Monday, August 29, 2016

Matching Tattoos

There were only two things on my daughter's todo list for the whole summer, this last summer before leaving home, posted on the white board in the kitchen for us all (2) to see. They were: to eat at the Elgin St Diner and to get matching tattoos. When she put up the list, I didn't take it seriously and was surprised by these seemingly odd things; one trivial and the other outrageous - one doable and the other impossible. 

Sure, we can eat at the diner, and did within days of her putting it on the board. A check mark went up right away.

But a tattoo? Me? I don't do tattoos. They're for other people, but what did you have in mind? I mean, if we were to get actual permanent tattoos, what could we possibly do that would deserve altering our bodies for all time? I'm not into it. You go ahead and get a tattoo when you're 18 with your own money. What site was that again? Where are the pictures of the things you like? I know! How about a big MOM on your arm? How about I get your portrait on my shoulder? How about tramp stamps? Ew! And days would pass and we would laugh and laugh.

I mentioned to a few friends, people I hold in high esteem, that my daughter wanted to get matching tattoos and how funny was that. "Do it," came right away. "If my kid wanted a matching tattoo with me, I'd get it in a heartbeat," said the next one. "Sounds like you're getting a tattoo," came a from a respectable source. 

What if I just met with a tattoo artist and had a conversation about what would be involved and what they'd recommend? Let's do some research and take our time - "I know exactly what I want and where we'll go. I follow him on Instagram and we have an appointment to talk to him on Tuesday." Whoa, that was fast. I'm not taking any money with me, I'm just going to talk to the guy. No promises. 

I could go on about the experience of walking into a tattoo parlour for the first time in my life and how odd it all was, but suffice to say I left feeling open to the possibility.

We got our tattoos a week later. They match exactly and are just what she wanted. And I realized why she wanted them and what their purpose is right now. And funny thing, the todo list started to make sense to me. 

The things on my daughter's list were things to comfort her. The diner has comfort food for the day, and the tattoo is comfort for the times to come. 

It's a week until my daughter leaves for university. My only child is leaving home. We both know this is going to be big. We know it's going to be great and are excited, but we also know it's going to hurt a bit, kind of like our new tattoos.

Heart tattoos

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Hidden Temple in my Neighbourhood

As I was looking for Pokémon last night (don't judge me), I walked past a place I hadn't been by in a while. Maybe it was the way it was lit, maybe it was the time of day, but when I walked by I saw something different. The sight of a car engine on the ground pulled me closer and I started walking a little slower. I was walking past the car repair shop but I felt as though I was walking past a temple. I don't get to many temples anymore the way I used to when I was travelling, and if I do get to temples in Ottawa, they're big and defined.

I slowed down and noticed that feeling I get when I'm looking at religious folk art. I start to notice and appreciate things like handwritten chalk numbers on the stacks of tires; the cars being worked on separately, laid out to be tinkered with; the tools in drawers and things organized in a human way, all to be used to help heal the sick. The shaman, I mean mechanic, must have been around as the bays were open and the radio was on, but I didn't see anyone.

I gave my thanks and moved on, touched by the potent sight.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Something's Going on Around Here

Something is definitely going on around here. Maybe it's time to change the name of my blog.

Not so fast.

First of all, I want you all to know I still teach yoga. Lots. It's just that you can't come to most of the classes I teach. I've been bumping into people at the Green Door and at Bluesfest asking me where I've gone and am I still teaching, and it does feel like I'm coming out of some kind of hiding place when I turn up at public gatherings. More on that later. So I still am Jamine, Yoga Teacher.

A while back I chose to stop teaching public yoga classes for a variety of reasons. Some personal, some practical, and I do miss having contact with lots of students. So maybe that will get fired up again. After my daughter leaves.

And that's the big thing. My daughter is leaving. Guys, she's grown up already. That little kid who opened the doors during my yoga classes, or waited for me outside, or who you may have heard about for years or even had the chance to see in person, has made it to the end of high school. The End of High School.

Know what comes after that? University. I parented a child who has made some powerful choices and one of the choices she's made is to leave Ottawa and go and live in Toronto, where she will attend U of T (Woodsworth College, to be specific).

I'm so excited. I'm proud of her. I'm proud of me! I'm proud of her dad and me! I am honestly thrilled that she's going to go off and study and be with new people and have new experiences and be in a great city (I grew up in Toronto).

