Thursday, November 28, 2013

Accidentally Off Coffee

I didn't set out to stop drinking coffee, although it was always in my mind that if I didn't drink coffee that would be okay. But I must admit that it surprised me how I stopped and how easy it was.

I wouldn't have described myself as a coffee addict but I drank some coffee off and on everyday for years. I even blogged about it long ago when I first started this blog. I didn't consider it to be a problem and in a way I felt included in coffee culture, which is predominant here in Ottawa, I'd say.

So when all of a sudden coffee didn't do it for me anymore, I was pretty surprised. It just started not tasting good. I tried different beans, even paying the big bucks for organic Kicking Horse beans, using my new Aeropress coffee maker, and still, just yuck.

What was new? What changed my taste buds? I started drinking juice, or as we might say, I started "juicing." I watched a video that came recommended by a friend describing the benefits of adding juice and the micronutrients that go with it and I got interested. I was more of a "blender" rather than a "juicer" because I didn't really believe that it was good to not eat the whole food and just take a concentrated portion of the food, but I hadn't ever really tried it before so I decided to give it a go.

Rather than investing in a brand new juicer, I asked Twitter if anyone had one they could lend me. I was sure that other people had gone through this phase before and had one stashed away someplace unused. Sure enough, I got my hands on a Breville Juice Fountain within a day and I set it up on my counter.

I went to the market stalls and bought bags of carrots and beets and kale and apples and other things I'd heard were good for juicing and I got started. It's a big scary at first to drop things into this fast spinning thing but it didn't take long before I got the hang of it.

I didn't actually do a juice fast or anything, although I'm up for trying, I just ventured to add more micronutrients into my diet, which had become somewhat convenience based and less focused on nutrition. Within two days of adding juice in the morning and at lunchtime, I noticed that coffee started tasting funny.

Stopping coffee was a natural next step. I had a headache for one day that I can attribute to caffeine withdrawal and then nothing. No morning fog, no headaches, no longing for a latte, just me with myself.

Being off coffee seemed like no big deal to me but then I started noticing other things happening like my sleep was getting better. My partner mentioned that my mood seemed a bit better and I didn't even feel like arguing with him about it; perhaps he had a point.

Now that the market has closed for the winter, where am I going to get my greens for juicing? Trucked in from California? No way! Turns out there's a local farm that has a green house and delivers all winter. I still have to get things from Farm Boy and the Metro, but I did pick a fine time to start this juicing thing.

If you want to get inspired like I did, try watching Joe Cross' movie, and then Food Matters. Who knows what surprising things will happen to you!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Meditation Workshop Sunday #1

There's a meditation workshop starting this weekend. We will meet for three Sundays in a row, learning different styles of meditation and practising together. In between our meeting times, there will be opportunities to practice on your own, then come back together as a group and talk about your experiences.

I've taken longer meditation retreats and if you have the time, like 10 days in a row, I think you should do one! But in lieu of that, this little meditation sampler will give us different ways to start and a chance to regroup and adjust our practices.

Probably everybody has heard that there are many benefits to meditation. I like to say that I've never heard of anyone starting a meditation practice and things going bad. ("Oh she started meditating a few months back and it's all just been downhill from there…" said no one, ever.) Meditation practice tends to mark the beginning of something good happening. But how to start? What to do? Who else can help? Come and get some support from the small group starting this Sunday.

The course will be from 11-1 so if you're busy taking a yoga class or other things in the morning, you'll be able to join us for a couple of hours. We ran it at this time last year and it was really nice getting together to do some thing still and calming in the midst of all of the rush of the holidays coming up so quickly.

Please join us. This workshop is eligible for credits in the Makata Living Yoga Teacher Training Program.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

A Blast from the Past and Mentorship

One of the programs I lead with Kat Mills is a mentorship program for yoga teachers. This course could be part of a 500 YTT program or just by itself. We meet in a big group and have phone calls in between and also one of us will visit the teacher's yoga class and give support and feedback.

Today I'm going to visit one of my participants' classes. This isn't an ordinary class I'm going to observe, but it's the class that I used to lead for 10-11 years! Since deciding to stop teaching on Sundays for a variety of reasons, I haven't gone back to that class. I've missed it for sure. I can still feel it in my bones every Sunday morning.

So I'm excited and a bit nervous honestly to turn up in that class. I know a lot has changed already - the room it was held in changed, and the teacher changed obviously! I know a bit of what to expect but not all - which of course, is a good thing.

Somehow it feels like either coming full-circle, or maybe more like a spiral. I remember my mentor coming to observe my class a decade ago. That same class. Again, it was in a different room, but at the same studio, same time, and probably some of the same students.

On another note, even though I can feel that old yoga class in my system, I've gotten pretty used to not getting up and out the door by 8:30 in the morning on Sundays, so I notice a little resistance this cold, slushy morning to getting my butt in gear!

If you are a yoga teacher reading this and would like to participate in the Mentorship Program, get in touch. We meet one Tuesday afternoon a month from 2:30-4:30. Our next session is November 19 with Ian Fraser as our special guest. December's special guest is Catriona Leger, a director and theatre professor. Cost is $50 for non-registrants and $25 if you're registered in the Mentorship course. Again, for more info, just get in touch with me.

(Those pictures are from 2001 or 2002 in the Crystal Room at Rama Lotus, where the Sunday morning class used to be held.)

---- Update ----
Lesley did great. There were some regulars at the class and it felt like a bit of a reunion for me. I'll go back to the class - next time as a student!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Living Yoga - yogic principles in your real life

Tomorrow we begin another session of Living Yoga 1. In this course we look at the yogic principles found in the yamas and niyamas in the 8-fold path. They're found other places too, but the ones we'll be examining are the same ones that Patanjali refers to in the Yoga Sutras.

Since leading this workshop, I've attended some workshops on other topics, and I have to say, this is a good workshop. Not that the other ones weren't good, they just weren't as good as this one is going to be.

What I like about this course (and some of the others I lead at Makata Living Yoga School), is that it relates directly to the participants and their lives and offers us some insight into our own personal lives. Typically when people take a look at their lives, things get BETTER. It's often through unconscious habits and reactions that things get worse or we feel stuck. Shining the light on various aspects of our lives unglues us from patterns and allows us more freedom in how we want to behave - with other people and even with just ourselves.

On top of learning about ourselves, we get to learn about actual other people. Not people on TV or through their blogs or up on a stage, people IRL that we can talk to and share with and laugh with. That's special in this day and age.

So this is a good course. I recommend it highly. Starts Tuesday night near Carleton University. To register, just get in touch with me, your can look in the right hand side on this link for the PayPal button.

Living Yoga 1: Yogic Principles in Everyday Life
$240+ tax
Tuesday, November 5 - Tuesday, December 10
7 - 9 pm

This course is a module in the Makata Living Yoga Program. For more information go to