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What I’m lovin’ Wednesday: Power of Movement

Sunday is the big day! Me and tons of other yoga enthusiasts will be taking to our mats on Sunday, March 3 for Power of Movement in support of arthritis research.

I hold this event very near to my heart and my creaky joints. Many a time yoga has been my rock as I recover from an injury. The pain and weakness in my lower leg/ankle are with me daily, and a regular practice keeps me powerful, balanced, and a strong believer that anyone and everyone should do yoga.  Last year  I was fortunate to be named a Power of Movement Champion.

chakrakhans

With events taking place across Canada, everyone has the chance to make a difference. I want you to join me in Calgary. Check out the link, register as an individual or join a team, and I’ll see you on your mat in a few days.

Here are the vitals:

What: Power of Movement Calgary
When: Sunday, March 3, 2013
Time: 11 a.m.
Where: Eau Claire Market
200 Barclay Parade SW
Calgary, AB
T2P 4R5
Who: Open to all, it is a family-friendly event.

If you can’t make it out, but would still like to help, please consider donating to my team: The Chakra Khans. Tax receipts are issued for any donation over $20.

Funds raised from this event go towards life changing research, which benefits more than 4.6 million Canadians that are living with arthritis and autoimmune conditions. For more information on Power of Movement, check out powerofmovement.ca.

Are you a yogi? Will you be taking part in Power of Movement? If so, which city?

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Early bird.

I’m not an early-morning exerciser. I often get light headed and feel like I’m going to puke. Spin class on a semi-empty stomach might be the worst. A red-faced, sweaty mess is the last thing you want to see stumbling off a spin bike.

The one exception is yoga. Since it is supposed to be practiced on an empty stomach, I am always fine with an early morning class. The only downside is the early morning.

Last weekend, Rebecca convinced me that an 8 a.m. hot class at Yoga Passage was a great idea. I’m sure I was drunk when I agreed to go. Who would set their alarm for 7 a.m. on a Saturday? BY CHOICE!?

I also agreed because I love Yoga Passage. And because it is on Passport to Prana.

Located in the heart of the city, it is a quick walk from home. It’s on the second floor of a small brick building and has two studios with plenty of windows to watch the sun rise, or set depending on the time.

On Saturday I watched the sun rise from my mat – that’s one way to say hello to the Universe…flowing through a sweet sun salutation at dawn.

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I usually set up my mat over by that large canvas print of the bridge in the tree tops.

I don’t think I can express eloquently why I love it at Yoga Passage. It isn’t anything tangible, but more of a feeling. A sense of belonging in my practice and in the space. It feels like a yoga home.

When chatting with the ladies at Passport to Prana, I specifically pointed out Yoga Passage to try and add to the list of studios. I want more people in Calgary to experience this place.

And take Gord’s class; you won’t be sorry.

Are you a morning or evening exerciser? 

Hot, hot heat.

After making the statement that I needed to get back onto my mat last week, I fired up my new 2013 Passport to Prana card and hit a new studio.

With 17 studios on this year’s card, it will be an exciting challenge to schedule my classes. I really look forward to the good weather so I can take a class in Canmore while looking out into the mountains. (I just picture a huge second floor window looking out at the range.)

First studio to check off the list? Pure Hot Yoga. I have heard fantastic things about this studio, but the reviews and photos from their website don’t do it justice.

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This space is BEAUTIFUL!

I couldn’t get over the aesthetics of it and really hoped the class would hold up to the appearance. What a fantastically un-yogic things to say, but remember who’s typing here…

Screen Shot 2013-01-20 at 12.54.51 PMp.s. follow me on Twitter.

I selected a 75 min Warm Yin class, as my muscles were a bit sore and tight from a gym yoga class (ew) and spin class earlier in the week.

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The studio was simple with dark floors and a wall full of mirrors. I laid my mat out and gasped in hot air. It took a while for my lungs to adapt to the room, but soon enough I was breathing normally again. The Yin class is a unique style of yoga which works to increase flexibility and range of motion, mostly in the hips and lower back. Each pose is held between one and six minutes.

