Monthly Archives: July 2011

Mint Tea and Basketball…not in that order

Today I went to shoot some hoops with my brother. bahahahahaha! That sounds sooooo funny coming from me!! Honestly, I was never a sporty gal. All through my growing up, PE was not my best subject…basketball in particular. It was something about the running and the bouncing and the shooting all together that messed me up. So, tonight when my brother asked me if I wanted to go shoot some hoops I had to think about it for a moment. There was a brief moment of panic and then a small glimmer of excitement. Really? Excitement? Yes, it’s true…I was a little bit excited to go play basketball after so many years. We walked to the school across the street (we live in a cul-de-sac with not one but 2 hoops in it, but we were a little worried about the very expensive and not our cars parked there!) and played a little one on one. I won’t bore you with the details, but I will entertain you with the lesson. I realised that, while I still pretty well suck at the game, I actually do enjoy it! I realised that in high school, when you suck at something, you risk ridicule and being the laughing stock…or at least the focus of laughter AT you for the duration of that period. When you suck at something with your brother on a beautiful sunny Tuesday evening it’s actually quite entertaining and enjoyable! I seriously haven’t laughed that hard in a long time…I was freed of my confines of caring what I looked like and let myself just try and try and try…and low and behold I actually got a little bit better as the time rolled on. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to be making the women’s national team any time soon, but I was able to get the hang of running and bouncing the ball at the same time…and I no longer have a fear of doing a lay up! Ah, the small things in life.

Now I’m sitting drinking a jar of mint tea made with fresh mint from the garden. Perfection is sometimes so simple, isn’t it?

loving my minty mint

oh, ONTARIO, you are a great place for a girl like me!

Hello y’all! I know, it’s been a while since I’ve written…but after that last post that I wrote on my iPad and couldn’t see anything I was writing…well, I decided I would just soak up the experience of the trip and write about it later…so, it’s later, I’m home and on my computer, so now I will share with you my great experience in Ontario!

As I posted already, I started in Kitchener Waterloo (if you are at all confused about the name “Kitchener Waterloo” and why it’s always the two places put together as one, don’t fret…so I was I. It’s 2 separate places, but they always say them together…kind of like if I said, “Langford Colwood”…you get the idea. Don’t ask why they do that, it’s just how it is). Now, Kitchener Waterloo is THE home of RIM…you know, Blackberry technology? Pretty well everyone there works for RIM in some capacity…actually, some of them work for Google too, but the Google office is moving to California, so that will wipe out some of those techies there. Anyhow, it’s a big technology town(s), and they like their yoga! I spent Thursday night-Tuesday afternoon there. David, the owner and director of Bikram Yoga KW lives just around the corner from the studio, in a little area called Belmont Village, so every day I was walking to the studio, past the health-food store, in the sun. Practically perfect in every way.

In Kitchener, there is a woman who practices at the studio named Bonny. I met Bonny in Mexico at the retreat I did back in May. Bonny is such an inspiration to me! She looks so amazing since the last time I saw her. She is this light filled energetic and glorious woman who I have so enjoyed getting to know. On Saturday she took David and I to see Jesus Christ Superstar at Stratford. First off, I love pretty well ANY and ALL live performance (especially theatre) and seeing a show at Stratford was so amazing. After the show we walked through the town and then got a late bit to eat. I feel so blessed.

On Tuesday I headed out on the Greyhound bus for Toronto. It was kind of nice to have a bit of down time on my own (only an hour and a half) before I hit the city and was on to the next chapter of the Ontario tour (well, Toronto area tour anyhow). I stayed in Toronto with Andrew, the owner of Bikram Yoga East York. He lives in Forrest Hill, a cute little area of Toronto, nice neighbourhood, beautiful apartment in an old brick building, with his cutest dog, Sohpie. Sophie is a MinPin (miniature pinscher) and god is she a cutie. She took to me right away and slept with me almost the whole time I was there.

Andrew, fabulous leader at BYEY

Bengal Tiger mural on the back wall of BYEY!

