Things I learned the hard way in 2015

‘Tis the season to reflect on the last year and laugh about all the things that seemed important at the time. It was a pretty busy year. I traveled. I got married. I went on a honeymoon to Paris! I became a yoga instructor. I guess these are the big ones. So here is what I discovered in my 28th year.

  1. Elope. 

Seriously. Do yourself a huge favor if you are engaged and plan on having a wedding. Elope. Save yourself and your friends the time, frustration, and money. Planning a 100 person wedding was a fucking nightmare. I don’t wish that burden on even my closest enemies. Was my wedding awesome and one of the best days of my life? Yeah sure. But it would have been just as awesome with Karlin and I on a beach in flip flops with beers in our hands. Was my dress the nicest thing I will ever own and wear? DSC_8404Yeah obvi. But now it’s just a big bulky dress that will sit in my closet for all of eternity because I can’t emotionally detach myself from it to sell it. Did all my guests enjoy my wedding? Ya probably. It was a massive party at a mansion. Duh.

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If you choose to have a wedding, just know that you will lose friends. Probably even family members. You will loathe talking about flower arrangements and seating plans and no matter how hard you try, you will never please everyone. Your wedding is not about the bride and groom. Trust me. It is about pleasing every single parent, sibling, bridesmaid, and distant relative you have. You will develop some sort of anxiety and get migraines from the amount of stress you are under. I starting getting ocular migraines where I just randomly would go blind and have a hard time seeing, followed by a brutal migraine headache. Never had those before the wedding! And since the wedding, I haven’t had another!

I spent a year losing weight and getting in shape for the wedding and have gained all that weight back since July because I think my body was just never meant to be 145 pounds. Which leads me to my next point.

2. Stop dieting.

Life is too short to be angry all the time because you haven’t allowed yourself to eat a carb in 6 months. Eat all the cheese. Drink all the wine. Just do it in moderation. Don’t drink a bottle of wine with every meal. Eat some vegetables. Do yoga. Go for walks. Lift heavy things every once in a while. Move around. You’ll be fine. Throughout my yoga training I realized that you don’t have to be a size 0 to feel strong and good about your body. I haven’t counted a calorie since the wedding and yes I gained back the 10 pounds I had lost prior, but I also haven’t gained back anymore. This is my homeostasis and I have accepted it. I can pretty much eat and drink whatever I want (within reason, like I am not an empty pit or anything) and stay this size. Through exercise I can tone and LOOK good, but that has nothing to do with the number on the scale. So this year I learned to just eat mindfully and not be so fucking hard on myself if I have a chubby day or week. It’s just skin. I’m never going to be a size 4 because I have these stupid boney things called hips that seriously get in the way. I also have a different kind of life. Yes I still follow my favorite instagram models and fitness gurus, but I am now hyper aware that we have different priorities and they will never be in sync. I have been following one girl and after a year of reading her posts I have decided that she probably has an eating disorder. She shames herself for eating what I would deem regular food. She posts pictures of her abs and says “so huge today” and I am like um what? If you are huge, then I am a walrus. She posted the other day that she had a cheat meal that consisted of one small turkey burger, a Cesar salad, and one alcoholic beverage (which I can only assume was some skinny girl wine with 20 calories and no taste) and then the next day spent 2 hours in the gym working it off. All the power to you, girl, but I’d rather not spend my time obsessing over everything I put in my mouth. I am alright with not having a 6 pack. I don’t walk around town with my shirt off anyways. Nor do I see people and wonder if they have 6 packs under their shirts. It’s just not something I am going to worry about. Eat mindfully. Eat vegetables every day. Move your body. You’ll be fine.

