Monday, 25 April 2011

LYM Challenge ~ Week Four ~ Sangha Support

This week's challenge involves Sangha (pronouced Song-gah).  Sangha is a word the Buddha used to describe a community of people supporting one another on a common path.

The challenge this week includes making more of an effort to get to know my if you've kept up with my blog at all, you know how much I love my studio, Moksha Yoga Dartmouth!  I'm already always talking to other yogis in the studio, so this part of the challenge is easy for me.  Since beginning this blog, I have people approaching me as well to talk about the blog.  It was a great opener for my Sangha to get to know me :) 

This morning as Wendy and I were leaving after our awesome class with Ashleigh *shout out* I was putting my stickers on the sticker board...noticed Wendy had already put hers on and turned to her and said "and who did you meet today here?!?"  She immediately turned around to the woman standing behind us talking to Ashleigh and said, "Hi, I'm Wendy, it's very nice to meet you", I said, and I'm Stephanie, and then continued to explain the LYM Challenge because the look on her face was a little shocked at the insertion of ourselves into her conversation.  She was a first timer, I like to think that our friendliness will make her definitely want to come back ;) 

Since beginning at MYD I have brought so many people to classes with me and had half of them buy a package themselves.  This weeks challenge is probably going to be the easiest week for me because I already bring everyone I know to yoga, and I already talk to anyone who will listen to me!

The LYM Challenge Facebook page is proof positive of the Sangha Support in the Moksha community. 

Sangha is like a chosen family...I believe I have definitely chose a keeper family :)

Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened.  Happiness never decreases by being shared.  ~Buddha

Friday, 22 April 2011

Enlighten Up!

Morning yogis!

So I just finished watching a documentary called "Enlighten Up".  I thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend it highly!

This woman, Kate, who has been practicing yoga for 7 years decided to take a random person, Nick, and follow him on a 6 month yoga journey to see if it changes his life.  They travel all over the world speaking to Gurus and visiting Ashrams.  Nick is completely anti-God, and has an extremely hard time linking up his yoga practice with any kind of spiritual awakening.  This is what I loved about the documentary.  Along his journey he speaks to numerous yogis of different practices. 

One of the most outrageous being Diamond Dallas Page (ex-wrestler turned yogi) who created "Yoga for Regular Guys" and who believes that men need an incentive to practice yoga..and his incentive is "T&A"....good god, that was painful...

Kate then takes Nick to meet her current Guru, Norman Allan (first American to learn Ashtanga yoga from Pattabhi Jois & bring it to the US).  I loved this part of the show.  His energy and passion was beautiful, and he was very real and personable while making sense of Nick's questions regarding spirituality and yoga.  On a side note...I learned that Moksha means "the soul liberated while in body".  I love this!! 

They then journey to Mysore, India, to practice with Pattabhi Jois himself and gain an interview with him.  Nick tells Pattabhi that he is not spiritual.  The advice he gets is to continue with his practice and he will get the spiritual gain from it in time. 

What he gains from BKS Iyengar is beautiful.  Iyengar started on his yogic path purely for the physical level.  To get healthy and control of the body.  It wasn't until 6 years after he gained health that he moved into the spiritual side of his practice.  "Yoga is a subjective way of eradicating the instinctive weaknesses of human beings" ~ BKS Iyengar ~ "Yoga can take a person into two ways of living.  Enjoyment of life or liberation in life"

The movie flips between a lot of talk of god and spirituality and the importance of both to the practice of yoga, and then discussion not to worry so much about spirituality.  That it will come as you move deeper into your practice.

Guru of the Blissful Refuge was the final stop on his journey through India.  The energy eminating off this man was such a positive, happy and loving energy. "It's not important what you are doing.  It's important why you are doing".  I can't possibly put into words everything this Guru says, but it was the most poignant part of the whole documentary for me. 

