Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Social Media for Everybody

Next week I'll be leading a workshop series about using social media and covering topics such as how to use Twitter and Facebook, how to set up a blog or do simple website and how to stream video to create webcasts or share live interviews.

"But wait," you say, "Jamine, you're a yoga teacher. How do you know so much about these other things? Can you teach me?" One of the things about how I teach computer stuff is that it's a lot like how I teach yoga stuff. I really believe that anyone can do yoga. I also know anyone can tweet or use Facebook or learn how to do some of the simple multi-media things that make interacting in the interwebs so fun.

I have computers in my history. My father was a computer programmer back in the days when they filled whole rooms. Fun party favours at the Christmas parties were Snoopy cartoons printed out on that wide printer paper using characters to create the shapes. My grandparents gave me a calculator for my tenth birthday. (Okay it's not quite a computer but totally related.)

I did not study computer programming in school but went in to Film and Communications at McGill in the English Department. I was the only one I knew who had a computer. It was an Atari, hooked up to my TV as the monitor. I called home for files using a modem that had my corded phone that jammed and whined into a big thing on my desk.

After university I went to Kripalu, where I was a spiritual lifestyle trainee, and after 3 months of being on a cleaning crew (beds, toilets, mopping, etc.) I was offered a job where I was to teach yoga teachers how to use their computers. "Seriously? I don't know how to do that." "We'll train you," came the answer. It wasn't my only duty as the administration assistant for the Programs Department, but it was one of them. "How do I make it bold again?" came the questions. "What's a desktop?" "I can't find my file!" I would design little workshops for them and train a few people at a time in our tiny computer room.

In my free time I would check my email on GEnie where I'd get letters from my mom in Ottawa and my grandmother in Huntington Beach. (I still get email from them but it comes in colour and with pictures!) I played Tetris until the blocks fell in my sleep. Those Tetris blocks fell in front of my eyes as I watched more than one big name spiritual teacher do his thing. (Sorry Pir Valyat, I could still see you whirl but there were blocks coming down on your head.)

After Kripalu I moved to Omega where I helped implement their first website. I did not choose the domain name, I'm sorry to say because the first one had a hyphen in it and was hard for people to remember (good old In my lunchtimes during the summer I offered courses for staff in how to "surf the 'net." I bought my first big computer for thousands of bucks and it was supposed to answer my phone and do everything. It was in the back of the trailer I was living in during the summer. I was for a while. You might say I was an "early adopter."

I bought my first laptop computer while I was working at Omega and there was a while where the computer on my lap was worth more than the car I was driving, which I thought was hilarious. (I didn't have the computer on my lap while I was doing the driving, that would be when Chris was driving me to work!)

After Omega I was in South Africa, where I actually tele-commuted back to New York, to complete filling in the summer catalog data into the website. That was expensive because back then, we paid for phone time unlike here, and the connection was slow and it took forever to update the site.

That was 12 years ago. Since then, I've had more computers, offered more training, had the domain, which I let lapse and now sells tea I believe. I've had a cell phone since I moved here back when Telus was Clearnet, and when I got my iPod Touch a few years back I wanted to find a way to get my own data into that little machine and started a company to build apps for that gadget. In fact anyone who's got some text or a photo or sounds can build their own app - it's for anyone!

So when an old yoga student wanted to meet for coffee to talk about computer related stuff and found out more about what I know about these social media he asked if I'd lead a workshop on it. "Are you kidding? I'd love to. This stuff makes my mouth water."

The first series starts next week and goes Tuesday and Thursday afternoons for two weeks. I want people to try things and come back with questions. For this first series we'll be in my living room. If it grows and more people want to learn, maybe we'll find a different spot, but for now it'll be cozy and you're welcome to come!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

New to Yoga

Today I led a lunchtime yoga class to a group of people, some of who were really new to yoga. The deal was I'd come one time and then they'd think about it, gauge the interest in continuing and get back to me. It was a nice feeling for me that at the end of the class, one of the people who was newest to yoga was like, "when are we doing this again?"

I may not end up being their yoga teacher again, and that would be fine, but what I liked was that someone's introduction to yoga was pleasant. I like it when people have a good impression of yoga.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Lent Update

It's still Lent out in the Christian realms, however, as I wait for my little coffee to be finished brewing, I can tell you it's all over for me. I'm open to the possibility of starting back up again in a day or two, but for now I'm out. There's a combination of reasons I can give for why it just didn't work for me to continue with my dietary restrictions including going to visit friends in Montreal and not wanting to eat weirdly while at their house (they wouldn't have cared), and not starting the diet originally for Lent-y reasons, but some other reasons, and I was just piggybacking them onto the convenient Lent season. But they're just reasons. What happened is I stopped...