While I was in Toronto proper, I taught at 3 different studios and practiced at one more than that. IT was great to see all the different studios (well, at least some of them…there are about a dozen studios there!) and meet so many teachers and students! While I was there, we had the HOTTEST DAY EVER RECORDED IN TORONTO HISTORY. Yes, that’s right the HOTTEST DAY EVER. That was Thursday, it was about 37 degrees outside. We might as well have done class outside! HA! Actually, it was almost better inside as we had a bit of a breeze. Let’s just say, the students at the Bloor studio were troopers…we had the heat off and the air on but all that air was so hot and humid…and all those yogis breathing and sweating…well, you get the idea.

On Friday I went out to stay with a woman I went to Bikram TT with, Ruzica. She owns the Bikram Yoga Toronto East…I had to take the train to get out there, which was another adventure! Well, not really, but it added to my planes trains and automobiles. I did a 2 hour posture clinic and class there on Friday and got to meet some of the students out there. What a beautiful studio! They have all sorts of different kinds of wood…including Douglas Fir from out here…I felt so at home.

So, the yoga part of the trip was great, the teaching and the practicing. I taught at the East York studio, the Bloor and Beaches studios and the Toronto East studio. I also practiced a the cutest little studio in Forrest Hill…it was like a little boutique cottage. So lovely.

I got to eat at a great raw food restaurant there called Live Food Bar. I highly recommend it if you’re there. They’ve got a good sized menu (including a couple of cooked dishes) and a great drinks list (juices, smoothies, kombucha, wine, beer). We ordered a bunch of things to share (an appy plate, a salad, tacos, nori rolls, a cooked brown rice pasta dish, and for dessert a chocolate cupcake and another chocolatey thing) and enjoyed them all. It was the perfect meal after a great class at BYEY.

I also got to experience the cottage culture that exists there. I’ve always heard about “the cottage” if you live in the Toronto area. There are probably at least 75% of the people living there who grew up going out to the cottage every summer. Many people are the 2nd or 3rd generation of the family going to the same cottage or property. It’s amazing. So, I got to go up to the cottage both weekends I was there (briefly both times, but well worth it on both occasions!).

Ruzica, Ida, Vesnahaha…we were trying to run and jump and have the picture while we were in the air….unfortunately, it was kind of like a game of broken telephone. We ran, I counted “1,2,3, go!”, Vesna gave the hand signal, Ian hit Bernard’s shoulder, and Bernard tookt he picture…I’m sure you can see that too many cooks spoiled the pot! haha, at least one of us is in the air!

triangle on the beachwe, of course, had to do some yoga on the beach for a good photo op…we colour co-ordinated well, huh?! This is Ruzica, Vesna and me. Ruzica and Vesna and I all went to TT together but didn’t know eachother there (they did, but I didn’t know them). It was so fun to hang out with them and do a little reminiscing as well as getting to know eachother. Such fun such fun.

So, all in all, I had such a wonderful time in Ontario! The weather was amazing, the people were amazing, and there was never a dull moment. What a great trip. I have the best life.

Kitchener Waterloo…hello, how are you?

Well, how are you my lovelies?
I have to pre-cursor this post by saying that I’m writing it on my (new!) iPad, and I seem to be having a *small* technical error…or perhaps not an error, but a little curious thing…I’m writing (typing with my fingers…2 index fingers), but the letters aren’t appearing on the screen. The cursor is moving but the letters aren’t appearing….so I really have no idea what is actually typing…it’s lime typing in a ghost town or something .

All that being said, I will keep this short so as not to make it too weird…for myself.
I just arrived at the Bikram Yoga Kitchener Waterloo studio with the owner, David. …oops, got distracted, wonder where I was…never mind. So, I’m here for the next few days. Got classes and a seminar and it seems some socialising as well! aND…it’s SUMMER here!!! Thank goodness!! In fact, I’m currently sitting here, in the lobby, sweating. Just thinking about yoga, watching a yoga class, I’m sweating. Funny.

