take what you have - all that you have - and embrace it without worrying about lack of perfection or faults.  You will find that you can break through whatever is holding you back and the light will shine for you - feed you.

November 25, 2010

Chocolate Tofu Mousse with a Walnut Crust

I love to cook.  I love trying new recipes.  And I especially enjoy cooking for people.  At the lovely Lala's request, here is my first ever recipe to be shared here at Yoga Daze.

Don't be turned off by the tofu.  It works - seriously - it's delicious and relatively good for you.  I rarely follow recipes to the T, I often adjust and change ingredients to suit my mood so feel free to play with the ingredients.

Chocolate Tofu Mousse with a Walnut Crust

Walnut Crust
3 cups raw walnuts
2 T brown sugar
3 T softened butter

Preheat oven to 325°.  Chop walnuts in a food processor until crumbly.  Add sugar and butter.  Pulse until well combined.  Press the walnut mixture into a greased 9 inch pie plate.  Bake crust in oven for about 10 minutes or until the edges are brown.  Allow to cool.

Chocolate Mousse

1 package Silken Firm tofu
1.5 cups milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup coffee (optional)
2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
1 tsp vanilla

Place the chocolate chips in a pot and melt the chocolate chips on a very low temperature so they don't burn.  Add the coffee, cinnamon and vanilla as the chocolate melts.  Meanwhile, place the tofu in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.  Pour the melted chocolate into the blender and blend with the tofu until creamy and well mixed.  Pour the mousse into the baked pie crust and chill.  Decorate the pie with fruit or serve with fruit on the side.


November 24, 2010


Seth Rodin wrote a great post today about where ideas come from.  This made me consider where my ideas come from.

  • Many ideas come to me in Savasana.  I don't force them, they just appear.
  • Some of my ideas come from my lovely man, and I only realize after I've written down my idea that his influence is all over it.
  • Ideas come to me in my dreams.
I do know I need to write more of my ideas down.  And to not be afraid to share them.

Where do your ideas come from?

November 23, 2010


So, yesterday, Victoria got snow.  This is a HUGE deal in the capital city of British Columbia.

For Canada, Victoria is located in a very Mediterranean type climate, and is very unlike the rest of the country.  We, usually, only have 3 seasons - Spring, Summer and Fall.  The main ecosystems that exist in this little pocket on the South East corner of Vancouver Island are Douglas fir and Garry oak which have dry soils and, traditionally, natural fire regimes that control the plant growth, which is only common right here in Victoria or in the interior of the province.

So, snow in November means chaos.  Utter chaos.  It was not predicted at all.  The city was not prepared for it and people panicked.  It is very comical actually - if you come from somewhere that gets snow regularly.  Victorians freak out!

By the time I left work yesterday - 4:00pm -  the parking lot was empty - everyone had gone home.  I drove home cautiously but the roads were better than they had been saying on the radio and most of the other drivers seemed to be coping rather well.  I got home - brought in my hummingbird feeder to thaw - locked the door and shut out the cold.

I did some at home boxing exercises and then had a warm shower.  I had warm leftover chili for dinner and warm rice pudding with almond milk for desert.  See the theme here? Warmth.  Victorians, also, don't do well with the cold.

I was in bed early and up in time to got to the 6 am yoga class this morning, but I decided to opt out and practice an Iyengar sequence instead.  I'm so glad I did because, after the fact, I found out that the 6 am class was canceled.

The day is still chilly but the sun is shinning today!  I love the snow and the sun.  There is something very refreshing and cleansing about seeing the sun dance off the snow drifts (small as they are).

November 22, 2010

Just a Couple Things

It's a cracklin' cold morning here in Victoria.  My hair is charged with static electricity.  My poor car struggled to start this morning.  The hot room was definitely not hot.  And I am wearing my toque in the office.

On another note - I have been spending so many days reading, writing and doing yoga, it's also all I've been dreaming about.  The past three nights have been filled with yoga.  As much as I've been learning this weekend, I'm a little tired of it.  I need a non yoga night!

I hope everyone's Monday goes smoothly.


November 21, 2010

Relax The Neck and Tongue

In B.K.S. Iyengar's book Light on Life, he discusses how we must relax into the poses - that we must relax and open as we hold the stretch, which in turn will also relax the brain.
 "You must relax the neck and head as well.  If you keep the back skin of the neck passive and the tongue soft, there is no tension in the brain.  This is silence in action, relaxation in action." 
Iyengar states that there is a connection between the tongue and the throat and the brain.  We must relax the tongue and the throat in order to relax the brain.

I went into class this morning with this in my mind.  I was going to try to keep my tongue and throat relaxed through my entire practice.  I have noticed, in the past, that my tongue holds a lot of tension when I practice.  I like to press it against the top of my mouth - especially in Standing Bow and Savasana.

It was humbling to have Iyengar's words in my mind as I went through my practice.  I often caught myself with my tongue tense, but took a moment to relax it.  I found the experience of exerting myself to my 100% in the Standing Series but relaxing my tongue and my throat to be almost laughable.  The teacher cannot see my tongue, she would not have known if it was tense, so I could have kept up with this action with no one being the wiser - except for me.  I feel like I've taken a step in a different direction with my practice today.  I'm not sure where yet - but I know I picked up Iyengar's book Light on Life two years ago and could not finish it.  Right now, I am loving every word that he has written - devouring it.  Our teachers tell us Yoga is a journey.  I think that, today, I actually realized what that means.

November 20, 2010

Yoga Sutra

"Aversion is that which dwells on pain."
From the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.
To me this means that what is painful to us we try to escape, to avoid, to runaway from.  We need to try to confront what is painful.  To try to work through the pain, whether it be physical or emotional. 

In my first 30 day challenge, my lower back became incredibly painful.  I remember being nearly in tears on my mat.  I was angry at the yoga because I thought the yoga was supposed to help my back, not hurt it.  After class I spoke to my teacher and he said that I needed to keep coming - that I needed to work with that pain.  I listened to his advice and within a week my back had returned to normal - more than likely it was stronger than it had been before.  Now, when my back twinges, I try to look at this as a sign that I am healing - that my back is balancing itself out - that my muscles are getting stronger and shifting because they no longer have to compensate.

The instructors in Bikram yoga often talk about how pain is good.  An asana should hurt, it should challenge us.  I have read that Bikram, himself, believes that in our Western culture we look for easy fixes - we want that magic pill.  To fix our backs, to help us lose weight, to keep us up all night to study for that exam.  There is no denying that we have all wanted that pill at one point in our lives.  But things that are hard teach us, help us grow, heal us.  So confront your pain next time you are in class.  Be aware of your pain.  Know the difference between excruciating pain and pain that you just don't want to deal with.  Try to deal with it.  And know that I will be in my yoga studio in Victoria trying to confront my pain.

