What is your perfect day?

When we moved to our little piece of land, I had a picture in my head of what my days would look like.

I had binge watched Alaska The Last Frontier, Mountain Men, The Edge of Alaska and really anything I could find that made me feel a little bit closer to the dream I had of living the sunrises and sunsets, smelling the dirt, hearing the sounds of birds, coyotes, roosters crowing, the kids finding their adventures, wild and free, being outside and feeling that amazing exhaustion that puts you to sleep the minute your head hits the pillow.

Well, as you probably already know, life isn’t filled with dream days, but I believe the tough days, the challenging days, the sad days all help make the perfect days perfect.

A gift from baby bear.

So, 5 years plus, into this homesteading journey, Sunday was one of those “Perfect Days”.

I was expecting rain in the early afternoon so we got up and going right away, which is not our normal approach. We run late hours and especially on weekends move slowly.

The kids and I had been planning Father’s day, which we thought was Sunday, but really we were a week early! Everyone agreed to celebrate it as we had planned, leaving next Sunday for Summer Solstice which is a big deal in our house.

Baby Bear and Dave got outside and started a fire, I had bacon on and before you knew it we were enjoying our breakfast outside around the fire.

Fires are such an amazing gift. I remember when I lived in Banff, Alberta, I had a smelly candle that smelled like campfire. I’ve heard of people showering off the smell of a campfire, which never occurred to me that you would want to.

So, with the fire going we started our projects. Homesteading sometimes feels like that is all that it is, these projects that never end, don’t get finished, as soon as you finish one you are already behind on the next one. If you aren’t careful you can get sucked in, lose your love for the lifestyle, forget why you are doing it and feel like crying in a corner. Yes, many days, many days.

The longer we are here, the more I have learned about how to manage these projects in a way that serves us.

Mixing big projects with small ones in between for that good feeling you get by completing a project.

Nailing down time lines, list of materials and cost so we know exactly what we are dealing with.

Including projects that are just mine. Mine to learn, create, spend time on and complete. Too many joint projects left me feeling like I do when I do the dishes, or cook the meals.

I needed Homesteading to be satisfying.

Anyway, on this perfect day, a couple of projects that have been in the works for a long, long time were about to get completed, mostly.

Dave went off to finish a basketball hoop.

Mother’s Day gift for me a year ago. It was a very exciting day!

I went of to work on my Herb Spiral, garden bed that I had been obsessing over for years.

Not finished but so happy to be working on it!! A Herb spiral garden. I will be adding dirt and plants next. Even a little pool for frogs.

The kids mostly played with few arguments, the rain never came.

Next, I finished a Father’s Day gift for Dave. He loves his garlic and this year we planted it in the spring. Its a new garden bed near the house.

I made him a Dad’s Garlic garden sign. I had learned how to put posts in when we did our Raspberry Plant fence and so let me tell you that post is solid and that sign will be there for the Grand kids to enjoy one day. Everyone signed the back.

Father’s day gift for Dave, sturdy as ever with a bit of crookedness in the sign to reflect my carpentry skills. Made with love.

I was able to take the first shot at the basket! The kids spent time playing basket ball.

First shot on the new basketball hoop!!!!

We enjoyed a steak dinner. The kids watched some shows and Dave and I sat outside enjoying the beauty of the garden and watching a thunderstorm roll in. We tucked in the cucumber plants, checked on the baby chicks and called it a day!

Big skies, bring so much awe. A thunderstorm rolling in.

A day I will remember forever, but probably not the exact details. I will remember the smell of campfire, the laughter of the kids, the excitement of creating, working, the mud under my feet, the good taste of food, the sense of awe that comes from big skies and falling asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.

A perfect day.

What is your perfect day? What makes it perfect?

How Do You Eat an Elephant? What Does an Elephant Have to Do With Yoga?

How do you eat an Elephant?

One small chunk at a time.

Have you heard that one before?

What does an elephant have to do with Yoga?

I’m going to tell you.

Sometimes Yoga can feel intimidating, especially when you first start.

I think it’s natural to think we “should” be able to flow in and out of these poses. 

That is a Myth.

I think most of us come to Yoga to learn how to thoughtfully move.

To learn what Yoga has to offer.

The KEY here is the word LEARN.

We don’t practice Yoga to already be good at Yoga otherwise I would have nothing to teach.

So…….so each Pose can be broken down into smaller movements or places to focus, JUST LIKE EATING THE ELEPHANT ONE PIECE AT A TIME until, gradually we start feeling better in the pose, or have consumed a whole elephant.

I do this with everything in my life.

Here is an example using Handstand.

Working in Pike Pose here. Creating shoulder strength and working on alignment.

I started with wrist strength.

