Well, another move is upon me! That would make 8 moves in almost 10 years. There are perks to moving and some pits too. I like to have a fresh perspective and this is truly coming at a great time for me. I’m over 6 months pregnant, trying for a home birth, I’ve just started my new Health Coaching, so there really is a lot of new things happening in my life right now and moving to a new home, having a new start is coming at a great time.
Packing means that I can go through my “stuff” and get rid of what is no longer needed, useful or unnecessary. I do love a good purging of stuff, I always feel better afterward. Sadly, this time of year means the discarded stuff or some of it goes into boxes for a yard sale in the spring, some to goodwill and some to the garbage. I tend to pack and come across items that trigger a boatload of memories, both good and bad. Packing up old photo albums always takes me some extra time since I like to take that trip down memory lane. I have lots of yoga stuff, books, statues, gifts from students that I like to spend some extra time with too.
Packing my clothes up has been pretty easy since most of them don’t fit me right now, but I love getting rid of stuff I don’t wear anymore but find the mental conversation that goes on, the “well what if I go….” or “maybe I’ll need this to wear….” It feels empowering to take some control over that voice and tell it “too bad, it’s going!”
Here is my number one pitfall of moving again……… my yoga spot! I spend hundreds of hours doing yoga in my home on the same spot and each time I have grown to love the energy of that spot. Each time I’ve moved I’ve experienced anxiety as to where my new yoga “home” will be, I wonder if it will be as nice, warm, welcoming and what my view will be. Turns out so far every time I’ve moved my home yoga practice it’s always been awesome! I am very excited to have some more space this time for practice too, I’ll need since I will have a wee baby with me too.
I got my ears pierced at 4 years old. It was with a gun in a Sears store and it hurt so bad I ran off after it was done and hid my head in a bin of ladies bras. After that I remember my mom cleaning the piercings with rubbing alcohol and me screaming in pain every time she did.
So, of course it makes sense to get more piercings after that experience, right? At about 14 I called my Mom from the mall to let her know I’ve decided to get a piercing at the top of my ear, it was very new and uncommon back then. Her response was “over my dead body” but of course I did it anyway, hurt like a M*therF*kr! That piercing was horrible, bleeding all the time, swollen, I couldn’t sleep on my right side for a very long time. So after a few years a got a second one just a bit higher than the first one, Mother of Shiva it hurt, bleed, was infected and again no sleeping on my right side for a solid chunk of time.
These days I attempt to learn from past experiences but I didn’t get that message back then and just kept on piercing things! Next came my belly button. The image here is two young girls, maybe 16, a needle, scissors, a desk, lamp, rubbing alcohol, a horrible hoop earing, and needle nose pliers. It took hours to get the needle through and finally I had my friend Jenn, just cut the skin to get the sucker through. Man I was proud of that piercing, after all I bleed and sweat for it. Oh yeah, it got infected and not only a 1 year later I ripped it straight out with my backpack, ouch and I have a wonderful scar there now to remind me of the wonderful decisions I’ve made in the past.
Alright, one more piercing story for you. On a solo trip to Vancouver I decided on my second day to get my tongue pierced. I booked the appointment, went in to get it done. The clamp that they hold your tongue with hurt and the actual piercing was so intense and it lasted a very long time. I even remember a fleeting thought that this was a very bad decision that I had made. Too late! About 10 minutes later I fainted walking down the sidewalk, alone. Lucky for me two young women saw me go down and decided to help me out. I woke up on a makeshift chair made out of Coke cases with an Asian man hitting me in the arm repeatedly asking me if I needed an ambulance. I decline, since I learned the hard way you have to pay for ambulances in B.C when you are from Ontario.
My tongue was swollen for a week, I couldn’t talk without drooling on myself and I spoke with a lisp, not for that week but for many many years! I knew I spoke differently from this piercing but I was not taking it out, I earned it and I thought it made me original and well, it seemed to always be a big hit with boys.