But I am dreading September 6. Or 5. Whichever night it is that I come back home after dropping her off at her residence on Bloor Street. The night I come back home to my empty house.

My house is really empty. No boyfriend, hasn't been for over a year and a half, I know, I haven't updated you. I live in a 3-bedroom house that I bought myself and have lived in for 14 years with at least my daughter and starting in September, I will be living there alone. With the dog, for a few more weeks after that, because the dog is a Guide Dog in training, and her time will be up mid-October unless they give me an extension.

So September 5 or 6 or whatever, I open the door to my house and be alone. No one to hand dishes to to put away. No one to pick up after. No one to pick groceries up. No one to cook for. This makes me so very sad. Being a mom is one thing. Being a single mom is another thing. And then there's that very tight place of being single mom of an only child. Who is leaving.

Having had the experience of being so close to someone for so long, I'm afraid of September. I'm afraid of September for other reasons, not to mention that I'll be turning 50 that month as well.

I'm sure there will be good parts. I'm open to being surprised with how much fun I'll be able to have. But right now, I'm so sad.

To get out and be with people, I started volunteering at Bluesfest a year ago. I'm the IT Volunteer Team leader. I get to see a lot of shows. The other night I saw Joe Jackson and he sang this.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Mother Daughter Yoga at Omega

It's that time again. Time to head down to Omega for Mother Daughter Yoga. This time it feels different though.

Is this the last time we'll do it? Remmy has just graduated from high school and next summer may be busy with a job and other things. Will we be too old of a pair to continue to do it?

As I prepare to be in a workshop that has us look at what our relationships are like and how much we appreciate our daughters and how we can acknowledge ourselves as mothers for what we didn't get acknowledged for, I'm afraid I won't be able to keep it together.

I live alone with my daughter. It's been just the two of us for sometime. The thought of her not being in her room or hanging out on the couch anymore scares me. What will my life be like in a few months when she's not around anymore? We didn't do practice rounds. She didn't go away to overnight camp or go on trips with other people. We've been together for such a long time.

I'm not at all sorry this is happening, in fact, it's what we've been working towards. But now the end is clearly in sight. The finish line is just up ahead. And then my heart will be ripped out of my body and stepped on and I'll be all alone. Okay, okay, it's not going to probably be like that. But I have feelings inside like it will be like that.

Pema Chodron's lineage teaches us to live life with a broken heart. Go around in our lives with that tenderness and vulnerability at times. I definitely have a broken, tender heart. And teaching yoga from that place this weekend, being there for others while I feel my own sad, proud, open heart, will be a challenge. (Don't worry, I've got this.)

Friday, June 10, 2016

Not Rushing the Brushing (Practical Meditation)

It took me awhile, but I finally got myself an electric toothbrush again a few months ago. I had one years ago (even blogged about it) but dropped the practice after awhile.

I started brushing my teeth and when I'd spent about as much time with the electric toothbrush as I would have with my old one, the new one made a noise. Or it vibrated differently. Something happened, and the toothbrush kept going. So I kept going. Then after awhile it did it again. "Hmm, that's weird, is this toothbrush trying to tell me something," I wondered.

Later in the day I was still thinking about it, so I looked in the manual that came with it. Those little vibes mark 30 second intervals and when the recommended brushing time is over, it does three in a row to tell you you're done. So smart! My old one didn't do the intervals!

That night, I'm getting ready to brush my teeth and it makes that first noise and I want to put it away. I mean, surely, four times of those beeps is too many. Then I remember it's the recommended time. I paid lots to see the dentist who suggested the toothbrush that suggests I brush my teeth for two whole minutes. 2 minutes! Of my Life! When I'm busy! I don't want to stop for two minutes of my life when I'm busy to do something for my health and well-being and then I listen to what I've just thought and look at who I am and I keep brushing.

A few days later and I'm brushing my teeth and I notice I'm back to making a commitment to do the whole four times, the whole two minutes. I still want to rush! Have I ever felt these feelings before? (See past blog post. See many, many times I meditated wanting to rush to the end.)

There's nowhere to go. I've already set aside the time. I know it's going to be good for me and still I want to rush it. To get where? To the next moment when I won't be brushing my teeth anymore or sitting on my cushion anymore. To the next moment when I'll be rushing to get out of that moment to be in the next one I can hardly wait to get out of.

