Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Party's Over

It's official. The party's over. My fat pants have gotten tight. I've definitely had a lot of fun - eating, drinking, sleeping, playing - and it seems like not much else is getting done! I don't really worry about it but then it is on my mind. I'll have to go out and buy new clothes if I don't rein myself in. I really don't like going out and buying new clothes. I'd rather not.

This has been a wild year. I started out miserable and sad (and skinny) but determined to have things turn out and they did! I'm ending it fat and happy and purring with how good life is. And I know it's not the circumstances that count - they really don't - but they're fun to monitor and play with if you're not too attached. I wasn't too attached this year and I remained committed to what I thought I wanted and I wound up with something that really pleases me.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

It's Hard to Be Quiet!

I had one of the best days EVER today.

I LOVE le Nordik. Many of you know that. If you haven't gone, please, please, please, take yourself to le Nordik. It's like 12 minutes from my house. I can't stand it, it's soooo great. Anyways, one of the things that I find interesting about le Nordik is that people are asked to be quiet. Like don't talk. Whisper if you have to in certain areas, but in others, simply be quiet.

Do you think people are quiet? They are so not quiet. We can't stand to sit there with our people and just BE. We need to chat. We need to chit chat and small talk and giggle and have fun and that's great. But what would be awesome is to take a few minutes to just be quiet and be awake. So people are at le Nordik completely ignoring the requests to be quiet. Me too. And I'm noticing that I'm not complying with the request and just noticing. And it makes me think about how hard it is to do something so simple.

Meditating is one of the easiest things you could ever do. And it works! And yet, people find it so difficult. So hard to sit still for 10 minutes, half an hour, or even just five minutes! We won't do it. Some people do and that's great. I think of it like brushing your teeth. Once you get in the habit of doing it, you'll do it on your own no matter what and many of us will do it more than once or twice a day and you can't stop us! But it can take years to get into the habit - my daughter's 9 and I'm still reminding her to brush her teeth...

There's a show on Tapestry that I'm listening to about meditation. If you have some time and would like to take a listen, here you go.

Oh, and after the spa experience, we had lunch at Les Fougeres. Wow. And the day continued and included a nap and I must say, what a treat it was!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Yoga is a Privilege

Yoga is a privilege. When I forget that I am losing sight of what's going on. I think it's a right, I think people already know and just don't do it. So many people don't even know. It's a privilege to know about yoga and to be able to practise it is a true honour. Not everyone has that.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Keep Up Your Practice!

It's Christmas Day and a lot of people may be skipping their usual practice today. Don't skip it altogether! It's okay to do an abbreviated practice - and even if it's delayed, like you do it tomorrow - but don't go a few weeks without your practice if you can help it.

If you didn't get my yoga DVD for Christmas, there's loads of free stuff on the web. Search on youtube or find something you like to inspire you to keep practising!

Peace, out.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Nothing's Wrong With Christmas

You know, for years I've listened to this story society tells about how Christmas has gone all commercial and how it's lost whatever it used to have that made it all warm and fuzzy waaaay back in the day. How it's all about buying presents now rather than what "really" matters and people are stressed out and blah blah blah. I'm not buying it anymore.

Christmas is a time to be generous. If we were normally generous people, being generous at Christmas wouldn't be bad at all, in fact it would be a celebration. But the fact is, most of us are not generous. We think we're generous types, we'd like to be generous, but really when it comes down to it in our day-to-day interactions, we maybe think about being generous and then we're not. We do not put out as a society. In fact Canadians have been measured to be some of the least generous as a population when it comes to giving to charity.

What happens at Christmas is that we're asked to be generous and it hurts. What comes up is where we are not generous and having that revealed to ourselves can be painful. Maybe we don't spend our money appropriately throughout the year so we could be giving back along the way so it wouldn't bite so hard in December. If we were doing random acts of kindness and springing Our Favourite Things on our friends in June, doing a little something-something in December would be natural and fun.

And it's not about the stuff. Our lives are so full of work and busy-ness that to spend more time at Mom's or to visit our relatives or attend parties occurs for us as massive to-dos. But if we've been visiting regularly and hanging out throughout the year, then Christmas isn't a chore, but another opportunity to get together and play!

