Thursday, December 31, 2009


I haven’t spoken of it much because, frankly, it’s become SO routine, but this was the year I resolved to do yoga absolutely-every-single-day-without-fail. I started during WoYoPracMo and I just kept going.

During the first couple of months, it was challenging, but then it stopped being difficult. It just became something I planned for without fuss, like sleeping, or eating or brushing my teeth.

Some of my practices were short and obligatory but I started to notice, especially in late summer and autumn, that my practices were 30 minutes or more. That sense of ‘getting it out of the way’ faded. It stopped feeling like a burden and took on the feel of a beloved ritual that was deeply ingrained and perfect, no matter how long or short.

I expected to do a lot of Astanga over the course of the year, but I was surprised to find that daily practice gave me the space and motivation to experiment with other styles of yoga, new teachers, different class formats (audio, video) and different levels of intensity. I discovered that I'm very firm and opinionated in my likes and dislikes. I discovered that I was fond of yoga styles I had never considered seriously.

The biggest surprise of all (and it shouldn’t have been) was how much I grew as a teacher over the year. I'm a better teacher after a year of focused daily practice. My instruction is far more precise, my cues are clearer and I ‘chatter’ a lot less in my classes. I can teach a greater range of postures and because my verbal instruction is so much stronger, I’m able to walk around and observe more, adjust, offer advice to my students (or just sit around and chill while they warm up in sun salutations).

My jokes are no better, but there’s probably no help for that! ;-)

The more astute among you might have noticed that I’ve been in a bit of a funk. This is actually pretty routine, but it came late this year. Usually I’m already grumpy by mid-December (I hope it fades away quickly). When I’m feeling low-energy, I shy away from the full Primary Series. I've been tempting myself to the mat with fun vinyasa audio classes.

Because today is my LAST practice of the year in a year that I practised daily, I wanted to end on a high note, so I did the full Primary Series with Beryl guiding the way. As of 12:30 p.m. today, I accompished my goal: Yoga Practice every day in 2009! I ended the decade with an OM.

I surprised myself and had a really great practice. Couldn’t bind in Marichyasana D or Supta Kurmasana, but I made a point of trying absolutely everything except Janu Sirsasana C. I even did Setu Bandhasana! By the time I reached the closing sequence, I was feeling excited about Astanga again.

I’m already looking towards the sparkly, brand-new year. It feels like a clean slate. For WoYoPracMo, I’m very tempted to try for a daily full Primary in Janaury. I think it would be a good ‘jump-start’ for my practice in 2010.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


The ‘holiday vibe’ is beginning to wear thin. I’m really starting to miss my routine: early to bed, early to rise, twice daily meditation, healthy meals. I was going to try to move back into that schedule this week, but it didn’t make a lot of sense, given that I’m up very late for New Year’s Eve anyway. I’ll definitely get back into the swing of things over the weekend though - I must.

For years, I’ve endured almost constant construction and renovation in this stupidly over-priced building with little benefit. But the amenities are coming: last week, management announced the opening of the gym. I checked it out and discovered it isn’t bad! There’s an elliptical trainer, a stair climber, a treadmill, some weight stuff. Lots of room for yoga. And free yoga classes, which happen to fall on a night that I already teach (not that I would be very interested in ‘beginning yoga’). There’s space for practising inversions and the gym seems to be empty during the workday.

For years, rumours circulated that there was a ‘hidden sauna’ in the basement. I always scoffed, but the those rumours were true! Who knew?! The sauna reopened along with the gym and it’s obviously an old, retro sauna that was cleaned up. But it works fine. I used it this morning. If I want a serious sauna experience I’ll need to heat it up ahead of time but I was toasty warm for my practice.

I also found out last week that I have free use of the gym facilities at the neighbourhood community centre I work at. This is a boon because they’re close by and they have particularly nice facilities - salt water pool, sauna, steam room, whirlpool and a full range of fitness classes. I have access to all of it now. No excuse for not going to the gym! I have three to chose from (I also can use the small gym I teach at downtown).

I had big plans for my practice this morning which fell through because I lost track of time. I had planned to do the free weekly class over at YogaToday, but ended up doing a shorter one, ‘Opening to Hanumanasana’ with Adi. I was not terribly impressed with it, given that the video froze up about 16 minutes into the practice. I already had the gist of what Adi was doing with the sequence so I improvised for the last 10 minutes and did a 5 minute Savasana. I may give this site another shot, maybe tomorrow, maybe the 60 minute class.

The announcement went out for WoYoPracMo yesterday and I’ll excited about it. Even though I’ve been practising daily all year, it’s a great boost to renew my commitment. Plus, I’ll have a posse again, at least for a month! Are any of you planning to participate?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


I’m finally moving past the discomfort of my Lady’s Holiday, but also facing up to my Holiday Weight Gain. It was so easy to attribute the new pudge around my middle to bloating, but it’s not just bloating. Ug. I’ll be eating healthier in the new year. I think I need a plan - something structured. I’m tempted to say ‘CR’ but I’ve had a hard time going back to that discipline.

Now that I’ve planted the seed, I’ll figure it out.

I did a quick vinyasa practice in the morning, Power Yoga #5, 25 minutes with Jamie. I love this particular sequence, but I love it even more in the 20ish minute format. All the fluff is taken out and it’s just pure vinyasa from start to finish. Jamie doesn’t over-teach in this one - the cues are solid and clear.

Monday, December 28, 2009


Aw, it’s finally snowing a bit! I’m curled up by the window with a cup of hot tea, keeping warm and watching the weather. :-)

I taught a class today, which was good for keeping my spirits up and also for getting me out of bed and back into my routine (I really need to stop sleeping in all the time, but it’s so much FUN!).

I practised in the morning, the same Iyengar restorative sequence I did yesterday. I actually raced to the mat as soon as the bed was made and the dog was fed. My nerves were so badly frayed last night, I was near tears. The yoga was instant relief. I felt wrung out afterward, but balanced and calm.

This morning, practice helped clear my head. I made a few important decisions, setting boundaries on my time and emotional energy over the next week (and beyond). I have a lot to do and I also need to set aside some time to rest before the Big Busy hits next week.

All I really want is a few hours here and there to sit and quietly read a book. I’ve penciled that into my calendar.

Sunday, December 27, 2009


I spent a good part of the day laying around and watching documentaries on that BIG television. Good fun, but I’m a bit burned out on it now.

Still, the ‘Planet Earth’ series was stunning. The episode on ‘Shallow Waters’ was my favourite because of the reefs, marine mammals (baby whale!) and colourful and swirling schools of fish. I’m adding ‘Scuba diving on Indonesian reefs’ to my life list. What’s left of them, anyway. The documentarians were careful not to be too depressing, but there was a sobering undertone of ‘our disappearing wild spaces’ and shadows of climate change.

I’m feeling off-kilter and uncomfortable right now, due to my monthly cycle. I didn’t find my way to the yoga mat until after supper.

