Rain is grace

Rainy window with John Updike quote

There’s nothing like grey skies, rainy weather, and dropping temperatures to bring out the craving to hibernate.

Indulge your desire to curl up somewhere warm and do nothing at tonight’s yin yoga class at Bound Lotus. Class runs from 6:30-7:45pm and will feature an extra long yoga nidra (guided relaxation or yogic sleep) that lets you really get cozy and settle in to savasana.

The conscious, deliberate relaxation of yoga nidra leaves you feeling thoroughly rested and revived.

Embrace the rain… and bring out your inner grace!

Sing your heart out

Photo from borianag’s photostream https://www.flickr.com/photos/borianag/

Most people have an innate desire to sing, but we we generally relegate our singing to the shower, the car, or an occasional karaoke night. We have all kinds of excuses for not singing (or at least not singing in public!) that deny us the joy of singing in a group.

Body Harmony Yoga Studio is hosting a special kirtan evening on Friday, September 28th from 7 to 8pm, (doors open at 6:45pm). Local composer, musician, and Body Harmony student Anne Leader will be leading the kirtan (a call-and-response chant, so there’s no need to even know the words!) and will be accompanied by live musicians.

This is an incredible opportunity to experience the joy that comes with finding harmony in a group. Our brains are wired to derive satisfaction from being part of something collective (we’re part hive creatures) and chanting in a group often brings a strong sense of well-being.

Everyone is welcome for this special event – you just need a willingness to participate, an open mind, and a small donation for the musicians.

Balance a busy weekend

Photo from Chris Blakeley’s Photostream – https://www.flickr.com/photos/csb13/

Particularly when the weather is nice, weekends can get pretty full and hectic. Between after-work drinks on Friday, dinner parties on Saturdays, and movie dates on Sundays, along with bike rides, hikes, errands, and shopping trips during the day-time hours, weekends can become more energy-sapping than weekdays!

Counter all the yang energy of your weekend activities, with some yin yoga!

This Saturday, I start teaching an 11:15am Yin Yoga class at Bound Lotus in North Vancouver. The late morning start time is perfect for sleeping in (or sleeping off Friday night drinks!) and the early afternoon end time (12:30pm) is great for heading to Burgoo, Raglan’s, Moodyville’s, the Quay, or other Lower Lonsdale locales for brunch after class.

And the long-held postures of yin yoga (which I sometimes call lazy yoga 😉 ) are excellent for assisting with detoxification and replenishing body and mind. 75-minutes worth of meditative movement could be just the thing a busy weekend needs to find balance!


The un-check-list traveller

I am not a bucket-list kind of person. I do not have lists of things to do before I die, must-see vacation destinations, or challenges to tackle.

I like working towards accomplishments, but often find more satisfaction in the doing than in the completing. As I move farther from the A-typer I used to be, I’m happier being absorbed in a moment. Instead of thinking about what happens at the end, I’m learning to let myself be part of the process and stop devoting mental energy to stressing about what might/should/could happen next.

Most of the incredible and memorable moments in my life happen when I’m not looking for them. I don’t see the wonderfulness coming and couldn’t possibly plan for it.

Our recent vacation to London, Paris, and Munich was mostly without checklists. The things we really wanted to do (eat at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal in London, climb the Montmartre hill, drive the Autobahn), we didn’t need to write on a list to make sure they’d happen. We obviously needed to plan for the trip, but didn’t need to create false pressure to accomplish things while on vacation.

That’s my problem with bucket-lists: if something is that important, it’s going to get done regardless of being on a list and the list itself shifts emphasis to ticking off items rather than experiencing life and allowing the universe to unfold. Checking something off a bucket-list seems like getting a present that you specifically asked for; it’s nice, but somehow less special. I’d rather go list-free and collect experiences in a way that seems more like getting that perfect present you didn’t even know you wanted; the surprise makes it all the more delightful and special.

The most incredible parts of our trip were amazing experiences I didn’t see coming. Sitting on the grass drinking cider in Greenwich. Playing foosball at a pub in Finsbury Park. Sliding into a pew for mass at Sacré-Cœur in Paris, while my husband sat on the steps and got to see the astonishing synchronization of vendors in front of the basilica scooping up their goods as the police approached and settling back into hawking as soon as the cops left. Getting caught in a thunderstorm after dinner at a brasserie. Making French toast with Canadian maple syrup in Munich. Chatting in German with an incredibly nice church lady before lighting a candle for an ailing relative. Stumbling upon an excellent family-run Bavarian restaurant and finding the best beer of the trip on our last night.

None of these experiences would have made a bucket-list, but they were what made the trip really great. They were unforeseen and un-plan-able… which made them all the more wonderful!

The sad Mac saga

I’ve found good excuses for staying away from computers recently. The summer weather has been wonderfully condusive to being outdoors and my computer seemed to be forcibly pushing me away.

My computer craziness started with Chrome crashing, then Firefox got in on the act and soon no program would stay open… which led to kernel panics causing regular involuntary system reboots.

Many calls to Apple Support later (thank god for the Apple Care warranty!) led to to getting a replacement hard drive, but it still wasn’t quite business as usual.

In an attempt to prevent further system crashes, I wanted to upgrade my computer’s operating system. With a fresh hard drive and nothing on my computer, I thought it would be easy.

The latest version of Mac OS X would download with no problems… but would not install. More calls to Apple Support, many repeated downloads, and another full hard drive wipe followed.

Yesterday’s visit to the Apple Store seems to have fixed the problem (fingers crossed!) and now I’m just working through setting up my computer again. Transferring files over from the external hard drive, remembering all my user names and passwords, re-installing programs, and deciding on all those little settings.

After being soured all things computer, I’m going to have to learn to love them again… hopefully the weather keeps giving me a plausible excuse for not wanting to spend too much time at the keyboard!

Grasp the universe

I started reading Cosmos by Carl Sagan last night. It’s not my usual summer reading (I typically go with Marian Keyes, Sophie Kinsella, and other light-hearted non-thinking-ness), so I’m not sure how long I’ll stick with it – at least for the moment it’s an enjoyable read.

It’s certainly brainy and will make me learn about science (astronomy in particular), but it’s more than just science. I’m impressed with how Sagan contextualizes the universe and brings in a human side.

I anticipated being wow-ed by exponential numbers (10 billion is a lot of zeros!) and awestruck by the scope of the cosmos… but before starting I hadn’t realized that I’ll also be pausing at some of Sagan’s insightful and memorable quotes.

Case in point:

It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.

– Carl Sagan

If you’re looking for some fine summer reading, take a look at the Summer Reading Flowchart. A hundred and one book recommendations, all packed into a brilliant flowchart!