Friday, March 26, 2010

Bouncing Back

As you can see in the video, I'm bouncing. That was last night. I've decided that rather than stay on the edges like the other parents at trampoline class, I'll bounce too. So I signed myself and my sister up and we're doing trampoline with my daughter. It hurts like crazy for the next couple of days afterwards but I figure if I keep at it, I won't be so sore. My goal is to do a flip. That's after Level 4. I'm working on Level 2. Whoohoo!

Maybe it's the bouncing, maybe it's Spring almost here (today we've had an arctic blast and it's -20C out), maybe it's the praying, or it's just time finally taking care of things, but I have to say, I'm feeling freed up. One of the measures for me of how I'm feeling is how I'm sleeping and I've gotten back to just sleeping at night, not waking up to toss and turn and think, but nights of all sleep like I used to. That's a sure sign I'm good. I'm also speaking out more as the blog shows, and I'm restoring integrity all over the place in my teaching as well as in my relationships.

This is a longer story but it was only a few weeks ago I was imagining my "samskaras" like a huge mountain valley and me trying to fill it up with dirt and my hands. I'm thinking it's going to take me for-freaking-ever to have transformation. Many, many lifetimes. I have a huge groove in my life, it seems like it's always been there, and it seems like it's always going to be there. I've been noticing, breathing, feeling, meditating, sharing, and doing the things I know to do and today I can say I think it's working. I recognized a feeling in my body I'm trying to get rid of by bringing certain people into my life. And now that I've distinguished it, which I did a few weeks ago, it seems to be dissipating. This has happened with allergies, addictions, other habits, and it seems like it's happening with my worrying mind too. I don't know how else to describe it blog-style. It's an essay or a book.

So now I sleep at night and when I wake up, I'm not thinking about anyone in particular. If anything, I'm noticing that I'm thinking about my life with my daughter and what we're up to and it's not worrisome, it's just there. I know, like the weather, it will change and won't last, but for now, it's a fresh season, I'm refreshed, I'm worn out physically from tons of activity, and it feels great.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Hot Yoga: Substitute for Sex?

As you may be aware, I don't think hot yoga is yoga at all. And I don't have a problem with what it is, I just don't think it's yoga. Yoga wouldn't have us waste resources to practice and see the other post about that. But it hit me the other day what is really going on in the hot room and I'm going to tell you what I think although the title of the post has basically said it all.

Keep in mind this is a generalization and it's food for thought; it's not meant to put down your practice or offend you :)

It seems to me that in our culture we say we're over-sexed based on images in advertising and things teens are texting each other and in that type of messaging, but I would suggest that our culture is majorly under-sexed for real. Who has time to have great sex? Everybody has to work all day, there are duties and hobbies when you get home, and by the time you finally crawl into bed with your lover, you're ready for sleep. Or if sex happens, it may be perfunctory. And I know some of you have awesome sex and go on for hours regularly, but I'm not talking about you.

Our neighbours in Europe and South America knew they had to shut down for lunch and take time to be with their spouses in the middle of the day. When would anyone in our culture simply have the time to luxuriate with another body whose schedule matched? And when it really feels great like around ovulation or fertile times for women, those days may not land on a weekend or a day off.

So given that women, especially I would say, are under-sexed, I would like to look over at who's doing hot yoga. What started out as therapeutic yoga for weight loss and flexibility now has loads of women who recognize a sure thing with a schedule they can be in control of. Because the room is hot, you've got to wear very little to make it through the class. So now we've got a bunch of hot, sweaty women wearing skimpy outfits. (lululemon is the new lingerie...) And on top of it, the hot room invariably has mirrors. Now we're hot women working out, looking at ourselves. We're taking ourselves to the edge physically with gentleness. It's pretty satisfying. And I would say it's somewhat sexually satisfying and that's why we do it. The lucky guys who have figured out what's going on in the hot room will put up with some of the moves we do in there just to soak up the vibes and sit in that space.

And I think it's sort of sad that we don't have the real thing. That we aren't with another body, being embodied, being with ourselves and creating pleasure and community, rather we're continuing the puritanical belief structures some of our ancestors came to this continent with. I think they'd be proud to be honest. We've finally eliminated the need for other people and we're well on the way to total independence.