3. Make shit happen. 

I waited 2 years for something to happen to me in Fruitvale. I waited for friends to trickle in. I waited for the perfect job to find me. I waited for something to happen that would give me direction. Here’s what I discovered. Nothing will find you. You have to go out and find it. If that means trying 1 million new things, then do it. I was sick of not finding a job here so I made my own. I worked my ass off and got what I wanted. Someone didn’t just mail me a teaching certificate. Nobody is building my dream studio for me (well Karlin is but he’s like a strong extension of me :P). You need to go out and look for things. I am struggling with the saying “Everything happens for a reason”. It sounds so mystical like someone else is in control of what happens to you. “A reason” is not chance. The reason is you made it happen. I didn’t meet Karlin by chance. I went looking for him. I didn’t move to Fruitvale by fate. I chose to move here.

If you are waiting around for something good to happen, you will wait your whole life. If you want something, go get it. Make a plan. Follow through. Do shit. It doesn’t have to be epic. Just do shit. 

4. Don’t wash your hair so much. 

Ya  I’m a greaser. Deal with it. Don’t waste your time on hair man. Save hair washes for days you are seeing people you care about. When I lived in Calgary I couldn’t go grocery shopping without some form of a hair style and makeup. It took a lot of time. Become one with your naked face. Drink water all day. You will look fine. Nobody will be like “omg she didn’t have her eyebrows on fleek when I saw her buying toilet paper at Walmart today”. Washing your hair takes a lot of time and effort if you have long hair so I have just stopped making it a priority. Ain’t nobody got time for a 15 minute blow dry. Wash once or twice a week. Your hair will be healthier and the world won’t end. Just don’t be smelly. You got time for a shower.

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5. Buy a big ugly phone protector case. 

Ya having a sassy phone case is fun and awesome. But you know what’s not awesome?

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Buying a new iPhone 6 screen.

6. Take breaths, not Ativan. 

Alright there are certain moments in life where I look back and am like Thank fuck for vitamin A. But this year I have learned to breathe again. I don’t want to sound like a hippie freak. It really works though. I cannot control when I have anxiety but I have learned that my breathing has a lot to do with it. Focus on your breath for as long as you can pay attention. Count how many seconds you inhale and count how many seconds you exhale. You will calm the fuck down. Your breath is your only ally. It is always with you no matter what, unless you’re like.. dead. So use it. You can’t breathe in the past. You can’t breathe in the future. You can only breathe in the present moment. So when you’re freaking out, just stop what you’re doing and reconnect with literally the only thing that is with you all the time. You can relax your nervous system with just your breathe. It is a real thing. Your body knows what to do. Breathe loud too. Take loud annoying breathes. Be a mouth breather. K maybe do it somewhere a little more private than like in a room full of people. Just try it before you resort to meds. And if you really can’t calm the fuck down, then have at er. But I promise 99% of the time you won’t need it after a few minutes of deep breaths. I always heard that I should do this but thought it was dumb mystical bullshit. It’s physiology. I can get behind science any day of the week!  (JUST NOT MATH. FUCK YOU MATH)

7. Recycle and walk places.

I have witnessed some crazy shifting weather in the last year. Forest fires ravaged our province this summer. It was 14 degrees and the grass was growing at my moms farm on Christmas where normally there was 6 feet of snow. There has been horrible natural disasters all over the world and it’s become more obvious this year than ever before that we are all fucked. So start recycling. Drive less. Use reusable bags. Do something to reduce your footprint because it’s only going to get worse. The storms are going to get bigger. This year I am going to make a bigger effort to do my part and you should too. Plant a garden. Grow some shit. Carpool. Get your parents on board. end rant.

 

These are just a few things I wanted to share. Hope everyone has learned some lessons this year. Feel free to share. Have a good New Years!

 

 

 

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Yoga Teacher Training: What they really teach you.

As you can all imagine, I finished my Yoga Teacher Training course, and then some. It was not at all what I expected. I had imagined a bunch of hippie loving vegans all singing in circles and practicing yoga every day and OM’ing my little heart out.

Boy was I wrong. Now perhaps it was the specific studio where I trained and the instructor’s teaching methods that made this experience so.. unique. I will let you decide. All I know is that this was harder than 4 years of University. No joke.

I will demystify some things for my readers. What do you actually learn there? Is it hard? Did you seek enlightenment?

