yoga

life lessons through getting bendy and salt-water fests.

Iceland was just a chip off the very top of a deep iceberg this past July. I went to the country of contradictions to explore  my roots and spend time on the mat. Reality: it was so much more. It was about connecting to a new community, to the people in the room and to our yoga practice through the elements. That brief experience was a catalyst for overdue reflection and is what sparked a phone call to register for another yoga experience - paralleled in 'why I'm going' intentions yet unmatched by any learning experience I've cannon-balled into to date. Yep, THAT big, that ripple-inducing. THAT good.

This time around it was Teacher Training with Ryan Leier at One Yoga for the People in Vancouver (no jet setting this time). With intentions of getting really good at handstands and discovering more about yoga philosophy, I was amazed to find how much I wound up learning from a most unexpected teacher - me. While I had some friends let me know the amount of reflection and 'you' work involved in the training process, I was brought me to my knees faster than you can say 'savasana'. Albeit an intense subject - facing your demons and all that business - the week was positively positive. Ultimately I walked away from the training feeling lighter, more mentally clear and with a sense of self that I haven't felt in ages. The waterworks were matched with laughter a'plenty and high quality dance parties at the end of some of the longest (read: sweatiest) days we worked through. The fun factor was high amidst the salt-water extravaganza.

Yes, my ability to feel my way into the poses increased as we explored the anatomy of a posture. And, while ten days sans vino plus gnarly two-to-three hour practices cleansed me on a physical level, I'm moreso keen to share the top three things that were greeting me head on as we navigated this yoga-wonderland.

"Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the  barriers within yourself that you have built against it." - Rumi

1. I have been on the search for love for a long time. what I haven't been doing in that process is searching for what I needed to do to love me first and to let any kind of love in. To be a giver is an altruistic role to play - until it's at the expense of one's health or happiness. Or until it's a deflection tactic from getting real with oneself and owning up to some serious work needing to be done. Time to bust down some barriers, Jess.

"Change leads to disappointment if it is not sustained. Transformation is sustained change, and it is achieved through practice." - B.K.S. Iyengar.

2. Out with a disposable outlook - in with a sustainable one. Most importantly - a sustainable lifestyle. One that incorporates time for work, play, people, relationships, growth, groceries, shopping and sipping wine. With people I love. Oh, and phone calls, too.

"Practice Courage. Grow Roots. Get High. Truth Is. We Are One." - One Yoga creed.

3. I have alwasy connected to yoga for the physical benefits of the practice. Although it keeps me limber and tones me up, it's truly a tuning fork for my connection with myself and what I know to be true. What I learned this week is that yoga really is union - mind, body, self, others, higher beings. Whatever that means to each individual on their unique path.

More tales from the mat are to come....of this I am most positive. Oh, and keep your eyes out for this wandering yogi offering some commnity classes here and there as time wears on....

3 hours past my alarm clock - and the practice begins....

photo-2 turns out that diving into a routine that involves a 5:30am (ish) wakeup time, 6 to 7 days a week, on a Sunday morning following a late night closing out the biz might not be the best way to get something regular and sustainable rolling. yet i practiced on - albeit 3 hours past when my daily yoga practice was pitted to start.

sustainability took on a whole new meaning this saturday as i sat in a room of probably 50 yogis. less was the conversation about minimizing our impact on our environment, or about eating less meat and making a smaller and more sustainable world contribution, and moreso was the conversation about us - every single one of us - and what we do as our daily practice. outside of our 'routines' - get up, bathroom, put on coffee, shower, make smoothie, paper, hair, face, clothes, make lunch, roll out - the workshop was focused on a true daily yoga practice.  shudders down my spine as i learned that the next two hours was going to be exactly what i didnt think it was going to be (i wore my most moisture wicking stretchy pants in anticipation for what i thought was going to be a sweat-fest) - and that i would be sharing my every excuse about what draws me away from a daily commitment to myself.

a very sweet, very bearded ryan leier was our guide into contemplation and consideration. after spending two months in Pune, India with none other than BKS Iyengar (this dude has MAD skills - and the BEST eyebrows i've seen on anyone - ever) and moving through his daily routine and a very most intense yoga practice, ryan returned ready to share his take aways from his time with the master. the focal point: daily practice.