I did the I did the restorative sequence found in Chapter 12 of Bobby Clennell’s book. I’ve only skimmed this book, but I tried this sequence in November and was astounded by how much better I felt afterward - not just physically, but emotionally.

Once again, it was magic! My nerves were feeling jagged and the practice smoothed out my rough edges. I feel so much better. I’m going to meditate now, and try to get some sleep.

Saturday, December 26, 2009


I need to get this out of my system: The words ‘Christmas’ and ‘rain’ do NOT belong in the same sentence. Especially in Canada. Especially when even Texas is having some version of a ‘white Christmas’. I was feeling a touch gloomy as I headed to my noon class, huddled under an umbrella to stay dry.

It’s so ugly out right now and I hate the cold damp. It feels like London, except in London, they have *snow*.

Anyway, now that I’m finished with today’s cat visits, the annual parental Christmas Phone Call (in which my mother and I only barely avoided sniping at each other over health care and Obama) and walking my dog, I’m not planning to leave the building for the rest of the day.

Today, my yoga practice was Power Yoga #2, 30 minutes with Natalie. I didn’t like this one, found it inconsistent. It was supposed to be ‘intermediate-advanced’ level, but the first part felt geared toward beginners while the section in the middle felt more ‘advanced’ than ‘intermediate’. The holds were too long (especially the interminable Downward Facing Dog in the beginning) and the flow was choppy.

As I’ve mentioned before, Natalie is a bit too flakey for my tastes and some of her cues actually made me cringe. I had an easier time with this style in the Chakra Balancing class because I was anticipating it. But in a Power Yoga class, I’m looking for a solid flow that moves along at a good clip with minimal chatter.

Eventually, I swear I’m going to get back to some Astanga. But my Lady’s Holiday arrived shortly after I finished my practice, so I’ll be doing Yin for the next couple days.

Friday, December 25, 2009


I didn't feel like doing a long yoga practice today but I wanted to stretch my hips (which were getting stiff from all the sloth, booze and cookies). I decided to try Yoga for Cyclists #1, 12 minutes with Dawnelle.

It’s a fabulous little flow sequence, completely focused on hips and hamstrings. If you ignore the cycling references (including a cue to ‘get off your bike and find a spot on the asphalt or grass’ lol) it’s great as a quick and thorough hip opening class for days when you don’t really feel like doing a lot of yoga, which I didn’t.

Santa Claus was apparently unimpressed that my MacBook was still running Tiger (“Ho, ho, ho, that’s *so* 2005!”) because he put aside the coal this year and brought me Snow Leopard (the latest Mac OS) and iLife 2009. I'm easing into 2010 in style!

I tackled the upgrade during lunch, thinking it would take a while. Keep in mind, I was a Windoze IT Slave for years before my career change. I’m used to computer stuff being painful and drawn out. Not this time.

When I popped in the CD and it instructed me to double-click on the icon to install, I rolled my eyes and looked for the *detailed* installation instructions. I found a PDF which said: Double-click on the icon to install. And it really *was* that simple. Even my internet still worked after. I love Apple!

I spent the rest of the day reading and watching movies (‘Wall-E’ was seriously cute!) I’m eating too much chocolate, enjoying the wine and discovering (once again) that I’m gloriously content spending Christmas solo.

Who needs family drama? I don't!

I didn’t forget Princess Fur Friday and this week’s photo has a holiday theme, of course!

(she earned some serious dog treats for that one)

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 24, 2009


Today, for fun (or at least, in hope of some fun) I did the ‘Dawn’ Yoga Practice from a Rainbeau Mars DVD I checked out at the library.

I found it alarmingly bad. Alignment and safety information were scant. Cueing was incomprehensible, incorrect or entirely absent. In particular, the left-right cueing was frequently off and the mirroring was inconsistent. The hold durations were inconsistent and the pace was far too slow for a flow class, even for beginners.
It was maddening! I’m far more forgiving of errors in a ‘live’ class, but this is a DVD!! Fix it before you release it!

I was bored and started adding stuff, just to jazz it up a bit and keep my heat up. Rainbeau kept adjusting her clothing and fixing her hair. Clearly, the two of us were not communicating well.

Two thumbs down. Needless to say, I won’t bother trying ‘Dusk’ and I’m SO glad I didn’t PAY for this. Back to the library you go!

I realise I sound very critical, but keep in mind, I teach full-time and paying attention to these details helps me become a better teacher. I don’t often have the opportunity to experience from a first-hand perspective a student’s frustration with a teacher who is mirroring sporadically, or messing up her left-right cueing (something I’m notorious for). And when I rave about the skills of a teacher on this blog, you can be sure I’m taking notes and absorbing their cues and techniques into my own teaching style.

The girlfriend left for the ‘burbs yesterday, so I’m on my own for Christmas. Before you feel *too* sorry for me, keep in mind that I’m very busy with my cat-sitting duties and one of the cats I’m feeding came equipped with an incredible home theatre system. And a server loaded with hundreds of movies. And a comfy leather couch.

The cat’s owner gave me permission to enjoy his little movie theatre in his absence and when I stopped by this afternoon, I noticed that he also left a bottle of wine along with the BBC ‘Earth’ series on BluRay.

Lonely? HECK NO! I’m having SO MUCH FUN! I’m watching movies and drinking wine and watching ‘Zack and Miri Make a Porno’! On a whim, I phoned my favourite burrito place and, amazingly, they were open! I don’t even have to prepare supper!

When Santa comes (to deliver my coal, of course), I’m going to offer him some wine and see if he wants to watch ’Star Trek’ with me.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


It looks like I'm going to be pulling in some serious cat-related good Karma this week. I just picked up the key for my THIRD cat sitting gig. Amusingly, I'm now cat sitting for the neighbour who lives next door to my next door neighbour (the one who has the two cats). Since both these neighbours live on my floor, I don't need to travel far, unlike the other cat, who lives in a different building entirely...

Are you confused yet? I don't blame you. I am too.

So I created a special 'Cats' category on my Google Calendar just to manage all the departure and arrival times for the various cat owners (in order to avoid my worst nightmare: entering an apartment for a cat visit, only to find my jet-lagged neighbour getting out of the shower...egad!).

Let the purring commence!

The first few days of the week may have indeed been busy, but today absolutely trumped them. By 8 a.m., I was already up, baking cookies. On the way to my noon class, I had stop by the mall (oh, KILL ME NOW!) and even worse, the Apple Store (ARGH!!!). After class, I made the mad dash home for a very quick lunch before heading back out for two more classes.

From there, I went straight to the soup kitchen where I was not needed in the slightest; We had a GLUT of volunteers. I ended up standing around, gossiping, eating french fries and watching the newbie volunteers collide into one another in the narrow aisles between tables. I finally left because there was nothing to do (I'll be back there early tomorrow anyway).

When I finally got home, I was tense and tired and cranky, so I made some time for Restorative Yoga: Hot aromatherapy bath, 20 minutes of restorative backbending over props, and another 10 minutes on the massage balls (for my shoulders).