November 19, 2010


Kombucha is a fermented tea that can be drunk for medicinal purposes.  You've probably seen people drinking it at your yoga studio as well as sitting on the shelves at many health food stores.  It kind of reminds me of apple cider.  It is super refreshing and I find it quenches my thirst like nothing else.

According to Wikipedia, the first recorded history of Kombucha began in Russia in the late 19th century where it was called "tea mushroom" or "mushroom tea".  This website says Kombucha originated in China during the Tsin Dynasty and was called the Tea of Immortality.  The drink, apparently, has many health benefits, such as aiding our digestive tracts and altering the pH balance of our large intestine.  It also contains many different acids that are good for the body as well as B vitamins.  However, none of these benefits have been proven by any Western scientists, so there are many skeptics out there.  I figure that if people have been consuming this beverage for so many years, there must be some truth to it.

I started making my own Kombucha a couple months ago.  My yoga friend, D, gave me a "baby" from her "mother".  A baby is other wise known as a S.C.O.B.Y (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast).  It is weird looking, kind of like a placenta - I know, gross.  It is very firm and mushroom like and smells like vinegar.  You add the S.C.O.B.Y to brewed black or green tea and sugar and allow it to ferment for 7 to 10 days.  The S.C.O.B.Y feeds off of the sugar while producing acids, such as acetic acid, malic acid and folic acid.  The fermenting tea must be kept in a dark space at room temperature.  The bacterial culture does not like to be exposed to light or cool temperatures, or it dies.  After it has fermented you pour the liquid into jars, I use Mason jars.  I fill them right to the top and then put them back in the cupboard for 5 to 10 days.  This seems to make the tea slightly fizzier, which I like.  I, then, keep the jars in the fridge and drink about a cup a day, usually after yoga class.

There are many different ways to make Kombucha.  The basic steps are the same, you can find them on the website above or at Seeds of Health.  I have used two different teas, always black.  And have tried different steeping times for the tea.  I like my Kombucha best when I steep the tea for only a few minutes, steeping it longer makes the Kombucha taste more like actual black tea, which I don't particularly care for.  With my next batch I am going to put a few slices of ginger in the jars and see how it tastes.

If you can get your hands on a S.C.O.B.Y, I highly recommend trying to make your own Kombucha.  It is very satisfying, extremely easy and it's always fun to drink something that you've made.

Me and my first batch of Kombucha.

My gorgeous Kombucha.

November 18, 2010

Philosophy of Yoga

"Yoga is a fine art and seeks to express the artist's abilities to the fullest possible extent.  While most artists need an instrument, such as a paintbrush or a violin, to express their art, the only instruments a yogi needs are his body and his mind.  The ancient sages compared yoga to a fruit tree.  Fom a single seed grow the roots, trunk, branches and leaves.  The leaves bring life-giving energy to the entrie tree, which then blossoms into flowers and sweet, luscious fruit.  Just as the fruit is the natural culmination of the tree, yoga, too, transforms darkness into light, ignorance into knowledge, knowledge into wisdom and wisdom into unalloyed peace and spiritual bliss."                                                                                                          - B.K.S Iyengar

I like the idea that I am an artist and that my body, mind and spirit are my pieces of art.  I've read somewhere, and I really wish I could find this quote, that people get the same sense of relaxation or meditation from painting, writing, creating and from yoga.  We are all artists in charge of creating our own masterpieces of our Self.

November 17, 2010

Yoga Nightmare

I had a yoga nightmare last night.

I walked into the studio and all seemed normal, I placed my mat on the floor and went and hung out in the reception area.  Everything seemed relatively normal except that it was very chaotic, kind of like a free day, when it's full of new students.  And the colours were different, the room was dark and full of velvet chairs. Even my mat and towel were dark maroon colours.

When it was 5 minutes to class I walked back into the studio with every intention of lying down for a few minutes before class started.  But it was utter chaos in there!  People running around, yelling, drinking.  Someone had kicked my mat and towel around so that I couldn't find it.  Finally my teacher walked in.  He tried to take control of the room to no avail.  Then another teacher came in to try to calm everyone down - it didn't work.  I was getting very frustrated by this point and left the room.

Back in the reception area, everything was calm - as it should be.  I chatted with my instructor for a bit and then walked outside to get into my truck and go home.  My truck was gone!  Someone had stolen it.  I went back into the studio completely panicked.  The instructors were trying to help me find it but it was gone, along with all of my stuff.  My new purse, my blog which was written on paper like a diary, everything. 

Here everything kind of goes blank, except that I was extremely anxious and scared.

And then suddenly my truck was back.  Just like that.  Nothing was missing from it.  Everything was at it should be, except for the fact that all of my blog pages were highlighted in bright yellow.  And all of the words highlighted were swear words.

Then I woke up.

I was paralyzed in my bed.  I could not move.  My heart was pounding.  I felt as though someone was watching me. Drinking water would not make the dream go away.  I turned on the light and read for a while  to try to get that awful feeling away from me.

I am a little unsure of where this dream came from.  All my yoga dreams to date have been relatively pleasant where I just dream about practicing the poses.  I am in the midst of making a very important decision regarding my yoga practice.  I am nervous and it will definitely put me completely out of my comfort zone.  I was probably just "voicing" my anxiety through this dream.

What kind of yoga dreams have you had?

November 16, 2010

Yoga and Boxing

For the past 3 weeks I have been taking a boxing class 2 nights a week.  It is a non-contact, beginners class where we do hard core cardio training and learn proper boxing techniques.  I was super nervous when I started this class.  I am not a fighter (except with my brothers when I was younger) and I had no idea what to expect.  It turns out that there is a large range of experience in the class, from people who train with the coach on a weekly basis to people like me who have never put on boxing gloves.

Now let me tell you, these guys who box a lot - who have amazing technique and have arms that look like they could crush me - are scary looking.  They are tough, sometimes angry looking, whizzes on the jump rope and they look as though they are wondering what the hell I am doing in their boxing class.  This, my friends, is a perfect example of how appearances can be deceiving.  These guys are friendly, helpful, they give me tips and there is absolutely no judgment in class.

Hmmm, sounds like something else I do on a regular basis - Yoga!  No judgment.

When I first started Bikram yoga, I felt similar to how I felt in my first boxing class.  The yoga studio was
full of all these beautiful people, practicing these amazing poses, I was intimidated and unsure of myself.  But everyone surprised me and I was embraced and taught by not only instructors but also by my fellow students.