After I started yoga I noticed some poses would pull on my belly button piercing, (which I might add I had re-pierced professionally and added another one underneath going the opposite direction, so cool eh?). This pulling only got more annoying and painful the more hooked on yoga I got. So I eventually took it out! I put it back in a few times to make sure I could decorate my horribly mutilated belly button whenever I went to the beach or something.
I was introduced to Ayurveda, many years ago and really dove into studying and practicing it. I came across a tongue diagnoses diagram and noticed something very interesting and horrifying to me. Turns out when you get your tongue pierced you are actually piercing directly through the area connected to your heart when you do it. I took it out, years later I still have a weird scar on my tongue but the good news I no longer speak with a lisp and I feel more connected to my heart 😉
Over time I started to feel like the metal in my body was interfering with the flow of prana, vital life energy. As I got more and more sensitive to this flow I noticed a subtle shift when I took the piercings out. The point of sharing this with you is not that you take out your piercings but rather think about them a bit more and see if somehow they affect your energy. I am also 18 weeks pregnant and think of my son or daughter, calling me to tell me they are getting there ____ pierced!
Currently still have my original piercing and let my “doubles” and the ones at the top “grow in” yuk, and they never really do. Other than that I have a small nose stud that I keep proudly to represent my yoga journey. It never got infected, yay! It decorates my feminine side and for now still serves me besides getting in the way of my alternate nostril breathing at times:)
Hope this made you smile a few times and got you thinking.
What is the difference between true wisdom and what you think you know to be true? This is a topic I find hard to digest because our truth is just that “our truth.” Sure we can all regurgitate information we’ve heard from someone else but in this case we must look to the hive to find some answers.
The hive is where the bees go to puke up what they’ve ingested, in their case it’s honey, in ours it’s information. Once this info comes back to the hive, the brain, the heart, the body, it needs to be broken down, studied from many views, turned upside down, proven with practice and so on. When info is just spit back out into the world it’s efficacy and power is lost. In order for each of us to come to any sort of truth, time must be spend unravelling the info and finding out what deeply resonates as truth within us.
Although, I was armed with that knowledge I often found myself taking in what “authorities” or “experts” would say and instead of taking it in, breaking it down and looking at it closely I often found it easier to just spit back out. If anyone ever came to my class after I had been to a workshop, this is what was usually happening. Why it was happening, well was often because the info landed on my ears, eyes, heart, skin and it often resonated with a deep truth, that I genuinely felt and I got super excited to share it. I’ve come to understand that, that might not be enough, that a deeper inquiry is not sometimes needed but always needed.
When you stop questioning you give up your ability to discern between your truth and someone else’s truth. When you use Satya, one the niyamas, mentioned by Patanjali, which means truthfulness or speaking the truth, something very powerful shifts in you. In the past I think I just found it easier to lie, but now lying makes me want to crawl out of my skin for the most part since it’s in direct conflict with my personal experience, which has become my truth. Why do you think lie detectors can detect lies, because the body’s psyche has an actual response when we lie, heart rate increase, temperature increase, rate of respiration increase. Lying disturbs the peace and quiet of the mind and body.
True wisdom, therefore is your personal experience, possibly backed with fact or science, that you have ingested, digested, purified, refined and puked back onto the world. True wisdom is the very remedy for ignorance and for many ignorance is at the root of suffering. If you are willing to take information in as opposed to believing that you are always right, even though you might not be, then from there true wisdom can be born and expanded upon.
Carrying around extra baggage with you can really rob you of precious energy. I don’t think you can get rid of all of it but at least you can upgrade from a giant suitcase to a mini backpack. So much of this baggage has come from past experiences that hurt us or left their mark.
These marks are known in yoga context as Samskaras. Think of a Samskara like a deep groove carved out in your mind. We can also think of it like a major highway, the 401. When we have an experience the mind finds the path of least resistance or the 401! Why not? It’s fast, convenient, you may have been 50 times or more, it’s familiar.
