Friday, July 31, 2009


Today was a public transit marathon! It all started in the morning with a streetcar to an east end yoga studio to take care of some business related to a local yoga conference I'll be working on. Then, back on the streetcar headed west to meet a client. After I finished, I took a train west to the Very Big Park to play! (I did all of this with the dog, by the way. She's an experienced 'city dog' and comfortable on public transit).

The park was magical. We wandered through the 'nature trails' (as natural as it gets when you're surrounded with woods but can still hear the buzz of highway traffic). Unexepectedly, we wandered into a clearing and found this:

A secret swing! I swung for awhile and we continued until we found this pretty glade, where I unrolled my yoga mat to practice:

(No, that's not my Manduka - it's a light travel mat)

I'm pretty sure this is the same little glade where I used to come and meditate and play my Djembe (African Drum) years ago. I thought it would be the perfect spot. I was SO wrong. I don't remember a 'bug problem' before, but perhaps the damp weather triggered an boom in the insect population. I was practically eaten alive by mosquitoes, HUGE mosquitoes.

I managed to slap and curse my way through the sun salutations and standing, then fled to a nearby parkspace, where I got eaten alive by red ants. Needless to say, I cut it short to half-primary. At least I got plenty of fresh air!

I noticed some soreness today in my left quadracep and left calf muscle. I'm not sure what that's all about - maybe the vinyasa-style practice I did yesterday? I'm still replacing Janu Sirsasana C with a reclining Tiriangmukhaikapada Pachimottansana and I really felt it today (in a good way).

I'm thinking about mixing up my practice more, maybe alternating between Astanga Primary Series and some of the Yogadownload classes (since I have the free membership, I should use it!). I love my Primary Series, but I find the vinyasa-style classes (they seem to be Baron Baptiste-esque on Yogadownload) a lot of fun. I have a feeling my practice will improve if I introduce some variety.

Thursday, July 30, 2009


Feeling better today! Today was the last day of my 'morning job'. I've been working there since late June and though it feels like a long time, it was only a little more than a month. I'm glad to be moving on, but I will miss the perpetual half-days that allowed me to do fun stuff in the afternoon. That is, unless I can't *find* another temp job, then I'll be a lady of leisure for the entire month of August - let's keep our fingers cross this doesn't happen, okay?

I was surprised when I became a bit teary-eyed saying my good-byes. I don't always feel this way when I'm leaving a job (in fact, most of the time, I turn cartwheels on the way out the door). To be honest, I had very little in common with most of these people (aside from the donuts). But, they are fine, fine people - something I don't always say that about people I meet in my temp jobs. I was sad to say goodbye because I know that it's unlikely our paths will ever cross again. There is one person I'll keep in touch with, but only because we're both on


It's been a bit of a whirlwind week because I've had a subway pass for most of it. A friend left town and offered to give me her pass. I usually only buy these in the winter, so it was a treat to have the run of the city, by subway.

I've been keeping busy running errands and going to The Very Big Park. The VBP is in the other end of the city, reasonable biking distance but I can't take the dog with me on the bike and that's the whole reason for going: off-leash dog trails. We went on Tuesday and the dog was so exhausted afterward that she slept the entire way home.

Since I was teaching an evening class in the area, I decided to pack my mat and a snack to spend the afternoon there. I had a great time. Did lots of walking and unrolled my mat on a stretch of grass next to the goose pond. Only got one mosquito bite, which is pretty good considering I was next to a body of standing water.

Pretty spot:

For my practice, I did the 45-minute Detox Yoga #1 with Lisa from I chose the 45-minute sequence (to avoid inversions) and I added some restorative and a long Savasana to the end. I really enjoyed this class. It's a warrior-based vinyasa flow with some fun variations and lots of advanced options (which I mainly ignored, since I was trying to take it easy). I have to admit, I'm really starting to enjoy these Yogadownload classes. It's nice to do something different.

My only complaint is that it's sometimes difficult to figure out which pose is coming up. All of the poses are in English and to be honest, I'm more familiar with the Sanskrit. Yogadownload seems to have their own unique terminology too (Oh hai Crescent Lunge). There are cheat-sheets, but that doesn't help much when I'm in them middle of a park plugged into my iPod Shuffle (which, by the way, ROCKS - this is the first time I've used it in more than a year, but it's perfect for outdoor yoga!).

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


My Lady's hit me this morning like a tonne of bricks and I've been absolutely miserable all day. This time, it's been a double-whammy: I'm in emotional lockdown, as well as being doubled over with pain. Fortunately, I was able to rest in the afternoon, read a book and drink hot tea. Some chocolate therapy was involved ;-)

I really didn't around to practising until the evening. I wasn't very inspired (and completely unmotivated to dig out my Yin Yoga DVD) so I did some restorative: Supta Baddha Konasana, supine backbend laying over blocks, a (bolster) supported Yin Frog Pose and finally, some massage on the Acuball. Yummy!

The supported Yin Frog is fast becoming my favourite 'comfort pose'. There's something about it that is deeply nurturing and gentle, but I couldn't put my finger on it until tonight.

The pose looks like this:

The pose FEELS like this:

I could almost imagine the giant,warm adult hand that was going to descend at any moment and start rubbing my little back. Ahhhhh!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


It was pleasant out in the early afternoon, so I was able to take my practice outside. This has a number of advantages: sunlight, air, a tree branch hovering just overhead that brushed my fingertips as I reached up in sun salutations (and the fact that I'm unlikely to burst into tears in a public place).

I went to the Little Park and set up near enough to the pine trees to enjoy the piney scent, but far enough away to avoid the pine cones on the ground. As I moved through the Primary Series and felt the breeze on my skin, I knew that I was in exactly the right place this time. I felt a sense of peace.

(No tears today. By the way, that was definitely my Lady's knocking on my emotional door. I feel better today, still funk-y, but better.)

Unfortunately, grey clouds moved across the sky as I practised and by the time I was in Savasana, tiny rain drops were falling. I was perfectly fine with this, but the dog was not; she equates any type of precipitation with thunder storms. As I tried to enjoy my rest, she shook like a leaf under my arm. Distracting.

So I came inside. I had intended to meditate right after my practice, but that will need to wait until later. For now, I'm drinking hot tea and putting off running errands for as long as possible!

This is Day 2 of my Back to Healthy Eating Campaign, made easier by the fact that my partner is out of town for a week. My greatest challenge will be avoiding goodies in the morning, since there's nothing unhealthy to be found in the apartment (but many, many donuts to be discovered in my morning hours; so far, I've resisted).

I'm mostly eating raw foods. The cooked items include egg white omeletes, seasoned tuna and those lavash crackers I'm so crazy about. The lavash crackers are the only wheat. No dairy and I'm trying my best to avoid sugar. I was breaking out in hives over the weekend, so I figure a little detox is in order.

Lots of water, fruit for snacks. And yes, logging my foods, a la CRON.

And avoiding the fridge.

