Monday
Sep222014

Do what you want...

Do what you want and make no apologies if it makes you happy!

I just read this article and feel all out of sorts about it and frankly, pissed off.

What was the article on, Kate?

High waisted shorts.

Some people like them, some people dislike them, some people wear them and some people do not wear them. That's really where the conversation should stop... Then, we move on with our lives because we have better things to do and better things to pay attention to in the world.

But what the article brought up was "What Guys Really Think About your High-Waisted Shorts" and written in a way that just makes me feel sad and confused why there's even a conversation about it.

It is misogynistic and ass backwards for the progression of women as a whole. Pitting women against each other based on wardrobe choice and spinning it in a way where women are here for the pleasure of men.

I just have to shake my head at some of these quotes of "men" (term used loosely)..


"I’d immediately try to rip those off of my girlfriend if she was wearing them. Not in the ‘oh rip these off and do me’ way"

“Very rarely have I seen a girl in high-waisted shorts and been into it at all"

"They're boner killers"

"I thought broads wanted to wear clothing that was flattering... No guy has ever thought... what would make a girl more attractive? High waisted, vagina suffocating, belly button hiding shorts"

"I hate them more than cancer"

"I really see them as fat hiders"

"flat-assed young girls to try and appear to have a bigger butt, but it's false advertisement... She has a gorgeous face, great body, big butt... I'm seriously not interested because of her choice to wear them"

"Ladies, do yourselves (and every guy you walk past) a solid and get a second mirror"

"What happened... glory days when Christina Aguilera got dirrty rocking her tight hip-huggers low... I miss that shit"

See where I'm going??? It makes me want to throw up at the digusting and sexist comments from these "men".

Women are not obligated or meant to dress in a way that won't kill your precious boner... and really? You hate an article of clothing more than cancer? You have dismissed every single person who has ever fought the difficult battle to cancer and every single person who ever suffered the heartbreak of losing somebody to cancer.

But let's get back to the reason I'm writing this blog post. It's time we step up and stop SHAMING each other. I am especially surprised that it was a fellow woman who compiled these quotes about something that I have never given a second thought to. Already, we as woman deal with the societal pressures to be thin but not too thin, built but not too built, look good but not too done up... god, the list goes on.

And suddenly, we're judging another woman based on hair, make-up, shoes, clothing choices, sexual activity or even lack of sexual activity, sexual orientation, career choice, having children or no children, body size, etc... And for what? Really.

Shaming is a serious issue and even though you may toss this off as a laugh, understand that because of shaming we have a real issue of women keeping their silence behind RAPE, PHYSICAL ABUSE, EMOTIONAL ABUSE, MOLESTATION and DOMESTIC VIOLENCE.

Indeed, those words are terrible to see and even more awkward for us to talk about. Too many women are shamed in so many ways and it's not doing us any favours in moving forward emotionally, mentally, spiritually or within our careers. Slut shaming, fat shaming, body shaming, gender shaming, sexual orientation shaming, religious shaming... too many to list.

I urge you to open your eyes and to look into the eyes of any woman you encounter. She has been through the same struggles that you have. She wakes up some days and she doesn't feel beautiful. She's working hard to figure herself out. She's learning about life, just like you.

And now for the men who think like the above... I urge you to get your head out of your ass. Women are not here to please you. We are not here for you to get aroused over, we do not owe you conversation, we certainly do not need to validate your come ons and we are entitled to say, do and wear whatever we want.

Not all men are like this and one of the top commenters is a real man who eloquantely puts the writer and the boys who shared their views into their place. It is shaming and it is wrong. Not all women will tear each other down and it is my hope that these two camps will continue to evolve and grow such that we can create a world where we can co-exist in harmony.

Tuesday
Jul012014

Designing your life...

Recently, there have been two pieces that have been floating about social media that touts on how we shouldn't be jealous of people's social media feeds because we always present the best portions of our lives to share with the world around us. I agree and disagree with the Elephant Journal article and the Youtube video. It almost seems to put people into two different camps when really... we're all in it together.

I love social media and the power it has to connect with so many individuals and to catch up with your friends. I would be the first to say that I have embraced social media for all its glory and all its flaws as well.

But what bothers me about the article and the video is that there's a negative spin to them both. Them against me or me versus them mentality. When I think about my social media feeds, they are exactly what the article and the video is pointing towards... but the truth is, my life really is this awesome.

It wasn't always this way though... and 7 years ago, I would say I was a very different person. A person, I wouldn't even recognize today. She had spells where she could be quite bitter, jealous, mean and all of it stemmed from the fact that she was just truly very sad with life. Even ~3.5 years ago when I came out of a tumultuous and detrimental relationship, I wasn't in the best place.