I might have to boycott fireworks…but they sure are pretty


Lastnight I went to the Butchart Gardens with my family. My sister in law works there, in the dining room, so my mom and my brother and I went for dinner, she joined us for dessert, and then we all watched the fireworks show together after. If you’ve not been to Butchart Gardens before, it’s quite amazing. Honestly, before Ksenia started working there, I cannot actually remember going there…I”m sure I have been there before, but clearly not for many years. As a lifetime Victoria resident, it’s one of those “tourist in your own town” things that I just never did. And, it’s funny, because no matter where I travel in the world, when I tell people I’m from Victoria, BC Canada, they inevitably say, “OH! Butchart Gardents!!”…yes, that’s the place. So, it was good to get there and see what all the fuss is about! (The last time I went there it was at Christmas time and we toured the grounds, but it was mostly light displays and not many flowers…being winter and all). This time of year is AMAZING to go to the Gardens. There are sooooo many flowers, it’s really quite amazing. I’m guessing that the gardening staff have to start working veeeeeery early in the mornings to make sure everything is super duper manicured before the gates open at 9am everyday. If you’re a flower fan, actually even if you’re not, you really need to make a trip out there to see it…it’s truly beautiful.

OK, so the fireworks…in the summer, for 10 Saturday nights, there is a fireworks show. Now, listen, I used to work at the Boathouse restaurant in English Bay (Vancouver), and we hosted the Symphony of Fire for many years (a fireworks “competition” of sorts where 5-I think it was 5-countries compete for the best fireworks display. So, I’ve seen a-lot of fireworks), so my fireworks knowledge is pretty good…but this show at the Butchart Gardens is something of a whole other realm. As a kid we used to watch the fireworks at Butchart from behind the property on our boat in Todd Inlet. I never realised that there was so much more to the show than just the lights you could see in the sky. This thing was off the hook! It was about 20 minutes long and kept you gawking the whole time. They do fireworks every Saturday in the summer-10 weeks- and that’s IT. They have 10 different shows that they do, each a little different with a different theme. The grounds of the place are swarming with people, some have lawn chairs, some blankets…some have a whole picnic and/or take out they brought. People get there super early to stake out their territory. We put our blanket down and then went to have dinner, so that when we returned to the fireworks area we were all set up already.

I can’t explain the show-nor do I really want to-but all I can say is that if you’re into fireworks (actually, even if you’re not) then you should try to make an effort to go out there for a fireworks Saturday night date.

All that being said…I think I need to now boycott fireworks. I’ve seen a fireworks display now twice in the past (little over a) week. (Canada day and the Gardens). It’s pretty and all (and, yes, I did find myself clapping and “oohing and awe-ing” on occasion), but I couldn’t help be slightly suffocated by the visual of all the smoke billowing into the air…and the thought of how much it costs to put on a show like that.  So, I might have to start boycottng fireworks to take a stand. Haha, MY STAND!!

I’ll keep you posted on my progress (the boyott, I mean!).

My mom and I-hipstamitic

We were getting a bit restless waiting for the show to begin…so I started playing with my mom’s iPhone.

Isn’t my mom and hottie?!




Yesterday I was at the Root Cellar and saw this ah-mazing kale…locally grown…3 for $5 bucks. My brain immediately went to kale chips, of course!! Lots and lots of kale chips.

Now, if you’ve not tried Kale chips yet, imagine a tasty little crispy bite that almost melts in your mouth, is as addictive as a bag of potato chips but is waaaaaay better for you…are you imagining?…good, now I have your attention!

Kale chips are ridiculously easy to make and yet I still find myself buying them (and, like most things, I inevitably prefer the one I make to the (over-priced) ones I buy…ain’t that always the way. So, here I was with all this Kale so I was forced into making them this morning. Here’s what they consisted of today:

Kale Chips 3 Ways…

Kale Chip #1~

olive oil, lime juice, celtic sea salt, chili powder

Kale Chip #2~

olive oil, apple cider vinegar, celtic sea salt, cayenne pepper

Kale Chip #3~ (this one was a bit of an after thought, so it was made with a base of the other 2 flavours already and had the pesto added)

pesto (see blog post from a couple days ago with pesto “recipe”)

For All Three Varieties~

tear kale off of stems and tear into medium sized leaf chunks. Wash WELL and spin dry. Put in a large bowl, drizzle olive oil over and massage a moment, then add the remaining ingredients (as previously mentioned, I don’t really ever measure anything, so start slow with the seasonings and add to your taste…however, GO SLOWLY with the seasonings because THE FLAVOUR GETS MAGNIFIED IN THE DEHYDRATOR! I tell you this because the first batch I ever made was sooooo salty I couldn’t eat them…and that’s saying a-lot because I loooove kale!).