I, like Nick, struggle with my non-belief system and melding it with my yogic lifestyle.  Guru of the Blissful Refuge says you can have religion/spirituality without believing in a god, Krishna, Bachdi (sp?), as long as you Be Your True Self.  Happiness is not outside.  It is within us.  This is a Guru I could follow :)

So though this has nothing to do with the  LYM Challenge, I wanted to share in the hopes that others who struggle with their melding of the mat with the mind may gain some insight as I have through getting their hands on a copy of this documentary. 


Tuesday, 19 April 2011

YES DRILL SERGEANT!!! ****missed you Emilie****

So tonight was Hot Fusion....dear gawd how I love Hot Fusion!   Hot Fusion is a cardio-style yoga (set to soothing music *love*) I don't think I can put into words the amount of mixed emotions that come up during this class.  It is hard!  It is fun!  It is different every time, using different, harder poses, flowing between those poses in new and awkward ways!

Now everyone breathe and open up to what comes next...

Every time this statement comes out of Emilie's mouth, all I can think is "oh damn! here we go!"   I know the next move is going to be damn near impossible and yet I find myself smiling and looking forward to whatever weird position she's going to put us into next!

Emilie is this tall, beautiful, absolutely SWEET yogi who brings us through flows as if we were in our first week of bootcamp for the army!  Up Dog, Down Dog, Up Dog, Down Dog.  Plank to Hover, Plank to Hover, forward into Up Dog, and back to Down Dog, and again. 

I do believe I mostly owe my newly toned arms to Emilie's classes twice a week!  haha!  The Hot Fusion twice a week is a great cardio style yoga to add spice to my regular practice, which includes 60 min practice and usually a Level 2 and a Yin Yoga practice.

Emilie was away for a week and boy did I miss my Hot Fusion classes!  Thankfully, the lovely Estelle threw some Flow classes in their place that week, which are not as difficult as Fusion, but still, oh so much fun!  Our studio has taken Flow off the schedule *insert sad face here*  This was another class that was an AWESOME addition to my practice as it changed things up and added a difficulty level above the regular Moksha practice.

I know this post isn't about being green...but honestly I just had to praise Emilie tonight.  We missed her and her crazy modified flows!!!

But on the BE GREEN aspect of my blog...since it's supposed to be based around the LYM Challenge...I did NOT give myself a sticker in the action column today, as I got so excited about ordering chinese food at lunch time that I kicked myself in the pants when it showed up in styrofoam!  Dammit!  And I was doing so well! 

Monday, 18 April 2011

LYM Challenge ~ Week Three ~ BE GREEN

It's Be Green Week!  I think this is the most important Pillar globally, correct me if you think otherwise.

This week our challenge is to live as GREEN as possible.  Here are some of the challenge ideas offered up:

Take out containers - Bring your own tupperware if you eat out (sometimes this confuses restaurant staffers and makes for some funny looks! Share your stories with us on facebook!)
~~~~ I might actually try this one...just to see the looks on the faces and have a story to tell!! haha

Coffee cups - Carry your own travel mug
~~~~ I'm not much of a tea/coffee drinker outside of the home, so this doesn't really apply

Plastic Water Bottles - Use your own glass water bottle and save money by refilling. If you're flying this week, remember to bring your water bottle onboard. Airlines do not recycle their plastic or styrofoam cups!
~~~~ I do use a water bottle instead of plastic, so this is already my practice :)

Plastic Grocery Bags - Keep a stash of canvas bags with you so you don't forget!
~~~~ Oh this one gets me every time!!  I have so many of the Sobeys bags and I always forget to put them back in my car for the next use! Drives me crazy.  The only saving grace I have is that I re-use the plastic bags for picking up my puppy poo! lol

Paper Towel - Try hand towels or reusable cloths to wipe up your spills
~~~~ I don't really buy paper towel, but I do use the disinfectant wipes for kitchen use...hmmm...

Toilet Paper - Okay, we can't all go ZERO on this one, but why not try to use just what you need, if um, you know what we mean (tee hee!)
~~~~ Try getting a 12 year old to understand "just what you need" in this department! hahaha!