Today I practice brushing with awareness. I take my time, but not too much time because the toothbrush will nudge me to move on. I have time to brush my teeth. I have time to meditate. I have time when I'm not rushing the brushing.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Non-Attachment through Puppy Walking

There's more to the story, but basically I wound up as a "puppy walker," which means I have a puppy who lives with me until she's old enough to start serious training to be a seeing eye dog. The deal is she comes with me everywhere, like I can't leave her alone for more than an hour or two, and I take her to obedience classes and keep her alive and well for a year and a half until she's old enough to start serious training.

I know, I'm really nice.

And I'll tell you what. I have never been asked the same thing more in my entire life than I have while walking this puppy. You probably already know what it is, because you've probably already thought it reading this post. "Won't it be hard to give her up?" is the first thing out of literally everybody's mouth when they understand the deal. Universal.

So yea, rub it in. Remind me that I'm going to be giving up that smooshy sweet puppy face that lives with me 100% of the time and comes with me everywhere and is my joy and snuggle bunch. Don't worry, everybody says it.

To be honest, raising a puppy is hard work, not to mention the damage done to my home and property. (One of the deals I have about this job is I don't mention the details about that "puppy stuff" so I don't give the wrong impression about the role. But it's there.) So sometimes when people say, "won't it be hard to give her up," my real feeling is NO, it won't be hard. I'll be happy to see her go. She's a pain and I have to take care of her all the time and bring her everywhere and talk to everyone about how cute she is and how sad I'll be when she's gone.

But that's not all true. I will miss her of course and I sometimes tear up when I imagine her walking with her harness being someone's transportation and how smart she is and how good she'll be doing her amazing job. And I thought that would be the non-attachment part I'll have to do, and it probably will be. I'll get to practice non-attachment when I say good-bye to her in a year.

In the meantime, I get to practice non-attachment with myself and other people and their predictable comments. I live right downtown with no yard and lots of transient people who are new to her every time I walk outside, which means I have to engage with people every single time she needs to pee. Having an adorable puppy with me removes my veil of anonymity and makes me a target of attention and opportunities to interact. I haven't had that since my daughter was a baby when total strangers would cross the street to come and say hello.

I've changed over the months and I don't mind talking to people and answering questions about her. I don't feel anxious or impatient about it. I've come to expect it and even enjoy it. I feel more patient with the world and I have noticed I don't mind waiting in lines or things that used to bug me don't bug me so much. I feel grateful for what's happened through this process of puppy walking that's only just begun.

I'll share some of the cute photos of her here so you get to know her. (KC the yellow lab still visits but she doesn't live with me anymore.)

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Why I Post so Many Pictures of my Dog

If you see me on Facebook or spend any time on Twitter, you'll know I post a lot of pictures of my step-dog, KC. "Why does she post so many pictures (and amazing videos of her dog)," you might be wondering. The simple answer is because she lets me. You know who doesn't let me? My kid. My amazing 16-year old daughter who's young and beautiful and funny and smart, and who doesn't let me post any pictures of her or talk about our lives together.

So sometimes I'm quiet because what's going on in my life involves other people and I don't get to say. Even the good stuff! I can take the selfies, I just can't post the selfies. And I think that's great and smart and everything.

When she was little, we didn't have Facebook yet - imagine! So all of the people coming up behind me who are happily posting their kids' messy faces and snowy trips will be in for a surprise when their teen finally puts an end to the posting - as they will and they should!

As a full-time mom it's hard not to want to share what's happening. I can tell you she got her G1 license and we've been driving a lot. She's a great driver! Official drivers ed is coming up soon.

You might get to catch a glimpse of me and my kid on Twitter - we actually interact there. Teens don't do much Facebook anymore and I didn't get the hang of Snapchat, so we tweet to each other sometimes.

KC turned 9 yesterday. I let her bring home a big stick from the park in the car, which normally isn't allowed. She seemed pretty happy. But she always seems pretty happy. Life as a lab seems to be like that. So here are some KC photos for you, from me. Hope she makes you smile :)

Friday, November 28, 2014

Free Screening of The Connection on December 6 at The Hub

I saw a trailer for this film right before it came out and I knew I'd want to watch it. It's about health and wellbeing and how the mind and the body are connected. You can see the trailer for yourself here.

When it was officially released I bought a copy to watch. It's great! If you're into yoga at all, there's a good chance what you see in this film won't be new, but it will help to affirm your practice.

