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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the science of life

First, a little summertime jam for you all, courtesy of Nick J.

Now. Vancouver is starting to feel like home (away from home?), and this is such an exciting time to be here. For all of my beloved East coasters – the Canucks being in the playoffs feels just like the Olympics did here last year. The whole city is cheering for the same thing, and it is joyful and bright blue and LOUD. Of course, lululemon is on board. Check the window I did for my store on Robson Street.

If you can't read it - the window on the right says "we're on a streak". Holler.

… and the massive outdoor yoga jam during morning rush hour traffic on the Burrard bridge. EVERY game day.

Yes, those are tinfoil Stanley Cups. Photo by Amanda Slade.

I’m in my groove now, and it’s a good one to be in. I’m a Keyleader at the Robson lululemon store, and though I spent the first week or two sitting back in my seat a little bit to observe, I feel like I’ve now hit the ground running, and I’m so excited about where I’m going with it. Details to follow.

reconnecting in Vic

I was able to scoot over to Victoria when I had a few days off in a row last week to see my dreamy Hali-lulu friends Chelsea and Anna, who have also transplanted themselves into the West coast scene. We ate, we drank, we made merry, and I wandered alot through the sunshiny streets. I was also able to spend an afternoon with Noah, a friend from WAY back – we’re talking PSYL 2003. All grown up. (Check his bad-ass band here!)

I really do wake up every day and feel lucky. People laugh at me pretty regularly for saying “this is the best day of my life!”, but I love it. I mean, sometimes when I’m waking up at 5, it’s a little harder to see through the fog, but a coffee and a handstand clears that up pretty quickly. Speaking of which, the yoga in my life right now is unbelievable. I’ve found teachers who REALLY inspire me, in my teaching and in my own practice. (See One Yoga For the People for examples!) I miss teaching in Halifax, but I’m loving having time to go to 5 classes a week. Now I just need to figure out that balance…

I

Luckily for this redhead, blue and green are my colours. Photo by Sarah-Jane Steele.

Coming soon: my birthday. Picnic jam in Deep Cove. I’ll spread the word when I figure out some details. Bring your basket and your hacky sack.

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an exercise in patience (or “the Vancouver epidemic”)

Since my last post, not much has changed, really. I am still in Vancouver, I am still feeling installed but not quite settled, and I still have not figured out the job situation. Never fear! Of the dozen old friends with whom I’ve re-connected on out here, I’d say no fewer than 50% of them are out of work at the moment. Apparently, it is a key stage of “The Van Experience.” Great.

my current office

This “vacation” means more availability for sleep-ins, brunches, bike rides, yoga classes and lengthy coffee outings. However, my money tree is not taking kindly to being transplanted into this muddy West Coast soil, and is soon going to stop providing. I’m not ready to fall out of love with lululemon yet, but I can only wait so long to figure this out before I have to start pursuing other options.

Claire - another Shad Bay roommate export

I did have my first sub class at Semperviva yesterday. This is a rather large family of studios in the city, with five locations and a serious army of teachers and students. I taught at the Sea studio on Granville Island, which is a beautiful lofty-type corner room with high ceilings and whole walls of windows facing the water. So dreamy. It felt good to be teaching again – to feel like I was giving something to someone, and that it was received joyfully.

cherry blossoms are the new snow

I think it’s normal for spring to be a changey-type time. Fresh starts abound. There are people and things and places that I’m missing dearly and trying not to think about so that I can be truly excited about what is laid out before me. I’m glad to have Ellen and SJ with me, as they are crossing these same bridges. Aaaand they like to eat, drink wine, and practice yoga, which helps. (One thing I can say for having no schedule is that I’m able to go to a yoga class every day, and am in fantastic shape.)

staying connected

It’s a good time to inject some discipline into my yoga and meditation practices. To observe and control the breath makes observing and controlling the mind much easier. My big heart is just about ready to shake off this initial sadness, delete the whambulance number from speed dial, and get back to its regular joyful self. Hallelujah!

so stop looking for it and just do it.

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sometimes the blues is just a passing bird

This is my favourite song of the year thus far:

On the subject of The Tallest Man On Earth, Anthony once told me, “Liz, I’m sorry, but I’m not into that Swedish Bob Dylan guy that you like.” But I love him shamelessly. (Anthony is okay, too.)

the party, appropriately called "March SHADness".

morning-after-party stroll through the enchanted forest, complete with bards

Anyway, after an intense weekend of goodbye partying in Halifax and a few days of rental-Jeep cruising around Vancouver with my ma, I am basically installed in my new home.

spring on the west coast

It hadn’t really hit me yet until I said goodbye to my mum last night on her way out, but… holy sh*t, I’m really here. I really did just move across the country by myself. (Well, to be fair, I do have some company out here.)But it was a bit scary. I haven’t started working yet, so I woke up this morning and asked myself, “what shall we do today?”

old faithful

When in doubt, find something delicious to eat, of course. I picked up my bicycle from the shop (yes, it has a basket and yes, I look totally awesome riding it), and cruised around a bit. This was interesting because a) I am not used to being in a city where cycling is encouraged through convenient infrastructure and b) I had forgotten about those particular muscles that one uses to bike uphill. I have to manifest that they will come back. Inshallah.

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a long time gone

dog-walking in Point Pleasant Park

This year has been so good to me. 2010 was the year of Liz – does anyone remember me proclaiming that as we entered the year of the Tiger, my lucky #10, the year my age would turn into the beautiful number 24? As we entered 2011, and I was surrounded by declarations of “I’m moving on from this @#$%^&* year!”, my work was to manifest that 2010 was not THE best year of my life, but just the start of something spectacular.

I choose you.

At the Landmark Forum, which I had the privilege of attending in January in Montreal, we talked about the difference between “deciding” and “choosing”. Deciding is about weighing the pros and cons of each option and going with the option that has the most benefits. “Choosing” is actively dedicating your conviction to an option, even if it’s the only option, and MAKING it the right choice. You say, yeah, THIS is what I want.

Smoked meat + pickle + cherry coke = yes.

So I’m choosing that. Don’t get me wrong – my life is pretty amazing, and I know how lucky I am that my options are all really lovely. My friends are supportive and inspiring. I can wake up every day and choose to be happy and to feel fortunate, and so every day is wonderful.

I'm certain that summer's my season.

That being said, obviously the month of February is inspiring me to look back on my 2010 – the Cool Global Sporting Event in Vancouver (the best job of all time), yoga teacher training in Byron and a subsequent year of yoga – practicing and teaching, possibly the best summer  ever, including daily swims, a really excellent love, and getting to wake up in Shad Bay and see the ocean from my pillow.

Ah, nostalgia.

So, I’m pleased to announce the next chapter: I’m leaving for Vancouver in a month! I’ll be moving on to another lululemon adventure, a new(ish) city, a new community, and the opportunity to create something really exciting for myself all over again. I’m envisioning lots of bike rides, yoga, photos, blogs, friends, playing outside, and opening my big heart to find even more joy and creativity. (Can you even picture that?)

West coast beginnings.

I’ll be sad to leave my home, but that’s the thing about home – it’s going to be there when I need it next.

Namaste!

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