Printing Paper - Depending on the type of work you do, attempt to cut out all paper use for the week. Email instead of print paper, walk over to a colleagues desk to share information instead of writing a note, call your bank and cable company to ask for electronic bills, make a "No Junk Mail" note on your mailbox at home.
~~~~ In my line of work, I have no say on paper usage...

Paper napkins - Try cloth napkins instead (how sophisticated!)
~~~~ This could be fun!

Turn Off - your computer when it's not in use, lights (don't we all look better in candlelight anyway?) heat, electronics, and everything or anything else that requires energy.
~~~~ I'm going to look into energy saving power bars for around the home.  I already keep my heat down and turn off lights when I leave a room :)

If you drive to work, consider car pooling, taking transit, riding your bike, walking or using offset companies to minimize your carbon footprint.
~~~~ I'm a transit user :)

Remember when computers became the big new thing and all the kids were doing it, and the parents were dumbfounded at how to even turn the damn thing on?  That's how I feel about BEING GREEN.  I feel like our kids know so much more than we do.  They are being brought up in a community where littering is unacceptable.  My daughter actually had on her list of school supplies, "reusable water bottle to be kept in class".  I think this is fantastic!

I think I'm pretty GREEN now, except in the area of recycling...that seems to be the bain of my GREEN existence!

I think for me, the idea of BEING GREEN comes a lot easier than actually BEING GREEN.  Up until last year I was an apartment dweller.  This meant I didn't recycle or use a green bin.  I know, I know, it's horrific, but keeping a rotting bucket of veggies and leftovers under my sink to attract all sorts of no-see-ums was not something I was willing to participate in.  My building was also not a strict enforcer of this.  I shouldn't say I didn't recycle...the cases of beer stacked nicely in the closet until it was time to return them for money...*sigh* so bad...I know.

Last year I bought my first home (yay me!) and started using my green bin that was provided with the house...again....HATE the flies!!  I seriously can't stand them!!  But I continued all summer and then slacked off again come winter time...

ALSO.. can I just say, the garbage men do not make it easy to recycle!!  I will have one large box and break down all other boxes and set them in the large one, which I think is damn convenient and well controlled.  Put that box full of cardboard out on recycle pickup day, and the end of the day, the damn box is still there?!?  "I have to break them all down, wrap them with string in order for them to take them away"...WTF is that about?!? 

This sounds like a lot of bitching doesn't it...haha, yes, it is a lot of bitching, but as much as I want to be good to my environment, society in general makes it difficult to do so! 

So in preparation of BEING GREEN, I went to the grocery store on Saturday and shopped mostly in the outer aisles.  Lots of vegetables and fresh meats.  I love that spring is here because I will get a whole lotta use out of the barbeque!

I also have to give props to my cute handyman who came over and fixed my washing machine (or just showed me how to use it properly) so now I can actually do all my washes in cold water :)  He's also fixing a leaky pipe in the bathroom (once we find the shutoff valve!haha!) so that will save water...since the bucket will no longer be needed ;)

So my challenge comes with recycling.

My brilliant cousin is a creative genuis in building household items/furniture etc.  Her creations are space efficient, stylish, accentric, and beautiful!!!  She has her own website in case you'd like to check out her creations!

So I've been bugging her to create a garbage separator for 3 bags (1 garbage, 1 recycle, 1 recycle for money).  I ended up drawing up a design and sent it to her...her response "Looks like you have a new project, come on down!!"  Now, to say that I am completely clueless around power tools is the understatement of the century!  BUT!! I'm thinking this week would be a fun challenge for me to actually make my garbage separator!!! 

I will definitely be posting about that attempt! haha!

Good luck on your GREEN journey this week! xox
I'm not an environmentalist.  I'm an Earth warrior.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Accessible to the Excessive!! :)

Well my fellow LYM Challengees, we did it again!  Made it through another week!  Pillar 2 complete!

I think what will be really interesting about this week is how many of us will continue to make ourselves accessible from now on.  No more bad thoughts about yourself, less bad thoughts about others around you (you know what I'm talking about.  That annoying co-worker, the driver with their blinker on who never moves over)  I have found since beginning my yoga practice last year, I have definitely lightened up on the quick-to-snap-ness.  I still have my bouts of it, but I am also quicker to apologize when the witch with a capital B possesses my body.

