Monday, September 29, 2008

Meditation on the Treadmill

My sister and I both meditate. So after our weight training and it's time to get on the treadmill and do a little cardio, my sister reveals her mind. "I've got more important things to do. I'm tired. I can't stay on this machine. I've got to leave now. Surely that's enough time. I'm only doing 10 minutes." It goes on and on. And it's not a drag to hear her because she says it while she's aware. So I know she knows that it's just her mind doing its thing. And it's funny.

After a while her mind goes quiet. It has nothing left to say and her body just keeps walking on the treadmill. Mine too. We talk, we walk, we do our thing, and we know our minds will complain at the beginning and then they will get comfortable. It's like a dog making its bed. It is all fidgety at the beginning and then it settles down and has a nap.

That's often what happens when you sit down to meditate. The mind comes up with a hundred different better things for you to be doing. All of the to-dos that need to be done right this minute show up. And then discomfort is there too. "I can't do this. My knees are sore." Whatever. And if you know that is just part of the deal and don't buy into the story, you get to sit and meditate peacefully. Or you get to do whatever it is you want to do because the obstacles on the path to meditation or the treadmill or to cleaning your office or starting the project or anything you can think of, have all been well-documented by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras thousands of years ago. People are people and we're all going to not want to do stuff we really want to do or think is good for us to do. The mind comes in and tries to sabotage our efforts. If we recognize the signs, we can pursue our path knowing those thoughts will pass. If we get caught up in those thoughts and believe them, we'll stop our progress and take a diversion for a while. No problem. Eventually we'll come back to the path and try to make progress again until we're stopped. And we'll start again. It's inevitable...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me

This is a funny video that my friend, David Cronkite, made for me. I'm 42 today. It still feels great! Hooray for the 40s!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


On Sunday I read a bit from Anthony de Mello's book, The Way to Love, a book I've mentioned a few times for sure in class, at least once on this blog. He says that we're already happy, we just need to remember it and get rid of the attachment to things and recognize our happiness. Someone after class said it reminded her that there's no "happier" that we're just happy and that there's no striving for it. It's just to scrape off the layers of things that prevent us from noticing our happiness that's already there.

And someone else sent me a page from Tara Brach's book about happiness (that's what the image is). How it's just there. There's nothing to do but notice it. How refreshing. There's not a 10-step process to achieving happiness. It's already ours. It's there.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Good-bye to the Echo

In a few minutes the Echo's new driver is going to come and take it out of my parking place and drive away. I'm actually keeping it insured for him for a couple of days with my plates on until Toyota Financing can get their paperwork straightened out. I discovered that when you want to buy a car from them, they do things super-fast and paperwork takes no time at all, but in this case, it can take a week. Hmmm.

Anyways, something funny happened on Facebook the other day. I had put my status down as, Jamine is "going to have one less car tomorrow" and someone who I know is an environmental guy commented and wrote, "good for you," or something like that. I laughed. What a spin! I think he thought I'm reducing my carbon footprint and being more environmentally conscious. Ooops. If you've been reading my blog you'll know I ended up with 2 cars because I bought an extra car completely on impulse (although entirely premeditated). "Ooops, I have an extra car, now what?" And I'm not keeping the Echo, I'm getting a bigger, heavier car. After last winter when I actually lost a few bucks because I couldn't get to teach a class because I couldn't get my car out of the driveway, I figured heavier may be the way to go. I live in a wintery climate, non?

When I bought the Echo I had just started working at lululemon full time and I needed a car that would be so reliable because I had to make it across town to pick Remi up at the bus. When I started there I was committed to parenting the way I wanted to, which included being with her after school, so I ended early some days so I could get to the bus on time. And that car always made it.

I also bought that car when I was living in "survival mode." I just always did the most basic option and to do anything above was a stretch. I know on the Echo I added a painted bumper and the central lock thingee and I was like, "I'm going to pay an extra 10 bucks a month for that?" And I did.

