The problem with sweaty forearms.

I practice Ashtanga yoga. I have followed an Ashtanga practice for about nine or ten years. In case you aren’t well versed in your yogas (what? c’mon, guys, there’s only about 90 zillion kinds!), Ashtanga is really old, really traditional, really demanding and really awesome. If you’ve ever taken, or heard of, power flow or vinyasa flow, then you have actually experienced some of Ashtanga (it’s the basis for a lot of “power” or “vinyasa” classes).

Ashtanga has six series and I practice the first one. Have done for nine or ten years. It’s not easy, either (in case you think I’m just being a slacker). I think there is probably maybe one ninja yogi who can do all of them. I’m not really exaggerating, either. You need to be pretty in touch, physically and spiritually, to get there. But, hey; that’s why it’s called a “yoga practice” and not a “yoga perfect”.

Ashtanga is a six-day-a-week practice, with four days of self-led, or Mysore Style (named after the place called Mysore in India where the yoga originated), and then two led Primary (or first series) classes: One on Friday and one on Sunday.

So, now you know about the style of yoga I practice/study/teach.

You sweat a lot in Primary. It’s not hot yoga, per se, but it does get pretty hot. Today, in headstand, I had an issue with sweaty forearms. Actually, I had issues with sweaty limbs throughout the class, because it’s tricky to twist yourself into a pretzel if you’re slick like a body builder who’s oiled up for the “after” photos.

Headstand looks like this:

This isn't me. In case you think I'm a man. I am not.

This isn’t me. In case you think I’m a man. I am not.

Now, imagine your forearms are sweaty, as is your mat. You can probably guess what happens when these are the conditions for the basis of your headstanding. If you guessed that your elbows start to sneak out, slowly but surely, then you are correct. The problem with this is that I’m nowhere near ready to practice this pose:

I think this might break the law of gravity. And my neck.

I think this might break the law of gravity. And my neck.

I figured I had about 0.0002 seconds before I went over and took the whole row with me, à la Bambi:

So, I slipped down, literally but safely, and chilled out in Child’s Pose, which is pretty comfy. I actually used to sleep like that, when I was a kid.

Nothing like a swift kick of adrenaline before Savasana (or Corpse Pose).

Okay, I’m out. My sister is taking me to the RCMP Musical Ride, which I love and try to see whenever I can! If I’d stayed with the RCMP/joined after graduating, I’d totally have aimed to be in the Musical Ride. So cool.

Magnumbo, She Wrote.

I’ve been taking yoga at a different studio as of late, which has been a refreshing change. I love my yoga studio, but they’re offering fewer classes when I need them (and after all, shouldn’t my preferences dictate the schedule?). I do my own Mysore practice at home four days of the week, so I like to get my led Primary Series on on Fridays and Sundays.

Today was my first Sunday led Primary at this new studio (it’s not a new studio—it’s just new to me). It was AWESOME. One of my favourite teachers who I haven’t seen in ages has been teaching there, so it was great to take her class again.

Now, Primary Series is tough. Ashtanga yoga is a particularly physically demanding style of yoga. And, I was sore from ballet class yesterday, so it was a little extra effort. This is what happens when you only pull on tights and plié every other month: just enough time in between to make it really hurt. Apparently I beat myself up emotionally and physically. I’m a big jerk.

The real point of this little vignette is that upon leaving class, I am, as they say, STARVING TO DEATH. That may be a little bit of hyperbole (is that an oxymoron? I think it is…). I have been known to embellish my tales from time to time. I was pretty hungry, though, because Ashtanga is practiced on an empty stomach. So, it was 11 am, I hadn’t eaten breakfast and I’d worked pretty hard in Primary.