I didn't get to nearly as many classes as I wanted to this week (3 so far) but again, I'm not going to beat myself up over it!  I still have Sunday and then it'll be 4 in 7, which is still pretty darn good if you ask me!

So a girlfriend of mine who is currently in her initial first month package deal is nearing the end.  She is quite upset about it because she has fallen in love with Moksha and doesn't want it to stop.  Unfortunately, like most of us, she is on a fixed income and it just isn't in her budget to join.  I want to see her continue with her practice as I really see how much she's getting out of it.  She's happy, she's involved, she's annoying all her non-yogi friends (haha, this part I love the most!).

I know full well, for myself, if it weren't for the studio, the COMMUNITY of Moksha, my practice would definitely suffer.  It's not just about the postures and heat, it's about the energy shared from the class.  And it's a potent energy!!  If you have any doubt of the love and support of the Moksha community, check out the LYM Challenge page on Facebook.  So many people willing to share their experiences, answer questions, be there for complete strangers with a common interest.

I didn't realize I was looking for a community at first.  At first it was about getting into shape.  And it has gotten me into shape.  I feel so much more comfortable in my own skin.  But in addition to those benefits, what I have found is a community of people so open and giving of themselves.  I walk into my studio and it's not just the yoga instructors who smile, it's all the other yogi who have come to the studio, whether its for fitness, peace of mind, or some other unknown-to-me reason.

I love knowing my studio is filled with people who are just as happy as I am to be there!  I have friends who think I spend way too much time at my studio, but these same friends will say in the same breath that they see and feel the change in me.

It is simply beautiful!

We are not human beings on the 'spiritual path'
We are 'spiritual  beings' on the human path. ~ Yogi Bhajan

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

I am a SUPA-STAH!!!

I dedicate this post to Estelle!!!  Way to rock the Flow class!!!  I miss the Flow class so much and you were great, especially with the cute little belly protruding! hee hee!

Estelle set our intention to all of us being Superstars in class.  No bad thoughts on how our practice was going, falling out or losing our breath.  This was a challenging class for me.  There were outside distractions tonight that kept me from being able to concentrate solely on my frustrating!  I was all about "Okay Stephanie, just breathe.  Doesn't matter what's going on around you, just stay with your practice.  This is about you, and you are a Supa-stah!"  *ode to SnL*

Upon leaving class tonight I got into a discussion with Estelle and my yogi-sisters about Eat Pray Love ~ Elizabeth Gilbert, and the idea of losing yourself in a man/relationship.  I have done this a lot in my life.  If you haven't read this book, I recommend it highly.  I wanted to include two quotes...

 "I have a history of making decisions very quickly about men. I have always fallen in love fast and without measuring risks. I have a tendency not only to see the best in everyone, but to assume that everyone is emotionally capable of reaching his highest potential. I have fallen in love more times than I care to count with the highest potential of a man, rather than with the man himself, and I have hung on to the relationship for a long time (sometimes far too long) waiting for the man to ascend to his own greatness. Many times in romance I have been a victim of my own optimism."

. . . . . . . . . .

"If I love you, I will carry for you all your pain, I will assume for you all your debts (in every definition of the word), I will protect you from your own insecurity, I will project upon you all sorts of good qualities that you have never actually cultivated in yourself and I will buy Christmas presents for your entire family. I will give you the sun and the rain, and if they are not available, I will give you a sun check and a rain check. I will give you all this and more, until I get so exhausted and depleted that the only way I can recover my energy is by becoming infatuated with someone else." 

In her story, Elizabeth Gilbert "finds herself" again and then finds love and is too scared of falling into her old patterns and losing herself again.  Hers is a journey of realizing true balance.  Do you relate to this story?  Whether it be about love, your job, your children.  Do you lose yourself in something and lose the balance in your life?  I DO!  

"When I get lonely these days, I think: So BE lonely, Liz. Learn your way around loneliness. Make a map of it. Sit     with it, for once in your life. Welcome to the human experience. But never again use another person's body or emotions as a scratching post for your own unfulfilled yearnings."