Place them in the dehydrator-I usually try to have the on every 2nd tray (in the Excalubur) because the are so fluffy (is that a word I can use to describe kale?) before dehydrating. Dehydrate on 105 degrees for a few hours…they are good all along the dehydration process, but to totally dry they are about 4 ish hours…good luck if they all make it to that stage!

They don't fill the sheets as well when they're dried!

If you see me over the next few days, please tell me if there’s kale in my teeth…I have a feeling there might be…

Yoga, random thoughts (in yoga) and green smoothies (post yoga)…

Good afternoon, y’all.

This morning I took my friend Abbey’s class over at BYSaanich. Abbey and I have been teaching together on and off for almost 8 years! It’s a bit like “coming home” when I take her class because I don’t have to think about anything…which leads me to my next thought…the random (or, as the case may be, NOT so random) thoughts I have in yoga class…

In Awkward pose I think about coffee. Every day. No fail.

In Eagle I think about Sushi. Weird? Yup, I think so too.

In Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee I think about Kombucha…but only once I’m IN the posture fully and looking at my belly. On the way IN TO the posture I think about Ren Soriano~a dear Bikram teacher who I knew and loved

By Savasana and Wind Removing, I’m usually thinking about various things of my day and/or staring at the wall trying NOT to think about various things of my day. Today I was thinking about this post…yup, realising that I always have the same thoughts in the same place in class was turning into a blog post today…AND staring at the wall trying not to think about random things.

Spine Series I’m pretty focussed on my body and trying to win over the urge to just lie there and do nothing.

In Spine Twist I’m thinking about how amazing I feel and how fast the class went (TODAY, though, I was thinking about the AMAZING adjustment I got on the first side of Spine Twist! My lover (I just did that typo TWICE, so left it in, as I thought it was a good one 😉 )ahem, my loWer back made a good pop as something moved back into place. Whew).

So, what I’m really trying to say is this; don’t fret, little bunnies, if you find that your mind is all over the place in yoga class and you keep hearing “clear your mind” and all that does is create more and more thoughts! I believe that I get some of my best thinking done in class…my body is taken care of, I don’t need to think about what to do with it as someone is telling me what to do, so my brain is open to receiving whatever comes along.

So, I made my way home (I’ve started riding my fancy red Raleigh cruiser  to the studio!), drank a huge jar of fresh lemonade and made a smoothie. Greens are a bit low in my fridge at the moment, so it was a green powder kind of day:

*Frozen banana, *fresh peach, *TBS hemp seeds, *heaping TBS of Green powder (I use Vitamineral Green, it’s my fav one I’ve found), *water and a *touch of maple syrup (I was in the mood for a little sweetie!).

Blend it up in the Vitamix and voila. I like to eat my smoothies with a spoon, so keep it kind of thick….but add more water for a more liquid consistency or add ice for a more frozen one.

Look at that GREEN!

Raw Pesto Fettuccine…

Yes, that’s right…this post is about FOOD not yoga! Although, I do have a few things to say about yoga…however, I will save them for a later time. This one is about some yummy rawness from tonight’s dinner.

Raw Pesto Fettuccine

So, this afternoon I whipped up some raw pesto so that it would be ready for me tonight to have for dinner. I’ve been meaning to make it for several days now, but it seems that when I get home at night it’s all I can do to tear some lettuce and chop up some veggies for a salad…so, I had some time this afternoon and put it to good use.

Raw Pesto:

*one head of spinach~washed and spun (in the spinner, of course)

*a large bunch of fresh basil (I had one of those little basil plants that you can buy at the store and I used all of the mature leaves that were on it-maybe, oh, a cup…?)

