Thursday, October 27, 2011


Like the ornery bitch she is known to be, Monday rose up to greet me with a slap in the face. My youngest decided she should get up every hour throughout the night, making Monday morning less than pleasant. With monster bags under my eyes and a fuzzy brain, I attempted to get my kids fed and watered without screaming at them for looking at me the wrong way (alas, I did not succeed … bah, they’ll get over it). Needless to say I was tired. No … I was fucking exhausted. I knew I needed to find something to help me through the day.

I started with food. Food gives you energy. Pretty simple concept. On a day like I was having, it was tempting to break into the Halloween candy a little early (yeah, like I haven’t done that yet!) and binge on mini chocolate bars for an instant power boost. Since it was only 7:30 am, I opted to try something that may last a little longer and not add even more inches to my ass. I went with a banana and peanut butter toast - yummers! Anyways, you catch my drift. Good food = good energy. Here’s an article I found with a great energy-boosting menu for such a day (maybe a little heavy for women, but if you’re dog-tired, a hearty menu may be just what you need).

My daughter had a hard time with her nap that afternoon as well, meaning Mommy didn’t get a nap in either. By then, eating every hour was getting old and I needed a new idea - YOGA!!

I know, when you are totally bushed, the last thing you wanna do is something strenuous. But exercise gives you energy too. So, I pulled out my trusty iPad, logged onto and proceeded to be reenergized with one of Jason Crandell’s fabulous classes. It was kinda like a reverse class. Only a half-hour long, we started in Savasana, did a few simple yet revitalizing poses, and ended in standing meditation. It was perfect! I actually felt the best I had all day. I realized recently too, that (on days my child lets me get a normal sleep) I don’t actually need as much sleep as I used to. Ten hours a night was a must for me, but since I’ve started to practice yoga more regularly (3-4 times/week) I have more energy!

Well, I’ll be damned! Apparently eating well and exercising gives you more energy! Who knew?! I should tell someone, right? ;)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I Heart Backbends

We spend most (if not all) of our day bent forwards in one way or another. Hunched over a computer at work, stooped over tying up little people’s shoes, huddled over nursing your baby, or arched over making supper. A backbend allows you to bring your body out of the yuckiness of all that hunching over and put it back into alignment.

I tried my first full wheel during a yoga workshop with Sadie Nardini when she was in Moose Jaw in the spring. While holding on to my partner’s ankles, I was able to push up into the backbend. It felt so good to use my body in a fashion I had never done before! I was eager to continue practicing.

Since Sadie’s workshop (6 months later), I am now able to push up into a full wheel. I can stay up for about 10 seconds and the feeling is exhilarating. I prefer to call backbends ‘heart-openers’ because that is exactly what they do - open your heart, both on a physical and emotional level. The reason backbends are known as heart-openers is because you are literally opening your heart up and out. But they are also known as such because of the feeling you get when you practice them. With your heart open like that, oftentimes emotions that you didn’t know you were feeling are able to rise to the surface and be liberated. I have found myself crying while in a backbend (or afterwards) for many reasons, happy and sad. But I always feel better after (so free), knowing I have given my body and my spirit a complete release.

Backbends are intense though! You need to approach them with caution and awareness. Be aware of where your body is right now and don’t push yourself past what is right for you. It takes a long time for your body to become flexible enough to open up into most backbends. Your mind will resist too - it knows that bending backwards isn’t how you usually use your body, and it will try to forbear your efforts. Backbends are all about trust. Trusting yourself not to push too hard (but enough to progress) and trusting your body.

There are so many different asanas in yoga that include backbends. Start slow, maybe with Bridge or Sphinx pose. As you become more flexible in your back and more confident you’ll find your body more able to release into the deeper backbends. Above all, enjoy the journey!

*Please note, I am NOT a yoga instructor. Always talk to a certified instructor before trying any new pose*

Thursday, October 13, 2011

My Story

I have been pregnant 5 times. My first pregnancy ended in miscarriage when I was nine weeks pregnant, complications with Crohn’s disease they said. My second gave us our first daughter. I miscarried my third pregnancy when I was 7 weeks, a blighted ovum - they said there wasn’t even a baby there anymore. My fourth pregnancy resulted in the birth of our second daughter. My fifth and most recent pregnancy ended when I delivered our stillborn son when I was 5 months pregnant. They told me he had been gone for weeks.