Monday, July 27, 2009


I don't what's going on with me, but I'm not starting the week on a positive note. I was grumpy all morning, felt tired and run down by the time I got home. I couldn't motivate myself, so I curled up on the futon instead and finished Braincandy Novel #2. Then I unrolled my mat to practice.

My plan was the full Primary Series and I started enthusiastically enough. But about half-way through the standing poses, I started sobbing and I couldn't stop. I cried through the first few seated poses, then calmed down a bit.

After I knocked over a glass of water coming into the second side of Marichyasana B, I burst into tears again. I cried right up until the very last pose.

It was instructive. Among other things, I discovered, that it's difficult to maintain Ujjayi breathing while crying. It's actually hard to cry in Supta Konasana and Halasana (probably something about the diaphragm being constricted). Something about forward bends made me cry harder.

I calmed down during the closing sequence and felt rather peaceful in Savasana. I guess I needed a good cry. About 90% of this can probably be explained by massive PMS (Lady's was supposed to be here days ago), the other 10% is just Stuff that's come up in the past week (look for an update in KD soonish).

I took a long bath and headed to my guitar lesson, which cheered me up a lot. I haven't been practising regularly, but the lesson was fun. I need to get back on that wagon, because I really enjoy the guitar, find it very meditative.

And speaking of meditation, I've fallen off that wagon too. Already. But there's hope! I discovered a new Meditation iPod application. I know, I know. You're thinking: another geek toy...but this is COOL! It not only *times* the sessions, but it keeps *statistics*. I'll be held accountable!

Now I just need to meditate!

Sunday, July 26, 2009


I have to give tremendous props to my partner. Mid-afternoon, she took off to give me time to practice. Isn't that nice of her?

Okay, actually, she wasn't entirely without ulterior motive. A couple weeks ago, I bought two Braincandy Novels at my favourite sidewalk book sale. I had intended to read them on the camping trip, but didn't get around to it (last year's Braincandy Book was 'The Brain That Heals Itself' The year before that, 'Eat, Pray, Love').

I finished one Braincandy Novel yesterday and passed it off to my partner. Into the first few chapters, she looked up from the book and exclaimed: “I CAN'T stop reading. I can't stop!” She went home, curled up in bed and read for most of the afternoon.

Meanwhile, I had three hours to myself, a vast expanse of free time. What did I do? I promptly plomped on the futon and started reading the *second* Brandcandy Novel. And I read, and read and read. I ended up with 45 minutes to practice, after the Guilt finally got to me. But it was a nice afternoon.

For the curious, here are the two braincandy novels. Procure at your own risk; they're literary crack. Make sure you have nothing important you need to do for a few days:
Year of Fog by Michelle Redmond
(and, wait for it...)
Vanishing Acts by Jodi Picoult (I *love* her books)

Disclaimer: I'm not saying that this is great literature or anything, but these books are good fun. Beach reading.

I did a really intuitive vinyasa practice, 45 minutes, basically went into a flow and followed it wherever it wanted to take me. I ended up doing some standing poses, a few seated, a twist or two. Nothing too strenuous, but I made a point to follow my breath like a line of stepping stones. Very relaxing.

Then I went back to my book. Baaaaaaad! :-D

Saturday, July 25, 2009


I can't remember the last opportunity I had to sleep in, but this morning did look promising! I settled into bed last night feeling happy about the prospect. Too bad I woke up at 6:30 a.m. Argh! I tossed and turned for a while, but it wasn't worth fighting. I went ahead and got up.

I had time to do my practice, so I that's what I did. Ultimately, I'm glad it worked out this way. I was able to come home after teaching my morning class and eat buttermilk pancakes and read a good book (while the rain poured down outside, what's up with this *weather*?!)

Not the best Primary Series I've ever churned out, but I got through it. My monkey mind was having a party. I was having a deep and interesting conversation with myself that had nothing at all to do with yoga. I'll bet that's never happened to any of you, has it? ;-)

I was sweating buckets. That's one thing this constant rain is good for. The humidity is high, my apartment feels like a steamroom. Please don't read this as a complaint - I love it! I wish my apartment felt like this in the winter. 'Getting my heat up' during practice was not a problem.

The Pain of the Week has exited right my shoulder and I wasn't sure where it would pop up next. In Urdhva Muhka Paschimottanasana this morning, I noticed a weird tightness in my mid back. I take any kind of back pain very, very seriously, so I spent 10 minutes laying on the Acuball before continuing on to closing sequence. The tightness dissipated and I felt okay in the closing sequence. Even shoulderstand felt good (Supta Konasana was feeling very yucky earlier).

My schedule is weird tomorrow so the challenge will be getting a practice in at all. I would like to do my full practice, but I may need to do a shorter vinyasa sequence. Stay tuned!

Friday, July 24, 2009


When I rolled out of bed this morning, I felt *different*. A full night of sleep helped, but the shift was more profound than merely being well-rested. I felt like my psyche had somehow been 'reset'. Before I left the apartment, I went on a tidying blitz, cleaning up loose papers, putting the bed away, sweeping the floors, washing dishes. When I got home in the afternoon, I did a heavier cleaning blitz, scrubbing the kitchen and bathroom, washing the floors and dusting.

It feels good to have a clean space. I feel like my head has also cleared. I'm ready to have a good weekend and I have some great things planned for next week! :-)

Today, I practised the full Primary Series. It rained off and on all day, so I was indoors. It has recently become very humid here and I definitely felt it. I was *sweating*. A lot.

Unrolling the mat, I first felt a great resistance to my practice. Stepping into my first sun salutation, I felt dread. I kept going. I decided not to think beyond my next salutation. The flow did not feel good like it usually does. By the time I finished all of the salutations, I was warming up mentally as well as physically. Into the standing poses, I noticed that I was more engaged with the practice.

I practised using the Beryl DVD. It was the first time in over a week that I've used this DVD and I've missed it. It's different from Beach Beryl in subtle ways. First of all, I noticed the pace - the DVD moves along more quickly than Beach Beryl. The intensity is turned up a few notches. I noticed that it's a slightly more advanced practice (she offers more modifications in Beach Beryl; in the DVD, nothing is skipped). Today, I practised (and was able to bind!) in Marichyasana D and I tackled the Dreaded Setu Bandhasana.

About a month ago (June 22nd to be exact), I added 'push ups' to the vinyasa between seated poses in order to build strength. This is how it works: after Urdhva Muhka Svanasana (up dog), I move back into Chaturanga and push up to plank. I think Richard Freeman does this on his Primary DVD. It's difficult if you're still trying to master Chaturanga. I remember that Teacher M used to ask me to do this and I would collapse into a belly flop in frustration.

At first, it was difficult and I found myself tiring out long before the end of the practice but after a week, I started to see some results. I believe I really am stronger. I noticed this when demoing Vasisthasana for a student last week (in the past, my arm would shake in this pose). I noticed particularly in Uth Pluthi/Tolasana.

So I think I will carry on, unless I notice that the repetitive motion is negatively affecting my joints.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


I had a better practice today. It poured all day, but by early evening, the sky was clear and the ground was dry. I went to the park and did a super-fun vinyasa style practice, one that I've been sharing with my intermediate/advanced students this week.

