Wednesday, April 30, 2008

David Blaine Might Be a Yogi

I've heard about David Blaine over the years - I've never seen his show - just the parodies of it - and I think what he does is quite incredible. In order to do what he does, like be buried, fast for 44 days, be in a block of ice for days, and as of today, hold the world record for holding his breath (achieved live on Oprah), he has to practise some serious breath control and mind control. He must be able to restrain his thoughts and keep himself steady when standing on top of a pillar in New York. He seems to me to really be a modern yogi.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Distractions While Teaching

Sometimes when I'm teaching yoga I'll get to thinking about stuff. I'm actually always thinking about stuff. And then I'm talking and leading a class and in between what I'm saying, I'll be thinking things. I've been teaching for long enough that I'm not worried that I'm going to get thrown off by my thoughts. In the early days when my daughter was still young I was afraid I'd fall asleep while I was teaching, especially during the yoga nidra in the final relaxation, because I'd had the experience of reading her a bedtime story and then actually falling asleep and speaking from my dream. I used to be afraid something like that would happen, but it hasn't, so I don't worry.

Today I was having all this insight as we were doing "prana hands" about how there are molecules everywhere and that it might feel like there's nothing there but actually there's air and that's full of molecules. And I was thinking about how outer space is just space and the molecules are very far apart. And how atoms in our bodies are really the same as that - they're mostly made of space. And how the universe is inside of us and the outside is really the inside and it was getting all trippy.

When that happens I just breathe and come back to teaching. And then I teach that our thoughts and feelings are just sensations like any other sensations we experience and they're not really that special.

Monday, April 28, 2008

New Boots

I'm taking pictures of my new boots because my next class at CHEO has been slightly delayed because they're going downstairs to meet Wade Redden, a Sens player. I'm not going.

I had one of those total "The Secret" moments today about the boots. I don't have rainboots, I mean, I didn't, until a little while ago. And I haven't had rainboots in many years - if I'd had, I would still have them because, as you may recall, I don't throw anything out. So anyways, it's pouring out today and I've got to leave to teach a class in about 10 minutes. I've also already heard that it's going to rain for a few days this week so I figure that if I did have boots today I'd get more than one day's wear out of them, if I were to go and get them toute suite.

I have a favourite place to shop for things in the Market, and that is Frou Frou. I feel like a girl just walking into the store! I usually don't buy stuff, but sometimes I do. One day a few weeks ago Remi wanted to spend some money there and we'd seen these rain boots and she thought that maybe she'd use her gift certificate from Hanspeter on the boots, which I thought was very reasonable and I even agreed to pay the balance seeing as how $62 was a lot for boots for growing feet. By the time she got to the checkout though, the boots weren't there in her stack of stuff. She got a watch and something for her hair I recall.

So I knew Frou Frou had HAD boots but I wasn't sure if that was still the case. I didn't have time to waste and the store was practically on my way to my yoga class at CHEO so I didn't call the store in advance but rather just drove there in the pouring rain, imagining where I'd park. Sure enough, there was a parking place and I ran in. And sure enough they had a pair of boots left in my size. These are them. They fit, they feel good. I imagined them and then a short while later, they materialized. And I got in the car and stepped in big puddles all the way up to the building, arriving totally on time, or "just in time" as I prefer be! (Why waste time being early when you can arrive just in time?)

I said at the cash that my daughter's going to be jealous. And she might be. And she'll probably ask to wear them sometimes. And I'll probably say yes. She may even get to call them "her boots" in the near future when she gets to my foot size (she's a 7 and I'm an 8). But that won't last for long because chances are they won't fit her for more than a few months and then she'll need new boots and I'll buy her some new boots. And they'll be cute, but they won't be this cute and then once again, my daughter is going to covet my boots.

On another note, what I didn't say about today is that Remi spent her first hour alone at home all by herself (that would be the alone part). She's got a bit of a cold and just wanted to lay around, which was okay by me, but I still wanted to go to the gym and she was fine with that. We've been toying with her growing independence and what is appropriate for us. So I went. On the way home there were some women sitting on my steps smoking something that got hidden fast when I approached. I wanted to ask them how I could help them or if what if anything would help or did they need help. But I didn't. I asked them to get off the steps. And I went inside and Remi was fine and happy and so was I as we've crossed this threshhold finally.

