Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Day 74 - Food glorious food

Lately, it feels like I'm always hungry, regardless of the amount of food I eat. This insane appetite is unusual for me. At first, I figured it's obviously because of all the physical activity I'm doing, but now I think it has more to do with quality of food I need as oppose the quantity. After all, the body will crave food until it feels properly nourished.

I've also been feeling a bit dizzy. So it appears as though I'm not getting enough nutrients from the food I'm eating, which is why I'm starving all the time. Yesterday, my Ayurvedic teacher Anita confirmed my suspicions and told me my iron is low and I'm lacking B12. This is no surprise because I should be eating a lot better than I am these days. The problem is that I have no time to cook and I usually wait until I am starving before I think about what to eat. The result is a lot of crackers, chocolate, cookies and chips are being consumed, because these are more convenient than making a meal when I'm tired. I realize this is no excuse and I must prioritize my time better. After all, if I'm committed to doing about three hours of yoga a day, I really must also commit to re-energizing myself...

My friend Brendan Brazier, who wrote a nutrition book called "The Thrive Diet", says that athletes (and I guess I now fit the bill) need to consciously choose more nutrient dense foods than regular folk, because they are constantly breaking down muscle tissue in training, and thus require the best materials to rebuild their tissues in order to become stronger and recover faster. If an athlete eats junk food all the time, then their body can't repair itself as well, because there isn't an abundance of nutrients like vitamins, minerals, fiber and healthy fats available.

Anyway, I am paying closer attention to when I eat and what I eat, because I dislike feeling dizzy and I need as much energy and stamina as possible. As one of my classmates said, my body is "my instrument" and it constantly needs fine tuning. So, steamed beet greens, watercress, kale, arugula it is!

Now, as for the 108 today, I was on the pier again this morning with my group of eight students. It was freezing, but once we got into the flow it was ok. Len joined us again this morning and taught a great Twisted Surya Namaskar, which I tried to film, but it's a pretty slow practice and ran out of space on my memory card. (I have to reshoot it from memory.)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Day 73 - Len Blum

This morning marked our second day of Morning Yoga by the Lake. The conditions were perfect, the sunrise magnificent, so we practiced on the pier just outside the Pointe Claire Village as we've done at this time, four years straight. The feeling of practicing outside at dawn in a group of highly committed students is amazing.

Len Blum joined us this morning. Len is a brilliant yoga instructor, who is part owner of United Yoga Montreal. He is also a former successful Hollywood screen writer and the only person I know who can recite all 196 Yoga Sutras (spiritual versus) from memory in Sanskrit and knows all the major interpretations of each scripture. He is truly a devout and incredible yogi and I was humbled by his presence.

We started our meditation and breathing exercises at about 6 am and started our first set of 36 sun salutations at 6:20. Our first 12 were very slow version of my opening:

  • 4 half sun salutations = two full sun sals
  • 2 sun sals with three cat/cow stretches to bring mobility into the spine
  • 2 sun sals holding plank for three breaths to awaken the back muscles (no chaturanga or back bend)
  • 2 streamline or thunderbolt sun sals to gently open the chest and shoulders
  • 2 sphinx sun sals to further open the front of the body
  • 2 sun sals with three progressive cobras (small, medium, full)

Following our opening series, we did 60 Surya Namaskar A bringing our awareness to a different successive part of the body every six sun sals. (For me, this was in honour of Anthea, who left for BC this morning and who first introduced me to this style of surya namaskar.) Here's what we did:
  • Toes, feet and ankles
  • Knees & quadriceps
  • Integration of legs from big toe to head of femur (inner leg line)
  • Pelvis (any aspect of it)
  • *Five-ten minute break.
  • Rib cage
  • Shoulder girdle (shoulder joint, clavicle, shoulder blade)
  • Neck & head
  • Integration of the entire spine tailbone to crown of head
  • Integration of the body whole & breath
  • Any other part that needs attention or just breath-focus
We took another short break at 72 and finished with 12 Surya Namaskar B, 18 Surya Namaskar X (I call this one as X as we add a standing posture in each sun sal), and then 6 of our choosing, followed by self guided back bends and inversions.

It was so beautiful to be practicing outside to a soundtrack of birds chirping and wind in the trees. There was a tranquility so powerful, that it energized every cell of my being.

After practice, I had the privilege of speaking to Len for a good hour about various aspects of surya namaskar and my process of doing 108 each day and blogging about it. He suggested that the blogging part is probably just as intense as my actual practice, if not more so, because it is forcing me to acknowledge what I am going through and putting it out there. I hadn't really thought about it this way, but it's completely true. Sometimes I feel as though I would prefer to do another set of 108 than to write, because writing forces me to pull my experiences out of my head and to see them rationally for what they are, rather than just sit in it. But, I know how important it is to document and share the process, so here I am.

* Anyone is welcome to join us this week for an early morning practice on the pier, just one block east of Cartier on Lakeshore Rd in Pointe Claire. We start at at 6am, but you can join in whenever you want. Canada Day we're doing a special practice. ($25, breakfast included-- part of the money is going to David Suzuki Foundation.)

Monday, June 28, 2010

Day 72 - 2/3 done!

Since April 18, I have now completed 7,776 sun salutations. It's hard to imagine. I can't believe I'm already 2/3 done. The days are going by so quickly now and I'm starting to think about what I'm going to do on the 108th day of my mission, which will be Aug 3, particularly because people keep asking me about it.

I really don't know yet, but we threw around a few ideas at Anthea '"last supper" send off dinner. (Anthea is my beloved neighbour and practice buddy, who is moving back to BC tomorrow.) Anthea wanted to know how I plan to celebrate its completion, as she's been a big part of my 108x108. I told her I'd keep her in the loop and we talked about how cool it would be if we could practice together via live video recording. After all, nothing's technically impossible these days.

I am really going to miss Anthea. Since the inception of this project back in December, she's been so supportive and encouraging. It feels weird to think that Anthea's moving and on Thursday, Miranda and Andrew are leaving too, although they won't be too far. Life is change, change, change...

But regardless, I still have 36 days left and I will continue to focus on one sun salutation and one day at a time.

Today, I started my annual morning program by the lake. So, I led three sets of 36 sun salutations from 6 am - 9 am. Normally, we are outside, but it was raining today, so I lit some candles, brunt some incense, and we practice in the studio. It was lovely.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Day 71 -G20 protests

I was going to write about The Montreal Jazz Festival, which started on Friday, but with all the chaos that's going on in Toronto this weekend, I feel I must switch focus and discuss the peaceful protests and the violence.