Yoga and boxing are also both all about proper alignment and proper form.  You don't want to go into Standing Bow with a wobbly knee and a loose arm, just like you should not throw a punch without your feet planted correctly and your gloves up by your cheekbones.  And breathing!  It is so very important to breathe in boxing.  With every punch you exhale through your mouth, just like the final breathing exercise (Khapalbhati) where you exhale hard while pulling in your stomach.

You only get better at boxing with practice, by learning the technique, staying focused and keeping positive.  I never would have thought I would be where I am today when I started my Bikram yoga practice a year and a half ago.  But I got here through hard work and a consistent practice.  Who knows maybe I will be boxer one day.

And the kicker?  I sometimes have a hard time getting to boxing class, it's after work, it's dark out, I just want to go home and veg.  But every time - by the time I'm done - I feel amazing. I feel empowered. I feel like I could take over the world.  That is EXACTLY how I feel when I finish a yoga class.

I never ever would have thought that such a sport would have similarities to yoga.  A sport that is aggressive and bloody and often consists of broken noses also has a calmness and a grace about it.  When I walk out of boxing class I find one more thing that reminds of my yoga.  It's no wonder people fall in love with boxing.

November 15, 2010

A Monday Moan

I hate hate hate being told to work hard and then when I work hard it all fizzles out and I sit with nothing to do. 

Right now I am talking about work.  I drag my ass in to work on a rainy Monday morning after an extra long birthday weekend and I am told there is no work for me to do.  It frustrates me to no end.  The disorganization.  The lack of fore thought of how they are going to keep their employees busy through the weeks if they push them to do overtime for one week and then the work fizzles out and there is nothing left to do.  You want to pay me to sit here and type a blog post?  Fine.  But for fucks sake don't come and ask me to do over time next week because you couldn't get your shit together.

If I am asked to push hard through a yoga class, I'll do it.  I make up my mind before class that I am going to work hard, I get through class and then relax in Savasana at the end.  When I am expected to come to work on Monday morning, I try so hard to make up my mind that it will be a good day and go and do my job even though sometimes I want to rip my hair out.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that when I commit to something, be it a yoga class, a job, a relationship or a lunch date, I commit 100%.  No matter how much I may not want to be there or not want to deal with a situation, I am there for me or for you because I said I would be.

I really wish people, companies, bosses, friends would show me the same respect I try to show them.

I'm not saying I'm perfect, far from it.  But I try.  And I just wish more people would try!

November 14, 2010

The Day I Turned 29

Wow, it feels like forever since I've written or shared anything here.

I turned 29 yesterday.  It was a wonderful quiet day that centered around me;
  • LW gave me my presents before I left for morning yoga.  I felt like a kid again, opening presents in bed!  
  • Yoga class was challenging and hot but I loved every second of it.  My mum came and practiced right next to me.
  • I received lovely emails and phone calls from friends and family.
  • LW took me for lunch to one of my favourite restaurants.
  • I spent the rest of the rainy November day crocheting and watching Project Runway.
  • We ate Thai food for dinner
  • I was in bed by midnight.
I think that me of my early twenties may have found this birthday lame and boring but you know, I didn't.  I enjoyed myself, I felt calm and content.

The days prior to the 13th were full of lunches with friends, dinner with my parents and lunch with one of my brothers.  I'm on a health craze starting tomorrow! 

I've also decided that I'm going to do a 30 day blogging challenge (which was inspired by the lovely Hannah).  I've had a lot of stuff to say lately but not enough energy to actually get it out.  So today is day number 1!  Hopefully my writing will be a little more eloquent as the days go on.  Today is a purge.  I am setting my intention so that I must follow through.

Hope everyone is having a lovely Sunday.

October 22, 2010


1.  something that provides mirth or amusement: A picnic would be fun.
2.  enjoyment or playfulness: She's full of fun.

LW always says to me when I get up to go to yoga in the morning, "Have fun, (insert pet name here)!".

I can't decide if I would call my yoga, this yoga, fun.  

Some days are definitely not!  The moment I walk into the room I want to run away screaming, "No! I don't want to do this today!".   I suffer, I struggle, I drip with sweat and exhaustion.  My muscles ache, I fall out of poses continuously, my brain will not leave me alone, shut up and let me practice.  I leave class spent.  I am exhausted, my arms shake, my eyes won't focus and I have to sit in my puddle of sweat before I have the energy to struggle into my clothes and drag my exhausted ass home.

Other days I enjoy, I love.  The yoga is challenging, it brings me hope, it gives me confidence, it allows me to be me, 100% completely.  I stretch and pull my muscles to their maximum.  I have compassion for myself when I fall out of Standing Bow.  Spine Strengthening Series is fluid and I rejoice in what my spine is capable of.  Savasana is peaceful, quiet, just the way it should be.  I simply sip my water, just to wet my lips.  I walk out of class with a bounce in my step, a calmness about me, a slight smile on my lips, ready to conquer the world.

So fun?  Maybe not in the exact definition of the word.  But the yoga does amuse me, after the fact.  The way I ponder it, the way in which it often consumes the majority of my thoughts.  And I definitely get enjoyment from my practice.  Not necessarily during class, but there is undeniable pleasure after wards.  So yes!  Yes, I guess I must say that my yoga is fun! 

October 14, 2010

Yoga Talk

One of the best things about practicing yoga with my Mum is the amazing conversations we have about the yoga.

Today we were talking about waking up in the morning for that 6am class.  It's gotten a lot harder these days, as the days get colder and darker.

"I guess getting up for yoga in the morning is like Balancing Stick.  You have to make up your mind that you're going to do it immediately."

Have I mentioned how proud I am?                        

October 7, 2010

Throat Choked Feeling

You know that throat choked sensation you get in Standing Seperate Leg Forehead to Knee(Dandayamana-Bibhaktapada-Janushiransana) pose?  That feeling that makes you feel like you can't breathe?  That sensation that there is something wrapped tightly around your neck ready to choke every bit of life out of you?  Ok, maybe you don't.  But this is how I feel in this pose. 

I've had an issue with my neck and my throat for as long as I can remember.  I fall asleep with a hand up by my neck, just in case some psychopathic killer sneaks into my house in the middle of the night and tries to choke me.  I cannot fall asleep wearing necklaces.  Turtleneck sweaters freak me out and make me feel as though I'm going to suffocate.  Too much neck nuzzling makes me jumpy and ticklish.