It's a film I wish more people would watch because I think it's important for us to know that how we're feeling and what's happening inside has a profound effect on our health and our overall satisfaction with our lives.

So I was lying in yoga class and an idea popped into my head (as those ideas do!) and I thought, why don't I screen the film upstairs at the Hub and then people can come and see the film! I came out of yoga class and asked the owner of the Bikram Studio if she thought her people would come up to the Hub and watch a movie on the weekend. She thought that was a great idea and we picked a date, I checked with the Hub for availability, and bam! The movie's happening next week.

I thought it might be fun to run it as an event for real, so I set it up in Eventbrite and there are (free) tickets and I have the screening rights and it's posted on the official film website and now it's happening!

Please come! If you can't come but you'd like to see the movie anyway, here's a link. If you use my first name in the discount code you can take 25% off until December 8.

So not only is the film happening, Claire from Bikram has a free vinyasa class at 12:15 already going on until Christmas, but she's offering free Bikram classes at 4 for anybody who wants to come. That class is usually $20, so can you really afford not to come to yoga?

Saturday, December 6 at 1:30 - 3:30. Film starts at 2 so if you're at yoga you've got time to change.

Here's the link to the event - please sign up so I know you're coming. Mind Body Connection Screening.

I've been hanging out at The Hub a lot since the end of the summer and I'm feeling at home there. I have been hosting the Living Yoga classes there and it's been great. I hope you'll come and visit on Saturday!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Better Listen!

I've started working for this company, BetterListen! and I wanted to let you know about it. The company has been around for a while, publishing recordings from some pretty big names in the world of self-discovery and transformation. The catalog is quite varied actually.

Steve Stein, the guy who runs it, is an old Omega person, even before my time, so I never actually worked with him before. Another Omega person has been working for him for years and when she decided to get another job, she thought of me to help pick up some of the marketing and administrative duties. That's what I'm doing. Follow them on Twitter and help me out! @BetterListen

In addition to audio recordings, Steve also built a whole online video training program with Beryl Bender Birch for the sister site, BetterLearn. It hasn't started being promoted yet, so you probably haven't even heard of it. The videos are fresh and crisp and it's nice to see Beryl's face, even though it's just virtual. I even saw one of her dogs making an appearance. That course actually counts towards credits with the Yoga Alliance, so if any of you reading are yoga teachers, you may find the course pretty interesting!

It's funny how things come around. Here I am in Ottawa, doing work for a guy in New Jersey, promoting works from authors and teachers from even farther away places.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Yoga Keeps Expanding

It doesn't look like yoga's going away. I think some people thought yoga was a fad and would be gone in a few years but it looks as though yoga is here to stay.

You can take yoga classes in yoga studios. You can go to ashrams for deeper stays. You can take yoga vacations! You can go to your gym or community centers. Workplaces offer yoga classes on site. I teach yoga in an apartment building for the residents for heaven's sake. Yoga is online, in books, on your phone, on tv, and we even have yoga apps! (See the list on the right in my blog. We've had them for years.)

How yoga is growing is a lot like yoga. Yoga expands us as people. Some of us get stretchier and maybe a bit taller through asana practice. But as you know if you read my blog, that is hardly all of yoga. A holistic yoga practice will allow you to expand in your life, taking in more and more of what life's experiences have to offer without being thrown by them. Yoga expanding has us explore our comfort zones and keep moving the edges a bit further out every time.

It looks like yoga is doing that all by itself, using us as its prana or something. It's like people are the prana for the yoga. I'm just making that up, but it seems to fit the way I'm positioning yoga at the moment. Yoga can take more and more people to deeper and deeper places.

The form yoga takes might keep shifting as less-common facets of yoga are presented for our practice and review, but clearly it has taken root in our culture and it isn't leaving anytime soon.


(The picture is from the other night at Nuit Blanche in Ottawa. I don't know if the flower petals were part of an installation or not, but they were there on the ground then the wind started to carry them away.)

Monday, September 8, 2014

Amazing Little Bose Speakers for Yoga Teachers - updated!

I was looking for a more portable speaker system recently after wearing out my Logitech speakers and dealing with bluetooth pairing issues on a replacement system. I considered getting a Bose system that would be portable and charge my phone and then I saw this little set. I don't really need a system that will charge my phone...

It's so small that it fits into my purse! And the sound is amazing. But the best part for me is that it starts playing right away and I don't have to wait for it to sync up. This is important for me as a yoga teacher because sometimes I'm setting these things up in front of other people and I want it to all go smoothly. I don't want to waste time in my class fiddling with the equipment and I can't always be there setting up before my students get there - a home yoga class for instance.