Friday, April 25, 2008

I'm Going Back to the Gym

I've been putting it off and putting it off. I bought a 3-month membership 4 months ago and went once. I swear, if I don't have an appointment or a trainer or something, I simply won't do it. I know I feel better about myself when I'm doing things that are good for myself. It's really simple. Take care of myself and I feel good. I don't even have to lose a pound for me to feel better about feeling tight in my jeans. Just getting on the road is what makes me feel like I'm already on my way. And I am. So over and out.

I'm back. I feel better. Mostly because I'm doing what I said I would do. That always feels good. Now I'm going to check out the list of other things I said I would do and see if I can't make a move in some of those areas too!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Perfume Confession

When I was younger, like as a teenager, I used to wear perfume. I had a bit of experience with fragrances having gone to France for my 10th birthday for a month with one of my au pairs. All of my au pairs (before you get excited, my mom was a single parent with 3 kids and that was a way to have help at home, which happened at the time to be in Rexdale) were french pretty much, and fragrance was part of the culture.

So I knew the difference between Shalimar and Rive Gauche and some kind of Chanel when I was young. I chose Rive Gauche by Yves Saint Laurent as my main scent and wore it through late high school and university. I'd learned to put it on by spraying it into the air and then walking into the mist. I smelled great.

It was around the end of university that it was clear that what my mom had come down with back before high school included some combination of symptoms that included environmental sensitivities and meant she needed everything to be unscented in her immediate environs. I was reluctant to give up perfume but it was my mom we were talking about, so of course, I gave up perfume.

I ended up living in places where wearing perfume was "gauche," just to rub it in, plus my choices in scents were costly. So I gave it up altogether and even used unscented shampoo, deodorant, shaving cream, everything. It moved into unscented laundry detergent and dish soap and cleaning supplies and everything else.

My mom has in recent years become less sensitive and I don't need to use unscented shampoo and conditioner any more to be around without triggering a reaction. I've started using oils in a burner sometimes and even incense.

As it turns out, some perfumes give ME a headache and I don't enjoy being around other peoples' "too much" perfume at the movies or on a plane, so I'm happy things have turned out to be more of an unscented world.

You may gather that I was a cosmetic snob at one time in my life so the Yves Rocher catalogs and shops in the malls didn't have much allure for me. However, recently my daughter has gotten to an age where wearing lip gloss and having other "ladies things" around is kind of nice. As it turns out, Yves Rocher is affordable! And when I was looking for things to get people for Valentines Day I turned to them and bought the women in my life these little tester lipsticks - too cute - they reminded me of the old Avon's samples. And Remi and I felt like it was Christmas when we went to open the box of stuff.

We ordered another box of stuff a few weeks ago - some roll on lip gloss, a scented deodorant, incense, and this set of sampler perfumes. Okay, they're not Yves Saint Laurent or anything, they're Yves Rocher and they're not bad. So what we do is leave them by the computers and when it's after school or dinner we'll dab some on, comparing the smells and which ones we like today.

We both usually like Evidence but today we liked Ming Shu.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Library Card

I could get started about the library and how if they can call you the day after your book is due, surely they could have the automated caller reach you the day before your book is due, however, that's not the point.

The point is, the library has a lot of stuff that we already pay for so rather than going off and buying more stuff or ripping it off from the internet, we can actually borrow it properly. That is, if your card is "renewed."

I thought of borrowing Ann Lamott's book, Bird by Bird, but it's not checked in and it has multiple entries, and then I saw that one of her books is available for audio download. I'd heard about this but I haven't actually experienced it yet. So I click on the download digital file thing and it takes me to this other place where you can order the digital files. Cool!

I haven't used my library card in a few months so when I typed in my number it told me there's an error and they don't open until 10, so I'm just going to leave it for now. And I looked to see what other books they have and they have lots! I guess the deal with the downloads is they can only let 15 people at a time "borrow" the digital version over the lending period - I'm sure some of my librarian friends can elaborate on that - but just because it's digital doesn't mean you can get it right away, even if your library card doesn't have errors.

