April 29, 2010


Sometimes I forget to set my alarm for my 6am yoga class and I just have to let it go.

Sometimes there just seem to be so many options out there that I just want to crawl into bed and let the world make the decision for me.

Sometimes you need to pick up the phone and call that long lost friend.

Sometimes you need to accept everyone for who they are.

Sometimes the best thing in the world is reading a good book in bed next to your special someone.

Sometimes I need to grab the bull by the horns and make my own decisions without asking anyone else’s opinion.

Sometimes I would like to get rid of all my worldly possessions, pack my bag and hop on the next plane out of here and see where I end up.

Sometimes you need to take a 3 day weekend, just because you deserve an extra day of rest.

Sometimes I need to step back and breathe. Just breathe and just be.


This post was inspired by Just a Titch who I discovered through Hannah.  Thanks for the inspiration ladies:)

April 28, 2010

A Little Bit of Enlightment This Morning

So, as most of you out there, or perhaps all, who read this, I am a Bikram yoga lover.  I love how it makes me feel.  I love how it brings people from all walks of life together.  I love how I have a very safe place to go every day. 

Before I found Bikram yoga, I practiced Iyengar yoga.  I love how Iyengar yoga focuses on proper alignment right from the very beginning.  The teacher will come over and adjust you if your hips are out of line.  You can use a prop if you can't quite get your bum down in Fixed Firm pose.  There is a focus on moving slowly and meditatively into each pose and aligning your body properly no matter where you are in your yoga practice. 

I have always been a little irked by how new practitioners are taught in Bikram yoga.  How they are thrown into the heat, told to listen to the instructors, to do what they can and to STAY IN THE ROOM.  Ok, I get that.  I understand one of the biggest mental parts of Bikram yoga is the heat, the sweat and the humidity.  What frustrated me was how I would sometimes watch a new practioner trying to go back in Fixed Firm pose when their bum wasn't on the floor.  I just thought, the teacher should be instructing more or better or something!

Well, after class this morning I got into a great discussion with my instructor.  I ended up mentioning this to him while discussing that one day I would like to teach yoga but I wasn't sure if it would be Bikram.  He explained to me that yes, a teacher will leave a student alone on their first class unless they are going to hurt themselves in a pose or they can't quite figure out the arm movements.  And that most first timers want to be left alone.  That they are in such an uncomfortable space that hearing constant corrections only frustrates them.  I'd never looked at it that way before.  I think because I wanted the corrections right from the beginning.  He then went on to explain (I am not quoting this verbatim, but more of what I got out of it) that Bikram yoga is study of Self, hence the mirrors and silence.  That the instructor is there to guide your practice but YOU are essentially your own teacher.  You choose whether or not you really want to listen to the dialogue.  You make the decision if you are ready to focus on coming deeper into a pose.  The teacher is there to give you those gentle reminders but essentially it all comes down to YOU.

Wow.  I had always heard this but I had never REALLY heard it.

April 22, 2010

Bikram on my Back

Lately, classes have been hell.

Everything is hard right from the beginning. I walk into the room and the hot air takes my breath away. Pranayama exhausts me. Half Moon pose kills my hips. I always fall out of Awkward pose. Eagle pose kills my hips. My calf muscles burn in Standing Head to Knee. And that’s only the start, but I think you get the idea.

Where have my “easy” classes gone? I was on a smooth ride for a few months where class was a walk in the park. I walked in, sweated, stretched, pulled, breathed and then left feeling wonderful.

I still leave feeling wonderful but every breath, every movement, every muscle contraction is a challenge, a chore, a battle. I am trying to look at this experience in a positive way. As The Missus  said in "Good Class Redifined”, the harder classes are the good ones! This is where your body is changing, growing stronger, flushing toxins. But man, oh man, is it tough. Every class I am finding reasons as to why I should leave the room. And it’s not even unusually HOT!

Sometimes the worst experiences, the hardest times in our life, teach us the most.  We benefit from them by growing and learning.  We get through them by focusing on the good.

So I am focusing on the good in my yoga. 

My good for this week:  In Janushirasana with Paschimottanasana (Head to Knee with Stretching pose), I am able to touch my forehead to my thumbs!  My forehead is so close to getting to my toes.  In class, the other morning, my instructor said to me that if I went to see Bikram he would stand on my back like this  to help me get my head to touch my toes!

April 13, 2010

Memories. Change. Life

The weather has warmed up.  The cherry blossoms have nearly finished blooming.  The song birds are up and chirping at 5:45 in the morning when I leave for yoga.  The air smells warm and a little damp, with underlying scents of compost and overturned dirt.  The bees are humming.  The worms are crawling and the warm breeze coming from the ocean is full of life.  The awakening of my senses brings back memories of what used to be my job for the past 6 summers.

I used to work for an environmental consulting company.  I was a forestry technician who spent the winter months describing forest types around British Columbia and the summer months hiking through the forests.  Those summer weeks away from home were wonderful.  (Granted, I would complain when I started missing my bed, LW and city life).  I would be up early, in the truck by 7 am, coffee in hand, co-worker with the map and off we would go to explore BC's back country roads.  We would work.  Hike up steep hills, bushwhack through thick brush and measure trees.  But we would also explore.  Stop and take in the view.  Snap photos.  Watch for bears.  Admire wild flowers.  Listen for bird calls.  Eat lunch outside.  Swat at bugs.  Fall down hills.  Fly in helicopters up to the alpine.

