The Biggest Surprise

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Nothing like the ocean to help reflect.

Sometimes life moves very fast. I got married in Dec. and then two days after our wedding, I got the biggest surprise of my life: I found out I was pregnant.

I was not the kind of person who dreamed of getting married or having a baby. Although, I knew I wanted someone special to share my life with, but the idea co-creating another living being inside my body was entirely overwhelming and something I simply could wrap my head around. It’s not that I didn’t want children, it’s more that I just couldn’t imagine it.

Now, 21 weeks into my pregnancy (due early August), I am still in disbelief when I catch the reflection of my swollen abdomen and breasts in the mirror. I think this daze is why I’ve had trouble finding the right words to express what I am feeling and why it’s taken me time to share this news.

First trimester

My first trimester was a challenge, not so much physically (thankfully, no morning sickness), but emotionally. I felt ultra sensitive and confused. It’s like my brain hadn’t quite caught up to pace of the last year—reconnecting with Arturo, traveling, falling in love, being engaged, getting married and then boom, pregnant. I wanted to savour each moment and yet things were moving so darn fast. Maybe it was the hormones, but for some reason, this made me feel sad and guilty. Guilty because I know there are people struggling to find the right person and/or struggling to conceive and here I was getting it all… at once.

Deeply needed sabbatical

I came to Panama mid-February to be with Arturo, as he still has a business here. Free from a set schedule and away from the distractions of Montreal, I’ve been mentally catching up to my life. I’m focusing on eating well, exercising, resting when needed and rethinking where I want to go with my yoga teaching and with my Arbonne business, which is easiest to do remotely. It’s been a deeply needed sabbatical.

However, up until last week, I felt really exhausted and sluggish. I still managed to go to the gym and swim, but I was super tired and dizzy in a way that made me feel like a stranger to myself. Thankfully, I am now feeling more energized and clear and more me.

Our family tree grows

Our family tree grows

Observations & intentions

It’s interesting to observe the almost daily changes happening to my body and a great exercise in letting go of attachments to how I was before. Just since this past weekend, I started feeling the little monkey moving! So crazy to think that this body is housing two beings! These tiny dances are definitely the coolest part of this pregnancy so far.

My intention is to continue to write regularly about this journey and hopefully, share some insights. I am in Montreal Mar 31 – Apr. 14 and have several events planned. It’d be great to see you! (If you are not in Montreal, you can join online.)

Sat nam

 

 

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My Yogi Wedding, Puja & Party

Here are some photos from my yogi wedding, puja & party:

Puja Blessing Ceremony & Party
FRIDAY DEC 11, 2015 – 6:00pm

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Our wedding was held over a few days. Friday evening Dec 11, we had a Puja (blessing ceremony) and New Moon celebration with about 120 guests.

My ayurvedic teachers Manu and Anita Sharma organized the Puja and I wore a traditional India dress of red and gold -- the colours of prosperity and luck. My husband Arturo is on the left. (He is not used to sitting cross-legged for so long, but was such a trooper!)

My ayurvedic teachers Manu and Anita Sharma organized the Puja and I wore a traditional India dress of red and gold — the colours of prosperity and luck. My husband Arturo is on the left. (He is not used to sitting cross-legged for so long, but was such a trooper!)

A beautiful vegetarian spread of diverse salads, dumplings, falafel and the most decadent chocolate cake (so I hear, because it was all gone by the time I was ready for dessert!) followed the blessing ceremony. Our caterer Hilary Parsons is a long time family friend and actually catered my parents wedding about 35 years ago!

As a complement to the Puja, a beautiful vegetarian spread of diverse salads, dumplings, falafel and the most decadent chocolate cake (so I hear, because it was all gone by the time I was ready for dessert!) followed the blessing ceremony. Our caterer Hilary Parsons is a long time family friend and actually catered my parents wedding about 35 years ago!

My parents, Marta and Gord, welcoming everyone and cracking a few jokes (as usual).

My parents, Marta and Gord, welcoming everyone and cracking a few jokes (as usual).