With a busy mind, and busy body, I often struggle with Yin or Restorative classes. I fidget, I squirm, I freak out inside my head. I know this is a fantastic lesson in patience for me, so I continue to challenge myself.

Thursday’s class was no different, I had a horrible time staying still and holding each posture. I struggled. I just kept wishing for savasana.

Ecstatic for many reasons when it finally rolled around, I was pleasantly surprised when the instructor places a cool, lemongrass-scented towel in my hand. I placed it over my eyes and spent as long as I could stretched out, with no separation between me and the floor.

For me, this was a brand new thing – I’ve had adjustments, and oils, and eye pillows, but never a cool, scented towel.

For everyone else, this is supposedly nothing new. When I bragged about it at work and on Twitter, I was met with “oh ya, I’ve had that at my studio.”

Either way, studios who do this: you are incredibly rad. Keep it up.

I’d go back to Pure Hot, but do wish it were closer to where I lived. I’m right in the core of the city, which isn’t common – Calgary is an outskirts city.

Another huge perk of Pure Hot is the amount of gentleman that take their classes. I counted no fewer than seven in the class before mine, and there were another five in the Warm Yin practice. I am happy to see more and more men doing yoga. Also, not bad on the eyes.

You can find the full list of Calgary and area studios, and my review of each as I go on my Passport to Prana page.


Have you heard about Passport to Prana? What do you look for in a studio?

Five Tips to Love Yoga

I need to get back on my mat. I have feared my return to physical activity after breaking my leg, but the one thing I miss most is my yoga practice.

I don’t know how I heard about yoga. I remember doing a few cycles of sun salutations in Grade 9 Dance class, but when I stepped foot into my first studio for a Hatha class, it’s like I knew the whole practice. Needless to say my attraction was instant, but that doesn’t mean it has always been a fairytale romance. It ebbs and flows from class to class with successes, and pains, and face plants but always ends in blissful savasana.

I’ve gone through 40-day challenges with fierce commitment, and I’ve rolled up my mat and kept it that way for months on end. After it all, my body always feels better when I’m on my mat.

With numerous poses and styles it can be intimidating to get started but don’t fret, I’ve got you covered!

photo

The Chakra Khans at Power of Movement 2012

Here are five tips to get you loving yoga:

Face the fear.

The hardest part about yoga? Is getting to your mat. It’s not the advanced level arm balances, or inversions, or 105-degree practice rooms. No. It’s getting onto your mat. When you get there you’ve already done all the work, the rest is just breathing and flowing.

Work on it.

I can’t even count the amount of times I’ve heard, “I can’t do yoga, I’m not flexible.” That’s like saying, “I don’t have enough muscle to weight train.” Guess how you build muscle? By weight training. And guess how you become flexible? By doing yoga.

Test it out.

You can’t go to one yoga class and completely discount it as a hated activity. Was the Hatha class too easy? Try a Baptiste class and then try to tell me yoga isn’t a workout. You went to an Ashtanga class and you wanted to punch the teacher because you haven’t memorized the order of Advanced D series? Try a yin-yang class and you’ll be much more Zen at the end. Once you’ve found a style you like, it will take time to find a few instructors you like. Your practice can be spot on, but if you can’t stand the teacher, you won’t be able to get to your happy place.

It won’t cost you an arm and a leg to try it, either. If you’re in a Passport to Prana city, you will be able to try out numerous affiliated studios for as little as $30. If you’re by a lululemon athletica they all have a yoga class once a week where you can try it out in exchange for a canned food donation (and they even supply mats). Most studios have week-long introductory specials for a low price so you can get a feel for the studio. Deal websites like Groupon always have discounts on yoga, too. Like supporting charity? You should join my fellow Power of Movement Champions and me in doing yoga for Arthritis research.

Get over yourself.

