Vision Board

Vision Board
This is a vision board that I created in September 2010.

Bikram Quote of the Week

"Bikram Yoga is the first time you start loving yourself because it is the first time you start seeing yourself."
- Rajashree Choudhury, (Bikram's wife)

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Just Release the Physicality

I'm back!  Today, I feel motivated to write thanks to Oprah's amazing new Lifeclass series on her new OWN network and Website.  Weeknights, Oprah has a "Lifeclass" TV show which is then continued live, online via Facebook.  So amazing!  I don't have a TV but I have watched the livestream class on Facebook and I am hooked!  Monday night's discussion was about the False Power of the Ego with Eckhart Tolle, Tuesday night's discussion was about Letting go of Anger with Iyanla Vanzant and last night's was "You are What you Believe with Cheryl Richardson.  All have been powerful and inspiring.  I can't wait for the next class.

A month ago I was meditating and an impression came forward that I should share my struggle with letting go of my attachment to physical things and places (Kelowna).  I haven't been able to write about it because I just could not articulate my experience yet.  When I went to Bikram Teacher Training, I did not set out to "give up" the material for some higher spirituality.   I really just wanted to do the yoga!   To go to Teacher Training I had to leave my job.   To get the teaching experience I had to leave my home in Kelowna.  When I started this journey of self realization over five years ago, it was all just to get through the clutter of my mind.  It seems that for me to hear my own inner voice, I had to let go of attachments to things one by one.  Let go of this....okay now I hear a bit better....let go of that....okay, I feel a little bit more at peace.  I think I'm getting closer.  Bit by bit, step by step my life has shifted.  I'm starting to feel like a yogi!  I never started out thinking it was something I had to or needed to do.  So when I found myself here in Ottawa, my finances drained....teaching yoga...not having a place of my own...feeling disconnected....I started to struggle.

A month ago I was inspired by an Oprah program I found online in which she interviewed Hollywood movie director Tom Shadyac about his new Documentary I Am. That show really started to wake me up and started a shift.  I connected strongly to what he was saying (and can't wait to see the film.)  Yet, I still found it hard to talk about.   I was experiencing similar realizations but not feeling confident in where it was all going.  (Here is a link to the article on Oprah's website: Tom Shadyac From Millionaire to Mobile Home)

Then, during Tuesday night's Lifeclass (I LOVE Oprah), Iyanla talked about what is most often under our anger is fear and hurt.  She said that often we get angry and scared when we lose things...people, relationships, houses, cars, jobs, money.  She talked about her anger having lost her daughter and her own realization that she was attached to the physical form of her daughter.  In her heart she knew that her daughter's spirit would always be with her and that they would never be apart and that opened the door to her healing.  She shared how she had to release her attachment to the physicality of her daughter and other things in her life.  In that moment, she came across the computer screen like she was speaking directly to me she said "Just release the physicality."  Wow!  I am still experiencing the power of that today.

My life has evolved in a direction that I would never have expected.  I have let go of things bit by bit...not all at once...yet at times, my mind still struggles to keep up with it all.  My future is completely open and unknown to me.  Letting go of a concept of what my life was or should be and all of the physical things that went along with has been a challenge.  Slowly, and with lots of yoga to help with the attachments have diminished.  As Iyanla recommends....when I sit with the fear or hurt and just invite it in and just feel it, we find the truth.  I realized that mine is based on the belief that somehow my things, my life will keep me safe and protect me from pain/discomfort/death ....any negative experience you can think up.  When I question my beliefs behind the fear, I see that they are false.  Last night, listening to the program the words "Just release the physicality" pierced right through my heart and into my soul.  

This week I feel lighter and happier than I have in a long time.  I could write and write about how then Cheryl Richardson's Lifeclass provided amazing advice about changing your underlying beliefs.  Wow!  Too perfect!  I am so excited about how this will help me with teaching and practicing Bikram Yoga, too...just release the physicality!  So brilliant!  I will save that for another time.  

Namaste Oprah!


Sunday, 11 September 2011

Advice for Teacher Trainees

So this post is for anyone that might be reading this blog and thinking they want to go to teacher training...or are going this fall 2011.  Everyone else, tune in next week....because this will likely be quite boring for you.   

