Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Hallowe'en

I'm sitting at the computer researching how I could write a little mobile yoga application for the iPod Touch and the iPhone and it is definitely going to take me a lot longer than I thought. There's a lot involved and I don't have any Mac buddies sitting near me or even at the end of a phone. I'll keep at it though.

It's Hallowe'en and I'm not sure if I'm going to teach yoga tonight in a costume or not. Probably not I guess, eh? I remember teaching in costume quite a few years ago, but that was a night that my sister and I were leading Partner Yoga too. I had put on fake nails before my 5:15 class and by about 5:30 my fingers were killing as the glue dried and the nails began to pinch each finger. To get them off without ripping off my own nails would take a 5-15 minute soak in warm water. So I put up with that feeling for the first class and got a few off before the Partner Yoga class began. A night I'll never forget.

Speaking of warm water, I don't have any today - neither hot nor cold. The City turned off the water at 8 - in time for my daughter to brush her teeth and get off to school and for John to have a shower and get off to work - but not in enough time for me to do my thing this morning. So it's 11 am and I haven't had a shower and it's not the end of the world, but it's getting close. I'm thinking about where I could go to take one. The Champagne Bath is across the street but chances are their water is off too seeing as how this is King Edward construction-related. It makes me aware of my normal routine and how comfortable I am in that. I like a shower first thing you know? And if I can't have it and I still have to teach and be with people, it's a bit, ah, it makes me feel a bit off. If I had no shower but I was camping or hiking or something, that would be even normal, right?

I'm sure I'll find a shower before I have to teach at 2. And I may even wear a costume to teach my class at 5:15.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Yoga on the go

I am typing on my latest gadget. It's going to be short because this is a bit laborious to be honest. I love the touch (itouch), but I'm more excited by the possibility of coming up with a little mobile yoga app. Meditation app too. I'll let you know of I ever come up with something worth mentioning. If you can help me, let me know!

In the meantime the itouch is pretty cool. I couldn't do this with my Blackberry :)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Yoga in the Dark

Tonight while I was leading the Hatha Intermediate class at Rama Lotus, there was a black out. The lights went out, the music stopped, and it got very quiet. And that was kind of cool. The Crystal room was pretty packed and we all just sort of stopped for a sec and noticed that it was dark and then kept going. I could hear in the halls that it was quiet and that the other classes were continuing too.

Doing yoga in the dark gave us the opportunity to totally let go of performance and competition and it was pretty neat. A class to remember for sure.

It was fun that something different and out of the ordinary happened.

Monday, October 27, 2008

It's a Good YTT

The weekend is over. We had the first weekend of the Yoga Teacher Training at Rama Lotus this past weekend. I was nervous for a few reasons but I'm all better now. I think it was a hit, like it always is, and we're on the right track.

I honestly believe yoga will teach itself if you let it. You point people in the direction of the teachings, give them the space to practice, and I maintain it doesn't matter who your teacher is, you'll learn yoga. My sister thinks I'm not giving myself enough credit as a teacher when I say that, but I think it's true. The yoga will come out if you just put a group of people together and have them focus on it.

So even though it's intense and a lot of work and takes my time and I don't see my kid or my man and all of that, it is so much fun to be with people when they're "getting it" that it's so worth it. Don't get me wrong, I'm paid as a teacher to do this, but it's a big job to hold the space for 38 people and make sure it's all running smoothly. Even when my phone rings in class. Yep, my phone rang AGAIN (it happened last YTT too) during class. I've requested a key to the office and if I can leave my stuff in there it would make a difference...

Anyways, it's a good Yoga Teacher Training and it's off to a good start.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Yoga and the Other Person

The Yoga Teacher Training at Rama Lotus has begun and there's lots of stuff happening already and it's great. One of the things that came up is about how sometimes when you start something like yoga it can be challenging if you're in a relationship where the other person isn't as into it (if at all) as you are. For some people it can feel like there's distance created and it can become rather alienating - for the person doing yoga because they want to share their new passion and connect about it, and for the person having to hear about it, it can seem weird and they just don't want to hear about it.

I maintain that practicing yoga can bring you closer to everybody, not just to other yogis, and that it really shouldn't cause alienation at all, rather the opposite. But sometimes along the way that doesn't happen and there can be tension and things can be tough as it seems like you're going one way and your partner is either going the other way or just staying put, leaving you alone on your journey.

This morning it feels like I'm heading off in another direction. I'm working weekends, I'm up early and my partner is working late so he's sleeping now. I feel like I never see him. He's stressed about work and I think he should meditate to get relief but do you think he wants to hear about that from me? "Uh-uh" is right. Am I stressed? You bet. I have this fantasy that he'll get up with me early to share a coffee before I head off to teach my class. But he was out 'til 2 volunteering at the old church at some late night event.

