Well Hello, Old Friend!

After nearly 3 months of being MIA from the blog….I’M BACK!

That's me....but I'm blonde. Let's pretend she's blonde too!

Spinal twists, backbends, toppling trees – you better watch out! It’s all out on the mat now for an old fashioned yoga throwdown (a yoga throwdown doesn’t sound very yogi-like somehow does it?!). Hmmm…

Soooo much has happened in these past three months – I’m almost a different person and I can’t wait to share it all with you! I’ve followed some of my dreams and am living a life I am passionate about.

The yoga mat has been calling me and I have some exciting news to share on that front as well (as well as some updated goals!). I’ve got some great ideas for the blog, lots of stories to share and some great new trends in the yoga world to write about.

It’s gonna be a hoot!

So, with all of that being said (and my guilt pushed aside for the long absence) I thank you all for being patient in awaiting blog updates and invite you to hang on for the upcoming ride of The Yoga Girl.

Hang on to your Asana’s!

April 22, 2010 at 7:11 pm 2 comments

Pobody’s Nerfect & Angry Yoga – Yoga Challenge Day 4

Dictionary.com defines anger as the following:

an⋅ger

-noun
a strong feeling of displeasure and belligerence aroused by a wrong; wrath; ire.

Yes, this was definitely me this morning at my 6:30am yoga class.

Full of wrath and ire.

It is day 4 of my 30 day yoga challenge in support of the Power of Movement and I was angry.

I know this seems like a contradiction for yoga. Yoga is meant to make you calm and happy, to relieve stress – not make you angry. But that’s what I was feeling this morning. My body was tired from the previous days of yoga. It was early, my belly was hungry and I was not happy with trying to do a “slower” pace yoga to be kind to myself. Despite attending a hot yoga class, I was trying to take it easy on my body. This is not something that comes easily to me as I tend to be an “all or nothing” type individual. Go big or go home. Yes, another contradiction to what yoga is about!

I was actually happy that I was experiencing these emotions however. I was angry with myself and it needed to come out. It’s all too easy for me to keep everything in and let the negative emotions settle in my body.

I was angry that I had not been practicing yoga consistently despite it making me feel better. Angry that I have let my bad eating habits take over my good ones and now was definitely feeling the effects. Angry that I have not kept up with this blog and my dreams to see it grow. Angry that my body was sore when only a couple of months ago I was able to do yoga several days a week (in conjunction with running, weights, while also working a full-time and part-time job to boot!).

And then I realized: this is a great lesson from the yoga mat (that mat is so wise sometimes!). Accepting where you are at and embracing the emotions (while not always good ones) that come along with being imperfect. Being able to honour where you are at in life and on the mat (a very difficult task for me!) is a great lesson to carry forward. Having flaws, experiencing tough days and being imperfect is part of the beauty in being human. If life was all moments of pure bliss and joy, how would we know what those feelings or bliss and joy were, as we would have nothing to compare them to?

I am embracing the feelings of anger I had this morning, and realizing that I need a little more kindness, love and acceptance of myself lately. I need to focus on all of the amazing things I have achieved, and not focus on the quest for being perfect, what I cannot (yet) achieve, or what I have or haven’t done.

And so, I have started my day being a little kinder to me; being a little kinder to others (hello fellow office commuter – let me hold that door for you!) and having a little more acceptance and patience for where I am at in my life today.

And with my 30 day challenge stretching ahead of me – 26 more days to go! – I might just have a few more Angry yoga classes in my future.

Pobody’s Nerfect after all!

Thanks yoga! I love you.

love

–noun
a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.

February 9, 2010 at 5:25 pm 2 comments

Feeling the Power of Movement

Anyone can do yoga.

That’s the tagline for the Power of Movement, the world’s largest yoga challenge in support of arthritis and autoimmune research, and I am pleased as punch to be an ambassador this year!

On March 7th, yogis from all over Canada will gather together to do a one hour yoga session. Nine major cities such as Toronto, Ottawa, Vancouver and Edmonton will hold mega yoga sessions in which yoga gurus from Canada’s leading yoga studios will teach classes accessible to all, designed to build a healthy balance of strength and flexibility.

