Friday, June 10, 2016

Not Rushing the Brushing (Practical Meditation)

It took me awhile, but I finally got myself an electric toothbrush again a few months ago. I had one years ago (even blogged about it) but dropped the practice after awhile.

I started brushing my teeth and when I'd spent about as much time with the electric toothbrush as I would have with my old one, the new one made a noise. Or it vibrated differently. Something happened, and the toothbrush kept going. So I kept going. Then after awhile it did it again. "Hmm, that's weird, is this toothbrush trying to tell me something," I wondered.

Later in the day I was still thinking about it, so I looked in the manual that came with it. Those little vibes mark 30 second intervals and when the recommended brushing time is over, it does three in a row to tell you you're done. So smart! My old one didn't do the intervals!

That night, I'm getting ready to brush my teeth and it makes that first noise and I want to put it away. I mean, surely, four times of those beeps is too many. Then I remember it's the recommended time. I paid lots to see the dentist who suggested the toothbrush that suggests I brush my teeth for two whole minutes. 2 minutes! Of my Life! When I'm busy! I don't want to stop for two minutes of my life when I'm busy to do something for my health and well-being and then I listen to what I've just thought and look at who I am and I keep brushing.

A few days later and I'm brushing my teeth and I notice I'm back to making a commitment to do the whole four times, the whole two minutes. I still want to rush! Have I ever felt these feelings before? (See past blog post. See many, many times I meditated wanting to rush to the end.)

There's nowhere to go. I've already set aside the time. I know it's going to be good for me and still I want to rush it. To get where? To the next moment when I won't be brushing my teeth anymore or sitting on my cushion anymore. To the next moment when I'll be rushing to get out of that moment to be in the next one I can hardly wait to get out of.

Today I practice brushing with awareness. I take my time, but not too much time because the toothbrush will nudge me to move on. I have time to brush my teeth. I have time to meditate. I have time when I'm not rushing the brushing.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Non-Attachment through Puppy Walking

There's more to the story, but basically I wound up as a "puppy walker," which means I have a puppy who lives with me until she's old enough to start serious training to be a seeing eye dog. The deal is she comes with me everywhere, like I can't leave her alone for more than an hour or two, and I take her to obedience classes and keep her alive and well for a year and a half until she's old enough to start serious training.

I know, I'm really nice.

And I'll tell you what. I have never been asked the same thing more in my entire life than I have while walking this puppy. You probably already know what it is, because you've probably already thought it reading this post. "Won't it be hard to give her up?" is the first thing out of literally everybody's mouth when they understand the deal. Universal.

So yea, rub it in. Remind me that I'm going to be giving up that smooshy sweet puppy face that lives with me 100% of the time and comes with me everywhere and is my joy and snuggle bunch. Don't worry, everybody says it.

To be honest, raising a puppy is hard work, not to mention the damage done to my home and property. (One of the deals I have about this job is I don't mention the details about that "puppy stuff" so I don't give the wrong impression about the role. But it's there.) So sometimes when people say, "won't it be hard to give her up," my real feeling is NO, it won't be hard. I'll be happy to see her go. She's a pain and I have to take care of her all the time and bring her everywhere and talk to everyone about how cute she is and how sad I'll be when she's gone.

But that's not all true. I will miss her of course and I sometimes tear up when I imagine her walking with her harness being someone's transportation and how smart she is and how good she'll be doing her amazing job. And I thought that would be the non-attachment part I'll have to do, and it probably will be. I'll get to practice non-attachment when I say good-bye to her in a year.

In the meantime, I get to practice non-attachment with myself and other people and their predictable comments. I live right downtown with no yard and lots of transient people who are new to her every time I walk outside, which means I have to engage with people every single time she needs to pee. Having an adorable puppy with me removes my veil of anonymity and makes me a target of attention and opportunities to interact. I haven't had that since my daughter was a baby when total strangers would cross the street to come and say hello.

I've changed over the months and I don't mind talking to people and answering questions about her. I don't feel anxious or impatient about it. I've come to expect it and even enjoy it. I feel more patient with the world and I have noticed I don't mind waiting in lines or things that used to bug me don't bug me so much. I feel grateful for what's happened through this process of puppy walking that's only just begun.