I began with sun salutations and a few of the Astanga standing poses. Then I moved into a sequencing that peaked with a modified Galavasana (by the way, why does one side feel great in this pose and the other feels like it will sever my tricep?! *ouch*). After that, another vinyasa sequence: Utthita Trikonasana to Ardha Chandrasana, standing splits into Parivritta Ardha Chandrasana. Then I did some seated poses, picking and choosing the ones I particularly like (read: arm balances). I closed with headstand and Savasana.

It was about 45 minutes, but it was exactly what I needed. I taught a class right afterward which was like icing on the cake. I've been feeling a little bit glum over the past few days and today in particular. Part of this may be due to lack of sleep, and also my Lady's Holiday is coming up. I felt my spirits lift this evening and it was a relief.

I find that it's hard to get back into my Astanga practice when I've taken a break from it. I realise that it's not advisable to *never* take a break (that's why it's a 6-day practice, after all). I just need to find a way to integrate regular breaks into my practice while still maintaining my momentum. It may be as simple as designating a regular day off (like I really should be doing, according to the traditional practice).

One day a week of Hatha or Yin would be good for me. Or maybe I could find a fun class somewhere and make it a weekly event.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Today was one of those days that spiralled out of control. And it wasn't a particularly *good* day either.

I was stuck downtown all day because I had an afternoon meeting. I ended up eating terrible food - both in taste and content - that was also stupidly expensive (Note to self: egg salad and smoked salmon? NOT a good combination).

Though the meeting went seemingly went well, it was troubling on a subtle level, which caused me to mentally gnaw at it for the rest of the afternoon.

The movie, Harry Potter, was a highlight though. I'm rarely able to sit still for more than an hour without fidgeting or getting up. That film was over two hours long but it didn't feel like it. I was thoroughly riveted. When it ended, I scrambled for for my watch in disbelief, saying “Already!?” I couldn't believe that the time had passed so quickly! I've read all the books and seen all the films, so I'm already a fan, but I thought that this movie was exceptionally good, beyond the usual 'Harry Potter' effect.

I went out for a big sushi supper afterward which was fun, but which ruled out any kind of yoga class (I'm hopeful about making it to some classes next week). In the end, I went home and did a half-hour of gentle Hatha Yoga after my food had digested a bit. Whenever I do a practice like this, it doesn't feel genuine; like I carelessly tacked it on to the end of my day. I felt like I was 'getting it over with' and I felt bad about that.

A return to morning practice would easily solve this dilemma, but it's not practical right now. This is a challenge to daily practice: keeping it 'real' when life gets in the way.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


It dawned cloudy and cool this morning, nixing my plans for another fun outdoor yoga practice. Instead, I came home after work, slept for two hours and did some reading. The nap really hit the spot; I've been feeling really tired this week. I actually enjoyed the grey day - it was soft and quiet and I could feel myself downshifting. After the bustle of camping preparations and the stress of the trip itself, it felt good to be lazy.

Since I was feeling mellow in the afternoon, I did an hour of Yin Yoga. It's been a while since I practised Yin and I was a Twitchy Distraction Machine in the poses. I used the Sarah Powers DVD with the abbreviated instruction (each sequence has an option for muting much of the 'lecture' dialogue, offering only entrance/exit instructions for the poses). There was a lot of silence. At times it felt heavy.

I was left to contemplate the sensations in my body. At first, it was all noise, but I quickly zeroed in on the tight areas. I was holding tightness and tension in ways I never imagined. The longer I stayed in a pose, the more the layers peeled away. I used my breath to release the tightness. It felt good. By the time I finished the hour, I felt myself settling into a groove.

As I was finishing up, the dog joined me on the mat and did Adho Muhka Svanasana. :-D

The shoulder pain is gone or, at least, it's morphed. I spent a half hour on my Acuball last night, focusing on the area of the rhomboids and trapezius. By morning, it felt much better, but the knot of pain had moved upwards, into my neck. I used the Acuball again this afternoon and I'll spend some time with it this evening. I'm willing to bet the pain has dissipated entirely by tomorrow morning. I love that ball! Worth every penny - it has saved me a fortune in massage bills.

Tomorrow, I'm going to take a break from home practice and go to a class. I think I'll try an evening Jivamukti class and make a special request for no anointments.

This will leave my afternoon free for a matinee. Harry Potter, hooray!

Monday, July 20, 2009


Back to my routine! It's fun to get away for a while, but it's also fun to get back to cycles of daily life.

It was absolutely gorgeous today. As soon as I saw the clear blue sky this morning, I knew I would be spending the afternoon in the Big Park. I walked there with the dog as soon as my morning shift ended.

The Big Park is a wide open space. I love it because I can see the sky - there are few trees. This is somewhat of a problem for the dog, though, who loves a bit of shade. Fortunately, I've discovered a compromise. There's a spot next to a high light pole which provides a small, dog-sized, travelling patch of shade in the afternoon. It's cute to watch the dog get up every few minutes and follow the shade as the sun moves west and the shady spot moves east! By the time I finish my practice, the dog is on the other side of my mat!

I had a great practice today. It was blissful being in the sunlight (don't worry - I use sunblock) and the heat was fantastic. I never seem to sweat a lot these days (though I'm sure I would be if the temperatures were more seasonal, which they're not). I did the full Primary Series, using the Beach Beryl MP3. I'm back to doing Kurmasana and Supta Kurmasana. Headstand was super-fun. I'm having as much fun with headstand as Ursula is having with her drop-backs. :-D

Speaking of which, in place of Urdhva Dhanurasana, I practised a standing backbend today, in preparation for dropbacks. I'm planning to continue with this over the coming week. I have an area of soreness in my right shoulder (very similar to the soreness I experienced last year in my other shoulder). I'm absolutely positive this is related to pushing up into Urdhva Dhanurasana, so I'm giving it a break. I see this as a great opportunity to work on drop-backs. There's no better place to do them - in the park, the ground is soft. Now, I just have to work up the nerve.

A nearby sunbather was so impressed by my Titibasana exit (which is decidedly NOT she walked over afterward to ask for my business card. I also gave out a few cards at camping (after nearby campers spied my practice from their sites). Yoga teachers are encouraged to maintain a daily practice, but this is the first time my practice has served as an advertisement for my teaching!

Sunday, July 19, 2009


Camping, Day 3 (This post was written and posted on my return)

I woke at 6 a.m. and opened the tent flap to scan the skies. It was cloudy, but not rainy. Quietly, I gathered my things, changed into my yoga pants and drove out to the lake for my annual sunrise beach practice.

I didn't see much of a sunrise because of the cloud cover, but it was tranquil and cool by the water. The mosquitoes were not yet awake, nor was anyone else. I found myself completely alone on the sand. Except for the chatter of birds and the light gurgle of waves on the shore, I did my modified Primary Series in silence.

It was chilly out, so it wasn't my best practice, but it was probably one of my most contemplative. I took the opportunity to become completely absorbed in my breath without worrying about depth or alignment in my poses.