In case you don't pay attention to the news, Toronto is currently hosting the G20 Summit, a meeting of the world's leading financial rulers. According to Wikipedia, 19 countries plus the European Union are represented in this forum, which was established in 1999 after the Asian financial crisis in 1997. Together, the economies of the G20 comprise 85% of the global gross national product, 80% of international trade and two-thirds of the world's population. It's been publicized that this Summit cost $1.1 billion and is the most expensive security operation in Canadian history. Toronto has literally been shut down from June 25th to the 27th, the duration of the conference. A boundary was erected around the Toronto Convention Centre (where I taught at the Yoga Show in March) and as reported by the Globe & Mail, 10,000 uniformed police officers, 1,000 security guards, and several Canadian military forces were deployed enforce the rule of law over thousands of protesters.

A lot of people are upset by the cost of the Summit and are particularly infuriated by Prime Minister Stephen Haper's now infamous 'fake lake' that was built inside the Convention Centre as decor and had a price tag of $57,000. But that's just the tip of the iceburg, the real frustration boils down to concerns over how the world leaders are dealing with the Gulf Oil Catastrophe, world poverty, the ongoing environmental destruction, and all the other human and ecological rights violations that plague on planet.

Personally, I think protests are really ineffective means of instituting change, because in every major protest there is inevitably a small group of assholes who toss Molotov cocktails, smash windows, throw rocks at police, burn police cars. Unfortunately, these misguided individuals soak up all the media attention and ruin the credibility of all protesters. So far, there has more than 500 arrests this weekend in Toronto. There are hundreds of videos circulating online of the violence. Craig's been following the news closely, so I watched one or two. It made me angry.

To me, protests are really useless. I know this is a controversial statement, but I don't retract it. I grew up marching in protests from the age of 6 months. My mom is an activist, so she would bring me along. Although I don't discredit my mother's efforts nor am I denouncing other peaceful protests, but surely there is a better way to inspire change than to hold a placard scream "No."

My last protest was ten years ago in April 2000 at the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas Summit in Quebec City. There were approximately 100,000 demonstrators. I, at 18, was among them with my Pentax film camera. My intention was to document the protest for the Canadian University Press. From what I witnessed, the protest was 99% peaceful. I took pictures of beautiful puppets and mothers nursing there babies, but the main stream media only focused on the aggressive Anarchists at the fence around the Summit. I saw them too. Curious, I walked around Vieux Quebec with my other student journalist friends. I remember the tear gas being so thick, we couldn't see across the street. At one point, I got separated from my group and found myself alone. I was completely disoriented and so I tried to approach a group of riot police. They must have felt threatened or something, because they fired round of rubber bullets at me. I ran full throttle down the cobble stone street and ducked behind a parked car, only to hear its wind shield shatter from the impact of a stray bullet. I was pretty frightened and mostly disappointed by the whole experience. What's the point of demonstrations, if most people don't take them seriously?

Since then, I have committed myself and my work to changing the world in a different way. I only work for what I believe in and I devout my energy towards inspiring others to live healthy and conscientiously. I'm still activist, but you won't find me at any mass protest. I'll be here, everlastingly soapboxing the way to heal the outer world is to heal our inner world first.


As for today's 108, I'm still working out my left shoulder tensions. My neighbor Anthea reminded me of a posture our teacher shared with us that helps alleviate shoulder and neck tensions. Fittingly, it's called the Banker's Pose.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Day 70 - Rest, reflexion and laughter

(photo of the mehndi on my hands and feet in padangustasana A)

Last night's party was magical. The studio was full of people and the energy was electric. I think there were a little more than 100 guests and from the looks of it, people were having a good time. I find it's always hard to tell how fun a party actually is from the host's perspective, because as host, I feel I spend most of the time orchestrating things and running around making sure everyone is comfortable. At least I felt calm and relaxed yesterday, although I didn't get a chance to talk and connect with all the people who came, which I often find is a bit regrettable about big parties in general.

Anyway, all and all, I am really happy with the turn out. I don't think things have really sunk in yet. There was so much going on-- food, drinks, henna tattoos, live performances, an outdoor drum circle, and tons of raffle prizes. But I got some great feedback. My friends said they were impressed. One called the evening "Super pro, Miami style!"

The live performances were incredible. My friend Laur Fugere sang first. Laur is a beautiful internationally renown vocalist who has toured with Cirque de Soliel for 20 years, and she was incredible. Our second act was a 'hand to hand' routine performed by two awe-inspiring acrobats, Anna and Gerome, who also tour with Cirque. Then, spontaneously, there was a fantastic drum circle that formed outside the studio on the patio. Led by James Olmsted, one of our instructors, the drum circle included some talented percussionists plus a few guests who joined in with egg shakers. It was very cool.

We got home quite late, so today I tried to take it easy. I slept in a little, read Vanity Fair and around 10:30 am Miranda and later Andrew, joined me for my practice in the park. It was though for me to do sun salutation, as my shoulder was bothering me again. But we made it fun. We tested the concept of partner surya namaskar, which was very funny. Check out the video I filmed of Miranda and Andrew's version. And we finished the last 48 with the adjective game. This is where we each pick an adjective to inspire the way we do the next sun salutation. Some of the adjectives we came up with include: abnormally, breathlessly, buoyantly, and ballerina-like.

Then in the afternoon, I got spoiled with a fantastic massage from Anthea, my downstairs neighbour, who took pity on my tense shoulder muscles. Honestly, my shoulders and neck felt much better afterward.

(Thanks to Mark, who came to the party from Ottawa, and Ryan, who came in from Toronto.)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Day 69 - The Gratitude Day

It's 3:45pm, a few hours before the party at my yoga centre. There still seems to be a million things to do, but I figured I'd take a break now, while I still can. I have sequestered myself at my parent's house, which is just a few minutes away from the studio.

Tonight is a celebration of gratitude for all the supportive people in my life and for all those who contributed their energy in making Om West special. In the spirit of gratitude, I decided to dedicate my 108 practice to the people I appreciate. I included my 9:30 am class in part of this ritual, which was further enhanced by the beauty of lake this morning. Every six sun salutations, we honored a different person. I envisioned the person happy and healthy and recalled happy memories of time spent together. It was a beautiful way to channel my energy and ground myself. I am so thankful to be surrounded by great friends, great family and great students. I was a bit overcome by emotion thinking.

I must now ready myself for this evening. I will tell you all about it tomorrow!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Day 68 - St Jean Baptiste Day

It's Quebec's "National" holiday today. It's a time to reflect on our Quebec-ness and celebrate our unique culture. Typically, nothing is open and most people are off work for the day.

