Sunday, August 22, 2010

Hot Yoga – Meditations Beyond the Mat

I started going to hot yoga at the beginning of the summer when I was looking for an alternative to running. Don’t get me wrong, running is still my preferred activity, it’s just been throwing a wrench into other (ahem) goals and well, I need to cut back on my mileage. When a hot yoga studio opened in my neighbourhood, I took it as a sign.

When I lived with Bree in Ottawa, I used to do a lot of Ashtanga at lunch with my boss and co-worker. It was the perfect yin to my running yang. But being prone to heat stroke, I was never all that interested in practicing hot yoga. Although I tried to get into hot yoga it a few times in my mid-twenties, I shied away from it because I wasn’t (and am still not) all that great at bound poses. In particular, how anyone gets their foot wrapped around their standing leg in the Eagle pose is a real mystery to me. Now that I am in my early thirties, I think this is how I got hooked - I don’t like not being good at something.

As you’ve probably already guessed, I’m competitive by nature. Really competitive. Try-to-race-you-from-three-treadmills-over-at-the-gym competitive. I think it comes from being born between a genius and a beauty queen, but I digress – I’ll save my Freudian analyses for another day. I know my competitiveness is not a very attractive trait and negatively impacts my desirability as a gym partner, so I’ve been trying (with varying success) to turn the competition inward. With hot yoga, I’m forced to turn the competition inward. If I look at anyone else while I’m trying to get into a pose, I will fall. Today I learned that if I try to look at myself in the mirror, I will also fall (with a very loud bang, I might add, out of my crow pose and onto my face). There’s vanity for you. The only thing I can do in yoga is think about breathing. When I’m immersed in the rhythm of “breathe-in-lengthen-breathe-out-get-deeper-into-the-posture”, I don’t think about anything else and my mind is silent. No to-do lists. No questions about whether I have any food in the apartment. No wondering whether anyone can see my muffin tops.

The funny thing is, now I think about my breath at other times. It’s so simple. Breathe in, breathe out. We do it all day without even thinking, but I’ve noticed that when I am really stressed out at work, I hold my breath. I once had an instructor tell me that class is a practice for life; that what we do on the yoga mat extends into the everyday. At the time, I took her comment literally and thought it was just hippie drivel - I definitely wasn’t propping myself up into shoulder stand in my cubicle. But as I think more about breathing and this absence of breath, I can see that she was right. Be present. Breathe in and out. Keep your focus on your own mat. These are all things that help me like my life more; no matter how far away I am from getting that foot wrapped around my calf.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Nope. Not Vegan.

Skinny Bitch = vegan for profit. I wonder what kind of sponsorship this "brand" is getting from mega-corporations that are a part of the 30+ BILLION a year US soy bean farming industry?

Sorry guys but this book was terrible. It was biased. It was full of brand promotion. It was full of contradictions. It was used as a marketing tool. It was vegan propaganda disguised as a diet guide.

What did I like about the book? Chapter one - the few pages that were not geared toward promoting their vegan diet. But, unfortunately, none of that information was new for me.

YES you should eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.
YES you should buy foods grown without chemicals or drugs (and local when available).
YES when you buy meat, eggs and dairy these rules should also apply!

That is the message that I was hoping this book would send out. Not even close...

Do I think that their depiction of our current farming systems is true? Yes.

Do I buy that their solution (veganism) is the only solution? No.

Do I believe that not being vegan means that I will never be healthy and skinny? Fuck No.

The thing I disliked about this book the most was that if you didn't agree with them that you were a "fucking moron". And that if you didn't buy into their program you would be a "fat pig" forever.

Do we seriously still live in a world where this type of negative motivation is still okay?


OH! And I am officially down 11lbs today. And I eat meat and dairy. And I hate tofu.

--- Brianne