I have been single for quite a long time now, and it was when I found yoga that I started feeling like I found myself, who I wanted to be and how I wanted to express myself and live my life.  I have realized I like being alone.  That alone doesn't mean lonliness.  Yes there are bouts of lonliness, but that also is something I have learned to handle and be calm in.

Estelle says she met her hubby in a yoga class.  Love found her when she was in her happy place.  She didn't have to give up herself or her balance.  And now a new baby bundle of joy is blessing her life!!  I am so happy for you!!! 

So I'm sure I could definitely get deeper into my issues regarding love, balance and the loss of self...but I'm not ready to delve that deep yet!  Baby steps!! BUT!!!!



Sunday, 10 April 2011

Be Healthy COMPLETE!!! phew!

So week 1 of the Challenge is complete!  YAY US!!  We did it!

I completed all 7 days of vegetarian meals once a day.

Only one day did I cheat and eat sugar...and really, it was a green tea & caramel gelato from Humani-T (& an oatmeal and hemp cookie & Happy Tea ...ssoooo good!)  So even though it was sugar, it was healthy suger (shut up, there is so such a thing!)

My goal for my practice was 7 classes in 7 days...I went every day, then Friday came and I missed a class to go to Humani-T Cafe, and because of this I felt like I let myself down (hello week 2 challenge), so Saturday I went to a 60 min class in the morning and a 75 min class in the afternoon :)  ahhh that made me feel better.

Went out dancing Saturday night (in stilettos by the way) which is in and of itself another GREAT workout!  Woke up Sunday to a VERY sore body! haha!  It was so sunny out so I figured, lets do the spring yard work (again, great workout)

So all that was to say I made it to 6 of the 7 yoga classes, in 7 days.  Not bad if I do say so myself! (yay, week 2 challenge positivity!)

Overall the week was a success!  Oh! & I bought not one but 2 BE FREE LYM T's :)  They are sooo comfortable!  (wearing my grey one as we speak) 

So Week 2 starts tomorrow - BE ACCESSIBLE - we are to practice accessibility through self acceptance.  This is the week to practice acceptance and non-judgement with ourselves, and ultimately with those surrounding us. 

Self acceptance and non-judgement is something I struggle with internally and have for as long as I can remember.  As a lot of adults who have suffered childhood trauma, it affects how I view myself and how my inner voice speaks to me.  In the past couple years I have been getting better at allowing myself to be me, and knowing that it's okay to be loved for who I am.  But again, it is still a daily struggle to silence the hateful voice and let the loving one have a turn in there...

I'm not a judgemental person outwardly.  I think that everyone has their issues, and leads them to be the people they are, I accept (whether or not I understand) those quirks and personality traits in those around me.  I'm very helpful at work.  If someone needs help, I'm the first to offer.  I listen openly and respond thoughtfully.  I forgive easily.  I know that if I hold onto something, it is festering in ME, it is in no way harming or affecting the other person. So why hold onto those feelings when it is so much easier to let it go.

I'm not sure how this week will pan out for me.  I have to find some challenges for myself that will make me feel like I'm accomplishing something past what I normally do.  My biggest challenge is within, so I guess maybe that's where I should keep my focus?

"There is so much about my fate that I cannot control, but other things do fall under the jurisdiction. I can decide how I spend my time, whom I interact with, whom I share my body and life and money and energy with. I can select what I can read and eat and study. I can choose how I'm going to regard unfortunate circumstances in my life-whether I will see them as curses or opportunities. I can choose my words and the tone of voice in which I speak to others. And most of all, I can choose my thoughts."Elizabeth Gilbert ~ Eat Pray Love

Friday, 8 April 2011


Day 5!!!  So today I had dental wasn't too hard to eat one vegetarian meal today, seeing as I was knocked out for most of it!  I didn't get to yoga today, so that means I won't be doing 7 practices in 7 days, but I'm thinking of possibly going twice tomorrow, one 60 min class in the am, and the Hot Fusion class in the afternoon (wish me luck!)