I was halfway through the seated poses when I heard a loon call across the water (I was waiting for it). Then another sounded as I moved into closing. My only other companion was an early morning fisherman who drifted off shore in his small boat. We silently shared the space; me with my asana, he with his fishing line.

It was too chilly to do Savasana on the beach so I headed back to the site and crawled into my warm sleeping bag.

The rest of the morning was spent cooking up a fabulous brunch (omelets) and packing up the site. After we loaded the car, we lazed around a bit, said our goodbyes to fellow campers and hit the road just after noon.

We happily meandered home, stopping through various small towns. I enjoyed the best Fish and Chips I've ever eaten (I think this may become a new tradition!). We perused some marvelous Antique (read: “junk”) shops and paused at a rest station so I could stretch my legs (my right hamstring was practically in spasm from the long hours of driving). We rolled into the city in the early evening.

It was an absolutely delightful trip and I'm so pleased that the weather co-operated. I'm also proud that I made time for three full yoga practices while I was there. Last year, I didn't manage to hit the mat even once and in previous years, I was usually only able to fit in one practice at most. It felt like a 'yoga retreat weekend' and it was exactly what I needed.

Interesting to note, the pile of books that I dragged along remained untouched for the weekend; I didn't do any reading at all. This is camping first! I usually do nothing *but* read on this trip. Instead, I filled my time sleeping (I've never slept so well as I did on that air mattress!), cooking (I prepared some marvellous meals, but even with all the prep I did, they were time consuming) and spending time with friends (quite to my surprise, our campsite because a hub during mealtimes - never underestimate the power of food to draw a crowd!).

The rental car was a smash success. In it, we were able to escape the campground for day trips into the surrounding countryside (next year, I'm going to research area flea markets and antique stores but we managed to find plenty of them spontaneously). I was able to drive to the beach for my morning yoga practice. If we needed supplies, we were able to get them easily. We could have driven to the part of the park that has hiking trails, if we were up for hiking (next year!).

I'm already looking forward to next summer's trip!

Saturday, July 18, 2009


Camping, Day 2 (This post was written and posted on my return)

We had a bit of rain overnight, but I slept like a baby in an 8-person tent with a thick air mattress and a '-30C rated' down sleeping bag. In fact, I slept better than I often do at home (must be the fresh air).

Camping wasn't always so luxurious. When I went on my first camping trip six years ago, I crammed myself and my dog into a tiny, 1-person-1-dog 'pup tent' with no mattress pad, no pillow. I was all smug because I thought I was 'toughing it.' Well, I don't tough it anymore! ;-)

I cooked up pancakes for breakfast on our camp stove, arranging them artfully on the plate along with fresh strawberries, blueberries and a dab of vanilla yoghurt (and real maple syrup). I'm in awe of how well pancakes cook up over butane. Who knew? I'm never gnawing on a stale bagel for breakfast again while camping. No more oatmeal! There are alternatives!

My practice was fabulous today. I did the full Primary and this time I followed along with my favourite 'Beach Beryl' MP3 (yesterday was self-led; I had my hands full with the mosquitoes)

Speaking of which...I made a discovery! The hotter it is, the less pesky the mosquitoes are. They don't like heat or dry air or stiff breezes. I waited until these three conditions converged, then unrolled my two mats in the sunshine (I doubled up, which is way more comfortable on the hard ground - creature comforts, remember?).

I had a fabulous practice. I took my time, stopping whenever I wanted to, occasionally petting the dog, waving at a friend on a neighbouring campsite, pausing to lay on my mat and look up at the clouds drifting overhead.

I propped my camera on an ice cooler for my weekly State-of-the-Backbend photo. My backbend isn't so impressive but check out that beautiful scenery!

After a brief Savasana in the tent, I grabbed a vodka-and-lemonade cooler and retired to my hammock where I swung lazily, got incredibly tipsy (I don't often drink alcohol so it doesn't take much) and listened to music on my iPod. This was probably the highlight of the entire trip. I was so happy!

The rest of the day was spent with friends. We laughed and shared stories over drinks, chatting well into the evening. I cooked up veggie fajitas for the entire gang. We gathered around the campfire and cooked banana boats for dessert.

Sometime close to midnight, I took a long walk under a sky full of stars with my favourite person in the whole world, pointing out constellations and stars I've known intimately since childhood. The Milky Way lit our path back to the tent where we fell into a deep sleep.

Friday, July 17, 2009


Camping, Day 1 (This post was written and posted on my return)

By nature, I'm a planner. I like all my ducks in a row before I march them, in tight formation, into the Wild Blue Yonder. The beginning of any adventure involves lists, many lists. I was consulting my lists right up until the moment we left the city and I was having a *great* time. I love a good list! I picked up our rental car in the morning, right on schedule, loaded it with carefully packed provisions and we were on the road within an hour.

It was great! I did all the driving. For all my mutterings about automobiles and the environment and eensy weensy carbon footprints, I absolutely LOVE to drive. It's my secret shame. I haven't owned a car in over 10 years, but I frequently get driving envy. Driving down an open highway on a sunny day evokes fond memories of my wild and crazy 20s, when I zipped around the eastern United States for my job. Road trips make me happy.

It took us three hours to reach the camp ground and I was in a good mood. It had been overcast all day, but as we pulled into the entrance, the clouds parted to reveal sunshine. Setting up camp took just over an hour, including the tarp over the picnic table (which we would need later on that night because it rained).

And then it was time for fun! The possibilities were endless. A swim, perhaps? Kayaking? Maybe a hike in the woods? No, none of those. I wanted to do yoga.

We headed down to the lake and as my travelling companion headed to the beach, I unrolled my mat at an overlook with a view of the water.

So far, so good. I started my sun salutations, but I soon realized that I was attracting some annoying visitors: mosquitoes the size of small dogs were converging on my exposed flesh. ARGH!

(Mosquitos don't tend to bite me. I'm told this is because I don't eat red meat or chicken. However, they do like to buzz around, land on me and check out the lay of the land. They were driving me NUTS. Near the end of the weekend, they started to overcome their abhorrence of my eating habits and bite me in earnest. Still, I only have about 5 bits to everyone else's 50. I totally lucked out.)

After the standing poses, I needed a break. It's more than enough for me to try to focus on Ujjayi breathing, the Bandhas, and my Drishte without the additional concern of slapping the bugs off my legs and shoulders. We walked back to the campground and it was better there. I managed to finish my practice with minimal slapping.

All weekend, I practised the full Primary Series with some modifications. The main change I made was skipping Kurmasana and Supta Kurmasana. I've become less squeamish over the years and it no longer bothers me if my mat gets a bit dirty. But skidding my heels into the rough dirt of the campsite triggered fastidious overload and my Princess Gene kicked in. I did Yin Butterfly instead. I also skipped Setu Bandhasana because I'm going through a phase of hating that pose and I wasn't going to let Setu ruin my vacation.

Sirsasana was a blast. Practising outdoors has given my confidence a boost in this pose and I came up into it smoothly (the dog is completely unimpressed).