Not only is this an amazing fundraiser that incorporates my most favourite passion of all (yoga!) but it is also near and dear to my heart as my older brother suffers from a severe and debilitating autoimmune disease. Having watched a loved one suffer from this illness I know first hand how debilitating it can be. I also know how important it is that we support the fight against this, and other auto-immune diseases such as arthritis, lupus, vasculitis and many others, for those we love.

I’m so pumped to be able to see hundreds of people come together in one room to all practice yoga together for one united goal of helping others. What could be more powerful than that?!

In my new-found role as an ambassador, I have also been working with my local Moksha yoga studio to plan some upcoming fundraisers such as bake sales, used book sales, raffles and help them start their own fundraising team as well. Back in my elementary school days I was quite the fundraising guru, participating in everything from the MS Read-a-thon, Jump Rope for Heart and even going door to door selling the latest “trend” in elementary door to door sales trinkets including ornaments, wrapping paper and chocolates. I’m pumped to get back to my roots and if any of my neighbours are reading this….expect to see me once again on your doorstep.

The studio will also be starting a 30 day challenge on Feb 6th and ending with the final mega-session on March 7th, which I will also be taking part in. Since I have never fully completed a 30 day challenge and this is one of my 2010 goals (as is getting more involved with my community – check and check!), I am excited that it will coincide so nicely with the Power of Movement.  To support in this, I will also be blogging everyday (yes, I said everyday – eek!) during the 30 day challenge, so keep your eyes on this blog for what I am sure will be some very powerful and likely also some random insights into my practice and my experiences. I’ve been getting my typing fingers ready for the challenge as well…

For any of you that would like to donate to my personal goal for the Power of Movement, please do so HERE! I have my own personal page – that’s ’cause I’m kinda a big deal (actually they give one to anyone who signs up so that you can collect pledges….but I like my reasoning better.) Anything is appreciated and will go to a great cause.

Have you ever done yoga as a fundraiser? What causes are near and dear to your heart? What does the tagline “anyone can do yoga” mean to you? I’d love to hear!

If you are interested in signing up for this powerful movement, getting involved yourself or just interested in more information on this incredible event, visit Power of Movement.

January 25, 2010 at 7:48 pm Leave a comment

If you set them, they will come…

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged and I feel a little like I’ve fallen off the blogging bandwagon.

In the spirit of yoga, I’m setting my intention to get back to my blog (and a long list of other things to get back to including eating healthy and drinking more water!).

To kick things off and get myself into gear, I did a little 2010 goal planning! As you may remember from before, planning goals is one of my favourite things to do.

I’m sure there are several different ways to set goals, and hopefully throughout the next year I will explore even more of these so that I may actually be able to check more off my list. But one thing I learned recently that really helped me in setting these goals is to put a specific “formula” to it, and also to plan for the next 1, 3 and 10 years (it sounded daunting to me at first but turned out to be so INSPIRING!).

I had always tried to follow the SMART goal formula before (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely), but for some reason that just never worked for me.

What did work was the following: I will “x” by “month” “year”.

easy. done.

As simple as this sounds, I can’t believe how much more it actually helped me instead of just writing “I will drink more water”; “I will go eat more veggies” or “I will not listen to the cat when she tells me to stay in for the night instead of going out with my friends”.

Writing the goal in a positive and decisive tone such as “I will” as opposed to “I want to” definitely makes you feel more empowered and believing that this is something you really will achieve.

I also think being able to plan out for the next few years as well, really changed the way I looked at goal planning. I realized that I will need to complete certain things (that might fall in my 1 year goal planning for example) for me to get to where I want to be in my 3 year goal plan. Another AHA! moment for me was when I related this back to yoga: you can’t expect to get into full Dancer’s Pose after only a few classes. You need to take the time to build the foundation and make sure that your body has the strength, balance and coordination in needs for all elements to come together in the beautiful end result.