Tonight my very good friend Melissa took me to Humani-T Cafe in Halifax.  Humani-T Cafe is a health food store which, on Friday nights, has an open mic night.  I had heard such great things about it from Melissa that I really wanted to check it out.  So tonight was the night :) and was I ever impressed!!!

The night started with the couple that puts on the open mic night, singing and playing guitars.  They both have such beautiful voices!  Next up was this character and his ukulele.  He's not much of a singer, but his songs were quirky and cute and everyone really enjoyed him.  There were poets who got up and shared their works and another couple singers, who were SO GREAT!  I had no idea such a beautiful night was what I was in store for!

I must say, the piece de resistence was the drum group!!  A group of 6-8 people, with a "box of noise" which handed out different musical instruments (tamborines, triangle, etc).  There was a guy playing flute and another playing a didgeridoo!!  Bongo players and another drum types.  And they just PLAYED....all of us got to join in with our little instruments and were instructed when to be quiet and when to play loud....

SO MUCH ENERGY EXCHANGE!!!   It was like DOING MUSIC, instead of doing yoga!!  The vibes in Humani-T were so positive and light and just pure HAPPINESS!!

I really wanted to share this evening with you all, so please feel free to view the attached video.  Bear in mind it was taken with a blackberry video it's not the greatest quality....  this was an amazing experience to be a part of and I will definitely be going back!

Enjoy and I hope to see you at Humani-T Cafe!! :)

Thursday, 7 April 2011

The Music of My Life

YAY!!  We've made it to DAY 4!!!  It's literally half way through our first week!!  I can honestly say, my outward appearance and attitude is a whole lot different than I feel inside with this challenge...haha!  I put up a good front that I'm doing GREAT!  The fact is, no sugar is hard!  I find I'm not eating as much b/c I'm trying not to snack.  There's a lot more water intake, which I'm sure is great for me, but I am really missing sugar!  If I liked honey I would be living on it this week!

So this blog I've decided is about music and yoga. 

I love music.  All types, all the time.  I love it playing in the background.  I find I'm more efficient in my day if there is music to lift my spirit as I work.

Twice a week I enjoy Emilie's Hot Fusion class at my Moksha studio.  There is soothing music playing during the class.  I find the class so much more enjoyable with the music playing.  I find myself sinking into the soft sounds while focusing on my breathing. 

Every now and then an instructor will play a song at the end of a regular 60 minute class.  It's usually something soft, like Bob Marley.  It's a great way to keep me on the mat.  I'm one of those yogi who cannot stay in savasana at the end of class, due to outside commitments, but I find when there is a song playing, I'm getting my "me" time at the end of class without having to rush out

...something about the music keeps me in place on my mat .... and in I sink.

Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.  ~Berthold Auerbach

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Yoga, The Thinker & The Pooper

Yup, you read that, the thinker & the pooper :)

I wanted to take a moment to fill in those who are following my LYM challenge to share my health benefits I have received from my new passion.  I apologize if some may find this falls into the TMI category! haha!

As I stated in my previous blog, I have been a migraine sufferer since I was 2 years old.  I got so used to having a constant ache behind my eyes that it seemed "normal".  I know the general ache is not a migraines always started with an aura of what I liked to call "t.v. snow" around the edges of my vision (usually more right-sided) that would eventually move toward the centre...LOOK OUT..migraine acomin'!  The past number of years I have been living on a diet of Extra Strength Excedrin Migraine, 2 in the am, and usually another mid-afternoon, just to get through the days. Obviously, this was NOT good for my insides, but nothing else was working!  I had my eyes checked, I cut out a lot of foods, I even had an MRI done just to be sure there wasn't something more drastic going on than just pain in my head.

When I was in my 20s I was diagnosed with IBS.  My mother is a sufferer of crohn's and colitis and when I started having severe pains in my 20s decided to tested, tests came back with IBS.  Again, diet shifting, but not much else was done for that...when it acts up, it acts up...simple as that!

So fast forward to October-ish 2010 when I walked into my first Moksha yoga class :)  I left feeling alive, calm, happy....actually that's an understatement!  I was ecstatic!  I kept going for the initial month package and as already stated, was hooked!