I guess I'll just have to stick to my own meditation practice, hold on for this part of the bumpy ride as the first weekend of the teacher training comes to a close later on today.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Voting Pose 2

I'm a dual citizen of Canada and the United States. So I get to vote in two elections. But for the American election, I have to vote by mail because I live up here. I got my ballot yesterday in the mail and I actually cried. I was so moved by the fact that I get to participate in something so huge, something that is going to make such difference in the world, I expect. But it's not even that. It's more like being star-struck. It brings me in a closer relationship those guys I see on TV everyday. Like I'm somehow involved. And I guess I am. Clearly I am. I think it's neat that I get to vote in that election. And here you can see who I voted for - I don't mind.

On another note, the Yoga Teacher Training at Rama Lotus begins tonight. I'm excited and nervous. In the past I was hardly nervous because I was just a teacher. Tonight I'm the "lead teacher" and I guess it means there's more pressure on me, more responsibility to make it an awesome training. It has definitely meant more paperwork so far...

Santosha is also having a teacher training starting. How I know this is because I bumped into David Jewitt at The Table when I stopped in for lunch. (I also bumped into my mom and brother, which is totally random. My mom is never out for lunch and I would never bump into her on the street.)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sorry, Hans

Hans brought me a watch from Switzerland and it's a bit too big. So I haven't worn it and he said the next time he was going, he'd take it back with him and have them adjust it for free. He called me this morning to remind me that he's leaving soon and if I don't get him the watch today, I'm out of luck. And I know I put the watch in a special place but I can't find it!

I live in a small house. There really aren't that many places to hide things. But it happens. For instance, this morning while I was hunting for the watch, I came across the charger for my camera battery - the one I was looking for back in August before going to Omega! I haven't taken many pictures these past couple of months because I couldn't locate the charger. I found the case the watch came in but not the watch.

Hans might think this is a sign of disrespect and make it mean that he shouldn't give me presents anymore. It doesn't mean that. The truth is, it's not personal and I am equally confused about where a wide variety of things are, some meaningful, some not. I'm an equal-opportunity mis-placer.

What I'd like to have is this: a place for everything and everything in its place. That would be so awesome. Then I'd know where everything goes because it would have a place. And if it didn't have a place, it wouldn't be in my house or else I would make a new place for it. Wouldn't that be great? I'd be organized and tidy and I wouldn't have to make decisions every five minutes about where to put stuff because it would be pre-decided and I'd just place it back where it belongs. Ahhh.

I know some of you out there can totally not relate to my situation. You've told me! And I know some of you are in similar situations.

I will continue to look today for the gorgeous watch that a very dear friend gave to me. It is very lovely and he was really super-generous to give it to me. I will be even more embarrassed if I can't locate it before the end of the day. Sorry, Hans.

I found it! I reviewed one of the places I had checked but this time I looked more closely and sure enough, it was there. See Hans? I take really good care of things! I keep them safe and in secure locations where I can retrieve them when I need to.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Time to Yoga

I have to get out the door in a minute or two or else I'll be rushing even more than I wanted to. I like to get to places just in time without any overlap. But sometimes I do go earlier and it feels pretty good not to be in a hurry on my way. It feels awful to be late, so I don't do that very often.

Today I've decided to walk to Rama Lotus. It takes just over half an hour unless I run for parts. I want to walk. So I'd better head out now.

Here's a link to some people I was at "yoga school" with. I mentioned Todd the other day in class because I've been playing his CD "Bija" a lot lately. He chants the sounds of the chakras and it's beautiful.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Temples of the Divine

So I was going to write about how I was inspired this weekend going into St. Joseph's Oratory in Montreal and how it totally shows how the church is an expression of the body and how we really are walking, breathing temples of the divine spirit but something's still on my mind from this morning.

I teach yoga at CHEO in the eating disorders program. This morning someone mentioned that there's an 11-year old boy on the floor who's not in the program. He's in the hospital with ED and he's 11. Just that itself brings tears to my eyes. What is going on that such a little kid is dealing with disordered eating? Even the person telling me, who is dealing with herself was surprised and disturbed.

Yoga is a place where people with disordered eating issues can hang out. There are all sorts of unsupportive practices in yoga where people with ED can hide. I remember getting sick during one of my trainings in India and I had lost a lot of weight through illness and I got back to my classes and my teacher told me that was good for my practice. That completely went against what I had learned about yoga back in the States (funny, eh?) and I looked at the guy like he was crazy. I probably told him I thought so, too.