I'll share some of the cute photos of her here so you get to know her. (KC the yellow lab still visits but she doesn't live with me anymore.)

Friday, June 5, 2015

The Magic of Tidying Up - It's All Coming Together

Lately I've been going through a phase of cleaning up. I've meant to clean up a bunch of things, especially since my dad died and left a bunch of junk. I promised myself I wouldn't do that to my family, and yet, I'm still sitting in a mess.

I went through my closet and I found clothes I have held onto for years. I even found a jacket I'd purchased when I was 15 or 16 (I'm 48). I've been feeling like I don't have enough space in my small house and it's true! I've been storing things for years that might come in handy one day or projects that I might pick up and finish one day.

I've known that there's yoga in tidying up - in aligning your insides with your outsides. And yet, I'm a householder and I've got a kid and there's stuff, there just is! As I've taught in many trainings, don't worrry about giving away stuff - there'll be more! People will continue giving you things!

I had already started on my process when I came upon Marie Kondo and her "Konmari Method" of cleaning up. I'm not going to get into the details of her process of tidying, you can look that up, but I want to highlight something that she brought forth that has made a difference for me.

She suggests you notice what you want to keep in your life. Before that, she acknowledges that because you're reading her book, you might already be interested in this sort of thing, which is important, because you'll be pulling the information towards you if you're into it. Then she has you imagine how your life will be when you clean up so you can look at why. So there's a strong intention before you even begin.

Now, I had already begun, but I went along with her and reviewed my intention and imagined the freedom I'd feel being liberated from my unwanted belongings, but more importantly, and it's something she emphasizes, I will be surrounded only by things that I do want, things that "spark joy," as she calls it.

How I would call it is "possibility," an old Landmark term. What puts me into my possibility? And what is my possibility? One of the courses I took with them years ago had me examine what inspired me to get a sense of who I am. I also could notice what I disliked and look for what was on the other side of that, to see what's important to me.

In Marie Kondo's method, you take your own items and consider how you feel as you encounter them. That's yoga! How does it feel? And if you have the luxury of having many things, as most of us do in this culture, you can let the things go that do not feel good, and keep the things that do.

She recommends starting with your clothes. I had already done a bunch of clothes-purging not using her method (see the photo - taken last week) but there was still more to do so yesterday I tried doing it her way with what I had left.

She said there's magic, and I promise you there is. As a woman of this age, I have trouble knowing where to shop - am I too old for the Gap, too young for Lane Bryant? Where do I go? As I went through my stuff, I notice that the clothes I felt really good with are from Chlorophylle. I forgot! Now I know when it's time to go shopping, I can head there. This might not seem like a big deal to you, but it is to me. I found out I don't like Costco underpants even though I buy them. I prefer American Apparel underwear and they last for years so the extra cost isn't an issue!

One of the things that's important to me is full self-expression. But sometimes I personally do not feel self-expressed, which is hard for others to imagine in my case, but it's true for me. When I can recognize what I like, I can go towards that. This might seem heady, and I'll stop with it, but wow, it makes me feel great.

Another thing I've heard over the years is that if you want to know what you value, look around at your life and see what's there, what you've put in it. I've known that, and I know what's important to me, and yet I've had years of clutter collecting in small but growing piles and boxes and I get stopped. I feel clogged and weighed down and uninspired. Just the little bit I did yesterday gave me a taste of the possibility I can live into.

I think there are fewer things in life that are as satisfying as setting your own goals and heading towards them. But the process of goal setting can seem like a task and an unwanted chore. That's usually because we don't really know what's going to cut it, what's going to truly satisfy. Knowing more and more clearly what you want or what pleases you, on a subtle level, I'm not talking about collecting things or finding ways to go spend your money, I'm talking bout what might bring you joy or have you feel freer inside, opening up energy channels, just like the yamas and niyamas do. Knowing that can reduce the time it takes to make a decision, giving you more time to enjoy the things you like. And of course, cleaning up is a niyama - saucha.