About 5 months ago I left my Forest Tech job to follow through with a GIS Tech position at another company that does not operate in BC's Forestry industry.  I'm glad I did.  Government funding for forestry has been slashed this year and people are getting laid off left, right and center.

Now I sit at a desk for most of the day creating maps in ArcMap.  I don't mind my job, I'm learning a lot and I work with people who make me laugh out loud every day.  But I miss the feeling of anticipation of getting ready for the bush.  I miss organizing the gear that we need, getting maps printed and my personal field gear oiled up and ready for the summer.

As I ponder the nature of my current profession and that of my past, I think I am done with Forestry.  Not necessarily out of choice but because my path seems to be taking a new direction.  I have changed and grown and no longer feel challenged or inspired by what I thought Forestry would offer me.  I have many ideas that are starting to take form, that are slowly growing and that I'm sure will come to fruition in the next year or so.

The whole thought of taking yet another career path, again, scares me.  It makes me nervous.  My mind changes continuously, day by day.  I have no idea where I'll be in 5 years, what I'll be doing.  But I take comfort in the fact that I know that what I have accomplished and done in the past gives me memories such as those when I walk out my front door and smell the air every morning.

April 11, 2010

Early Risers

There is a certain type of camaraderie that comes with Bikram yoga.  We are all in the hot room - suffering - but we know exactly why we're there.  To be stronger, mentally and physically.

One of my favourite things about the 6am classes is that everyone who is there has a certain type of determination about them.  They drag their asses out of bed at 5am to get into the hot room to sweat and find their focus for the day.  I have heard a few teachers say in class that they love teaching us because we are easy to teach.  We barely fidget, we reach for our feet immediately when the dialogue tells us and we have little distraction from what has happened during the day.  Most of us who come into the studio are still half asleep - eyes half closed, hair messy, yoga clothes on underneath sweat pants.  I'm sure at some point I have still had the imprints of the sheets across my face.

I have friendships in my 6am classes that are difficult to define.  We empathize with getting up before the rest of the world.  We have little bitch session before class.  We chat about work, travel, dreams, sleep patterns.  We catch each others eyes in the mirror and give encouraging smiles.  We notice when someone has gone deeper in a pose than they ever have before.  We give encouraging hand squeezes when we stretch our arms way out in Full Locust.  We wonder aloud to each other if we haven't seen a fellow yogini in a while.  We get excited when a friend has come back from a holiday and we want to hear all about it in the 5 minutes before class and the 5 minutes after.

It really is amazing how contact with a person or a group of people no matter how big or small can make an impact on you. 

Just another reason to love my yoga.

April 7, 2010

101 Inspiration

As most of you know, there are many people around the world completing the Bikram 101 Challenge.  101 Hot Yoga classes in 101 days. 

I am priveledged to have one of these amazing people practice with me every morning.  D is so inspiring.  I see every morning at 6am with a smile on her face.  She lays her mat in a different place every day.  She doesn't drink water during the class.  She does doubles because a friend doesn't want to come to class by herself, yet she doesn't want to miss her morning class. 

Cheers to D!  Cheers to all of you particpating in the 101 Challenge!  Cheers to all of you who practice yoga!

April 3, 2010

Friday.  Day off work.  9:30 am class.

I walked into the warm studio at 9:20.  It was a blustery cold west coast kind of day - one where it is hard to get out of bed.  The studio was the perfect place to be.  It was packed.  I lay my mat down in the only space available, third row with maybe 10 cm of space on either side of me.  This was definitely not what I was used to.  I normally come to the early morning 6 am classes, where a busy class is at most 30 people.  I was looking forward to it - a challenge.  I knew it would be humid and hot but I was ready for it or so I thought.

The class started out strong.  I kept my focus until 2nd set of Triangle and then I faded.  My hips were killing me.  Sweat was running down in streams, pooling in my eyes.  My mouth tasted like pure garlic from the spinach salad I'd had for dinner the night before.  By the time we got to the floor I was done for and ecstatic for the 2 minutes of Savasana.  It ended way too quickly.

Wind Removing Pose.  I felt like a wet noodle.  I could not, under any circumstance, feel the pinching in my hips.  The pulling exhausted my arms and I craved the next Savasana.

Spine Strengthening Series was where it all went out the window.  Laying on my stomach brought back those feelings from the first class I'd ever taken 10 months ago.  I felt nauseous and dizzy.  My sweat tasted salty, most days it just tastes like water.  I started breathing through my mouth - I was gasping for air - it took every little bit of determination and discipline that I had to close my mouth and breathe deeply through my nose.

Turtle pose, which I normally adore, took every last bit of energy out of me.  Camel pose.  I got as far as coming up on my knees, then keeled forward thinking I was going to vomit on my towel.  Rabbit pose.  I made  a very half assed attempt and came out early both times.  I took a desperate break during Head to Knee with Stretching Pose - felt a little guilty while people around me were rounding their spines, stretching their arms - I honestly can't remember the last time I sat out a posture.  I barely had enough core strength to keep my back straight in Spine Twist and flopped down on my mat like a dead fish after the final breathing.

It had been months and months since I'd had a class like that.  I walked out of the heat and back into the the blustery wind and the rain.  I was shaky and weak but was so glad I'd made it through.