It took a while for me to really get that I could be a single mom and take care of myself and my daughter without outside help. I wasn't sure that I could do it for the longest time. It took a while before I could relax and know that I had enough and was okay. I bought her new clothes but I didn't buy anything for myself. We still don't have cable TV (or a dishwasher for that matter). I would read articles about how people could save money by doing things like not buying coffees out. I always drank coffee at home. Going to Starbucks and wasting 4 bucks seemed like just that, a waste. So I realized I was already doing those things to save money and I got a bit scared. I was already living so close to the edge. I didn't have a buffer. What if I got sick? What if I didn't have a steady job or enough yoga classes?

As you're aware, it has all turned out. I still get a bit scared and reading about the economy collapsing brings that up too. But what I have now is faith in myself. Faith that I'll figure it out. Faith that I can work enough to have what I need and more. I am strong and can take care of myself and my little family!

So saying good-bye to the Echo for me is not about getting a new car. It's about saying good-bye to a way of life that had me living so much from a place of fear and needing to survive. It's letting go of old patterns and stretching into new places. Living a life of thriving and freedom. That's what I had wrapped up in that Echo and I'm letting it go. (He's on his way over and I'm giving him the keys!)

Thursday, September 18, 2008


I have a trainer. I pay him to tell me what to do. It's not like I couldn't stay home and run up and down my own stairs and do sit ups and then go out for a long (high-intensity, of course) walk all by myself, of course I could. But I'm old now. I know what I will and will not do on my own. And I will not do strength training on my own. So my sister and I actually split our trainer. We know we need some support and we're willing to go get it.

I taught someone today and she said she knew that she needs me to come to her place and help her do the yoga because if she goes to a class, she'll try to do stuff that could hurt her, and she needs the support of a teacher and she's willing to pay me to come over. I get it!

I've reached an age where I know that there are things I could do and that loads of other people are doing for free, and I'm willing to pay for them anyway. And I've seen enough to know that I do lots of things on my own that other people pay other people to do (computer stuff, for instance).

What a relief it is getting some coaching and support for things you could be doing on your own. We're not going to be able to do it all. I used to try so hard to do everything all by myself! And then there are times when it's good to buckle down and get things done on your own and be more self-sufficient (uh, housecleaning comes to my mind). So it's a balance.

Having a coach or trainer or teacher is a real privilege. (Thanks Scott!)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Partner Yoga is Coming Up

Partner Yoga is coming up soon (September 26) and the questions have begun about bringing someone's boyfriend who's never done yoga before. "I want to get my boyfriend into yoga. Can I bring him to Partner Yoga?" Every Partner Yoga session has somebody's boyfriend who has never tried yoga before.

To be honest, I'm not sure if doing Partner Yoga translates to signing up for regular yoga classes. It's so different in PY. There's a lot that's different in PY than the normal variety. For one thing, there's a good chance you'll have an opportunity to lift your partner up in the air during PY. I've considered removing that move from the repertoire but people invariably request it if I try to leave it out, so we do it. Or try to do it. And there's the rub.

How does "date night" go afterward if you "try" to lift up your partner and it's unsuccessful? There's a lot going on - "I'm not strong enough," from the lifter. "I'm too heavy," from the liftee. Of course, I encourage people to be fine with however it's going and I'll tell you right now I don't give my sister an airplane and I don't make it mean I'm a wimp or she's too big. It's just not workable for me to lift my sister up the same way she can lift me up. But I know that it can be a touchy subject and might bring stuff up that's not what you're expecting when you're signing up for a fun night of Partner Yoga. And for sure, that's not happening for everybody, but I'm pretty sure it's happening for somebody. I don't really dwell on it or comment at all, but I'm sensitive to it.

Check your calendar and see if you can come out to PY! It really is a hoot...

Monday, September 15, 2008

Yoga at the Y

Earlier today I was reading some other blogs and came across this recent post about Yoga at the Y and how great it is. And it got me to thinking!

