Thursday, March 29, 2007

Still Teaching Yoga

Well, I've lost the blogging spirit for a number of reasons but I don't want to give up. I'm still teaching yoga. Every day just about.

Last week while I was writing my blog it turns out I was supposed to be someplace else. I was supposed to be teaching a class at the Police College for the RCMP but I had plain forgotten. I got lucky and they rescheduled me for today, which is kind.

I just forgot. I had it scheduled correctly but I wasn't paying attention to my schedule. I'm in resistance to my schedule to be honest. I want a vacation so badly and I haven't scheduled that in, so instead, I don't look at where I am, which is scheduled to teach lots of yoga.

So now I have that queasy feeling of wondering if I'm supposed to be someplace else. Every day this week I've had that uneasy, "oh! Am I where I'm supposed to be?" and then, "ah, yes. I'm where I'm supposed to be."

At the time that they called to ask where I was I didn't have a big reaction. I knew there wasn't anything I could do about it and I emailed my main contact and apologized and offered to teach later on. He called me back and he said he just went to Plan B and it was fine. And it was. But the reaction I had came later, and sort of just sunk in slowly. To the point that I shut down a bit more and continued to avoid things. Like invoicing people who haven't paid, for setting up future workshops, for fulfilling requests for products.

What I did do is schedule myself to teach at Omega this summer for two weeks. I'll teach yoga for two weeks for free basically. Hmm. But it will be fun and will almost be like a vacation. So if you want to come to Omega this summer, come while I'm there, which will be July 29 until August 12.

There's some shame in what happened for me. My grandpa-guru would call it "healthy shame," or hrim, I think. It's okay to feel bad about not fulfilling my responsibilities. But I don't need to let it go on and on. So I won't.

So now I go and teach to the Senior Police Administrators. I'll lead them in a class they won't forget!

Friday, March 23, 2007

That's Why I Don't Mind Watching Hockey

As it turns out, Chez Lucien's is not really a "hockey bar," which would explain why I don't mind watching hockey when I'm there. If you like to watch hockey, you would probably not like watching it at Chez Lucien's. The TVs are normal size and the sound is basically off and only one of the TVs had the Sens game on. If you're really into hockey, you'd probably want to watch it on a big screen and have the sound up loud enough so you could enjoy the interviews with the players in between periods and stuff.

I guess the truth is, I like Chez Lucien's. It's the closest bar to where I live and I would have to say it's probably my favourite bar in Ottawa. I don't get out to many, but of the ones I've been to, I like it the best.

Sometimes I don't know anybody there, sometimes I know people from yoga, which is how I pretty much know everybody I know in Ottawa - yoga - and it's just comfortable and the music is good and I can walk there and it's good.

Probably the biggest reason I like it is because of who I've been going there with the past few times. I have been spending my time there with someone I did not meet from yoga, who has never been to a yoga class, and who doesn't own anything from lululemon.

Yoga is such a big part of my life and I have been so immersed in it for so long that I sometimes forget that other people don't know about yoga. I forget that people may find some of the ideas I have weird or just unusual, even. To me it's just common sense.

Like after the Landmark Forum, people wonder how they're going to talk to their non-Forum friends, and the truth is, that process is supposed to help you feel more connected to people, not more isolated from them. And that's my experience with yoga - it allows me to feel more connected, noticing more of what's in common, see more of myself in other people, rather than feeling isolated and separate. So whether or not people in my life "get" yoga is not a factor in my connection with them. It's nice when people "get" yoga because then we've got something to talk about and yoga and consciousness are like my second-favourite topics, so that's good, but it's not required for connection and strong relationships.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Going with the Flow

I was never much into hockey. One year when I was in university, my parents gave me a little tv. The only channel I could get was CBC. The only thing that was on a lot of the time was hockey. I watched that and the Challenger exploding as I recall.

After the Osho guy, my next boyfriend was a French Canadian and I ended up learning a lot about hockey. Or a lot for me; enough to get by and be able to mostly follow the game. That was a long time ago.

Hockey has come back into my life. I met someone who's really into hockey. And I find I can watch a bit of the game and pretty much follow along. I even went to my first live game the other day and it was good! I had a good time. So much energy in the stadium. I've let go of judging hockey and people who watch it for entertainment. Let go of that a long time ago actually, but I never got into watching it myself. But now I am.