We had a student, (Stacey) who is going to teacher training this fall, come by our studio to take class.  She lives in Kelowna, BC and is just home in Ottawa for the week visiting family before she heads off to training for 9 weeks.  We were all so excited to see her and hear news from Kelowna.  (Yes...I still miss Kelowna)  Hearing about Stacey's plans for teacher training, spurred the usual conversation about "advice" for teacher training from all of us teachers....what to do, what not to do...all of us piping in with our stories and opinions.  Poor Stacey!   So much advice.  

This got me thinking....what would be good advice for someone heading off to teacher training?  When I ponder it and sit with the thought...I don't come up with that much, really.  Everyone is so different and people have such vastly different experiences, it is hard to say this is the thing you should or shouldn't do.  What was important to me...probably won't be important to anyone else.  But.... I can't help myself.  If you read my earlier posts, you will notice that I was not one of those people who LOVED teacher training.  I struggled through and sometimes really wanted to just go home.  Yet, I still feel the need to share a few things that were important to me and may or may not be important to anyone else....

Colleen's Advice for Teacher Training:
1) If you haven't already started studying your it NOW!  Even on the plane to LA is not too late.  It really helps to have as much of the dialogue started before going as possible.  I am not a big advocate of "know your whole dialogue before you go" (those people just annoyed me at teacher training)...but I certainly was glad that I had started some of it before I went to training.  It takes quite a bit of the pressure off.  For me learning is a layered thing.  So getting in the first much as possible (not perfect...just the first layer) really helped.

2) Don't worry about the yoga. Most people going to training are young and have fabulous the yoga is the least of their worries.  You will probably really enjoy the yoga.   Just don't expect your postures to "improve"  dramatically at training.  For some people this did happen, but for many (including me) they actually felt their practice got a bit worse before it got better.  Teacher training is about becoming a good teacher not a "super yogi".   Once you are home, you will likely notice the biggest changes then.   Of course... unless you're older like me...then maybe worry a little bit about the yoga.  I wish I had done more "training" before I went.

3) Find really positive, smiley, fun people to hang out with.  Stay away from negative or crazy people.  If the friends you have made are lots of fun at first...but sometime during training they fall off the deep end and turn into miserable, neurotic, dialogue obsessed, Bikram-hating cynics...just walk away.  You don't have to say anything....just sit with someone new during lecture.  Training is hard enough all on its own.  You don't need anyone else pulling you down. 

4) Dialogue is important, but don't let it take all of the joy out of your training. can keep studying when you get home.  

5) On the other hand...dialogue is important so study your dialogue.  Especially as you get to week 5,6,7....things really start flying by quickly (we did 3 postures in a day at one point!)  so be sure to set aside some time on the weekends to study ahead!  The weekends go by quickly so carve out a little time with a friend to study.  You'll thank me later.

6) RE: Studying dialogue - find one or two people max!  Any more and you waste too much time listening and helping other people.  I know this sounds harsh...but true.  There is very little "free" time at training, so study time is a premium.  Study on your own first (whatever works for you) then meet up with a friend and do Line by Line.  By far the fastest, best method.

7) Late nights and long lectures can take a toll on your body and your mind.  Find time for little naps, healthy food and time alone to rest and recover.  If JC Colins is floating around the Radisson LAX giving massages, definitely book one!   They are amazing and so worth the money.  (She offers a great discount for students)

8) Finally....the packing list.  I posted my original packing list back in April and then went back and revised it after training with my notes in orange.  If you're packing....this may be helpful:

The List: Notes in Orange were added after training.

