Friday, April 23, 2010

the farmers market

I never really truly understood the fun and convenience of a farmers market until I was backpacking around New Zealand and Australia. One day, my friend and roommate introduced me to the wonder that is a farmers market. Fresh fruit and produce, and maybe even flowers sometimes... all local, and usually at a great price!
Now, I am not much of a cook so I never envisioned myself getting excited about buying food. This farmers market definitely changed my perspective, as I was always excited to use my locally grown produce to cook a meal. That's why I was so disappointed with my work schedule this summer. I work a lot of Saturdays (I'm a dental hygienist) since the job market is so crap I don't really have a choice. I'm not a morning person so I knew I wouldn't be getting up super early to hit the market before work.
But! I just discovered there is a farmers market but a few blocks away from where I work! The best part? It's open til 5pm! No excuses. I can't wait until it opens to start integrating more local ingredients into my (new!) crock-pot dinners. Yum!

Do you take advantage of your local farmers markets?


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A mish mash of mats, certification, and (unrelated) disappointment

So, good stuff first.
1) I am now officially a Kids Yoga instructor :) I teach my first (official, that is!) class this weekend. I've actually lead a few classes before so this will be way better since I know so much more about putting lessons together! Aruna at Young Yoga Masters was fabulous. If you live int he Toronto area I would definitely recommend one of her workshops if Kids yoga interests you!

2) I bought "the mat" that I talked about before. It is AMAZING. I used it, sans towel, in a few Moksha classes this week. I'm talking, 110F, 3-40% humidity here. And I didn't budge an INCH the entire class! Amazing. It seriously changed my practice. If you are in the market for a new mat I would highly recommend it. (and it also comes in purple now)!

And now, for the 'disappointment' part of the blog! I was recently let down by a friend. (I won't get into specifics since you never know who is reading!)

Normally, when it comes to situations like that, I just brush it off and move on. "No worries" is definitely my most used phrase, which I picked up during my travels down under. I'm very laid back, and especially recently as a means of taking my yoga practice "off the mat", I really don't like to over-analyze negative situations. However, this time was different. My friend's actions affected not just me, but some of my own friends as well. I felt responsible, and it really threw me out of joint. While she apologized, I felt like brushing it off just didn't give the situation the justice it deserved.

Finally, after much thought on how to deal with this, a quote my teachers often use in class during savasana, while meditating, came to me. "If a thought comes into your mind, acknowledge it, and let it float away". (Or something like that!) I realized this was the perfect way to take my yoga practice off the mat. Acknowledge the situation, and my disappointment, and then let it float away. There is no need to dwell on it, but also no need for it to be completely ignored, either.

So, I followed through with my solution, and feel the weight lifted off my shoulders.

How do you deal with being let down?


Saturday, April 17, 2010

my yoga library just got a whole lot bigger!

Part of the Kids training & the Moksha training involves reading (usually translating to buying, since libraries don't seem to carry them!) a lot of yoga and yogic-philosophy books. In the past week, I've started my yoga library with 5 new (and used, where possible!) books. There are still a few more to be purchased yet!

These are the new additions! (Although, 4/5 are in the mail!)

(images from chapters and amazon)

I'm currently on "Living Your Yoga" by Judith Lasater. So far, I really like it- it's written realistically, in a way you can relate to. I'll try and post reviews as I check them off the list!

What are your favourite yoga and/or philosophy books?


Thursday, April 15, 2010

My first training... Kids Yoga!

I am getting excited for this weekend! I am finally taking my Kids Yoga training course, which I have been looking forward to for months. The studio owners have actually organized Aruna, the woman who does the training, to come to our studio in Milton for the weekend so we don't have to go to Toronto. Convenient, and much more eco-friendly to drive one person here rather than 15 there!
(picture from the Young Yoga Masters website!)

I have been helping out with the kids yoga classes since January, so it will be nice to officially be a teacher. It's so much fun, it's hard to think of it as "work"! (Well, most of the time... when they are going nuts it is another story!)
It's great to be introducing kids to not only the physical side of yoga, but the mental side as well. I hope they take in all the stuff we teach them about letting go of the negatives, and treating others as you'd want to be treated. It's so amazing (and CUTE!) to see little kids doing downward dog and cobra. They love it!

I read about some schools in Canada offering yoga as a credited course for kids. I love this idea- yoga for all!