When I first started practicing Iyengar yoga, 3 years ago, Savasana was the most difficult pose for me.  Lying still at the end of class for 5 minutes was nearly impossible.  I always felt as though some unseen force was pressing down on my throat.  It would get heavier and heavier until I would have to reach up with my hand and rub my throat.  One day I pushed through the feeling.  I lay there and concentrated on my breath and allowed the weight to come across my neck and just as I thought I was going to be suffacated by this unseen force, it melted off my skin like warm wax.  And from that point I rarely felt uncomfortable or panic when I lay in Savasana or went to sleep at night.

Until this week.

Suddenly, my favourite pose, Savasana, has become hell.  That feeling of creeping weight is back.  I stare at the ceiling and try to focus only on my breath.  It doesn't work.  I reach up and cup my hand around my neck just to make sure there is nothing there.

What the hell is this????

Does it have something to do with my throat chakra?  Some kind of connection with my growth in expressing myself since I've started Bikram yoga?  Is it to do with my thyroid gland and the fact that my metabolism and hormones are becoming more regular?  Is this the same kind of reaction that I go through with, for example, the Spine Strengthening Series?  Where for periods I love the poses, I am strong and willing and able and then this switches and I am in hate with every pose and I struggle both mentally and physically?

I really have no idea and am at a bit of a loss for why I have this affliction with my throat and my neck.  But as most of the yoga instructors say, "If you are struggling, that's a good thing!  It means your body is changing." So I'll take this in stride.  But if anyone has ever experienced this or has any opinion on why this would be happening, please share!

October 2, 2010


I walked into class this morning with doubt in my step.  I had taken 4 days out of my practice for our trip to Vancouver.  While my body was feeling great, my mind was suffering with the lack of yoga.  I'd been feeling sad, down in the dumps, insecure for the past day.  I had been having dreams where all of my friends found me highly annoying.

As I stood on my mat and stared back at my reflection, I felt ok.  At the first deep inhale of Pranayama, I started to feel like my self again.  My practice was strong, solid.  My mind remained calm and cool.  I relished the sweat that poured down my body.  I felt as though I was back.

I know I've said this before, but I really don't believe I could live without this practice in my life.  It grounds me, helps me find my peace and keeps me somewhat sane.

October 1, 2010

From The Outside In To The Inside Out

Our yoga poses, our yoga breath helps us to heal ourselves.  Physically, mentally, this is what we are doing when we walk into that hot room.  Whether it be a bad knee, a sore back or a broken heart.  We work from the outside with the asanas to heal our insides which then help fix and realize more that is going on on the outside.  When we stretch and breathe and grimace and sweat.  We are working our bodies 100% from the outside to the inside and back again.  Our organs are getting shifted around.  They are getting compressed, stretched and re organized inside our bodies.  Our muscles are getting the attention they deserve.  They are being pushed to their maximum.  They are changing, building, stretching.  Our mind is learning to be still.  To stay quiet, to find a peace it rarely gets to experience.

Last night I took this thought of fixing our insides to my closet and my dresser.

From the outside, most things in my house look relatively organized, tidy and clean.  This is not the case when you actually open my drawers and my closet.  Clothes, literally, spring out at you in a tangle of unfolded fabric. My winter sweaters topple from the top shelf of the closet and I have to shove them back in before they hit the floor.  The hangers in my closet are burdened, not by one shirt or blouse, but sometimes by two or three.  Yoga clothes spill out of a drawer.  There are t-shirts deeply buried and long forgotten.

I took a deep breath, gathered my strength and proceeded to sort, fold, discard and organize my clothes.  I found dresses I bought two years ago that have never been worn, a yoga top I thought I had lost, shirts that made me shake my head and wonder why I bought them to begin with.  I folded those lovely warm sweaters neatly, getting them ready to quickly pull out as the days get cooler.  I hung my summer dresses to the back of the closet and the fall dresses closer to the front.  I folded my pants neatly and made a pile that need to be mended.  And I got rid of a bag of clothes - clothes I had not worn in a year.

When I was finished I was not sweaty, I was not exhausted, I was not dying for a huge glass of cold water but I felt refreshed, I felt clean, I felt like I had just walked out of a yoga class with a great sense of accomplishment.

My goal is to keep those drawers tidy, to keep my closet organized, to keep the hidden nooks and crannies of my little sanctuary, clean and well looked after, just as I do with my body when I enter my yoga class.

September 30, 2010

Take a Moment

Everywhere you look these days you see screens.  Everywhere!  Giant televisions, computers, IPods, IPhones, Blackberrys.  It is nearly impossible to avoid some sort of high tech device that allows you to snap photos, text message, update your Facebook page or take a video clip.  There seems to be this constant need, addiction, requirement, to be constantly plugged in, to be updating everyone about your whereabouts, to be snapping pictures or recording moments.  What ever happened to just being in the moment?  To just enjoying the moment as it happens?

LW and I took a mid week weekend on Tuesday.  We hopped off the island over to Vancouver for the night to see one of our favourite bands, The Arcade Fire.  I forgot my cell at home plugged into the wall, charging and LW, well, he doesn't own one.  He doesn't like being readily available.  We were supposed to meet up with a friend and while it took a little more effort to find a pay phone to call him and for about an hour I felt a little lost, I found it really relaxing not to have my phone or a clock with me.  And it was wonderful that it was just us and no one could interrupt our time - it  truly made it our little trip.

Back to the screens.  We arrived at the venue for the show a little early and were sitting in our seats watching the people filing in.  Tons of people with their drinks, their newly purchased Arcade Fire t-shirts, their jackets over their arms, purses and of course their bloody phones.  Everywhere we turned there were screens glowing that eerie light.  All around the stadium.  There was a family of four a few rows in front of us and the mother and daughter could not stop looking at their IPhones or whatever they were.  Looking at pictures they'd taken, or text messaging or reading emails.  At one point, we watched the husband and wife stare at the time on her phone for 2 minutes - just staring at these bright red numbers.

I do not understand this, AT ALL.  There is so much going on around you at any given moment during the day - why oh why is a tiny little screen in your hand more interesting than the hundreds of people milling around you?  Don't get me wrong, I understand that you may be meeting someone and need to get in touch.  But I do not understand how the world - the actual living, breathing, changing world - is not captivating enough to hold your attention for a half hour.

In yoga, we are told to focus on the moment, to BE in the moment.  Forget what you have to do, what you forgot to do and where you need to be.  Just exist. 

I think we need to this more in our everyday lives, as well.  Enjoy what's going on around you!  Enjoy watching the kids with their parents at a music show.  Admire the pretty girl sitting by herself.  Look at people's fashion style and sense.  You can't find this life on a screen in the palm of your hand.  You can look for it but I guarantee you, it won't feel the same.