Where does this leave us? It leaves us coming out from the studio in Market Square, directly above Wannawafel, where the fragrant and intoxicating aroma of waffles drifts upwards on its way to heaven and my nostrils. Do you know what waffles smell like? THEY SMELL LIKE HEAVEN AND VANILLA COVERED IN SYRUP AND WHIPPING CREAM WITH STRAWBERRIES. THEY SMELL LIKE DELICIOUS LOVE AND SEX AND EVERY SINGLE THING DESIRABLE ON THIS BLUE PLANET. Okay, I don’t actually think waffles smell sexy, but they do smell  pretty damn attractive to me. Maybe I do. Maybe I find waffles sexy. It’s impossible to say for sure (I’m pretty sure).

I didn’t get a waffle. But here I am, over 12 hours later, writing about them. That’s the power of waffles. WAFFLE POWER.

Oh hello. Some people tell me I look like Tom Selleck.

Oh hello. Some people tell me I look like Tom Selleck.

So, Netflix is pretty much the best thing ever. Not in terms of my time management, but in terms of my entertainment, it is a success. I am currently writing this while I should be going to bed, so there you have it. I’m too successfully entertained to manage my time. Well played, Netflix. Well played.

I love that I can watch entire seasons of a show with a single case of strep throat. Or a single case of laziness. Whichever the case might be (it is most often the latter). Some of the shows that have fallen prey to my inability to pace myself are: Merlin, Once Upon a Time, Bones and Dark Shadows. I’m pretty sure there are more, but now I’m distracted by Dark Shadows: Can you believe that storyline has been reduxed three times? It must be financed by Revlon or some other cosmetic company with an excess of smokey eyeshadow. So cheesy. And yet, I couldn’t look away.

What I really love is that you can watch every episode of ye olde favourites like Columbo, Murder She Wrote and Magnum P.I. I love them. They don’t make shows like this anymore. There’s so much facial hair, blue eyeshadow and shoulder pads. And so much ACTING. ACTING amongst the incredibly busy prop design. I suppose you had to act very much to overcome the details of the sets. I haven’t even mentioned the orchestra scores. There’s a lot of sounds (most noticeably the piccolo so you know when things get dire), accompanied by a lot of background noise and, blessedly, no laugh tracks at all. I wonder if I can watch MacGyver on Netflix… (just for the record, Adam and I already have all these shows and watch them regularly. It’s okay to be jealous. We’re very trendy.)

OMIGOSH, this episode of of Murder She Wrote has a guy whose pants go up to his nipples. At least to his nipples. I don’t know if people wore their nipples in the same place way back then (I’m kidding: I know nipples don’t move). It does NOT look good. Especially because they are cream riding pants <<read: they are fitted>>. Wow, and this lady’s pants go up extremely high, as well. This is clearly a thing, these pants going all the way up there.

The clothes in these shows are amazing. Magnum P.I. wore very tight short shorts. Actually, I don’t really know that for sure. I’m basing that purely on speculation. The last time I watched that show was probably during the original airing (holy crap I’m old). But seriously, I can’t remember what I ate for dinner yesterday: I can hardly be trusted with wardrobe recollection from a million years ago.

Also, my mom loved Tom Selleck and I used to think he’d be a cool stepdad. I still sort of do, actually: I could’ve been in movies. Or at least television (how I’m not in Glee or Once Upon a Time, I’ll never know). All you need is a famous parent. DON’T EVEN TELL ME I’M WRONG BECAUSE I’M NOT WRONG ON THIS ONE. Lily Collins. Liv Tyler. Angelina Jolie. Drew Barrymore. Charlie Sheen (oh jeez. I’m mentioning Charlie Sheen on my blog: He’s gonna be so pissed). Kate Hudson (I want to be her). I mean seriously, you guys: It’s not fair. It’s like junior high all over again, or anywhere I’m not cool enough to be on the list. I’m very cool. Ask Grimby or Adam. They’re not biased.

This isn’t a very intriguing post, but in my defence, I’m tired. Here’s a treat for you. You’re welcome.

Night, y’all.

Yoga Hair

I’m back in Seattle, where it rains like it means it. I was actually impressed this morning at the volume of rain falling from above. First, there was the volume in terms of the sheer quantity of water hitting the roof. But I was even more impressed by the volume in terms of the deafening sound of it. So impressed, actually, that I couldn’t get back to sleep. Rain 1: Bay 0.