I'm all blissed out now.

The next few days will be so nice. I don't *need* to go anywhere. I'll be volunteering at the soup kitchen, but that's more joy than it is work. I teach one class on Boxing Day. But otherwise, it's all sloth. I have a pile of trash fiction from the library, some good books on my Kindle and some groovy new Christmas music to listen to.

And when I was at the library today, I picked up Rainbeau Mars' DVD 'Yoga for Beauty'. There are two different classes offered: Dawn and Dusk. I'm looking forward to my first Rainbeau experience and becoming VERY beautiful, since the DVD promises to “Improve circulation for an all-over glow!”, “Boost energy and vitality” and “Eliminate impurities for radiant skin!”.


Tuesday, December 22, 2009


I'm definitely a dog person, but I do like cats. And this year, I'm the official Holiday Cat Sitter for my neighbourhood! I'm looking after a grand total of three cats - I picked up the final set of keys this morning.

Unlike dogs, cats can pretty much fend for themselves for days at a time, but I'm stopping in once a day to make sure the kitties have food and water and some affection. These felines are hilarious and I'll definitely be posting some stories.

The cats, along with everything else I'm involved in, will be keeping me busy over the next week-and-a-bit. I was initially concerned that I might be bored or lonely - the girlfriend is away for a week visiting with family. But no - I checked my calendar and there's something listed every single day. Between my classes, the soup kitchen, the cats, parties and fun with friends, my dance card is filled!

And weirdly, I'm finding it really difficult to fit my yoga practice in. This morning, I found an spare half-hour before leaving to teach and decided to go ahead and practice. I'm glad I did! I wouldn't have had time to otherwise.

My stiff, crampy hip is still bugging me a bit, so I did the YogaDownload Hip Opening Flow #1 sequence, 20 minutes, with Jamie. This was a better class than yesterday's - less scripty and staged. And the poses were great for my hips. Sadly, there isn't a longer version of this class. I was hoping for a 30 and 45 minute version.

Next on my tight schedule: cleaning. The apartment is a pig sty. If Santa sees this mess, he won't even bother to come in and put coal in my stocking! I want my coal!

Monday, December 21, 2009


A while back, a read a post somewhere about 'the yoga teacher voice'. The writer was wondering why? Why talk in that funny, faux-soothing, smooth, new-agey, yoga voice while teaching? Why do teachers do it? (confession: I do it too!).

Today, I had my answer: It actually adds a necessary element to the class. Used in moderation, it adds character.

Technically, there was nothing wrong with the 30 minute Power Yoga #1 sequence I did today. I liked the poses, I liked the flow, I liked the sequencing. Even the timing was perfect.

But it was too perfect. It was almost like a radio news-reader was leading the class.

Jamie's voice was bland and slightly monotone. It was almost as if she was reading off a script (which I kind of suspect she was!). I'm going to take a while guess here and speculate that this was one of the first 'prototype classes' for YogaDownload - they hadn't quite perfected their technique.

This was a good class, but it wasn't a great one. It was technically perfect, but had no character.

I can't believe I'm saying this, but what it needed was a dash of good, old-fashioned, new-age flakiness. It needed some 'yoga teacher voice'.

I had a good practice though, and it was exactly the right amount of yoga to fit into this busy day. I teach today, then I'm meeting up with the girlfriend for a nice dinner out followed by the Festival of Lights parade to celebrate the Solstice. We're also exchanging our gifts tonight. I already know what I'm getting: socks and the latest DVD set for Grey's Anatomy.

No doubt, we'll lay around watching DVDs and eating chocolate until the wee hours!

Sunday, December 20, 2009


I don't know why I thought I would be *less* busy in December. Last night, I attended yet another holiday party. It's never a problem for me to pass on the booze, but I do love cookies. And today, my life is swirling in a frenzied whirl as I prepare a holiday supper for family.

This is the last of it though. Solstice is tomorrow - that's when we exchange gifts. Then things will quiet down. I actually enjoy Christmas because there's no pressure to do anything - and the only thing there is to do is ice skate and go to movies.

Earlier today, I carved out an hour for myself and did the 45 minute version of Power Yoga #5 with Jamie. This one was very similar to the 30 minute, with additional poses during the vinyasa (including tripod headstand, which I'm starting to love) some ab work (including boat pose, which I'm starting to hate) and an opening warm-up section.

I enjoyed it. By the time it finished, I didn't jump when the phone rang.

Okay, each week, I search through my access stats for the most interesting search terms that lead people to this website. This week, The Internet Asked:

“fruit sweetened“+yogurt-covered+almonds
My response: OMG, I LOVE these things! I don't know how you ended up here, gentle searcher, but I share your obsession! The fruit sweetened yoghurt covered raisins are also awesome. I don't like the kind with the white covering - the dark beige covering is the best. It has a vaguely vanilla flavour. YUM!

can't bind marichyasana c
A common problem this time of year. Not that I ever have problems like that *cough, darkchocolatecoveredcarmels, cough*

sasangasana chakra
Sasangasana is 'rabbit pose'. Chakra is an energy centre, located along the spine. Rabbits do not have Chakras. At least, as far as I know...

Saturday, December 19, 2009


Yes, I am aware that totally missed the boat for 'Princess Fur Friday' yesterday. But if I can't find time for my yoga practice then digging around for a good photo of my dog is probably not in the cards. Today will be better. I've carved out some time in the afternoon to eat Death By Chocolate cookies and chill out. I need this - I'm losing it.

This week, we'll have 'Princess Fur Saturday' because I know a few of you would be too sad if I didn't post a Fur Photo.

Lately, the Princess has been stretching out her legs in this hilarious fashion, then just LEAVING THEM THERE, hanging in space. For long, uncomfortable periods. Until I'm compelled to walk over and make an 'adjustment' to her 'sleeping pose', because OMG-the-hyperextension!

I'm SUCH a yoga teacher!

By the way, this (by which I mean sleeping, not hyperextension) is typically what the Princess does each day as I practice yoga: blissfully snoozing off her breakfast (in anticipation of lunch, the cuddles, a walk, more cuddles, another nap, treats!, cuddles, supper, etc.).

In my next life, I think I want to BE Princess Fur!

So here's a shocker: I'm feeling reluctant to practice Ashtanga these days. Even a good dose of Beryl isn't reviving my passion for the practice. And so I'm taking a break - relying on some fun, happy YogaDownload 'Power Yoga' classes to keep myself on the mat. I'm quite aware that I go through 'phases' in my practice and here's yet another one!

Not exactly lazy, but 'bored' perhaps?

Today, I did Power Yoga #5, 30 minutes with Jamie. I'm realising that YogaDownload does Power Yoga/Vinyasa stuff particularly well.

This was a fun, snappy class with strong and effective cueing. I was having one of those mornings when I did NOT want to be on the mat but within 5 minutes, I was rolling along and enjoying the ride.