Our friends, Hugh John and Amelie, gifted us with a Polaroid camera so our guests could take photos of themselves and hang them. (Thanks to Michelle and Julien for the film!) This fun idea from our friend Jeanne Rahilly, who helped us with the wedding planning.

Our friends, Hugh John and Amelie, gifted us with a Polaroid camera so our guests could take photos of themselves and hang them. (Thanks to Michelle and Julien for the film!) This fun idea from our friend Jeanne Rahilly, who helped us with the wedding planning.

A henna artist drew beautiful designs on our guests. Here, Anna, Valerie and Jessica display their new (temporary) tattoos.

A henna artist drew beautiful designs on our guests. Here, Anna, Valerie and Jessica display their new (temporary) tattoos.

Our party was so rocking that the Police appeared at 1am, but they were very pleasant and it was all good. Our guests received packages of Pukka Love Tea as little Thank you gifts.

Our party was so rocking that the Police appeared at 1am, but they were very pleasant and it was all good. Our guests received packages of Pukka Love Tea as little Thank you gifts.

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Yogi Wedding Ceremony & Brunch
SUNDAY DEC 13, 2015 – 10:00am

The Loft was transformed into a enchanted setting of twinkle lights, fresh flowers, pine trees with infinity created of light and rose petals. It was magical.

The Loft was transformed into a enchanted setting of twinkle lights, fresh flowers, pine trees with infinity created of light and rose petals. It was magical.

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Here we are in our fancy wedding attire. Lisa Lajoie, my long time teacher and mentor, was our officiant and Rhiannon, my childhood friend and Arturo’s brother Alfredo were our witnesses. The ceremony was deeply meaningful.

We had written and practiced our vows in secret, during the summer while I was teaching at the Wanderlust Festival on Mont Tremblant, so we were well prepared. Instead of rings, we exchanged malas, or prayer beads, which were made with semi-precious gemstones uniquely for us.

We had written and practiced our vows in secret, during the summer while I was teaching at the Wanderlust Festival on Mont Tremblant, so we were well prepared. Instead of rings, we exchanged malas, or prayer beads, which were made with semi-precious gemstones uniquely for us.

My brother Stefan played "Even the Darkness has Arms" by the Bar Brothers as we signed the marriage / civil union contract. Beside him, from right to left: Meagan,

My brother Stefan played “Even the Darkness has Arms” by the Bar Brothers as we signed the marriage / civil union contract. Beside him, from right to left: Meagan, Stef’s wife; Smilian, Arturo’s nephew; and Nacho, Arturo’s high school friend.

There were many lovely speeches and toasts and memorable moments.

There were many lovely speeches and toasts and memorable moments.

Arturo and I with our parents. (It must be stated that the tassels you see behind us in this image, were patiently handmade by my brother Stefan and his wife Meagan.)

Arturo and I with our parents. Arturo’s parents live in Panama City and this was their first trip to Canada.  (It must be stated that the tassels you see behind us in this image, were patiently handmade by my brother Stefan and his wife Meagan.)

This fantastic group photo, as well as the other photos in this series, were taken by photographer Dan Haber, who was amazing! We highly recommend him, by the way!

This fantastic group photo, as well as the other photos in this series, were taken by photographer Dan Haber, who was amazing! We highly recommend him, by the way!

More:  Read about My Love Story & we met

My Love Story

I have some big huge news! I am engaged! Although I never envisioned myself as a bride, these are some crazy, awesome times and I couldn’t be more excited. Arturo is the name of my beloved. He is an engineer, smart house creator, world traveler and marathon runner from Panama– hence the reason I have been there so often recently.

Here’s my love story, I mean our love story:  Arturo and I met nearly seven years ago in Mont Tremblant ski resort when Arturo was working on a project in Montreal. There was an instant connection and we spent several months enjoying dinners and discussions together. When his contract ended, we parted as friends and lost touch as life went on. Last autumn, out of blue, I received a short message from him and two months of Skype calls later, we met up in New Orleans. The rest as is said is history.

In the last nine months, we have done 11 trips to see each other. Time and costs aside, we knew we had to decide if and how we were going to make our relationship work. We shared our visions of life with one another and found that they aligned nearly perfectly, and the only thing we joked about changing in the other person was “geographical location”. So on a small boat off the Atlantic coast of Panama, he said in the most pragmatic tone: “Do you want a wedding?”