So if you're looking for something powerful but light and relatively affordable, I highly recommend these speakers. I didn't get the case that comes separately but I'm reconsidering. I don't want it getting banged up while I go from class to class.

If you decide to buy them and you click on the link on my site, I get a tiny commission. So thank you in advance :)
Update. I still really do recommend the speakers, however, if you're in Canada, Amazon shows you the price in CAD and for me to get the credit, you'd need to buy the speakers from, but seeing as how you're in Canada, you'll be redirected to, in which case I won't get the commission. Basically, I'd need to set up two little accounts - one for Canadian readers and one for American. So selling things via Amazon is not really workable at the moment :) Thought I'd give it a try!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Last Chance for Yoga Philosophy!

Just a reminder that Living Yoga classes start next, next week on Tuesday night (September 16). There's still room if you're interested in signing up, but more importantly, this is the last chance to take this class for awhile.

If you are interested in joining our Yoga Teacher Training Program, this is the last chance for sure. We are running the courses until the beginning of next year, and if you're not in the stream now, Kat and I are not sure when the course will be happening after May. So this is it!

Kat's got other things going on after India, and I'm still here doing my thing, but assembling the courses and finding students to be in them isn't our priority right now.

So if you want to join us, please let me know and be prepared to come and sit in Old Ottawa South on Tuesday nights for a bit.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Ahimsa - Non-Violence in Thoughts, Words, and Deeds

One of the first things we start with in yoga is Ahimsa, which means the absence of violence. Naturally, it would seem that we could use this to mean that we don't punch people or kill people. A society that practises ahimsa would for sure not be killing its citizens with capital punishment, for instance. That's sort of a big view. Sure, it's easy not to kill people everyday.

Then we take it down a level, to our words. What would it be like to have the absence of violence in our speech? Would that mean not swearing? Would that mean not yelling? Not yelling at people, again, pretty straightforward. I could not yell at anybody all day. I could even not swear, I'm thinking.  Some days that would be harder than others, of course.

Let's look at our thoughts. What would it be like to have the absence of violence in our thoughts? Does that mean we won't think bad things about other people? Not criticize, even in our minds? Would lightly editing a person be considered a type of violence? Perhaps. What about ourselves? Would having an absence of violence towards ourselves be possible while looking in a mirror in the morning? Could I refrain from thinking negative thoughts about my own plumper, aging self? These are questions only I can answer for myself. My thoughts are my own and don't always get shared.

But the body does vibrate with himsa, or violence, even when we think critical thoughts about ourselves. Just as though we were to take a violent action, the inner realms start to resonate with the frequency of negativity and begin to take on the flavour, even if it's just a hint, of the same spice that brings us violence towards others.

When you start to take a closer look at your life, you'll see that it becomes easy to notice things we think are benign, that are actually causing little sores in our subtle bodies. Sores that can ultimately cause us pain for real. Think about it. What you're thinking about matters a lot. Practising non-violence in actions, speech, and even our thoughts can be done towards others, but also and ultimately even more challenging, towards ourselves.

To explore more, please join us for Living Yoga 1, which starts Tuesday, September 21 and goes for 6  Tuesday evenings in total.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Yoga Teacher as Mother (First Day of School Again)

Today I walked my daughter as far as she'd let me to school. She's so big and so mature and yet she's still a kid, who's learning and growing and who gets nervous on the first day back. Taking her, at her request, as far as she needed me, is my job. In so many ways, that's my job all around.

Taking people, at their request, as far as they need me to.

It touches me to see her vulnerability as well as her excitement. It's an honour to be allowed in to someone's life while they deal with something. No advice needed. No pushing or cajoling. Just being there.


Friday, August 22, 2014

Living Yoga - Next Steps for Yogis

To be honest, living yoga and the yogic principles are not exactly the next steps for yogis, although they are that as well - please come and see my slide show presentation for more details on that - rather, living yoga and the yogic principles come before the place where most people in our society start on the path of yoga. Did that make sense?

We normally start with yoga poses and show up to a class and do this thing called, "yoga," which is really asana practice. Nothing wrong with that at all. It's just not the traditional order and sometimes, sometimes it happens that people do a yoga practice and don't learn much about the rest of yoga. I've heard of this happening!

