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.