I am a teacher at Rama Lotus and have been for 6 or 7 years. I go in, I teach, I leave. People come, people go, prices go up, stuff happens, and I'm still in there teaching. I used to wonder why people would go to a yoga class at all seeing as how yoga is free and people can do it at home by themselves and before I lived in an ashram I'd signed up for a series of classes and this drop-in model wasn't in my world. So yoga's free and people can do it on their own but studios have to charge because landlords don't donate their space for yoga classes. (I've asked on occasion, but they won't go for it - they charge a lot.) So then yoga costs something. The Y can charge a little because they're a big business and a charity and have lots of cash flow and it's way different than a little yoga place, which even Rama Lotus is by business standards. Buying in bulk reduces the cost and I know classes can cost below 10 bucks if you've put enough on the card.

And then there's the teachers. I've written before about what people think yoga teachers are supposed to be and I guess charitable should definitely be on that list. Which I think most teachers are as most teachers don't make that much for what they do. So most yoga teachers also have other jobs. Some yoga teachers can get by teaching open classes, but most really can't. There are some very big classes at Rama Lotus, and the person teaching that particular class will be well paid for that class, but most of the classes are small and you could make more teaching at the Y than teaching a daytime class to a few people at Rama Lotus. So teachers generally don't do it for the money.

The length of time for a yoga class has always varied. And it varies on various things. I'm not sure why Bikram began doing 90-minute classes, but he did and Rama Lotus got Bikram classes happening thanks to Luc probably 10 years ago, and then other classes would be scheduled in a similar way to suit the space, I suppose. At Kripalu our classes were 1 hour and 15 minutes for some auspicious reason. Some people get an hour for lunch so a lot of classes are that length, which is what the Y does. They're running on an hourly schedule. Most of the classes I teach outside of Rama Lotus are an hour too, it's enough most of the time. At Omega, the staff classes are 2 hours, so it just depends.

What to wear to yoga has changed over the years (I talk about that on my web site, I don't think it matters what you wear to yoga but some people do and it can be like a fashion show in some classes. Those great clothes are also very comfortable usually, which is why Chip started lululemon, at least that's what he told me. Doing Bikram in cotton is totally allowed, but usually uncomfortable. I used to wear my bathing suit with shorts on top. Doing non-hot room yoga in cotton works great and that's what most of us wear. (Ashtanga would be an exception as it gets just as hot as a Bikram class in Ashtanga if you're working and there are people in the room!)

When yoga becomes a fitness class it loses something for me. If I want to work out, I go to the gym. If I want to do yoga, I do yoga. It helps me connect to myself and stretch and have quiet time with myself and it feels good. And then it's worth the money, unless I'm doing it on my own!

One of my teachers wrote about offering yoga for free and what happened to him. In our culture if we don't pay for something we don't value it. That's a generalization, but it fits here. And even if there were free yoga classes, they'd need to be outside because indoor space costs something. I've had really cheap classes at people's works and people don't show up. Charge a little more and people come because it's a bigger investment. It's like marketing anything - you have to find the right price, which may be more rather than less. I'm not saying yoga's over priced, but to be honest, I don't know, because I'm not trying to run a yoga centre.

Doing yoga in a dedicated yoga space is also a nice thing to do. I teach a lot of yoga in gyms and dirty floors and places that aren't dedicated to yoga. It's great to be able to teach yoga in a yoga studio. The lighting, the sound system, the props, the whole space has considered yoga. Doing yoga in a gym works, but it's not the same.

Teaching yoga and holding the space for 1 or 50 students, is a privilege and it takes something to do that. It takes a lot of mental energy to do it and it's also something that can be rewarding to the teacher once they get over being drained by it! But it's not something that you can do 8 hours a day. Not leading big classes up at the front. It's something you do for short periods and then you have to do something else. And if you're working all day and then teach yoga at night or stop and do it at lunch, chances are you're not doing it everyday or it will eat up your free time.