And I started... a little coffee again, and a bagel in Montreal (who wouldn't?), some wine with a friend, then my sister's birthday cake, and alas, I'm almost back to normal noshing.

Someone told me last week that during Lent you get Sundays off and can have whatever you gave up for Lent on those days. That little crack in the wall helped, too. I guess for some it's a relief valve, but I just don't really have a strong context for all of this stuff, so I'm going to keep reading the material and do personal inquiries around it, but I think I will do that while having a little cup of coffee in my hand.

On another note, I heard back from my doctor and they've found someone who will see me at the end of the month instead of at the end of May. And then I got home too late on Thursday to return the call - they've seen the ultrasound and I should call the office. I call first thing on Friday and get to listen to my doctor's voice say they're out of the office until March 28. Oh well. I'll keep hanging on for just a little while longer! Hope I make it through my class today - I'm nervous about it...

Thursday, March 10, 2011


I don't know what Lent is or means. But I'm going to find out. I've heard whispers of it over the years but I didn't really ever know anyone who did any Lenten practices that I knew of.

We practice the yamas and niyamas in yoga and some of what people are invited to take up during Lent are similar to what people take up during their training when we look at restraints and observances. So I'm familiar with those types of practices. In addition, I've recently, like right about as Lent was about to start, chosen to do a yeast-free diet to see if I can get rid of some symptoms I've been having that have been exacerbated by having a fibroid or maybe are making the fibroid more noticeable (see earlier posts).

So I'm going to do no sugar, dairy, caffeine, refined flour, bread, potatoes, alcohol, fruit, vinegar or fermented anything. And I'm going to do it for Lent this time and just see what happens. I've done the yeast-free diet before for long periods, so I know I can do it for 40 days. It's tough, but I'm on it.

After I looked into some Lenten stuff through a friend's blog, another friend mentioned on Facebook that he was signed up for an eCourse on Lenten practices that was starting in a day or two. So I signed up. And then I heard about Ash Wednesday and I wanted to be a part of that ritual, so I found a church that was having a service at a time I could go and I went to a Catholic mass and got some ashes on my forehead to mark the beginning of this journey.

Our homework today in the course was to look at images of the Annunciation and notice the little wall that blocks Mary from the angel. Look at where we have blocks in our lives to our spiritual selves, or our creativity, or anything we notice.

I still don't know what it means, but I'm having fun so far looking into this ancient ritual.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Sunday Snow Day Yoga

It's snowing out. I'm definitely going to teach my yoga class but I'll be honest, if I wasn't as committed to being there as I am, I might just roll back into the covers in my warm bed and skip the class. So I know that whoever shows up at today's class is probably a lot stronger than me. It takes a person with a lot of tapas, burning enthusiasm, to melt the snowy haze of a cold Sunday morning and get into yoga clothes and on their mat at a yoga studio across town.

If you are like those yoga students who will be in class in an hour, see you there. If you're a little more like me, you could always do some yoga on my app, or one of the other apps that CYP published for you to use at home. There's even my DVD that can encourage and lead you through some yoga poses, but you'll have to contact me directly if you want one of those :)

Friday, March 4, 2011

No News

After a week of waiting to hear about an appointment from a specialist I thought I'd call just to find out when that appointment is and all of that. Being on hold is something I'm getting used to these days after having to deal with multiple cell phone companies, so I have had the opportunity to breathe and practice relaxing when I don't feel like it. 15 minutes later she found my referral and appointment time.

So the appointment is in the middle of May. That is not satisfactory to me given that I've been having my period for almost 2 months and I requested an earlier appointment or a different new doctor. My GP hasn't even seen the results from the test I had last Saturday so the receptionist will follow up she said. I asked if she wanted me to call the lab but she said she'll do it and get back to me.

I'm not freaked out because my period has lightened up to almost nothing finally but I know that it's just a matter of days before it will all start again and any sense of normalcy I have at the moment will dissipate. So I'm balancing being proactive without freaking out - commitment versus attachment. I'm committed to getting an earlier appointment and getting a doctor on my team sooner rather than later, but at the moment I don't feel attached to it. Worst thing is I wait until May, or bleed to death before then. I'm kidding. I'll go to the hospital before then if it's serious, okay?