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Story of Bottled Water

Check out this great video about The Story of Bottled Water. Really informative!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

my not-so-yogic qualities

Like they say yoga is a practice because it's ok not to be "perfect", so I feel about life in general, and myself as a person. The key is always to evolve and move forward. I feel like I've been doing a lot of that lately, even if it's in seemingly mundane and silly ways.

The major thing I'm becoming aware of is my affinity for "stuff". I recently moved back into the big bedroom in my house, after my sister moved out. Since I'm pretty lazy (another one of those things to work on... although I've been good the last few days!), I basically dumped everything into a pile on the floor. And it sat there for WEEKS- sadly, I'm not exaggerating!

Tonight I decided to start tackling the pile (after cooking dinner, and doing the dishes, voluntarily - which is so unlike me!) I had a garbage bag to put the things I no longer need/want, to donate. It's FULL. And that's on top of two other FULL bags I got rid of during the actual switch. (Although, I suppose it has been a few years since I've really dug through all my ancient belongings, it really puts it into perspective how much people - I, more specifically in this case- buy, and usually pretty needlessly).

This realization comes after a few days of, you guessed it, shopping. I've booked myself a solid month of work (I'm a contract dental hygienist in the "other" part of my life), and I reward myself with buying yet more stuff. Some of it necessary or a good long-term investment, and some of it... not so much. Perhaps it was how it had to happen, for me to finally be able to connect the dots and clue into how I need to let go of "needing" so many material possessions.

I found these words from mnmlist about a month ago, but they didn't really sink in until tonight.

1. Stop buying unnecessary things. Only buy the necessities, and always ask yourself: is this truly necessary?

2. Get rid of the obvious things. Stuff that’s getting in your way, that you rarely ever use. You can often fill up a few boxes immediately, put them in your car, and donate them to a thrift shop or to friends and family the next day.

3. Get rid of more obvious things. Now that you’ve cleared up some of the clutter, you can take a look around and start seeing other things you rarely use. Box these up as well.

4. Clear the clutter on your floors. If your floors are barely visible because you have clothes and boxes and different items all over the place, start clearing your floors.

5. Clear other flat surfaces. Shelves, table tops, counter tops. They don’t have to be completely clear, but should only have a few essential objects.

6. Start going into closets and drawers. One place at a time, start clearing out clutter.

7. Cut back another third. At this point, you should have simplified drastically, but you can revisit what you still own and see things you don’t really use that often.

8. Start letting go, emotionally. For emotional reasons, there will be things that you “just can’t part” with — clothes or shoes or books or mementoes or gifts, childhood items. This is difficult, but given time, you’ll learn that such attachments aren’t necessary.

9. Get rid of another third. At this point, you’re pretty minimalist, but you can cut back more.

10. Et cetera. The process will never end, until you actually give up everything.

 Wise words. So, I'm going to run with this and start physically writing down (in one of the many notebooks I already have lying around the house, no doubt) every single (non-consumable) purchase I make. I think it will be an eye-opener. And while I'm at it, I'm going to try to keep at the cooking and cleaning. It kind of feels good.

How about you- have you been able to make the break from "needing" so many material possessions?


Friday, April 9, 2010

a (half) review, and my yoga life update!

Wow, it's been a few days since my last post! I've been busier than usual.

Last night, my (semi) local Lululemon held a special karma class. I rarely have reason to venture outside my own Moksha studio, but the lure of finally giving "The Mat" a hands-on (or perhaps, downward-dog on?) try, not to mention donating to a few CN Tower climbers who are fundraising for the WWF, got me out of the studio and onto the Lululemon store floor.

As I write this, I'm thinking I actually used the backside of the (reversible) mat. Which makes me feel stupid, but stress is my excuse. The side I used is actually partially made of recycled luon fabric, which is pretty cool. Being that that is NOT supposed to be the extra grippy side, I'm going to go out on a limb and say the other side is fantastic. On the luon side, I did have some minor slippage issues in my downward dog, but considering I must be the world's most sweaty female, my hands perspire even in the driest of yoga classes. My warriors didn't budge an inch.

I'm going to hazard a guess that the side that is intended to be grippy very likely is. My head was definitely in the clouds last night. When comparing to a Jade and a Manduka, I'm going to say that this mat is going to be my winner. The quality seems very comparable, and I like the price point(especially adding to the fact that after I take my Kids Yoga training next week, I'll be eligible for the R&D program). I also am partial to the colour pink!

When I buy the mat in a few weeks, I will give you the other half of the review! That half will be taking place in a sweaty studio as well, for the most accurate testing!