what i heard in our conversation:

  • it doesn't take much. it is and can be simple - for anyone and everyone. 3 postures a day. 12 to 17 minutes. done.
  • regularity and routine in how you commit to the practice creates flow and ease. (EVEN if you sleep past your alarm one day....or two)
  • it looks different for every single one of us. every. single. one of us.
  • yogis DO drink coffee (Iyengar takes his with sugar and a bit of milk - 2 cups a day. #truth #thankthejavagods)
  • as much as it is a practice, it's a process. and for all those achievers out there (yep, i'm with ya on this) - learning to be ok with it not looking 'perfect' might be one of the biggest lessons you'll experience.
  • you choose your practice. you choose your balance.

we talked about what postures we needed.  we talked about time of day to practice, breathing techniques, research and learning, meditation - the list goes on. what i couldn't move past was the concept of sustainable practice. my athletic pursuits have always been just that - pursuits. driving the bus to a rad destination, yet without an idea of what i'm going to do when i get there.  which, admittedly feels great - for a while. then, the pushing, sometimes forcing, feels to be too much. and i fall off the proverbial bandwagon. my shift? committing to what works - what feels right, in each moment, in each day i practice, and going with that. i've got this raging awareness about how hard i can make things - how little time i choose to afford myself, and how tough i can be on myself when i am in the pursuit of something. how NOT living in the moment is THAT?

i digress.

so, i will practice. daily. four postures. 23 minutes. and take each day and its' practice as it comes. whether that is at 5:30am when my alarm clock rouses me (yeesh), or if it is at 8:30am when i recover from a particularly deep slumber. i practice. and each day will be absolutely everything it needs to be.

i wandered...

and am less lost than ever before.

the experience that was wanderlust whistler over friday and saturday of this past weekend was profound - and namely from a 'i had no idea it was like THAT' standpoint.  my logistics/hospitality 'what's the experience' brain was going into overdrive wondering how the city of whistler/blackcomb was going to manage an onslaught of granola-crunching and mat-yielding hippies around the regular influx of weekend warriors that land in the village from thursdays to sundays. and, my vision of mass amounts of organic cotton and hula hoops was slightly satisfied, while my slight fear of an overpowering smell of patchouli (i just can't seem to make my senses appreciate the earthiness that is...) was negated as i began my weekend o'bendy-bliss and landed in a sea of stoked practitioners out to share the culture of yoga with everyone in the village.

biggest #mindmelting moments?

- janet stone 5 elements yoga at 8:00am in 9 degree (celsius) weather. i wore wool socks. was i cold? sure. did i appreciate the crap outta being able to practice in the mountains in the freshest of fresh air. you're dang skippy i did.

- susanne conrad bringing the legacy conversation to us lusty-wanderers.  thinking into the future and looking at what you want to live to see - a very personal conversation yet in sharing what we are committed to, we begin to create its' occurrence.

- kate northrup with bringing the spiritual side of finance to the table - and confirming that it IS spiritual to be rich. sharing 20k in credit card debt with your onlookers, and what it takes to shift your relationship with dolla-dolla bills? #vulnerability

- danielle laporte. i....words...jeebus. she's just...real. and every 'just do it' and 'shut up and write' - she MEANS it. its the white hot truth - 'nuff said.

- michael franti and seane corn leading a live music yoga jam in olympic square. there was shaking, there was jumping and there were some asanas. and it was goooooood.