I did Savasana in the tent while the mosquitos bashed themselves against the mesh in frustration.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Today, I felt like a small child, frantically doing her chores so she could go out and play.

The afternoon was a comedy of errors. I bought the wrong kind of fuel for the camp stove, which had me bicycling frantically around the city trying to exchange the wrong fuel and locate the correct one. Then I had to pack the camping equipment which took longer than I thought it would. I was reminded of an article I recently read, suggesting that when we 'see the glass as already broken' it provides a perspective shift. If we expect the unexpected, then the unexpected can't faze us.

When I finished gathering everything together in one big pile, I gazed in horror at the sheer amount of STUFF. I tend toward minimalist, but I do like my creature comforts. These two tendencies come clashing together like the Titans when I go camping. Argh!

There's one category of stuff that I completely indulge myself, though: books. I love reading and for me, a camping trip is just an opportunity to swing in my hammock as I read book after book for three days. I'm bringing six, including two brain-candy novels that I know I'll love. I won't read them all, but I need to have the option, you know?

And I prepped the food for the trip. We're going to be eating well this weekend and most of it is very healthy, lots of vegetables and fruits, salads and lean protein sources. It's vegetarian except one tuna wrap for lunch on Saturday. I'm looking forward to preparing meals on my tiny camp stove, always a fun challenge! Pancakes on Sunday! I like living dangerously!

I finished my 'chores' in the early evening and headed up to the Big Park with the dog. As I started my practice, I noticed groups of women congregating on either side of the park. It took me a while to figure out what was going on, but when I finally did, I laughed out loud.

They are 'Bikini Boot Camps'. I've noticed the flyers posted on poles, but I've never actually seen the Boot Camps in progress. I somehow thought that the Boot Campers would be running around in Bikinis, but no, they were in regular yoga clothes (like everyone seems to be these days, whether they practice yoga or not). The Boot Camps are run by two competing Personal Trainers. I wonder if Campers defect from one to another, like Survivor?

I had a marvelous time watching them jump and flail and run circuits through little orange cones as I did my seated poses. I enjoyed the startled looks I got during Sirsasana. This practising outside thing is turning me into a bit of an attention junkie. Maybe that why Guruji thought it was a bad idea. I'll bet he didn't know about the Bikini Boot Camps, though!

Tomorrow, I'm off to camp myself - Camp Lazy! I will be doing yoga, but 'where' is yet to be determined. For the past few days, the forecast has flipped between 'sunny' and 'rainy'. I don't know where the coin will fall, but if it falls on the rainy side, I may find myself doing yoga in the laundry room (yes, there's a laundry room at this campground - creature comforts, remember?). If it's sunny, I'll be on the beach, watching the sun rise over the lake as I do my sun salutations.

Think good weather thoughts for me, eh?

Updates will be scant because there's no wifi at camping (creature comforts haven't caught on to that one yet). I'll catch up with the blog on Monday.

I leave you with a 70s Yoga Glamourshot jem:

Figure 115: Squat toilet?
Figure 116: Nope, just Malasana

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


The day flailed out of my control almost from the moment I woke up. Nothing unfolded as I expected. I planned to come home and head straight to the park to practice, but it clouded over and then work intervened. I had phone calls to make and emails to send. I took a break to start gathering camping equipment for my upcoming trip and the sun broke through. I headed to my neighbourhood park, the one closer to home, to practice.

I wasn't sure how it would go. This is a smaller park, more intimate, with more people around, including my neighbours and yoga students. Many of the kids know me because they've been in my classes. Last time I practised in that park, I was beseiged by small yogis and ended up abandoning the Primary Series in favour of handstands, cartwheels and fun arm balances.

Today was good. When I arrived, there were a few children on the playground and three little old ladies on a nearby bench. They sat peacefully side-by-side with their walkers carefully parked in front of them. They *loved* my sun salutations. Nothing like a friendly audience!

My main complaint is the ground - decades of pinecones from a nearby tree have collected over the years, creating hard, mean little lumps. I moved my mat several times but had no luck. Garba Pindasana hurts when you're rolling on small mountains! I managed to find a smooth spot for Sirsasana. I realised once again that attitude is 90% of a pose. Halfway through Sirsasana, doubt crept in: “I don't know if I can do this.” I firmed my resolve and reassured myself: “I *will* stay up. I *will* do halfbend, I'm strong in this pose.” And I was.

Savasana was incredible. I could totally get used to these loooonnnnnng Savasanas! I walked home just dripping with bliss.


It's been exactly one month since my humble little blog leapt to sudden fame with its inclusion in a Yoga Journal article about yoga blogs. I haven't spoken of it since, but yes, I *did* get my paws on a copy of the August issue. I did my Happy Dance at the news stand as the proprietor looked on in amusement. I watched with amazement as my access stats spiked, with many new visitors.

The rush of newcomers has waned, but what gives me the most pleasure is the number of you who stuck around. I see you in my access stats, in my RSS subscriptions and followers list. I'm glad you're here. I appreciate those of you who have taken the time to leave thoughtful comments. I hope that you've found something of value here.

I didn't start this blog thinking that anyone would be interested in reading it. It started as an experiment. What would happen if I practised Astanga Yoga, a style I professed to hate? Would my practice be more meaningful if I wrote about it? Would I find a voice to describe my experiences on the mat? What could I learn? I never imagined that the greatest outcome of this experiment would be connection and community.

It reminds me a bit of an experience I had in university. I lived in residence and at first, I felt a bit shy and kept my door closed when I was studying in the evening. One night, I decided to see what would happen if I left my door open. Something did happen - I stared connecting with other people!

I appreciate the Internet as a tool and a resource. YouTube is unbearably nifty. I love the fact that I can find any song lyric by typing in a fragment. Online maps amaze me. I could go on and on...

But the secret ingredient that has made the Internet pure magic for me is the sense of community I've found and the people I've discovered - and I'm still discovering.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Today was another perfect day. This weather is just amazing! Normally, practising in the sun in the middle of summer would be an invitation to heat stroke, but today it was a bit chilly whenever a cloud passed over and the temperature was just perfect in the sunlight. So after work and a round of errand running (which included riding through the city with a 30lb bag of dog food balanced on the handle bars of my bike - I do have the madskillz, don't I?), I headed to the park for my practice.

I had a great practice and I figured a few things out. Even though there were huge grass stains on my heels from sliding my feet forward for Kurmasana, Supta Kurmasana is definitely easier on the grass. And in one of those bizarre little shifts of perspective, I found myself face-to-face with a white and purple flower as I held the pose. Hello, Nature!

I'm struggling with Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana in the great outdoors. No available drishte seems stable enough. My balance is just completely off. Could be the uneven surface underneath my feet, but that's probably just a handy excuse. I'm a creature of habit in so many ways! The truth? I miss looking at my bookcase as I bring my leg out to the side. Outdoors, looking at the ground helps a little bit so I'm sticking with that.