  • Passport - Obvious...and if you're Canadian, don't tell the immigration people you're going to training or a yoga course or anything like that!!   Just say you're going on holiday.  Trust me!  Two teachers from my old studio were turned away by US immigration.
  • Electrolytes - Critical when you're sweating it out in 2 hot classes a day (Mostly used Rajashree's recommendation: Water, Lemon, Sea Salt & Honey.  Soooo good!   Loved it!!)
  • Vitamins/Hemp Seeds/Healthy Skin Greens  - Did not take one vitamin during training.  Used all of my hemp seeds and healthy skin greens in my morning breakfast shake.
  • Mini Cuisinart Blender  (for my morning breakfast shakes) So happy I brought this with me.  Used it almost every day!  A magic bullet would work well too.
  • Stainless Steel Water Bottles (2) - Worth it to invest in a good one that keeps your water cold during class.  
  • Laptop (cables/cords) Happy I had it but the internet sucks at the hotel.  Could only get on early in the mornings or mid-day on weekends when everyone was out.  Heard some people purchased their own and I think it would be worth it.  
  • Ipod/iphone & Earbuds
  • Camera / extra batteries
  • Journals/note books/fun pens - Keep a journal every day.  You will be surprised afterwards at what you wrote.  Just take a few minutes at the end of each day to record your thoughts, experiences, inspirations, favourite teachers.  So much happens each day it is hard to remember unless you write it down.
  • Destiny Cards - Wrote about these in my blog.  So great to have but not something I am recommending to others necessarily.  Obviously this is a person packing item...not for everyone  
  • Mala Beads - Another very personal packing item.  Not suggesting this for everyone
  • Reiki and Mantra Books - just in case I need them (Did not use these - absolutely no extra time or energy to look at books)
  • Meditation Chair (Backjack) Used it every day in posture clinic.  Many people were envious! Worth hauling that around the airports.
  • Hot Yoga gear - everything I own - about 7 outfits - Remember NO GREEN  Also, you will need a "coverup" of some sort for after class.  You cannot go on the elevators in just  your sweaty yoga gear.
  • Lulu Capris/yoga pants Tank Tops, Skorts & Jackets for posture clinics - For clinics, you have to dress in your "teaching outfit".  For most people this is capris/shorts and a tank top.  You cannot wear regular clothing so make sure you have enough to wear every day (Mon-Fri) Again, nothing GREEN
  • Flip Flops, sandals, running shoes - any comfortable shoe for walking to the grocery store and ocassionally the beach!
  • Bathing Suits!!  
  • Jeans, T-Shirts, Jacket 
  • Cosmetics & blow dryer (Yes...I used them and was happy I brought them along)
  • PJs
  • Dress for Graduation (and all accessories)
  • Lug Travel blanket/pillow - Loved it! Took it to lecture every night.  So many uses!  Supported my lower back in lectures and posture clinics, kept me warm during late night lectures/movies...used it nearly every day. 

*I was going to buy a rice maker or grill for cooking but decided to wait until I get to LA and see what is available at the hotel...and from other students (maybe they will share).  My roommate brought a microwave!! Lucky me!  We also bought a kettle that doubled as an egg cooker and veggie steamer.  Was too tired to do any serious cooking.
I would add: 

1) Ear plugs (just trust me!  You'll want these.  I was lucky, a friend gave me a pair...great during movies that are too loud, trying to study dialogue and people are talking around you, roommates may snore at night, etc.)
2) More comfy clothes for lectures and movie nights.
3) Plate, a good knife for cooking and a few containers for leftovers.
4) Drying rack for wet yoga clothes...we bought this once in LA 
5) Yoga mat spray - disinfectant
6) Small first aid kit - Tylenol, Advil, Gravol, bandaids, antibiotic ointment, etc.
7) Air purifier or something to take humidity out of the room!!  
8) Foot stool for lectures.  I bought one once in LA and loved it during the long lectures.

Go with the flow...enjoy the ride...take each day as it comes and don't get attached to your thoughts!   I can't predict how it will be for you.  You may love it or hate it.  If you find yourself hating it...try to remember why you wanted to take this journey.  Whatever happens...don't worry too much about it.  You will feel differently later.  Often "later" is the same day.

Finally, remember...the real work happens once you're home.  I wish someone would have told me beforehand.  I still remember totally falling apart once I was home and the fabulous Courtney Rodd....Bikram teacher extraodinaire...saying "Didn't anyone tell you that you would be like a little baby when you got out?"  No, one told me.  Thank you!   So, I'm telling all of you now....You will be like a little baby when you get out!!  So, go home if you can.  Get some much needed rest,  love and TLC from your family.  Sleep lots and cuddle.



Monday, 5 September 2011

Share the Love

I feel that a small shift has happened...a settling in.  It seems that I have relaxed into life a little bit more.  It did not happen without some work.  I been asking myself a question over and over.  "What am I doing this for?"  It is good to bring myself back to centre and remember how I got here and what motivated the shift.  I have also recommitted to doing my daily mantra meditations, writing in my journal, yoga practice (as often as possible), reading positive and supportive books and more time spent in nature.  Slowly, I am beginning to feel a shift happen.  More peace and love.   In particular, I feel a pull toward more and more meditation time.