Same trip, same ride (your body) but add 5 extra heavy suitcases! This is your baggage. The mind is a storehouse and what it’s storing is every single life experience you’ve ever had. It can also weight you down, make you feel depressed, effect how you eat, sleep, love, and interact with yourselves, other people, and the world.
So if you were to make a pit stop on the side of the highway and you had the chance to leave those 5 extra heavy bags at the side of the road would you? It’s not that simple, for many of us we believe that our life experiences are very important, they make us who we are. I agree, they do, but do you really need the bags to show for it?
Maybe our fears of who we could be override our ability to let go of the past or some parts at least. When I suffered from depression it was such a huge part of my life. I would honestly meet new people and within the first 5 minutes they would know that I suffered from depression. How could they not? I was standing there with a 10 piece matching luggage set!
My first yoga teachers introduced me to many things but one of them was meditation. I really wasn’t interested to be honest. I even went so far as to kindly request that they took it out for me, luckily they downright refused and I am forever grateful they did!
Meditation is the key to putting our minds through the baggage check, filtering out what is no longer serving us so we can be more amazing than we already are. When you meditate you get into these deep mental grooves and more so you pave over them so when you mind is triggered by an experience you don’t automatically go to these samskaras, you don’t immediately make decisions from them, it’s extremely liberating.
Have you ever noticed when something shitty happens to you, you get in a fight with your partner, a co-worker, a friend you spend a good chunk of that day playing it over and over in your head? That only makes the samakara deeper! Meditation is an interruption of what can become obsessive thinking. It’s like the entire 401 is blocked in both directions and now you must find a new route through your mental landscape.
You don’t need anything fancy to meditate, you don’t need a special cushion, or to sit in lotus pose you can just simply take a few minutes out of everyday, the key is everyday, to put your mind through the baggage check. You will notice each thought rise and fall without any judgement of yourself. This is a great opportunity for an ego check too! Over time your mind becomes more tranquil and you can downsize from your 10 piece matching luggage set to maybe 3 or better yet 1!!!
You are more than the sum of your experiences, because you are infinite source energy!
Do you know that it’s Eating Disorder awareness week? I’m showing my support to something that I’ve battled for over a decade by sharing my journey with you. The rate of eating disorders is increasing, which is so sad. It’s a very difficult challenge to overcome unhealthy body image and unhealthy relationships to food.
Much of the issue with eating disorders goes beyond control issues, although it has a large part in the cycle. It comes down to relationships! It’s starts with the relationship that we have with ourselves first. That is where the healing happens when we heal the broken idea of who we think we are supposed to be, what we are supposed to look like.
For me it was all about a stupid freakin number on the scale. I was only okay with 100, if it was above I was devastated and vowed to make up for it and if it was less then I was thrilled. How can you base your happiness on a number on the scale? Well, you can’t that is the truth.
Your weight does not determine your worthiness!
The cornerstone for me happened in my very first yoga classes. I was in a horrible place when my feet first touched a yoga mat and I am so grateful since I’m not sure I would be here if I didn’t choose a path that gave me healing, forgiveness, permission to not be perfect, and that my body deserves to be nourished with healthy, happy food, every day!
Every time I practiced I received messages that I was enough, I was whole just as I am and I still get that today when I practice. Bulimia and anorexia are part of my past, would I say that I’m fully 100% over it, no, I wouldn’t because I’m not. I am in a much better place and my days don’t start with a weigh-in but rather a yoga practice.
I’m not saying that yoga works for everyone that is suffering from these horrible issues, I’m saying it worked for me because I dove right into yoga and I’ve never looked back. I don’t just robotically move through poses but instead I fuel each pose like it was a prayer to my body, the shrine, the temple, the Goddess!