And as we say, it's not something you do once and it's done, although Marie Kondo suggests doing a big purge all at once so it "takes." But it's not the getting rid of what you don't like that's key, it's keeping what you do like. I can already taste the difference her method makes and I like it.

--One more thing--
I've often taught that one of the ways to practise non-attachment is to notice precisely where you are attached. That's part of why this process feels so good - it's a process of non-attachment. It can seem on the outside like it's the other way around and would cause more attachment, but it's actually the opposite! That is part of where the magic is in the Magic of Tidying Up.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Why I Post so Many Pictures of my Dog

If you see me on Facebook or spend any time on Twitter, you'll know I post a lot of pictures of my step-dog, KC. "Why does she post so many pictures (and amazing videos of her dog)," you might be wondering. The simple answer is because she lets me. You know who doesn't let me? My kid. My amazing 16-year old daughter who's young and beautiful and funny and smart, and who doesn't let me post any pictures of her or talk about our lives together.

So sometimes I'm quiet because what's going on in my life involves other people and I don't get to say. Even the good stuff! I can take the selfies, I just can't post the selfies. And I think that's great and smart and everything.

When she was little, we didn't have Facebook yet - imagine! So all of the people coming up behind me who are happily posting their kids' messy faces and snowy trips will be in for a surprise when their teen finally puts an end to the posting - as they will and they should!

As a full-time mom it's hard not to want to share what's happening. I can tell you she got her G1 license and we've been driving a lot. She's a great driver! Official drivers ed is coming up soon.

You might get to catch a glimpse of me and my kid on Twitter - we actually interact there. Teens don't do much Facebook anymore and I didn't get the hang of Snapchat, so we tweet to each other sometimes.

KC turned 9 yesterday. I let her bring home a big stick from the park in the car, which normally isn't allowed. She seemed pretty happy. But she always seems pretty happy. Life as a lab seems to be like that. So here are some KC photos for you, from me. Hope she makes you smile :)

Friday, November 28, 2014

Free Screening of The Connection on December 6 at The Hub

I saw a trailer for this film right before it came out and I knew I'd want to watch it. It's about health and wellbeing and how the mind and the body are connected. You can see the trailer for yourself here.

When it was officially released I bought a copy to watch. It's great! If you're into yoga at all, there's a good chance what you see in this film won't be new, but it will help to affirm your practice.

It's a film I wish more people would watch because I think it's important for us to know that how we're feeling and what's happening inside has a profound effect on our health and our overall satisfaction with our lives.

So I was lying in yoga class and an idea popped into my head (as those ideas do!) and I thought, why don't I screen the film upstairs at the Hub and then people can come and see the film! I came out of yoga class and asked the owner of the Bikram Studio if she thought her people would come up to the Hub and watch a movie on the weekend. She thought that was a great idea and we picked a date, I checked with the Hub for availability, and bam! The movie's happening next week.

I thought it might be fun to run it as an event for real, so I set it up in Eventbrite and there are (free) tickets and I have the screening rights and it's posted on the official film website and now it's happening!

Please come! If you can't come but you'd like to see the movie anyway, here's a link. If you use my first name in the discount code you can take 25% off until December 8.

So not only is the film happening, Claire from Bikram has a free vinyasa class at 12:15 already going on until Christmas, but she's offering free Bikram classes at 4 for anybody who wants to come. That class is usually $20, so can you really afford not to come to yoga?

Saturday, December 6 at 1:30 - 3:30. Film starts at 2 so if you're at yoga you've got time to change.

Here's the link to the event - please sign up so I know you're coming. Mind Body Connection Screening.

I've been hanging out at The Hub a lot since the end of the summer and I'm feeling at home there. I have been hosting the Living Yoga classes there and it's been great. I hope you'll come and visit on Saturday!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Better Listen!

I've started working for this company, BetterListen! and I wanted to let you know about it. The company has been around for a while, publishing recordings from some pretty big names in the world of self-discovery and transformation. The catalog is quite varied actually.