Here’s the truth.

1) YTT teaches women how to deal with women.

Being in a studio with the same 33 women every single day for 6 fucking weeks is basically my nightmare. At LEAST 5 women are on their period at all times. It is like highschool. There are cliques. There are the super keen teachers pets who sit front row on their mats meditating while they wait for the teacher to arrive. There were the dreadlocked girls with massive OM symbols tattooed all over their backs who did headstands and arm balances during breaks. There was one guy in the whole classe who was on an entirely different plane than most human beings I roll with. There were women in their 60s who’s yoga practice put mine to shame. There were 18 yr olds fresh out of highschool looking for a way to not join the conventional workforce. There were mutes that didn’t say a single word the entire 6 weeks. Then there were the brats who giggled and didn’t take things so seriously as everyone else. I hung out with them. Obv. I’m sorry but I cannot keep a straight face when a bunch of women stand in tree pose holding hands talking about how much we love each other and support each other like trees in the forest. Fucking kill me. I pretty much loathed these women by the end. Nobody should ever have to be around this many women. EVER.

Put all these types of women together every single day and it is pretty much a recipe for an emotional breakdown. What did this teach me? How to tolerate women. I struggled with my instinct to judge everyone instantly. I had to tune into my “yoga vibes” and find ways to not let my eye twitch when someone mentioned the word “vegan” or “crossfit”. I worked my way through every single woman in that class until I liked at least one thing about each of them. I even left the course with a few new friends, which was a total bonus considering I live in a pretty isolated part of BC.

This was really hard for me. I am a guys girl. I like boy things. I like boys. I like fart jokes and doing beer bongs. Yoga, however, has taught me how to appreciate women. We aren’t so bad after all.

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2. You do not know how to do yoga.

Seriously. Start from scratch. Everything you thought you knew about the correct alignment in postures is wrong. Think you have a nice down dog? You don’t. Think your Warrior II is special? It’s not.

I literally had to relearn every posture. Unless you have a private yoga instructor, you likely have never been adjusted into the correct postures for the majority of your practice. The cueing of poses is so critical and there are a ton of really shitty yoga instructors that aren’t teaching the correct alignment. Getting into a perfect triangle pose is work. I had been dumping into it every single time. I had to really back out of it and work on my core because otherwise the pose is pointless. This leads me to my next point.

3. It is all about anatomy. 

For someone like me who couldn’t even tell you what the bones in my legs were called (like um where’s like my tibia?), you pretty much leave YTT feeling like a fucking doctor. You become one of those annoying people who says scapula instead of shoulder blade, clavicle instead of collar bone, ilium instead of hip bone, coccyx instead of tail bone. You become a genius basically. I had no clue what was inside my body. I just left my innards to themselves. Just do your thang, insides. Now I can tell you when my psoas is feeling strained and causing me back pain. I can feel ligaments and tendons and know what they are called and how long they are and where they attach and what the move. Again, I am a fucking know-it-all genius now. Physio Therapists probably fucking loathe yoga teachers.

4. Yoga is a business and the Director of your studio is just as greasy as a car salesman. 

It seems so wrong but hey man, they are just trying to deliver yoga and pay bills. I am in the midst of opening up a studio in my town and when it all comes down to it, even though I just want to teach yoga for free so everyone can reap the benefits, I need to pay for my cork floors and pretty spa-like bathroom. Studio’s are a lot of upkeep. Props are expensive. Loans cost money. Training courses are long, intense and expensive. You are not paying $20 for an hour of instruction. You are paying $20 for hours of designing custom classes that will make you feel amazing, an hour of cleaning the studio so it looks and feels like a spa, book keeping and paperwork, planning workshops, and advertising. The behind the scenes work of a yoga teacher is where we earn our $20/student fee which ends up being not the greatest profit. We learn how to make you want to come back. Let us take care of you and buy 10 class punch passes if you want the best deal!