- mike nichols and the awesomeness and awkwardness that ARE arm balances. put that ego aside and find comfort in your shaky spots. that's the juicy place to work.

i learned SO much from each and every session.  whether it was the incremental changes that i saw in my practice or the words and concepts that punched me in the forehead and are causing me into action, i am walking away in wonder, diving into my life full of passion and stepping forward knowing my vlaue and ready to take on each day, asana, challenge, sticky spot and opporutnity with my whole, complete self.

are YOU ready for it? (please say yes....)

back on the proverbial blog-horse. wait - is that still proverbial?

there have been long hours over the last month.  late (which, coincidentally, when i first wrote the word 'late' just there, i actually typed out 'kate', my sisters' name, who is MORE than top of mind for me right now ------ ahhhhh subconscious brain, how you never cease to amaze me .... but i digress) night dinners. early morning coffee treks to starbucks. crafts.  spreadsheets.  emails.  emails. emails. emails.

one of the most fun experiences in my professional career was also one of the most trying.  and, of course, in that space, a period of time over which i learned the most about me, my personal choice and its impact, and my leadership.  who knew that one month, two close colleagues and three nights of the littlest amount of sleep imaginable would lay such impactful groundwork for lovely life lessons.

here are some good take aways from October that I am taking forward into some goal setting, non-negotiable identification, and all around 'do this to stay functional' listings:

1.  more than just liking it, my body needs (maybe NEEDS is a more impactful way to communicate the brevity here) physical activity.  yes, the whole surgery-no-lifting-hey-dont-run-so-fast situation did play into the non-exercising thing  --- but here I am assuming that this whole month REALLY made this hit home.  and, my brain NEEDS yoga.  focus, focus, focus and intention.

2.  i need more sleep than i tell myself i do/force myself to get so i can experience as much of every day as humanly possible

3.  reading makes me smarter, more efficient, more interesting to talk to, and aids in my continual learning.  reading should NOT be used as a means of inducing a flash coma (read: sleep), and the contents of the book cannot be taken in through osmosis

4.  i like people.  i like talking to people, writing notes to people, meeting new people and catching up with old friends.  im happiest when i am around wicked people doing cool shtuff and living in the happiest state they can find themselves.  i dont like sitting at home solo every night.  it makes me not my best.

5. i miss my chats with my mum, sister, dad, grandma, cousins, best friends, long lost buddies, etc, etc, etc.  being out of touch with the people that know me best makes me feel a little lost.  and i run a LOUD racket about being wrong and a bad family member/friend when i dont give these relationships enough love.

these are a mere few, and looking reflectively, some of the most obvious points of who i am that i am overly identified with.  and, that in using the 'busy' excuse, and putting my happy-needs aside, are some of the fastest lessons to be forgotten/dropped/dismissed.

november poses the opportunity to reconnect with the puzzle pieces that have fallen under the couch.  that means more blogging, longer coffee dates with friends (enjoyable ones too - not just refueling) and more of them, runs, yoga dates, date dates, and weekend adventures.

lookout VanCity - jrob is back - and in search of a seriously cheeky holiday season.

stay tuned

xo jrob

the adventure begins.....

Not sleeping the night before the flight to london may very well have been the best idea ever.  seems that the seats in 'not executive' class are getting closer and closer together these days - and when the considerate passenger in front of you puts their seat back....well, lets just say i was nearly kissing Cher while I was watching 'Burlesque' on the in-flight movie system.  Being able to tuck up into a ball and snooze away the flight was a gift! With only slight assistance from a kind Italian man on Praed Street I found Kate's office, reunited with some Olympic friends, and then made my way (with WAY too much luggage) to my sister's flat. (its epic, i love it, i want it.).  A short cat nap later and a frenzied shower and we were off to Oxford Circus for a Thai dinner at Ora (check out the sunset over Colville Terrace in Notting Hill.....divine!!),

"sunset over colville terrace"

then drinks at Market Place just an alley away.  When the jet lag set it it was time to roll home through the tube system - easy breezy awesome.

I spent the morning in a coma (for real.  took my sister three phone calls to rouse me), and then relaxing and centering myself the only way I truly know how.

A Morning Stretch

ITs now 2pm on Friday and I am getting set to pack it in and head to the airport (hello, Heathrow, my old friend!!) for a nip of a flight to Barcelona where the Sangria will be free flowing and the awe-inspiring arcitecture will blow minds (mine, in particular).   Anticipate a LONG post regarding Barcelona shenanigans - who knows when I will see a computer next! AND i am still scheduling my Wednesday and Friday of next week.....!  Events TBA. :)

Here we go!!

j