So, why was my head in the clouds? It turns out I am actually going to be taking my teacher training earlier... This July, in Toronto! I was experiencing a lot of mixed emotions when I heard a spot had opened for me and I had to choose. I was really looking forward to spending a month in Montreal, albeit most of it inside the studio. But, my studio is in dire need of teachers, and it means I don't have to wait 5 whole months to take the training. I ultimately decided Toronto was the way to go. I was grateful to a friend who reminded me that "things happen for a reason". I usually take that mindset, however I was so frustrated the thought didn't even occur to me. It just goes to show that when you are frustrated, it pays to take step back from all the emotion and look for the positives. I will just have to spend a weekend visiting Montreal in September anyhow :)

I started looking around on Kijiji and Craigslist for a place to stay closer to the studio (I live about 40 minutes away, depending on traffic, and the thought of all that pollution and wasted gas driving that far 6 days a week did not sit well with me!). I actually may have found the perfect situation, house and cat-sitting for 3 of the 4.5 weeks, only 4 km away from the studio. No pollution, and no rent either! I'm actually started to get excited about Toronto!


Sunday, April 4, 2010

a holiday Sunday, and a review

First, I'd like to thank The Joy of Yoga for featuring my running sequence yesterday! If you haven't been to her blog, check it out. A new sequence every day, perfect for the home practitioner!

I'll say Happy Easter, which can be loosely translated as, hope you are all having a fantastic long weekend with beautiful weather, no matter if the holiday is celebrated or not!
(photo taken by me in NYC last year)

I've been fiddling around with my Authentic Yoga app, which I found on Daily Cup of Yoga's blog. To be honest, I only purchased it at first because it was on sale- favouring hot yoga, I do most of my yoga in class form. However, I was excited when they provided an update, allowing you to form your own sequences. I've only just discovered the wonderful feeling of creativity and control in creating your own sequences these past few days. (And I look forward to it post- teacher training, when I am more experienced!) I had a lot of fun scrolling through the available poses to come up with my own variation of the Moksha sequence, that incorporates a few poses I like, and would like to work on, while keeping in with the Moksha focus of hip and spine openers. I'd give it a 4/5 for ease of use- my frustration was that when clicking on the 'balance' section, it didn't always work properly, and I'd have to click another section, and then back into it to see all the poses. My other frustration came when went to save, and then realized I forgot to add crane pose. I hit the back button, only to find it erased EVERYTHING. Since it was my first time playing around, I had spent a good deal of time creating my sequence! Gah.

All in all though, if you have an iPhone (or iTouch?) I would recommend this- even at full price, which is still only a few dollars- if you like home practice, and creating your own sequences. It is great because it allows your sequence (or Deepak & Tara Stile's sequences) to be played as a video, which helps you visualize and time the poses.

How to you prefer to do your yoga - videos, apps, classes, or going with your own flow? And, more importantly... is anyone else experiencing major chocolate overload?!


Friday, April 2, 2010

yoga for runners

Being a (brand) new runner (again!) I've realized I've got a definite advantage this time around- my regular yoga practice!
I've just started training this week to do a 10k run at the Ottawa Race Weekend. It's a tradition my sister and I have had since 2006, but I've always done the 5k. Time to step it up, since one of my long-term goals is a half-marathon! (Which seems kind of insane to me, since even the 10k is intimidating me).

After my very first run in months on Monday (stupidly followed IMMEDIATELY by a 60 minute heated Moksha practice) I've been feeling extremely tight in the hip flexors. Follow that with back-to-back classes on Wednesday (TWO of our teachers are leaving! *sniff*), and another run yesterday- suffice to say I can barely walk. So I've looked up a couple different yoga for runners sequences, here: iYogaLife 10 Best Poses for Runners and this post at Daily Cup of Yoga.

I've come up with my own personalized sequence for post-run yoga on Yoga Journal. Here it is!

Can't wait to try out it after my next run! Do you have any favourite post-run poses?


Thursday, April 1, 2010

plant a tree

I am extremely happy to hear about the new Hello Green Tomorrow initiative that Avon will be launching in the next few weeks. For $1, you can plant a tree in the South American Atlantic Rainforest. Each tree "purchased" earns you a certificate with green tips. (on recycled paper, hopefully!)

It's great to see such a large company bringing awareness to the need to go green!
Unfortunately it seems that you have to have a real, live representative to make the purchase, and doesn't appear available online (yet). Find out more about purchasing a tree here.

Happy April!