Yoga's great and it's awesome that there are affordable classes and classes in dedicated yoga spaces, and private classes. There's a kind of yoga for everybody. And there are good teachers at all levels. One's not better than the other. Yoga's not a competition! Not even the classes or spaces. There's room for free yoga and $15 yoga and $100 yoga classes. Context is the key.

(I grabbed the pictures from my website. I scanned them from the book, Yoga for Americans.)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Paradise by the Dashboard Lights

Let me start by saying that this is not a picture of the dash of my car. I don't have my own picture of the nighttime dash of my car yet, but my car does something similar. I didn't drive the car at night before I bought it. Last night, after teaching at Rama Lotus and then heading over to Santosha for Leona's wild Journey Dance, I turned the dash lights on. "Aaaaaah," sang the angel choir. I'd forgotten that VWs go purple at night. If I'd remembered that a while ago, this car thing would have been over and I wouldn't have had to drive anything after the Rabbit. The other too cool thing is that to open the hatch, you push on the VW logo. It's like a bat-mobile!

Today I'm driving to Montreal and gas prices or high and it's like, "should I take the Echo or the Rabbit? Hmm. Let's see." As if! It's a fun little question that I won't have for much longer as I am quite certain the Echo will find a new driver very soon.

This morning on CBC Overnight, I heard an interview with a couple of doctors on the Australian program. It was so fascinating, I perked up and I'm going to look them up now. They were talking about the "plasticity" of the brain and how people with OCD, for instance (that's obsessive compulsive disorder) can through, using their awareness, notice that the thought they have about the germs on the doorknob (or whatever), isn't useful and know that the thought is basically stuck in their brain, and move their thoughts to something else, that they will actually rewire their brain. The whole interview was really excellent. It reminded me of A Beautiful Mind, and how that guy learned which voices were the ones not to listen to and even though in the end he could still hear them, he didn't pay attention to them and that allowed him to live his life.

Yoga deals with this of course, and so does Landmark Education, which I've always considered to be jnana yoga, the path of knowledge. The thing that they said in the program that was really cool was that the mind and the brain are separate. There is a mind that operates outside of the brain, or beyond the brain. Have a listen if you have time...

Friday, September 12, 2008

Now I'm Nervous

I realize that why I do these kinds of things is for the little dramatic thrill it gives me. It's exciting! Here I am picking up a new car that will use more gas than the car I'm currently driving and I wake up to hear, "Canadians will be waking up to the highest gas prices they've ever seen, as prices shot up overnight more than 13 cents." (Gulp.) Prices had just been coming down!

Hopefully there will be some calls about the Echo for the same reason. The ad isn't showing up just yet, but supposedly it is going in today. I'm having a funny feeling about it though and will call their office as soon as it is open.

I've got a meeting this morning about the Yoga Teacher Training and then it's yoga, yoga, yoga, until tonight. One of the groups I teach today is the cops. They are such a hoot. These guys are required to take my yoga class as part of their leadership training. And they actually have to take it twice. I don't om them in and we don't do "happy baby" pose, but they do all the other stuff. I think their favourite is the relaxation though. One time I had a guy tell me after the class that is was the most relaxed he'd been in 20 years. "Dude! This is available to you everyday! Don't wait another 20 years to get relaxed." And it can't even be that relaxing as we have to do the class in a big gym with other people working out on machines while we're occupying most of the space. It's not the most relaxation-conducive yoga space. So could you imagine how it would be if these guys were doing yoga in a dedicated space and had incense and music and stuff?

But we start where we are. That's the only place to begin. So if it's the floor of a cold gym, we start there. If we can't touch our toes, we start there.