I am not, and neither is most of my staff. We celebrated St Jean Baptiste in the studio preparing for the inauguration post-renovation's party. However, I did wear blue and white for the occasion, and not much was going on in our little Village, so we had relaxed day. The woman who will do henna tattoos for our guests tomorrow night came in this afternoon and decorated our hands and feet, which was fun. I also had a reiki session with Real, one of my students. It was a really powerful and amazing experience that I haven't yet digested. So I can't really write about it yet, but I think my shoulder feels better.

I'm now at home, sitting in my living room. There is a mix of loud music coming from various St Jean festivities on Parc Ave. I love summer holidays. I remember how exciting St Jean was for me as a kid. It marked the official beginning of summer vacation. I was so happy at the thought of having two full months off of school and eagerly anticipated all the great adventures that lay ahead. My friend from across the street usually had a sleepover birthday party on this day. After the BBQ and cake, we would all walk down Cedar Ave in our pajamas and watch the fireworks explode over the lake.

Unfortunately, I won't make it to the fireworks tonight as I still have 90 sun salutations and a bunch of other things to do. But I hope to make it out to the Canada Day celebrations next week.

Je vous souhaite tous une joyeuse St-Jean! J'espère que vous avez passé une belle journée en bleu et blanc!

Post-practice note 11:45pm---
I struggled to get into my practice, so Miranda and Andrew from downstairs came up and joined me for 18 sun salutations. (We're in the hallway in this photo, because there isn't much room for three people to practice in my apartment.)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Day 67 - Community support heals headaches

I feel like I'm at that point in the marathon where, although I'm past the halfway mark, I'm feeling very tired and there's still so much further to go. Seriously, there have been several times this week where 108 sun salutations seems like 108 million and each one is really effortful. But here's where things get interesting and I am so grateful to have people practice with on days like this.

Today was particularly challenging, because I woke up with a bad headache, which turned into one of those migraines that make you want to puke. I had so many errands to do in preparation for a big party I'm hosting at my studio on Friday. However, this time, I refused to take any pain killers, because I really wanted to stay in contact with the pain, so I could better understand it. As I wrote in the past, the reason I don't like pain killers is because they numb me and I have no reference to how I'm really feeling. So, even though I'm clearly under strain, with a pain killer, I can push myself harder because I don't feel the discomfort or pain. The result is that later, when the pills where off, the problem is still there and usually I have an even worse headache. Anyway, I didn't want to go through that again today, so all day I just observed how I was feeling and how I was breathing.

I noticed that taking deep breaths was soothing and so was eating. My soy latte also gave me a little relief. But I was still concerned because I was scheduled to lead a 108 practice at Island Gym in L'Île-Perrot at 7pm. And indeed the first third of the practice was almost murderous, but then slowly I started to feel better. I think it had something to do with the breathing and movement and for the energy of the people practicing with me.

Steve Maier, a strong yoga teacher I've know for ten years hosted me in his class at the gym. There were more than 20 of us and the group was enthusiastic and committed. I think this, combined with Steve's help in teaching, really helped me get through the practice and clear the headache. I also had a few students join me from Om West, which was a bonus.

I'm now at home and feeling relaxed. I'm really thankful for all the people who are supporting me in this journey, this pilgrimage. It makes a such a difference in my energy. It's inspiring. Plus, it no longer feels like me alone. It feels like a community project.

OH, AND WE RAISED $207.08 for the DAVID SUZUKI FOUNDATION TONIGHT!!! Awesome. Thank you so much.

Video chat with instructor Steve Maier

PS I forgot to mention the reiki treatment my friend Isabelle did on me at a distance. I'm sure that helped as well. (By the way, Isabelle is an incredible healer-- acupressure, reflexology and reiki. I highly recommend her. Her contact is, in case you are interested.)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Day 66 - Keeping things simple

My friend Miranda has challenged me to write just one paragraph tonight... so here goes...

I think I'm a pretty slow person, kind of kaphic, in a way. I take my time doing a lot of things, because I like details. I don't think I'm actually a perfectionist of sorts, but I really immerse myself in a task and it's then hard for me to pull myself out and stop what I'm doing. Take this blog example, sure, sometimes I feel belaboured by it, but other times I get sucked in and can't stop writing. But tonight I'm tired and it's already 11:15 pm, which is why Miranda suggested I keep things super short and simple tonight. Her and I practiced this evening together outside in the park. It was a nice and simple surya namaskar A flow. Once again, we focused on different areas of the body and threw in few of Paul's virtual sun salutations, which I've really been enjoying lately. Probably because those virtual ones are much less strenuous on my left shoulder, which is still a little sensitive, but getting better.

Ok that's all folks, one paragraph. Now it's bedtime...

Monday, June 21, 2010

Day 65 - Summer Solistice Yoga at Dawn

There is something so sacred about meeting the sun at dawn. The air is crisp, it's quiet, and there's a feeling unbounded possibilities and a perfect freshness. This time also seems timeless in a way, because not much is going on, and yet there is still a readiness. I like that.

I was up at 4:20 this morning and meeting my mom at 4:40 for a sunrise yoga practice on Mount Royal. Watching the first rays of summer pierce the morning sky and spill over the city was really magical. What made it even more special was the 30 other yogis who had also made the trip up the mountain to greet the solstice. No words were exchanged and we all practiced on our own in silence, but there was still a beautiful feeling of community. It was really awesome.

And yet, amongst the tranquility of the morning, there, of course, needed to be a balance. And balance, in our case, came in the form of a loud, drunken young man who obviously didn't make his way home last night. He followed my mom and I up the path to the look out and then proceeded to project grandiose, intoxicated philosophies before our peaceful gathering. Some statements inspired a few giggles. Among the most quotable quotes: "Soon, I'm gonna pee", "Tell Jesus, I need a cigar," and "Oh, I was going to take your bike to ride downtown, but now, I gonna take my legs." But mostly, his one sided conversation was just an opportunity to practice patience, acceptance, and concentration...

My practice was a bit laboured today as I am still nursing a shoulder ache. So I moved very slowly and carefully. Luckily, I was able to see an osteopath this afternoon who worked on my clavicle, neck, and cranial bones. I felt much better after the treatment, as though a huge blockage was released, but my left shoulder still hurts. It will feel better tomorrow, I'm sure.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Day 64 - Naked Yoga: expose your asana

It was hot and sticky today, so I ditched my clothes and practiced nude.

