Thursday, December 31, 2009

Yesterday definitely improved in the late afternoon/evening. The class last night was a special candle lit class in honour of the new year, and it included chanting and meditation. The chanting was neat - the teacher guiding the class had a really beautiful voice, and everyone in the room (which was a lot, because the class was packed!) joined in.

For the meditation part, they had us all pick a word out of a bowl and then meditate about how that word is a part of our lives, and what it will mean to the year to come. I drew "obedience", and I'm still trying to wrap my head around how that word can influence my life in a positive sense. I mean, I think that I'm pretty obedient, generally. I fulfill my commitments, I work hard, I don't back out of things at the last moment. In fact, a lot of the time I feel like my problem is that I stretch myself too thin, trying to make everyone happy, and then I burn out.

So I'm trying to think of it as more of a "be obedient to my own path and the journey I want to be on, instead of getting sidetracked all the time". I don't know if this makes sense, and maybe it's a bit selfish, but it was the best I could come up with. Any other suggestions for possible interpretations?

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wednesday is rarely a good day.

Today is a kind of blah day. I didn't sleep well, and what little sleep I did get was filled with anxiety dreams about work. I woke up feeling sad, like there was no point in getting out of bed, and it's a feeling that I haven't fully been able to shake. It's grey and snowy outside, and everyone in the house is pretty slow and quiet. I practiced for a little over an hour this morning, but I didn't enjoy it as much as I wanted to.

I hate days like this, because I feel like I'm wasting time by lying around, not doing anything. On the other hand, I have just about zero motivation to get up and do something. I feel this strange anxiety that I'm going to spend all my free time for the rest of my life sitting around, not accomplishing anything, and then when I look back I'll be disappointed with myself. This is silly, because most of the time I'm a very busy person - I fill up my free hours with Matt, friends, yoga, reading, etc. I just don't know how to quiet the voice that tells me that everything I do is a waste of time: yoga is a waste of time, writing is a waste of time, being around other people is just going to be difficult and will make me feel bad, and so on.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Today was lovely and relaxing. I woke up late, walked down town (in minus 14 degree weather!), ran some errands and then went to a yoga class. The studio I've been taking classes at, Studio 330, offers a one week introductory special for $20. So far this year, I've only been in Kingston for a day or two at a time, so I've always just paid for the drop in classes. At the beginning of this week, I mentioned to the teacher that I was here for a week, so she gave me the introductory pass, even though she knew I'd been there before. So now I'm spoiling myself with daily classes.

The community there is really nice, and I've liked all of the teachers that I've had so far. The space is gorgeous - a lot of exposed limestone bricks (they don't call Kingston "Limestone City" for nothing, I guess), and they'll often do classes by candlelight. They have change rooms, a bathroom and shower, and a neat little hang-out type room with comfy chairs, a vanity with a mirror, and cubbies to store your stuff. Lovely.
So yeah, I've been having some really wonderful classes. However, I have noticed one troubling thing about my practice this week: I've been getting really frustrated with myself. Mostly frustrated in the "I-know-I-can-do-this-pose-so-why-isn't-it-working" sense. Yesterday I kept falling out of half moon, and I know that it's something that I can do! But at the same time, I also know that my practice changes from day to day, and I'm in an unfamiliar space, etc., etc. I wish I could just do things without over-thinking them.

Other than that little bit of self-inflicted irritation, it was great practice. Then I got back to my mother's place and found that my husband had made an apple-tofu-egg noodle casserole. So good. As I said before, I am so spoiled.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Restorative classes and podcasts. A winning combination.

My mother and I went to that gentle/restorative class last night. It was lovely - gentle music, candlelight, lots of props. Afterwards, my mother told that she'd really enjoyed it. "They don't give massages at my yoga class at the gym," she said. I noticed that she took a schedule so - maybe she'll go back?

Before the class started the teacher/owner of the studio and I were chatting, and she said that she felt like she knew me from somewhere other than her studio. I mentioned that the first time I met her, she had said that she'd practiced a few times at Octopus Garden in Toronto. Since I sometimes take classes at that studio, it's possible that we might have run into each other there. Then we started talking about YuMee, and how she moved up north and doesn't teach in Toronto anymore, and how much everyone misses her.

It's stuff like this that makes me love the yoga world - how small it is, how everyone seems to know each other. I love that I can go to a city a couple of hundred miles away from Toronto, talk to a teacher there and realize that we know the same people.

Speaking of YuMee, have you guys ever tried her podcasts? Because they're really, really lovely. They're perfect for a home practice - I find her instructions really easy to understand, and she has different levels/different styles/different lengths to choose from. You can find them here. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Solstice! Christmas! So much fun!

Our holiday celebrations started on Monday, December 21st with the Festival of Lights in Kensington Market, which is their annual Winter Solstice celebration. It was amazing how many people were there, considering that it was freezing cold out and a Monday night. There was a parade of people with home-made lanterns and outlandish costumes, and a bunch of other fire and light related stuff. It was really lovely!

Crowds of people on Augusta Avenue:

Homemade lanterns:

Solstice costumes:

Then on Thursday, they gave us a free lunch at work and let us all go early! This was especially nice since they had been telling us that we would definitely have to stay until 5. Matt and I had thought that we would have to take the bus to Kingston (which you can't pre-purchase tickets for - it's basically first come, first serve), since all the trains after 5 pm had been sold out for weeks and weeks. But since I was finished early, we were able to make an earlier train that still had seats. Lovely! Traveling by train is so civilized.

