October 23, 2009

WCB Hostages

On Wednesday, October 21 I was supposed to teach a meditation class at Worker's Compensation Board at 10:30 am. My husband came home from work and told me not to go because there was a hostage situation there. I called one of my bosses but her phone did not answer, so I called security and they told me not to go to work because the police had blocked off the streets and everyone was getting evacuated.

Radio and television stations were playing clips on the event and I went to teach yoga at another WCB venue for noon. There the students could not settle down. We were all worried because the man who was holding the hostages had a gun. I found out the reason that my boss did not answer her phone. She was a hostage! Apparently there were nine hostages to begin with and he eventually let everyone go without incidence after an all day siege. Later that night I got an email from another student who worked in the building who said that she was okay. When the gunman entered the building she was working as a cashier. She said she ducked down quickly and crawled to the back of the room to phone 911.

On Thursday I called to see if I should teach classes and the head of the department wasn't sure at first, but we decided that everyone needed to relax with yoga. It would help to calm everyone's nerves after this ordeal.

Often I have mentioned to the yoga students that we never know what will happen in our lives, but yoga will always keep us centered when difficult situations arrive. We may be the one to hold the energy of peace when chaos appears.

September 16, 2009


Okay, so I'm attached. After all these years of doing yoga I still find it difficult to let go of little bits of paper with information on them: like what to do to clean your house with natural products, yoga information or lovely cards from people I love, etc.  So, as I enter a "4" year in Hindu numerology, it is time to clean up and recycle or file. The Hindu calendar year starts in October and goes to the end of September and "4" is about material testing.  How attached am I really?

Many years ago a fire took my home and everything in it. I was left with a little bit of metal from a huge cooking pot that melted into the shape of a heart - no kidding, that's true. All I had was the grungy farm work clothes I was wearing and thankfully my family was okay. There was a feeling of loss and a feeling of freedom at the same time - freedom from possessions. For a while I had no attachment and felt lighter, but the fire happened in February and in Canada we need a lot during the winter. 

The sages say that it is fine to have material possessions, but it is good to develop an attitude of non-attachment or our possessions possess us. It also helps to be organized and know when to let go. My sister says that when she buys a new piece of clothing, she gives something in her closet away. Geez! That is pretty non-attached to clothes. Did I learn from her? No, my closet is packed with clothes I might need later (and never do). Okay, so it is time for me to clean up and and get into the non-attachment mode. Wish me luck!

August 9, 2009

Folk Festival

Thousands of wonderful people attend the Edmonton Folk Festival every year and tickets are sold out as soon as they come on sale. Amazing talented musicians from all over the world appear on many stages in relaxing, natural amphitheaters. The audience gets to sit on the grass, feel the wind, gaze at the sky, get a sun tan and/or burn, and enjoy cool music. What is even more special is that you can leave your bags and jackets on the place you have staked out to sit and no one will take a thing (as far as I have heard). I am really impressed with that level of trust and honesty. You can walk around alone in a huge shoulder to shoulder crowd and no one will harass you. That is freedom! 

One of my favorite groups at the Folk Festival was Hanggai. I didn't understand a word they sang, as it was in Mongolian, but wow did they impress me. Their songs touched me with their rhythms which sounded like galloping horses, and the deep throat singing was very earthy. I could close my eyes and almost feel like I was in Mongolia. No I have never been there in this lifetime!  Another great ageless group, The Wailers, were a crowd pleaser.  My husband and I danced to every song along with hundreds of others from babies to silver haired old hippies. Bob Marley was there in spirit. Cherryholmes, a family of very skilled and entertaining bluegrass singers were high energy. They were nominated for a Grammy in 2006. I had no idea what the favorite dance music of little tikes was, but now I know. When Cherryholmes started to play, those between 1.5 years and 5 years leaped to their feet and their bouncing, twirling, jumps and fancy footwork was a joy to behold.

July 23, 2009


In April, May and June there were three beautiful new babies born in our family. July 8th there was memorial service for an aunt who had died earlier in the year; July 9th was the 60th wedding anniversary of an aunt and uncle; July 10th was the wedding celebration for a cousin; and July 11th my sister's sister-in-law died; July 14th was my parent's 64th wedding anniversary and July 15th was my Mom's 84th birthday.

Whew! Birth, death, wedding, birthday, anniversary - that just about covers all the important events in life. How do I feel? Grateful. Life is delicate and such an honour to experience. I am so happy that I have yoga and meditation to keep me together during the difficult times. One takes on a more objective and philosophical look at everything happening, so that it does not get too overwhelming.

It is important when a person that you know dies to contact their family. They will appreciate a phone call. It is nice to share a special story and it will make the family feel better. Some people don't make an effort to make contact and miss an opportunity to really help those left behind. All special events need to be acknowledged. It makes people feel special - and they are special!