Good class! I have a feeling the 20 minute version will be just as good, and I'm eager to see what the longer versions are like - there's even a 75 minute version for this one! That's four more version of this particular class to try. Maybe I'll make it a 'vinyasa' week!

Friday, December 18, 2009


Theoretically, today should have been easy peasy. No classes to teach, no place I needed to be. Theoretically.

But, in fact, I had to finish some work in the morning, then errands: Stop by the post office, drop off rent cheques at my landlord's office and battle public transit to get home in time to stop by my neighbour's place to meet the her cats (as one of the few people in this city who doesn't travel someplace exciting for the holiday, I'm the Cat Sitter of Choice in the neighbourhood).

And then Princess Fur needed her holiday fur-cut (I'm now getting the 'silent treatment' from the Princess, who doesn't appreciate the clippers).

I needed to eat lunch. *burp*

And then I remembered that I still hadn't ordered my mom's Christmas present. I wanted to check that one off my list because I double over with guilt-pangs each time I see someone pass me on the sidewalk with gifts and wrapping paper.

I promised to work a shift at the soup kitchen tonight.

And yoga? Oh yes, yoga! THAT yoga! Of *course* I'm going to do yoga. Ummm...just as soon as I can find space to unroll my mat in the chaos of my apartment and locate a spare 10 minutes.

Today, it's a short, simple practice: 5 Surya Namaskara A, 3 Surya Namaskara B.

Sometimes, that's the best I can do (Seriously, I cannot WAIT until things slow down a bit).

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Yes, of course, it's Sting. And here I thought I was being all clever and mysterious!

Seriously! *I* wouldn't have known that was Sting if somebody didn't point it out. But then, I live in a pop culture vacuum. You see? This is what I get for not watching television or reading Perez Hilton. ;-D

In the comments on that post, Claudia was all heartbroken because she didn't get to see Sting in a loincloth. Since we're a full-service weblog here at the Reluctant Ashtangi, here is Sting-in-a-loincloth, embedded for your viewing pleasure:

I'm wondering if that's *really* a loincloth though. It looks more like extra fancy tidy-whities to me. Anyways, this clip was shot in 1993 and every single pose in it is a 'rock star pose' Sting's looking good! Believe me, none of you want to see me doing Astanga in *my* underwear.

The Gregor Maehle Intermediate Series book finally made it to Canada. Last night, I was snug and warm in my tiny apartment, hunkered down with a good book and a cup of hot tea when I realised that The Book was in the stores. So, of course, I packed up and headed out into the cold, to my local bookstore.

In Canada, Maehle's book is SO new, it wasn't even out on the floor yet (I had to ask an employee find it in the store room). I feel like the last 'Ashtangi in the Ashtangaverse' to read this thing. I'm only a few pages in, but so far, it's good. I like Maehle for his clarity. He takes complex topics and makes them succinct. This is a value-added when the topic is Yoga Philosophy.

I guess I was serious when I said that I could do that Power Vinyasa Flow #3 all week. Today, I was pressed for time in the morning, so I tried the 20 minute version of this class. It's just as awesome as the 30 minute version because they left all the fun stuff in there. The 20 minute version is free, so you can download and try it if you like. Just be sure to download the PDF as a visual guide because some of the poses are obscure.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Tonight was the Big Festive Holiday Supper for the soup kitchen programme I volunteer with. We fed upwards of 650 guests and gave out small gifts too. It was hectic, but very fun. I wore a festive ribbon on my apron, with a garnish of holly, red turtleneck and a little silver jingle bell. I was holiday themed!

I only volunteer on Wednesday nights when my schedule slows, but the crew of Wednesday regulars totally remembered me and I was touched by the enthusiastic greeting I received from my fellow volunteers.

I'll be at the soup kitchen for almost all the meals over the next few weeks, including the Wednesday supper and the Thursday morning breakfast in addition to my regular Fridays. This is something I do every year when my schedule slows down and I really enjoy it. It keeps me busy.

I honoured the Moon Day today and didn't do an Astanga practice. Instead, I tried a YogaDownload class, Power Vinyasa Flow #3, 30 minutes, with Jackie.

Goodness, I enjoyed this! This particular class is brand new to me, but it was SO good (Jackie is really growing on me). The sequence was snappy, fun and challenging. It made me want to drop everything else for the next week and just work on mastering these transitions (lots of balancing).

Happily, I've only done the 30 minute version so far, so I can look forward to trying the 20, 45 and 60 minute versions of this one.

I was impressed with the preparatory variation for Vasisthasana - I'll be using that for my own classes. I also loved moving from a bound squat into Bird of Paradise, Svarga Dvidasana. Svarga certainly isn't my 'rock star pose' - I can't straighten my lifted leg completely. But it's fun!

And it appears the REAL rock stars can't straighten their legs in the pose either, so I don't feel *too* bad about it.


Anyone want to take a guess? I found this on the Internet.

Behold those deltoids!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


I did it! I did it! I woke up early. ish. Okay, not very early, but at least I got up.

I walked the dog, swept the floor and then I practised yoga, a very reluctant half-primary and ouch, my low back is cranky right now. I had to coax myself to the mat by comitting to the sun saluations and standing poses only. But once I got through those, half-Primary seemed do-able.

And *then*, I finally decorated my Christmas Tree:

Oops. Misfire! :-D Let's try that again:
Cute, isn't it? It's just as small as it looks, only about a foot high.

I bought my funny, crooked little tree 17 years ago. I was in university, wandering around Kmart at 11:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve feeling sorry for msyelf. This was the last tree on the shelf. I bought it on a whim, thinking it would be a temporary thing.

And I've put it up every year since. Here's to Christmas Traditions!

Monday, December 14, 2009


It's official: I've been sleeping *too* much.

It almost seems impossible, but I think am! The trouble is, I really LIKE sleeping. I don't watch much television, but I *do* have these dramatic, technicolour dreams at night. It's so entertaining! This morning, I was having a doozy of a dream. After the alarm sounded, I went back to sleep in hopes that the storyline would play out.

I wanted to know how it ended! Silly!

So I was strapped for time this morning and also feeling pretty heavy and yucky (Moon day on Wednesday), but not tired because I had plenty of sleep. I decided to do half-Primary and practice with Sharath's recording because he's short and snappy, quicker than Beryl. I turned him off for closing and enjoyed Savasana in blissful silence. I whipped through it in a bit less than an hour.

I noticed that I pay attention to my breath more diligently with the Sharath recording.

I worked up a pretty good heat, but that didn't make it feel any better. It was an awful practice. My joints felt stiff and gumby. I'm still sore from my heroic-run-to-work on Saturday. My shins hurt (almost like shin splints, but not quite as bad). My quads are sore.

And I'm back in that headspace where I don't feel like my own body fits me. I feel this when I'm teaching too - my cues sound awkward coming out of my mouth. I've gained a few pounds, but I don't think that's it. I think the problem is in my brain (and I'll move through it as I always do).