I had to shift the relationship that I had with myself to see that I was more than my weight and that didn’t determine if I was worthy of love or friendship. My heart truly goes out to the millions of people that struggle with eating disorders. It astonishing how many people are effected by this every single day, week after week, year after year.
Here are some things to think about today and this week!!
It is estimated that 8 million Americans have an eating disorder – seven million women and one million men
One in 200 American women suffers from anorexia
Two to three in 100 American women suffers from bulimia
Nearly half of all Americans personally know someone with an eating disorder (Note: One in five Americans suffers from mental illnesses.)
An estimated 10 – 15% of people with anorexia or bulimia are males
Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness
A study by the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders reported that 5 – 10% of anorexics die within 10 years after contracting the disease; 18-20% of anorexics will be dead after 20 years and only 30 – 40% ever fully recover
The mortality rate associated with anorexia nervosa is 12 times higher than the death rate of ALL causes of death for females 15 – 24 years old.
20% of people suffering from anorexia will prematurely die from complications related to their eating disorder, including suicide and heart problems
ACCESS TO TREATMENT
Only 1 in 10 people with eating disorders receive treatment
About 80% of the girls/women who have accessed care for their eating disorders do not get the intensity of treatment they need to stay in recovery – they are often sent home weeks earlier than the recommended stay
Treatment of an eating disorder in the US ranges from $500 per day to $2,000 per day. The average cost for a month of inpatient treatment is $30,000. It is estimated that individuals with eating disorders need anywhere from 3 – 6 months of inpatient care. Health insurance companies for several reasons do not typically cover the cost of treating eating disorders
The cost of outpatient treatment, including therapy and medical monitoring, can extend to $100,000 or more
Anorexia is the 3rd most common chronic illness among adolescents
95% of those who have eating disorders are between the ages of 12 and 25
50% of girls between the ages of 11 and 13 see themselves as overweight
80% of 13-year-olds have attempted to lose weight
RACIAL AND ETHNIC MINORITIES
Rates of minorities with eating disorders are similar to those of white women
74% of American Indian girls reported dieting and purging with diet pills
Essence magazine, in 1994, reported that 53.5% of their respondents, African-American females were at risk of an eating disorder
Eating disorders are one of the most common psychological problems facing young women in Japan.
Many people reached out to me to try to help me but I realized now that I couldn’t handle my relationship with them in that capacity until I came to terms with it myself. It was a slippery slope for a while but I managed to get strong inside my heart and on the outside through major amounts of intention infused yoga practice that was mostly all done in my bedroom with books.
Again, I can’t offer this enough but my heart truly goes out to you if you suffer from these types of daily challenges and if you are close to someone that suffers from an eating disorder since I know how difficult and helpless it feels to watch it happen.
May we all find peace in our hearts and recognize that life is a gift and each one of us is worthy, unique and important.
I have an older sister, she is 2 years older than me so she was also 2 years ahead of me on a bike. I was on a tricycle, she was getting off her training wheels, I was on a bike with training wheels and she was riding a shiny red big girl bike. I longed to ride that shiny red bike, but my feet couldn’t touch the ground at all and I still had to have the training wheels to stay upright until my Psoas muscles got the message.
Well like most kids we all manage to work through the progression of tricycles, training wheels, big kid bikes, then onto mountain bikes and road bikes. Remembering these humble beginnings can be very helpful in yoga practice. We have to start on the tricycle, like downward dog and standing forward bend, then we hope to learn how to do a few actions at the same time and progress to the training wheels, like crow or full wheel but at what point do we get stuck with the training wheels? At what point to you try a pose that is “too advanced” for you, a pose where you might fall and even hurt yourself?
Timing is everything.
If you take off your yoga training wheels too early you may indeed get injured, physically and psychologically! It took me many attempts to get off the ground in wheel pose and even after I could awkwardly and painfully get off the ground I held my breath and tried to just stay up while enduring sharp pains in my back and shoulders. Part of me believed that this pain was simply part of yoga since I felt it in almost every pose in the beginning. Of course there is good pain and bad pain and in the beginning I’m sure it was bad pain like taking a jump with the shiny red big girl bike and crashing, we never had helmets back then either of course.