After a bit of a pause, I replied, eyes squinting analytically: “Hmmm… I think so.”

We left it there for a while until conversations naturally started to turn toward the kind of wedding we wanted for ourselves: small, elegant, meaningful with good wine and great music. This was all in theory, as we hadn’t fully committed to the idea of marriage yet.

Then in June, we decided to tell our families of our plans and everything became ‘official’. We even chose a vintage art deco engagement ring for me, which I am now wearing on my left hand– You’ll have to find me in person, if you want to see it! 🙂  We kept our news rather private for a couple of months, just within our families, as it felt too sacred to share publicly at first.

Our time in Europe this summer strengthened our bond: beaches, vineyards, museums, music, dancing and visits with my family in London and Warsaw and his in Croatia – Arturo is part Croatian. It also gave us time to discuss how and where we are going to live. Being free-spirited entrepreneurs who love to travel, we have decided to share our time between Montreal and Panama starting with Nov. in Panama, Dec. and Jan. in Montreal and winter in Panama, with a couple short trips back to Montreal for workshops and teacher training.

It would be such a joy to have you visit me in Panama! To make it fun and interesting, I am co-hosting a Panama Yoga & Ayurveda Retreat Nov 25 – 30 with Katherine Croston, an amazing yoga teacher based in Panama City. I am also leading a retreat in February and giving a Yoga Teacher Training Mar. – June at Transcendence Yoga in Panama City (details on this available soon). Come!

Arbonne Successful Partnership with Yasmin Yoga

Yas-New-Bio-pic-2014As you know, I am a yoga teacher and naturopath specializing in Ayurveda. You may not know that since Dec. 2013 I am also an Independent Consultant and now Area Manager with Arbonne International, a health and wellness company that offers botanically based, vegan personal care and beauty products that are free from gluten, phthalates, parabens, mineral oil and other harmful toxins.

I have an amazing yoga career and I know it’s because the practices and disciplines I’ve learnt from yoga directly have influenced my life and my life success.  I have been a yoga teacher for 15 years, taught around world, owned a yoga studio, have five yoga DVDs in circulation across Canada and hold the Guinness World Record for the Longest yoga marathon. I also lead a successful teacher training program, have a dedicated private yoga cliental and live and work in an amazing loft in Old Montreal. I LOVE what I do. It fulfills me in so many ways and I always excited to start my day. Given my success, one may wonder I would need anything else. For a long time, I didn’t think I did.

At 22, teaching 20-25 yoga classes was no issue. That’s what it takes to pay the bills as a full-time yoga teacher and I was happy to do it. I have good stamina and a fast metabolism.  I am now 32. I still lots of passion and energy for teaching, but have come to realize that trading time for money in the service industry is limited. I only get paid when I’m physically in front of a class or client. This means that if I’m sick, injured, tired or need a break, I need to make up the lost time and income by taking on other classes and overworking before and after every vacation or time off. Plus, like many other small business entrepreneurs, I have no benefits and not much of a retirement plan.

Moreover, after 15 years, my experience and knowledge as a teacher and naturopath is vast. I have a lot more to offer now than a simple asana practice. Deep in my soul, I believe I can be of most benefit to the world by making yoga available to greater populations, particularly those who currently can’t access it, but need it the most. I would like to work with street youth, military personnel, victims of war and people who suffer with post traumatic stress disorder. Personally, I also would like to have a family of my own in the next few years.  This said, I need to create more time freedom and financial stability in order to pursue these big projects. Short of charging $1000 per yoga workshop, last autumn, I decided I needed a side income, but one that wouldn’t take me off course from my yoga path.

Ask and you shall receive, right?  Enter Arbonne, a company that has changed my life and many of the lives of the people I work with. I now make a healthy side income off part-time work. This allows me to be more selective of the classes I teach and focus my energy towards bigger goals, like the ones mentioned above.