It’s not so much that I hate the rain, it’s that I can’t stand when it rains All. The. Time. Of course, it sort of does rain All. The. Time. I have cute rain wear and I like wearing rain boots, but all my favourite shoes are little leather ballet flats and have leather soles (yes, I know they are impractical for someone living in a temperate rainforest. Whatever.). So really, Rain; you’re messing with my footwear options. Enough. Enough now.

Okay, so that’s been dealt with. I’m in my favourite Starbucks. You know, the one with Beardy McBeardyson? He’s here and this time he’s sharing his table with some guy in a track suit (he must be so athletic). Turns out he’s quite chatty this morning (Chatty Keith is missing): I’ve overheard him discussing his credit (he’s hoping to get some soon) and his ability to produce attractive offspring. According to Beard Man, he makes beautiful babies. Well, all except his youngest daughter (his words, not mine—I’ve never seen her, after all), who (unfortunately, I take it) looks just like him. Nice one, Dad. Sheesh!

There’s also a dude in front of me who doesn’t wear underwear. This is not an educated guess, either. It’s based on empirical evidence; namely, that he’s not wearing a belt and while he sits on a stool by the window (as he is currently doing), I can see a rather impressive expanse of cheek and crack, with nary an underthing in sight. I feel like there’s no way he’s not aware of his predicament, either. There’s distinct draft that sneaks in each time the door opens, and this is a Starbucks, after all. In downtown Seattle. The door is opening a lot.

UPDATE: He just stood up and turned around and I’m pleased to note that he has those incredulous eyebrows, which I’d like to attribute to his discovery of his cheekiness (hahahaha), but in fact I think may be in response to the conversation he’s having with the dreadlocked pontificator who’s sharing the secrets of Nimh with him. Or so I assume. I mean, what else could they possibly be discussing, right? Yes, I am.

That’s my morning report. You’re welcome. On to our feature presentation: Yoga Hair.

As you know, I love yoga. Lurve it. I practice and teach Ashtanga. I also teach powerflow and yin/restorative classes, but that’s neither here nor there, nor the point of this post. And yet I keep in here, as though I’m not the boss of my keyboard and the backspace button. Fascinating.

Yoga is good for you. See? It's on a cake!

Yoga is good for you. See? It’s on a cake!


I took my first yoga class when I was 15, I believe, as a part of a summer ballet intensive. I took a hot yoga class when I was maybe 20 or 21 for an article I was writing for school (incidentally, I named the article “Some Like it Hot,” which my prof thought was a clever connection. At that time, I didn’t know where I’d heard that line and had no idea it was the title of a famous movie with an even-more-famous star. But I smiled and took the credit anyway.).

Anyway, that hot yoga class inspired me to find another yoga studio, and the rest, as they say, is history. I’ve been practicing Ashtanga yoga for probably about nine years or so, after dabbling about in various forms of Hatha flow. Ashtanga is good yoga for Type A people/dancers. It’s hard, it’s got a demanding schedule (1–1.5 hours, 6 days per week) and it’s super traditional. Why does it take so long to do each day? Here’s why: All these asanas, or postures, on both sides, with a vinyasa (like a mini sun salute) in between each side and each asana. I’m excited just writing that!

So, while yoga is extremely beneficial to body, mind, spirit and soul, I must admit that it’s hard on the hair. And here is why: Several postures have a damaging impact upon my follicles. Setu Bandhasana gives me dandruff, just at my front hairline. I think it’s from the pressure of gravity, and even worse, my entire body weight, mostly resting on my forehead. It’s hard to say, but my scalp just gives up.