We made it to Kingston in time for dinner, and then Matt, my sisters and I went to midnight mass. It's a family tradition for Matt and, since he's spent the last few Christmases at my mom's house as his family lives in another province, it's one that we've adopted. I'm not much of a religious person, but I have to admit that there's something really beautiful about midnight mass - the carols, the smell of incense, the candles, the rituals.

On the way home from midnight mass, we saw a coyote! It was quite red, so at first we thought it was a fox, but we later learned that a lot of the coyotes around here are part red wolf. It was so neat! One of the things that I love about my mom's place is that there's a lot of wildlife around - she lives near the edge of town, and we often see deer and foxes. In fact, the deer come right up to her back fence and she throws them carrots and apples in the wintertime.

Christmas day started with a tradition that my sisters and I have, which is to all pile on to one bed and open stockings together. After that we headed down to the living room and opened presents. I got a new wool coat that I wanted, a new bathrobe (I've had my old one for about six years, and I bought it when the Neptune Theatre held its annual costumes and props sale, so God knows how old it actually is), and some gift certificates to by office-y clothes for work. I also got some funny yoga-related stuff - a box of postcards with pictures of cats doing yoga poses on them, and a little statue of a frog in halasana.

I am happy to report that my mother's gift was a huge success - she loved it, and the clothes we got her fit perfectly. I ended up getting the gym bag from Roots - I was describing what I wanted to one of my former co-workers, and she said "oh yeah, that sounds like the tote we had in the summer - you know, I found one a drawer the other days, it's marked down to $19.98 now". It's perfect - it has straps on the front to attach your mat, and lots of pockets and stuff inside. I guess it was fate! For the mat, I got her the Halfmoon EcoYoga Mat, which is supposed to be "decomposable, recyclable and hypoallergenic".

I've convinced my mom to come with me to a gentle yoga class at a local studio, so I'm really hoping that she'll enjoy it. Keep your fingers crossed!

The rest of Christmas day was great. My sisters, Matt and I took a long walk, we came home and watched a movie (Star Trek - oh God, we're all so nerdy) and then had turkey time. I don't normally eat meat, but when I explained to my mom that one of my reasons for going veggie was that I couldn't know where meat came from, or how the animal was treated, she started buying a local, organic turkey for Thanksgiving or Christmas. The first year she complained about the cost, but after trying it, she had to admit that it tasted better.

My sisters and I out for our Christmas walk (I'm the one on the right):

So that was my holiday - how was yours?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

My mother recently started going to the gym and, among other things, she started attending a weekly yoga class. I was, of course, elated. Sadly, she tells me that she doesn't get much out of these classes. "I know that I need to go to the gym and be more active," she said, "but I hate it. I really, really hate it."

So imagine my surprise when she asked me to get her a yoga mat for Christmas. "I want to, you know, practice my moves at home," she said. I thought that maybe if I got her a mat and a gym bag to carry it around in and some other fun stuff for the gym ( a cozy sweatshirt, socks, headbands, etc.) it might make her hate it less.

Of course, now I can't find a bag that I like. I want one that can carry a yoga mat, but isn't just a plain, oblong bag. I want her to be able to put gym clothes and stuff in it, too. A few years ago I bought my friend and awesome Gaiam bag that had bungee cords to hold your mat, but when I went back to the store where I bought it, they didn't have anything similar.

So then I went to what my husband jokingly refers to as "The Great Satan", Lululemon. I've never actually bought anything there, but I thought that if anyone had the kind of bag I was looking for, they would.

Well, first of all, they didn't. Second of all, the whole experience was SO CREEPY. The store was full of bright-eyed chipper young girls who approached everyone with "WHO ARE YOU SHOPPING FOR TODAY?" followed by "YOU SHOULD TOTALLY GET HER OUR TRADITIONAL LULULEMON GROOVE PANT, THEY'RE SUPER COMFY". Eep.

I mean, I know I shouldn't be judgmental - I worked retail for a long time, for a fairly big company. I know they were just doing their job, and to give them credit they all seemed to really be into Lululemon and believe in what they were saying. It still kind of set my teeth on edge, though.

The upshot of this is: I still couldn't find a bag. Do any of you have any suggestions?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I keep looking at my blog and thinking that I should post something, but then I realize that I really don't have much to say. I go to yoga classes, I practice, I enjoy it. I know which styles I like, but I don't feel like I know enough about yoga to be able to debate the merits of various styles.

On the one hand, I wish that I was more involved in the yoga community. On the other hand, when I see the politics and the pettiness that goes on, I'm kind of glad that I exist in my own little yoga bubble. I mean, one of the main things I love about yoga is that it's not competitive, but I hear about teachers who are competitive with each other all the time.

Lately I feel like I don't know what I want, or how I want my life to be. People keep asking me what I want for Christmas, but the truth is that I don't really want anything. Honestly, I feel like we already have too much stuff, and that we should be giving some of that away.

This has been a tough week. Matt's last contract ended in mid-November, and he has been looking for something new since then. I've been feeling sort of sick all week (sore throat, fever, but nothing else). I finally gave in and took the day off today. If you happen to think of us, send us some love, okay?