Posts Tagged ‘Open Space Yoga’

Posts Tagged ‘Open Space Yoga’

To The Roof of Africa!

8.12.2010 | 3 Comments

On January 1st, 2010 I started my journey with this blog entry:

I am going to climb a mountain. Well, I’m going to walk up one, anyway.

I haven’t done anything like this before. In fact, I can probably count the number of times I’ve gone hiking, and I know I haven’t been camping more than half a dozen times. Don’t get me wrong, I know what I’m getting into. I’ve watched videos about climbing this mountain. I’ve submitted questions about the climbing of this mountain to semi-popular websites. I have bought (although not yet read) books about this mountain. I feel about as prepared as someone who listens to a song on the radio and then starts hiring roadies to prepare for a world tour.

In August of 2010, I am going to fly to Tanzania, Africa and climb Mount Kilimanjaro as a way to raise money for the Delta Hospice. The Hospice holds a very special place in my heart, and it is my absolute honour to take on this journey to fund raise on their behalf. But this will be no simple journey. Oh no, this will be a flat-out epic.

Aside from the parent-induced membership in Brownies and Girl Guides, I have managed to avoid the outdoors quite sufficiently for about 30 years. I am the anti-camper. I do not like being cold. The sound of rain drops falling on a tent is nearly trauma-inducing. I would rather be in prison than a sleeping bag. (Some of you more astute readers may be able to pick up the subtle hints I am dropping in regards to my views on outdoor life). To climb Mount Kilimanjaro means that I will need to… oh, man… camp for 10 days.

And so, purely for your entertainment, I am going to allow you into my world as I train for this adventure. For the next seven months, I will allow parts of my life to become an open book, and permit you to laugh, cry and shake your head in total disbelief as I attempt to turn myself from Robyn the Indoor Princess, into Robyn the Sobbing Mess of Outdoorsy Semi-Competence.

And so it begins…

Bring it on, Kilimanjaro!

And today, on August 12th, 2010, I am boarding that flight to Tanzania, Africa knowing that $10,000 $11, 850 has been raised (so far!) for the Delta Hospice Society.

I hiked once, twice, three times and four, five times, six times, and seven

I trained

I attempted to camp

I ate, ate, ate, and ate, and ate, ate, and happily ate, and ate, and ate, shamefully ate, ate, ate and attempted to explain sarcasm, ate, and ate, and ate, and tried to avoid eating, and thought about what to eat, and ate.

I fundraised, and had help with fundraising

I was sponsored and sponsored again

I was humbled

I remembered.

This has been an incredible journey on the way to having an incredible journey. I learned a lot about myself in these past eight months, and I learned a great deal about the power of human nature and the strength of community kindness. This whole experience has left me awed. And I am grateful for it. Thank you for letting me share it all with you. This became such a personal blog, and I’ve met some very wonderful people because of it.

And so today, I leave this blog in the capable hands of Chris, who will update it as often as he hears from me. I’m not sure how or when I’ll be able to make contact, but please know that it’s a priority for me to be able to keep you posted.

I want to thank you all so very, very much for following me and for reading this blog. It means more to me than I could ever express to know that I’m carrying your support and kindness in my heart as I scale that mountain.

And guess what?

I’m crying.

And so it begins…

Bring it on, Kilimanjaro!



Protein Bar Taste Test – number bazgillion and four.

7.23.2010 | 3 Comments

You’d think I would have learned by now…

*rolls eyes*

Brand: ProBar

Flavour: Kettle Corn -and- Cherry Pretzel (yes, I tasted two different ones)

Tag Line: The Whole Food Bar

First Ingredient: Organic Peanut Butter

It’s not my fault. I’m a sucker for packaging. And these bars have GREAT packaging. I mean, these bars looked AWESOME while I was pondering them in the aisle at London Drugs. But, much like those jeans that fit perfectly in The Gap changing room, once I got them home, I was sorely disappointed with my purchase.