Then there’s Supta Kurmasana, which is difficult for my body at the best of times (my scoliosis tips my pelvis to the right and makes hip openers hard). When I’m skootching (official word of yoga: Skootchasana) my feet in from Kurmasana, my feet often catch my wayward hair and then when I try to lift up, I yank out handfuls of hair (okay, maybe 10 hairs, but still. STILL.). I can hear it. It’s not a good sound, the sound of hair protesting being yanked out from the root. And then my practice is spent mourning the loss of all that hair that wasn’t ready to go yet. Because that’s where my mind should be going in a yoga practice. To vanity.

Well, that’s kind of it really. Just two postures. So much hair drama for so few asanas. I still do it, though, so clearly yoga is worth it. In case my hair drama was turning you off of trying out some classes, just remember that my hair is particularly wayward at the best of times, so of course it would misbehave in yoga. It feels all free and relaxed and does whatever it wants. But yoga: Do it. Just make sure your hair is well pulled back first.


The Worst.

I know. I know. Where the h-e-double-hockey-sticks have I been, anyway? Well, let me tell you:

I found this super-cool-looking antique wardrobe and while I was checking it out, all of a sudden I was whisked into a world of perpetual winter, where all the animals talked! There were all kinds of animals, too, even ones we don’t have in this neck ‘o’ the woods: unicorns, fauns, mermaids and centaurs…

Oh wait, that’s Narnia. I didn’t go to Narnia. That’s just a story (albeit my favourite story of all time in the history of ever). I wish I went to a magical land filled with wonderfulrishical creatures. And not just because I was buried in ever-increasingly frustrating work and commitments, either. I mean, I did wish it more because of those reasons, but let’s call a spade a spade here: I pretty much wish the places in my favourite books and stories were real ALL THE TIME. And by all the time, I don’t mean fleetingly, whilst I reminisce about my childhood and those fanciful days of my youth. I mean ALL THE TIME. Life would be cooler and things would always work out and honour and justice would always prevail. Plus, unicorns. I’m just saying…

But no, I was just busy. Sorry ’bout that. I don’t enjoy it, either, but it would seem that, in fact, I am not the boss of me. I don’t know who is, but whoever makes my plans has some serious issues with scheduling and time management. I mean, come ON. I’m so tired, but all I hear is “Mush, MUSH!” and on and on I go.

Whatever. I’m whining. But hey! Look over here! Guess what though? The Fabulous France Foray is really taking shape. This is a very good thing, since we leave in 15 days. That is not a lot of days. Jen has planned us a TRIP THE LIKES OF WHICH YOU HAVE NEVER SEEN. You guys. There will be museums. And art. And palaces. And mirrored hallways. And crypts (“I [will] see dead people“). AND CASTLES OF THE MEDIEVAL ERA! And baguettes. And Bordeaux. And Nice beaches (there’s a pun in there, for you clever devils). And wine.

Oh, the wine. We’re looking at wine tours and all I hear is “this one takes us to a Roman aqueduct” and I’m all like, “TAKE ME TO THE AQUADUCT OF ANCIENT ROME-Y TIMES.” I mean, you guys, people (like you and me, but shorter in stature and life expectancy) built this stuff like a million years ago. Or a thousand years. Maybe a couple of thousand? I really don’t know. I should brush up on my history. This coming from the girl with an undergraduate degree majoring in Anthropology, with enough history classes to have pulled a double major. Well. I can’t be expected to remember everything. Or what I had for dinner last night. Or, what I had for dinner tonight, come to think of it.

So, yeah. I’m excited. Hence, when work is stressful, I just pretend that all I hear is “baguette”. It’s working out for me, as a stress-reduction method. You should probably try it out. I call it “The Paris Effect”. Or “The Baguette Effect”. Or whatever.


Check out my reading stash (oh, okay: I’ve been reading the Hunger Games trilogy, too):

I guess this is where we find out how rusty my 1st language is after all this time.