Steve Stein, the guy who runs it, is an old Omega person, even before my time, so I never actually worked with him before. Another Omega person has been working for him for years and when she decided to get another job, she thought of me to help pick up some of the marketing and administrative duties. That's what I'm doing. Follow them on Twitter and help me out! @BetterListen

In addition to audio recordings, Steve also built a whole online video training program with Beryl Bender Birch for the sister site, BetterLearn. It hasn't started being promoted yet, so you probably haven't even heard of it. The videos are fresh and crisp and it's nice to see Beryl's face, even though it's just virtual. I even saw one of her dogs making an appearance. That course actually counts towards credits with the Yoga Alliance, so if any of you reading are yoga teachers, you may find the course pretty interesting!

It's funny how things come around. Here I am in Ottawa, doing work for a guy in New Jersey, promoting works from authors and teachers from even farther away places.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Yoga Keeps Expanding

It doesn't look like yoga's going away. I think some people thought yoga was a fad and would be gone in a few years but it looks as though yoga is here to stay.

You can take yoga classes in yoga studios. You can go to ashrams for deeper stays. You can take yoga vacations! You can go to your gym or community centers. Workplaces offer yoga classes on site. I teach yoga in an apartment building for the residents for heaven's sake. Yoga is online, in books, on your phone, on tv, and we even have yoga apps! (See the list on the right in my blog. We've had them for years.)

How yoga is growing is a lot like yoga. Yoga expands us as people. Some of us get stretchier and maybe a bit taller through asana practice. But as you know if you read my blog, that is hardly all of yoga. A holistic yoga practice will allow you to expand in your life, taking in more and more of what life's experiences have to offer without being thrown by them. Yoga expanding has us explore our comfort zones and keep moving the edges a bit further out every time.

It looks like yoga is doing that all by itself, using us as its prana or something. It's like people are the prana for the yoga. I'm just making that up, but it seems to fit the way I'm positioning yoga at the moment. Yoga can take more and more people to deeper and deeper places.

The form yoga takes might keep shifting as less-common facets of yoga are presented for our practice and review, but clearly it has taken root in our culture and it isn't leaving anytime soon.


(The picture is from the other night at Nuit Blanche in Ottawa. I don't know if the flower petals were part of an installation or not, but they were there on the ground then the wind started to carry them away.)

Monday, September 8, 2014

Amazing Little Bose Speakers for Yoga Teachers - updated!

I was looking for a more portable speaker system recently after wearing out my Logitech speakers and dealing with bluetooth pairing issues on a replacement system. I considered getting a Bose system that would be portable and charge my phone and then I saw this little set. I don't really need a system that will charge my phone...

It's so small that it fits into my purse! And the sound is amazing. But the best part for me is that it starts playing right away and I don't have to wait for it to sync up. This is important for me as a yoga teacher because sometimes I'm setting these things up in front of other people and I want it to all go smoothly. I don't want to waste time in my class fiddling with the equipment and I can't always be there setting up before my students get there - a home yoga class for instance.

So if you're looking for something powerful but light and relatively affordable, I highly recommend these speakers. I didn't get the case that comes separately but I'm reconsidering. I don't want it getting banged up while I go from class to class.

If you decide to buy them and you click on the link on my site, I get a tiny commission. So thank you in advance :)
Update. I still really do recommend the speakers, however, if you're in Canada, Amazon shows you the price in CAD and for me to get the credit, you'd need to buy the speakers from, but seeing as how you're in Canada, you'll be redirected to, in which case I won't get the commission. Basically, I'd need to set up two little accounts - one for Canadian readers and one for American. So selling things via Amazon is not really workable at the moment :) Thought I'd give it a try!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Last Chance for Yoga Philosophy!

Just a reminder that Living Yoga classes start next, next week on Tuesday night (September 16). There's still room if you're interested in signing up, but more importantly, this is the last chance to take this class for awhile.

If you are interested in joining our Yoga Teacher Training Program, this is the last chance for sure. We are running the courses until the beginning of next year, and if you're not in the stream now, Kat and I are not sure when the course will be happening after May. So this is it!