It's actually a really interesting experience, because you are so aware of your body. At first, I actually felt a little self conscious, even though I was alone in my room. I guess it's because I was using a mirror for alignment reference and I'm not really used to seeing my naked body in yoga postures. It felt exposing. But after a while, I didn't even notice. It felt liberating and pleasant.

As I was practicing in the buff, I was reminded of a yoga studio in New York City that exculsively offers nude classes. It's called Naked Yoga NYC and their tag line is "Expose your asana." Cute, isn't it? When I first read about it, I was little confused and unsure how I would feel practicing naked in a room full of people. I still don't know if I could do it, but I admit I'm a little curious.

Reading the Naked Yoga NYC website is kinda of funny. In their info section, they mention things like "You must wear clothing to the yoga studio," and "Nudity will remain contained to the yoga room and is not allowed in any other part of our host's studio." But jests aside, their intent seems genuine and spiritually based.

So next time you're in NYC... or you can just try practicing au naturel in the comfort of your home or better, your backyard!

PS Summer Solstice tomorrow, so I'm practicing (clothed) at dawn on the mountain with Nadaa Yoga and my mom!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Day 63 - The Virtual Sun Salutation + some love

I was hosted by Studio Breathe this morning for an outdoor 108 practice across the canal from Atwater Market. We were about 15 and it was a spectacular morning, warm, but breezy, just the way I like it. Nicolas Adeline and Paul Broomfield, two instructors from Breathe, joined me in leading a few sets. Having other teachers participate offers a nice diversity and gives me the opportunity to learn other variations of surya namaskar, which I appreciate.

Paul, an experience yogi, who trained all over the United States, in Canada and in India, introduced the 'virtual sun salutation.' This one you visualize, but don't physically execute. We stood in tadasana, eyes closed, as Paul guided us through the sequence. It was really cool and surprisingly challenging, because the mind is forced to stay with the practice. I wonder if I could do 108 of these mental surya namaskar. Probably not. It's quite difficult to focus on one, let alone 108. But this would be a really good mental practice and a way to do sun salutations places that aren't obvious - train, planes or bus rides, line ups, even in bed.

* * *

I spent the rest of the day planting flowers with Miranda, making food, and napping. This was just what I needed, activities to ground myself and just relax, although the nap through me off, because I slept for way too long, but I guess I needed it.

I'm feeling a lot of gratitude and so I'd like to acknowledge a few people who have been an integral part of my journey so far.

My boyfriend, Craig, whose encouragement, unwavering support, and sincere interest in whatever I do is more than I could ask for and beyond words. (+ his photo work is awesome.)

Marianne, my studio manager, for all her caring, selflessness and understanding.

Miranda & Anthea, my neighbours, for their energy, inspiring ideas and uplifting conversations.

Marie-Maguerite, my dear friend, whose an environmental champion and a true believer.

Rhiannon, my soul sister, for being the one I can talk to about anything and everything, any time.

Nathalie and Frances, for helping pick up the slack at studio and supporting all the different events I'm involved in.

Lisa, Robina, and Mira, the band of wonderful white witches that keep me on track.

My family for expressing their love and encouragement. (It's nice to know your parents of proud of you.)

And all you wonderful yogis, yoginis and friends who are following this 108x108 adventure. I love to hearing your comments, feedback and ideas, so keep them coming!

* My next community 108 practice is with Steve Maier at Island Gym in l'Île Perrot on Wednesday, June 23 at 7 pm. Let me know if you are interested in coming.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Day 62- Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight

It's Friday night and the end of a tremulous week (and exactly two months into this mission). Craig is in the kitchen making pizza and I just got home. I feel tired, but I am less sensitive then yesterday. I'm contemplative.

Practicing outside in the sunshine today did me a world of good. I did my sun salutations by the lake near Om West. The temperature was perfect and the breeze was magic. I felt a release. Under the healing rays of the sun, the ebb and flow of breath and movement felt soothing and deeply cleansing. I started to feel really grateful for this opportunity to transform. I know what I'm doing is extreme, but this is my pilgrimage and my journey towards enlightenment. Sometimes I feel far away and alone, and other times it feels like I'm being cradled in the hands of God, if only for a moment.

In the fine words of the Bare Naked Ladies:
"Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight. Got to kick at the darkness 'til it bleeds daylight..."

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Day 61 - The process of processing

I am in the process of processing a lot crap that is now coming to the surface. It's an intense experience that's difficult to face and even more challenging to discuss in a public forum such as this blog, but I'm going to do my best to explain what I'm going through without being too gratuitous.

I'm realizing I'm becoming increasingly sensitive to the world within me and the world around me. I am now feeling things with a profound acuteness-- loud noises, pollution, crowds, the pace of life in a city, the careless disregard for the planet and for the weak, the pain expressed through a stranger's eyes, and my own feelings of pain I've denied expression for so long. Ultimately, I know this is all part of the journey I'm on, but for now, I feel a little stuck, because I don't really know how to deal with all this feeling.

I am grappling to make sense of each situation and it's impossible ,because I'm simultaneously seeing, smelling and feeling a million different things at once. Could it be that I'm at the stage the Buddha was at when he said, "Life is suffering"? Because this is truly what I'm experiencing all around me and within me, despite my urge to say otherwise.

The grief felt by my student on Monday at the loss for her childhood friend, rattled through my body with such force, I thought I'd cry too. I had the same experience on Tuesday when one of my classmates at the Ayurveda Centre recounted how she felt when her newborn son died some 30 years ago. I really hurt when I see others hurting, but not in a 'I feel so helpless' sorta of way. I don't even need to hear their stories. I can feel them just by standing next to them. I could cry even. Is this compassion?

I know I'm supposed to 'protect and shield myself' from the emotions of others. But why? I am human and this is the human experience. It's not just theirs or mine, it's ours.

Sometimes this is too much for me and I start disconnecting from my body. I can't seem to organize meals or get to bed at a descent hour or even spend time with the people who love me and whom I love as well. I think that's why I enjoyed yesterday's body part yoga practice so much, because it offered a tangible way to get back in touch with my physical structure. I think I will spend more time practicing alone, using surya namaskar to ground myself.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Day 60 - Body part surya namaskar

I got this text from Miranda (my neighbour) yesterday: "Anthea and I have a 108 proposal for you!"

(I love this. These two amazing women continue to have crazy and interesting ideas on how to vary the 108 practice!)

Their idea: We focus on specific body part for each set of 12 sun sals. For instance, we do 12 basic surya namaskar A, while concentrating our attention on, say, the knees and then, the hips, etc. Sounded like a cool concept, so we agreed to try it this morning.

