What I’ve learnt in ten years of teaching yoga

A woman in a red tank top with arms above her head and palms together in a yoga-like posture
My very first yoga photo shoot

I wish I could say that I’ve perfected the art of teaching over the last decade, but I’m still learning. And I question a lot of what I thought knew over the years.

As I’ve become more settled in who I am as a teacher, I’ve veered away from the one-size-fits all approach of most (if not all) Hatha yoga teacher trainings. I infrequently use the Sanskrit names for postures or talk about chakras. I’m less rigid about sequencing and frequently switch up the flow I’d planned based on student needs in the moment. I’m more comfortable teaching on the fly, but also more dedicated to prepping classes.

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Selected short-story reading (vol. 2)

With the short fiction term of my Creative Writing course wrapped up and the poetry chunk starting in September, I have time to fine-tune a few pieces I’m planning to submit for writing competitions and/or publication. Most of the publishers require previously unpublished work, so I won’t be popping them up here—at least not yet.

In the meantime, though, here are three more stories from other writers I think are worth a read.

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Perfecting relaxation pose

Laura covered up lying on a yoga mat in the perfect relaxation pose

I sometimes reference the princess and the pea when I get into the final relaxation posture of a yoga class — and it’s no joke! Getting this posture perfect helps me soak up all its benefits. When my body is supported and at ease, blissful relaxation follows.

Who couldn’t use a little more bliss?!?

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Absence and return

Looking out over the Rocky Mountains in 2016

Canada has been on my mind a lot recently. Partially because of international media coverage after the discovery of the remains of 215 children on the site of a former residential school in Kamloops, BC. Partially because Prime Minister Trudeau got weird amounts of attention for his poufy hair and fancy socks at the G7 in Cornwall. But mostly because I haven’t been on Canadian soil for a year and a half.

That’s a long absence for me.

As more people are fully vaccinated (in Switzerland and Canada) and COVID-19 infection rates are going down in both countries, travel is starting to re-open. But plotting a trip ‘home’ has been complicated by quarantine requirements, lack of flights, previous commitments, and, above all, so much uncertainty.

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Selected short-story reading (vol. 1)

Woman reading a paperback book by a body of water

Since I wrote about boycotting written works by straight white men (or avoiding them as much as possible) I’ve made very deliberate choices about what to read for my creative writing course. This term is all about short fiction and contains some unavoidable SWM-authored works (notably Raymond Carver thus far), but we’ve also had a lot of latitude in picking what we want to read, present, and pick apart.

Instead of keeping the women-authored pieces I’ve found within the bounds of the course, I’m sharing some of my favourite discoveries. These are quick to read, readily available, and a no-commitment-necessary kinda way of broadening reading horizons. Lots of people don’t love reading short stories… maybe these picks will help change that!

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Why I’m done with straight white men

Or at least avoiding books written by them

A woman's arm lifting a paperback book off a bookshelf

It’s a straight white man’s world and there’s no shortage of content produced by and for that demographic. Despite not being how the majority of people identify (at least in my home country, Canada, where about a third of respondents identified as racialised minorities in the most recent census and men make up slightly less than half of the total population), it would be pretty easy to watch, read, listen to nothing but straight white men!

My biggest motivator for seeking out non-white, non-straight, non-male authors (that’s a lot of nons!) is the continued dominance of media and artistic spaces by this group of bros. A disproportionate number of authors, journalists, actors, directors, writers, artists, and musicians come from the same dominant hegemony: heterosexual, caucasian, male and mostly unaware of their privilege. 

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Classic Canadian comfort food

… and an outdoor twist

Foil-wrapped macaroni and cheese on an outdoor grill along with sausages

Canadians love Kraft Dinner. I’ve yet to meet a fellow Canadian who doesn’t have strong opinions about the best variety, a not-so-secret tweak (mine is less milk, more butter, and added broccoli), or a deep certainly that homemade mac and cheese (or at least Annie’s) is better.

But does macaroni and cheese belong at a barbeque?

Yup! And it’s a delicious meat-free alternative to the standard Swiss sausages—although as evidenced by the photo, there were plenty of sausages, too.

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