This past week was a lighter week.  Yahoo!  A little more laughter and smiles all around.  I discovered a new Bikram Yoga blog  "It's a Party Not a Picnic" by Alison O’Connor - writer, comedian, performer and generally obsessed Bikram yogini living in New York City.  So much fun!!  I discovered her blog via an article floating around the Bikram yoga gang on Facebook.   It was an article she wrote as advice for those thinking about trying their first Bikram Yoga class.  (Here is a link to the the article:  Twenty Tips for Your First Bikram Yoga Class ) So funny and true - at the same time!  Take a moment to read it.  It's worth it.    Anyway....Alison is hilarious...especially if you share the same obsession with Bikram yoga (and don't mind a bit of swearing.)   If you are not obsessed with Bikram yoga, then you might not get it and will probably find it all a bit strange.  ;-)

Where this is all leading to....I spent some time the other day reading through her older posts...laughing and talking out loud to her (wishing she could hear me though my computer)   I came across a funny post about John Salvatore guest teaching at her studio.  Loved it!  Of course, I totally related to all of her comments about the class because John taught at my teacher training this past spring.  (Week4 Lessons in Love and Healing)  I am still telling people about his absolutely fab class!  Other than Bikram (and maybe Rajashree and Emmy)....John Salvatore teaches, by far, THE BEST Bikram class ever!!  It was such a great class that I went straight to my room to write down as many of the inspirational things that he said in class... that I could remember, that is...because I was totally exhausted!!  LOL  Later, I tried to reflect on why I loved his class so much?  Besides the humour and entertainment aspect of his teaching, I think it was the passion and love he brought to the room.  Obviously, I am not John Salvatore and could never mimic or copy his how could I bring something of the essence of what he does to my own teaching?   Hmmmm....the only thing I could think of was LOVE.  That was the overwhelming feeling when he walked in the room.  LOVE   We really felt that he loved us, loved Bikram yoga, loved teaching, and loved life.  So, this got me thinking again.  How can I share that kind of love in my class?

You know, Bikram says that you cannot love anyone else until you learn to love yourself.  This is the magic of the yoga!  Slowly, over time, the yoga helps you love yourself, little by little.  I feel it too.  It has helped me love myself.  So, I continue to work on my own practice and share that love with others.  Before I walk into a class to teach, I think for just a second...why am I doing this? What do I want to create in class today?  Love, Love, Love.  Let the students know that I love Bikram yoga...I love myself... and I love them too.   All of them.  The best that I can do, is help them love themselves more and more and more.

A narrow focus is a good thing.  Keep it simple.  LOVE.  Share the love.

This post is dedicated to Mackenzie who first taught me about unconditional, pure love.  
Mackenzie  (May 1998 - Sept 2009)

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Be Here, Now

I haven't posted much lately.   Mostly because I can't think what to write about.  All of my own experiences seem so jumbled at the surface that I keep waiting for things to "sink in" more before I write.  Maybe then I will know what to say.   On the other hand, I keep getting messages to "share myself"and requests to continue writing this blog.  This always surprises me....the idea that people want to read about my experiences.  To me, my life is rather ordinary and often mixed up...or messed up, depending on your outlook on things.  I have taken a zigzag path through most of my life.   

Teaching Update:
I am teaching about 8 classes a week.  I am also working desk hours at the studio Monday to Friday.   When combined, I am working about 36 hrs a week...which is pretty much full time hours.  One very big "perk" of the job is that I get to bring little Baci to work with me!  I am getting in about 4 classes a week for myself.  I prefer to take class 5 or 6 times a week, but sometimes my teaching and work schedule make it too difficult.  Being a new teacher, I still find teaching a challenge.  On days when I teach a double and work desk hours in between, I find it is too much to practice as well.  Perhaps, eventually in the future, as I become more comfortable with teaching, I will be able to do that.  For now, I just go home and rest.