Recently I've noticed that my left hip is at it's worst when I'm sitting in my window seat, working on the computer. I may change my routine to avoid this.

And I *still* haven't put up the Christmas tree! I need to do this soon! So here's a plan that will solve *all* my problems: I'll get up early tomorrow, take a hot bath before I practice yoga and when I'm through my practice, I'll put up the Christmas Tree!

Sunday, December 13, 2009


I was out late partying last night. Like a true party animal, I filled my glass as soon as I got there - with water. And then I hit the veggie tray.

Everyone stood around and 'oooed' and 'ahhhed' over the healthy yoga teacher. But the truth? I can nosh truffles with the best of them. But I spent the afternoon baking cookies and I was all sugared out. Also, crowds of people in formal clothing exhaust me (and wearing formal clothing *really* exhausts me). I was thoroughly tuckered by midnight so I set off for the subway before I turned into a pumpkin.

Then I slept in this morning. I was so looking forward to an entire, glorious day of me, me, and more me. But unfortunately, I slept through half of it. But I did do the full Primary Series today.

With a few geek-related interruptions. :-D

As I've mentioned before, I often practice with DVDs, but after the first run-through I don't actually watch them. This is one reason I enjoy those 'audio' classes so much. I've been trying to figure out a way to 'MP3' my favourite DVDs.

I wrote to Karen a while ago to get some tips and she nudged me in the right direction, but I didn't have time to follow up. I was most of the way through my sun salutations when I decided that now was the perfect time to get started with a new project: turning Beryl's Power Yoga DVD into something I could carry around on my iPod Shuffle.

During the first part of my practice today, I alternated between computer and mat, downloading, installing, converting and exporting. By the time I was ready for Marichyasana A, I rejoined Beryl, via MP3. Success! And who says that geekdom and yoga greatness are mutally exclusive things?

Props to Karen for the assistance (Once again, the CyberShala has come through). I'm now getting all geeky and excited about converting several of my favourite DVDs onto MP3. This is fun!

Oh yes, and I had a good yoga practice. My hip is still crampy but maybe a *tiny* bit better. Interestingly, my flexibility hasn't been impacted at all by the crampiness. If anything, I'm *more* flexible in the left hip. It's so werid!

Predicatably, my quads and shins are sore from my heroic run to class yesterday. In a good way. This makes me miss running (which I can no longer do because of my crunchy knees).

I skipped Janu Sirsasana C and Setu Bandhasanad. Sirsasana is back to being strong and stable again after a period of flakiness.

Now, on to my regular Sunday feature, The Internet Asks...

These are actual Internet search terms that brought people to this site over the past week. I pick three of the most interesting ones to share, in hopes of being helpful or, failing that, entertaining.

reluctance to practice yoga
Raise your hand if this has happened to you! *entire CyberShala raises hands*

Okay, here's the thing: After that first flush of OMG-this-is-awesome fades away, Yoga is hard. Reluctance is bound to come up as you face your daily practice, particularly a home practice. Here's my advice: commit to five minutes on the mat. That's a few sun salutations, no big deal. At that point, if you're *still* reluctant, you can bail, but I'm betting you won't.

yoga chickie ashtanga DVD
She doesn't have one, as far as a I know. And (I know I'm really going out on a limb here)I don't think one is in the works. ;-)

tightness diaphragm supta kurmasana
Wow! You're very attentive to that pose! To be completely honest, I'm so busy trying to bind my fingers together and get my legs crossed behind my head in Supta K, it's never occurrs to me to think about what my diaphragm is doing. And yes, I *am* breathing as I'm doing all of that.

Incredibly, I'm the very first site that pops up for that last search string. Emboldened by this success, I was hopeful that I would come in first place for i can't bind in supta kurmasana, but I don't even rate. Yoga Chickie has that one in the bag!

Maybe next time...

Saturday, December 12, 2009


Murphy was running the public transit system this morning. You know, Murphy. The same guy who created 'Murphy's Law'.

I stepped onto the subway, thinking I was in for a 7 minute ride downtown only to realise that I'd better make myself comfortable because that train wasn't going *anywhere* very quickly. Stop and start. Stop and start.

It was either mechanical failure or a suicide. My vote is for a suicide. The announcement said that it was a switching problem but you never know if they're being honest. Especially on the weekend, which is suicide prime time, particularly this time of year.

I finally got off the train and took a streetcar, then I RAN to the gym, only to discover that I had NO students. Not a single one. I'm so glad I hurried! *eyeroll* One person signed up, but didn't show up and all of my regulars were MIA. It's never happened before at this particular venue, so I'm blaming Christmas. Stuff like this gets me all cynical and Grinchy.

I chatted with the guy at the front desk for awhile and then wandered off to the Grumpy Russian Guy to get my hair cut. It wasn't too cold so I walked up to my favourite music store to look at guitar stands.

I have this theory: I'll practice more if I can actually see my guitar sitting there in the corner of the room. Guilt by visualization! (I hope Guitar Teacher isn't reading this! I *have* been practising! Honest!) The whole see-it-do-it thing works for yoga - I keep my mat in plain sight for precisely that reason. Besides, my new guitar is really beautiful. It will be fun to have it out.

I bought a nice stand, one of the Hercules ones. Very solid. I like supporting the Sikh Guy and his little downtown music store. They're competing again the Big Chain Guys and I know it's rough going for him some months. He was happy to see me!

And now I'm baking cookies and figuring out something decent to wear to the Christmas party tonight. My girlfriend is out of town, so I don't have to travel to anywhere this weekend. I'm very excited about staying put, a homebody at home! Tomorrow, I'm going to hunker down with a pot of chai tea and do the full Primary Series with my buddy Beryl! Good times :-)

To prepare, I did a kind of squirrely and distracted half-Primary this morning, ending with an appended closing sequence (I ran out of time). But I did do a State-of-the-Backbend photograph, featuring my new winter weight gain (Thank you so very much, President's Choice Sea-salt-covered-dark-chocolate-caramels *burp*).

I wish I could love backbending, I really do. Because someday, I would like to be good at it. And when it's done right, it looks so wonderful and comfortable. Sort of like years ago when I watched Patricia Walden plant her heels into the floor in Downward Facing Dog. It looked so *juicy* (and come to think of it, now that I can, it actually is).

Can backbends be juicy? How? Hm...

Friday, December 11, 2009


Ah ha! Back to Astanga today. My arm is feeling better! I didn't over-do it though - I stuck with the Swenson 30-minute short form, by the book. For some reason, it always takes me much longer than 30 minutes. Today, I was on the mat for about 45 minutes. And boy, I felt stiff. The muscles around my left hip are still very crampy.

I'm developing a theory around that and it's not a happy one. A lot of the crampiness is around the sacrum. I hope this isn't that elusive Sacroiliac Thing that plagues Ashtangis. That would totally spoil my plans for January!