*hemp seeds (probably about 1/4 cup or so) and Pine nuts (about 3-4 TBS)

*Extra virgin olive oil (enough to make it the right consistency for your liking…maybe a few TBS ish)

(as you can see, I don’t really measure anything when I’m *cooking*, I just kind of go with the flow…so, feel free to experiment and adjust to your tastebuds!)

I used a small food processor (and, when I say *small*, I mean it’s really designed for small loads…next time I would use the bigger food processor…I have also used the Vitamix for making pesto, but sometimes I find that the Vitamix is almost TOO much machine for this job-it makes the consistency of the pesto much smoother) to chop the spinach-small amounts at a time, until it was all finely chopped in the processor bowl. I then added some hemp seeds and some pine nuts and a drizle of olive oil…chop and blend, baby. Then I added a bit more of all of those things and also added the BASIL leaves! Chop away until blended…I then added a bit more olive oil and some celtic sea salt and ground black pepper until I liked the flavour and consistency…voila!

I used my spiral slicer ( I just searched for nearly 1/2 hour to find a picture of the one I used, but to no avail…there are a few different types out there-just head to a kitchen store and they’ll probably have one of the kinds for spiralizing veggies into “noodles” or nice thin slices. You can always use a mandoline-watch your knuckes!-or even a vegetable peeler…slice into long strips and slice into noodles if you choose) to make fettuccine noodles. I think soaked them for about 10 minutes in warm/hot-ish water to soften them up even so sightly. Then I put them in a bowl with a few TBS of the pesto and coated it all over.

Serve in a bow. I also added chopped avocado and a few delicious raw black olives, a little more celtic sea salt, black pepper and a spirnkling of Cayenne for kick(s)!***

***it would probably be good with a little garlic in there as well.

***and maybe a little squeeze of lemon…just for kicks. 😉

should I stay or should I go…?

Hello my Yogis~

I’ve been back at home (in Victoria) for a week now, but not fully functioning as I’m used to. I “suffered” an “injury” last week and have been laying low while I “recover” from it. Now…you may be thinking, “what is with all the quotation marks today”?…you see, Yogis, I don’t like to think of anything as a “set-back” or an “injury” or anything like that…I like to think that if something is going to change (ie, a pain, a stoppage in the body/mind, a posture, etc) then SOMETHING HAS TO CHANGE. So, this was/is merely an opportunity for something to change. Needless to say, I’ve had a good lesson in slowing down (perhaps stopping?!), especially now that I am back to the yoga room…speaking of which…

I often get the question about injuries and whether or not to continue practicing through it/with it, or whether to take a break, etc. I think it’s one of the hardest questions I get as a teacher (there’s a chance that I quoted a different question as one of the hardest questions…so add this to the list!). There is NO RIGHT ANSWER to this question! Helpful, I know.  The thing I’ve learned about my yoga practice is that there are no answers that work for every person. Yes, mostly I tell people who come to me with a “thing going on” to take it easy and go slow and go for form not depth…however, sometimes you/me/we need a break. Sometimes I know that if I’ve “got something going on” with a part of my body that I need to keep going to yoga, working through said “thing” and that the rest of me needs to keep practicing (body mind soul)…and, other times, as I’ve learned, I need to take a break from it all together. It’s really a matter of being connected to your own body and person and then you have to asses how you are feeling and what is “right” for you! Because you are the only one who is in your body and can actually feel what is happening in there, there’s no way for me to really know how to answer your query. So, for me, it’s been a matter of time and practice. Oh, and PATIENCE. Yup, a good old dose of patience and generosity with myself. Listen, if you were “some place” in your practice and you had something shift and now you feel like you’re set back or worse or whatever you feel about yourself and your practice, just take a breath and chill out. I know, it’s not always that easy…but you have to remember that this is a HEALING PRACTICE and we are not in it to make ourselves feel worse or whatnot…yes, you will feel uncomfortable, and at times you will feel some pain sensation (that is a post I will write later!), but for the most part, this practice should be making you feel better, more energized, more limber…and whatever else it is making you feel!

Anyhow, in the mean time, ice heat ice heat ice heat and woodlock oil! And take it easy, honey.

Chinese Woodlock oil