Kat's got other things going on after India, and I'm still here doing my thing, but assembling the courses and finding students to be in them isn't our priority right now.

So if you want to join us, please let me know and be prepared to come and sit in Old Ottawa South on Tuesday nights for a bit.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Sodinabox? Jamine's Latest Idea

 Kolam Design from India

Today I'm reaching out for your feedback on this idea I'm cooking up.

I was inspired by a talk at the Hub by one of the founders of Vegan Cuts, an online service that has a regular store of vegan products, but also a subscription box service that delivers monthly vegan loot. Check out their site!

I've personally become interested in something that I'd like to see offered in a similar format, but it's not already out there. As a yoga practitioner and student of spiritual teachings, I'd like to see a service that offers kits of things that would be reminders of our spiritual selves from different traditions. I thought there could be things in the store all of the time that were "bhakti" (devotional) related and in addition, there'd be an opportunity to receive a monthly spiritual "loot" bag that would contain things somebody was into yoga would perhaps find useful or interesting.

For instance, the "bhakti boxes" would have a theme, so you could get a "krishna kit" and that might have a little Krishna statue, a mala suitable for chanting Krishna mantras, a scarf with a mantra on it, some incense and other little things. Other kits might include things from other traditions, like a Catholic kit with a miniature Mother Teresa and other things. The prices would range from $20 - $60 depending on what went in the boxes.

The subscription box might include consumable things like incense sticks and Om stickers, an essential oil, or a link to a relaxation recording or mantra song. Things to support you in your yoga practice and to remind you that you're more than your body and mind. Reminders that we're spiritual beings having a human experience! Things for people who would probably consider themselves spiritual rather than religious. The subscription box might be $20 and would for sure have things in it that would be worth more than that.

Anyways, it's an idea I'm working with.

So it needs a name. Here are some I've thought of and whether they're available or not: (available) (available) (not available) (not available) (available) (available for $3195!) (available) (available) (available - in case people can't spell sadhana)
That made me think the boxes are like seeds of a spiritual practice, so maybe would be available - it's not. (available) (available) (taken) (available) (taken) for the hell of it, (taken) (taken and it goes to Google. Wonder what they're thinking...)

So what do you think? Do any of the names stand out as a winner?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Ahimsa - Non-Violence in Thoughts, Words, and Deeds

One of the first things we start with in yoga is Ahimsa, which means the absence of violence. Naturally, it would seem that we could use this to mean that we don't punch people or kill people. A society that practises ahimsa would for sure not be killing its citizens with capital punishment, for instance. That's sort of a big view. Sure, it's easy not to kill people everyday.

Then we take it down a level, to our words. What would it be like to have the absence of violence in our speech? Would that mean not swearing? Would that mean not yelling? Not yelling at people, again, pretty straightforward. I could not yell at anybody all day. I could even not swear, I'm thinking.  Some days that would be harder than others, of course.

Let's look at our thoughts. What would it be like to have the absence of violence in our thoughts? Does that mean we won't think bad things about other people? Not criticize, even in our minds? Would lightly editing a person be considered a type of violence? Perhaps. What about ourselves? Would having an absence of violence towards ourselves be possible while looking in a mirror in the morning? Could I refrain from thinking negative thoughts about my own plumper, aging self? These are questions only I can answer for myself. My thoughts are my own and don't always get shared.

But the body does vibrate with himsa, or violence, even when we think critical thoughts about ourselves. Just as though we were to take a violent action, the inner realms start to resonate with the frequency of negativity and begin to take on the flavour, even if it's just a hint, of the same spice that brings us violence towards others.

When you start to take a closer look at your life, you'll see that it becomes easy to notice things we think are benign, that are actually causing little sores in our subtle bodies. Sores that can ultimately cause us pain for real. Think about it. What you're thinking about matters a lot. Practising non-violence in actions, speech, and even our thoughts can be done towards others, but also and ultimately even more challenging, towards ourselves.