I'm taking a break from studying my dialogue as well.  I read it over every now and then, but I've let go of the more serious studying of the dialogue for a while.  Instead, I am focusing on being really present in the room during class and keeping the energy and command up while teaching.  Sometimes my teaching can get a bit "soft" so I am working on my voice and providing the right energy to pull people through class.  As Bikram says, "A dead battery cannot jump start another dead battery."  

Since completing Teacher Training, almost every day has been a mental challenge for me.  I never imagined this outcome!  I really thought that Teacher Training would be so enlightening, invigorating, transformative and energizing that I would come out just "knowing" what to do next.  I would be ready to forge ahead into my yoga life and my studies.  Instead I feel uncertain...questioning...a bit lost.   For me, I have come up against another zig or zag...I'm not sure which. 
The Lesson:
The lesson that is unfolding is to work on staying present in the moment, every day.  Not getting ahead of myself, thinking and worrying about the future.  Just allowing each day to unfold and to be really in the moment that I'm in instead of worry about tomorrow or next month or next year.  It is a really bad habit/pattern that I have developed of always thinking about what is next....the next thing I should be doing or preparing to do.  Instead, I believe this time is unfolding to help me "just be" here, right now.  

Right now, I am here to teach, learn and live yoga. I have time and space to read, meditate, write in my journal and learn more about all aspects of yoga (there are 8 limbs of yoga).  Such a special time, really. What an amazing opportunity!  Getting up every morning, doing my meditation, walking to the studio, opening up the facility, getting the room ready, welcoming everyone as they come in and then teaching them 90 min of real, authentic, hot yoga is the most rewarding experience.   

Everything in life feels better when we help others.  Bikram himself said this at teacher training.  This is what his guru taught him.  When we make other people happy....when we serve and help others...that is where our true happiness lies...we become happy.   Whenever I feel myself getting caught up in concerns about my future, I try to bring myself back to this over and over.   



The beautiful Marlon McGann came to Ottawa and taught a couple of amazing classes for us.  Marlon is a senior teacher who worked side by side with Bikram at Head Quarters for over 25 years.   For the first time since being home from Teach Training, I felt joy practicing again.  Thank you, Marlon.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

It's All in Your Head

Okay...are you ready for this one?  I've had a powerful moment of realization that all of my problems, difficulties, frustrations, and bad moods...are due to my own thinking.  Nothing more...nothing less.  Hmmmmm.  That's a tough one.

Of course, I've heard other people say this before....Byron Katie, Michael Singer, Eckhart Tolle, Wayne Dyer....but until now, it was something I read about but hadn't honestly understood and believed whole heartedly myself.   It couldn't really all be in my head!   Some of it must really be about someone or something else.  Right?

I was in class the other day and feeling pretty irritated by basically everything.   My body hurt so I was frustrated that I was given this tight, totally inflexible body.   "I want one of those beautiful flexible bodies that can do a gorgeous Standing Bow or Standing Head to Knee!!!"  "I want strong knees so I can do Toe Stand again!"  Then I started getting irritated at the environment in the minute it was too hot the next minute not hot enough...when would she turn on the fans.  I'm sure you can guess what came next...the teacher.   She was irritating me with all of her "motivational" and "educational" talks during class!  I did not want to hear it! that's when I was all ME.  I know that every single teacher at Bikram Yoga Ottawa loves Bikram yoga, loves teaching and really loves helping the if I was was my own fault.  Now in the past, I would normally just try to block out the thoughts....resist them, or have a conversation with myself about why my thoughts were wrong....etc.  But this time it was different.  Right there in the middle of class, it occurred to me that I was uncomfortable (and of course, I was supposed to be...this is Bikram Yoga after all) and my mind was trying hard to find a solution or a way out or anything other than facing the fact that my body was uncomfortable in that moment!   It was so simple!   So I settled down and recognized that every time an irritated thought came into my head it was just my brain trying to sort out this environment I was in.  I didn't need to listen to it.  I just lovingly noticed what it was doing and brushed it aside.  Focus on the posture, focus on my breath, and focus on myself in the mirror.