We also agreed that we would, as a juxtaposition to yesterday's talkative practice, do our sun salutations in silence, so we wrote out a list to avoid the need for discussion. Here's our list:
  1. Feet & ankles
  2. Quads & knees
  3. Pelvis, moola bandha + vagina ;)
  4. Inner leg line/ spine
  5. Rib cage & uddiyana bandh
  6. Wrist & hands
  7. Shoulder girdle
  8. Neck & jalandhara bandha
  9. Mouth, jaw & eyes
It was a really intricate and meditative experience. I felt that certain body parts we easy to connect with and others more difficult. My feet and hands were the easiest, probably because I'm used to doing that, but I had some pretty cool revelations in the process nonetheless. I discovered that, despite knowing better, I still lift the knuckle of my index finger in downward dog and so there is more pressure on my outer wrist and pinky finger, which for sure is related to my wrist and shoulder tensions. I also noticed that when I transition from forward bend to chaturanga, I most often step back with my left foot, unless I jump, of course. And when I step forwards from downward dog to the top of my mat, I use my right foot. Curious...

I had a harder time connecting with my pelvis and rib cage. I felt that there was too much focus on all at once and that 12 sun sals wasn't enough time to address each aspect of the area. Miranda and Anthea agreed stating the pelvis is "dense" and that there's a lot to it.

Next time we do this practice, I'll focus on less body parts. I think need more time to explore, because once I started observing a certain part of the body, so much information is revealed and I went deeper into the experience. This reminds me of practice my teacher Hart gave us to do for homework about five years ago. He suggested we place our hand on the floor for five minutes and just watch what happens. I'll admit I wasn't really into the idea back then, because I couldn't focus, but I think I'll give it a try now.

You can try this practice in any context. Let me know what you come up with!

Miranda's post-practice comment: "I feel so aware of my whole body right now. It's so cool!"

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Day 59 - Chatter-asana: Is talking during yoga so bad?

I reconnected with my old friend Natalie for a practice of 54 sun salutations this afternoon. We hadn't seen each other for several months, so we spent a good amount of time updating each other on the various aspects of our busy lives.

As we chatted our way through the first 27 or so, I wondered if talking while practicing yoga is really so bad.

I am aware that the common belief is that it's best to be 100% focused on each breath and each posture and that chatting in yoga is discouraged. While I understand this and agree to a certain extent, I'm all for variety. I think a little chatting during a practice can be beneficial. After all, expressing feelings to a good friend can improve tension release and promote healing, and this coupled with surya namaskar can be really powerful tool in transformation.

Discussion can bring new energy into a practice and make it lighter. In a group class, I think a bit of dialogue helps foster community and puts people at ease. But don't get me wrong, no one appreciates a bitching motor mouth. What's said and how it's said makes all the difference. Right intention is key.

On the flip side, I think i's also important to observe silence. It's restful to just follow the sound of the breath and flow effortlessly from one pose to the next. This is why I enjoy solo practices a lot. It helps me connect with me and allows me the space to hear what's really going on inside my brain and body.

So, in conclusion, I am continuing to explore different ways of practicing and discovering that everyday is different, and that adapting my practice to suite my needs keeps things interesting and therapeutic.

(Speaking of trying different things, today, Craig decided to be creative with photo editing!)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Day 58 - Dealing with Grief

(The thunder blot: a simple shoulder & chest opening pose)
(Simple locust pose: back strengthening posture)

Grief is a really tough emotion to deal with. It's oppressive, suffocating even, and seems never ending. Yoga's not a miracle cure, but it helps to make sense of the emotional experience and provides a little reprieve from suffering and gives hope.

Today, one of my long time students one-on-one burst into tears at my simple "How are you?" Her best friend of 32 years died on Friday after a long battle with cancer. Heartbreaking news at the beginning of a suyra namaskar practice, but if you can't cry in yoga, where can you? We talked for a while about her friend and then we decided use our practice to elevate her happy memories and dispel the grief.

Surya Namaskar is a highly effective practice for dissolving sadness and other emotional blockages, as it encourages movement throughout our system and brings light. Back bends are also releasing, but we must consider how fragile we feel, as doing many deep back bends can stir up a lot of emotion and can be overwhelming.

We did 72 sun salutations, focusing on fluid, graceful movement and on stability. We added standing poses, opening poses for the chest and simple back bends like the ones featured in the photos above. We finished with a meditation. She said she felt better, so I suggested she visualize green light around heart in order to continue her healing process, as I know this has helped me in the past.

If you have any other suggestions on how to deal with sadness and grief, please share them.


On a lighter note, here's the video of the Eka Pada Urdhva Dandurasana Salute
I said I'd put up:

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Day 57 - Cirque de Soleil!!

Craig and I took my parents to see Cirque de Soleil's Totem this evening, as they are both retiring from teaching this summer and I wanted to get them a unique gift. As expected, the show blew my mind. I love the colors, the music, the artistry, and of course, the acrobatics. I think it is so amazingly creative and the unbelievable feats performed truly redefine human limitations, which is the best part.

I was completely captivated by the pair of rollerskate hand-to-hand artists as well as the trapezists. The women on tall uni-cycles flipping bowls onto each other's heads were also incredible. I scolded my mom, in jest, for not sending me to l’École nationale de cirque when I was younger, because every time I see Cirque, I always say that if I wasn't a yoga instructor, I would be a circus performer. I think I would do the silk ropes, or tissue as I believe its called.

It's a little too late to make this career shift, but I really enjoy creating unique sequences of postures that blend yoga with artistic movement. This is once of the reason why I love surya namaskar because it's flow allows my imagination to expand.

(My folks, too energetic to retire, but I'm sure they'll find something crazy to occupy their time now. I think they are planning to bike across Canada...)

* My photo of the day features eka pada urdvadanurasana, one legged wheel pose. Curious as to how this posture makes it's way into a sun salutation? I will have to show you with video, perhaps tomorrow.

PS If Cirque tickets are out of your budget, check out the École nationale de cirque's year end shows at the TOHU next week. They are also worth seeing.

PPS Re: my 108 for today, I have a confession... yesterday, I forgot 9 sun salutations (miscalculation)! So, I did 117 today to make up. I know this isn't kosher, and I don't plan to bank sun saluations or do make ups, but given the circumstance, it's the best I could do. I hope I'm forgiven...

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Day 56 - A good day

Today was a good and productive day.