After my practice, I bundled myself up and bundled Princess Fur up, then we went for our daily walk, stopping at the pet store for dog food. Did I mention that it's cold out? It's COLD out! But I'm not complaining because I was the one being all annoyed last week because winter wasn't kicking enough ass. We have snow on the ground and ice on the sidewalks. The windchill is -17. Enough!

I made Princess Fur wear her fancy red polarfleece dog coat, made by the signature Canadian company, 'Roots' (Stop laughing, Australians!) and her hot pink dog boots which I found on sale at PetSmart two years ago. I hate the colour but half price is half price.

Don't worry, I'm going somewhere with this. In fact, I'm going here:

PunK RoCk PrinCess

Boy, she looks indignant! Clearly, I was having waaaaay too much fun with the clippers that day!

This was fun! So, henceforth, Fridays on this blog will known as 'Princess Fur Fridays' and will feature a story or photo of my favourite downward facing schnauzer. At least, until I run out of good material and we all know *that* will never happen!

Thursday, December 10, 2009


I did another Yin practice (Sarah Powers DVD) today. Usually, I do the Yin 'liver' sequence because I'm not fond of all the backbending that happens in the Yin 'kidney'. Since I did Yin 'liver' yesterday, I thought I should do the kidney practice to even everything out.

I was shocked to discover that I actually like it!

I can hold all the poses indefinitely in the 'liver' sequence, but the 'kidney' challenges me. Today, I managed to hold all poses, including the Sphinx backbend for the duration suggested.

I bailed out of Seal (a deeper backbend similar to cobra) early, but that's okay! At least I *did* Seal. Usually I modify it or do something easier in it's place.

Now I'm all excited about the prospect of holding Seal for even longer next time. Look at me! All excited about a backbend!

The first time I tried this DVD, I collapsed onto the mat and muttered “Fat chance!” under my breath during the long hold in Seal. But Yin is really growing on me. I'm really feeling the benefits of this practice and today particularly, I feel better for having done it.

Now I'm even pondering the radical step of introducing one Yin practice per week into my schedule. Hm...

In other news, I'm lazy! Yes, lazy!

As the holidays near, my teaching schedule is getting lighter. This week, I really noticed it because most of my evening classes are on hiatus. Here I am, midweek and I haven't taught a yoga class in over 24 hours! I starting to get twitchy! ;-)

Today, I took advantage of my downtime and slept in, clocking over 10 hours of sleep. Then I did the laundry. And surfed the Internet. I'm doing a lot of reading too. I still haven't put up the Christmas tree but it's coming!

Next week, the schedule will become still lighter, so you can look forward to even more sloth! I'm considering daytime naps but also long walks with Princess Fur and some extra shifts at the soup kitchen. Do those count as 'sloth'?

Maybe I'm not good at sloth! Maybe this is something I should work on...I'll certainly have the time!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Yin, Mobile Meditator Review

Today's practice was low-key and simple: 45 minutes of Yin with a Sarah Powers DVD. The last time my arm was this sore (after the H1N1 shot), a Hatha practice proved to be too much. Even basic standing poses brought too much tension into my upper back.

Fortunately, I have a period of about 24 hours without any teaching, so I'll truly be able to rest. I don't need to go *anywhere* until tomorrow evening, a rare turn of events. This morning I slept in, clocking 10+ hours of sleep. It can't hurt to be well-rested!

As promised, today I'm reviewing the Mobile Meditator meditation cushion (sometimes called a 'zafu'), a product I've been testing for the past month.

Mobile Meditator arrives folded in this case

A couple months ago, I started looking around for a portable zafu to take to my monthly meditation group. I wasn't planning to replace my buckwheat hull zafu (though I wasn't entirely happy with it), I just wanted something that was easy to carry for my trek across the city. Carrying my heavy buckwheat hull zafu was out of the question and using a smaller support pillow wasn't sufficient; my legs kept falling asleep.

After hours of searching online, I found very little. Most portable zafus are 'made-in-china' beach balls stuffed inside a round zafu cover. They didn't sound very stable (and the reviews were really mixed). The Prapatti cushion (which I'll discuss in a later post) was expensive and though more portable than a traditional zafu, it wasn't suitable for real travel.

(Realistically, I know that I'm a homebody, but I like to think that I could just take off at a moments notice and become a meditating world traveller. Don't laugh! It could happen!)

I stumbled upon the Mobile Meditator quite by accident, but I was delighted to find it. The product was developed by Scott Salzman, a daily meditator and outdoors enthusiast who wanted a zafu he could take with him on wilderness treks. Unlike the beach ball, this cushion is designed for meditation by people who meditate regularly.

It's very well designed. The Mobile Meditator is crescent shaped and constructed out of the same durable material used for those inflatable camping mattresses. It's even 'flocked' like a camping mattress. There are three separate chambers to inflate (and each must be inflated separately). This provides greater stability and also the ability to customize the height of the cushion. When deflated, the zafu folds neatly into a small pouch.

Unfolded and ready to inflate

The website mentions the many daily meditators who have abandoned their more traditional zafus in favour of the Mobile Meditator. I rolled my eyes when I read this, but I have to confess, I've joined their ranks! I've come to prefer my Mobile Meditator and I use it at home as well as 'on the road'. I'm planning to buy a second, 'back-up' Mobile Meditator so I can keep one at home for use in my daily meditation practice, freeing up the other one to take to classes when I teach.

If you're accustomed to the solid feel of buckwheat hulls beneath your tush, sitting on air is an adjustment, but it doesn't take long. I find the air chambers of the Mobile Meditator very comfortable for longer meditation sessions. If I need to, I can adjust the height of the cushion to meet my range of flexibility on a given day.

Inflated and ready to go!

For example, at the moment my left hip is stiff and sore. I've added extra air to the Mobile Meditator to provide more height to ease the pressure on that hip. After my normal range of flexibility returns, I'll be able to release some of the air, creating a smaller cushion with less height.

Like any good meditation cushion, the Mobile Meditator tilts the pelvis slightly forward. The height of the cushion along with this angle makes it possible to maintain a tall spine for long periods of meditation.

It's quick and easy to inflate. The first time I took it to my meditation group, I thought I would feel conspicuous, but it inflates in less than 15 seconds (one big puff of air for each side chambers, two big puffs for the middle one). No one even noticed. One moment, I standing there with a small orange envelope in my hand. The next, I was sitting comfortably on a zafu. People were amazed!

Deflating and refolding it takes a bit longer. I usually do this on the floor, squeezing most of the air out, then 'rolling' the zafu from the crescent tips (and releasing the air in those chambers) to the middle section. Fully deflated, it folds easily and it's tiny! It fits easily into a purse or large coat pocket.

The flocking on the Mobile Meditator is soft and prevents sliding but there's a downside: It picks up lint like nobody's business. If you have a cat, you'll soon have a cat-hair-covered zafu! My miniature schnauzer sheds very little, but I've found her hair on my Mobile Meditator.