So knowing that yoga, with its images of skinny bodies and kriyas and fasting and other body-oriented rituals, could be very unsuppportive to people dealing with eating disorders, I am very conscious to bring out the part where we're all sparks of the divine living in bodies that are actually temples. And that however we are is really great. We're made in all shapes and sizes and everything else.

And it still gives me a knot in my belly to know there are kids in Ottawa ritually starving themselves.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Voting Posture

I did my voting exercise today. It is a different kind of stretch. It requires looking at how things are and comparing them to how I think they should be and seeing how off that is or how close. Things are as they are, right? I mean, that's how things are. And today, the way things are is that we get to vote. So I voted.

It's part of the pose we have in this democracy. I look at where I notice sensations and get curious. I'm curious about the economy and the environment and my family and war and getting older and our young people and lots of things. I know others are curious about those things too.

Do the voting posture - you have until 9:30 tonight!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Coloured Glasses

Last weekend I went to Montreal with my daughter, Remi, who attended the Landmark Forum for Young People. The kids' version is like the adult one, but shorter. (They have less past to put behind them.)

When she got back, she was describing to John one of the exercises they did and she drew this diagram. It's illustrating that we wear different filters and then we get used to looking out of them and we don't notice that we've got a filter on. I think someone had a big stack of glasses and they put them on and ended up with a whole bunch on and things looked pretty grey and dark. When they took the glasses off they could see how things really are without their filters.

Anways, I just loved the diagram. She did another one too that we wiped off but if I can encourage her to draw it again, I'll snap a picture.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Yoga Competition

I'm not sure exactly what's going on in Ottawa, but facebook tells me there's a few more yoga centres opening. That's exaggerating a bit because I did hear about it before the facebook postings, but facebook has become a place where I get a lot of advertising messages now so that's where I see it more.

There are three new ones opening this month that I can think of and I'm sure there will be more happening as people fulfill their dreams of being yoga teachers and opening centres. (And, of course, once people can franchise and duplicate a successful yoga business and repeat it in new markets.)

Personally, I've never had a desire to run a yoga centre, so I stand back and watch and listen to the conversations around space and square footage and all that. Somebody's gotta do it, but it ain't me.

I've seen people say they're working at two places, and I think back to a time when I was asked to sign a contract that said I wouldn't work anywhere else and I didn't go along with it. I wanted to teach where I felt called to teach. But for people running a business, they need their teachers to be loyal and exclusive so they can have something to offer that's special to them. Sometimes that happens and sometimes it doesn't - it all depends on the context.

The teachings of yoga are free, however, the running of a yoga business is not. There will be some competition, vying for the same students in a particular neighbourhood, or type of style like yoga classes done in a hot room, for instance.

It gets competitive naturally. And there's something about yoga being competitive that seems so un-yogic. And at the same time, that's how it is, which is yogic - to look at how things are and allowing them to be that way.

Ottawa has an active yoga market. Yoga has been here longer than it has been in lots of places. And Ottawa will sustain a lot of active yogis who want to practise in group settings because we could all just stay home and practise our postures alone, which is how it's been done for most of history. But we don't, we like to come out and be with other people and learn from new teachers and get tips and tricks on poses and breathing exercises. This means yoga centres will be in business for a long time, which is awesome. And there will be new centres moving in and eventually the market will be saturated and centres will close their doors and students will shuffle around. It's just how it goes. Competition is natural and is a "default setting" and overcoming the urge to compete but rather thrive from within, not from comparing ourselves to what's around us, takes practice and discipline.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Toothbrush Meditation

So I got a new toothbrush the last time I went to the dentist. It's pretty fancy too, for one that they give away. It's electric. It spins and it makes my teeth feel like I've just come back from the hygienist. And it has a little timer on it. I believe the timer goes for two minutes. I've made a little promise to myself that I'll go for the full two minutes. I mean, c'mon, it's not that long and it is an easy way to take care of myself.

Well, what do you think happens? I try to finish early! I catch myself thinking I don't have time and I'm going to stop and I don't really need to do it, I'll do it later and all sorts of things come up. And then I relax and I get into a pattern with my brushing. Top teeth, bottom molars (I know they all have names - perhaps I should learn them?) and I enjoy it! But sometimes I go unconscious and I'm thinking I'm done, when I'm not. It's just like what happens when you meditate. Or rather, when I meditate.

I remember back to when I was first really learning about commitment and for me, that was when I chose to live at Kripalu, being celibate for a year and living in that community and everything that would go with it. The person who was helping me with my application told me, "when you make a commitment, the first thing that shows up is where you're not committed." Totally! Being committed doesn't mean being perfect. Being committed is a practice. That was news to me.

I'm committed to brushing my teeth. It feels good! And sometimes I'm in a hurry. I want to get to some future moment. And then I breathe and relax and calmly brush my teeth and slow down!