September 24, 2010


Wine - Argentinian Malbec. Music - Pink Floyd. Dinner - Roasted Veggies and Burgers. Friday Night - I don't have to do anything I don't want to do.

It's the simple things.

September 22, 2010

Security Blankets

As I lay in two minute savasana this morning, my mind drifted to how sad I would be if this one particular teacher moved on.  I find him comforting, down to earth and very approachable.  He is a constant for 2 hours out of my week and it helps keep me grounded.  This thought moved on to feeling the same way about the entire studio.  I often wonder how I existed without this studio in my life.  How I got through rough days before the hot room, the yoga practice and the instructors were there to open their arms to me.  The morning after I found out my Oma had passed away, I went to yoga.  It grounded me for that 90 minutes, it allowed me to take a break from my thoughts, my grief and it helped me just be in my moment.

I have other security blankets in my life: 

My "Didi", my baby blanket that my wonderful Auntie made me.  Didi moved out with me for the first time when I was 18, travelled around Europe with me, went to college with me, was my pillow for a year and collected many of my tears.  I still have Didi and I always will.

The movie, Almost Famous, is my most favourite of movies.  I don't know if it is the characters, the music, the
story, it is probably all of it combined but it has calmed me down many times.  When I've been too hung over to sleep I skip to my favourite scenes.  When I lived in a basement suite in a hundred year old house that had mice and rats, it accompanied me while I lay wide awake at night with all the lights on, listening to creatures running around in my ceiling and behind my walls.  I can nearly recite every line and have made my own soundtrack of the songs that were left out on the official movie soundtrack.  And somehow in a very round about way, I can totally relate to the character, Penny Laine.

I have been blind as a bat for as long as I can remember and would not be able to survive without my glasses.  I got my first pair when I was in grade one.  I still remember putting them on and feeling sick to my stomach.  The world suddenly looked very close.  There were very definite lines between curbs on the side walk and the road.  It took me a long time to get used to having my glasses, to being able to see properly.  I would often forget them and would have to struggle through my school day.  Now I am nearly 29, and I am always concerned that I will forget them or lose them.  When I pack to go away, they come with me in my purse.  I have extra contacts with me all the time and when I worked in the bush I would carry an old pair of glasses and extra contact lenses with me.  In a place unfamiliar to me I would have a horrible time finding my way.  My glasses and contact lenses save my life every day.

The house I didn't grow up in.  When I lived in Europe, my parents built a new house and moved out of the one I spent all my childhood years in.  For whatever reason it didn't bother me and when I walked into their new house for the first time I knew why, it felt just like home.  The warm comforting smell was the same.  The paintings were there, the Indonesian artifacts from my Opa, the couches we had sent from Holland, photos of the family.  There were new things too, the Dutch Delft tiles in the kitchen, the new paintings, new furniture.  I lived in that house for a few months here and there, it was never mine, there are no childhood memories that exist in the corners, they only exist in our memories, but when I walk into that home, I feel safe.

What are your security blankets?

September 18, 2010

Weight of the World

"I got my feet knocked off the ground
I got my head knocked off my feet
I tried to swallow all the world
And now I've gotten in too deep"

Patrick Watson - Weight of the World

This is how I feel when I am a complete wreck in class.  I feel as though I've taken on so much, that I've swallowed my yoga, my emotions, my struggles and am gasping for air. 

Please enjoy some beautiful Canadian music.  One of my most favourite artists, Patrick Watson.

September 13, 2010

Blissful Weekend

This weekend was full of gasps, laughs, giggles, loves, sweat and pinball.

Friday night, LW and I went to Cirque du Soleil's Alegria.  It was amazing and beautiful.  The clowns made me laugh.  The trapeze artists made my stomach turn with all their flips.  The contortionist ladies made my jaw drop, as they did backward bends I would not have thought possible.  It was truly money well spent.

Saturday morning I practiced yoga with a room full of newbies.  It was a free weekend at my yoga studio and I love practicing with Bikram virgins.  There's something exciting about being a part of a class where things don't go smoothly, where people leave the room and talk.  It tests your limits.  It wasn't as packed as some other free weekends I've been to but I would have to say more than half of the class had never practiced before.  I was up front and center and even though I felt strong, I was dizzy.  I kept getting white
spots in my vision and had to kneel down quite a few times in the standing series.  I have not sweat that
much in the longest time!  This rain we've been getting lately has made the studio much juicier.  I practically
fell on my head getting up after class from the excess sweat on my towel.

After I'd recovered from class, we wandered around downtown Victoria with our favourite little buddy.  He is 7 and was so very excited to come with us on our wanderings around town.  We went to the library, a toy store, a coffee shop where buddy boy had steamed milk with vanilla (he knew exactly what he wanted) and LW and I had americanos.  We, then, traipsed off to this video store that has old school arcade games.  There was frogger, pac-man and many more that I would have to get LW to name for you because one thing I am not is a video game connoiseur.  We played pinball, my favourite of all games.  It lasts just long enough to be fun but not too long so that it loses my attention.  It truly warmed my heart to spend the day with LW and his best buddy.

That night it started raining, and it rained and it rained and it rained.  It was the perfect excuse to stay in bed all morning Sunday.  To lay on the couch and drink coffee and watch The Sopranos.  To go out for a late breakfast when the rain had turned to a drizzle and then to come home again and cuddle back on the couch and watch more of The Sopranos.

I love these weekends.  These days that are completely mine.  These days that leave me feeling warm and fuzzy inside.

September 8, 2010


I thought about many different insightful things I could write today, but you know, none of them seemed natural.  I thought of ways I could say this eloquently, poetically, with a song or a picture.  Nothing worked.  So I'll just say it.

I'm am so bloody happy to be apart of this community of yoga bloggers.  I love that you read my blog and comment and support.  I love how I feel I can do the same with all of you.  I love that I feel as though there are people around the world who empathize and sympathize and laugh and cry along with me - even though I've never met you.

Thank you, for reading and supporting.  It always means a lot.

September 3, 2010

Happy Friday!

I've taken a new spin on my outlook of life right now.  I'm going to be positive. 

I am a firm believer that everything I have chosen to do in my life has taught me something.  All my experiences, my choices have helped me grow to become the woman I am today.  All of my friends, lovers and strangers that have crossed my path have given me a little something, just as I have given them a little something.  Every breath of air that I breathe, sip of water that I take, yoga pose that I practice brings me closer to something.  I don't know what - but this something is forward.  Forward towards me being who I truly am - discovering the many different sides, crevices, caves and valleys that I have. 