And the Sens are playing Florida in a few minutes and I don't have cable so I've got to go so I can watch the game :)

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Missing My Old Blog

I was just reading Megan's blog and I must admit I miss my old blog where I could just lay it out. I've had some funny stuff happen that would go with the old blog and not so much with the new blog. But I don't want to gossip and I want to hold my head up so if some new yoga student found my blog they'd be proud rather than embarrassed for/of me.

But anyways, I'm off the old blog and I'm into the new blog. So thoughts include those below in other postings as well as, how can there be world peace or even just peace in the middle east when I barely get along with my ex-husband (today) and am not fully communicating with my sister? If I can't deal with money issues with those guys, how can I expect whole countries to have it together? Well, I don't expect countries to have it together, but it would be nice. That way I could just do my thing and not worry that I'm part of the problem...

Breathing into the Places that you Feel

Breathing into places that you feel is one of the best techniques I know of to cope with strong sensations, whether they're physical or more subtle, as in emotional or mental. Breathing into a stretch in your hamstring is easy, but breathing into disappointment is more difficult. That's partly because we take our subtle sensations more personally and we think they're more meaningful than a stretch in the leg.

It's a tool I use when I'm going through a difficult time. When the negative sensations arise, when I remember to, I breathe into them just like they're a stretch in my physical body. Recently I went through a really hard time - I felt hurt and sad as a relationship ended. One of the things I did that helped me get through it and come back to a centred place was to breathe into the feelings of hurt and sadness and watch them, just like I do when I'm stretching my glutes.

I would isolate the thoughts that were there, "He hurt me. I'm sad." And I'd breathe into the hurt and the sadness through my tears.

What happened is the sensations became more manageable and then they disappeared. I just started feeling better and the sadness went away for awhile. Sometimes it was just for a few minutes, but at the time, that seemed like a lot. Then it would be gone for hours.

This is one of the ways I become stretchier - more flexible - internally. And then after some time those sensations return and I breathe into them again and they pass. And eventually they have passed completely. They return in different forms and I breathe through them anew.

It's something I do on a smaller scale if I notice I'm irritated. In general I don't like waiting. So when that irritation arises I just notice it, breathe into it, and then I'm just waiting and it's okay. Except when it's not. Sometimes I don't notice I'm irritated and I just am irritated and then I'm bitchy and crabby. But when I remember to notice the sensations and not take them personally, it's different. My friends and family can tell if I'm taking them personally, and your friends and family can too. Who cares if you can stretch on a yoga mat? That's great, but the real progress will be felt when you can stretch yourself with others, extending to them your patience and presence. And progress will also be felt internally when you find yourself getting over things faster than you used to.

Breathing into the places that you feel is like clearing the path, making it so you can continue along without staying stuck in negative thought patterns.

Just my thoughts this morning.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Blown Away by OSHO

We had the yoga teacher training again this weekend and it was great, as it always is. I love the technology of yoga. It works, no matter who your teacher is.

I was flipping through The Science of the Soul, Vol. 1 by Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh yesterday and I got more into it today. He was so cool. He got a bad reputation and probably deserved it, but he was a powerful teacher and really "got" yoga. What we're teaching now doesn't have the depth of what he taught. I miss being in the presence of a master, and at the same time, I have been allowing the teachings of yoga come alive without the presence of an enlightened/awakened teacher handy.

Most teachers I know had their teacher around only for a short while anyways, although some were with their teachers for decades.

Anways, OSHO was able to make the teachings of yoga accessible to everyone, something I relate to. He described the mind as an action, like walking. So the cessation of the mind, which is the aim of yoga, is to have the mind stop doing its thing. When walking stops and you're sitting, no one says, "where did the walking go?" and he says the mind is like that - it's not a tangible thing rather it's an action.

And somehow, in reading what he wrote, I felt connected to the truth and felt inspired. I'm not in a place to pass that inspiriation on, but to just say I was inspired.

When I was in my first year of University I had a boyfriend for a short while who had been to Pune and who had been an OSHO devotee for sometime. My best friend was also dating someone who'd been to Pune and had some wild experiences there. At the time I wasn't doing yoga yet and it didn't mean much to me but it had an impact and stuck with me. My boyfriend gave me one of Rajneesh's books and I kept it for a long time before I read parts of it. I got into yoga the following year but that boyfriend was long gone... And now the teachings are still relevant, maybe even more so as I have more experience to draw from and relate to.

If you're looking for a book on Patanjali's yoga sutras with an insightful, direct, uncompromising interpretation, look no further. This is the book.