Nothing's wrong with Christmas. And nothing's wrong with people either. People are people. Most of us don't like each other and don't really want to be with each other once we're adults. (I'm exaggerating, but not much.) We don't want to lend a helping hand or do something extra that might cause us to have to give up something - an episode of a show, a few minutes of sleep, a few bucks.

And I don't believe for a second that this is a modern problem or that there's anything new about it. If we could hear from people in cultures across space and time, there would be a grumbling about whatever the name of the holiday is or the event is that asks us to be generous. If you've been generous all year, Christmas is a blast. If you haven't, Christmas is a drag. Check it out!

So Christmas really is a pose. A pose that stretches the muscles of generosity and kindness. For many of us, those are pretty tight muscles as we've been contracted all year long. Christmas asks us to stretch in this way, so my suggestion is find the places you feel the most and breathe into them. And then add this stretch to your regular practice so you can feel more comfortable in it. Watch what happens!

Enjoy the rest of your Christmas shopping!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Yoga as an Investment in Comfort

I've said this before, but it's time to say it again. Practising yoga reguarly can really allow you to be as comfortable as possible. There are other things that may come in the way of your being comfortable, but practising yoga can help you be as comfy as you can.

Someone asked me after a long car trip if I had some exercises for them to do so they didn't have a sore back anymore. Sure. Do a regular yoga practice. That's the exercise for a sore back. Not certain poses, not just specialized stretches, but a full-out, all-round practice. Regularly. Once a week, but twice a week makes an even bigger difference. More than 5, you'll have less noticible benefits perhaps.

I was listening to Dr. Geoff Outerbridge in the last class of the teacher training, he said that the period after Christmas is his busiest time. What happens is people take a couple of weeks off of their regular practices of fitness and training and then their bodies go out of shape faster than they get in shape and people return to the level of training they had before they went on holidays. The result is more injuries, hence more need for the chiro!

So even though my Tuesday evening classes will not be offered for 2 weeks in a row, it's important to keep your practice up. Keep stretching and working so that your body doesn't begin to hibernate with the season! Make your investment in your practice and it will pay you back generously.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Loose Ends

When I listen to my story of what I have to do and how practically impossible it's going to be to get it all done I think it's just me.

Get winter tires (I waited until the last minute and now it's practically too late for that and I make myself wrong for not getting them sooner and my punishment is going to be that I drive in my all seasons all winter.)
Get a new washing machine (The guys arrived yesterday with the new one but they weren't allowed to install it because mine are stacked and they checked with their boss and they couldn't make an exception so we had them take it back and called Sears to get a refund. So now I have piles of clothes and will have to go to a laundromat - might not sound like a big deal but I am so not ready to go there. So I make Sears wrong and I'm going to show them by buying a washing machine someplace else like that's going to fix it.)
Buy and wrap Christmas presents that are affordable and meaningful (I'm so behind and on top of it my mom and my fiance's birthdays are both on Christmas Eve. And I refuse to get it done in a mall in one shot.)
Get my Christmas cards done, like really (I did start and some are close to having stamps on. I make up for it by writing fast and having Remi scribble something so at least people know I tried but I feel like a fraud because I didn't say much of anything.)
Clean up the house so people can come over and I'm not mortified (This hits hard at this time of year because people are really coming over and I get found out about how really disorganized I am. I want to try and hide that so I push more stuff into my bedroom making it a place I barely want to be and then we just survive in there until after the holidays when I can spread the mess out again.)

I know you have lists too of things that are your personal pile of loose ends and unfinished business. Christmastime tends to highlight all that kind of stuff as it asks us to pack in more things to do inside of our already tight schedules.

I'm going to breathe, tackle the things on the list that are important to me, relax around the things that are not going to get done, and inside of all of that, be present to the people in my world who may be going through something very similar. Perhaps we'll be able to look at each other and take a rest in each other's gaze. ;)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


The point of yoga is transformation, not physical fitness. Yoga invites us to know our true selves and let go of the dreams, the plays, the stories about how we think things are and be present to how it really is.