Why do you think you’re so special that everyone in the sardine-packed yoga studio is staring at you? You are alone on your mat, practicing. If you spend the whole time in child’s pose or do every pose perfectly the only person that will know is you. The studio is really a place of no judgment. And if someone does happen to spy you recovering in child’s they probably are just mega jealous they didn’t have the strength to take a rest.

Bring your friends.

Everything is easier when you have a support system! The best part about yoga with a friend is you’ll probably look or feel so silly doing some of the poses that you will have plenty to laugh about afterwards over some ice creamchocolatedrinks herbal teas and lemon water. Screw it; my bestie and me go to yoga then for gelato. It’s all about yin and yang, my dears.

See you on your mat! xo

This was originally a guest post for Amanda from Run Principessa – my #SweatPink sista. Go give her some link love; she’s pretty wicked.

Do you yoga? What tip is most useful? What tips am I missing?

Thankful for.

family and their love. friends near and far. bottomless cups of tea and the sugar that sweetens it. pretty things and clever words. huge vases of fresh cut flowers. sunshine and my raybans. lazy holiday Mondays and comfortable couches. my fiery independence and learning how to ask for help. smiling all the time and for no reason besides it feels damn good. my yoga mat and my endless determination to chill out. cute boys and the text messages they send. creativity and endless options to express it. this blog and you.

What are you thankful for? Happy Thanksgiving!

Full swing.

One week down, and yoga is in full swing.

My body aches, my hair is a disaster, I’m as sweaty as they come.

come on boys, love me.

So as much as I don’t want to pick up at the gym, I’ve also realized it will never happen at the yoga studio either because of the mess I become after class. Two thumbs down for the red face that sticks around for at least two hours after a hot class. Nope, not going to pass out, just have thin skin.

Also, I don’t think it’s fair to have so many good looking, sweaty men in one place.  I have wondered where all the catches were in Calgary, turns out they are at Yoga Passage. My goodness, ladies! Check this out. They are all for you, please reference above why I won’t be sharing.

Jokes aside, I think I’ve found my new yoga home. The studio is beautiful and friendly, and it is right downtown with a good amount of free parking. The class schedule is huge, and diverse and they have a fantastic mix of male and female instructors. I think that’s what may coax the male students to pick that studio. Total broga. Let’s chest bump after class. My place. Call me.

I’ve been pretty true to my yoga heart, sticking with hot, restorative and yin-yang classes. For some reason I think it will be fun to completely blow everything out of the water and shake my practice up by embracing a Sunday morning Kundalini class. Wish me luck, I’ll report back with the mayhem.

What fun is life if you don’t occasionally tip out of the boat? I’d say “rock it” but we’re going overboard here. Let’s play!

Other great news, been asked by the very wonderful Emily to stay on as a Power of Movement Champion for 2013. So many days away, so much excitement until then.

Do yoga, friends!

It’s going to get sweaty.

I’m pretty sure none of you really care about my yearly and monthly goals. Okay, maybe that is a bit harsh. You may care, but it is kind of boring, and as promised in May, I’d be less of that.

Instead of the typical goal recap post, and goal setting post I bring you the best of May and the mission for June all in one place.

In summary, I got sassy, I drank water, I enjoyed Vancouver.

Most importantly, I had wicked-pretty hair all month.

If you haven’t checked out The Small Things Blog for hair tutorials yet, you’re missing out. That girl knows pretty hair!

For June, I’ll visit the family and friends in Toronto. I’ll continue to write here, for BHD, a few guest posts, and whatever else may come up. My only real concrete goal for June is the plan to have really ugly hair, completely on purpose. I entered into a yoga challenge with myself. As many classes as I can make, hopefully daily, and leave it all – sweat and emotion – on my mat.

Getting back into yoga has been a challenge so far, there is a good deal of tightness in the injured hamstring and hip. Slowly but surely I’ll work it all out.

I’ll be flowing at Yoga Passage for at least the next eight weeks (they have a rad special on right now). It’s a new studio for me, but the place is beautiful, it is pretty conveniently located downtown, and they offer a wide range of classes. I will get to a Kundalini class if it kills me. Talk about getting out of my element.