You know when you read something profound and it sort of clicks, then you come across several other timely articles and examples and you think, “That’s it. This makes total sense! But now what can I do about it to help?”
Last night I came across this article about the opioid crisis we’re experiencing in BC at the moment. Author Andrew MacLeod examines the many complex factors that contribute to deaths due to opioid addiction amongst middle age men and women, including broken marriages, guilt, shame, past abuse, high housing costs, debt, poverty, mental illness and the weakening of social support groups like churches and service clubs. But the overarching reason for addiction, MacLeod argues (citing retired Simon Fraser University psychology professor, Bruce Alexander), is cultural isolation. “When I talk to addicted people, whether they are addicted to alcohol, drugs, gambling, Internet use, sex, or anything else, I encounter human beings who really do not have a viable social or cultural life. They use their addictions as a way of coping with their dislocation: as an escape, a pain killer, or a kind of substitute for a full life. More and more psychologists and psychiatrists are reporting similar observations. Maybe our fragmented, mobile, ever-changing modern society has produced social and cultural isolation in very large numbers of people, even though their cages are invisible!’
Social and cultural isolation aren’t just catalysts for substance abuse. I feel it’s at the very heart of what’s breaking down our society as a whole right now, even though we have access to more information and knowledge than ever before. You think we’d be so enlightened by now, right? (more…)
Most yogis and anyone who frequents craft fairs and markets on Vancouver Island will be familiar with malas: those long, beautiful necklaces made out of wooden or gemstone beads with either a stone or tassel hanging near the navel. Aside from looking gorgeous on anyone from Salt Spring hippies to New York fashionistas, malas have a much more significant purpose and meaning for the wearer.
What does “mala” mean?
A mala, which means “garland” in Sanskrit, is pronounced mall-laa with a long A—not to be confused with mālā with a short A, which actually means poop (like the malasana yoga pose, or pooping pose, commonly misinterpreted as garland pose). Malas are strands of beads traditionally used to count the number of times a mantra is recited during meditation. They usually consists of 108 beads made out of ‘Bodhi seeds’, which come from the Rudraksha tree in India. In Hinduism, Rudraksha seeds are said to be the crystallized tears of Shiva, who cried tear of compassion for the welfare of mankind. (more…)
After attending 16 yoga classes, doing 3 class observations, spending 172 hours with my yogi cohort (or kula, as it’s referred to in yoga) on weekends over 10 weeks, spending 35-ish hours reading textbooks, working on research assignments and writing blog posts, and after having many eye-opening, ah-ha and emotional self-discovery moments, I’ve completed the in-class portion of yoga teacher training at MokSana Yoga Center. And it was worth every second.
I still have one more observation to do as well as my practicum, which involves shadowing the teacher, assisting by handing out props and then teaching the warm up over three consecutive Foundations classes before I take my final certification class. I’ve scheduled my certification class for February 18, so I have lots of time to practice my cues. (more…)
Since I’m coming off a busy long weekend and have no idea what to post on the blog so far this week, here are 7 things you might not know about me:
I am [wildly/strangely/obviously] obsessed with: dark chocolate and peanut butter. But you already knew that, I’m sure.
I have a collection of: Beach pebbles and sea glass. I pick something up every time I’m at the beach, and put it in my jacket pocket. Sometimes I forget they’re there and get confused when I stick my hand in my pocket only to pull out a handful of stones. When I remember to take them out, I put them in a meditation bowl or in the glass vase with my bamboo plant.
I secretly (not so secretly): Want to be a minimalist hippy living in a tiny house by the sea growing my own food, writing a novel and taking in rescue animals.
When I was 7, I wanted to be: Jane Goodall and a children’s book author.
If I could do one thing today, it would be: Get on a plane to an exotic country to explore and relax for a bit.
I’ve always dreamt of: Hiking Machu Picchu.
My favorite way to travel is: By car or train, even thought it takes longer. I love looking out the window and stopping in small towns you wouldn’t normally get to experience.
When the 1 million minutes challenge with Fit Approach started, I set out to achieve 3,000 minutes of activity over the two months of the challenge. And according to my Garmin and LEAF activity tracker, I came fairly close to that goal by running, hiking and strength training my way to 2,640 is minutes of activity. Of course, I totally failed to track everyday at Fit Approach, which only racked up my official time to 340 minutes. Despite my lame contribution, us Sweat Pink Ambassadors (SPAs) have racked up 375,839 minutes so far — well done SPAs!
The best part of this challenge for me was seeing how all the SPAs were logging their minutes on Instagram. Sometimes when I would be on the fence about going for a run, I’d open Instagram and see a photo from a fellow SPA that made me want to lace up and get out there. (more…)
At the right place at the right time for this rainbow in Maui.
Are you unhappy with the way your body looks? Do you pick yourself apart, thinking negative thoughts about how this part of your flesh looks in that particular outfit, or the way that body part of yours should be just a little bit more narrow/wide/tall?
If you’re critical of your body, try thinking about it in this way.
Try thinking of it as a rainbow.
During my last few long marathon training runs, I started listening to AudioDharma, a podcast recorded at a meditation centre in California that explores Buddha’s teachings. Being an aspiring yogi, I decided I might gain some insight by brushing up on the teachings of this often-quoted spiritual sage. I like a lot of the concepts practiced in Buddhism (kindness, gratitude, generosity, mindfulness, etc.), so I thought I might be able to find little nuggets of wisdom I could take away and practice in my daily life while getting those training miles in under my belt. (more…)
I’ve been a runner for over seven years and have completed many marathons, half marathons, 10Ks, trail races, triathlons and even an ultra. I’ve been a gym junkie since I was about 22 years old, and finally decided to take my love of resistance training to the next level last year by becoming a certified strength and conditioning coach.
The first time I tried yoga was at a community centre when I was in high school. I went with a bunch of my girlfriends, and almost got booted out of the class for snickering during cat-cow pose. (It was Kundalini yoga, so there was a lot of heavy, guttural breathing, which was making us giggle like a bunch of, well… immature high school girls.) We decided if wasn’t for us, especially after the instructor made us sing a song at the end about a long-time sun. (I still remember that song, and we’d jokingly sing it on occasion in class at school, operatic style.)
I didn’t try a yoga class again until I was about 21 years old. I got a pass for Christmas and went a few times. I really enjoyed it, but couldn’t afford to go regularly. I did my own thing at home based on what I learned in the studio for several years, practicing less and less until the only yoga I did was a few stretches at the end of my runs. (more…)
Unlike last year’s annual non-New Year’s resolutions post, this year I can actually say I accomplished the three goals I set for myself at the end of last year: get my CSCS designation, get published in a print magazine, and qualify for the Boston Marathon. This is one of the reasons why I love having this blog — I can publicly announce things I want to accomplish and hold myself accountable to them, no matter how lofty they may be.