I also had the realization that this was a perfect example of what happens in my own life as well.  When I am in an uncomfortable or unusual circumstance that doesn't feel "good" to me, my mind rushes around trying to blame someone (usually myself) or something in an effort to make the feeling go away.  Moving to Ottawa has given my mind plenty of opportunities to be "uncomfortable" so you can imagine what's been going on inside my head!  LOL  
Just one moment in Bikram yoga allowed me to see this.  It was a there in a flash but so profound.  You can read about it and people can tell you about it, but for me, until I actually "experience" it for myself, it is not truly understood. This morning I was listening to a CD by Michael Singer.  Michael is a yogi who wrote the book "The Untethered Soul" which is one of my top 10 recommended books.  In the series of CD's, Michael gives a lecture on the book and the major themes.  (He is not reading from the book)  This morning I randomly listened to one of the CDs in which he talked about going through the stuff that is hard for us, that makes us uncomfortable, that irritates us....because that's where our next area of growth or breakthrough lies.  These are areas where we are blocked.  It is our work to "unblock" those areas.   It is not our purpose to stay protected and comfortable in a little cocoon.  By reaching out to experience those areas of our lives that are how we reach to the next level of our own journey toward transcendence and peace.  This helped me so much.  It was a direct correlation to the experience I had in yoga.  It helped me remember that all of this "stuff" that I am going through right now is good!  It is the stuff I need to work on.  I don't need to get all caught up in the story in my head or try to resist it or run away from it.  So cool.  Thank you Michael Singer!!

If you haven't read this book, I highly recommend that you give it it a try.  If it is not the right time for you, that's okay too.  But, you'll never know unless you give it a try.
Chapters - Untethered Soul - Untethered Soul

I'm off to the studio to do some work, take a class and then teach a class later on this evening.  What a life.



Sunday, 31 July 2011

Ottawa Canada....this is Bikram Yoga!

470 people doing Bikram Yoga at Parliament Hill, Ottawa Canada.  I wonder if the Prime Minister was watching?
I have been in Ottawa for one month working as a full time Bikram Yoga teacher.  So incredible!  Sometimes, I can't believe it myself.  This past week was very exciting for us at Bikram Yoga Ottawa.  We were invited to participate in Parliament Hill Yoga.  Parliament Hill Yoga is an event sponsored and coordinated by Lululemon (Rideau Centre store).  Every Wednesday during the summer months, Lululemon coordinates a noon hour yoga class on the lawn in front of Parliament Hill.  It is a free event for the many downtown government/office workers and well as visitors/tourists.  People are invited to bring a yoga mat, find a place on the lawn and join in!  No experience necessary.  Just a smile and some sunscreen!  It is a really great community event.

This past Wednesday, was Bikram Yoga Ottawa's first time teaching at the event and we had 470 people participate!!  The weather was perfect.  It was warm (27C), sunny with a slight breeze.  Claire and Wendy taught the class, while our Work-share staff demonstrated the postures up at the front of the lawn.  Some of our most dedicated students came and set mats up in the front row as "student demonstrators" that the many, many "newbies" could watch them as well.  My role was to walk around quietly, helping people in the back rows and farthest corners of the lawn who might have a difficult time seeing the demonstrators.  Even with a good sound system, there were times it was hard for them to hear instructions. I also kept an eye out for anyone that may not be feeling well or getting a bit too much sun.  It was a real team effort!  I just loved it.

This was a first time for us, so we have many ideas on how to do an even bigger and better event next year.  Thanks to Bill Juliette our sound guy and photographer who helped us out on short notice!  Of course, Lululemon Rideau Centre deserves tremendous credit for putting together such an incredible summer program.
Here is a link to the photos on our Facebook page.   BYO Facebook

Being a Bikram Yoga teacher is an amazing experience.  I realize that most people would question my enthusiasm.  Sometimes I ask myself how I got here.  Why did I jump into the unknown of this completely different way of life?  I still can't answer the question.  It is a work in progress.  There are many days that I wake up questioning it myself.  But, the rewards are many and the sacrifices are few.  Most of the stress comes when I imagine a hardship still to come in the future...something that hasn't even happened!  If I bring myself back to the present moment and ask myself "Am I okay right now?"...the answer is a resounding YES.  So, I'll worry about that future problem if and when it ever comes my way.  For now, back to the present....and lots of Bikram yoga.