I have a bright orange zafu, so it's the dark fuzzies off of my black socks that show up best (If I had a black zafu, I'm sure it would be the white fuzzies from my favourite blanket). Lint rolls work fabulously for clean-up though, and as pernickety as I am, this issue doesn't spoil the product for me. But it's something to be aware of.

I've found that the flocking also gets dirty and can be difficult to clean. Soap and water will do the trick for simple dirt, but more stubborn stains are hard to remove from the flocking. The product doesn't come with any sort of washable cover. The Mobile Meditator is not sturdy enough to accommodate over 200 lbs of weight.

Common sense: Don't jump on your Mobile Meditator. It will pop!

To sum up...

- Small and compact for travel
- Very comfortable!
- Infinitely adjustable
- Very affordable (I give Scott huge props for offering this product at such a fair price)

- Sitting on 'air' requires a period of adjustment
- The flocking attracts lint
- No cover and not easy to clean
- Not suitable for meditators over 200 lbs

All in all? I love it. It meets my needs both as a travel zafu and for everyday use. I wholeheartedly recommend it!

Readers of this blog (or anyone else who serendipitously stumbles across this post) are welcome to take advantage of a limited time 20% discount on the Mobile Meditator. Just use this coupon code, TRA20, when making your purchase on the website.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Cruising around the Interwebz today, I noticed something disturbing. Snow. Everywhere but here. Seriously, this is Canada! Where's our snow? I want some white stuff and pronto!

I still haven't put up the tree, but I might feel more inspired if it looked a bit more like December.

I'm glad I did my yoga practice early today because it's certainly not going to happen tonight. I can barely lift my right arm. I figured two weeks was long enough to wait after getting the dreaded H1N1 shot. I went to my doctor's office this afternoon to get the regular flu shot, something I do every year.

The first surprise: The office was empty! I guess no one is sick this year. Seriously, you could hear echos bouncing off the walls. The nurse brought me into the Needle Room mere minutes after I walked in. I got the shot and I was out of there in under 20 minutes - and that's with the 15 minute wait afterward.

Second surprise: My arm hurts. No, it really HURTS! I asked to be injected in my right deltoid this time around, just to give my left Deltie a break. I can't believe how much my arm is aching! I don't remember this amount of discomfort last year or ever.

But it's better than getting the flu!

I'm feeling a lack of enthusiasm about my practice lately and even Beryls DVD isn't helping. So I'm mixing it up a bit and going back to the YogaDownload classes. Today, I tried Power Yoga #4, 35 minutes with Dawnelle.

I'm a great fan of Dawnelle, but I hated this class. There was nothing 'power' about it. There was no flow, no warm up. The holds were waaaaaaay too long and they were inconsistent between sides. This was not a vinyasa class at all - it was more of a Hatha style.

And it was unbearably flakey. I didn't think Dawnelle did flakey much, but I guess she does. I'll never practice with that class again - it was a waste of time.

On the bright side, there was some Vasisthasana in the sequence and I discovered quite by accident that this pose is suddenly do-able for me. I even grabbed my big toe and extended my leg upward. This is a first! Despite my sloth, I'm getting stronger! Who knew?

Coming up tomorrow: I'm going to post my thoughts on the Mobile Meditator inflatable zafu I've been using for the past month.

Monday, December 7, 2009


I decided to start the week off right with an overabundance of sleep. I slept in until 8 (late for me!) and then scrambled around trying to get my morning stuff completed before I left for my noon class.

I didn't do my practice until the afternoon. My left hip has been really bothering me lately - not an injury really. It's more like a constant cramping sensation, the kind you get if you've been sitting in one place for too long. Except, I can feel it when I'm walking around and it's *yucky*.


So I did a Hatha practice of hip openers and spent a lot of time in Eka Pada Raj Kapotanasana (Pigeon Pose) today. My hip felt better afterward, but now it feels crampy again. Might be Astanga growing pains...?

I'm going to take my crampy hip to ice hockey tonight and see if that snaps it out of its funk! A few body checks will do it some good (just *kidding* - my league is non-contact, or it's *supposed* to be!).

Today was busy, busy, busy again. I spent the afternoon catching up on all the stuff I wasn't able to get to over the weekend, because I was busy.

It's a shame because it was such a pleasant, quasi-snowy, drowsy day. I would have loved to just sit by the window and read a good book. Maybe tomorrow?

Sunday, December 6, 2009


Sunday is usually my Day of Lazy, but not today.

I had to reschedule a private for the afternoon so I was up early doing my yoga practice and I had to take Princess Fur back to the city around noon.

I did a very strong and steady half-Primary this morning. It was the best practice I've had in days, which is a surprise, given how poorly I slept.

My low back has been feeling cranky and I have no idea why. I'm feeling even busier than I was before, which is bizarre, given that 5 of my classes are on hiatus until January. Seriously, what gives? was slim pickings for The Internet Asks this week, but I managed to drudge up some moderately interesting keywords from my access stats.

difference between paschimattanasana and paschimottanasana
Apparently, there is! I learned this during my one and only visit to Shala Central. Paschimottanasana is apparently pronounced Paschimattanasana by Sharath and he's pretty militant about enforcing this pronunciation.

See? This is a good argument for why I should go to a shala! I'm missing out on all this great gossip!

grimmly ashtanga
Used as an adjective, 'grimmly ashtanga' is how I practice when I'm sick or hungover
Used as a noun, this refers to the Ashtangi formerly known as 'grimmly ashtanga'. He is now known as 'grimmly ashtanga vinyasa krama'. You can find him here.

supta baddha konasana for bad back
I first misread this as 'supta baddha konasana for bad luck' and I was thinking, “What pose would be GOOD luck?”

But yes, Supta Baddha Konasana can ease a sore low back because it opens the hips, which helps correct the misalignment of the pelvis that leads to back pain. In general hip openers are a good strategy to ease low back pain.

Saturday, December 5, 2009


How is it that I'm technically working less, but I'm MORE busy?! Today had no wiggle room, none at all.

I slept in late this morning because I was out late on Friday night partying with Dutch people. I now know more than I ever imagined I wanted to about St. Nicholas Day. It's about more than gifts in wooden clogs!

Here's a brief synopsis: St. Nicholas, who is Turkish and works in the government, comes to Holland on a boat from Spain. He is met by a white horse and 6-8 black men (apparently, the number is changeable, sort of like the Surya Namaskara B's in Astanga). They are all named Zwarte Piet (Black Pete). In olden times, these guys may have been slaves (and St. Nicholas wears a pointy hat, but hey, let's not go there...) but now they're all 'just friends' and they hang out together.

If Dutch children are bad, then they are beaten with sticks by the 6-8 black men, then St. Nicholas kidnaps them and takes them to Spain. There are no documented cases, though my Dutch friend told me very solemnly that her parents never mentioned the beating, only the kidnapping (that was apparently enough to scare her into obedience).

On the plus side, Dutch children put out their shoes and sing a little song and voila! In the morning, St. Nicholas has stopped by on his white horse and filled the shoes with small gifts.