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The company logo with some of the different lines Arbonne offers: the Calm Line for highly sensitive skin; great make up; Genius retinoid pads that reduce acne, redness, fine lines and skin discoloration from the sun; FC5 line has two programs, one for oily skin and one for dry; RE9 for mens shaving needs; RE9 anti-aging is the number one on the market and Arbonne’s flag ship line; ABC care for babies; Clear Advantage for acne prone skin. We aren’t all alike, so I like that Arbonne caters to our individual differences.

Arbonne, as mentioned, manufactures and sells high quality hair, skin and nutrition products through word of mouth. Yup, it’s a network marketing company and it’s genius. I am a natural networker and relationship builder, so it’s like I was made for this type of business. (Network Marketing is actually the fastest growing industry in Canada and is a 167 billion dollar industry, more than the music, movie & gaming industries combined.  As an industry, it has comes leaps and bounds in the past few decades and is in fact being taught in business schools & universities as the next wave of doing business.)

Actually, Arbonne is a  a hybrid of direct selling and network marketing so you get to benefit from both. You make a commission when clients purchase products and if you build a team, you leverage your time, because (like any franchise) you are paid on the total volume that goes through your business–both through you personally and through your network’s volume.  Super interesting.

But I didn’t understand network marketing or how it worked when I was first introduced to Arbonne. I scoffed at the idea of ‘selling’ cosmetics. I was not interested in being a ‘sales-lady’ and I felt it was beneath me. Other than yoga classes, I had never sold anything in my life. My jobs had consisted of babysitter, lifeguard, swimming coach, yoga teacher and naturopath. I never worked in a store or in restaurant. But then my friend Nayri, a make up artist, spa owner and Arbonne Consultant, said something that made me pause and reflect:

“You recommend products you like all the time. Why wouldn’t you want to get paid to do that?” She asked.  She was right. I had been an ambassador for several healthy living brands and have indirectly sold thousands of dollars in product for them, but never once got a pay check.  Nonetheless, my integrity and reputation is more important to me, than money (sometimes to a fault). I could never recommend something that I didn’t believe in and that didn’t align with my values. So I researched the company and what they stand for.

Here’s what impressed me the most about Arbonne:

  1. Arbonne was started in 1980, so they’ve been around for a long time, and have survived the highs and lows of the economy. Plus, health and wellness has always been their focus. They didn’t jump on the green, organic band wagon, because it’s trendy. Arbonne is a trailblazer, and in some ways, so am I. 🙂
  2. Their products adhere to the Swiss and EU safety standards which are much stricter than the North American standards, i.e. no mineral oil or harmful petroleum by-products, or known carcinogens like parabens, phthaltes, sodium laurel sulphates, etc. As well, they have never tested on animals and their products contain no animal by-products. Good, because my lifestyle is plant-based too.
  3. They have strong leadership :
    CEO Kay Napier was formerly head of Women’s Health & Vitality at Proctor & Gamble (the company’s number one division) and later served as the Senior Vice President of Marketing at McDonald’s, where she spearheaded the launch of the healthy lifestyles campaign (the salad, wraps, apples, etc)—an important part of McDonald’s legendary corporate turnaround after the “Supersize Me” documentary.

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    I enjoy dressing up, so I like that I no longer have to wear stretchy pants all the time. I also love to travel! This picture is from an Arbonne party in Las Vegas, a trip I won through Arbonne. I’m with my mentor Exec National Vice President Camilla Scott Eves and my sponsor Nayri Georges.

    Dr. Peter Matravers, Senior VP of Research and Development at Arbonne, has over 25 years experience cosmetics industry and has a background in Ayurveda! Before Arbonne, he was instrumental in the success of Neutrogena and Aveda. (Before Aveda was sold to Estee Lauder and their formulations changed, I was an Aveda fan since age 14. I would save my babysitting money, take the bus downtown and buy Aveda shampoo.)  Dr Matravers is one of the top botanical scientists in the world and holds over 20 U.S. and international patents in these areas chemistry and botany. He exclusively works with Arbonne.