It's after 8 and I checked. My ad is there. Whew!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

2 Cars

I already know that some of you think this is a bad idea. I also know some of you think this is a good idea. Most of you don't care either way, but here's what's going on. I still have the Echo. The ad comes out tomorrow in the Auto Trader. Someone who had it out yesterday for a spin is "probably" going to buy it or rather, lease it. That's what he said this morning. I figure if he was probably going to do it, he'd be doing it, so I'm not counting on that happening.

I do not doubt that I will be getting rid of my car any day now. And I've been waiting to get the Rabbit for a week and Saturday I am going to Montreal for the day and I'd really rather go in the VW than in the Toyota. So I called up my dealer and told him to get that car ready for tomorrow. I called up the insurance lady and told her to insure both cars.

So for a short while (I hope it's short!) I will have possession of 2 cars. That seems totally decadent but it also feels totally cool. A choice of car. "Hmm. What do I feel like driving today?" "I call the Rabbit!" as Remi would say.

I am already committed to the Rabbit. I'm getting it anyways. And I'm sure I'm going to sell the Echo when that ad hits the streets. So why wait?

It does feel a bit like gambling, I'll be honest. But I think it's a safe bet. The worst thing that could happen is I keep paying for the Echo a bit longer than I need to. And that Echo is cheap! I think it will go sooner rather than later. But it is a gamble I'm taking.

There's so much else going on - this has been such a great distraction. The teacher training is starting up again in a few weeks and that is a lot of work. When I was nominated to be the "lead teacher" I don't really think I knew what was involved. Plus, now it's not the same teachers teaching seeing as how Catherine split to go do her own thing in Hintonburg, so it's not even us just doing what we did before. It's all new! It's the new and improved Hatha Yoga Teacher Training!

On another note, I started a new class at a place where I've taught for years and most of the people are beginners. How fresh! I love beginners. They laugh at my jokes, for one thing. And they're just starting out with yoga. Like I say, it's usually the beginning of good things. Most people don't say, "I started yoga awhile back and then things went downhill from there." Yoga practice marks the beginning of an upward trend.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Wax On, Wax Off &%*#@

At the end of the last post I mentioned that I was going to Turtle Wax my car. What a loser.

If you haven't ever waxed I car I would recommend that you keep it that way. It's not worth it. Plus, apparently there's liquid wax you can use.

So I start applying the wax to the car and the instructions tell me to let it dry. I've got an applicator that reminds me of something you'd use to put on cake make up and I rub the entire car, save for the roof, which I couldn't reach thank god, with this little round sponge. By the time I get around to where I'd started the stuff had dried and I figured I'd get it off with an old towel and I started to rub it off. Rather, let's say I started to rub, because it didn't come off that easy.

I figure I just need to lean into it a bit. I started using techniques I'd learned in my recent Thai Massage course - using my body from the centre, not just rubbing with my hands and fingers. I'm still a bit sore as I type this btw. I started to get nervous - I'm not going to get this done in time. The phone will start to ring any minute because my ad is going into Auto Trader soon. (As it turns out, the ad won't actually appear until the next Friday because they still operate as a print magazine.)

So I rub more and use my elbows and I'm trying to get this wax off my car. I call for help. Maybe Ian can come back with Remi and they could help. Maybe John could leave work early and help. No chance. Hans - he'll help me. I give him a call and sure enough, he's nearby and can help me get the last door and the trunk. We were working so hard we didn't even chat.

After that I ran into the house to change my clothes to hurry up and get to yoga class. Whew.

Then it rained. I woke up to see all the beads of water doing that cool drippy thing they do when they're on a freshly waxed car.

The phone's not ringing yet about the Echo. I'm getting the odd bite from the kijiji ad. After placing the car ad in I figured I'd try to sell my vacuum - I wound up with an extra one after an impulse purchase at Costco. That sold so fast. Wish the car would hurry up.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Personal Ads for Cars

I just posted my ad up on Auto Trader. It feels vaguely familiar doing that. It totally reminds me of online dating personals. I had to describe the car, its features, all those little details and then the photo. I took a few good glam shots but in the end it was the basic side on shot that I posted. (Here's another "head shot" that didn't make it.)