Now, I knew I loved yoga because of the feelings in my body, my spirit and heart, but it wasn't until that first month package finished that I realized I was no longer taking the Excedrin!  I couldn't believe it!  I hadn't even noticed that I wasn't achy behind the eyes!

Not only this, but all of a sudden I was regular!!  Now anyone suffering from IBS knows how thrilling this is! haha!  To be able to not have to sit back and think about the last time you visited the pooper is phenominal!  I know I've lost weight during my practice, but I'm pretty sure I'm also just not bloated anymore!

I'm comfortable in my skin, not only from weight loss and toning muscles I didn't know I had, but because clothes fit better, I feel better and my head and guts are not in a constant state of pain and knots!


So we're onto Day 2 of the LYM Challenge - still no sugar, no caffeine.  Breakfast and lunch were both vegetarian meals, and a 60 min Moksha class complete as well.

I don't find I'm missing sugar, so much as I'm missing snacking....  snacking to me does not mean carrot sticks and dip..that's not a snack...that's rabbit food...harumph! *arms crossed over chest*

Last week I did 5 of 7 days of practice, including 2 Hot Fusions.  Even though it's only on day 2 of 7 classes this week, my buttocks and arms are already screaming at me!! Tues, Weds, Thurs, Sat, Sun, Mon, Tues...and still 5 more classes this week! I love a good challenge! hahaha! xox

On an airplane, you are always told to put on your oxygen mask first. The same way in life, you need to take care of your health first. If you are not happy and healthy, you cannot make anyone else happy and healthy. -Rajashree Choudhury

Monday, 4 April 2011

LYM Challenge ~ Week One ~ Be Healthy

So day one is complete of my LYM Challenge!  

The first pillar of Moksha is "Be Healthy".  To celebrate this pillar in week one we are to "eat green" once a day.  This means, one vegetarian meal per day.  For me, my breakfasts are always vegetarian, so I'm not counting breakfast :)  I've looked up a bunch of recipes and am trying them out this week.  Actually, I started experimenting last week just to see how I made out.  Spinach lasagna (MMMM!!) and my 12 year old daughter ACTUALLY liked it!!  This alone made me beyond happy!  I also made sweet potato & pear latkes last week (again a hit with the pre-teen!)  I will definitely be mixing up some more of those this week.  

Today's lunch was a stirfry and rice (check on the vegan meal of the day!)  

We were given more ideas for possible challenges if we really wanted to push ourselves.  In addition to our regular practice of yoga ~ I'm actually going to go for a full 7 day practice this week (dear gawd my body will hate and love me I'm sure!) I have decided to cut out caffeine and refined sugar for the week!  Holy hell...

So this morning, I had an acai herbal tea, no milk, no sugar, which was delish I must say, and throughout the day, my snacks consisted of apples and bananas and water.  By mid-day I had a headache...I'm assuming this is because of the no sugar...  It's not like I eat a lot of sugar, but my snacks normally consist of a poptart or some cookies and a juice box...

By the time I got home and ate something, my headache was starting to subside, and then it was off to my 8:30 moksha class :)  of course, by the end of class NO MORE HEADACHE!!!

I don't know about the other practitioners, but I have suffered from migraines since the age of 2, and let me just say, since finding yoga (or it finding me) in October-ish of last year, I have to say my migraines have diminished by 75%!  

Anyhoo, it's late, I'm feeling good and rested, so it's time to relax :)  Yes it's only day one, but I think I'm going to enjoy this LYM Challenge!

You'll know your limits until you try to extend them and even then, 
one has to break out of his/her comfort zone to appreciate that effort

Sunday, 3 April 2011

The GOD Experience....

It's not quite LYM Challenge time (starts tomorrow) so I figured I'd just continue rambling and see what happens!

So I'm not sure how this post will go over...I guess, that's the whole point of a blog though right, to voice an opinion.