Working out in the hot room can be a wonderful way to feel good about yourself - after a class you feel warm, you've admired yourself, and there are no complications or conversations - which can enhance your experience and make great sex more likely. My guess is though, that if you're regularly having great sex, the kind your body and spirit know is possible, you won't have much time left for hot yoga, or by the time you are, the yoga studio will be closed for the night.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The App Store; Clean Sheets

I heard today that my app has been submitted to the App Store and is basically ready for sale. Whoohoo! As soon as I'm sure it's final I will blast you with the news and you can go and get your own copy of Jamine's Yoga for your iPod Touch or iPhone.

The thing that has me most excited at this moment though is that my sheets are in the dryer. And that means tonight I'll have clean sheets on my bed. And that, to me, is one of the best feelings in the world - climbing into bed after a bath or a shower that has clean sheets on it. Don't get me wrong - I don't normally have dirty sheets on the bed. It's just that there's something special about that not-slept-in-yet fresh bed feeling. It's the little things sometimes that make me happy.

I'm such a kid sometimes and my priorities are out of whack. Yea, I've got my own yoga app in the app store in a few minutes but tonight I get to slip into fresh sheets - that's exciting :)

And I realize that I'm nervous about it. Clean sheets are easy, but my app in the App Store? I can hardly relate. Open to discussion and critiques and comments and payments? Oh right, people can buy it? Right. That is exciting! So when the app's out, you can get a copy if you've got an iPod Touch or an iPhone.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Transformational Activities

Okay Guys,

Here's a short list of things I recommend when people come asking me what they should do about this or that or just want things to change and be different somehow. And plus, if you're into transformation, you'll just naturally enjoy these things. And if you have more, let me know, because I love spending time doing things that focus on transformation.

And I know, transformation can happen at anytime, anywhere so there's no guarantee, but at least people have tested these and have had results, myself included.

So before you quit your job or end your relationship or spend a whole lot of money doing anything, I would highly recommend you spend three and a half days of your life doing the Landmark Forum. And then I'd recommend you go down the line and do the other courses they have to offer. That is number one.

If, by chance, you have ten whole days in a row to yourself, I would highly recommend you sit in a Vipassana meditation retreat. There's nothing like sitting in silence in your own mental crap that will motivate you to clear some of it out like this retreat will (except maybe the Landmark Forum).

Doing a yoga teacher training where you examine your life and the yoga sutras, would be another thing that would produce results, almost guaranteed. So check for those, but you'll need more like a month off for that type of thing.

In terms of bang for your buck, I'd do the first thing - it's only a weekend. But it's $500. Vipassana is a longer time commitment but not a financial one. Your first course is free, or by donation. Yoga teacher trainings tend to be in the thousands of dollars, so if you've got time and money, that would be fun, plus at the end you get a certificate if you're into collecting things :)

If you want to read something that is transformational, today's recommendation is anything by Anthony de Mello, but especially the book, Awareness. His call to WAKE UP is loud and clear in that book and he doesn't mince words. (This video is what the book says too - I think the book is a transcription of this series.)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Yoga Accessories

I'm so torn about all of this stuff and so here I blog. When I first started doing yoga, we didn't have yoga mats, we had "space." We didn't have special ties, we had "knotted socks." And that sort of suits me. Like if I'm riding my bike around, I don't need fancy clothes, I just get on my bike with whatever I'm already wearing.

So now yoga's all accessorized and I guess that's fun and neat and I have some, but really it all ends up as more clutter at my house. I heard the story from Sam Dworkis of how Iyengar started with the yoga blocks - he needed a prop for someone and basically said something like, "pass me the Bombay phone book," and then all the americans in the room got excited and started measuring and voila, the yoga block was born. lululemon has provided us all with great looking, comfortable special yoga clothes. And each class has its own special twist, but the biggest yoga accessory of all I would say is this hot thing. Bikram must be laughing his head off at how much his yoga gimmick has transformed and created a whole new industry. At his studio in the past, at any rate, there were no special air filtration systems or heaters, he just plugged in space heaters, packed the room and that was the heat. Somewhere in this blog there may be the story of me trying to heat the auditorium at Kripalu for his visit back in '92.