For our part, we ate cookies and chocolate and exchanged small 'secret santa' type gifts with badly composed poetry. It was a hoot!

I had so much fun, I forgot to meditate in the evening and I slept in so late that my yoga practice got bumped to suppertime. I did my typical last-minute-must-do-yoga thing: Sun salutations and some Hatha poses.

Friday, December 4, 2009


My body was sore and stiff this morning, plus my lower back was cranky. I started my practice with the intention of doing half-Primary but ended up just moving through the sun salutations and standing poses then moving right into Savasana. CONK!

That's all I had in me (and, as it turns out, all I had time for). It was an unremarkable practice, one of those that I'm just happy to have behind me...moving on!

Today has been dull, but insanely productive. My small victories include cleaning the bathroom and scrubbing the floors, teaching one class, spending too much money at the grocery store, then discovering that that a cheque from a client *bounced* (Boing! Boing! Thanks for the warning, people! Boo!) It's a good thing I put extra money in that account, but Christmas is now looking a tad grim. I hope I get they pay up soonish.

In terms of my schedule, the Yoga Gods are being SO good to me: I'm adding a private this month which may carry into the New Year and all of my current classes are schedule to continue into January.

And update on the Princess:
Princess Fur is doing very well! She's almost completely recovered from her little encounter with the dental scaler and her gums are healing nicely from the extractions. Last night, she asked to come up on the futon while I was reading and then slept next to my leg for the better part of the night (She always jumps down after a while; I can only guess that I snore, fart or kick in my sleep - or maybe all three!)

Anyway, I think she's finally forgiven me!

Project Doggie Dental 2010 has already started in earnest: I'm brushing her teeth both in the a.m. and p.m., daily. I'll start bi-weekly treatments with the tartar control gel next week once her gums have healed up.

I'm also adding vitamin C to her food. I smoosh up the tablets with a spoon to create a white powder and add half of it to her supper. Anyone who saw it in my kitchen might raise an eyebrow, but believe me, no one's getting high off *this* stuff. The vitamin C is supposed to bring the pH of her urine back into balance. I've also heard rumours that it eliminates brown stains on the beard. That would be nice. I'm curious to see if this works.

My dog is extremely well cared for. As my girlfriend frequently points out, Princess Fur gets a LOT of attention. More attention *ahem* than some of the humans in my life. :-D

Thursday, December 3, 2009


I finally reached the end of my rope on this sleep thing. This morning, after a night of restless sleep (I have no idea why...over-tired maybe?), I woke for my morning meditation. To my credit, I persevered, but I was drowsing out every few minutes and by the end, I just wanted to curl up in a ball and rest.

So I went back to bed. I slept for three hours. It was *great*. I didn't get anything done (which is another issue to contend with), but at least I slept. The punchline? I'm *still* tired. The good news is, I'm not teaching tonight, so I'll be able to go to bed early.

After lunch, I reviewed my to-dos and highlighted the 'absolutes'. Mainly, my email box needs to be emptied, Princess Fur needs tending and attention and I'm teaching two classes. I'm working my way through the list, but I feel drained.

Practice (done this evening because I was busy sleeping in the morning and avoiding my to-do list in the afternoon) was Chakra Balancing Yoga with Natalie, 20 minutes. If nothing else is balanced, at least my Chakras are!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


The moon looked pretty full last night! People were acting weird around the city. Weirdness in the subway, weirdness on the street, weirdness in my classes. And, predictably, the little kids in my afternoon class were bat-shit-crazy-NUTS. I decided to go along with it and came up with a CRAZY yoga class for them.

First, we ran around in circles screaming our heads off as we personified the Gunas. Screaming and running represented 'Rajas', falling dramatically to the floor in (fake; believe me, for the, it was fake) exhaustion was 'Tamas' and skipping around happily with goofy grins portrayed 'Sattva'.

Then we played this game where they ran around pell-mell until I shouted the name of a pose. As soon as every child was in that pose, I yelled RUN! And they did, until I called the next pose. This developed into a game of tag, where I couldn't shout the name of the next pose until I had personally 'tagged' every single child.

As we ran around, one little boy shouted with joy: "This is the best yoga EVER!" A future Ashtangi for sure!! :-D

By the end of the class, we were ALL exhausted.

My plan last night was to go to sleep early, as soon as I got back from my evening class. That didn't happen. I couldn't sleep because my next door neighbour decided to have a party. I live in an apartment building with *thick* walls so if I can hear noise through them, it's something seriously loud. There was this one woman who's voice was SO loud and piercing the I could hear EVERY word she was saying.

They sang the 'Happy Birthday' song half a dozen times, louder each time. Finally, the only thing that could drown them out (I didn't have any earplugs) was my noise reduction headphones coupled with brown noise on the iPod. I fell asleep but I think my sleep must have been affected because I've been tired all day. I laid down for a few minutes before lunch and I was asleep before my head hit the pillow.

Practice this morning was easy and mercifully short. I did a YogaDownload class, Hip Opening Flow #2 with Lisa, 45 minutes. I know I've said before, I really like this particular sequence. Today, I noticed how much I like the music and that's not always true of the YogaDownload classes.

I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed by how quickly this day is speeding by and how little I've really accomplished. I'm also floored by the arrival of December (Seriously, is this year really approaching an end *already*?). I can't believe my pre-reg classes are ending.

On the bright side, this will give me some much-needed downtime going into the New Year.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Clearly, I did a wonderful job of 'resting my shoulder' these past two weeks because this morning my shoulders were SORE from practising full Primary yesterday. Sore! Ouch!

It's also possible that they were sore from:
1) carrying Princess Fur home from the vet
2) carrying a 15 pound bag of flour home from the grocery store (the flour and the Princess are approximately the same weight).

Princess Fur, by the way, is fine. She's sleeping a lot and complaining a bit about the pain, but she's calmed down a lot since last night. Last night, she was just plain *loopy*. In retrospect, I think she must have been high on something. The vet must have given her a painkiller in post-op. She was running in circles and her attention span was about .3 seconds for any one thing.

Practice was good, but slow. I was sluggish and tired today - this despite getting an extra hour of sleep last night. It's on the cusp of a Moon Day so I split the difference and practised half-Primary today. I skipped Janu Sirsasana C and opted out of the three closing Lotus Poses because I wanted to lay down for Savasana (and stay there, ALL DAY...alas, I had a class to teach).

Tomorrow, I'll honour the full moon by doing an easy vinyasa class and sitting on my bum the rest of the morning with a good book. Tomorrow is my last really crazy teaching day until January. My schedule is already starting to slow down.

I must have finally adjusted to the Great Excitement of receiving my Kindle because I'm no longer staying up late surfing around for free books and reading Kindle blogs. I'm still excited - but I'm back to being equally excited about sleeping. Also, the whole Christmas Spirit Thing hasn't kicked in for me yet. I haven't decorated the apartment, I'm not listening to my Holiday Playlist on the iPod.

I'm not a grinch, I'm just not interested. Yet. I'm sure it will come.