So, using those principles here are some of goals that I came up with for myself for the next 1, 3 and 10 years:

My 1 Year Goals:

My goals within the next year include completing my Moksha yoga teacher training (July 2010) and teacher training for kids and teens (October 2010). I will become more involved in my community by March 2010 and I will run a 10K by October 2010. I will launch my new business venture with a large philanthropic and green twist to it by June 2010. I will also find a career that I am passionate about, and help me achieve my own goals by December 2010. By October 2010 I will be in school for Holistic Nutrition or another accredited program that aligns with my goals. I will realize my dream of starting a foundation to benefit children at Sick Kids hospital by December 2010. My yoga practice will improve and I will have tried 12 different studios/classes throughout the year (one each month) by December 2010.

My 3 Year Goals

My goals for the next three years include getting my yoga teacher certification for pre and post natal yoga by April 2011.  I will learn to surf in Costa Rica by October 2011 (a lifelong dream!) and also be a new home owner in the month of December (2011)! 2012 sees me achieving goals such as becoming certified to teach yoga to athletes and specializing in teaching yoga to children athletes (hockey, soccer etc.) by August 2012. I will complete a tri-tri with my boyfriend and conquer my nervousness of swimming in open water (with help of swimming lessons!) by August of 2012. The Yoga Girl blog will expand to include a website and will be a great resource for yogis within the GTA looking to it for advice on all of the current yoga trends, articles, product reviews, videos and all other local and Canadian yoga content by June 2013.

My 10 Year Goals

My goals within in the next 10 years are to open a yoga practice/studio that benefits children, teens, pre and post natal women as well as families by December 2015. I will be working with the local school boards in the GTA to bring yoga into classrooms for children by September 2016. I will have a family of my own by December 2015. My husband and I will purchase our dream home in the country by September 2016 and will begin renovations and DIY projects by December of the same year. I will get certified to teach yoga to golfers by February 2017 and will be holding sessions combining yoga and golf for both women and men at local golf courses by December 2017. I will also be launching a new company for kids focusing on health by November 2018. Our renovations on the house will be complete by August 2018 and I will begin hosting regular parties for family and friends. I will be a presenter at The Yoga Conference by April 2019 and focus on topics such as yoga for children and athletes. I will be a recognized figure within the yoga community and improve my writing skills by November 2019. I will also be a contract/guest writer for publications such as Yoga Journal, Oxygen and Chatelaine by the same month. I will be making appearances and speaking engagements about the benefits of yoga for children and athletes by April 2020.

So, considering I am just a girl working a corporate job at the moment with a passion for yoga and some big dreams and goals, I need to get moving and set my foundations!

Step one is for me to post these where I can see them often and review them to keep myself on track.

What are some of your goals? I’d love to hear them!

Happy goal planning & Namaste.

January 23, 2010 at 6:33 pm 2 comments

Yoga all year!

Welcome to 2010!

I was shopping in one of my favourite places this week, Chapters and stumbled across this amazing calendar, also titled Yoga Girl!

The calendar features yogini, model and celebrity from New Zealand Emma Harrison, while she does 12 different postures for each month of the year.

Each month explains the physical and emotional benefits and purpose of each pose. Helpful for a still-learning yogi like myself! It also provides a great visual of what each pose looks like with proper alignment, as the background of each photograph is solid white –  a nice contrast to highlight Emma’s shape in each posture.

Also exciting for me is that I can look at these poses everyday while the calendar hangs on my wall and get inspired and remember how good I feel in my practice. It will remind myself of my own goals, which include being able to get into and “master” more challenging poses such as Crow and Full Camel (both of which I might add, Emma makes look completely effortless in this calendar!).

Emma is also blonde like myself so I secretly pretend it’s me doing the poses. I think that’s actually a tip to attaining your goals through visualization: think something long enough and it becomes a reality. I visualize how good I would feel in each pose and the sense of accomplishment and calm I would feel while in it. I imagine how easy it is for my body to get into the poses, the strength I need to be able to hold myself, the focus and concentration required and the mind-body connection to make it all come together.

Here I come Handstand! There is nothing stopping me now!

The following is an excerpt about the calendar from Emma’s official website: “As a student of yoga for the last 15 years, Emma is excited to have co-created and modeled for The Yoga Girl 2010 calendar, and considers it one of her proudest accomplishments. Emma hopes the calendar will bring yoga to a new and larger audience and she feels privileged to promote a discipline that has brought her considerable joy, enlightenment and good health.”