Anyways, it's seeming like it's all getting gimmicky and fun and that's great but we're avoiding the community, the connection, and the simplicity that is inherent in yoga, and instead we're separating, and isolating ourselves and making our practice more complicated by requiring more yoga accessories. Sure, people go to yoga classes and are with people, but there's not much opportunity to really connect. Some classes offer tea afterwards, like the Kundalini classes often do, but most are basically stretching classes, mine included. Yoga used to be something you did at home; now we all go out to do yoga. It's a big deal, it requires a lot of time, special outfits, and I've got to say, in my opinion, that is so not yoga.

Needless to say, after this month, I will not be teaching hot yoga. I'd totally do a work out in a hot room, but I wouldn't call it yoga. I don't think yoga would have us waste resources to practice. Awesome, hot stretching might. But yoga leans towards consciousness, not unconsciousness. It leans to simplicity, not to complication.

And I'm working right now on what to call a Tuesday night class that I'd like to offer that is way more Old School Yoga. One that does some stretching and does a meditation. A class that encourages conversation and has room for that and some teaching on the other aspects of yoga, not just the postures. Stay tuned. An actual yoga/meditation class just might be coming your way if I have mine ;)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Sensations for your Ears

If you know me much, you know I don't really care for hockey. I'll watch it if I have to and I love going to live games just to be with 20,000 people, but really I'm not that into the game. But I just listened to this video, which is commentators announcing the winning goal from this past Olympic hockey game in different languages, and it gave me goose bumps. I could totally feel their excitement and enthusiasm even though I didn't watch the game, I didn't see it on tv and this video doesn't even have pictures. Anyway, this occurred for me like a cleansing sound, something to get me resonating with awe and joy. I hope you enjoy it too!

As a little addendum here, I emailed the guy who did the video right after I posted my blog, I figured that would be the right thing to do and he got straight back to me. Here's what he said:

Re: Thanks for making that video!

Thanks Jamine!

Reading your blog post I feel even more proud of my efforts under a new light and I certainly appreciate you taking the time to let me know. There is a lot of joy and positive excitement being exuded across the globe with the call and this world can certainly use as much as that as it can get.

Would you believe the BBC Broadcaster actually contacted me and thanked me as well? He was proud to be a part of the moment and the compilation and explained how it brought back memories for him to be a special part of the moment. Isn't that so cool?

Thanks again for taking the time to drop a note, it means quite a bit.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

New Distraction

So for the past week I've had a new distraction. If you missed it, I posted something that became newsworthy and that provided me a bunch of opportunities to interact with people in a different way than usual. It had refreshing and fun aspects, as well, it had worrisome and concerning aspects, too.

After watching that topic spin a bit, I have just been standing back pretty much and just watching it go. Sort of like spinning a top and then waiting for it to slow down and tip over.

My mind is usually full of ideas and thoughts and plans and worries and the usual. And for the past week it has had those thoughts but it's had to make room for these other things, too. (What happens if I talk to the media? Should I? What's the impact?) There's a saying we have sometimes and that's "a change is as good as a rest." And this week I have to say that's been true! Having other thoughts occupy my mind has been refreshing - it has gotten me away from my normal train of thought.

There really isn't a fight going on with my neighbours so there was nothing I really needed to say that would need a microphone. I am concerned about how we raise our children and the messages we give them. I am concerned about the resources given to the people charged with raising kids in our societies and how limited they are. I am interested in communities and how we share our space. And I'm very interested with freedom of individuals in their lives and allowing people to express themselves fully, especially when they're not harming anyone.

I'm reminded that women haven't had rights for that long. I'm reminded that some people in our society are given more rights than others. I try not to bump up against the edges of the boxes we've put ourselves in here but sometimes I do and I get surprised. I get surprised by what we say is okay and what isn't. My personal values are not reflected in our culture's rules in a number of areas and once in awhile I'm surprised and offended. It's uncomfortable when that happens and it makes me want to speak out. And sometimes I do.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

So a Yogi Walks into a Bank...

(By the way, Tuesday's post got so much attention, I can't believe it. That was the most-read post ever of mine. Apparently when I let it rip, it seems to touch a's post will be boring in comparison. And just to follow up about the chalk, nothing has happened to make things worse or better and none of us here seem to care, we'll still chalk in the back, we may do moderate chalk in the front, we'll take it to where it doesn't bother people we care about and we'll see how it goes. I'll let you know if anything else erupts!)

