December 26, 2010

Happy Holidays

This year Christmas has been relaxing. Our home has been full of visitors since December 6th and the most active visitor was my little 20 month old grandson. All the plants were shifted to one side of the room with a chair barricade for protection. Did that stop the little tyke from digging in the dirt? Of course not, he loves the dirt! You know when a miniature person with innocence and incredible joy runs around the house, there is a little Krishna present.

Krishna is the epitome of love, joy and playfulness. When he was a child, he used to love butter and would climb up high in the cupboards to get to where his mother hid it from him. Everyone loved him so much that no matter how naughty he was, he was always forgiven, because he was so darn cute. When he was a young man, his flute playing and dancing, enthralled the gopis who were the beautiful cowherd women. When he was mature, he guided Arjuna to do his duty and to live his karma, as poetically given to us in the Bhagavad Gita.

Every little child is a Bala Krishna, a baby Krishna, a gift from God and a representation of curiosity, bubbly optimism, innocence, laughing joy, spontaneity, trust, and love. May the child within each of us display these qualities, enjoying life to the fullest.

May 24, 2010

Tea & Scones

I never thought that I would ever get a suntan in England! It has been hot and sunny on the fantastic Isle of Wight and walking along the coastline, watching the sailboats has been so beautiful. This island is magical. It is almost frozen in time. Old thatched roof cottages, English flower gardens with rainbow colours, high old stone walls and buildings dating back to the 11th century entice the eyes and the third eye.

The front seat on the upper deck of a double decker bus is revealing to me what lies behind the high hedges and walls - rolling fields of grain, sheep freshly shorn and bare-naked as well as cows who do not realize that they have arrived in heaven. The architecture is a feast of a variety of brickwork, stonework, and wrought iron that wows me with the intense imagination of history.

Oh, you might ask if I am doing any yoga? No. But this evening I shall be teaching a few ladies on the Isle and I know that I shall be back, hopefully with a pack of Canadians who want to be immersed in Island culture. There are so many things to do: visit Carisbrook Castle with foundations more than 1,000 years old; see how Queen Victoria lived in her Osborne House (house - try elaborate, ostentatious castle - but to be fair, she did have a spinning wheel and played the piano). The walking trails are manageable and enchanting with views of the ocean or winding trails where you can feel the faeries and nature spirits smiling at you. There are paths that wind among ancient beech and oak trees and little quaint shops that hold surprises and smiles.

Yes, I really like it here and shall enjoy doing yoga tonight, as the great food and walking are rounding my belly and shortening my hamstrings.

May 16, 2010

Loving England

The ancient feeling in England is so grounding. The buildings made of brick, the old, beautiful flower gardens and the historic sites make me think that I live in a very babyish country. The landscape is cultured with paths that actually lead somewhere. In the backwoods of Canada a path may lead to the top of a mountain or a gully so that the next step is flying. Actually, both countries are so amazing! More to come....

April 29, 2010

Relatives Everywhere

A few years ago there was a family gathering on my Mom's side of the family. There were only about 550 people there who looked slightly like me. Apparently there are 1000 of us with only 2 or 3 souls left in the Ukraine. Canada was the place to be!

Last night at yoga class, I was talking to a woman who asked my last name. She then asked if I had relatives in the Two Hills area. We talked about the church and graveyard and she said that she had relatives buried there, and I told her that I did too. She said her grandfather's last name was Ursuliak and told me her grandmother's last name. This is how small the world is: her grandmother's last name was the same as my grandmother's. I took all the details of her heritage and she took mine.

When I got home I asked my mother about these people. She and my Dad knew the family and surprised me by saying that the yoga student's great grandfather and my great grandfather were brothers from my Dad's side!!! My Mom went to the same school as her Mom and was a few grades ahead. Mom knew all of my yoga student's aunts, uncles and great aunts and uncles! My relatives are everywhere. What a lovely surprise to reconnect.

Edmonton's Weather

The weather in Edmonton is changeable, one moment sun, next moment, windy, next moment rain, next moment snow. Then once in awhile there is a rainbow. I will chase after a rainbow because they are too beautiful to miss. I am waiting for one to appear soon - after the cool weather.

It is a good thing that I didn't put away my winter clothes or feel the need to change from winter tires to summer tires yet (on my van that is). Spring in Edmonton is a challenge. One day I am sitting on my balcony in shorts and drinking lemonade; the next day I am freezing, wrapping a blankie around me, have a warm cup of tea and craving soup. Ah, but I like Edmonton. I like the weather. The weather is changeable, like life. Really, we never know what is going to happen next.

March 17, 2010

Yoga in Mexico

I know. It has been a while since I have blogged. No excuses. Here I am back again! Back after a nice holiday in Mexico. What does a Yogini do on her holidays? Yoga, of course. Being a senior teacher with the Yoga Association of Alberta, it is necessary to take 150 hours of classes within a three year period from other senior teachers to be re-certified by the YAA. So, being me, I procrastinated until the bright idea hit me to go to Mexico and do the 150 hours all at the same time with the South Okanagan Yoga Association Teacher Training Course. Great idea!

Landing in Puerto Vallarta on a hot sunny afternoon was sweaty but worth it. Ah... the ocean, the tropical plants, the flowers, the margaritas. Oops, do yoginis drink margaritas? Well, one won't hurt. :) The malacon is the walkway that goes on for miles beside the ocean . It is a delight to meander watching the locals and touristas mingle. The long time tourists, or foreigners who live there, are noticeable with their leather dark skin. The smell of the ocean, the sound of the waves and the beautiful sunsets were nectar to my soul. After two days in PV a first class bus whisked me south to Melaque, a quiet, clean, Mexican town where my two weeks of intense yoga sadhana (practice) were a supreme delight. The countryside is beautiful there - rolling mountains, tropical forests, ocean, and even crocodiles! Yes, crocodiles. Apparently they lived in the lagoon next to our guest house. And in the distance was a volcano which we were able to see on clear days. Colima Volcano.

What is it like to be immersed in two weeks of yoga from 7 am to 7:30 pm everyday with 1/2 hour for lunch and only one afternoon off? Heaven! Mantras, Mudras, Philosophy, Hatha Yoga, Shat Karmas (cleansing techniques) and more Hatha Yoga. Mugs McConnell from the Okanagan and Carla Wainwright from Prince George were very capable teachers for the classes and each glowed in their special areas of expertise. The surprise for me was that my teacher, Dr. Swami Gitananda, was mentioned many times as a specialist in pranayama and for being well respected in the world yoga community. This affirmed my own yoga teachings and practice over the years. It is a blessing to have a good foundation with a respected teacher.

I returned home, renewed, refreshed and even more committed to yoga. What a gift yoga is!