And this time, in addition to the kite and the books, I brought a picnic lunch (I was starving after practice yesterday) So after I finished my lengthy Savasana in the sunshine, I enjoyed a salad and some fruit. Flew my kite for a couple of hours (bliss!) and read a chapter, then headed home for supper.

It's no secret to anyone who reads this blog that I've struggled with my diet over the past year. At this time last year, I was a very dedicated CR practitioner. But I was single then and I've found that being in a relationship puts a new spin on things. It's harder to say no to unhealthy food choices when they're dancing enticingly within reach. Still, I was holding together pretty well until I fell ill in the fall and that when things really fell apart for me. I lost my yoga practice. I stopped meditating. I started eating bagels. I gained weight.

I finally have my practice back. This weekend, I dusted off my altar and resumed my meditation practice. So far, so good.

This week, I'm resuming food logging. Just logging - I'm not changing my diet right away. It's actually pretty good right now - I think. I eat a lot of salads, some healthy proteins, I don't snack too much. Logging my foods in CRON-O-Meter will give me a good idea of where I'm at nutritionally and how much gaky snacking I'm doing. My goal is to lose the extra pounds by late August.

But in order to do this, I'll need to avoid Chocolate Explosion cake, brownies and other things that make me happy. ;-D

Monday, July 13, 2009


I think today might have been the prettiest day of summer so far. It was sunny. The sky was a deep, vibrant blue and dotted with huge, fluffy white clouds. It wasn't humid. It was warm enough to be pleasant but not miserably hot.

When I got home after my morning shift, I dawdled around the apartment, avoiding yoga practice because I really wanted to go outside. Then I had this brilliant idea: why not take my yoga practice outside? I packed one of my light teaching mats along with a few books and my kite, then headed up to the Big Park with the dog.

It was marvellous! I brought my iPod with the 'Beach Beryl' recording of the Primary Series and I had a lovely, easy-going practice in the sunshine. I thought I might feel shy about practising in the middle of the park, but once I got going, I didn't notice much of what was going on around me. My biggest problem was bringing my feet together in Supta Kurmasana - the mat kept bunching up and I kept losing my bind. I finally gave up.

Oh yeah, and I felt a bit silly rolling in Garba Pindasana. :-D

I was worried about Sirsasana. I had a whole range of irrational concerns about this pose (what's new, eh?). I thought that I might have trouble balancing in such a wide open space, or possibly get distracted by the big fluffy clouds, or (this is my favourite) the wind might push me over.

Actually, I had a GREAT Sirsasana! I came up smooth and strong, felt stable and comfortable in the pose and it was a total trip watching people amble by walking their dogs upside down, watching the leaves on the trees wave around upside down, watching the streetcars go by. Upside down! Weeee! I enjoyed the smooth breeze on my legs but I didn't get pushed over.

After a long Savasana (my favourite part of Beach Beryl), I flew my kite for awhile. It was a good day for it - decent breeze. I laid in the sun and read a book.

I could totally make habit of this. In Yoga Mala, Pattabhi Jois specifically prohibits outdoor yoga practice. Maybe it's because practising outside is so addictive!

Sunday, July 12, 2009


I had a terrible practice today. I felt heavy and gummy and tired. Supta Konasana (Reclining Angle) is my canary-in-a-coal-mine pose. If Supta Konasana feels yucky, I know that my body is in a bad state. When it feels great, I'm in bliss.

Today was one of those non-bliss days and I felt achy in shoulderstand too.

I couldn't bind in Supta Kurmasana and don't even get me started on Marichyasana C. Ug.

But I had a fantastic headstand. I felt rock solid and confident and loved every minute of the hold.

I'm struggling with my new eQua towel. I really had to spritz the hell out of it to get any kind of traction for standing today. I'm thinking that I may need to return to a bare Manduka for standing and set up the towel for my seated poses (before Dandasana). This is what I was doing before. Unless I'm *very* sweaty, I slide around too much.

I didn't have high hopes for my backbend today, but figured that I'd better take my State-of-the-Backbend photo since it didn't happen on the weekend.

I was pleasantly surprised. It felt like a terrible backbend, but it was actually better than I imagined it would be. I was really feeling the 'front stretch' today. And I was feeling the stretch in my shoulders.

Here's the side-by-side comparison with my last backbend from June 26th:

Saturday, July 11, 2009


I needed a day exactly like today.

I had plans, big plans that involved a road trip with friends outside the city. This would have seen me awake at dawn struggling with public transit, on the road for much of the day, hiking, then rolling back into the city late at night. I already had a long day on Thursday and Friday was busy. By Friday night, nothing sounded less appealing to me than a long road trip and I was secretly dreading it.

Luckily, I was saved by the weather! Massive thunder storms were forecast for the day. They moved in early the next morning and I had a nice lie-in (late!), followed by a yummy brunch, followed by a nap, followed by a good book, and I spent lots of time on my computer.

I didn't get out of my pyjamas all day. It was absolutely lovely!

Practice was a pre-bedtime affair. I did the sun salutations, 5 A's and 3 B's, still in my pyjamas. I took it easy. I did a few simple standing poses, lingered in Yin pigeon and took a long, long Savasana.

I'm feeling rested and calm and ready to sleep, and ready to resume a more active practice tomorrow.

Friday, July 10, 2009


Last winter, as I was beginning my yoga streak, I seriously considered joining one of those websites that provide video yoga classes. Ultimately, I nixed the idea because of bandwidth issues (I have the bargain basement internet plan and it suits me just fine). I remember thinking that I would vastly prefer a good audio recording with clear directions - I don't need the visuals.

I love my favourite Beryl DVD, but I never look at what's going down on the screen - I just listen. There are a few websites out there that offer purely audio classes. I perused the offerings over at (and eventually bought a recording of Beryl Bender Birch teaching the Primary Series in the Bahamas, a.k.a. 'Beach Beryl') and I looked at

Fast forward to a month ago, I entered an online contest for a one-year membership (unlimited downloads) to Happily, I won the membership and my account was set up this past week. I'm pretty excited about it! For a yogini on a 'yoga streak', this is quite a boon. I can try every single class on the site if I want to (and I may!). Many thanks to Beth for giving me this opportunity!

The primary difference between and seems to be the context of the recording and the prominence of the teachers. records live classes in the studio, and tends to favour prominent teachers like BBB, Ana Forrest and David Life. These classes have the feel of being a real yoga class - complete with all the sounds, inconsistency in holds and side comments to individual students. I kind of like this - it makes me feel like I'm in a class with people. offers a wider variety of classes in different durations (20, 30, 45, 60, 90 minutes) taught by teachers I've never heard of. The recordings are not done in situ, so they sound smoother and a bit more 'canned'. The holds are very consistent thoughout the recordings and there's no distraction (you can even opt out of the background music in some classes).

Today, I was in a time crunch and decided to download a class on my new membership. The only category listed under the 'Astanga' designation is 'Power Yoga 2' with Natalie Maisel. It's billed as a 'Level 3 - Intermediate' class (the levels offered range from 1 to 4). There are six classes listed under the category, ranging from 20 - 75 minutes. I decided to give the 60 minute class a try.