I had a rough go of it for awhile.  I'd forgotten this belief, this feeling that I have.  Mainly being unsatisfied in my job - my career.  I let it get to me.  To consume all of my thoughts.  No more!  I am on the look out for a more challenging path.  Something will come.  My feelers are out there and they are generally pretty good at finding what I want - or what I think I want.

So in the meantime I am going to look forward to this well deserved long weekend.  To the sleep ins with my lovely.  To dinner with my brother and his girlfriend.  To an afternoon with my BFF.  To a Saturday morning yoga class, coming home and not having to go anywhere.  To just relaxing.

Happy Friday everyone!

August 26, 2010

Those Ah Ha Moments

I haven't really had an "ah ha" moment in my yoga in a while.  I am conscious of what I need to work on, what part of body needs an extra lift or stretch.  But those moments when you first start your practice and a teacher helps you figure out a part of a pose that you've never quite gotten.  Those moments are priceless and the time between them have become longer for me lately.

Luckily, I have had 3 classes this week where a relatively new student has had one or two "ah ha"s in class.  Listening to the voice of the instructor go extra calm and explain a pose specifically to them or walk over to the student and get down on the floor next to them and show them how to get into the posture.  This always leaves me lying in Savasana with a grin on my face and a special moment of peace.  Especially when you hear the student make a calm sigh or a whispered thank you.  And you can hear that the light bulb has switched on.  That suddenly their practice seems brighter, that they've moved a step forward and they can see now why this yoga is so absolutely amazing.

This is why I want to teach.  One day.  Yoga or maybe something else.  But something that I love just as much as the student that I would be teaching.  I want to feel that emotion that a teacher must feel when their student makes a breakthrough - no matter how small or how large.  I want to guide.  I want to inspire and BE INSPIRED.

This will come.  One day.  I guess, right now, I just feel privileged to be apart of my fellow yogis moments.  And am very happy to share my own.

August 20, 2010

A Friday Reflection

So, for some reason, I had it in my pretty little head that once I'd finished a year of yoga I would never have a difficult class again.  I felt like I had crossed some imaginary finish line.  I'd won the race.  I received the medal.  I had come over the peak.

Boy, was I ever wrong.

I have had more difficult classes in the last 3 months than I ever had in my first year of practice.  I am discovering new muscles every day.  One day I can do Standing Head to Knee, both sets, no problem.  The next, I can barely find my balance and my muscles are so very sore.  Oh man, and my mental state.  I am all over the bloody map.  Some days I'm happy as a pig in shit to be in the hot juicy room.  I find my peace easily.  I can focus, stay calm, breathe through my practice.  Other days, get me the hell out of there.  I curse the teacher, I curse my absolute dedication to my practice, I get so annoyed when I can't hold a pose I was able to hold the other day.

I like to believe that this is me getting deeper into my practice.  Discovering new things about myself - mentally, emotionally and physically.  That I am changing so much from the inside out that sometimes my brain and my body cannot keep up.

But whatever the reason for all these peaks and valleys - my yoga is my life saver.

August 9, 2010

Time to Switch It Up

Friday, I went to an afternoon class.  I don't normally practice in the evenings or the afternoons because I like the freedom of the morning class.  I like how it wakes me up, how it energizes me and how I don't have to be conscious of when I eat.  I decided to do this afternoon class because I needed a change and because one of my favourite teachers was teaching.  I used to frequent her classes when I first started practicing.  She is tough but compassionate.  There in no nonsense when she teaches - no excessive water drinking, no leaving the room, no lying down.  She is always giving little bits of personal wisdom through the class, with no judgment.  And I find, in her class, I want to do my best - for myself.  She gives me the drive to be the best I can be for me not for the instructor, not for my friend practicing beside me.  I was also looking forward for someone to look at my practice with fresh eyes and to give me corrections that sometimes aren't seen by the instructors that see me weekly.

My 90 minutes of yoga was pretty basic.  But I definitely noticed differences from practicing in the morning:
- My balance was off.
- My tongue would not sit still in my mouth.  I was constantly pressing it along the roof of my mouth whenever I was struggling in a pose.  On the outside I looked calm but my tongue was holding a lot of tension.
- I was able to go deeper into poses but I tired more quickly.
- I had to take a pee break after the spine strengthening series.  I hate having to pee during class, it changes the practice for me.  I'll need to remember not to drink as much water during the day.

I also got some great tips:
- 3rd part of Half Moon, my legs are locked and I am always trying to touch my elbows together.  I was told to move my armpits closer to my shins which brought my chest closer and then got my elbows closer together.
- Locust pose, I need to really push my body weight into my shoulders and arms.  And to flex my triceps! 
- And as always, Standing Head to Knee, KICK, KICK, KICK!!!

I laid in Savasana after class for about 10 minutes, which I never have time to do first thing in the morning.  It was heaven.  But as soon as I left the room I felt nauseous and bloated.  I couldn't decide if this was because I hadn't eaten since 11:30 am and it was 5:30 pm or whether my body had just gone through an amazing detox.  I drank water and had to sit on the benches for a good fifteen minutes before my shaking stopped and I could get into the change rooms.  I got home, dumped everything on the floor and laid on my bed.

I think that this is something I need to do once a week, once a month - switch it up, challenge myself.

August 8, 2010


I stand on the outsides of my feet.

Sounds strange, doesn't it?

I roll all my weight onto the outsides of my feet.  When I brush my teeth.  When I do the dishes.  When I blow dry my hair.  When I wait for the bus.  Basically whenever I stand still.

I started noticing this after my private class with Ida.  She pointed out that I really need to focus on spreading my weight across my feet.  In Standing Head to Knee, I almost always fall out because my feet roll to the outside.  In Head to Knee Pose with Stretching, the outside of my feet are pushed out more than the big toe side.

So, what am I doing about this?  Well, I've started consciously pushing all corners of my feet into the ground.  When I'm in the shower.  When I'm at my desk.  When I blow dry my hair.  When I brush my teeth.

It's working.  I've been able to keep my feet fully planted on my mat in Standing Head to Knee.  I roll my weight slightly forward so that my heels aren't supporting all of my weight.  Oh, man, do I notice a difference.  I am now feeling muscles on the outsides of my calves that run up the outside of my legs up to my butt.  I can hold the pose for the full minute, but I am not where I used to be.  I can kick out for a few seconds on the first set but I am using so many new muscles that I get tired really quickly.  On the second set I am able to kick out for the entire 30 seconds - most of the time.