So eventually, I took those training wheels off, learned how to get my entire body integrated and viola, I can now lift off the floor in Urdhva Dhanurasana with ease, and I even know the Sanskrit, how to assist someone else in it, how to teach someone else how to teach it to someone else! Progress on the path if you will! Urrrrrtttt!!! Hold it!!! Rewind, the training wheels have been off for a few years now and and of course the next step is a drop-back, an unassisted standing pose to a backbend. I was plain terrified when I was first introduced to a drop-back in 2007, I felt like a skinny kid getting on the Zipper ride at the fair, scared shitless and like I wasn’t ready for this ride. I will keep my training wheels Sir, thank you very much.
Of course, we learned them assisted and with help you can drop back and land, albeit awkwardly, it was safe and pure awesomeness. Hell ya, I love the Zipper!!! Then like most yogis their comes a time in your home practice where you think, it’s time for me to do this, no more training wheels, I’m just going to bust it out! Similarly, like when I was a kid wearing a helmet might have been a really intelligent decision before attempting a drop back on my own in my home practice. In mid drop, fear took over, I realized I had no training wheels on, this was it, I wanted my Mommy, and…………… BOOOOM, THUD crashed down right on the top of my head, like I didn’t even have and arms.
Let’s just say, I went back to the training wheels for a while before ever even thinking of trying that again. Ego bruised, neck sore, fear of death rightfully placed in my mind/body. Time goes on and the desire to feel the rush of the Zipper returned so this time I approach with more caution, lessons learned on the mat. I place a pillow, okay a couch cushion, behind me to soften the blow if there was going to be one. Wouldn’t you know it, I totally missed the cushion and crashed once again on my neck but this times my arms did a little bit to help me instead of completely abandoning me. With, every attempt, fear comes, but now I breath, go over everything I need to do in order to be safe in a drop back and go for the ride. I can now, most of the time, land like a feather on the earth, no boom, no loud thud, no training wheels.
I would have never ever been able to grasp some of the asanas in yoga if I didn’t go through the cycles of support but I also had to be willing to take the risk, to hit the jump on the shiny red big girl bike. If you aren’t willing to take the training wheels off you will inevitably get stuck in your practice, be satisfied with what you can do today and extinguish the natural desire within you to expand. It is your nature. Stepping on your yoga mat is one hell of a wild ride, depending on what poses you choose to do of course. If you stay with the ones that don’t challenge you or have a risk, you might eventually get bored and stop trying. Do something in your yoga practice today that can scare you at least a little bit, one more breath, 1 inch deeper, kick up a bit harder, be okay with falling on your face. Just see what happens.
When you get on the Zipper buckle up and enjoy the ride!
Friday is a day of firsts for London! It’s the long-awaited (by some) Acro-Yoga Jam Session and idea ruminating for 3 years is now happening on Friday at the lovely LIVE360 on Ridout and York. Introduce yourself to another level of yoga practice. Basing, flying, spotting are all part of this fun style of yoga based on acrobatics, yoga and Thai Yoga massage.
Live music to make it that much sweeter!
Come clean and on an empty tummy.
Cost is $5 per person and we start at 7pm and run to 8:30.
Some of you may not have ever heard someone yelling this to you from below.
“Mindy put your right foot on that hold by your right shoulder!!!”
If you’re a climber than you may have heard it and other amazing ideas for body contortion to get up a route. I’ve been climbing since I was 15 years old, now 35 and although I don’t get to climb as much as I used to, which was everyday back then I’m a much stronger climber now then I was then.