We hear of amazing success stories and seldom we will hear about the tears, the hardships, the rejections, the heartbreak and the sorrow. I am not going to suggest that those things don't exist. They most certainly do, but what good is it to continue to put it on blast?

How I see it, you can make a decision to take your time and learn the important lessons and continue to forge forward. You are allowed to feel the emotions that arise along the path for however long you need but suffering the suffering and dwelling in it is a poison that will not fare you well.

I have designed this life I have and as I evolve so does the design.

It took years and continues to take hard work and showing up every single day. It takes time in sitting down and asking myself (and answering honestly) what I want. It takes goal setting. It takes asking and receiving help from others. It takes dedication. It takes courage to walk away from situations or relationships that are poisoning or holding me back.

I was and am equally susceptible to the heartbreak, to the mistakes, to disappointments and to the tears.

Every misstep is simply an opportunity to learn and fine tune your radar and skill set to forge forward stronger on your path.

Design your life.
Ain't nobody else going to do it for you.

Monday
Jun232014

One year post flood

Last year threw me for a loop, that much I can say. I wasn't even going to evacuate my top floor apartment building. How bad could it be? Really?

I gathered bare essentials, assuming I would be out for maybe a day... Little did I know.

It took just over 6 months for me to return back home and in that time frame, I learned a lot. Patience was tried and tested time and time again with my management company (don't even get me started) and my heart was blown open by how many people stepped to the plate to offer me their home.

In fact, I shuttled between two homes in a week with the generosity of friends. Staying Tuesday night to Thursday night at one place and then Friday through till Monday at another. It was taxing and emotionally / physically exhausting. It gave me a whole new appreciation for what I have and every single day I open the door to my wee apartment, I smile and give gratitude.

Countless people asked if I needed anything without hesitation. Even strangers I have never met and will never meet, donated money to the Red Cross for flood relief... Which I did use to help me cover the cost of being out of home. Thank you so much!!

The community is resilient and has bounced back even stronger. I love this. Just in awe of everything and how people banding together creates such positivity.

Over the flood anniversary weekend, I attended the mission-cliff bungalow BBQ and had so much fun in the sun, with amazing music, with friends and hot firefighters (What? That's the truth).
I co-taught a class with the every lovely and wonderful Candace Cooke at Santosha and we packed the room to the gills with all the amazing people showing up to show the mission possible pride! I am honoured. I am blessed.

Thank you thank you thank you!!!!

Monday
Jun092014

Back from ballin' in Bali

Wow wow wow wow wow wow wow!

That's really what I want to say about the retreat in Bali. It was the 5th retreat I have run but the first one I ran on my very own from start to finish.

It was a very scary decision to make in committing to it on my own. What if I wouldn't get enough people? What if I couldn't handle it? What if they thought my curriculum was terrible? What if, what if, what if... All of those what if's were based in fear. I refused to listen and forged forward knowing deep in my heart of hearts, I could!

Thank you to all the incredible staff at SoulShine Bali! I cannot believe how amazing you all are and I can't wait to see you all again in 2015 (what? Hint hint, 2015 retreat).

Thank you to everybody who took that leap of faith... Many traveling transpacific for the first time to Bali! It's not an easy journey to make nor is it a comfortable one. I cannot even begin to explain to you just how much you all mean to me while you held the space and welcomed me so openly into your practice and into your lives while holding me up while I opened and exposed my vulnerability to you.

There was a tremendous amount of growth for me at that retreat. I learned so much about myself, about teaching, about leading, about following and about life.

You all gave me the strength to let go to move forward. None of us are impervious to life's curveballs and hang ups and it's always with the support of old and new friends that you learn to ride it out.

For the closing ceremony, I shared a very special and sacred part of myself (I will share more about this in a later post, it is something I am still terrified to write). A small token to remind us to always listen to your intuition and to run as fast as possible with your heart over the fence towards great joy and love.

If you believe you can, you're already halfway there. Don't stop now... The world waits for you with bated breath for all your greatness.

Thursday
May292014

Flying 101

Airports are indeed one of my favourite places to be and as many as you know, the travel bug infected me long ago.

Here are some of my tips and tricks to make travel easier for the mind, body and your fellow passengers.

Before you go:

Check in online. That saves a bit of time at the airport. Especially, if you are a light packer like me with nothing to check in.

Research if you need a VISA, what the departure tax might be for some countries (if there is, put that money aside straight away to avoid running to an ATM last minute) and if you are required to have any shots. Some immunizations are spilt and you have to go back for the second or third shot. Don't wait last minute.

If you're going to places where the water isn't potable, you can always get these water purification tablets at stores like Mountain Equipment Co-Op. The water doesn't taste the best (bleachy and chlorine like) but it'll do in a pinch as it did for my sister and I when we were traveling the Amazon basin. On the same note, electrolyte packets are great to quickly hydrate the body. Be sure they're actually electrolytes because Emergen-C is really more of a vitamin C supplement.