At first this step backward in the posture bothered me.  I wasn't holding it as long.  I couldn't kick out.  It was frustrating and annoying.  Now, I realize that my alignment wasn't correct.  I was not practicing the posture 100% correct. 

It is amazing how this realization not only has helped me fix the physical (the asana) part of my yoga practice but to also work on the mental part my practice.  I have learned a new compassion for my self.  For my being.  For my mistakes and for my strengths.  This is my yoga.

July 29, 2010

Gotta Love Those Meltdowns

Since my meltdown at yoga on Tuesday, I feel at peace.  I feel as though it's all OK.  I feel as though it's a waste of my time to stress so much, a waste of my energy to be angry at people and things I can't control.  I am still trying to make changes in my career but I am not stressing anymore.

Gotta love those meltdowns.

July 27, 2010

If you can, you must! But today I won't!

We've all heard the teachers say, "If you can, YOU MUST!".  But what if you just can't?

This morning, I lay on my sweaty mat in a heap of tears.  My teacher had corrected me on Seperate Leg Head To Knee and I got so frustrated because no one else has ever pointed out to me that my hips are out of line.  I didn't understand because I often get,"good job with your hips in line, Juliana!"  I had no idea what she was talking about. Her words made absolutely no sense to me. 

Now, in a normal situation - when I am emotionally stable - when I haven't had a nightmare a few hours previously - when I am not losing my voice - when I have not been dealing with allergic reactions to who knows what - I would have filed the teacher's comment away, made a mental note and asked after class.

Not today.  Nope, I burst into tears. Quiet tears, mind you.  But I felt my emotions start to bubble severely out of control.  I didnt' give a crap about Tree or Toe Stand - I just wanted on the floor.  But the floor did nothing to ground me.  My tears just started pouring.  I lay there during the Spine Strengthening Series with my arm over my face letting my tears collect in the pools of my sweat.  I kept thinking to myself - I can do this.  Physically I know I can do this.  I can lift my legs.  I can tilt my head back.  I can lift my whole body off the floor.  Mentally, there was no bloody way. 

So I said to myself, "Fuck this yoga shit." and walked out of class.  I wrapped myself in my towel, collapsed onto the change room floor and cried giant helpless tears.  I, then, gathered myself up and got my tired emotionally wrung out body home to start my day.  I thought I would feel exhausted all day but so far so good.

Maybe those tears on the mat were more effective than the tears I have been crying lately.  Maybe those sweaty tears have more meaning to me and will help me make the changes I need to make.  Maybe I have been trying to be so in control in everything in my life that I had to be out of control in my yoga to realize that it's OK to be a little confused, to be a little lost, to not be perfect.

And back I will go tomorrow.  And I will ask the teacher before class to watch my hips for me.  And if I have to cry again, I will.  But I really don't want to because I really don't like leaving the hot room...

July 14, 2010


Well, it’s been a long time since I’ve shown my face around here.  I’ve been having a rough go of it and the thought of writing about my yoga was more than I could handle.

The hot room has been hotter than any kind of hell I can imagine.  My muscles have been screaming – hips, calves, lower back, shoulders.  I have burst into tears a few times in the last three weeks.  Pranayama Deep Breathing was more like Pranayama Gasp For What Little Air You Can.  I’ve sat out Stick, Triangle and the entire Spine Strengthening Series.  I’ve been hiding in the far back corner of the room.  My brain would not shut off.   I had cut my practice back from 5 – 6 days a week to 3. 

And then one morning I asked a teacher about my Pranayama.  It was killing me that I could not breathe.  All he said was, “Fake it.”  I know.  Not what you’d expect to hear, right?  But you know what?  It gave me permission to just accept my practice.  To accept myself and yep, to fake it if I’m really having a hard time and feel like I want to scream and cry and fall down on my mat.

And now?  I’m back , baby!  I feel strong.  I feel on fire.  I still have screaming muscles.  I am still tired some mornings.  The room is still hot.  But I’ve found myself again.  I can look at my own eyes in the mirror again.  I like what I see and am happy with me and the simple fact that I am there, in the room.

June 11, 2010


Yesterday, 6 am class, I was emotionally spent.  First thing in the morning I was exhausted.  I have spent the last month thinking about June 10th, the day my Oma passed.  I was unable to use my yoga wisdom and live in the moment, I remembered, I cried, I wrote, I laid in bed not wanting to get out and I lived my everyday life with this emotional weight hanging over me.

Yesterday, the day I had been anticipating finally arrived.  I walked into class and struggled.  My mind was not in the room.  My mind wanted to cry, to scream, to talk, to laugh.  I sweated and did the poses.  I pushed hard in Standing Bow, I sat out a set of Triangle, I had a hard time breathing during Separate Leg Head to Knee.  When I landed on the floor, panting, desperately wanting class to be over, I was done – over done.

Yesterday, I truly understood how your mind can affect your physical power.  Full Locust - the pose where you lie on your stomach, arms stretched to the sides, legs and hips tight and you lift your entire body off the floor using only the strength of your middle back -  is difficult at the best of times.  Finding that place in your brain that will trigger those nerves and muscles and tendons in your middle back – a part of our body that we rarely use to its full potential -  to lift your arms, legs, chest, head off the floor like an airplane.  I could not even think about trying to find that part in my mind that would access the nerves in my brain to connect to my middle back to lift, even, my arms off the floor.  I just lay there.  Body not moving.  Done.

Yesterday is now over.  I had a cuddle, a cry, a yoga class and a good sleep.  I spoke to my Dad, who made me feel better.  Today is a new day.  It is Friday.  I get to go home and have a glass of wine.  I have a weekend of yoga and love and comfort ahead of me.  And I leave the mourning behind me.  I live in the moment.  I live with happiness, with wonderful memories, and with no expectations or anticipations.  At least for today.  :-)

May 26, 2010

It's My Turn

I left the room today.  For the first time ever.  It wasn't overly hot.  It wasn't terribly crowded.  I just felt sick.  I was afraid I was going to puke all over my mat.  But I digress.

My day didn't start out too well.  I tossed and turned all night.  I could not get comfortable.  As I was peeing in the middle of the night I had to kill a spider that was trying to climb up my feet.  I read a book until 5 in the morning because I felt so horrible for murdering the poor spider.  I finally fell asleep only to be woken by my alarm at 5:30 for yoga.  I turned it off and promptly fell back into a deep slumber, waking half an hour later just as my yoga class began.

