Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Roadtrip


It's my first day of vacation and I'm about to head out so I just thought I'd say hasta luego! Take it easy everyone and enjoy the rest of the summer!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Zombie Meditation

I had a chance to see the new area I will be teaching yoga in September with Algonquin College. In case you haven't heard me talk about it before the college is creating a boxing/kickboxing centre in connection with the gym they already have and they've redone a nice big sunny room for it with one wall of mirrors and nice wood floors. It's awesome! And now I'm excited to get to teaching. The only down side is that they don't do drop in classes exactly. You have to join the gym and the boxing centre, and then you can come to any of the classes offered, and it's a pretty good deal. It's like 240$ for the year at the gym and I think I heard 50$ for the boxing zone for 4 months, which is cheaper than my rock climbing gym (Except sadly lacking in rock climbing). So if anyone is looking to join a gym in that area let me know. Otherwise this is going to put a bit of a damper on my reaching more of the public since drop-ins aren't an option, so I'm trying to consider other possibilities in the near future. /maybe renting some space of my own, not sure yet, I'll keep thinking about it.
On another note I'm trying to figure out whether I want to reactivate my Facebook account again. I was never fond of my account, but can't deny the networking ability it provides. I had three people ask me if I had an account in three days and realized I might want to consider getting back on it to promote my yoga events... Hmmmm... Something to think about while I'm on my vacation for the next couple weeks. I'm sure I'll figure it out.
And last but not least I came across this awesome article last night on MSN: Zombies. It an article about how they're setting up models and researching whether, if there was a zombie outbreak, they could we stop it. They're researching this at Ottawa University which makes me realize I took the wrong program while I was there. They're actually using it as pandemic research but just adding the zombie twist for fun. The bad news is if they didn't stop the outbreak in 10 days we'd be out of luck. Now obviously the whole zombie thing would suck and I know a lot of people actually do worry about pandemics and plagues and all those fun mass hysteria words the media like to bandy around but I have to tell you I always put a different spin on it. Anyone who's got me on the topic knows I love zombies. I think they're funny and the whole idea is so interesting but pandemics themselves are not really funny. Especially not when you look at how much stress they cause. But instead of using these topics to create stress why don't people use them to realize how awesomely lucky we are. Buddhists say "Die to every moment" which sounds morbid but essentially means just live in this moment. So instead of focusing on the bad stuff that could happen I'm offering you up a little zombie meditation...

Zombie Meditation
No matter what happens to you today every time you start to think a negative thought replace it with the thought "This could be worse. This could be happening with zombies."
Example: You're driving through traffic and the guy in front of you breaks so hard you almost rear-end him. Instead of getting angry think "This could be worse. He could have braked so hard because a zombie stumbled out in front of his car and then while he was trying to figure out what was happening the zombie broke his window and started to eat his brains."
Or when they're taking way to long to ring your groceries through at the store and your getting impatient just think "Could be worse. They could be taking so long because zombies are trying to get in the automatic doors (Luckily they're so slow the door keeps shutting before they walk through and they have to step back to activate the automatic opener again) and the grocery teller is so freaked out she can't remember the code for summer squash."
You can do the same thing at work or with your kids or in-laws or what ever. Just take your problem, insert zombies and sit back and realize hey this moment you're actually in- Not so bad!
Happy zombie fantasies, have a good weekend!