It was fun. It had a smooth flow and the instruction was good. Variations were offered to increase the intensity of the practice for more advanced students (optional pushups in Vinyasa, etc). Most of the postures were a beginner/intermediate level with a few advanced thrown in (Galavasana took me a bit by surprise, as did the transition from Bakasana to Tittibhasana A). The Savasana is not led - it's merely a suggestion. I worked up a nice sweat in this class and enjoyed it overall.

I like the fact that there are a variety of time formats to choose from on this website. I was curious to know whether the 30 minute class was merely a shortened version of the longer classes - it wasn't. The longer classes included different poses throughout the sequence (rather than tacking on some extra stuff at the end).

This means that there really are 6 different classes - or at least variations on this theme. The site has a lot of variety - there are many more 'flow' yoga classes I haven't yet explored, as well as Hatha, restorative, Forrest, fusion, Hot Yoga, etc. There are even Guided Rituals (for the Pagans in the audience). This will be a fun way to try out some different styles.

Thursday, July 9, 2009


I couldn't take it anymore. I finally broke down and bought a Manduka eQua 'yoga towel' to replace my threadbare and long suffering Mysore Rug.

My rug is on it's last legs and although I really love the bright vibrant colours, it's never been the greatest surface to practice on. I never even bother to unroll it over my mat until I get to the seated poses because it doesn't have enough traction for standing, which tends to break my flow.

I'm a bit sentimental about my rug - it has a history. I get a good a chuckle thinking about how and why I bought it. Two years ago, I was at a class at the new location of the studio I trained at (long since sold off to the highest bidder *sob*) while visiting Teacher M. I saw the rugs and thought "I should have one of those".

It was completely illogical because I really didn't have the $40 to spare and didn't practice Astanga. To be honest, I think the real draw was the bright colours and the fact that it was made in India. I just thought it was neat. It went into my pile of 'yoga props I never use'.

I think the first time I used it was at a Bikram Yoga class. But when I started exploring Astanga more seriously in 2007, the mat came into near daily use. Now, the Mysore rug I thought I'd 'never use' is rag tag and fraying.

I read reviews for both the YogiToes and eQua towels online and took note of Grimmly's thoughts on the products. I decided to opt for the eQua because of quality concerns. I wanted something with enough traction that I could use through the entire practice. I also wanted a towel that was easy to wash and *dry* (this has been a major issue with my traditional Mysore rug).

The only drawback to the eQua is the lack of pretty colours. Yes, I know it sounds trite, but colours are important to me. I was very keen for a bright turquoise or orange towel. I was very sad to discover that my colour choices were limited to hot pink, beige, army green, a blue so light it was almost white (I could just imagine how dirty it would get) and a bluish steel gray.

I went for the gray, thinking that it would stay cleaner, longer. And it probably will, but it makes me a little bit sad and a little bit regretful that I didn't go for a YogiToes towel after all. They do come in both orange and a vibrant turquoise blue. My eyes are hungry for a brighter colour.

I practised the full primary today with my new eQua today. I love how the eQua feels - it's soft and light with a texture like velvet. As Grimmly noted, you do need to spritz the mat before starting sun salutations in order to get a sufficient grip in downward dog and standing poses.

Once I got my heat up, my hands and feet (which tend to sweat a LOT) were naturally moist enough to keep me stable on the towel. The grip is really quite magical, given that the towel is smooth enough to drag feet through on a jump through. I did find that the towel bunched up a bit, especially during standing poses (I had to lean down and smooth it out).

Good practice today. I'm feeling much stronger. I really was tired yesterday and I could feel the difference as I moved through the second part of the practice. I had a moment of hesitation in headstand - any change to my environment tends to throw me off (New! Towel!), but I was fine. Silly brain!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


I went to the bookstore earlier this week, intending to buy nothing and walked out with a bag in hand. This is an 'event' in my world, since I rarely buy books. After years of book addiction, I've channelled my love for bound paper into an enthusiasm for the public library, encouraged by the city library's fabulous collection and exquisitely functional online catologue/hold/request system.

But as soon as I saw this book, I *wanted* it and I've been enamoured with it for days. I've been engrossed. Obsessively. In fact, I've started referring to my new book as 'Yoga P- - n'. (fill in the blanks - there's an 'o' and an 'r' in there. I'm not about to type it out in a searchable medium). My partner snorted with laughter when she heard this designation, but agreed that it's accurate. This is one kick-ass yoga picture book.

I was never willing to shell out the bucks for the 'coffee table' size book, but this is a tiny paperback edition. I can carry it around with me (and do!). I love the gorgeous depiction of yoga postures, especially the ones I can only dream of doing. I love that a few of my 'yoga heros' are among the models. Looking through this book is instant inspiration on days that I don't feel like I want to practice. It was a good investment.

Today, I definitely wanted to practice. It just didn't happen in the morning because of my new early schedule and I slept late. But I unrolled my mat as soon as I got home. First half of my practice was fabulous, but right after the standing poses, I started feeling a bit dizzy and off-balance.

The headache waited until I was well into the seated poses. I took a couple of pain killers after Garba Pindasana and pressed on. Back bends felt good. I forced myself to do headstand in the middle of the room, even though it felt impossible (it wasn't). By the time I finished closing, I was feeling a bit better and a long, hot bath afterward sealed the deal.

I've put on a few pounds in the past few weeks because of my new, near-daily donut habit. The donuts appear as if by magic in the mornings and I have a really hard time just saying 'no'. Today, I said 'no' and instead ate half an apple at a small yoghurt for my snack. I don't know if I'll have the self control tomorrow but I'm going to try. If 'you are what you eat', I'm becoming 'round' ;-)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


I did an early morning practice today and I'm glad, because my schedule is about to change again. Tomorrow, work starts at 7 a.m. That's enough time for a walk in the morning, but not enough time to practice unless I get up stupidly early. And I may, if I need to. But I'll try to avoid it. I'm enjoying the part-time aspect of this gig, but I'll be relieved when it finally wraps up.

I felt a bit sore this morning - mainly my hamstrings - and I didn't have the best practice. I was pressed for time so skipped Urdhva Dhanurasana entirely and didn't do my usual three handstands. Since today is a moonday, it's technically a non-practice day in the Astanga tradition. Maybe I was derailed by the new moon. I couldn't even bind in Supta Kurmasana.

I think I'll try to blame the weather too: it's been cold here. Yes, cold! The high was only 15C (57F) when I headed in to work this morning and it was windy. I'm missing my hot, sticky summer practices. It feels like September.

Though it was a so-so practice, at least I'm well enough to make it to the mat. I'm counting my blessings! I'm pretty sure the dog is happy to see me back to my Astanga practice too. While I'm practising, she's usually asleep in her basket, near the front of my mat. I often pause to tell her how wonderful she is, pat her head and coo at her. She's relies on this as part of her daily quota of cuddle time.