  4. Arbonne is only in four countries (US, Canada, UK and Australia), but they are expanding into more, which is cool, because consultants can start businesses in any country Arbonne distributes. Next month, Arbonne moves into Poland! (Great for me, because I’m Polish and would love to build a business there with my friends and family.) Next year, Taiwan. Lot’s of potential!
  5. Arbonne is an internet based business. I don’t stock product and go door to door. Never. I simply recommend the products I like and show people how to order them online. I can do this business from anywhere: at home or when travelling. Perfect for my nomadic lifestyle.
  6. The Arbonne Charitable Foundation supports grass roots projects in all the countries Arbonne is distributed. CEO Kay Napier’s goal is to make Arbonne the number one network marketing company to give back. Plus, all the admin fees for running their charitable fund are paid by Arbonne corporate as opposed to coming out of the donations raised.
  7. Arbonne has a carbon neutral certification and they are always seeking ways to become greener and safer.
  8. They have 460+ consumable products including six different skin care lines ranging from baby to anti-aging. (My skin has never looked and felt so good!)
  9. On the business side, Arbonne has a very fair, generous and award winning compensation plan that allows consultants like me to make a full time salary off part-time work. Plus, you don’t get paid to ‘recruit’ or train new consultants. You are only successful if you help others be successful. And I like mentoring and helping people, so this is rewarding on many levels.
  10. Lastly, this business is ideal for busy people like me. Like in other franchise like businesses, everything is ready to go — products, website, marketing tool, distribution system and customer service department. I didn’t have to do anything but try the products, love them, learn why both the products and company are  special, and then share this information with others. There is a simple system to follow and so much support available both from Arbonne corporate and from the consultants themselves.
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These are some of the amazing people on my Arbonne team some of whom I never would have met without Arbonne. This picture was taken at the Canadian Training Conference in Montreal just recently.

I am super proud to represent Arbonne. Their prestige level products stand for themselves, as does the company. I have met some incredible Arbonne Consultants of all ages and from all walks of life — doctors, teachers, hairdressers, students, corporate people; anyone can do this business. On my Arbonne team, there currently about 30 people ranging in age from 20 to 72. It’s amazing to watch them grow each and every month. It fills me with joy and wonder to think of where will be in a year, two years and even ten years.

If you would like to know more about Arbonne and how to get involved either as a customer or maybe even a consultant, contact me. I’d be happy to connect with you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Minimalist December

December’s Minimalist Challenge

December is usually a month about consumption, but this year, I propose a different, minimalist approach. Inspired by my student Melanie, my partner Craig and I recently did a ‘Minimalist Challenge, whereby everyday starting on the first of the month, we gave away, tossed or recycled items cumulatively: Day one, we got rid of one thing; day two, two things; day three, three things; day four, four things; and so on. Amazingly, by the end of the month, we purged nearly 400 items from our apartment! Oh, the freedom of space and clarity of organization!

Turns out, Melanie, who also took on the challenge, got the idea for this from The Minimalists, two guys who write, tour and speak about living more simply. They were the ones who first suggested this ‘Minimalist Game’.

It’s pretty simple and a great excuse to clean out closets and reorganize your home (and life). Plus, it greatly improves the feng shui in the home. Of course, it is simple at first, but as the month progresses it gets more challenging. Here are some tips we found helpful:

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1- Anything can go and must go before the stroke of midnight each day – clothes, shoes, furniture, decorations, sports equipment, tech stuff, cassette tapes, VHS tapes, dvds, cds (transfer music to a hard drive), files, bags, containers, toys, art, books, linen, memorabilia, dishes, cutlery (how many cups do we really need?), hair elastics, markers, pens, magazines, etc.

2- I found it particularly satisfying to go one room and closet at a time. I created piles and lists of items I intended to purge. I also recommend thinking ahead and planning out items for the next day or days ahead.

3- Make sure items are discarded in a thoughtful way: donate, regift, sell, recycle and only when absolutely necessary, toss. You can get creative with this. Craig and I donated a bike to a North-South program that sends bikes to Haiti, books to the Livre Service book exchange bins  and jackets to the Lolë Yellow Label program that cleans and resells coats collecting money for local food banks. Also, for paints, batteries, computer parts, cell phones and other toxic waste, use designated eco-centres in your community.