Monday, August 17, 2009

A Battle of Stillness


*Eddie acting shy*


*Destroying a peach, the most vicious veggie eater I know*

*And she's a rock-climber, guess it runs in the family*


Ok, I don't want to turn this blog into a pet posting site but I can't resist putting up a few new pictures of Eddie, our new tortoise. Just be happy I'm not putting up pictures of our other pets, the worms in our compost.
Adam and I spent Sunday down in the market looking for things to take pictures of with his new camera and didn't find a thing (I need to work on my photographer's eye, my picture taking methods resemble those of a four year old with a disposable camera), so it figures when we returned home that that's where we would find all our photo fodder.
This is my week off yoga, or teaching it at least. I planned my charity yoga in the park so I would have a week off before we head out on our two week vacation. I also happen to be off climbing for a week over my finger injury so I ended up with more free time than expected.
Right now I feel a little stuck in limbo. I don't have anything I have to be doing and it feels a little weird. Like what do I do now? I find myself looking around for something to commit myself to, a new volunteer project or group but I manage to rein myself in as I remember things will get busy again in September once I start teaching yoga at Algonquin College. Which leaves me in limbo until we leave for vacation next week. I know I don't usually find time to sit still at random and I usually have to book my yoga practice in on my calender just to make room for it, so this will be good practice for me. It's funny because I remind myself of my students at Lululemon this weekend during my Yin session. If you've never done Yin before lets just say the poses are held for a really long time (Well, not that long, but it feels long if you're in them), and you can tell the difference between people who have trouble quieting the mind and people who are more comfortable in stillness in these poses. The people who haven't mastered stillness look up from their pose often, look around, check their watches in what they think is a secretive way, tap their feet... It's pleasant to watch as a teacher because it always reminds me to practice being still. I can tell you I'm going to be working through the urge to tap my foot all this week, so I'm practicing sitting still right there with you. Just breathe...

Friday, August 14, 2009

Thank You!

So last night was my last yoga in the park and I got a chance to count the money it brought in and thanks to everyone's donations there was close to three hundred dollars, which is really amazing! I just wanted to take this chance to say thank you to everyone who came out and tried a little yoga and donated to the cause and all the organization that made this a possibility. I'll be bringing the money to Big Brothers/Big Sisters as soon as I can next week.

I'm getting ready to head to Kingston for a lovely weekend of sun but I'll be back to yogafy some more on Sunday at Lululemon. Have a great one!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Peace

Hey-oh!
So I’m back and freshly bruised from my white water canoeing trip and the joke is that with all those days on the water I don’t have a single picture of me in a canoe, just some pictures of animals and things I saw on the way. It was an awesome trip that really tested my endurance because the wind always seemed to be blowing against us and there wasn’t the option to just give up and float back to the start. I got a shot at my first class 4 rapid. I don’t know what that means but apparently that’s hard (as hard as just letting your canoe go with the flow can be) and after we got to the end of it Adam informed me that I’m an adrenaline junky. Which got me thinking about the whole extreme sport thing: I’ve been known to jump off a cliff or two and scale this or that rock face but I would never say I love adrenaline. I think that’s pretty obvious as shown by the fact that I hate scary movies and I get freaked out if people walk to closely behind me when I’m going up stairs. It makes my heart speed up and I don’t like the feeling of losing control, so if I really liked the adrenaline rush why wouldn’t I like these things too?
I’ve read that the attraction to dangerous situations is that for a few short moments things are moving so quickly that your brain can’t keep up, it just has to sit back in silence and enjoy the ride. In those moments with out the brains prattling judgments and comments at you you’re existing as close to your true nature as you can. A self created Zen moment. And that’s all we do when we meditate is try to shut the brain up long enough to experience ourselves.
And I know it doesn’t work that way for everyone. For some people their brains just shout louder when they are freaked out or maybe they don’t know who to take commands from when their brain stops talking. I don’t know.
I wish I could give that peace to people just by wishing it on them. But since I probably can’t convince everyone to go jump off a cliff with me I’ll keep working on the yoga angle to help people clear their minds.
One other way to find inner peace is to get yourself out into nature whenever you can. Sometimes the beauty of the sun shining through openings in the clouds, or a deer drinking from the water or just the way the wind makes the grass in the fields move is enough to quiet the brain for a few moments. So if you’re not one for taking an unexpected leap maybe make time for an unexpected walk in an unexpected forest and just let your brain take the back seat as you experience what’s happening, without judgment.
Namaste.


*The scene from our campfire the first night*


*This little guy was avoiding eye contact, maybe he's a little camera shy*


*A stolen lily from our last long day of paddling*

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Catching the Spray!


We’re getting to the end of my Yoga in the Park and it’s been going so awesomely (Is that a word?), I’m having a really fun time teaching people I haven’t had the chance to teach before and watching people step outside there comfort zones. I was reading a little Desikachar, Heart of Yoga, yesterday and the book was saying how it’s important to step outside our comfort zone to give ourselves a larger perspective of life situations. The writer provided an example of the importance of this by saying that you can think you love to be in solitude but if you’ve never lived anywhere but quiet, calm places how can you learn if that’s true for you? From what I read the idea seems to be that we should try a little bit of everything and then follow what feels true for you. And that’s what I’m trying to do with my yoga, give people a chance to try something a little different, maybe give them a new perspective and if it doesn’t end up being for them, that’s ok, it’s the intention that counts.