Travel documents saved and stored in your phone. Flight booking numbers and flight details. I've also scanned my passport and sent it to my email and have it in my phone, just in case.

Carry-on:

Be sure that all your liquids are in containers 100mL or less. They won't care if it's a half empty 200mL container. I always snag the hotel shampoo bottles whenever I can, not for the quality of the shampoo but for the container. That way, as you use them up on your trip, you can just dispose of them.

Grab a few extra carry-on liquid bags whenever you go. Those bags can be flimsy and they can get gross with exploding liquids. To save yourself the time and hassle of repacking your liquids at the airport, you just whip a new one out. Also, you'll likely save a friend the hassle too by having an extra bag!

Have the items you'll need for your flight in an easy to reach place of your bag. Headphones, pen (for immigration papers), passport with boarding pass (for immigration, but it's a good idea to memorize your passport number anyways), books and whatever else you need.

Be courteous of people boarding the plane and either wait till everybody is seated before grabbing your things or be sure you can do it quickly without needing to rummage around therefore blocking the aisle and holding up the flow. You can always step into the seat rows too so that your fellow passengers can pass freely.

My biggest pet peeve is when overhead compartments run out of space. It's not because there's not enough room for each passenger, it's because people don't want anything by their feet so they put both of their allowable carry-ons up there. I push the limit too for my carry-on allowance but it's important to be courteous so others don't have to check in their carry-ons right then and there or have to put one way out of the way from their seat. It also makes for a quicker take off for everybody and that always leads to a happy traveller.

Cruising altitude etiquette:

The unspoken rule when you're in a crowded flight with neighbours is that you get *one* armrest, not both. It's absolutely the worse to be in the middle seat and the passengers flanking you have both decided to take two armrests, leaving you all smushed. You get one. Only one.

Not everybody wants to chat or hear your conversation so be courteous. Some people will be traveling very long hours and just looking for some shut eye or peace and quiet. It's fun to travel with friends but keep the conversation volume to low. It is a shared space and voices can carry further and louder than you might think. Read your neighbour's body language to see if they're the chatty type or the quiet type.

If you have to use the bathroom a lot, opt for the aisle seat. Yes, you won't get the pretty views of a window seat, but you'll also save your neighbours from constantly bothering them to stop their movie, unplug their headset, unbuckle and stand up.

Also, if your inside neighbour needs the bathroom... Have the courtesy to stand up and into the aisle so they don't have to awkwardly squish their way through. Also watch out for hair if you need to brace yourself with the seats in front.

Don't be afraid to politely ask your neighbour to give up an arm rest if you need, to lower the volume, etc... Better to be forthright than passive aggressive and bubbling with annoyance the entire flight.

Stretching it out:

Flights can be tough on the body, especially the transpacific / transatlantic ones. I, the yoga teacher, is quite terrible at getting up. I can sit for ages and ages and my body pays for it dearly. So I make it a point to get up every couple of hours to stretch.

Cabin space will be limited so here's what I do. You can do a modified version of a seated pigeon by crossing one ankle on top in a figure four. That might be enough of a stretch but if you need more, you hinge at the hips to get the external hip flexors.

It'll be weird for your neighbours and yourself, but for me to get into my hamstrings I just pop my leg straight up to the ceiling and hold on with my hands. Bringing the leg closer into me if I need that deeper stretch. Be careful! Don't bop your neighbour's head in front!!

I don't know how people use those neck pillows but they end up being more uncomfortable for me than anything. So, my neck gets a bit sore with flying. Take time and bring one ear over to the corresponding shoulder and imagine the opposite shoulder begins to drop (as if a heavy bag was placed on it). Bringing the chin towards the armpit was help stretch out the front of the neck too.

The front of the chest can get tight from the head of the arm bones rounding forward. To counteract that, when you do get to the galley, interlace your fingers behind your back and bring the shoulders up and down the back body while lifting the arms up and away.

Be courteous to the staff on your flight. Taking up precious space to do a full on poses is going to slow down their job because you'll just be in the way.

Final notes:

Stay hydrated to combat jet lag and fatigue from traveling. It's helpful to bring a water bottle so that you can ask them to fill the entire thing instead of asking for 12 cups of mini waters.

If you're flying over several datelines, try to mimic the hours of the place you're headed to. Sleep when it's their night time, try to stay awake and keep busy during their daylight hours.

Have fun!! Don't sweat the small stuff, it's not really going to matter in the long run. Have an amazing adventure! Learn something new! Eat something different! Make new friends!!

Up up and aaawwwaaaay!!

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