To explore more, please join us for Living Yoga 1, which starts Tuesday, September 21 and goes for 6  Tuesday evenings in total.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Yoga Teacher as Mother (First Day of School Again)

Today I walked my daughter as far as she'd let me to school. She's so big and so mature and yet she's still a kid, who's learning and growing and who gets nervous on the first day back. Taking her, at her request, as far as she needed me, is my job. In so many ways, that's my job all around.

Taking people, at their request, as far as they need me to.

It touches me to see her vulnerability as well as her excitement. It's an honour to be allowed in to someone's life while they deal with something. No advice needed. No pushing or cajoling. Just being there.


Friday, August 22, 2014

Living Yoga - Next Steps for Yogis

To be honest, living yoga and the yogic principles are not exactly the next steps for yogis, although they are that as well - please come and see my slide show presentation for more details on that - rather, living yoga and the yogic principles come before the place where most people in our society start on the path of yoga. Did that make sense?

We normally start with yoga poses and show up to a class and do this thing called, "yoga," which is really asana practice. Nothing wrong with that at all. It's just not the traditional order and sometimes, sometimes it happens that people do a yoga practice and don't learn much about the rest of yoga. I've heard of this happening!

As a result, learning about the principles of yoga, and a bit of yoga philosophy, often comes after we've already embarked on a yogic practice. Again, nothing wrong here. However, by learning about the yogic principles found in the yamas and niyamas, for instance, our practice of postures can go deeper and connect more with our lives as we live them, creating more alignment and sometimes a sense of purpose and direction, possibly leading to more fulfillment in our days.

Some people practice yoga once a week and I'd even say that's a great thing. Once a week, taking an hour or two to yourself, working on your health, thinking about things that matter, taking a deeper breath - these are all good things! But just like if you were to injure yourself in your practice or doing anything else, a good health care advisor would be more concerned with what you had been doing around that injury. How do you spend most of your time? What's your position like? How's your alignment?

So if you only spend an hour a week working on your alignment, that's great, but for even greater alignment and awareness, come learn and share about the yogic principles and how we're in positions all of the time. Take a look at what our alignment is like in our lives, not just our physical lives, but our relationships and jobs and attitudes, and see if this alignment is working for us or not.

The class will be held in a new location this season as Kat's house will no longer be available as she is moving soon. (Don't worry! She's just going to India to do her usual teaching and then will be readjusting to life in Ottawa given that she's managing an estate in the Laurentians, which hopefully will be the location of some retreats in the new year.) A possible location is at The Hub, which is downtown and I'm a member of. Let me know if you're interested in attending these six evenings. To register, as usual, just get in touch with me or Kat.

Living Yoga 1
Tuesday evenings September 16 - October 21, 7 - 9
Unit 1 of Makata Living Yoga Teacher Training Program

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Back to Bikram

Sounds crazy, I know, but I went back to a Bikram class today (which I've done before as you'll find in the link). I first did a Bikram class back in 1992 with Bikram himself when I lived at Kripalu. Since then I've done lots of Bikram classes but today was the first time I've done the "express" class. New favourite thing!

The reason for the Bikram is the location and the time. As I mentioned in my last post, I've given myself some structured work times and I wanted to break it up as well as take advantage of the proximity to a yoga class, which happens to be in the same building, so I really have no excuse not to go, except of course, that it's a Bikram class.

People who don't know yoga, can't really appreciate the difference between a Bikram class and one of the classes I teach, or pretty much just about any other type of yoga class you'd go to. It's a huge difference when you know what's what. A Bikram class requires some things...I'm not going to go into it right here but suffice it to say, I've got a bundle of wet, smelly clothes (and a towel!) with me and I'm figuring out how to jam it all in my backpack with my computer and paperwork and get home on my bike. But it's a nice problem to have. And with the class only lasting an hour, I spent hardly any time wishing the class were over already.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Office Hours or Adminstrationasana

As a yoga teacher it can be easy to avoid administrative tasks. "I am a yoga teacher." But really I'm not just a yoga teacher, I'm self-employed. That involves doing administrative tasks like planning classes, setting up trainings, finding spaces, invoicing clients, paying taxes and other things that don't feel like teaching yoga.

