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We made it through another “Blue Monday”, an unofficial holiday deemed to be, scientifically, the saddest day of the year. Heard of it? It’s always the third Monday in January (January 18, 2016 in this case). The holiday fun is over, the Northern Hemisphere is having its coldest weather, credit card bills are horrifying, and resolutions are just a memory. (Yes, the packed yoga classes of yester-week are already returning to normal levels.) Spring and summer are SO far away. And let’s not forget, Valentine’s Day with all its cruel expectations and reminders to us single guys and gals that “there you are, another year older and single“, is bearing down on us quickly.

I actually had a decent Blue Monday despite Toronto’s frigid temps and all of the other Blue Monday aspects. A great weekend with positivity overflowing into the start of my week helped. But alas, Tuesday arrived, and I quit my job. More on that later.

Yoga, that moving meditation and sweaty form of exercise that forces you to see yourself, has been there for me for almost a decade now. Wow! Every late October when Canadian days shorten, I try to commit to the yoga mat at least four times every week. When I don’t force yoga’s mindfulness on myself, I find it all too easy to get swept up by the energy of the city and my life, and slip into mindlessness, or “auto-pilot” living. Then it’s up to TV-binging, whisky, salty fried food, and late nights to keep me going and feel good. Not so good! Trust me when I say $100/month at a good yoga studio pays for itself right away.

This year, I did get a little too busy for yoga, and when work projects blew up in October, I took it hard. I’d leave work and crawl straight into bed. The next morning, I was hanging from the subway handles like a frozen side of beef and all day I was slumped in my executive chair.

After three weeks of this, I forced myself to go to yoga. If you’ve ever been depressed, you understand that feeling where you truly need outside intervention* or you need to gather that last ounce of faith and strength and just get moving. Maybe for you it’s to go to a group meeting, to see a trusted friend, to the boxing ring or pool, the doctor’s office, or to the yoga studio or mat on your apartment floor.

I got moving, and movement/manipulation of my body pulled my mind up out of my proverbial ass, and the light shone again. Honestly, I can say I worked out my issues in two weeks of sweating it all away in yoga, utilizing my solid ujjayi breathing as a focus. Most yoga classes will instruct this straightforward, slightly noisy type of breathing. It’s optional. It’s good.

Moving my overwhelmed, exhausted body was hard, but it was the answer. I was on top of the world by the time the holidays were here, and I kept up the feverish yoga pace…it became my sedative when my upcoming tropical vacations (plural!) loomed and I wanted to run out and buy all the cute summer gear. Yoga was the workout that got my beach body ready and helped me drop 8 pounds in time for Barbados. Maybe yoga will eventually help me just love the body I have. I’ll get there one day no doubt.

Barbados and Puerto Vallarta came and went, then Blue Monday came and went, and on Tuesday I handed in my notice at work.

I wasn’t overcome with emotion. No rash decisions, resentment, or anger. No mindless, autopilot reactions. It was a confident, knowing that it’s time to go. True, I could have landed another job before quitting. I’m just feeling so damned good these days. Moving mindfully, moving through hard decisions, moving in reality, and moving on.

Namaste, amigos.

*If it seems like someone you know is struggling, let them know you care and are there.

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Headstand in the snow

Just for fun…

By the way, adding 40 pounds to your feet makes this extremely hard. Reminded me of trying to get up into headstand as a beginner. Humbling.

Hope you’re having a great winter. And just remember, spring is just around the corner!

image imageBlue Mountain, Ontario

Peace on this day

Merry Christmas everyone! It’s been forever since my last post. I’ve missed you, my readers and yogis.

2014 saw my return to a marketing career in the natural products industry, and a departure from teaching yoga. I tried doing both, but in the end, it was too hard to balance. Making money won out! We all have to plan for our future.

Yoga remains a big part of my life. The physical practice, the yamas and niyamas, and prayanama mostly. I branched out into tantra yoga and kundalini this fall too, because I do need to attack some energetic issues in me.

Today, I woke up back in the bedroom where I grew up, in Winnipeg. I did a yin practice inspired by something I saw on Facebook today, followed by 6 sun salutations. Ate, then did a “legs day” workout using only body weight resistance. Yes, I’ve rediscovered gym workouts and personal training this year, and it has really boosted my yoga practice by improving my core and upper body strength.

Company is here, and I need to run and start my Christmas co-hosting duties.

I wish everyone a beautiful holiday season and a prosperous, fun, even exciting 2015. I’m superstitious…every New Year’s I like to be in the tropics and surrounded by high energy, smiling when the clock strikes 12:00. It’s part of how I set my dreams and intentions for the coming 12 months.

 

Yoga life lessons: 2006 to 2014

I am capable.
I have been controlled by body image issues my whole life.
I can change. View full article »

Feeling sharp or lingering pain in your wrists from doing yoga? Try these:

  1. Elevate the “heels” of the hands during your yoga practice. Here
    Sore Wrists from Yoga

    My favourite yoga-wrist remedy!

    I am in Downward Dog, with slightly elevated wrists. I have simply flipped my yoga mat under itself to raise myself up slightly. The extra padding feels good, and this technique reduces the severity of extension on the wrist. It has been so effective for my own wrist pain, that I have been able to resume my “jump forward’s” in sun salutations – and better than ever, I might add! In finding a solution to my wrist pain, I have happened upon a wonderful modification to use in training for better jump-forward’s. Try it! (Remember to look forward and keep your belly tight.) View full article »

Detox what? Detox why?

It’s almost time for sugarplums and egg nog, so let’s talk about staying clean and healthy in body and mind, before we get crazy. View full article »

More Jock Yoga! [VIDEO]

I am very excited to be offering  Jock Yoga, a strenuous, challenging, workout-based yoga style in West Toronto at Studio Z and Perform Fit Toronto. View full article »

A definition of yoga I once heard is:  yoga is learning more about yourself. This is one outcome of practicing yoga. I love it. The different styles of yoga that people are drawn too highlight our personalities and our different journeys. I admit that restorative, relaxing, and yin yoga practices are not part of my regular yoga mix, even though they are so nourishing. Power, “flow”, “acro”, “core”, advanced, and Ashtanga are more my thing. It’s how I calm myself down and work myself out, in every sense. And, I just really like to play. View full article »

This is a story about life meets boy, life beats boy up, and boy survives by working out lots. View full article »

I’ve joined One Tooth Activewear’s very popular yoga-in-High Park series as guest teacher! You can catch me on the long weekend, Sunday, September 1st at 10 am. Bring mat and towel. Namaste, West Toronto. See you there!

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