I woke up feeling quite rested after a much needed 10 hour sleep. My neighbours organized a garage sale and we decided to participate last minute. It felt great to clean out closets and boxes and drawers I rarely open. This was a necessary cleanse and purge, because Craig is officially moving in at the end of the month and will need space for his stuff.

We've lived temporarily together before, like when Craig's apartment had bedbugs last year and when he got back from photographing at the Olympics this winter. But this is different. Now we will share one address. I'm a (recovering) commitment-a-phobe, so normally, I'd be anxious, but I'm not. I'm actually pretty excited. Anyway, I digress.

We made $32.50 at today's garage sale, peddling vintage jewelery, old textbooks, curtains and few other odds and ends. We were pleased, although I'm not sure if $32.50 for a whole day of selling is a good use of time. Regardless, I was happy hanging around the house and chatting with passerbys. At one point, I did some sun salutations on sidewalk for fun, and I think it helped our sales, because we made $18 just while I was practicing!

Tonight, I was at Lululemon Fairview for a community practice of 54 surya namaskar by candle light. It was sweet. The people who came were lovely. I only knew a few of them, but several approached me after and said they regularly read my blog, which is pretty cool, because from this end, it's hard to tell how many people actually follow my posts.

Oh, and regarding my shoulder/clavicle pain I mentioned yesterday, thanks for the suggestions and offerings of massage and reiki. I really appreciate it and will definiately take you up on the offer.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Day 55 - A long savasana... just the antidote needed

Savasana is that lying down relaxation pose we often finish a yoga session with. It has a heap of benefits, but I admit I don't always do it after every practice. I know I should and today, this was reconfirmed.

I was feeling incredibly tired and sore today. I've also had a dull headache, which makes forward bending a little intense. I deduced that my Vata (air & space elements) is high, meaning my mind scattered from trying to do too much again and I'm in need of grounding. So, I carefully and slowly made my way through the 108, focusing on my breath and trying to cultivate stability in my legs. I managed to complete the practice and then collapsed into a 20 minute savasana, which is the best thing I did all day.

Sometimes I forget how amazing savasana can be. My mind went into neutral and I felt my whole body tingling. It felt like I was asleep, but I was fully aware. I love this feeling. It 's as if I can feel my energy pulsating through my system and repairing the blockages and tensions along the way. At certain points, I felt parts of me letting go into the ground. My right foot rolled open and my whole right leg up to the hip joint released, and my shoulders did as well, but in stages. A nice experience.

I feel better now. My head is 'cooler' and I feel calmer. However, I am even more aware of how beneficial a warm dinner and good night's sleep will be.

Question: Is there an osteo, chiro, physio, or energy/body worker out there who's willing to volunteer to look at my right clavicle and neck sometime this week?

(It's been bugging me for a few days and I think I may need an adjustment.)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Day 54 - Festivities at the Midpoint

We were up at 4:30am this morning for a sublimely poetic and momentous sunrise practice on the roof. I was joined by five dear friends, Craig included, and with smiles on our faces we complete 108 surya namaskar in the rain. We laughed a lot and a great time. I think this is the most memorable practice I've had so far. I was really touched by everyone's enthusiasm, motivation, and support.

Post our rain drop soaked savasana, Craig laid out a fantastic breakfast spread of delicious fresh fruit salad, coffee, croissants, and eggs for those who wanted any. We dined until we were full and by then, it was only 8am! (It was a great feeling to know that so much of the day still lay before me.)

After teaching two classes and doing admin work, we ended Day 54 watching the sun go down whilst enjoying a deep soak in the outdoor thermal baths of Spa Strom on Nun's Island. Today was truly a fantastic way to inaugurate the second half of my journey.

5832 Surya Namaskar down. 5832 Surya Namaskar left to go!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Day 53 - The eve of the half point!

It's 10:25 pm and I'm scheduled for a 4:55 am practice tomorrow to commemorate the halfway point in my 108x108 campaign, so I should keep this brief.

Yesterday, we posted a request for suggestions on my various social media networks and received a ton of ideas. Here are some of the things people came up with:
"a good spa session" x 4
"Le scandinave in Tremblant" + a Laurentian greeting from Yogabelle Énergie
"do absolutely nothing"
"get a tattoo to remember this occasion"
"moonlight yoga with torches"
"yoga to live tam tam drumming"
"one bourbon, one scotch, one beer ..."
"a massage"
"walk up and do them at the top of the mountain, next to the cross, a pretty victorious spot!"
In the end, an enthusiastic phone call from my neighbors Miranda & Anthea convinced me to greet tomorrow with 108 surya namaskar at sunrise (5:06) on the roof... rain or shine! (It's supposed to rain, so I've pulled out my thermals and gortex...) We are even having a little slumber party here, so some people don't have travel too far in the morning.

If 5am yoga isn't your thing, I don't blame you. we are ending the day with a sunset soak at Strøm spa nordique on Nun's Island tomorrow. Anyone is welcome to join us tomorrow at 7:30pm. The Spa has even offered to give our group a discount-- $29 for the therapeutic baths and $69 for massages. (If you want a massage, you are best to book ahead.)

* * *

As for today's 108, my beautiful ashtanga students were keen to help me pre-celebrate the half way point, so we did a lovely set of 54 at on our beachfront 'yoga studio.'

The rest I completed at home as Craig blared the Stanley Cup game on the internet.


Hope to see some of you tomorrow.
Email me if you have any questions:

Tomorrow = half way!

Day 54 is tomorrow! The half way point!

I can't believe I'm already this far. It came up so fast, I didn't even have time to come up with any ideas on what to do to mark this occasion.

So, I'm looking for ideas on how to celebrate and where to practice... Got any?

Some suggestions so far include: sunrise yoga on the mountain, a day trip to Spa Strøm...

I'll post the plan online this evening around 9pm, so check back. Maybe you can play hookie and join me? :)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Day 52 - Conversations with an 83-year-old yogi

Allow me to introduce my amazing 83-year-old yoga student, Max.

Max and I have been doing yoga together two to three times a week for nearly three years, and he is a total inspiration to me. We do a full practice together-- meditation, pranayama, opening poses, sun salutations, standing postures, seated postures, backbends and inversions. He has fierce concentration, likes to work hard, and is very interested in making sure that he is doing the postures "right" (no matter how often I tell him that there is no right or wrong way to do yoga).

Max is a Holocaust survivor originally from southern Poland. Despite not having any formal education past the age of 14, he has a sharp intellect and knows a lot about a lot. He and his younger sister escaped a Nazi raid that killed his whole family by hiding in the woods and working on small farms incognito until the War ended and they immigrated to North America. Max made his why to Montreal in the 1950s and set up a fashion house for ladies' evening wear, which became quite successful.