Friday, 15 July 2011

Sometimes Happiness Sometimes Sadness - Part II

Bikram Yoga Ottawa is just steps away from this corner

I've been struggling to write this blog since finishing Bikram Teacher Training.  I'm not sure why...I just did not feel motivated to write at all.    What could I possibly write about and who would want to read it?  Lots of people are interested in Bikram Teacher Training.  I understand that...but the day to day life of being a teacher and a person struggling to find a new way of life....not so exciting.    But, friends encouraged me to keep writing because perhaps someone else is thinking about making a big life change and would be supported or inspired or something.  

For the past three weeks here in Ottawa, I have been unsettled and frustrated.  I just can't seem to accept where I am and what I am doing.  I feel so much resistance.  Resistance against the city, my choices, everything.  Then, a realization came to me.  Moving to Ottawa feels just like a continuation of Teacher Training.  I didn't expect this...but it is.  I am all over the place emotionally.  Happy one minute; really down the next.  Energized and passionate about yoga....then tired, sad and utterly lost about everything else.  My dear friend and spiritual life coach, Lori Pinnell said.  "Didn't they tell you...the real work begins after teacher training."   This is when we are challenged to implement the learning.   A time of living the work.   Teacher training was a tough experience, so if I am to start living the hard work of training....this is going to be interesting!! 
I Love Bikram Yoga!
I LOVE teaching Bikram yoga!  It is truly an amazing experience.  I never imagined it would be this great.  Just being in the yoga room teaching is a healing experience.  It gives me that same light, calm, peaceful, slightly tired feeling I have after practising for 90 min.  The "after glow" is very similar.

The best part is watching the students!!   They work so hard...sometimes being totally focussed and connected (mind, body, spirit) - so inspiring.  Sometimes they are struggling, frustrated, grunting, sighing, fanning themselves....talking to themselves in their head.  I can totally relate to it all and want to tell them it will be okay...."don't worry, honey."   I can almost hear the conversation going on inside their heads ("I want to get out of is too hot...this teacher is so annoying...I have so much work to do when I get back hurts, I hate Triangle Pose, it is too hot....I can't breath!" etc., etc.)  After Teacher Training, I am much more sympathetic to how they are feeling and what they are experiencing.   

The most gratifying aspect of the teaching is when people want to talk about the yoga, or a breakthrough they had in class or simply ask questions.  I love the sharing.  I want to hear stories about how other people came to Bikram Yoga and hear the passion in their voices.  I also enjoy reassuring people that whatever they are experiencing is completely normal and it is good for them!  I try to encourage people not to resist, fight or judge it.  Just observe and accept whatever is happening each day.  Easy to say...not easy to do.
Easy to say...Not easy to do
Sparks Street, Ottawa
I have been telling myself the same advice.  Don't resist, fight or judge.  Just observe and accept life each day. Trust.  Hmmm, well easy to say....

The move to Ottawa has been hard for me.  Everything is so different.  The city, the "East,"  my daily schedule...everything is upside down.   It all feels so different from BC.  I do not feel at home.  Some days, just walking the city streets feels so disconnecting.  I've been in Ottawa for weeks now.  Still feel like I'm visiting.

I know that it is not the city.  It is the fact that I have left everything that is familiar about my life.  The structure and pressure of a corporate job.  I have worked so hard for so many years that it feels strange not to get up every morning and do just that...."work hard"!!  I almost don't know what to do with myself!  Learning to relax is not easy.  Years of programming has to be de-programmed...and it takes time.  

There is also the fear of letting go of the perceived security of it all, too.  The regular paycheque, benefits, pension, wine!  Some days it feels like I'm free falling.  The fear of it all just overwhelms me.  I worry that I've made poor choices.  I know that sometimes I am just plain tired.  Whenever I am tired, fear and doubt creep in.  Claire has encouraged me to accept that I am tired and rest more.  She has been such a good friend...allowing me to be low energy and sad sometimes.  

So, I try to be present and not push away the experiences.  I am trying to develop trust in myself too.  Lori reminded me that I can choose how I want to be an any moment.  I thought about it and I believe that it cannot be by suppression.  Whatever is going on in us has to be transformed.    Yoga, meditation, mantras, nature, helpful books, gurus, guides.  The list is quite long.  We have to choose to use these things.

Love, joy, peace and acceptance. 

P.S.  Today I came across this quote on Facebook.  So timely.

"The last of the human freedoms is to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances.  ~Victor Frankl

Kids tagging a wall at the "dog park" by my place