Category Archives: Uncategorized

And then came Baby

It was completely intentional that my Husband and I decided to have a baby.  We waited so that I could wrap up my 2 Yoga Teacher Trainings I had last year so that I could complete both courses before the baby came and forever changes our lives.  Last May, we got pregnant and my life has never been the same.

I am so grateful for the awareness that I’ve learned through yoga, meditation and pranayama because I feel like I have been present to every single moment of the pregnancy.  I’ll be 37 weeks on Sunday and I’m due on February 3rd, which is in the very near future.  The changes in body have been amazing and I’m totally fascinated by the entire process of creating life.  As you can imagine my yoga practice has changed so much to move into a space of deeply honouring this process and turning inside to the life in my tummy.

We bought a house this past year and are planning a home birth in a birthing tub.  Each home we looked at I wondered if I could have the baby there.  When we saw this house my vision was solidified.  It got even more interesting when I took the mirror down in the bathroom and found a very old Ganesha sticker under it, more confirmation for me.  I am so happy and grateful to have a home with my Husband and to have spend the last few months of my pregnancy here.  Plus I have the most incredible yoga spot I could imagine 🙂

My baby belly at 9 months

My desire for health has gone off the charts these days, wanting the best food, water, nutrition for our family and I’m really looking forward to being able to get out with the baby in the Spring and start teaching her about life, yoga, her body, her mind, nature, our family history, our deep love and respect for animals, and love.  I’m already excited to take her rock climbing, snowboarding, biking, swimming, knitting and reading to her every night.

I have really received so much love and support from my family and from friends and want to express how grateful I feel for this support.  Although, my pregnancy had little complication I am very sensitive to everyone’s personal situation and want to offer back the same love, support and gratitude that I have received.

Each blessing is a loving gesture from Nature and this little girl is just that to me.

With a full heart,

Mindy

Packing and Moving

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.

Mindy

Our New Home!!!
Ayurveda Tongue Chart

Why I took out my piercings for Yoga

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.

Many blessings,

Mindy

 

 

True Wisdom & What you Think you Know

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.

Stop and Smell the Lilacs

I was out for a run the other day and lucky for me had to stop for a red light, which gave me a

chance to catch my breath but it gave me an opportunity for something even better, I got to

stick my whole face into a lilac tree in full bloom and fragrance!

Take the time to stop and smell

So many of you know that scent is connected to memory and as I stood there at the light,

smelling this flowers I had flashes of coming home from school to a sunny kitchen, my mom

baking, and a vase with fresh lilacs on the table.  My heart melted in that moment to think  of

how sweet my mom is, how much I love her, how much I miss here, and our family home with all

it’s memories.  I remembered how much I loved the two lilac trees in the back yard, how the

smell was so strong it infused the air outside.  I can see the trees just as they were when I was

young, the two different shades of lavender and dark purple.

As I travel back home, it will be my first time home at this time of the year in almost 10 years,

the first thing I am going to do is go into the back yard, pick some lilacs and put them in a vase

on the table.  All this from stopping for 15 seconds to smell the lilacs.

Do not miss your life!  Do not sit back and watch it go by!  Do not leave things unresolved, you

never know when someone in your life will be gone!  We are often so busy and rushed that

we’re missing opportunities to connect to nature, to heal old wounds, mend friendships, and

be present and fully alive in the moment.

I’d like to thank my neighbours Frank & Ellie for bringing some lilacs over to our house yesterday!

We’ll let me be honest I threatened to steal some of there lilacs 🙂  Last night I hung out with my

dog and husband, feeling deeply nostalgic because the room was filled with the fragrance of

my favourite childhood smell.

Mindy

 

Baggage Check

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!

 

min

The Challenging Road of Eating Disorders

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!!

PREVALANCE

  • 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

MORTALITY RATES 

  • 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

ADOLESCENT

  • 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.

This information comes from an American site (http://www.state.sc.us/dmh/anorexia/statistics.htm)

 

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.

Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti

Peace

Mindy

Training Wheels Off

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!

Om

Min

London’s 1st Acro-Yoga Jam Session

Hey London yoga lovers,

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.

The next jam session will be April 27th.