Friday, March 16, 2007

March Break

So it's March Break and my daughter's out of school and we don't have big plans so she's hanging around. Because I don't teach all day I can have her around and we can sleep in and do stuff. Sometimes she comes to a yoga class with me because it works out that way. She's only 8, so she's not old enough to stay home alone yet and she wouldn't want to anyways.

Yesterday she did not come with me to my private class (I drove her to my sister's), but she did come with me to my lunchtime class. Part of how I got her to come more willingly to the lunchtime class is I agreed to get her a grab bag of candy from Sugar Mountain. I was thinking I'd spend 2 bucks on candy. I spent almost 5.

So we show up for the class on Rideau St and we're early, and she pours out her bag of candy on the floor. Happy, happy, happy. Bottle Caps. Pop Rocks. Tootsie Roll lollipop. Gummy Hamburger. One gross toffee thing that she offered to me after my class. And she's happy.

The class yesterday was sparsely attended and I knew people would be cool with her being there because she's not disruptive and does her own thing and plus, she's really cute.

Just because I'm a yoga teacher doesn't mean my kid is better or eats better or behaves more enlightened or anything. We're a family. We watch tv. We eat junk. We fight. When I hear about how Madonna's family doesn't watch tv and have food restrictions I wonder if maybe I should be more like that. More strict. Disciplined. But I've learned through experience it doesn't work like that...

More on that later.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Celebrity Look - a - Like

I thought this was kind of funny and Megan did it as one of her blog posts so I know it counts.

As I was talking to John about today, in some ways, we're not our bodies. When I lead people in savasana, corpse pose, we're letting go of our physical bodies, and connecting with what is beyond that. As I said to my lunchtime class today, we're the embodied spirit itself. I didn't say it in french though, so I'm not sure everyone got it.

But yoga says that we're not our physical bodies and we're also not even our subtle bodies, which we regognize as thoughts and feelings. We're the spark inside all of that. And we take our bodies personally - we think it matters how our bodies look. And we take even our subtle bodies personally - we think it matters how we feel and what we think. And the witness just watches. She sits there, amused, and loving us every minute of it, watching us do our thing.

I'm reminded to not be attached to how my face looks - it's going to change. I was even given an award at Rama Lotus where I teach - most likely to win a Best Bum contest - nice, eh? And that's going to change. And it's all going to change. (There's the Buddha!) So enjoy. Don't be attached.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Saucha - I know what it is

Saucha is the first of the niyamas and it means "purity." It can mean other things like, bathe, brush your teeth, tidy your space, put things back where they go, pick up garbage on the step, vacuum, trim your toenails, paint your house, watch uplifiting tv shows, and I could go on and on.

I'm saucha-challenged personally. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy tidy spaces and definitely prefer them to messy spaces, it's just that I have so many other things I'd rather do than sort through papers or clean my car or clear off my desk.

There are some areas where I will not compromise: I must shower daily, I must brush my teeth - in fact every person in my house must brush their teeth twice daily as well - I must wear clean underpants once they've come off; dishes must not remain dirty in the sink for more than 24 hours.

And then there are other areas where I will let it slide. I don't need to clear the snow off of all of the windows in the car in order to drive. Food left in the car, if frozen, can stay on the back seat for long periods of time. My desk may have papers stacked on it, near it, under it, for months. My freezer can have stuff jammed in it as long as the door closes properly.

And I know I would feel better if the car was cleaned and the office was tidy and my freezer was organized so I knew what I could make for dinner. But I don't do those things. It's a "chore" to do those things. There are so many other things I'd rather do, like feed my neopets, or read people's blogs, or pay my bills, or write stuff, or just about anything.

The pressure comes from inside though. I see the pile and my brain fires off the message, "I ought to tidy that up." "I should clean the car today." "I should tidy up Remi's room with her." "I should sort through the stuff under the sink." My mind is quiet in the other areas, because they're handled. "Wow, I really like the way the carpet goes with the couch." "That colour feels good." "I can hardly wait to get into my bed with the clean sheets on."

I'd like to have people be able to come over and for me to go into every room in my house and not feel embarrassed or like I wish it were different. And that's a choice I have by doing things a couple of ways. I could actually tidy everything up and feel relief, or I could relax my brain and just let things be as they are. I figure a bit of both is what's called for. Do some of the stuff I don't like to do because I know I'll feel good when it's done, and relax a bit when I notice myself judging.