I decided I would take advantage of the situation - get to work early - finish early and be home in time to take the 3:45pm class.  I was looking forward to it - to switching up my classes and still being home in time to enjoy my evening.  The work day went well until I got pulled into office after office for performance reviews and training.  It wasn't until after 1:00pm that I was able to eat my lunch - leftover sesame noodles and salmon from last night's dinner.  I KNEW it was too late to eat!  But:
1) My home cooked noodles are so good, I did not want to pass them up and
2) All I'd eaten was yogurt and berries all day and I figured I should get some sustenance.
Yep, it really wasn't such a good idea.

I went to class.  I felt great.  I rocked the standing series.  I got some great tips on Standing Bow.  (I keep falling forward in the posture and my teacher suggested not coming down so far and to focus more on the backward bend and the kick.)  I felt like a super hero in Triangle and super strong in Balancing Stick.  Then we hit the floor.  Not what I expected at all!

Have you ever felt sick in Wind Removing pose???  Me?  Never!  I could barely pull my knee to my shoulder.  The nausea crept in.  My sense of smell intensified.  Rotting fruit.  Stale sweat.  Overly sweet perfume.  Farts.  Dirty towels.  These smells wafted over me in lovely waves broken up by an occasional bout of fresh air that I would gulp down greedily.  I sat out Cobra.  My insides were too rocky to lie on my stomach.  I attempted Half Locust.  And then promptly rolled over onto my back for the rest of the poses.  The scents kept getting worse.  As the class got to Fixed Firm pose I just looked at my teacher.
"Go!", she said. "If you're leaving, Juliana, I know it's for a good reason.  Think about what you ate!"  Oh, had I already thought about my food and regretted every yummy morsel I'd placed in my mouth only 2 and a half short hours before.
"You'll be back tomorrow, right?"  I answered with a firm, "Of course."

I will be back tomorrow.  This was a first for me.  It may not be the last.  But I know now that leftover yummy sesame noodles are not a good thing to eat before class.

What about you?  Can you eat before class?

May 25, 2010

End of the Line

Please listen.
This song has been my gospel lately.
Tom Petty and the Traveling Wilburys have got it right.
Because It's All Right.

May 24, 2010

Because I Can

I give myself permission to...

... wear the same clothes 2 days in a row because they are my favourite jeans and my favourite top
... get angry for no reason
... feel ashamed for being a part of this human race
... love my people to no end, with all their beauty and all their faults
... wear a bra top and short shorts to yoga, even though I don't have a "perfect" body
... turn on the Traveling Wilburys Volume I and sing the entire album out loud
... drink red wine on a Sunday at 2 in the afternoon
...go to yoga in the morning and then crawl back into bed for a few hours
... watch Almost Famous whenever I need some comfort
... still sleep with my baby blanket, "Didi", that my most favourite auntie made me
... want to change my career, again
... eat 2 big bowls of caramel ice cream with my love and not feel guilty about it
... accept and acknowledge compliments given me, gracefully
... forgive myself

Thanks to Just a Titch  and Caffeinate Me for inspiring this post.

May 21, 2010

Yoga Has Changed My Life

Bikram yoga has changed my life in so many ways.  Some of them I cannot explain and some of them I can.

  • I speak my mind more often.  If something is bothering, I try to confront the problem instead of ignoring it or bottling it up.  Granted, it doesn't always work but I'm much better at this. 
  • I have been able to quit smoking.  I don’t ever really want one anymore. It’s nearly been 3 months!  I do get the occasional craving for the ritual of a cigarette.  For the inhale and the exhale.  For the igniting of the flame.  But I find this in class every day.
  • I am more aware of my posture when I sit at my desk.  I try to sit up straight.  If I catch myself slouching I sit up - shoulders back - feet on the floor - head and neck aligned.
  • My weak ankle that used to always roll is strong again.  My ankle used to roll at the most random times.  I would fall over.  I would be scared to hike.  I now notice a strength in it that I have not had since I was 15.
  • I have muscles in my back that I never knew existed.  I can flex muscles in my back that, I swear, were never there before.
  • I have toned my abdominal area.  It is not perfect.  I still have wiggly bits but I am pleased with the results.
  • My hair has gotten thicker.  Seriously.  I have very fine, blonde hair.  It is not nearly as fine as it used to be.  I would like it if some curls would start to form.
  • I have more energy.  I only need 7 hours of sleep a night instead of my what used to be usual 9 hours.  My friends call me grandma.  Not because I crochet or sew but because I used to have to be in bed my 9:00 pm in order to get up for my 6:00 am class.  Now I can stay up as late as 11:00pm and be ok!
  • I have more confidence about my physical appearance.  I think I am pretty good looking lady.  I don't mind my curves.  I like my cleavage.  I love my legs and newly found cheek bones.
  • I feel as though I am truly capable of anything.  Anything at all.  If I put my mind to something and I want it bad enough I can accomplish anything.

May 20, 2010

One Year!

Today I celebrate one full year of Bikram yoga practice!  I started on May the 20th, 2009, shortly after returning from my whirlwind trip to Europe.  I went to the 7:45 pm class with 2 friends.  I was so nervous.  I had practiced yoga before but the heat - the heat scared the crap out of me.

I was prepared.  I knew not to eat at least 3 hours before class.  I had kept myself hydrated all day.  I had my mat, my two towels and my brand new vacuum sealed, double walled stainless steel water bottle filled with ice and water.  I was ready to take on this yoga.

I laid my mat down in the back right hand corner.  I still practice on the right side of the room, except I now stick closer to the front. I don't remember much of the standing series.  I think I got through it OK.  Some of the poses were familiar to me.  And I knew how to focus on my breath and my alignment from my Iyengar yoga practice.

It was when we hit the floor series that I started panicking.  The poses felt great.  But I HATED lying down in Savasana and then getting up again.  And again.  And again.  Just as I was starting to get comfortable, the instructor would say, "Heel, toes together.  Feet flexed.  Arms over your head."  Gah!  I was exhausted.  I remember thinking to myself that all of these people in the room with me were crazy, bonkers, out of their minds.  How in the hell could they stand this horrible heat, this awful sweat?  How could they lay STILL through all of this?

I managed to get through the entire class.  I didn't leave the room.  I did attempt every pose but it was a hellish experience.  When I walked out of class one my friends pointed out to me that I was pale.  Now if you know me you know that I am blond, blue-eyed, fair skinned with the uncanny ability to go bright red with any form of heat or exercise - that told me I had worked bloody hard.

I was back the next day.  And the next.  And the next.  I was hooked.  I constantly asked questions.  Any spare moment I had I was reading up on the yoga practice.  Now - here I am one year into my life long practice - 237 classes under my belt and a pure, turbulent and consistent love for my yoga that I will never ever give up.