And it’s been a great lesson on perspective for me as well. I’m finding out I love the charity aspect of the yoga. At first I thought doing this for free would get on my nerves, you know, devoting my time but not getting anything back monetarily. I’m finding the opposite to be true. I love the freedom I feel this gives me. When I teach paid classes I sometimes feel like I have to teach a specific type of class and I try too hard to predict what people want from me. These Yoga in the Park sessions have given me an awesome opportunity to move into areas of my teaching I may not have been comfortable to move into otherwise. After the sessions are done and I’ve settled into teaching at Algonquin College I’ll have to look into finding other similar opportunities for myself. Next week will be my last two outdoor sessions, if you get a chance make the effort to come out, even if it’s just for the fresh air.

And speaking of comfort zones I’m heading out for the next few days for some whitewater canoeing in Algonquin, which should be a new type of stretch for me. We’re going with a couple we’ve never vacationed with before and while I’ve spent some time on whitewater I’ve never thought to take a canoe into it. Interesting idea. Should be fun! I’m not sure who should have my climbing gear if I don’t make it back, so people may want to put dibs in now so I can get that settled before I go. *Wink*

Coming up in the next few weeks is my Lululemon yoga session which will be all Yin style. It’ll be my first chance to teach the full class in Yin. If anyone has had some knots they can’t get out or things that won’t heal I suggest coming out, it might make a difference.
Hope everyone has a really good weekend. I’ll be thinking of you while I catch the spray.
Later!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Tapas Makes Things Shiny



So I’ve realized I’ve been avoiding Tapas my whole life. It seems to be my anti-thesis and I try to work on it but feel myself repelled from it like a force field. Tapas is a Niyama of yoga, one of Patanjali’s observances in the eight limbs of yoga. I’ve practices it before and talked about it before and the first time I tried it it came easily too me like it was just the right time, but now it’s fighting me, or I’m fighting it (same thing really).

Tapas can be translated into burning enthusiasm, austerity or integrity. I guess I would describe it as when you put your whole effort into something and place the best piece of yourself in that effort. Where as the opposite of this would be doing things “half-assed” (I don’t know if there’s another synonym for that term). I know I should be hiding this fact but if I were to describe my work efforts “half-assed” could practically be put on my name tag.

In my life time I’ve met a lot of people who come by Tapas naturally. If you know me you may have heard me referring to these people as “morning singers”. When I was in camp as a little girl there was this fellow camper in my cabin who woke us up well before we had to get up (sometimes as early as 6am) and would start singing, and not just humming, full out singing to start the day. At the time I’m pretty sure I lobbed something at her head, but as I grew up I found out she wasn’t the only “morning singer”. There are just some people born with a lot of enthusiasm for life. And the fact that they irritate me says a lot more about me then it does about them. I mean there’s nothing wrong with enthusiasm, it makes work going quickly and I’m sure the quality of the things they do is of a higher level than mine. I find myself on a constant quest for that level of interest in life’s going on. I mean I can get completely consumed by some activities like yoga or climbing or nature but how do you get excited about typing up notes no one will read on a computer every day.

I know part of the issue is my outlook on things. I need to work to reframe my mind to find my Tapas for my everyday efforts. Eckhart would say I have to live in this moment as if I have never lived it before.

I’ve been trying to think more about Tapas over the past few weeks. The topic came to a head for me this weekend when we decided to clean and wax my truck. We spent 7 hours working on it and my brain kept rebelling by saying “Why are we doing this? You could get in an accident tomorrow and you would have spent 7 hours shiny scrap metal.” And sometimes when I’m having trouble staying focused that’s the problem, my brain is looking for an escape route and works hard to convince me I’d be better off running around in the woods like a tree sprite. But I try to remember that after a monk scrubs the floor he meditates and experiences enlightenment. And after he experiences enlightenment he goes back to scrubbing the floor.
I guess whether my brain wants to or not I’ll have chores to do, but if I can get it to quiet down for a minute I might have a chance at enjoying myself while I do them…