4- If you buy something new, get rid of something old. This means if on say day 10, you buy a new broom or whatever, then get rid of 11 things to make space for the new item. This will dissuade you from buying unnecessary things and helps you save money!

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5- Holiday season is here. Tell your family about your Minimalist Challenge and kindly ask them to consider gifting you in a different way: a bottle of wine to enjoy with friends, a donation to a non-profit in your name, experiences (spa certificate, tickets to a play or concert) and/or their presence for a home cooked meal, tea for two or an offer to help you install a new computer program on your computer or hang photos in your home. When doing your own holiday gift giving, do the same. Beautiful items in good condition from your home can also be nice gifts – jewelry, frames with new pictures, teapot with nice tea, etc.

Happy Holidays, Have fun and let me know how your challenge goes! Post before and after photos on my facebook page!

PS Don’t be surprised if uncovering forgotten items stir your emotions, letting go of emotional baggage is also part of this process. 

 

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Eco-Christmas Trees & Wrapping Paper

I’m a sucker for the Holidays. I am blessed with great childhood memories around this time and I love the coziness of warm chai, candles, homemade baked goods and the gathering of friends and family. I also enjoy getting creative with decorating and gift giving.yy_eco-holiday_tree2

Every year, I debate getting a real Christmas tree. My inner discussion is usually as follows: “These trees are raised as Christmas trees and during their growth they filter our air. On the other hand, they are grown with numerous toxic pesticides that destroy the soil and pollute rivers and lakes. Plus, all that land could be used for growing food. Fake trees are, well, fake and made of plastic, but we can use it year after year. Then there is the question of space. We live in an apartment. Of course, we don’t need a Christmas tree at all, but alas, hanging childhood Christmas ornaments is a huge pleasure.”

Hmmm… What to do?

After a little brainstorm, I figured out the perfect solution: A “tree” made of newly fallen branches collected on the forest floor, stripped of bark, cut graduating lengths and mounted with wire in the shape of a Christmas tree. I secured it in a flower pot with soil and rocks, strung up some lights and added the decorations. It was placed against the wall and barely takes up any room. Taadaa! I even had a enough left over branches to make a mini-tree for the bedroom. I love it!


Eco-Gift Giving

Wrapping presents without succumbing to shiny holiday paper is a challenge I gladly take on each year. Here’s what I came up with:

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Maps are amazing for wrapping big presents. The paper is sturdy and easy to work with, and it a often be reused.
Plus, the tones and patterns of a map are unisex. They also look great alone or with ribbons or strings.

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Old calendars are nice for smaller gifts and also for accessorizing brown paper packages. This year, I scored a gorgeous calendar from my friend who was moving. I stored in behind a bookshelf and pulled it out just last week. I love the colours of this calendar.

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Coffee and rice bags
make easy solutions for wrapping awkward shaped things. You can use them as gift bags or wrap them up as little parcels.

yy_pattern_wrappingPatterns and bright coloured cloth are possibly my favourite materials to wrap presents. Some patterns are from my grandmother and others I picked up at garage sales. The pattern paper itself fantastic tissue. Great for gift bags and packaging delicate things. The instructions included in every pattern also makes unique wrapping. I embellish the gifts with cut material as ribbons.

 

If you have other ideas, please post them below. I’d love hear what you’ve done.

Happy Holidays & Happy Happy New Year!

Olympic Thoughts

I’m hopeful, but torn. Despite being aware of all the terrible environmental and economic turmoil the Olympics create, I love the Games. I really do. I get all weepy as the athletes parade in the Opening Ceremonies, when the underdog climbs the podium and when someone gets tragically disqualified from a race (like what happened to the Canadian team in the men’s 4×100 metre relay).

This year, I was thrilled to discover the CTV Olympic App, which allowed us to view all the events I wanted despite not owning a TV. My favourite event of London 2012 was the women’s soccer. So much grace and skill. The Canadian team, lead by the amazing Christine Sinclair, won a bronze medal and their undying determination was truly inspiring.

 

What awes me the most about the Olypmics?