For a 5 years I was so scared of falling I would downclimb a 12a instead of going for the next move. Fear had paralyzed me. Fear isn’t a bad thing but in climbing it needs to be managed to reach your full potential. I would climb and be so calm and strong and then the moment a crux move came my heart rate would accelerate and I would be overcome with the fear of the fall so much that I would back off.
Like yoga practice, I had to practice falling. When I first started to practice yoga poses really scared me, like handstands and arm balances. Early in I fell on my face out of crow pose and that fall hurt more than my face. Fear took over and I didn’t try it again for almost 8 months! What’s even more interesting is now crow pose is one of my favorites.
You can really overcome a lot of obstacles on your yoga mat.
Once I started to practice falling on lead I quickly overcame the fear and started to push myself again and it really felt great. I noticed that fear can creep back in if I don’t take a few falls so it’s really important that as the fear starts to grip me, I have to let myself surrender and literally ‘let go.’
I remember when I started to get into yoga I was trying to show some of my climbing friends a few stretches that would help. It wasn’t long after that I decided to become a yoga teacher so I actually knew what I was doing (well, sort of). Yoga has helped my climbing in physical and psychological ways. My concentration has improved as much as my hamstring flexibility. Staying connected to my breath in yoga and climbing helps to keep my heart rate down and my nervous system more calm. Climbing is exciting so my heart rate will jump but I can bring it back down much faster now with some deep yogic breaths.
Whenever I’m at a climbing gym or the crag I can’t help but notice people posture’s. It what I do for a living now. What I have noticed is that climbers tend to have a concave chest and a rounded back with both their shoulders and their head in the forward plane of the body. Having a strong back is obviously a must for climbing hard but imbalances between the front and back body will limit they body.
People with poor posture have a shorter life span.
When the head and shoulders are forward it puts pressure on the spinal discs but it also puts more pressure on the heart and lungs. Just by bringing the head and shoulders back your lungs can more fully inflate, more breath, more oxygen, more oxygen, better muscle performance. Less oxygen the muscles can prematurely sezz up. Breathe better, climb harder, live longer!
Practicing poses on my fingertips at first was excruciating! My fingers burned in every pose. My tendons and pulleys were overused and tight, not strong, tight! Big difference between tight and strong. Tight muscles are also weak, they tear easily then the body must use energy to heal. Strong muscles are ones that are strong AND flexible. After about six months of steady practice on my fingertips, even handstands, my fingers felt better than ever and I was able to crimp and hold slopers with more strength and ease. 10 Points for yoga!!
On the opposite end, we can talk about climbers feet (okay I barfed a little in my mouth just typing that, nasty) Like many climbers I wanted my shoes to be super tight. I remember back in the early nineties having to order my gear over the phone the guy at MEC in Toronto telling me to downsize my regular shoe size by at least 2 sizes, “the tighter the better” he said. I started with a pair of Boreal Ballets, I couldn’t get them to be tight if I tried because my foot was so narrow and skinny.
After years of climbing and wearing tight shoes my toes were in very bad shape. I was told that I was going to need surgery on my bunions at 22 years old! The corns on the tops of my toes were painful and since yoga is done in bare feet, I started to study my feet a lot more and felt sad about the abuse I had put them through over the years of tight climbing shoes. I don’t have a pic of my toes back then but I have one of them now.
My bunions are so much better, my corns are pretty much gone!
I can remember being on a route in Kentucky and after about 40 feet my toes were burning to the point I would have to rest and take my shoes off. Silly my shoes were so tight the were hurting my climbing not helping. I always have two pairs of shoes one for easier climbs and a pair that are a bit tighter for harder routes.
Yoga creates balance in the body, mind and heart.
As the warmer weather comes my itch to get out and climb is increasing. We
haven’t had a climbing gym in our city for a few years now and news has hit that one
is finally slated to open in 7 to 9 months, I can’t wait to put my practice into practice at the gym.
The bottom line is yoga will help you climb harder, hands down its the number one cross-training activity that will make a huge difference in how you climb.