Category Archives: yoga

today my practice is: slowing down.

Another reminder that my practice is ongoing and the guru is everywhere…

I jumped (dragged myself) out of bed this morning at the crack of dawn (the snooze button turned 7:30 into 8:30) this morning. Mondays are busy work days for me, and I almost always schedule myself so that I can do all I need to do AND make it to one of Reno’s classes. (The Monday 10am option is a favourite of mine.)

I was committed to condensing my morning rituals/vacuuming my apartment/cooking lentil soup for lunch/making & drinking coffee all into the one-hour window before I needed to hop on the bus to take me to my sweet class. I did okay.  I packed up my laptop, my go-mug, my mat, my jar of soup and scooted out the door only 2 minutes behind schedule.

damn.

As I hauled up the hill to hop on the 8, a little voice in the great space inside my head whispered, “did you turn off the stove?” My other voice replied, “of course I did.” But after three more steps up the hill, I had replayed the scene three more times in my head, and I truly couldn’t remember. Within three more steps, I had weighed the scenarios:

a) I probably turned it off. I’ll go to yoga. But I will probably be nervous about this all day.

b) I forgot to turn it off. I will have a distracted yoga class and then be nervous about this all day. Then I’ll come home to a blackened heap where my house used to be.

c) I go home and find out for sure. I won’t make it to my class. Sigh.

it's not all bad

Needless to say, I’m now at home enjoying an oatmeal feast, blogging about this, and letting it go (through these words, actually). Today’s lesson: if I want to do everything, I can’t just hope to find the time to do it. I have to make time for it.

(And if you’re wondering about the burner – I’ll never tell. But remember – there will always be another yoga class. Burning your house down is forever!)

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always!

 

That’s all.

 

 

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path of contentment

First, Buju Banton will provide the soundtrack for this post:

And let’s go. So, my super dope teachers, Reno and SJ, are hosting this unbelievable retreat in Thailand in February.

click on this bad boy to make it big and readable

I am going. And I could not be more excited. I feel like my ever-so-brief jaunt to Bali with Ryan was just setting me up for this. (Meaning, I got a taste of how delicious and beautiful Southeast Asia can be. I also learned a lot about the importance of sunscreen on my freckle farm, and how it might prevent a few sleepless, sunburnt nights spent crying under an ice-cold shower. FML.)

I'm probably writing in my journal about how much my skin hurts. Bali 2009.

Practicing One Love has been the biggest blessing to come of my move to Vancouver. Finding my teacher has ignited a totally new kind of dedication in my practice, which has, in turn, propelled my physical practice in a big way. And with that, my body and my monkey mind are way more supportive of daily sitting meditation practice, so my mala is staying warm and my cushion has re-established its place of honour in my room.

SO… come to Thailand with us. There will be beaching and yoga and coconuts, and sweet tunes like the dulcet tones of Buju Banton that you’re probably still listening to right now, if you hit play. (If you didn’t, go back and start again.)

amen.

Thank you Dara (my future traveling partner!), for the words that have run through my head every night since you shared them with me: “Cows roll over and go to sleep. You say your prayers.” Isvara-pranidhana!

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let me eat cake

On the eve of what is sure to be a delightful vegan-ish potluck at the Liz-Haze cavern, I am digging into a bowl of lentil and quinoa stew and a couple of slices sourdough toast covered in olive oil and nutritional yeast. (It’s like cheese on toast for vegans – my obsession with nutritional yeast is a whole other blog post…)

nom

But the star of the show is really the chocolate beet cake that I can smell cooling over there in the kitchen. This treat came into my life in Byron Bay, when I was living in the blissful bubble of my yoga teacher training. We were deep into the clean eating – all fruit, veg and grains, and once a week or so, we’d be treated to an incredible (and highly hyped) sweet something. Chocolate beet cake was my favourite! It was a test of my aparigraha practice not to snag an extra piece for later.

buried jewels - purple and golden beets

1 cup oil

1.5 cups brown sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1.5 tsp baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cups cocoa

1/2 tsp cinnamon

3 cups flour (I used a whole wheat one tonight, but I’ve added some barley, coconut, rice flours in the past)

1.5-2 cups cold water

1 cup chocolate chips (if you want, or coconut is a good addition)

1 large beet, grated (I usually use 2)

2 tsp vanilla

juice and zest of 1 lemon

Heat oven to 350. Grease a pan (I’m using a 9×13). Combine oil and sugar – the recipe recommends a food processor, but I’m pretty good with a spatula so I just go for it. Beat in all dry ingredients. Add water and stir until combined. Add beet, vanilla, chocolate chips, lemon. Pop in the oven and check it with a knife after 20-25 minutes – wait til the knife comes out clean. (That’s how I roll. Timers are for sissies.) Let it cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then turn it out onto a cooling rack.

as grown-up as I'll ever get

If you’re feeling crazy, try icing it with something. Tomorrow pre-potluck, I’m going to whip up some avocado chocolate mousse for mine. (Buzz some avo, honey/agave/whatever sweetener, a touch of water, and cocoa in the blender.)