It really deserves two thumbs up but I was having some issues getting a picture at the same time with both of my thumbs in it.

If you are like me and a little behind the 8 ball on getting a calendar for 2010, check out these other great Yoga Calendars to inspire your 2010 practice!

January 7, 2010 at 11:02 pm 1 comment

Good Bye 2009 & Hello 2010!

In these last few hours of 2009 I am wrapping up some of my 2009 goals and focusing on my exciting and fresh 2010 goals.

I have always been a goal setter. I find it very rewarding to have something that you are striving towards and love the idea of having a reason for going through all of the challenges, lessons and triumphs to achieve them.

Now while I don’t always achieve all of my goals (like the 5K  I signed up to run earlier this year – more about that in another post to come!) I absolutely adore the process of setting and planning my goals – especially for the New Year.

I am taking this ushering in of a New Year as an opportunity for renewal and to focus on what is truly important to me. I have big plans for Oh-Ten and am also looking forward to it as it is the perfect time to recommit myself to my yoga practice. I’m getting back to “me” and continuing on my journey of learning to be centered on and off the mat, and frankly, I can’t wait.

Without giving too much away just yet, I am also planning many exciting updates to the blog. I would like to give a shout-out to 2009 for being a great year and helping me achieve some of my goals, but am really looking forward to the start of a new year, and a new decade even, in 2010 with many exciting adventures and experiences to share.

And for those of you wondering, I did manage to make it to Yoga the other day.
1 for me; 0 for devil man on my shoulder! I’m off to a solid start for 2010!

I’d like to share one of my favourite sayings which I will be reminding myself of often in 2010, and think it’s something we should all try to remember when going about our busy lives:

Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.
– Swedish Proverb

I leave 2009 behind by wishing you all a Happy New Year and may 2010 bring much love, peace, happiness, health and joy to you and your loved ones.

See you in 2010!

– Namaste
The Yoga Girl

December 31, 2009 at 7:45 pm 1 comment

June 2009 Posture Video: Dancer’s Pose

June’s posture of the month is Dancer’s Pose, also known as Natarajasana or Lord of the Dance Pose (hello Michael Flatley!)

(not-ah-raj-AHS-anna)

*Benefits of this Posture Include:

  • Stretches the shoulders and chest
  • Stretches the thighs, groins, and abdomen
  • Strengthens the legs and ankles
  • Improves balance
  • **Makes you feel really freaking cool/awesome
  •  

    *Benefits courtesy of Lord of the Dance Pose on Yoga Journal
    **Benefit courtesty of me

    I was SO excited when I discovered June’s posture of the month is Dancer’s Pose. This is truly one of my most favourite poses, and probably one of the most recognized yoga poses out there. A Google images search for “yoga” brings up several images of Dancer’s Pose.

    The amazing thing about Dancer’s (as it is often referred to in class) is just how much is going on at the same time. It really requires focus, concentration, stability, core strength and of course, balance as you are ultimately doing a back-bend, kick-back and forward extension all while balancing on one leg (easy, no?!). Not to mention the fact that you feel like a beautiful and powerful Dancer (hence, the awesome-ness of it).

    A defining moment for me in this pose came when I really listened to what the teacher was saying to “lift up” in this pose. To keep your eyes up and to elongate your body before beginning the pose really helped me be able to take this my body further into this pose and really begin to develop the beautiful shape that is recognized in this posture.

    Beginners might want to practice near a wall to help with balance, or use a strap around your raised ankle to help get deeper into the pose and your own bliss.

    Another amazing thing about this pose (and many poses in Yoga for that matter) is that they are continually evolving. Eventually with Dancer’s Pose (or so I am told) you should eventually be doing the splits in the air. I can’t wait to get to that level! I’ll keep you posted on my progress…

    In the meantime, I’ll continue to focus and remember to relax, smile and to continue pushing and challenging my body in Dancer’s Pose to get the amazing benefits from this posture.

    What are your favourite poses? What poses make you feel really freaking cool?

    Video courtesy of Moksha Yoga

    December 31, 2009 at 6:02 pm 1 comment

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