After tearing open the delicious, delicious wrapper, I was a little shocked by the appearance of these bars. Where I was expecting some chocolate-coated almond/popcorn confection, I was exposed to what can best be described as a hand-mashed, bird-barf, suet bar that has been left out on the sun. And then left out in the cold. And then left in the sun again. Aaaaaand once more in the cold.

I tried, people, I really did. I had a small taste of both bars, and that small taste was more than enough. Maybe I’m weak, I don’t know, and maybe I gave up too quickly, but I just couldn’t do it.

So I made Chris try them, too.

I left him alone in the kitchen to try these  barf bars delightful treats while I went to check my email. I didn’t hear any gagging or cursing from him, so I assumed that all was well and that I was just too damn sensitive.

For shame me, for shame.   *shakes head*

And then, as I was emailing Michael (from Open Space Yoga, of course) about the Old Spice Guy, Chris walked up behind me and said, “I’d rather resort to cannibalizing Ali than eat those bars”, and then walked away.


Perhaps I should have just eaten the wrappers.


Here’s the Rub…

5.07.2010 | 0 Comments

Last night I went to my first ‘Slow Flow’ yoga class at Open Space. I usually practice the more physically demanding Hatha Yoga, but my hips just can’t take it. Michael suggested Slow Flow instead, and man, was it great.

Speaking of hips, Michael suggesting stuff, and greatness…

I had my first appointment with Physio Flo yesterday morning! Florence MacDonald-Bain of Tsawwassen Sports and Orthopedic Physiotherapy (on 12th Ave) is pretty much the raddest physiotherapist on the entire planet. I think. I mean, I haven’t been to Uruguay, so maybe there’s someone there that’s better, but I doubt it. She has some sort of freaky physiointuition thing going on, and  can somehow figure out exactly where to jab her thumb, or apply pressure. Next time I go there, I’m going to bring her a cape. She totally deserves one – she’s the Super Hero of the Physiotherapy World. I’m seeing her next week, and I’m looking forward to it… that’s weird, isn’t it?


Last night at yoga, a lovely woman came running up to me and said, “I saw your friend today!!”

Now normally I would be confused as to who she was talking about, but given that I have had someone else say THE EXACT SAME THING to me this week, I knew who she was talking about: one of my fabulous sponsors – Laura at Better Still Day Spa.

Turns out that people are flocking to Laura’s Day Spa in Ladner, and are leaving there feeling pretty darn fantastic. I love to hear that! I’m a big proponent of people feeling relaxed and less stressed, and I really do think Laura has the best place going for that. AND in all of Laura’s awesomeness, she has made a commitment to donate all of her tips for the month of May to the Delta Hospice Society! THANK YOU, LAURA!!

This woman who approached me at yoga last night has been going through some stressful times of late, and a lot of that is related to one of her family members being diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. Of course I suggested she go to Hospice, but she was way ahead of me! She was already planning on going there. It’s wonderful to be able to have somewhere to refer people to when they are going through some of the most difficult times in their lives. Hospice just has so much to offer, from counseling to literature, from relaxation groups to a wonderful library… AND they have bunnies!

So, in honour of the lovely woman I met at yoga last night, I will now reveal the next Raffle Prize that will be available to win at the Kili Gala on June 5th – this is going to be a very, VERY cool fundraiser, you know. 100% of net proceeds are going to charity, so feel secure in the knowledge that your money is going to a very good cause. Contact me for tickets!

The next Raffle Prize is yet ANOTHER that I want to win. But since I can’t, I’m leaving it up to you to take this one home: Laura at Better Still Day Spa has donated A YEAR’S WORTH of thirty-minute massages. Oh yes, you read that right. 12 massages are on the table (pun totally intended) at the Kili Gala courtesy of the best massage artist I know. This is a prize worth nearly $500… and Laura DONATED it! Seriously, NOW can you see why I’ve been so touched (pun sort of intended) by the generosity of the people in this community??

So, if YOU want to win a year’s worth of massages, I highly recommend making your way to the Kili Gala on June 5th. Donate to charity, and get massages. Not a bad deal, eh?