The recipe comes from Gitam’s Garden – a cookbook assembled by Gitam, the beautiful teacher who nurtured our bellies for those months in Byron. This particular treat was submitted by Alex, my asana mentor and just about the bendiest person I know. The yogi life is pretty sweet.

If you want more from this unreal cookbook, then follow the link and buy it online. Or just be my friend, and I’ll share my eats.

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when you know how to listen, everybody is the guru

This ran through my head this morning as I pulled myself off the pavement with my trusty steed on top of me.

my ride

The driver poked her head out the window to make sure I was “okay”, and then took off, so I can’t say for sure what ran through her head, but I suspect fear was the overwhelming feeling. A few things came up right away:

1. The first thing that ran through my head was, “I don’t have time for this. I have to get to yoga!”

2. The second thing that ran through my head was, “oh, oww.”

Some aftermath, as I lounge with my feet up at home.

Maybe that means I’m dedicated. Maybe that means I’m self-destructive. As the witnesses all around me got fired up checking out my instant bruises, I shakily accepted their advice, took some phone numbers, and accepted one girl’s offer to ride with me to my destination.

I surround myself with people who lift me up.

And then I went to class, and as usual, Reno offered some perfectly timely wisdom about universal love and unity, and I dedicated my practice to the driver. I can steam or whine about it, or I can offer what I actually have to the universe, which is a big fat heart. Every backbend and hip opener was for her, and maybe she felt it. (And maybe she will learn how to drive through a roundabout on 10th Ave.)

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the “why” behind it

A quick one.

Yesterday, I had the most wonderful day. To celebrate my friend Ellen’s birthday (and mine), we hijacked a friend’s car and scooted up the Sea-To-Sky to gallivant around Whistler for the day.

Quick review:

– The Peak to Peak gondola is really a feat of engineering. Not for those who are afraid of heights. We went on a perfectly clear day, so the views were spectacular. $50 is a bit steep, though.

– Scandinave is a really gorgeous outdoor hot-and-cold pool spa. It reminds me of my spa “workweek” in Coolum, Australia with Jannine and Kate. Heat, cool, relax, repeat. We spent two hours, but next time, I’m staying all day.

dreamy hillside for an aquatic being like me

Now. This morning, I was to teach the Sunday morning yoga class at lululemon downtown. I woke up at 7, wrote out my little plan, drank a tea, and chipperly slung my yoga mat over my shoulder. Out the door by 8 to catch the bus at 8:11, which would deposit me by the store at an appropriate 8:30am.

swiped the photo from Amazon - please read this book!

By 8:22, I had started to panic. People at the bus stop were doing the frustrated shift from foot to foot, and some were peering around the corner, impatiently waiting. I had my copy of Meditations from the Mat in my hand, and as I felt my heart beating higher and higher in my chest, I slowed my breath down and opened the book to a random page.

“Your breath should be light, even and flowing, like a thin stream of water running through the sand. Your breath should be very quiet, so quiet that a person sitting next to you cannot hear it. Your breathing should flow gracefully, like a river, like a water snake crossing the water, and not like a chain of rugged mountains of the gallop of a horse. To master our breath is to be in control of or bodies and minds. Each time we find ourselves depressed and find it difficult to gain control of ourselves by different means, the method of watching the breath should always be used.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

Thank you, thank you. I arrived two minutes late (for the first, and the last, time) and told this story. This is why I practice.

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on the right track (baby)

I had the best headstand of my life last night, in an inversion workshop with Ryan Leier, set to Sigur Ros. For a few minutes, even after 90 sweaty minutes of handstands, (attempted) forearm balances, and vinyasa, I actually found the sweet spot in headstand where it was about balance, and not strength. It felt effortless and light! (For a raging pitta like me, this is usually a challenge.) And then I backbend-fell out of it. And it was great. I love where this is going.

It is on that high note that I woke up this morning, but I’ve been having such a great few weeks, anyway. Anthony came to visit, which was enlightening, and then I spent my birthday weekend gallivanting around San Francisco with him.

I think I love this city.

It happened to be pride weekend, which added some delightful and colourful surprises to the scene.

pride chaos in the Castro 'hood

I was so glad to be wandering and eating with my bud and his buds. It felt happy and good.

home in a strange city

Back to Vancouver. I am here. Like, really here. Things are changing for me at work – I’m taking on things that are new to me and teaching things to other people, and who I’m being for the team is new. It feels challenging and exciting and also sort of natural.

I love my job right now.

 

In other news, I did the Grouse Grind last week, for the first time. It’s basically a straight-up Stairmaster “hike” that got all up in my head. Having no reference points, being a first timer, I was dripping sweat when I reached the 1/4 mark, and the next two quarters of the grind were a mental struggle. I don’t get why people do this. I’m never doing this again. I wonder if it’s easier to go back down. My friends are so much better than me. When I paused to take a dizzy breath and have a sip of cool water, I caught myself in that trap. Oh, hey, mind. The last quarter was probably more of a struggle vertically, but my head was in the right place and I felt 20 pounds lighter. Of course I’ll do it again. And faster, too.

It's no Shad Bay, but it's alright.

And, to cap it off, it seems to be summer in Vancouver. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. Tank top bike ride freckle yoga picnic beach season. My favourite.

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