Over the years I've found different ways to get some of the tasks done but I've never really dedicated myself to those tasks. As a result, I may be a good yoga teacher, but sometimes business is "bad." There's nothing wrong at all with the business part of business! I just tend to avoid it.

I'm sitting at the Hub, which is a space where people go to work. People like me, who either work from home or a coffee shop or not at all. And I'm thinking about committing to some office hours. I'm thinking about sitting in an office, that's not at my house, where I will go to get work done. Not yoga poses. Not meditation. But work. Or administration and content creation and blog writing and keeping up with emails and being disciplined about all of that. Feels like it's time for that kind of change.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Living Yoga - it Works!

Living Yoga is working with our own lives using some yoga philosophy. It's like going to a yoga class but instead of lining up our bodies in certain positions, we're lining up parts of our lives in certain positions. And just like a usual yoga class experience, there will be some stretchy times and overall it will feel really good.

These classes will be held over the fall period and are part of our Yoga Teacher Training Program, which is really a Yoga Exploration Program, and is for anyone. No special requirements to come to this class. We usually sit on the floor, but even that is optional and chairs can be provided.

One of the things we take a look at is Ahimsa, or non-violence. What a time to be taking a look at that topic. Believe it or not, that's one of the places yoga starts. Right there. Being non-violent with each other and especially with ourselves. So many of us hold ourselves back or put ourselves in positions that aren't healthy and allow ourselves to be mistreated. Taking a look at how we can open up to a more non-violent way of being is where this class starts.

I hope you'll think about coming and sitting with us for 6 weeks in a row. If you can't make a week, you can join us via Skype or FaceTime!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Where Do Yoga Teachers Go When They're Not Teaching?

Where do yoga teachers go when they're not teaching yoga? It's a real question. I can tell you where I go, but I know there aren't many other yoga teachers there.

In the past, I've been so busy that I was usually running from class to class and in the middle, I'd be at home, taking care of things at home. I only encountered other yoga teachers by appointment.

Lately it's been bugging me though that I don't have access to other yoga teachers or students for that matter, outside of a traditional yoga class and I'd like to see if that could change.

When I was down at Kripalu again recently, I bumped into some of my old yoga people in the halls and in the cafe and had a chance to informally chat. I saw that some of them would use that cafe space as a place to get work done. It seemed like the distractions were not unwelcome and the surroundings were certainly supportive.

On the same trip in April, I revisited a coworking space in New Haven, CT, which has grown for a third time in four years and has a wonderful, creative vibe to it.

Could these things be blended? Could a coworking space for yoga teachers be created? Would anyone use it besides me?

If you're not familiar with the concept of coworking, you can just google it for way more, but in short, it's a space for people who may normally be working out of their homes or coffee shops in the area, but who would like to be with other people, maybe of a similar ilk, to work near and possibly with, if the projects warrant.

It's like an office for the office-less.

I've worked from home for a decade. It's been great. I've accomplished a lot. But I would like to see other people. I would like to make myself available to other yoga teachers and have other creative people around to help me, too.

Ottawa does have a couple of coworking spaces and they're great, but they're not specifically for yoga teachers - there's no space to do yoga R & D. I have felt out of place at the Hub and paying to park and getting on a slow elevator cut down my time there. Plus, as a yoga teacher, getting in and out of a space quickly matters to me as I do have to get to other classes.

It also occurs to me that most of the people who are yoga teachers in the city are women. Of course there are male teachers but the majority of people teaching and practising yoga are women. The spaces I've seen for coworking aren't unwelcome to women, they just seem to be populated with men. I'd like to walk into a place where I'm not unusual, but the targeted clientele.

I'm sort of rambling here, but I'm trying to express a feeling or an idea that's inside of me and I would like to be able to walk into it outside of me.

I've started looking at various spaces, trying to get a sense of how much space I'd need to do this. I've started meeting with people who can help see if there's community funding available (in fact, I'll be at City Hall later this morning). I've spoken to a few yoga teachers to see if this idea would be of interest. I've even checked in with a yoga studio owner to see if she would find this valuable. Everybody has said they like it. Now will they become members and actually support it...?

