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The day Riberto came to yoga

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It is early morning and still dark in my makeshift yoga studio with only the dim light of a lone streetlamp streaming through my living room shutters. This sliver of light settles on my yoga mat stretched out and beckons my stiff and aching aging body. I’m a two-faced practitioner: there are mornings I love waking up early and allowing myself an hour of stillness, breathing and asana and there are other mornings where yoga and the fact that it’s 530AM just suck and I pull the covers over my head and hit the snooze for the tenth time.

This morning was of the “this sucks” variety, when I think all my yoga teachers are conspiring to convert me to kale smoothies with chia seeds. No amount of blissful shavasana will inspire me to give up pinot grigio and poutine.

I have managed to get myself onto my mat with open heart and mind even if neither of my eyes are. I do this because I know from experience that if I leave my yoga to the evening, that battle will be won by Facebook, laundry and my daughter’s Elizabethan-era food project (damn you, Grade 9 English curriculum).

I’m about halfway through this morning’s yoga routine and starting to finally feel my mind and body slowly cooperating. I open my eyes after one pose and notice a tiny fluff off to my left in the foyer. I close my eyes again and curse the shedding hairy dog mess, but when I open my eyes I notice that my “fluff” is no longer there. In fact, it’s moved an entire foot! Believe me, I am not generating enough kinetic energy here to make a feather move so I interrupt my practice and crawl on my hands and knees over to the foyer. I then realize that this is nothing close to a dust bunny dog hair fluff but is instead a frog!

A little frog the size of my thumb has somehow found its way into my home, more remarkably into my living room and even most astonishingly – uninvited – into my yoga practice! Not what I would call a Zen moment.

We stare at each other for a moment but I know I have to do something with this yoga intruder before my dogs find him and eat him – or my daughter finds him and decides to make a pet of him (which would actually be worse, I think).

I return Riberto to the wild outdoors using a soup ladle and kitchen towel. After which I think it was only fitting that I finished off my morning with bhekasana, or frog pose. I suppose Riberto was simply an emissary send to help me get it right!

The aspiring yogini and helpful frogini… Hand in hand – or hand in webbed appendage, as the case may be.

And that is my story about the day a frog came to yoga.

Namaste.

 

A Mom’s Yoga-Hockey Co-Dependency

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Occasionally I have to miss my Sunday morning yoga class, and this is not a good thing.  Squeezing my yoga practice before, between, or after work and kids’ hockey, is a challenge but one that has proven to be an essential antidote to a busy hockey mom’s schedule.  It also happens to but one of this hockey mom’s current addictions –  superseded only by chardonnay, of course.  It is entirely possible that if I wasn’t a hockey mom, I might not need the balance that yoga provides.  That all my children are still alive proves that the benefits of its practice spill over into all aspects of my life.  I’ve been a hockey mom now for about as long as I have been practicing yoga (~twelve years, give or take a practice or pose) and am only now ready to own up to my hockey/yoga co-dependency! 

How do I know that I am co-dependent on both hockey and yoga?  Well, you be the judge:

My Yoga Life

My Hockey Life

   
My breath is slow and deliberate, and I am mindful of it. My breath is a gasp for air … and I am worried about it.
With each deep breath, I inhale 1.5 litres of oxygen. With each hockey weekend, I inhale 1.5 litres of chardonnay.
I open my practice with the chanting of “Om” in unison with the class. I open the hockey game with the chanting of “Let’s go!” in unison with the crowd.
I’m dressed in casual, comfortable organic wear. I’m dressed for a post-apocalyptic ice age.
I cast my gaze beyond my finger tips toward my destiny. I cast my gaze to my fingertips in which clumps of my hair can be found.
My face is soft. My face is frozen.
I initiate my practice with sun salutation. I initiate anything hockey with Semillon salutations.
I stretch my glutes. I freeze my glutes.
Hands at heart’s centre … Namaste. Hands at heart’s centre:  … “Clear it … Clear it …. DAMMIT CLEAR THE PUCK!!!”
Herbal tea is offered following class – free of charge. Caustic canteen coffee is available – acid reflux is free of charge.  
I open my ears to the soothing sounds of tranquil yoga music. I cover my daughter’s ears from the sounds of the teenage boys’ chirpin’ and swearin’.
During yoga, I occasionally close my eyes. During hockey, I frequently close my eyes.
I love my yoga! I love my hockey!

Namaste, team!

Author’s note:  I proudly and gratefully acknowledge my 11-year old daughter for her artistic renderings of these hockey yoginis – also the artist of my dust bunny icon.  She is presently negotiating her contract to illustrate my hockey mom-oir…

Om

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Everyone needs a little more yoga in their life.  I need more yoga in my life. I have been practicing yoga for almost 10 years now and I like all things yoga. Well, almost all things. I love the comfortable clothes. I love the dimmed, romantic lights in the studio. I like the calm, peaceful music and the tranquility that it induces. I love lying down and stretching tense muscles.  I love the lavender eye pillows my new yoga studio has for corpse pose.  I really love how calm I feel immediately after class.  Usually lasts about 10 minutes…

After 10 years, though, I still get frustrated though sometimes. There are a lot of rules in yoga.  Like breathing.  I forget that sometimes.  Then there are the poses that make me want to laugh out loud, “Are you kidding me?! Who the hell can do that?!” only to look around and realize that just about everyone can do that.  My balance sucks.  While I do appreciate the calming voice of the teacher, I have to ask, “Does she always talk like that or just during class?” 

You know though, yoga is a little like school.  You have to get through the class to go out for recess.  Same goes with Savasana.  You have to get through yoga to get to savasana!  Yoga nirvana! 

So I will keep up with my practice just so I can keep going out for recess!  Patience, young butterfly

Shanti. Shanti. Shanti

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