Sometimes we get fit doing yoga but being mentally and emotionally fit is even more important. Studying yoga is quite different than reading about yoga. Studying yoga enhances one's physical yoga practice by deepening one's knowledge so as a person is doing yoga, they're more aware of what's happening and what they're doing. Reading about yoga doesn't bring you an experience of yoga like studying yoga does.

The yoga teacher training addresses this and teaches a lot about the yogic scriptures, but the most current study of yoga that I can find is offered through Landmark Education. They don't call it that, but I recognize the yoga in it. And some people think yoga is weird and don't want to do it and there's lots of different kinds of yoga and if you're reading this chances are you don't think yoga is that weird. Just like how yoga used to be weird and people had stories of levitation and gurus and incense and stuff, anyone going to a class in Ottawa knows it's pretty normal. Same thing with Landmark Education. I'm talking about it a lot right now because I'm immersed in it by choice at the moment and I'm getting some feedback from people who haven't taken any courses but think they know something about it from reading about it. It's like reading about yoga. Not the same as doing it. Once you get into it, it is so not weird. Or the weird parts are not bad but are actually fun.

Anyways, if you're someone I've invited to come and see what I'm up to and you happen to have read stuff about what I'm doing and you've become skeptical, please consider you're not really getting the picture by the stuff you've read. And yoga is maybe not for everyone - although I can't imagine who couldn't benefit from some style of yoga - the work of transformation offered through Landmark Education may not be for everyone, but again, I can't imagine who couldn't benefit from this education. I haven't met anyone who did it who didn't like it. Really.

Just like the yoga practice we do helps us in other areas of our lives, help we're going to need over the holidays, the tools you get from Landmark Education will help in other areas of your life. Really.

Someone said recently they would like me to offer coaching. I think as a coach my suggestion would be to go do the Landmark Forum, get the tools, and then we can start our work. Without "joining" anything, but rather having a set of tools that so far that I've only become really familiar with through the study and practice of yoga and are brought current and totally accessible through the education offered at Landmark Education. If you have more, know of some others, let me know. I'd love to hear about them!

Monday, December 17, 2007


I came back from the weekend in NYC quite inspired. That's one of the benefits of doing the training. And I find that my life is just always going better when I'm doing one of the Landmark Education workshops. The inspiration seems to carry over into other aspects of my life.

I ran across this page tonight and I wanted to post it. In the posting from August 6 there's a video section and in the fifth one down there's a short interview with a doctor named Bert Peterson. He came yesterday to share about his leadership role in the Self Expression and Leadership Program. Blew me away.

He is a surgeon and in his FREE TIME is a leader in the Self Expression and Leadership Program. He has opened up clinics in the Caribbean and in Africa and was really inspiring. I thought the course I am taking took up too much of my time (at the beginning - I'm over it), but he is just one example of someone living a really big life. Check it out.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Travel Pose

Sometimes we do poses that aren't the kind we get taught in a class on a mat. We may not even know that we're doing these poses. But if you step back and consider some of the things you do as yoga poses, you can make adjustments so you have proper alignment and you can pay attention to your breathing, so that rather than being drained by what you're doing, you can actually be energized.

For instance, many of us hold the pose of sitting at a desk for a long time. Today I'm going to hold the pose of sitting in a car for 10 hours (hopefully not more than that but with the weather as it is, who knows?). I'm not going to pretend that I get energized by 10-hour car rides, especially in snowy conditions. But I'm going to be open to the possibility that I could pay attention to my posture while I'm in the car and notice my breathing and perhaps when I arrive at my destination I won't be completely drained and exhausted.

This is the third weekend in my Introduction Leaders Program through Landmark Education and I'm excited. I'm also a bit bummed because it's in NYC and it would be fun to shop and see sights and more than that, visit Mindi in Connecticut, but the course is so tight that the breaks are really just long enough to eat something and get back to the workshop. So even though I'm in NYC, I could be anyplace...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

New Work Out

Today I got what feels like a total body work-out by walking from my house to my yoga class in Hull in my heavy winter boots in the snow. Wow. On top of it I got lots of sensations on my skin as my face felt like it was being slapped by the wind and when I finally warmed up as I was teaching the class, my ears were burning. It was fun.