The features of my car...hmm. It's "lady-driven." Can we say that? I mean, I am a lady I suppose and I did drive my car. But that's probably non-politically-correct to say. I didn't put that in the Auto Trader description. It is "cheap." There are no extras on my car except for the painted bumper and this central locking thing I paid for so that I could open all of the car doors at the same time so I wouldn't need to open my door, then reach inside to open Remi's back door; same thing for closing the doors - I could do it with my key or a button on the centre part so I wouldn't need to walk around the car each time. It has no air conditioning. How do you put that nicely? You will sweat in that car. I would reach over and roll down the passenger side window to get the air flow through. It does the trick a lot of the time, but when you're doing 100 km/hr + it actually causes drag and slows the car down. Oh well. So much for fuel efficiency - which this car totally has. (I think the Echo is as fuel efficient as the Prius - it's just that the Prius is pulling a lot more weight around.)

I had new tires put on today at Canadian Tire and they checked it out and said it was good. I took it through the car wash at Esso and later on I'm going to wax it! I bought some Turtle Wax, which gave me memories of the Price is Right and Bob Barker for some reason.

Now I just wait for the phone to ring. Right? It's weird. I said I think I like selling cars and that could be a sideline profession for me. Now I'm not so sure.

I can see why people don't like doing this. It's like that with online dating too. It felt weird at the beginning. But then you get used to it. I did. And it worked for me in terms of finding a great relationship - I bet it will work and finding someone who wants a long-term relationship with my car.

At some point I'll have to blog about my other latest diversion, which is perfume sampling, but for now this will do. I hope this is over soon!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

No Bunny

I was supposed to be picking up the Rabbit a couple of hours ago but that didn't happen. It's on hold while I make arrangements for the Echo. The friend of a friend isn't going to be able to come with with enough credit to get the car out of my name and I've stopped being creative about how that could somehow work out. If I could find the charger to my camera, I'd take a picture of it and put it up on Auto Trader right now. I'll do that shortly...

There was a bright light yesterday when my VW dealership called and said that maybe they could buy the car from Toyota if it were worth it. They appraised it a full $500 more than Toyota did itself, but still a full couple of grand from what I could probably get for it on my own and for sure what I owe Toyota for it.

My friendly VW dealer said my best bet would be to sell it privately. So I'm going to try and do that while the Rabbit waits for me.

This has been so interesting. I think I might even like to give selling cars a try for a while. A yogi car salesperson. I'll start with trying to sell this car at cost - no profit needed - just my cost would be a victory for me. I get uncomfortable in negotiations sometimes and I don't like the process of going back and forth. This will be a good stretch for me. Sell-my-car-asana.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Uh Oh

Here I was thinking it was all wrapped up and I was picking up my New Car on Thursday and how grand it all was and then the deal changed. My guy who wants my Echo, well, it turns out that his business doesn't qualify for credit (yet, apparently), and his personal credit is no good. We've been in conversation about me keeping the car plated and insured and him just paying the expenses. No one thinks that's a good idea. I'm all about the goodness of the human spirit and I trust people a lot but there's a reason we have all of these systems in place. As the old saying goes, "trust in God but tie up your camel." People are people after all.

So now I've got to call VW and tell them to hold my car there until I can sort out this leasing thing with Toyota. Either he's got to find a way to get his own plates on that car or else I'm going to need a new person on the scene to lease the car. I guess I could always just cancel the VW deal, potentially losing my deposit, and just stick it out with the Echo. Argh.

I want this guy to have the car - he wants it, it'll be great for him. But I can't just lend him my car for a few months. I mean, I suppose I could, but that's too big of an ask.

I'm back to having car on the brain. So I will breathe, and relax, and feel, and allow this situation to be exactly as it is. And I will make the right phone calls in the morning and continue to have conversations that will lead to the resolution of this situation.