I'm an Atheist.  Well, let me state this a little clearer...I was a born and raised Roman Catholic, DECIDED Atheist :)

Anyone who is or has had a religion forced on them (by the most loving and positive parents in the world, I owe them more than I could ever repay!) and then grows into the person you are, with the non-beliefs you have, tend to have strong feelings about said prior religion.  Likewise, anyone who has had bad life experiences, which undoubtably shape who you are in adulthood, tend to question a religion that was not of your choosing, but is so strict it TELLS you how you MUST live your life, while in and of itself seems very hypocritical.

Needless to say, for me, the word God has a negative connotation.  It is a word that is synonomous with Catholicism and in turn, not my cup o' tea.  The word God leaves a queezy feeling in my stomach, to say the least. 

I have, in my life most recently, been able to separate Spirit, from that of religion and reclaim it as my own.  My Spirit.  My Lifeforce.  My Energy.  That which is connected to the earth around me and the Spirits of the people surrounding me. 

When I search around on the internet looking for reading material on yoga, meditation, spiritualism, the word God comes up a lot.  So does my queeze...  I am doing my best to open my heart and mind to allow the love and peace that I can feel from my practice fill me, but that word....

Let me put it to you this way.  An alcoholic ATHEIST joins AA and is told they must follow the steps in order to atone and be at peace in their disease.  SIX of the 12 steps involve God....what does that person then do?!? 

Some of you reading this may think this is a horrible comparison because alcoholism is a disease and shouldn't be compared to me searching for peace through yoga...without including someone else's God, but it was an example, and a relevant one in my still learning and growing state of being....

How do you keep with the practice without letting go of your belief...or non-belief as the case may be?  Do I continue to open myself up to Spirit (in my definition of word)?  Maybe those of you who have taken their practice off the mat and into meditation or buddism or some other form of spirituality could help me on my quest?

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Chicken or the Egg?

So how did yoga find me you ask? 

Yoga was something I always admired.  I admired the concept of the exercise and spirituality.  I envied the flexibility and sense of peace that radiated off of yogis.  But I always thought, nah, I couldn't do that.

Then I went to a movie.  Yup!  A movie!   Eat Pray Love.  I sat in the movie theatre and watched as Julia Roberts "found herself" in India at an Ashram and then onto Bali.  If I remember correctly, at no point in the movie was there even any yoga shown.  It was more on the spriritual side and chanting and meditation.  She found peace within herself and the ability to forgive.  This started my path. 

I had walked by the Halifax Moksha studio numerous times when visiting Pete's Fruitique, so I decided to look it up online. I went to my first Moksha Yoga class all by myself one evening in the Dartmouth studio.  It was intimidating!!  But the yoga instructors and staff were SO friendly!  The room was so incredibly hot!!  Moksha is sauna heat, not the infra-red heat, so it was exceptionally warm!  I put my mat at the back corner of the class and did my best to follow along.  I made it through the class, from the first savasana to the last and all the mindblowing poses in between!  I left that class with a feeling of euphoria.  I did it!  Not only did I do it, but I felt like I was good at it!

This was for ME!  My body felt amazing, but besides that, my HEART felt amazing, my SPIRIT was lifted....I WAS HOOKED!

Didn't know I was searching...until it found me...

Well hello there! I'm not quite sure how to do this whole blogging thing, but figured if there was ever a time in my life to write about something, this would be it!

I have a dear friend who knows me better than I know myself.  We always get into these deep discussions about spirituality, religion, the future, etc.  He said to me not too long ago, "you've been searching for something for the 15 years that I've known you, but you didn't know it was this".  Well welcome home Stephanie.  It was an AHA moment for me handed to me by one of the most brilliant people I know.

So I found yoga...or it found me...I'm not quite sure yet...It's sort of the chicken or the egg scenario, but either way, I'm so fortunate that it happened :)  I'll go back in time to describe some of that as I get into this blogging thing.  For now I'll just start by saying, starting on Monday, I will be partaking in the Living Your Moksha Challenge along with my fellow yogis across the world.  This LYM Challenge takes the 7 pillars of Moksha and integrates them into your daily life through weekly challenges.  This blog will be about my quest to complete my LYM Challenge :)