Peace, Love, Eternal Grooviness…

5.02.2010 | 3 Comments

Yesterday Ali and I went to Open Space Yoga‘s 5year Anniversary shindig. Michael had graciously invited us to go and sell tickets to the Kili Gala, and we happily took him up on the offer. When I showed up, Michael already had a little Kili station waiting for me

Awesome, huh!? I borrowed a few of my mom’s rhinos from her collection to add a little African flair, but Michael did all the hard work, and set up a place where I could easily chat with people and accept donations without awkwardness. Thanks Michael!  xo

Open Space Yoga is truly a well-loved place, as is easily evidenced by this photo I took of the studio a mere 15 minutes after the doors were opened.

Lots of people came to help celebrate, and Michael threw a fabulous party for us all. There was a woman doing reflexology, a fantastic array of incredible food by Jini’s Ethnic Gourmet, and there were art pieces hanging on the wall from talented local painters. Oh! And there was a really talented young woman there doing henna!

There were also a couple of very talented guitarists providing background music, and we were all treated to a fabulous belly dancing performance by Fanny, who also teaches belly dance classes at Open Space Yoga! The music snaked its way around the room, and Fanny confidently and seductively showed us her moves…

How does she MOVE like that!? While watching her, I got into a discussion with a couple of women about body image, and how western culture values all the wrong things, making women push themselves to illness trying to be like the ‘ideal’ woman we see on magazine covers. And even if women DO finally achieve that look, are they happy? No. There’s no confidence, no assurance, no peace. Watching Fanny dance was a great way to remind myself to dance to the music, and not to the image. Hey Ali, Lil’ Miss Fat Girl… what do YOU think of Fanny’s performance?

That’s what I thought.

By the way, that little red cup that Ali is holding – this is what’s in it:

I had about 14 cups of it.

Which may not have been a good idea…

…wait. I’m climbing a mountain?! That doesn’t seem like a good idea at all!

But all is well. I snarfed down a few of the decadent desserts that Jini had brought, and the sugar went right to my brain and destroyed that wretched clarity. Thanks sugar!

All in all, it was a lovely afternoon. I spoke with a lot of interesting people, and met with more of the beautiful generosity that this community shares. I had people coming up and giving me whatever spare change they could find at the bottom of their purses and pockets. Every single donation makes a difference, and I can happily, PROUDLY say that $3296 has been raised for The Delta Hospice Society to date. YOU ROCK!! Thank you so much.

And even though I am continually worried about how the Kili Gala will turn out, and I constantly fret over making sure that we get all 250 people through the door, after a day like yesterday, I’m reminded of something that I so often forget to do…

I think I need to take more time to focus on my breathing. It will probably be very beneficial when I’m climbing, considering that I’ll HAVE TO focus on my breathing when I’m climbing. Practice makes perfect, right? There’s something to this whole ‘breathing’ thing. It gives you life, yes. But more importantly, it helps you live. Right eternally-smiling-and-forever-peaceful Buddha?


Happy 5th Anniversary to Michael and to Open Space Yoga – it’s a joy to have you here.


The Best Part

4.16.2010 | 1 Comment

After a far-too-long hiatus, I went to yoga class on Tuesday at Open Space Yoga with Michael. It was a core yoga class, which I find easier than Hatha for some reason, so I knew I could take it easy. I have been genetically blessed with strong abdominal muscles, so I take to core work pretty well. In fact, it’s my favourite part of any type of training. I’m one of those weird people who actually looks forward to Boat Pose.  I think the fact that my mom put me in all sorts of sports when I was a kid really helped my body to create and maintain solid abdominal muscles. If all it took were strong abs to make it up a mountain, I’d be carrying Mt. Kilimanjaro up Mt. Everest!

… not really.

Aaaaaaaaaaaanyway… in the core yoga classes, we do about an hour of conditioning work before Michael says the magic words: “It’s time for Savassana”. He dims the lights, puts on some soft music, and we all lay there like lumps of conscious brain matter. I do love my Savassana… it’s a personal space, one where you’re relaxing, but conscious of the fact that you’re relaxing. There’s no worrying about what to eat for dinner after class, or what you need to do at work the next day… it’s just your own time to honour the space and the time that you are in at that moment.