I also have this idea that yoga teachers' personal spaces are supposed to be serene and tidy. I'll let you know right now that I drop that a bit more everyday as I continue to allow things to be as they are. As this video from yesterday shows, there's a full life happening at this yoga teacher's home!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Off Coffee

Something happened last Sunday that had me go off coffee. I've been drinking coffee my entire life it seems. At least since I was a teenager in Toronto. I probably started drinking coffee at Fran's Restaurant on Yonge St. when I was in high school. Or it could have been at Fran's on St. Clair when I was in Grade 8. But I did start drinking coffee way back when.

When I was 15 I started working at a deli on Mt. Pleasant that made cappuccinos before anybody knew what they were. We had espresso (long, short), cappuccinos and brewed coffee. That was it. No half caf, no soy milk, occasionally some extra froth and chocolate instead of cinnamon on the top, but that was about it.

I remember visiting my American relatives during the summer out in Washington State and people would be surprised that I was drinking coffee as a teenager. Coffee was for grown ups.

On exchange in Germany in high school I was exposed to more coffee and it was good. Stronger than I was used to. In France I learned to drink my coffee black because it cost extra if you added milk. Sugar was free. In Italy I learned to drink coffee standing up because it cost more to sit at a table.

I didn't drink coffee everyday until University I suppose. Then it was a habit and I was still smoking cigarettes so it seemed to be a good thing to do. Plus in Montreal they had lots of good coffee. In Montreal I switched to black coffee for a while because I was on the yeast free diet for a few years and wasn't supposed to eat dairy or sugar (or caffeine for that matter but I had to have something). When I got back into dairy in the coffee I was into milk. It was still strange at the time and I'd have to ask for milk as usually only cream was offered.

After university I travelled in Asia. In Thailand good coffee was Nescafe (instant coffee), so I was pretty much off coffee for a few months. India had tea, which was almost as good as coffee, so I got into that.

Then I moved into a yoga ashram in the States (Kripalu) where coffee was frowned upon. I didn't start drinking coffee there until I'd been living there for some time, when it became apparent that many residents were drinking coffee, just not out in the open. We'd stink up the halls with our coffee hidden behind closed doors. People would occasionally comment about how strong it smelled, but we were moderate and usually only did it in the morning and just a cup or two.

I went back to India, back on to tea, chai especially, but the fun drink where I was was warm buffalo milk or mixed with Ovaltine. That was good, but we usually drank that in the evening. Tea in the morning, buffalo milk in the evening.

Back in the States I spent a few years working at a new age summer camp for grown ups (Omega) and the coffee was not usually very good. During the winter months especially, we'd brew our own in a pot in the kitchen there and it would pass. I was drinking it on work days. Around that time I saw a doctor or chiropractor in Woodstock and he told me not to drink coffee everyday because the coffee does something that your body does naturally and if you're drinking it everyday, your body doesn't have a chance to kick in. So I was moderate in my coffee drinking.

While I was pregnant I drank some coffee in South Africa, but not that much. I was pregnant after all.

Once I was back in North America I was back on coffee for good. When my daughter was about 2 I was for sure drinking coffee everyday. That continued until Sunday I believe and she's 8 now. Occasionally I'd miss a day and have a headache and it was okay but then I was back on as soon as it was convenient.

I've been thinking about addictions lately and acknowledging to myself that coffee has been a crutch and I wonder what it would be like to be coffee-free again. That wondering about going off coffee, coupled with discussions in yoga classes of letting go of attachments coincided with running out of Ethiopian beans on Saturday. I thought about running out and buying more. But I thought I'd let the coffee run out and I'd be teaching all day Sunday anyways, so if I didn't feel great it would be okay.

And that was on Sunday. Nothing happened. I was waiting for a mild headache that never came. I thought maybe I'd not feel as perky during the day without it. That didn't happen either. I have felt fine, normal, my usual caffeinated self the whole week. I admit I am surprised.

But this morning's breakfast of pancakes with an egg on top made me long for a coffee. So I'll probably have one and it will be tasty and good. A friend is dropping by and I put in a coffee request. (After writing this I cancelled the coffee order. I feel good without it...)

It was just interesting for me that something fell away that I thought I was attached to. Sometimes letting go is that easy...

Friday, March 9, 2007


You may have noticed that I've removed all of the postings here! While I am not ashamed of my travails at dating and the levels of honesty I've been able to share, I have become uncomfortable with how the details I've shared may be used. So I'm taking them away for now. It may all come back sometime soon, but for now - no juice for you!