As a result, learning about the principles of yoga, and a bit of yoga philosophy, often comes after we've already embarked on a yogic practice. Again, nothing wrong here. However, by learning about the yogic principles found in the yamas and niyamas, for instance, our practice of postures can go deeper and connect more with our lives as we live them, creating more alignment and sometimes a sense of purpose and direction, possibly leading to more fulfillment in our days.

Some people practice yoga once a week and I'd even say that's a great thing. Once a week, taking an hour or two to yourself, working on your health, thinking about things that matter, taking a deeper breath - these are all good things! But just like if you were to injure yourself in your practice or doing anything else, a good health care advisor would be more concerned with what you had been doing around that injury. How do you spend most of your time? What's your position like? How's your alignment?

So if you only spend an hour a week working on your alignment, that's great, but for even greater alignment and awareness, come learn and share about the yogic principles and how we're in positions all of the time. Take a look at what our alignment is like in our lives, not just our physical lives, but our relationships and jobs and attitudes, and see if this alignment is working for us or not.

The class will be held in a new location this season as Kat's house will no longer be available as she is moving soon. (Don't worry! She's just going to India to do her usual teaching and then will be readjusting to life in Ottawa given that she's managing an estate in the Laurentians, which hopefully will be the location of some retreats in the new year.) A possible location is at The Hub, which is downtown and I'm a member of. Let me know if you're interested in attending these six evenings. To register, as usual, just get in touch with me or Kat.

Living Yoga 1
Tuesday evenings September 16 - October 21, 7 - 9
Unit 1 of Makata Living Yoga Teacher Training Program

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Back to Bikram

Sounds crazy, I know, but I went back to a Bikram class today (which I've done before as you'll find in the link). I first did a Bikram class back in 1992 with Bikram himself when I lived at Kripalu. Since then I've done lots of Bikram classes but today was the first time I've done the "express" class. New favourite thing!

The reason for the Bikram is the location and the time. As I mentioned in my last post, I've given myself some structured work times and I wanted to break it up as well as take advantage of the proximity to a yoga class, which happens to be in the same building, so I really have no excuse not to go, except of course, that it's a Bikram class.

People who don't know yoga, can't really appreciate the difference between a Bikram class and one of the classes I teach, or pretty much just about any other type of yoga class you'd go to. It's a huge difference when you know what's what. A Bikram class requires some things...I'm not going to go into it right here but suffice it to say, I've got a bundle of wet, smelly clothes (and a towel!) with me and I'm figuring out how to jam it all in my backpack with my computer and paperwork and get home on my bike. But it's a nice problem to have. And with the class only lasting an hour, I spent hardly any time wishing the class were over already.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Office Hours or Adminstrationasana

As a yoga teacher it can be easy to avoid administrative tasks. "I am a yoga teacher." But really I'm not just a yoga teacher, I'm self-employed. That involves doing administrative tasks like planning classes, setting up trainings, finding spaces, invoicing clients, paying taxes and other things that don't feel like teaching yoga.

Over the years I've found different ways to get some of the tasks done but I've never really dedicated myself to those tasks. As a result, I may be a good yoga teacher, but sometimes business is "bad." There's nothing wrong at all with the business part of business! I just tend to avoid it.

I'm sitting at the Hub, which is a space where people go to work. People like me, who either work from home or a coffee shop or not at all. And I'm thinking about committing to some office hours. I'm thinking about sitting in an office, that's not at my house, where I will go to get work done. Not yoga poses. Not meditation. But work. Or administration and content creation and blog writing and keeping up with emails and being disciplined about all of that. Feels like it's time for that kind of change.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Living Yoga - it Works!

Living Yoga is working with our own lives using some yoga philosophy. It's like going to a yoga class but instead of lining up our bodies in certain positions, we're lining up parts of our lives in certain positions. And just like a usual yoga class experience, there will be some stretchy times and overall it will feel really good.

These classes will be held over the fall period and are part of our Yoga Teacher Training Program, which is really a Yoga Exploration Program, and is for anyone. No special requirements to come to this class. We usually sit on the floor, but even that is optional and chairs can be provided.

One of the things we take a look at is Ahimsa, or non-violence. What a time to be taking a look at that topic. Believe it or not, that's one of the places yoga starts. Right there. Being non-violent with each other and especially with ourselves. So many of us hold ourselves back or put ourselves in positions that aren't healthy and allow ourselves to be mistreated. Taking a look at how we can open up to a more non-violent way of being is where this class starts.