I love asking myself the question "if money weren't an obstacle, what would you do?" And I would definitely do this project. That being said, there's this money thing that's required to pay landlords, which would be the bulk of the cost. How small a space could I start with? How big would it need to be to be able to accommodate the right blend of spaces inside the space so there could be a focused work area, a space where you can chat, plus a space to practise in?

Which other communities of people would find this attractive? Would artists want to come out of their homes and work around other people? Would massage therapists need a place to land? Again, I'm just asking some questions to see if I'm alone or if there are other people out there...

Monday, April 28, 2014

Blended Learning

I'm taking a course right now in "Blended Learning." Basically, I'm taking an online course in how to offer online courses. Sounds simple enough. But it's not!

Blended learning is different than just learning something online from watching videos and completing assignments. It involves a mix of learning styles and is actually quite dynamic.

In my work as a yoga teacher, I do most of my teaching face-to-face. However, as a student, especially when it comes to self-study of yogic materials, I do a lot of my studies online. The idea of putting the two together is pretty interesting.

The course I'm taking right now seems like it's really aimed at education professionals - people who are more in the mainstream in teaching organizations like schools and universities. I'm not quite sure where I fit in as a yoga teacher, but it's early days in the course yet.

I like Swami J's site, even though it's pretty dense. He's recently posted a Udemy course, which is also online (and free and you should all take it if you feel so inclined), but it is really a curated experience of some of what he has on his site already. Part of why I like his site so much and can freely recommend and use is materials is because I've met him and studied with him. That's a type of blended learning I think.

I'm still exploring how I'd use these tools, but it's a fun experiment. You can take it too if you like. #BlendKit2014 is also on Twitter.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Four Paths of Yoga

As you probably already know if you're reading this blog, yoga is much more than the yoga postures that have become popular. There are many paths of yoga and they all lead to that union, or peaceful place, or stilling of the disturbances of the mind.

In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna offers different ways to pursue a spiritual path, or a good life. He suggests Karma Yoga, or good actions. He offers up Jnana Yoga, or wisdom and understanding, as a path to the good life. He recommends Bhakti Yoga, or a path of devotion as a quick method to this place of union. There's even Raja Yoga, the Royal Path, that could be used to connect to the divine within and harmonize our external lives with our internal guidance.

In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali is also very generous with methods that can be used to still the disturbances of the mind. Try this, if that doesn't do it for you, try this. Or this. Or this. So many ways.

Yoga understands that people are different and have different preferences and ways that will work better for them. It's not a one-size-fits-all approach by any means and keen practitioners of yoga will recognize the other paths as not less-than, but just other paths.

In The Four Paths of Yoga course, we will explore what traditionally the Four Paths are and how they show up in practice. We will attempt to find and travel these paths ourselves, with others in the community at times as well, and see how there's yoga all around us, even if we haven't been calling it that.

This course is free and welcome to all. It's tonight from 7-9 and then again in June to see how things have been going. 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Coffee's Back On

I just read the title of the last post I put on here and it made me chuckle, as I reached for my mug of warm coffee.

I was off coffee. For quite some time. And then I started drinking it again. And I like it.

What else is new? Let's see...

I'm working more with Kat Mills at offering yoga trainings in a modular fashion so they are accessible to people financially, and time-wise, as well as curricularly, if that's a word. Nope, it's not as indicated by the red underlining in my "word processor." What I mean by "curricularly" is that you may just want to learn a bit more about yoga and not sign up for a whole bunch of yoga teachings. For whatever reason. So with that, you can sign up for all or parts of 200 Hour or 500 Hour teacher training programs.

I'll list them all on the right so you can see what is coming up.

Also, it's March Break and I'm taking my daughter off to Montreal for the day where we will traipse through the campuses of some, gulp, universities, she may like to be attending the future. I'm just telling myself we're going for lunch. Maybe a trip to Simons, which we don't have here in Ottawa, and that's why we're all the way over in Quebec. That's what I might tell myself...