The dedication, focus, and intense motivation showcased by Olympic athletes. I am, of course, romanced by people from all over the world coming together as one global community to compete and to play. But coming from a family of athletes, I appreciate how much goes into training and conditioning for an elite sport.

After Canadian triathlete and two time Olympic medalist Simon Whitfield crashed and fractured his collarbone during the bike portion of the race, he said: “The hard part’s the sacrifices, and to be away so much. My breakdown moment was seeing my wife because I know what Jennie puts into this, and we’re a team, and she puts in so much sacrifice, being at home a lot, alone. That was the hardest part.” I truly empathize.

 

I am fascinated by the human body– how it can sprint like Usain Bolt, cut through water like Michael Phelps or Ye Shiwen, jump high like Derek Drouin, bounce and flip like Rosie MacLennan, and do all those weird toe pointy moves like the synchronized swimmers. Human potential is really incredible.

Equally incredible are advancements in technology displayed at these Games.

The coverage was unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Those 360 degree ‘Matrix’ shots in diving, gymnastics and trampoline as well as the instantaneous photo finishes left me speechless. I was also impressed with all that crazy computer equipment the fencing teams wear. But, hands down, the most noteworthy technological achievement is undoubtedly Oscar Pistorius’s carbon fiber Össur Cheetah Blades. Wow, are they cool. To give a person without lower legs a fair chance to compete with world class ‘able bodied’ athletes is exactly the kind of thing I hope the future of science and technology will be.

 

I also hope for more gender equality and fair play.

I hope that women and girls everywhere, especially in repressed societies, are inspired to reach for great heights like Wojdan Shaherkani and Sarah Attar, the first female athletes from Saudi Arabia. I think there should be synchronized swimming for men in upcoming Olympic competition. And I believe that the ‘regular’ Olympics and the Paralympics should be joined into one big glorious event lasting three weeks if necessary.

 

Now, as for the environment, sadly something is currently amiss here.

Have you seen this sobering photo series of by photographer Jon Pack and filmmaker Gary Hustwit of abandoned Olympic sites around the world? It’s rather heartbreaking. The show’s catalog explains: “Some former Olympic sites are retrofitted and used in ways that belie their grand beginnings; turned into prisons, housing, malls, gyms, churches. Others sit unused for decades and become tragic time capsules.”

(See the series)

Surely, the way of the future can be that all Olympic buildings are LEED certified, renewable energy, and have programs in place that ensures that the buildings will be efficiently re-purposed in ways that befit them. Why couldn’t the Olympics champion brilliant ecological design and manufacturing the way it champions skilled athletes and really cool technology?

Call me idealistic, but I believe the Olympics is the perfect platform to make this happen.

(Now, what can we do to forbid shitty products like Coca-Cola and McDonald’s from sponsoring athletic events?)

Nominated for an Award!

Exciting news: My blog was nominated for an award!

I have no idea how this came to be. According to the email I received last week from the ‘Fascination Awards’, my blog was nominated because of the article I wrote last November about selling Om West called Embracing Change.

Will you vote for me?

Voting began June 11 and runs until June 18. The organization who set up these Fascination Blog awards is using Google+ for the voting. It’s a bit complex, so I did some screen grabs and explained the process in the images:

(You may need a Google or gmail account for voting…)

1- Go to this url: https://plus.google.com/u/0/114115129339565269276/posts
2- Scroll down the page to where it says “Cast Your Vote for the Most Fascinating Yoga Teacher Blog of 2012”

 

3- You click “61 comments” to expose the list of nominated blogs

 

4- You scroll all the way down to the Ys…
5- You cast your vote beside www.yasminyoga.blogspot.com by adding a +1

Thank you! I am grateful for your support. 🙂

Growing an Organic Garden

In April, we challenged our community to design/sprout an organic garden and tell us about their plans. We received some great stories and pictures about small indoor grow-ops as well as expansive backyard vegetable patches. We even offered a prize of Vega One along with a Wendy Tillet canvas tote to the most inspiring garden tale of all. Our winner is Kathryn Guerriero from Bancroft, Ontario! Read on to see our honourable mentions.