I hope you'll think about coming and sitting with us for 6 weeks in a row. If you can't make a week, you can join us via Skype or FaceTime!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Where Do Yoga Teachers Go When They're Not Teaching?

Where do yoga teachers go when they're not teaching yoga? It's a real question. I can tell you where I go, but I know there aren't many other yoga teachers there.

In the past, I've been so busy that I was usually running from class to class and in the middle, I'd be at home, taking care of things at home. I only encountered other yoga teachers by appointment.

Lately it's been bugging me though that I don't have access to other yoga teachers or students for that matter, outside of a traditional yoga class and I'd like to see if that could change.

When I was down at Kripalu again recently, I bumped into some of my old yoga people in the halls and in the cafe and had a chance to informally chat. I saw that some of them would use that cafe space as a place to get work done. It seemed like the distractions were not unwelcome and the surroundings were certainly supportive.

On the same trip in April, I revisited a coworking space in New Haven, CT, which has grown for a third time in four years and has a wonderful, creative vibe to it.

Could these things be blended? Could a coworking space for yoga teachers be created? Would anyone use it besides me?

If you're not familiar with the concept of coworking, you can just google it for way more, but in short, it's a space for people who may normally be working out of their homes or coffee shops in the area, but who would like to be with other people, maybe of a similar ilk, to work near and possibly with, if the projects warrant.

It's like an office for the office-less.

I've worked from home for a decade. It's been great. I've accomplished a lot. But I would like to see other people. I would like to make myself available to other yoga teachers and have other creative people around to help me, too.

Ottawa does have a couple of coworking spaces and they're great, but they're not specifically for yoga teachers - there's no space to do yoga R & D. I have felt out of place at the Hub and paying to park and getting on a slow elevator cut down my time there. Plus, as a yoga teacher, getting in and out of a space quickly matters to me as I do have to get to other classes.

It also occurs to me that most of the people who are yoga teachers in the city are women. Of course there are male teachers but the majority of people teaching and practising yoga are women. The spaces I've seen for coworking aren't unwelcome to women, they just seem to be populated with men. I'd like to walk into a place where I'm not unusual, but the targeted clientele.

I'm sort of rambling here, but I'm trying to express a feeling or an idea that's inside of me and I would like to be able to walk into it outside of me.

I've started looking at various spaces, trying to get a sense of how much space I'd need to do this. I've started meeting with people who can help see if there's community funding available (in fact, I'll be at City Hall later this morning). I've spoken to a few yoga teachers to see if this idea would be of interest. I've even checked in with a yoga studio owner to see if she would find this valuable. Everybody has said they like it. Now will they become members and actually support it...?

I love asking myself the question "if money weren't an obstacle, what would you do?" And I would definitely do this project. That being said, there's this money thing that's required to pay landlords, which would be the bulk of the cost. How small a space could I start with? How big would it need to be to be able to accommodate the right blend of spaces inside the space so there could be a focused work area, a space where you can chat, plus a space to practise in?

Which other communities of people would find this attractive? Would artists want to come out of their homes and work around other people? Would massage therapists need a place to land? Again, I'm just asking some questions to see if I'm alone or if there are other people out there...

Monday, April 28, 2014

Blended Learning

I'm taking a course right now in "Blended Learning." Basically, I'm taking an online course in how to offer online courses. Sounds simple enough. But it's not!

Blended learning is different than just learning something online from watching videos and completing assignments. It involves a mix of learning styles and is actually quite dynamic.

In my work as a yoga teacher, I do most of my teaching face-to-face. However, as a student, especially when it comes to self-study of yogic materials, I do a lot of my studies online. The idea of putting the two together is pretty interesting.

The course I'm taking right now seems like it's really aimed at education professionals - people who are more in the mainstream in teaching organizations like schools and universities. I'm not quite sure where I fit in as a yoga teacher, but it's early days in the course yet.

I like Swami J's site, even though it's pretty dense. He's recently posted a Udemy course, which is also online (and free and you should all take it if you feel so inclined), but it is really a curated experience of some of what he has on his site already. Part of why I like his site so much and can freely recommend and use is materials is because I've met him and studied with him. That's a type of blended learning I think.

I'm still exploring how I'd use these tools, but it's a fun experiment. You can take it too if you like. #BlendKit2014 is also on Twitter.