I think I've mentioned this before, but I like practicing with Max because it's like going on a journey. We discuss a variety of topics-- classical music, relationships, ballet, fashion, travel, food, Jewish history, and language. Although this may not seem like part of a serious yoga practice, but I've come to understand that it truly is. Conversation creates connection and yoga, of course, is all about connection. We should name this. "Chatter-asana," perhaps?

Here's what Max has to say about yoga:
"I do it because it's good for my body. It's unbelieveable. It helps my mobility. It gives me more flexibilty. I don't feel like and old man, except when i get out of bed in the morning, but that's another story. It's no fun to be 83 that's for sure. It's more fun to 63, but I think yoga helps my mentality and my brain. I like the breathing. Nobody thinks about breathing and that's so important. I can talk to you about yoga until Dooms Day. That's how i feel about it. Yoga is all benefits, to the body and to the mind."
(As for my 108 today, I still have a 72 to go... But now that dinner is digested, I'm going rolling out my mat and putting on some classical jazz.)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Day 51 - Practicing the art of saying "no"

I'm a little frazzled this evening. I am trying to juggle laundry, blogging, email responding and studying for an exam I have tomorrow at the ayurvedic school. I'm not very good at pulling all-nighters, so I'm not sure how I'm going to get things finished. It's nearly midnight and my eye lids already feel heavy and my brain feels like molasses in January. BUT, I made some good progress today. I turned down two interesting opportunities: a modeling gig that sounded fun and a new client who wanted private yoga.

Saying no is entirely out of character for me. I like challenges and I like new projects, which is why I often find myself trading lunch to sub a class for someone or simultaneously planning six events. However, this weekend, I made a conscious decision to avoid taking on anything new before my 108 mission is complete. I think it might finally be starting to sink in that perhaps I can't do everything I want to do at once. This might seem like a no-brainer, but I'm used to having lots on the go at once and I kind of like that. The problem is that now, every conceivable space in my schedule is so full, I almost never have time to hang out with my friends, my family or with Craig and I'm starting to miss that. Plus, I fear I'm starting to become more forgetful and less dependable, because I can barely return emails or phone calls.

Anyway, things are starting to work themselves out. Several people have volunteered to help me with the less obvious tasks of my campaign like following up with studios, posting stuff on Facebook, and communicating with the charities I'm supporting. This is starting to make time management easier, so I can focus on my practice. (On a side note, I often think about how nice it would be able to live as a monk in a Himalayan ashram, just meditating, practicing, and doing simple work.)

Today is Monday, so I do my 108 as an open practice at my studio. Kathy, a really nice woman, who helped us organize the Yoga Stretch event for CNIB, joined me for the first 54 along with her every energetic five-year-old daughter. The little girl could hardly sit still and thought climbing all over her mother in updog, downdog and plank was absolutely hilarious. It was pretty funny, but maybe not to Kathy.

(Unfortunately, the photos we took of them turned, so instead, here is a photo of me in chaturanga after Kathy and her daughter left.)

Recipe for Lavender Coconut Kamut Cookies (vegan)

These cookies were a big hit at three events this weekend, and a bunch of people asked me for the recipe, so I figured I'd post it for all over you. (I reinvented this recipe from one that inspired me from my favorite cookbook: "How it all Vegan," by Tanya Barnard & Sarah Kramer.)

  • 2 super ripe, soft bananas
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sweetener (dehydrated cane juice is best, stevia also works)
  • 1/2 cup organic coconut oil
  • 3 tsp coconut, soy, almond or rice milk
  • 1 cup kamut flour (whole wheat flour or spelt also works well)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup rolled oat flakes
  • 1 cup shredded coconut (or more!)
  • 3 - 4 tbsp of dried lavender flowers

Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. In a medium sized bowl, blend together the mashed bananas, vanilla, sweetener, oil and milk until smoothe. (Hand blender or food processor works best.) In another bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and cinnamon. Stir in the oat flakes, coconut and lavender flowers. Next, slowly fold in the banana mixture and mix well. Scoop small macaroon sized portions onto a lightly greased cookie sheet and bake for 15-18 minutes. Let them cool a little before tasting. Makes about 20 small cookies.

Please tell me what you think!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Day 50 - Prayer in a rainy good time

There was wonderful energy in the practice group this morning at Crudessence. Most of the people had done a 108 with me before, but was a couple of newbies as well, which is awesome. We started with a seated meditation to centre and set a personal intention for the practice. I suggested everyone choose a mantra that begins with "I am," so the intention would be simple and clear. An 'I am' mantra can be as simple as "I am happy," "I am healthy," or "I am confident."

We used this mantra during the sun salutations as way to align the mind with our physical yoga postures. For example, if the mantra is "I am happy," then the work is to find happiness in the pose by adapting it accordingly. I love this way of practicing. It's super simple and extremely fulfilling, because it allows us to express what our intention (ie what we want) through breath, body language and emotion, so that it becomes true in the moment.

I can't remember why I started playing with this mantra style yoga, but I believe was germinated in my practice four and half years ago. I remember doing my first solo 108 on my 24th birthday. I was told that doing 108 sun salutations was auspicious and brings power to prayers, so I made a nine different prayers, one for each set of 12 surya namaskar. I don't know exactly how I phrased them then, but eventually I think the prayers were simplified to 'I am______.'

Today, I decided to return to my mantra from the day: "I am letting go and allowing the universe to take of me." With each silent repetition of the mantra, I made a conscious effort to let go of the urge to work too hard, so I could be guided into an easier way to move. It was really nice.

(Special thanks to Anthea and Miranda guiding of some lovely surya namaskar variations. Anthea taught the vijnana sun salutation in more detail and Miranda chanted beautifully before leading us through the traditional Sivananda salute.)

Create your own 'I am' mantra:
What quality do you need? How do you want to feel?

* Care to share your I am mantra? Post it here!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Day 49 - Coming together

In concert with yesterday's conversation about intention, I spent a good amount of time reflecting upon my reasons for setting out on this 108 adventure. The answer came to me in my sun salutations this morning.

I had a beautiful 8am outdoor practice in park with Anthea and Miranda, my downstairs neighbors. It was so nice and quiet and I had a chance to work things out in my mind. I feel reawakened to my true intention. I purely and simply want to complete 108 sun salutations everyday for 108 days to elevate consciousness, and to share the journey with others. If I can also raise money for some great non-profit organizations along the way, that's a wonderful bonus.