So today I'm shopping for a bank. I need to open a business account because Capital Yoga Publishing is at that point and needs to be all set up. I was thinking last night that this is a chance for a fresh start. Let's pick a bank that feels good. I thought I didn't want to go to the bank closest to me because it's up Rideau and it's not that nice walking up there, how about let's start with something more grand, like RBC on Sparks. Kat says I will walk in and know and that's a good way to pick a place - by how I feel when I walk in. I asked Hans which bank he thought was the nicest - what with him being Swiss and all I figure he'd know a good bank - he recommended the big RBC. My trainer said, "what about seeing what kind of stuff you get at which bank? Like account features." Hmm. I hadn't thought of that. I tweeted that I was looking for a bank and not one twit got back to me.

On the way to the RBC I saw the TD and I thought to myself, "I like TD. I'll check them out." Well they made me wait a bunch. I sat for a while and then I reached my limit and I headed over to RBC again. "I'll go and set this up there." When I made my way up to the second floor, "wow, this will do," it turns out no one could see me today. "What? I want to open an account and I need an appointment?" (Maybe that's why I was waiting a while at TD.) It turns out that it's a long appointment to open a business account and I'd need to come back tomorrow.

So I decided to head back to TD. On the way I ran into an old student and we got to talking about yoga and life and stuff and then I was feeling hungry and ready to go home. On the way I figured I'd stop in at the CIBC at Sussex and Rideau. "That's a powerful intersection. That might be a good place for my bank." They were very helpful in there, but there's no place to park so if I need the other investors to sign anything it's going to be a parking thing and they also didn't have any time today to help me open an account. But I made an appointment for tomorrow and left.

On the way home I got to thinking about the little bank on Rideau that I opened Remi's account at. I gave them a call. Sure enough, they have time to see me today at 4:30 to open up my business account. I cancelled my CIBC appointment and will get my stuff ready for this aft. It turns out I'll keep walking up Rideau Street to my local TD after all. So much for the tall buildings and fancy elevators and shiny signs. "There's no place like home, there's no place like home..."

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Stopping Creativity

I'm still a bit mad about this so if I sound angry, just know I am. Yesterday my neighbours complained about my daughter's chalk drawings on the ground. The agent from our condo's property management company said she'd had a number of calls about it. That was Monday morning. The chalking happened on the weekend. You mean to tell me no one would come and talk to me about it? And with everything happening in the world, I live around people who have nothing better to do than complain about art on the sidewalk? Who actually picked up the phone to call and complain about chalk on the sidewalk?

They told me to clean it off. I told them to "fine me." I said, "get the board to fine me. I'm on the board, so let's have a meeting about it and fine me." "It looks like shit," they said. "Children live here," I replied. "We have drug dealers and hookers on the street and you guys are complaining about a child's drawing that will wash away when it rains?" "We don't know when it's going to rain. It's defacing the property."

Don't even get me started. Then my neighbour wondered why I was so defensive about it.

If you want to squash people, give them a hard time about an expression they did that made them feel so joyous and self-expressed and hurt no one. Shut them down that way and you will. Fortunately, Remi took pictures of it, as she knew at the time that what she'd done was big and beautiful.

I want her to feel safe in a neighbourhood that is not known for its safety. I want her to feel safe to be on the street even though she's fighting for space with dealers and users and rowdy partiers. Let her light up the street and show that there's life here besides the litter and vomit that normally line our little yard.

I angrily poured snow on it and water, washing off the traces that a child lives here. A child who feels safe and strong. I told her next time do it straight on the sidewalk and the neighbours will just have to deal. I'd love to see a city bylaw officer come to my door to tell me hopscotch isn't allowed in Lowertown.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Going Inside

As any typical human does, I fantasize about the things that I don't have in place that if I could just set up circumstantially, then things would be okay or at least better. If I just lost the practically 10 pounds I put on over the holidays I'd look more like a yoga teacher and be more popular. If I just had a boyfriend who wouldn't drive me crazy but was someone with whom I share mutual admiration then I'd feel more relaxed and at home. If enough people kept coming to my yoga classes then I'd earn enough money so I could relax and not be afraid of the future.