Are you uncomfortable now? You don’t really want to read any further? Maybe you feel sorry for me that I would put myself out there like that …

Why? Does my grief offend your sensibilities? Maybe on the surface. But I think you’re afraid. Afraid of it happening to you, afraid of admitting you feel grief too, afraid of what others would think. I can’t imagine any other reason why society dictates that when women suffer the loss of a pregnancy, they need to suffer in silence. It has to be fear …

I have tried to “hide” every one of my pregnancies. Until I reached that magical ‘3 months’ when the pregnancy (usually) is deemed to be viable and you are more than likely to be holding a new babe in your arms in a short six months. And so, for both of my miscarriages, I grieved without the support of most friends, professors and some family, simply because they didn’t know.

When we lost our son Nate, I was 5 months pregnant. Everybody knew we were expecting … I like that word ‘expecting’. We were ‘expecting’ to have a baby in July. It didn’t happen. Our ‘expectations’ were not met. I … we … were crushed. But the outpouring of support we received from everyone is what helped us (and is still helping us) get through. I realized how helpful that would have been after my other two losses.
I understand first hand why some women would prefer to grieve alone. A lot of people don’t get it. With miscarriage, they don’t really think you’ve lost a baby. They think they’re comforting you with words like “Well, at least it was still early.” Like because your baby was really small, that means you loved it less. Or, “It was God’s will”. Honestly, that’s just going to make me even more pissed at God then I already was.

Most people mean well, but they don’t know what to say or do. So, they come out with awkward lines, or end up not doing anything at all (which is so much worse). And the reason they don’t know what to say or do, is because they’ve never really dealt with it before, because people don’t talk about it.

Nobody wants to believe babies die. But they do. And the parents who have suffered such a tremendous loss need your support. And the only way I can see things changing, is if those of us that have suffered start speaking up. A new pregnancy shouldn’t have to be something that you hide. You should be able to rejoice, knowing you will have the full support of your friends, family, co-workers, church, etc., if something does go wrong. So, I will tell my story, and invite others to do the same. In the hopes of encouraging a more aware, supportive and compassionate people.

This Saturday, October 15th, is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. Together with my husband and girls, we will walk to remember Nate and our other two angels; to support those walking with us; and to represent the others suffering alone.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Things I Learned on Salt Spring Island

I arrived home from my yoga retreat on Monday night and only now do I feel ready to talk about it. It was so incredible, but so much to take in. I’m not gonna say my time at The Salt Spring Centre of Yoga was life-changing (I’ve had enough of those experiences this year) but, I do feel I found what I was looking for. With so much to say about my time away, I find I can’t do it justice writing on my little blog. If you ever wanna ask me about something specific, please do. Here, a list of some of the things that I learned on the island:
  • I love yoga. Okay, I already knew that, but it was reaffirmed this weekend. Practicing makes my body and my mind feel so damn good.
  • I am yoga philosophised out, for now. I learned so much about who I want to be as a person and was fed so many inspiring quotes and life affirmations. But, I think if I read one more motivational citation my head will explode. Time to sit back and let everything absorb!
  • Speaking of being fed - I realized that I can easily go four days without any meat (the vegetarian meals they fed us were phenomenal), but I can’t go as long without a drink! Caesars for breakfast anyone?!
  • Everybody has a story they carry with them, deserving of our compassion and understanding. Just because that beautiful girl over there seems like she’s really got everything going for her, doesn’t mean she’s not battling an eating disorder.
  • People in BC think you’re weird if you’ve never been on a ferry before.
  • Salt Spring Island is a healing, magical place. Ancient folklore says the Natives of BC would never live on the island, but would come over and stay for days when in need of both spiritual or physical healing. I certainly could feel it’s magic working on me.
  • I want a simple life. I want to live quietly, surrounded by those that I love, and those that love me.
  • I want to teach. I’m not sure if I’m drawn to kids, or they’re drawn to me (or both), but I found the best conversations I had while away were with the children of the island. I prize their honesty and the way they can look at life and just see things they way they are. I want to be around them more.
  • Many believe that, during your first three days of menstruation, you shouldn’t do inversions (i.e. handstands, legs-up-the-wall, etc.). The instructors at the centre’s point of view was that it can mess with both the natural flow of energy and the natural flow of, well, your period. Kinda makes sense to me …
  • I can do poses I never thought I’d be able to do in a million years, like Firefly Pose. (Okay, so I had blocks under my hands and my legs weren’t straight, but I was still thrilled). Imagine what YOU can do with a little practice!!
  • I can meditate! I find it really hard to let my mind be blank and really concentrate on … nothing. But after some breathing practices, I found I was able to meditate for real (not just sit with my eyes closed while wondering what to make for supper). I only became conscious I was truly meditating after snapping out of it and realizing my mouth was gaping open and I was drooling, but I did it!
  • Participating in Kirtan was a moving and humbling experience. It was wonderful to see the community brought together to praise whoever or whatever it is each of them believes in such an open and accepting way.
  • There’s no place like home.