So I looked up Andrew Weil's site because his book on breathing sounded interesting and I found this article, which is short and sweet.

Later on I'll mosey up the Libe and find out what's up with my card and see if I can't download myself some audio books!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Spring Comes at a Price

Every year around this time it feels like I'm coming down with a cold. And I've learned after many years of this happening - this being that it feels like I'm coming down with a cold for a couple of weeks but the cold doesn't manifest - that this is not a cold but it is "allergies." And I know I'm not alone. My neighbours and colleagues tell me similar stories.

I was just talking to someone at CHEO about it a minute ago. She feels tired and achey and she said it feels like her head goes sideways. I had a sore throat and now a sore head and if I turn just so it becomes a wicked headache, but just for a sec.

I love spring. I love warmer weather. I love the changing of the seasons. But this is the part that I really could do without. When I was in South Africa it didn't happen. The weather there was different and the change of seasons didn't bring on these symptoms. I've heard that Ottawa is one of the worst places in the world for allergies because of the valley and the type of trees we have growing here and stuff. I don't know for sure about any of that, but I know this feels gross.

And it passes. It hasn't passed yet, but I know in a few days or weeks it will move on and my system will stabilize and I'll be back to balance. In the meantime I am more careful with what I eat and drink and take care to get enough rest and not overdo it.

So I've spent a week feeling under the weather and enjoying it at the same time!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Partner Yoga was Fun

We had a good time tonight in Partner Yoga. I didn't take any pictures this time, so I have nothing to put up here to show you.

Karina came and we had a really good time. There were teacher trainers in the class and some regular students and then some new people altogether - it was quite a mix.

Just now I was walking the dog and I thought I recognized the people walking up the street - people who were just in the class! I didn't stop them because they didn't notice me and I thought I'd let them continue into the Market. It was just kind of funny.

In between class and coming home I popped into the green room at OLT where the play that John is co-directing had its penultimate show and Tamsin and Rob were there with his parents. Tamsin commented on how it's funny to see me in normal clothes because I'm usually in yoga clothes, but the truth is these are yoga clothes. I just add jewelry and okay, the top is different, but I could totally do yoga in this outfit. So no wonder the people walking by didn't recognize me!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Yoga Music

I should probably write to Snatam Kaur and tell her myself how much the people at CHEO especially love her music. The girls will sometimes ask me what she's saying or what language it's in. Sometimes they make up words to the songs, which are very funny. But mainly I get a sense that it feels good to be around when that music's playing.

The songs are usually "guru ram das," or "wahe guru," and although I'm not that familiar with Gurmuki, which is the language she's chanting in most of the time, I can pick out the words, plus I've seen them in writing on the boards at Rama Lotus.

If you're looking for some great music to be in, I recommend any of her CDs.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Left Brain, Right Brain

Check out this video. Lorna and Brian recommended it to me in yesterday's morning class. It's pretty cool how she was able to be present during her own stroke and come out of it with a detailed story to tell. Which side of the brain do you choose to live from?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Doug Swenson in Ottawa

I opened the paper this morning to see a picture of Doug Swenson doing a wild pose at the Orleans Yoga Shala, where he's giving a workshop this weekend. I wanted to post that picture here but it's not found at the Ottawa Citizen site or the OYS site. Oh well.

It's great to see pictures of yoga in the paper!

Friday, April 11, 2008

This Love Guru

OMG I watched this trailer and it was so funny. I know they make the trailer extra-funny so you'll want to watch it - and I do!

If you've ever heard Deepak Chopra speak, you'll know Mike Myers is doing a total Deepak impersonation. Very well, I might add.

I met Mike Myers at the Old Fire Hall in Toronto when he used to do shows at Second City back in the '80s. I had a girlfriend who managed the bar and would let me in for free and I'd stay afterwards and hang out with the actors and staff. And I saw Deepak Chopra back in the early '90s when I lived at Kripalu and actually met him last summer. As I get older there are more and more threads on my web of life :)

Anyways, I understand there is some controversy surrounding this film and it looks well-deserved, which means it will probably be very funny!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Knotted Socks

Before there were yoga ties and straps and stuff we had knotted socks. A knotted sock does wonders when your arms don't reach behind your back and you need just a little bit of extra length.