I also finished teaching my last ballet yoga class on Tuesday. It’s kind of bittersweet. My students were awesome, but I’m reaching burnout levels and thus, my spare time is at a premium. I got paid $231 for 8 weeks of classes (which is well below my personal premium). Not that it’s all about the money, but that’s little compensation for basically losing my entire Tuesday nights for two months. Now I’m just teaching one class at work, but with 4 new students! I’m stoked on these great ladies joining the mélange! How cute is this, though: Two of my ballet yoga students brought me a teacher’s gift, knowing I was heading off to France. How amazing is that? I’ve never gotten a teacher’s present before!


With tried-and-true, must-visit addresses for the Parisian visitor!


Swing and a miss.

Sorry I missed yesterday. I had a post all planned, but then the day got away on me and by the time I had a chance to sit at my laptop, it was after 2 am. And I decided that it was okay to miss a day. Especially since officially, Lent doesn’t include Sundays and I’ve been faithfully posting away on the Lord’s Day, so technically, I’ve got, like, five freebies.

However, there is much to discuss. Today is April Fool’s Day. Rather, I guess it was, since it’s well past noon and the pranking hour is over. April 1st is also Maui’s birthday. That alone explains a lot. Because Maui is definitely a bit of a joke, as far as cats go. I mean, don’t get me wrong; I love that stupid cat, but she’s like a walking contradiction. All pretty and soft, but heaven help you if you fall for her siren’s song and lean down to pet her, unless you are a) Adam, b) myself, or c) utterly reckless and don’t mind seeing significant quantities of your own blood. She will rip you to shreds. Complete evisceration is her ultimate goal. Who knew this little cute ball of fluff would turn into the beautiful ball of neuroses we’ve had for eight years?

Seriously. So cute. Who knew what that cuteness was concealing.

Another thing that happened yesterday is hot yoga sesh #3. Interestingly, I’m no longer hating it (or myself for being there). Now that I know the order of postures, it’s much less stressful, because I know the end is near (this is the only time I’m anticipating using that phrase in a positive way). I don’t actually hate it, but it’s not very demanding, apart from the heat. I like the detox/sweat-it-out part. I feel like it’s good for my skin, but the postures don’t really challenge my strength or flexibility. I also realized yesterday that there is absolutely no hip openers in the series, which is odd to me.

Yesterday’s class was led by a teacher named Peter, who was pretty funny. Definitely my style of class. He was making jokes and providing really good cues and individual attention. At one point, he said “shit” and then apologized for his “Turette’s” moment. He also made fun of Nickleback, so you know he’s a good guy. I liked him. Too bad he’s leaving after today to teach in California for a year.

At the beginning of class, he asked if anyone was new, or had taken just two or three classes. I held my hand up. This was a mistake. He asked my name, leading to this not uncommon dialogue:

Me: “Bay.”

Peter: “May?”

Me: “Um, no. Bay. Like Hudson’s Bay.” A chorus of laughter ensued. Aren’t I hilarious.

He asked if I was liking it (and I lied and said yes, which I felt was better than telling the truth) and told me to take it easy, because I was still relatively new-ish. I didn’t offer up that I am, in fact a yoga instructor who has been practicing regularly for eight years, having taken my first yoga class at the age of 15. And being a dancer my whole life. What’s the problem with leaving that tidbit of info out? Well, everyone around me—which is to say the 347 people in class next to me—all gave me that kindly oh-you’re-a-newc0mer smile. You know, that one where they almost look sympathetic, as though to say, “Don’t worry: We’ve all been new. You’ll be okay.”

I mean, really, they’re all super sweet and nice and supportive and everything. After about three postures, I’m getting looks of interest mixed with mild confusion: “Didn’t she just say she was new?” After Peter called out that I was “killing it”, I really felt like a poser (Ha! Get it? “Poser” Because of the yoga poses! No? Not funny? Just me? Okay then.). Because Bikram’s isn’t particularly difficult, posture or strength-wise. It’s just really, really, exceedingly warm. I mean, it’s toasty. So I felt like a big show off, even though I wasn’t trying to be. This was not as big of an issue as I’m making it out to be, but you gotta write something in a blog. So there it is.