5. Be very wary of where you take your training.. 

If you are looking to learn the 8 limbs of yoga, discover your chakras, doshas, etc. make sure you do your research. The studio I trained at did not cover any of the philosophy of yoga and I was pretty disappointed. The director is strictly alignment based and obsessed with the spine and anatomy. While I think that this is really important when cueing students into asanas, I also felt like the joy of yoga was sucked away from me and stripped down to essentially a personal trainer program. Near the end of my training I wasn’t even sure if I liked yoga anymore, let alone was I going to embark on a career opening a yoga studio? It is really important to make sure whatever training you take, it suits your needs. Yoga is not just a “workout”. It is a time to dedicate yourself to taking care of your body. It clears your mind. It really is a way of life and a mindset. So meet with the instructors. Take them out for coffee. Get to know their passions. I would have chosen a completely different training program if I had taken a moment to do this.

My instructor, unfortunately, was a drill sergeant who was likely suffering from dementia. With 33 other women in the course, it was hard to get my questions answered. I felt totally disconnected from my personal practice. Her way of teaching gave me anxiety. Teachers need to adapt to all kinds of learning methods. Criticism should be constructive and personal. Not something that can be pointed out as “being wrong” in front of all your peers. I have never felt so belittled in my life. Some people need this competitive sort of push when they learn. Me, on the other hand, felt like crying every week. The general consensus among my peers was that our instructor was severely bipolar and struggling with some serious mental issues, but I can still come to the generalization that you NEED to do your research. Ask prospective studios for a few contacts that have completed their training course and connect with them. They will tell you honestly how the teachers instruct. I’m not saying that I am soft and can’t take a little criticism, but this woman had my friends in tears and ridiculed students to other students behind their back. Find a positive mentor. It will make or break you.

 

This course was really eye-opening for me. I learned so much about my body. So much about my own patience. I was fully dedicated and immersed in something. I haven’t had this sort of focus in YEARS. It hurt. I was in crippling pain for the first two weeks but eventually gained so much strength and flexibility. Again, it was harder than university. It was a mind fuck. We wrote a 16 pages final exam. It was outrageously inappropriate and covered so many topics that weren’t discussed during the training.  I left feeling defeated.. just to find out that they didn’t even mark the exams… it was “more of a survey so the instructors could see how well they taught”. I was furious. I was constantly angry and felt murderous.

HOW VERY YOGA OF ME.

But guess what. I know how to teach a yoga class. And I can’t fucking wait.

Now that I have been out of Yoga Jail for a week, I have collected my thoughts and realized that in the end, I made a few friends and learned how to be a productive teacher at the expensive of a terrible one.

Leaving all this behind me, I am only looking forward to my new studio.

So here is a small poll for you! #1 or #2? My business name was approved. Coming soon to a Fruitvale near you…

 

Let me know which one you like better 🙂

Namaste, motherfuckers.

Lemon Butter Chicken

I am collecting my thoughts for another post about the past 6 weeks of yoga teacher training that I endured. In the meantime, I made this fucking awesome dinner the other night and had to share. 

It was just a random Pinterest recipe I found but it was spectacular! 

  
So first you take some thighs and cover them in smoked paprika and s&p, then brown both sides in a skillet. Take them out and make the sauce. It was basically garlic, I added mushrooms, chicken stock, super healthy heavy cream, healthy butter, lemon juice, Parmesan, and thyme. 

Then mix in a few handfuls of spinach.

  
Wilt that shit and add the chicken thighs back in. 

  
Then simply chuck it in the over for half an hour at 400! Boom! I made some rice with it and Karlin was stoked! 

I was going to take a pic of it plated but I was borderline raging with hunger by the time we ended up eating. Major hangry. 

This sauce was incredible. Ya whatever it’s made of cream and butter. I’ll fight you. I’m pretty much in love with my pudge right now because it’s keeping me warm. So DRINK ALL THE CREAM! EAT ALL THE BUTTER! IT’S DECEMBER AND SANTA IS COMINGGGGGGG! 

Tonight we are decorating the tree. Stay tuned for some Martha ass shit.