I really want to collaborate with other yoga teachers and help weave together various yoga traditions. Anthea, as you will see in the video below, showed us an elegant variation on Surya Namaskar from Vijnana yoga.

* * *

This afternoon Craig and I went to La Maison de la culture to see the exhibition of "The Quilt of Belonging," a magnificent 36 metre long tapestry featuring 263 embroidered blocks from the cultures of every nationality in the world and all the First Nations communities in Canada. Today was the last day it was being displayed in Montreal and so the artist, Esther Bryan, who put the initiative together was present for the closing. It felt a little serendipitous to meet her and see her finished work. Bryan's intention was to create a piece of art that would unite and represent all the diverse cultures of Canada. She told me of the labour intensive process of putting together this massive project, but how everything came together in the end...

What is Vijnana yoga?

The term "vijnana" means "understanding from the inside." This style of yoga stems from the teachings of Sri Krishnamacharya, the teacher of Pattabhi Jois, B.K.S. Iyengar and T.K.V. Desikachar. It was developed by Isreali yoga teacher Orit Sen-Gupta in collaboration with her teacher, Dona Holleman, a senior student of B.K.S Iyengar. Vijnana yoga is based on the seven vital principles: Relaxing the body, Quieting the mind, Focusing through intent, Rooting, Connecting, Awareness of breath, and Expanding.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Day 48 - Refocusing the intention

In conversation this afternoon with one of my confidants, it became clear that perhaps with all my recent event planning, fund raising and blogging of my 108x108, I lost track of original vision and the true reason why I wanted to take on this intense challenge in the first place. So, I spent a good part of today contemplating.

I initially wanted to do something that would challenge me and my practice more than ever before. I wanted to transform myself and elevate my consciousness. I wanted to grow spiritually and emotionally. I also wanted to test my knowledge of yoga to see if I actually know what I'm talking about and I want to see what it would feel like to practice everyday for 108 days without a break. As well, I wanted to connect with others and learn from as many teachers and students as possible. I wanted to unite the yoga community through surya namaskar, a sequence we all know and express in our own uniquely fabulous way.

I know this is all still true and relevant to me and important. My plan is to continue elaborating on the vision. But now I must sleep on this.

* Today's picture is truly radical. It was shot tonight during my last set in the Old Port by Craig and features me in natarajasasna, the dancer. (I often throw this posture into the beginning of surya namaskar A).

Bonne nuit.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Day 47 - Maintenant en français!

Bonjours tout le monde. J'essaierai d'écrire mon blog en français aujourd'hui sans Nathalie, ma traductrice! (S'il vous plait pardonner mes fautes de grammaire…)

Je doit dire que d’adore parler en français. Je me sens trés différente quand je m'exprime en français. Je sais que je souris plus parce que je fais autant d'erreurs et je me trouve drôle. Le problème pour moi c'est que je ne practique pas assez. Parler français me donne beaucoup de plaisir. J’aime le son des mots et j'aime le défi de changer comment je communique, alors j'ai beaucoup aimé d’enseigner (en français) la séance de 72 salutations de soleil chez CHARLIE*SATTVA*yoga-à-porter ce soir. C'était ma première événement pour la Foundation David Suzuki et nous avons recueilli $90! Bravo! Merci Caroline pour l'organisation.

Now in English:
Tonight, I led 54 sun salutations, which actually became 72, at CHARLIE*SATTVA*yoga-à-porter, a super awesome independent yoga inspired boutique on Bernard in Mile End. It was a great group of beautiful of mostly French Canadian women, so I decided to practice teaching in French, which I enjoy a lot. This was also my first community practice in support of David Suzuki Foundation and we raised $90! Wahoo!

One side note, regarding yesterday’s melt down, thanks for the feedback and concerns (via blog posts, phone and Facebook), my friends, (and thanks for the flowers, Craig). I’m feeling better today. As one of mentors said today, all these reactions are part of the 108 challenge and the path toward enlightenment. She’s right. As every experienced yogi knows, sometimes the yoga brings shit up and sometimes we cry to release deep tension. I think this is a bit of what I’m going through. Anyway, I move on…

*The next community practice is this coming Sunday, June 6 from 9 to 11am at Loft Crudessence, 5333 Casgrain, Suite 801. (There’s a strong possibility that the front door will be locked, so go around the back of the building and enter the door that has #5334 on it and follow the hall to the elevators.) We're having a veggie pot luck after the practice, so bring a dish to share! :)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Day 46 - Sob story, but still treking

Although yesterday's silly yoga tea party practice cheered me up quite a bit, sometimes there's nothing quite like a good cry. I just finished sobbing on the phone to Craig about how overwhelmed and tired I feel. Somehow I feel lighter and much calmer now.

Oddly, just yesterday in my Ayurveda class, we were talking about how the suppression of our natural urges like crying can can a negative effect on our health. We discussed how holding back tears can lead to eye-problems and light-headedness. A medical study I read also suggests that people who regularly suppress the urge to cry are more prone to cancer, but interestingly, so are people who cry too often. I guess we need a balance even when it comes to crying. Nevertheless, I couldn't remember the last time I cried, so I guess I was due.

I think I'll keep this blog entry short. I am feeling the need to go to bed early and rejuvenate.

* FYI, I'm going to be on Radio Centre-Ville, 102.3 FM tomorrow morning at 8 am EST, talking about the Great Canadian Yoga Stretch. (Here's a photo of the pre-recorded radio show with the CNIB rep for Quebec and journalist Marine Daval.)

In case you're interested, here's a link to the article about crying:

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Day 45 - Alice's Yoga Tea Party in Wonderland!

I had one of those days where my mood was up and down, but mostly down. Apart from feeling stressed about finances (this being the first of the month and all), I don't really exactly know what was affecting me. It felt like a cloud was sitting over my head. But all this changed when I got home.

My wonderful boyfriend, Craig is incredibly creative and always knows exactly what will pull me out of the blues. Upon hearing my complaints about the day, he suggested that we rent the new Alice in Wonderland movie tonight and just chill out, but first, he insisted I do my last 36 sun salutations on the dining room table, just for fun.

Craig can be very charming and it's hard to resist playing along with one of his crazy ideas. So, my last set of surya namaskar for the day turned into full on an Alice in Wonderland inspired tea party agility test. We set up my collection of Grandma's china and since I needed an Alice dress, I ran and changed, while Craig set up his camera. The practice was awesome. What a great way to focus and slow down. Within moments, my bad mood dissolved into giggles and luckily, I managed to complete my 108 without breaking a dish.

We had lot's of silly fun. Now, I can't wait to relax on the couch and watch the movie!