So I was on my way to teach the class and I decided to walk, precisely so I could get some exercise instead of driving my car there, and along the way I noticed someone I thought I recognized. We were waiting for the light to turn at Sussex and Murray and sure enough, she had been in my yoga class yesterday for the first time. So that was neat and we walked across the bridge to Quebec together. Along the way someone was heading the other direction and she had taken the yoga teacher training that graduated this spring. After my class was over, I walked past the Museum of Civilization and another yoga person waved hi.

There is a lot of yoga going on in Ottawa/Gatineau. And I feel very comfortable here in this city!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Cold Yoga

Well there's "hot yoga," and today I led "cold yoga." The poor guys at the Canadian Police College. They're on a special course, most of them away from home taking a 3 week Senior Police Administrator's leadership training and they get yoga as a special treat and the gym there us unheated. Freezing cold it seems. It's hard to relax when it's cold.

So today we did lots of sun salutations and standing postures and I kept it going pretty quick so they didn't have time to cool off too much. I even wore socks for most of the class myself. First time for that.

But what a drag during the relaxation. It's difficult as it is being in a non-yogic setting, let's call it, but with no heat, it's asking a lot. They seemed to enjoy the class still, but I would have liked them to have had a chance to really relax a bit more. Oh well.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Yoga for Kids

Today was the last day of my yoga series in my daughter's Grade 4 class during their gym time on Wednesdays. It went really well. We only have about 20 minutes so there's not a lot we can do, but it seems to be enough. Today they were graded again (yikes) and I think they all did well. We did some partner poses, as I had promised last week that we'd do today. It was a laugh.

I've had a few adult student-yoga teachers say they want to talk to me about teaching kids. I'm not sure what to say. I don't necessarily have special training in teaching yoga to kids, what I have now is plenty of experience. The thing with teaching kids is that quite often they are in a non-optional yoga class setting, in which case they almost have more to do with groups that are suffering non-optional yoga than in being a group of kids. That being said, different aged kids will be able to do different things with yoga.

Really young kids are mostly just playing. They are constantly moving as long as they're awake and they love routine. So if you have them regularly, once you figure out what's going to work with them keep doing that. They'll come to count on it. Adults are like that too in general :) You can get little kids to participate by asking them lots of questions and having the poses be things they can relate to like animals and other objects. I also found having someone else with the kids like their teacher, was critical to the class going well. If I was by myself with a bunch of kids I hardly knew it was much more difficult and would end quickly. I also learned a lot about engaging with kids by watching their day care teacher work with them.

Older kids can balance and begin to be more steady and actually look like they're "doing" some of the poses. They may be able to connect their movements with their breath and are usually quite impressed with themselves and each other when they can get into more challenging poses. Again, the presence of another teacher is often really useful and helps keep them on track and feel safe.

Teenagers are a special bunch depending on who's with them when they're doing yoga. The context people are doing yoga in is so important and will alter their experience so much. You can get people really into being in their bodies but at the same time, really afraid to do that. A teenaged body can be a super-scary place, so just beginning to encourage people to consider that they are a safe place is a good place to start. They also appreciate the challenging poses but have often discovered what cool things they can do in other settings like gymnastics or dance or whatever other class.

That's just a general run down. Today the Grade 4s did a full body relaxation. It was quicker than what I teach out in the grown up world but much longer than they've ever been able to do before. With the really little guys, if they could lie still for a few seconds as a group, we'd done well. These 9-10 year olds were really steady and able to concentrate. I mentioned to them that as Grade 3s this wasn't something they were able to do. It's neat watching this group grow up...

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Blogging Right Before Yoga

I'm actually at the class. Got a quick connection. I wanted to mention there are free meditation classes at the church in Westboro. One of my favourite teachers ever, Joyce Hardman, is leading the group. Check it out. It's on Mondays.