June 24, 2009

Dead Heading

Most of us are in our heads all the time, thinking and re-thinking about what to do, what we should have done, where to go, worrying about things we can do nothing about - blah, blah, blah. Gardening gets us back into our body, connecting with the earth. It feels so good digging in the dirt, planting a seed or a bedding plant. Watering makes all the difference. Over water and the plant will get sick and die; under water and the same fate awaits the poor plant. Watering just right perks up plants and people. Gardening is calming and creates patience, as well as an appreciation for the beauty and abundance of life. Once we have planted, our gardening karma is to water and weed.

Last week I went to visit my brother and sister-in-law who live on an acreage. They were transplanting bedding plants and I taught them how to dead head! Dead heading makes all the difference in the world to a flowering plant.  If we don't do it the plant gets spindly and won't give many flowers, because all the power goes into making the seed pods. I especially like petunias and really notice how they perk up after I dead head them. 

What is dead heading? Dead heading is a type of pruning. When a flower is wilting and looks like it is tired, follow the stem down to the origin and snip it off with your finger nail or with scissors. It is a good idea to learn how to dead head our over abundant and totally insignificant thoughts that are draining our life force, causing us to lose sleep and energy. How do we dead head our thoughts? We create calm in our minds by meditating or contemplating.  There are many different meditation techniques. Just find one that suits you and do it when you feel like it. You will perk up just like a beautiful plant!

June 17, 2009


In our family there have been three births in three months! What a blessing. Each baby is so innocent, pure, delicate and sweet. Each birth for everyone is different. It all depends on our karma. Some babies shoot out of the womb, impatient for life experiences, some have to be pulled out with forceps, not quite ready to release from the safety of the womb. There are so many different ways to be born - as many as all the people who have been born.  Some babies are sleepy for the first month, taking it easy as they adjust to life on planet earth, while some babies are born wide-eyed and alert.

I teach Prenatal Yoga and enjoy seeing the growth of mothers' bellies. Sometimes I wish there was a belly window so we could view all the amazing changes taking place inside. That "preggy glow" is special as the mother literally shines and radiates her brilliance. In Yoga we are taught that we have 72,000 nadis or subtle channels of our energy body. When a mother is pregnant she is glowing with her 72,000 nadis and her baby's 72,000 nadis for a total of 144,000 nadis!

Last year I was asked to be at a birth and was there for quite a few hours, then I had to go teach a yoga class. The baby was born while I was away! This year I was at a water birth, which I had never seen before. The mother so enjoyed sinking into the warm water, relieving the pressure. Baby shot out of her like a cannon! The umbilical cord was about eight inches away from the mom. It looked like a braid. The baby was beyond that, floating under the water! Apparently, if the baby stays under water, while still attached to the cord it is fine (and looks so amazingly surreal). Within moments a nurse pulled baby from the water and voila - a new human being! Birth is a miracle.

June 5, 2009

Saw Deepak Last Night

Deepak Chopra is an icon. He modernized spirituality and defined it to skeptics in scientific terms. I saw him last night at a talk he gave. "We have 100 trillion cells in our body and they all have consciousness." It is amazing that each cell knows exactly what job it has to perform and never doubts or complains. It is doing Karma Yoga - the Yoga of action, the Yoga of service.  So, what happened to our brains that we hesitate, procrastinate and doubt our connection to the universe? That is for each of us to figure out by being aware of every moment. It helps us to read good books by Deepak and Eckhart Tolle who are two of the foremost current informers of cosmic consciousness. Happy reading!

June 4, 2009

Birth of a Yogini's Blog
I Wish I Could Spend a Day in Your Head

Someone once said to me, "I wish I could spend a day in your head." 

"What for?" I asked, because for me, sometimes I wish I could spend a day out of my head! "You look at the world so differently from anyone else I know." she said. That may be true, as my life has been different from anyone I know. When I was 18 years old, I was walking down a street in Edmonton with a school friend and I had an unusual feeling inside. At that moment I knew that my life would be different from the people I grew up with. It scared me a bit because I wanted to "fit in" and "be normal." Well, that ain't the way it worked out.

When the door was open, I flew through. You know how someone wise said, "Think before you act." For some reason I didn't get that message in my genetic make-up. I wanted to experience as much as I could in this life time. Little did I know that you can go too far - to the other end of the world! In India I was introduced to Yoga by a very smart man who looked like Santa Claus, Swami Gitananda - Hatha Yoga, Yantra Yoga, Mantra Yoga, Laya Yoga, Karma Yoga, Yoga Chikitsa (therapy) and more. Yoga became my work, my life and I have loved every moment of it! Welcome to my blog.