I’ll tell you what happens when I do Savassana – I imagine that I am in Dog Heaven. Really.  I have a rustic cabin there, with a lovely porch housing a gently swaying hammock. The porch overlooks a broad, green field that is gracefully cut through by a wide, slow, clear river. There is a tall, full, green forest beyond the river, and the whole field is in a valley, where snow-capped mountains ambitiously touch the sky. There are flowers in the field. And there are dogs.

Lots and lots of dogs. All they’re all happy, whole, healthy, well-fed and endlessly loved. They play together, and lap from the stream, they run up to me so that I can scratch their fluffy, soft ears and every so often, I imagine… a bacon tree! There are at least 3 dogs fat and happy under the bacon tree.

All of the dogs had a best friend on Earth, and they are waiting in dog heaven to see that friend again. And while they wait, they can look into the stream and see happy memories of their best friend. There are lots of wagging tails in my dog heaven.

Always beside me on my porch, swinging in the hammock and softly dozing with me is my dog Jake. Jake died in 2007, and it was a very sad time. So during Savassana, as I am laying comfortably on my mat in the Open Space studio, I am actually laying comfortable on my hammock, being nuzzled by a snoring, warm, fluffy, 4-legged version of love. It is Paradise.

I have finally learned that it is ok to say goodbye to Jake when it is time to return from Savassana, because I know that I can come back anytime. I give him a pat, slide off the hammock, and leave him there to sleep, and to drink the rest of the lemonade on the table.

But the best part is yet to come. After Savassana comes to an end, we all sit quietly on our mats and take a moment to reflect inward. We bring our hands together at Heart Centre. We exhale and lower our heads. And then, with our heads bowed, and with a sincerity so true, Michael gently says my very favourite phrase:

“Bring a smile into your heart”

I smile, and I feel it in my heart. My chest warms, and that warmth spreads through me like a waving colour. More often than not, bringing a smile into my heart brings tears to my eyes. I am so grateful for that moment. It is the best part of my yoga practice.

Yoga. For the good of the body, the peace of the mind, the memories of your dog, the warmth in the heart.


Party Karma!

4.10.2010 | 1 Comment

Ahhhhh, the Kili Gala. Although a wonderful idea, and one that I believe will help to raise a great deal of money for the Delta Hospice Society, it is totally stressing me out.

I am not a party planner. I know some people who are incredible at event planning, and sadly, I am not one of those people. In all honesty, I’d rather climb a mountain than plan an event.

…oh. Right. I *am* climbing a mountain.


As stressful as I am finding the planning for the Kili Gala, I have been overwhelmed by the support of our community. As you may already know, The Kili Gala will have a raffle draw with a whole bunch of really great prizes. Most of the prizes come from local businesses, or from local business owners who have their businesses in another community. The donor list is incredible! Seriously, have a look!

Gift certificates, baskets of goods, golf passes, dinner at fantastic restaurants… it’s all so very, very awesome. And the best part? Raffle tickets are going to be cheap!  My plan was for the raffle to be a big draw, and so far, it’s working out pretty well, I must say!

SO… I think you and your friends have a date for JUNE 5th! Come to the Ladner Community Centre at 7pm and partake of the Kili Gala – have some fun knowing that all your donations are going to a worthy cause. It’s Party Karma!

You can email me at [email protected] (or just click the ‘contact’ tab) and request tickets. I’ll even hand-deliver them if you live in South Delta!

You can also purchase tickets in person at Open Space Yoga and Evolutions Hair Design in Ladner. Michael and Wade have graciously offered to sell tickets for me, and, well…  I think they’re wonderful for doing so.

Can’t wait to see you on June 5th – considering what we have planned (and what we’re planning on wearing), you’re won’t want to miss this…

*If you would like to donate an item for the Kili Gala Raffle, please send me an email!*