And as a typical yoga teacher does, I have access to teachings that remind me that none of that is going to make a difference. Not one little bit. My perfect weight, my right amount of money, my right people in my life, none of that really has any bearing on whether or not I'm feeling at peace. In fact, to continue to try and coordinate those things to line up into place at this point is silly. I know it doesn't work. I know it doesn't matter. (It does matter in some ways and I'm not going to really deal with that here today.) And although I still try to coordinate my life's circumstances, the thing that I'm resonating with more and more and the one who's showing up more and more, especially when things get a bit tougher, is that inner voice, that voice I named Gurubelle.

One of the things that happens when I teach yoga is I'm sort of doing yoga, too. I'm in a space that's special, that I don't have access to in normal activities and conversations. Leading yoga is a sort of meditation I do. And my inner voice is accessible a lot when I'm teaching. She reminded me last night that I could talk to her other times too, because when I'm leading a class I am not engaged in conversation with my higher voice, I just notice that she's there. Which reminded me to ask her today what to do about certain things, but basically it came down to my satisfaction level. She said "look inside." Like the answers are inside, or going inward will lead to some calm, but more importantly the guidance was to stop the habit of looking outside myself for stuff. Notice when I'm searching outside of myself for affirmation or completion or attention or anything, and just notice and then don't do that.

So after this morning's meditation, when today I used so hum (inhale so, exhale hum), afterwards I sat with myself and changed up the mantra to "look inside." It doesn't quite work with the breath, but it still worked for me as a way to direct my thoughts. It seems selfish to go inside when the world is shaking and crumbling and needing me more than ever, but Gurubelle reminded me that I spend so much of my time concerned with the outside, that to spend a bit of time "looking inside" isn't going to hurt at all time-wise, but it will also nourish and strengthen me to deal with the external world and all of its suffering. So look inside...find satisfaction inside...feel love inside...was the message I got for today.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Nostril Check

Here's a very simple nostril lesson via a large generalization. When your left nostril is more open than the right one, it's a good time to be relaxed. When your right nostril is more open than the left, it's a good time to be active.

For instance, if you're just getting out of bed in the morning, it would be handy if your right nostril were open so you could get out of bed and be on your way. Conversely, if you're going to bed at night, it would be handy if your left nostril were more open so you could settle down and go to sleep.

If it's time for you to get out of bed and you don't feel like it and you notice that your left nostril is dominant, you could do some things to easily switch so the right nostril were more open and then getting out of bed would be easier. You could lay on your left side and wait a bit or you could block your left nostril and make the right one do the work. Those tricks would help get the appropriate nostril in place so you can work with the flow rather than go against it.

Why this works is that the breath is connected to the brain. Duh. Any yoga practitioner knows this. However, we can use it to our advantage, making things go more smoothly. If it's mid-afternoon and you could really use a nap and notice that your left nostril is doing all the breathing but you're about to lead a class or do some driving, switching your nostrils up will help you to be in the right place at the right time.

Check it out. For more information you can find lots of details in Harish Johari's book on the subject. When I first read it some years ago it seemed like voodoo, but after some personal observation and other sources that shared the same idea, it started making more sense and being practical.

Monday, March 1, 2010

When Sadness Comes to Town

Earlier today I had what felt like a sad attack. I just started feeling sad and it didn't let up until after I'd cried a bunch and called a friend who could relate and coach me to get out of the house and go for a walk and remember it's like the weather, it will pass. I've got no reason to be sad and I've got loads of reasons to be sad. My grandmother fell down and broke her hip, never good but especially not when you're 92. I read that people are still denying global warming because all the snow that fell on Washington DC makes it seem like it's getting colder rather than warmer. I could go on and work myself into sadness again.

And then of course I have no good reason to be sad - I'm healthy - in fact, I'm so healthy I didn't even catch a single cold this entire winter. I have all of my family around. Both of my parents are still alive. I have a beautiful, heathy daughter. I don't live in a place that's suffering a natural disaster (except for long winters in Ottawa, but we anticipate it annually), and I could go on and on and count my blessings some more.

But just like the weather isn't personal, inner states aren't personal either. They matter and feel a lot more, but they don't mean anything about who I am or what I'm about. They get tricky because as thought processes, I make the mistake that it's all true and I should believe them and I forget that it's weather and will pass. Plus, in order to have a good cry, you sort of have to take it all quite seriously, otherwise the cry stops and turns into a laugh or a meh.

And it turns out this getting out of the house thing is good for me. I like going to Bridgehead and invariably I run into many people I know when I'm here. So even though it costs me a few bucks extra, it's worth it.