Monday, July 6, 2009


I went to the doctor this morning and he gave me a clean bill of health - the sinus infection is clearing on its own. I'm still having some lingering symptoms, but he gave me the go-ahead to resume my practice. I raced home and joyfully jumped on my mat, had a great practice. It felt so good to be back! I lagged a bit through the sun salutations, but once I was past the standing poses, I regained my momentum.

Everything felt great. Surprisingly, I don't feel like I lost strength or endurance during my break from Astanga. Usually, I'll feel a bit weak or slow down mid-series, but I felt like I picked up exactly where I left off.

What's more, I noticed a considerable gain in flexibility, particularly in my hips and hamstrings! I bound easily in Supta Kurmasana and felt no tenderness at all in my low back when I came out of the pose. My forward bends vary a lot with time of day, heat, time of month, etc. But during the closing sequence, I was able to faceplant between my shins in Paschimottanasana with no effort. This hardly ever happens! Urdhva Dhanurasana also felt exceptionally good.

So it looks like I need to offer kind kudos to Yin Yoga. It may not have felt like I was doing very much, but clearly there was some significant opening going on.

Sunday, July 5, 2009


I took my Yin Yoga practice to the park today and enjoyed an hour of gentle stretching in the happy, happy sunlight. It was wonderful! Then I read a book and dozed for another hour. Due to the rain and a lack of mowing, the grass in the park is getting very long, so it feels like a feather bed. I initially had trouble motivating myself to go out, but once I arrived there I didn't want to leave.

The reading was logically followed by dozing because I'm currently reading David Foster Wallace's book Infinite Jest. I would love to put on my intellectually superior mantle and make sophisticated remarks about the novel's merits, but the truth is, it's been tough going so far. If caring for a newborn is the '7th Series' (*waves at Patrick*), maybe slogging through a 1000 page novel full of bizarre characters, a meandering plot and a zillion pages of endnotes could be a series of its own. Reading this book is pure effort.

No, I didn't just pick it up - not exactly. An online reading group called 'Infinite Summer' sprung up in early June and word of it spread like wildfire around the Interwebz. I stumbled across the website via Twitter and thought, “Gee! What a pretty book! It has clouds on it! This sounds like fun!” Aside from Michael Grant's 'History of Rome', I've encountered few books I haven't liked, so I thought: “Why not?”

The website and resulting online community has been helpful in keeping me motivated and that's saying a lot. There seems to be a cult following around this book and a chorus of reassurance that although the first 200 pages kind of suck, it's ultimately rewarding.

Where have we heard *this* line before?

So I'm going to persevere and hope that it will eventually make sense. 'Read, and all is coming' Or something like that.

Saturday, July 4, 2009


Woke up at 6 this morning because that when I seemed programmed to wake up these days - nothing changes it, including going to bed late. I know better than to feel all special just because I'm an early riser (I used to - I got over it). Really, all it takes is a month of winter sloth for me to revert back to my evil sleeping-past-eight ways (check the archives if you don't believe me). Still, it's nice to have an early start to the day.

And it was so nice not to have to be anyplace early this morning - I could fluff around all I wanted. So I checked my email and read RSS feeds while the water boiled for tea. I took the dog out. Then I unrolled the Manduka, pulled out my motley collection of props and did Yin Yoga for two hours. Two hours! That's a lot of yoga! The time flew by.

It was good. Deep and meditative (sometimes too meditative - I caught myself studying a hangnail more than once). And at times, it was really tough - holding Pigeon pose for 5 minutes? Ouch! I loved the way the hip openers were followed by more hip openers and still more hip openers and then...Wait!....We're not finished yet! *More* hip openers. I definitely felt it while I was doing it.

But this Yin practice is a bit like eating a great salad: Tastes great. The flavours and textures are satisfying and it can be a rich, engrossing experience. But five minutes after it's finished, I'm all “Hey, did I just eat something?!”

Hey, did I do yoga today?

I dashed off mid-morning to teach a class and as I was biking home, I had to keep reminding myself that yes, I *did* do yoga today.

No backbend photo today. My Urdhva Dhanurasana is Out of Order.

Friday, July 3, 2009


I came home from work with a headache that was not a migraine, but certainly migraine-like. I felt wretched. It was so painful that all I could do was lay down with a cold cloth over my eyes and wait for the pain killers to kick in. When they finally did, I climbed into bed and slept like the dead for three hours. No one can accuse me of not getting enough sleep these days. Sleeping is my new hobby.

Even when napping, I dream vividly. Today, I dreamt that I could suddenly, magically and without any effort at all come into Kapotanasana and take my heels (I can't. I know. I've tried it.). I was so excited about this that I asked someone (in my dream) to use a camera to film my Kapotanasana because I couldn't believe I was actually doing it. Then I woke up.

Today, I didn't even make a pretense that I was going to do Astanga. I just unrolled my mat and settled in for an hour of Yin Yoga. I tried the Yin Liver sequence on the Sarah Power's Insight Yoga DVD. I *love* it. It's much gentler than the Yin Kidney sequence, which has backbends that go on for an eternity. Yin Liver focuses on hip openers and forward bends. These are things I like, so I was a happy camper with my blocks and bolster, a pot of hot tea, a cozy blanket and an eye pillow for Savasana. It felt like a yoga vacation.

I like Yin Yoga when I'm doing it, but when I finish, it feels like I didn't do anything at all. I miss that sweaty, blissed out glow that I get from Astanga. Must be the endorphins.

It's been a while since I offered a 70s Yoga Glamour Shot. I accidentally scanned this upside down, but I like the way that Lyn Marshall looks like Super Woman in her red unitard. All she needs is a cape.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


I was full of god intentions and maybe a bit on autopilot. I unrolled my mat, laid out my Mysore rug and set everything up. I put the kettle on for tea (I love to drink green tea as I practice), put on my yoga garb. I was all ready to go, literally standing on the mat when the dog walked to the door resolutely. She needed to go out.

So I pulled on some jeans and a t-shirt and took her to the park. While we were walking around, I was overcome by a wave of exhaustion so profound, I could have napped on a park bench. I found my second wind and walked home, but I knew that I wouldn't be practising. Instead, I sank into the couch and fell fast asleep, slept deeply until it was time to peel myself off the couch and ride out to teach my next class.

Bottom line, I'm still sick as a dog and it's beginning to really piss me off. I think I'm a *little* bit better, but my head still feels like it will explode every time I do a forward bend, which eliminates much of the Primary Series. I did a brief hatha practice tonight and modified all the forward bends. I'm planning on Yin Yoga tomorrow and I'll see how I feel on Saturday. Until this head cold passes, I'm going to go easy on myself.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Today was a big holiday here with a stat holiday for most, lots of barbeques and fireworks. The dog spent much of the day hiding in the closet, shaking like a leaf.

 I worked in the morning, napped in the afternoon and went out for really fabulous Indian food in the evening. I didn't go to any fireworks this year. The big displays were all cancelled due to the city strike.

Practice got pushed off into the evening. I had a terrible headache so I opted for a gentle Hatha practice with no sun salutations and no standing forward bends.

My horrible cold is finally fading. I'm hoping I'll be back to full strength by the weekend.