(For more info about starting a garden of your own, click here)

 

Emilie Brunet’s grass-less fairyland backyard
Hi, my name is Emilie. I am one of Yasmin’s Teacher Trainees, and I work on Yasmin Yoga newsletter. Although I’m not part of this competition, I wanted to share my garden story, as I am super passionate about this project. After years of talking about it, my family finally made my childhood dream come true; we turned our backyard into a fairy garden! We’ve always had a very large vegetable garden, but this year, my parents decided grass was overrated, and we ripped up our green suburban back lawn and turned it into a wild garden. Three large vegetable beds are placed at the front of the backyard, followed by winding paths, native flowers and plants, and a beautiful fairyland pond. The plan is to attract bees, birds, small animals,and butterflies to bring real nature back to suburbia. We’re even eligible to register it with the World Wildlife Fund!

It’s been a wonderful experience, and I can’t wait to watch the plants bloom and grow.

Jamie’s Sprouts
Sprouting is one of the easiest ways to garden year round. Check out Jamie Lee’s mung bean windowsill crops.

Sue’s Veggie Patch

Sue Snyder writes: “My veggie patch is my favourite place to be in the summer – I don’t even mind weeding, so long as the sun is shining. Here’s a pic of some of this year’s crops: Russian red kale in the foreground, heirloom beets to the right, tomatillos to the left, Greek oregano and little gem marigolds in the rear, and ‘naturalised’ (read: running rampant in my lawn) peppermint. We drink lots of iced mint tea all summer to keep it in check.”

Sophia’s Dinosaur Garden

We don’t know how they did it, but Sophia Zergiotis and her three-year old son managed to grow a T-rex along side basil and tomatoes in their first garden! We wonder what seeds they used to grow that dinosaur…

And the winner is… *drum roll*

Kathryn Guerriero’s ‘off-the-grid’ family farm

Here’s what she wrote to us: “Our garden is a baby right now. We’re working towards a permaculture style forest garden. Planting a variety of fruit and nut trees, berries, medicinal herbs, hearty native perennials and annual vegetables. As our garden establishes itself, we will receive more of our food right from our land.”

Join our next challenge: Developing a self-nourishing practice 6 days in a row!

Mental & Material Clutter

WHOA! Nothing is more humbling and insightful than lugging all of your belongings up four flights of stairs. That’s right, we are finally moved. I am currently sitting in a pile of boxes and stuff in what will one day (hopefully, soon) be our office. I can’t believe how much crap I have! Who knew that this silly yogi, who sometimes brags that “there is no sentiment in objects besides the sentiments we attach to them,” would have so many silly possessions. I’m actually a little embarrassed, particularly because of all the petty arguments I had with my partner Craig about my wanting to keep this, that, and the other thing for whatever reason. Clutter is so personal…

We did get rid of a lot of stuff before the move, but clearly we have a lot more to do. My friend Tracey Mackenzie, who is a wonderful feng shui specialist, interior designer, and professional organizer offered me some help, which has been useful. I thought I’d share some of her clutter reducing tips, in case anyone else out there is suffering from the pack-rat syndrome.

1- Don’t attempt clutter control alone. Seriously, we all need an outside person (not spouse) to point out how ridiculous your arguments are for keeping five old cellphones “just in case”.

2- Create sections or bins for “Keep”, “Giveaway”, “Recycle”, or in the rare case, “Toss”, if the other sections really don’t apply.

3- Here’s the kicker: You get five seconds to decide which bin each of your items go in. (Any hesitation is a sign of weakness and will likely result in a forced giveaway.)

4- If there are items that serve no real purpose other than to evoke memories, Tracey’s advice is to take a picture of object of sentiment value and send it on its merry way to the next clutter-bug or hoarder.  I had to do this with a several home made crafts given to me by my younger students over the years. Taking a photo of each gift made the parting less bitter.

5- Get rid of whatever you are not keeping for sure right away or you may change your mind and keep that old Easter bunny basket, which is currently staring me down across the room.

6- Tracey’s last words of wisdom: “If you get rid of the old, you make room for the new.”

Good luck, my friends. Please post any other clutter management or organizational suggestions you might have. Goodness knows, I need it!

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