In class the other day there weren't any straps in the room and someone really needed a bit of length so her friend said she could use her socks. I was excited - finally, someone using knotted socks, not buying into all of the yoga accessorizing! But the friend didn't really go for it. I tied the sweaty foot parts together so she would have her hands on the ankle parts but it didn't go over well.

I guess we could have used a strap that night.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Piranha Belt

If you've come to my Intermediate Hatha class chances are you've done an exercise called "prana hands." There are loads of things I like about that exercise and I will be the first to admit it's a bit "woo-woo." But there's something cool that happens when you do it and I find it really neat and so I lead it in my classes. Not to beginners usually because I think it's a bit out there and I don't want to turn people off of yoga but rather help them see how awesome it is.

So anyways, I'm leading this exercise yesterday and someone in the class says, "piranha belt, what's that?" and I died. That was so funny. I'm not sure how she heard Piranha Belt but it doesn't matter. "Put on your piranha belt and let's go."

Monday, April 7, 2008

Neither Good Nor Bad

I see my CHEO girls coming down the hall and they yell, "Jamine!" They regularly tell me that yoga is their favourite thing and it's for sure their favourite part of the program here. There was a new girl today and one of the people who's been in for a while introduced me as "the best person you're going to meet here." And I can hardly listen. I made some noise like, "oh, you don't really mean that," and the person who spoke said something about how I wasn't accepting the compliment. I don't really remember because I turned my ears off when they started acknowledging me.

And on Friday I was in Montreal to graduate from my Introduction Leaders Program. Not everyone graduated. I didn't just participate, I actually made it through the program successfully, which I had been afraid wasn't going to happen a few times throughout the course. Someone confided that he didn't think I had it in me and was really surprised I'd passed the course. That made me mad! "I didn't think you had it in you Jamine and I'm surprised and happy for you." Who did he think he was talking to? Didn't he know that there was no way I was going to fail that course if I could help it? Someone else asked me if I had been planning to complete the course the whole time or if I just reached the goal by accident sort of thing. What? Of course I was going to complete it and become an Introduction Leader.

It's just funny that I won't believe what people say - the good nor the bad. If I'm great, I will disagree, and if I'm weak I will disagree. It's funny. I can't take a compliment and I'll act defensive if someone puts me down.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

The George Foreman

When I was visiting my family in California last month, I was introduced to the George Foreman grilling machine. My grandmother uses one and my uncle too. I thought maybe I should get one.

Yesterday was the day I went hunting for one. I went to Costco and was shopping and checked to see if they had anything like that. They didn't. But I did my usual Costco thing and when John came home he asked why I bought a Cuisinart soft serve ice cream maker. "Well, because they didn't have a George Foreman, naturally."

Now Remi's all excited because we've got this new ice cream maker, but what we didn't really understand at first is that you have to freeze the inside part for 12 hours before you can use it. She was totally bummed. She even got up at 6 this morning seeing if we had enough time NOW to make ice cream. "Yes, we have time and no, we won't be having soft serve for breakfast." That's something we'll be doing after school before violin today!

But I still wanted a George Foreman and I saw that Canadian Tire had them and I figured maybe other hardware stores had them and sure enough, my local Home Hardware had 3 models to choose from. So I strolled over and came home with the mini one and let me tell you, it was awesome. Dinner was good and fast and most of all...LEAN. (I mean it's a lean, mean, grillin' machine after all.)

That's going to make room for ice cream later!


The ice cream didn't turn out after all. I don't think we followed the recipe. We'll try again over the weekend otherwise that'll be the end of that ice cream machine - back to Costco!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Slipped on the Ice

I had been thinking about how lucky I was to have made it through a whole winter and I didn't slip on the ice (yet). And then it happened. Feet went out from under me and Bam! Down I went. Hopefully practising yoga will make it so I recover quickly. I won't really know the difference but I figure I've done what I can.

It turns out my neighbour slipped on the same spot 2 minutes before me. All that early snow on top of the ice from the days before left a slick place. It has since disappeared, fortunately!

Holding the pose of winter was a tough one for me this year! It was a long pose and put me into a deep stretch. It feels like it's just about over now and I'm relieved. If it's above freezing, that feels like a good day.