Now then, it wouldn’t be a recap about a hot yoga class if I didn’t mention the sweat and unyielding heat. You see, I’m not really certain that you are understanding how hot it is in that room. So I looked it up. It’s 40.6°C with a humidity of 40%. That is warm. Add in the 60 or so people in there sweating profusely and that temp/humidex jumps up pretty quickly. There are so many people in there that your mat is mere inches from the person next to you (which is not unlike a packed led primary class, so I’m not weirded out by the lack of personal space).

The guy in front of me, who has been at EVERY class I’ve taken (I think he just lives there and sweats it out five times a day), loses a LOT of sweat. It’s disturbing. There was a puddle on his mat, on TOP of his towel, which was completely saturated. That towel didn’t have a chance. You guys. I’m not exaggerating, though I realize I tend to embellish my stories now and again (it’s more fun that way). A literal PUDDLE of his sweat. I mean, we’re all sweating in there, but this guy was internally combusting.

At one point, we have to lay down (well, that happens a lot, actually) and his sweat-soaked head touched my hand towel. Oh-my-god-oh-my-god-oh-my-god! I had to force myself not to scream, while my face must’ve looked like this. His sweat. Was ON. MY. Towel. Come on! I bring my own towels to deal with my own sweatiness. It’s not my problem that he should clearly be doing yoga in a wading pool.

Anyway. At the end of class, after savasana, this is what happened: He rolled up his mat/towel, which is not in itself odd. After all, that is what one does with a yoga mat. But then, you guys. Then. He had somehow magically acquired a bucket and he lifted his mat, quickly holding the end over the bucket, so the puddle of sweat could stream/splash/sploosh into the bucket. HE WAS LITERALLY SWEATING BUCKETS. This is not normal.

Just for the record, I talked to Peter as I left and when he asked about my background, I confessed I was an Ashtangi and an instructor. He said that made sense and that he loves Ashtanga. We talked a little about how we both think it’s good to mix up yoga and keep an open mind. What a good hot yoga teacher!



Floor barre.

Yep, tonight I made my Ballet Yoga Bend & Stretch class do a floor barre. I started them at the barre for some foot warm-ups and pliés (because pliés look stupid on the floor and feel worse). This is when I remembered that I spent the whole weekend snowboarding. My quads were none too impressed with me, might I add. Neither was I with them, however, so it all worked out in the end.

My favourite moment was when, just as we were beginning tendues on the floor, a student asked, “Are my heels supposed to pop off the ground like yours?” This innocent question allowed me to explain that I have rather, erm, robust calf muscles and that I’m knock-kneed, so no, she didn’t have to force her legs into mimicking mine.

The next comment: “This is way harder than at the barre,” followed by a chorus of agreement, told me that this was just what they needed. It’s much trickier to stick out your derrière to compensate for your forward-tipping torso (also known as “cheating”) when your rear is seated on the floor. Ha! Best way to demonstrate how much they were pushing alignment, without pointing fingers, evAR. And I would know, because after 20+ years of dancing, this kid knows every trick in the book!

Tell you what: They’re gonna feel that tomorrow! Unfortunately, so am I, since I did the whole class with them, but still, you guys. STILL. I feel better knowing that they’re going to hurt a little tomorrow. I wonder if that makes me a bad person or a good teacher. All I know is dancing and yoga is hard work, but it’s the kind of burn that lets you know you did something awesome for your body (even if your body disagrees the next morning). It takes years of hard work and dedication to look this good:

Grandmaman made these leg warmers. I wore them tonight!

Also, in completely unrelated news, my work blog, Health-bent, was about allergies this week. Because I know they’re coming. Know how I know? The crows. They’re building their nests, getting ready to swoop down on me, spraying me with pollen. Because crows think I want their babies. Just for the record, I don’t. Anyway, I had to include this image here, because I was pretty pleased with myself for getting it into my work blog. Oh how I laughed. Gillian, this one’s for you! Who knew cleansing your sinuses was this much awesome? This guy!