Then Core engagement.

Working with my mental FEAR.

Shoulder strength.

And technique.

I’ve been working on Handstand for a while.

I’m not there, YET, but my wrists are super flexible and being a Massage Therapist for so many years I consider this a miracle.

My Core continues to grow stronger and I am more aware of activating it as needed in life. Less chance of injuring my low back.

Working on the fear I have had in falling translates into things I fear in life.

My shoulders, joints included are stronger and healthier.

And truthfully I am having FUN.

Using the wall to help me with balance. Yes I fell a few times.

What Pose do you want to work on?

I can help you break it down into smaller steps.

It’s easiest to start with ground up.

Meaning start with Feet placement, and work up.

I LOVE THIS STUFF and am happy to help!

Leave a comment below with a Pose you would like to PLAY in.

Happy Sunday.

Carrie

How to Keep Yoga Top Of Mind

So, you have decided that Yoga is good for you. You have signed up for classes or purchased an online Yoga membership. You know your “why”.

You loved the first class.

Or maybe you are attempting to get back into yoga. You felt really good when you were practicing before. Now just to get back at it.

You make a decision that now is the time. Lets do this Yoga Thing!

Then, it all happens. What happens?

Your intentions, your goals, your efforts are interrupted.

You run through your days, packing lunches, preparing food, grocery shopping, taking care of sick kids, or friends, neighbours, parents. You are paying bills, planning vacation, taking pets to the vet, cleaning. You know what I mean.

Each night you lift your feet off of the floor swing them into bed, and think, huh, never got that yoga in today. Sleepily, you decide you will try for tomorrow.

Yes! I know!

So, what is this Top Of Mind Thing?!

I have heard this phrase used in the business/entrepreneur world. It simply means keeping what is important to you in your face. That is my aggressive way to express it but you could phrase it keeping what is important to you at the forefront of your thoughts. Visiting your intentions regularly.

For me this phrase works perfectly when it comes to Yoga.

You want to add Yoga into your full life, keeping it Top of Mind can help you do that.

Here are ways to keep Yoga Top of Mind in your day to day life...

  1. Practice with your kids. Not all the time, but include them into this new activity you are enjoying. Their excitement for you can keep you going. Involving your partner or family is lots of fun too.
Big Sky Yoga - In the Park 
A fun time to practice while the kids play in the park or join in.

2. Practice with your pets. For some reason pets love yoga and being with you when you are doing yoga. Take some cute pictures and enjoy the experience.

One of Big Sky Yoga’s students pets. Looks like they would like to do some yoga.

3. Practice Yoga off of the mat. You don’t have to have a yoga mat to do Yoga. Come into a Standing Forward Fold Pose as you are folding laundry. Watching TV, a perfect opportunity to be on the floor enjoying Head to knee Pose, Butterfly Pose, Happy Baby Pose and so many more.

4. Practice Yoga anywhere. At the park with your kids, enjoy some Warrior Poses, Pyramid Pose. Play with some arm support poses in the grass. Handstand is a great one here and usually the kids join in.

5. Get a Yoga Buddy. I have seen this time and time again with my Yoga students. Either coming to class with friends or meeting a new friend in class, doing Yoga together is fun. It keeps you wanting to get on the mat and even plan Yoga meet ups.

These two Yogi Mama friends.

6. Get involved in a Yoga community. This could mean an online community or hanging around before and after classes to chat. Attending Yoga events in your area and getting to know others who are making Yoga part of their life. This creates social connections adding to the Yoga experience.

Lots of laughs and fun in the Big Sky Yoga classes.

7. When you register for Yoga, if you can make it work with your schedule and resources, purchase a session or a membership. I see the students who have made the financial investment show up to class much more often than those with drop in passes. Don’t get me wrong, I love the option of drop in passes and classes. They are needed.

8. Subscribe to Yoga blogs, follow Yogis on social media, take out Yoga resources from your local library. Having Yoga images and information available to you can help keep you inspired and motivated. I encourage you to choose resources that encourage you. Sometimes seeing the Yoga superstars can actually work against you, where as someone who is showing the process of Yoga can be helpful.

9. Keep you mat out even if it is rolled out and put to the side. Seeing it will be a visual reminder of your intentions.

10. Adding in reminders or alarms on your phone can help you step outside of the things you need to do to get to the mat.

11. Add a picture of a pose, or you doing Yoga, or someone you love doing yoga to your screen saver on your phone.

Do you have any things you do to keep Yoga Top of Mind?

I hope that something here resonates with you and helps you enjoy some time on your mat.

From one Yogi to another.

Carrie

I Let Go and Decided to Enjoy the Movement

I started getting back to Yoga when my youngest son was four. I did not understand then how that decision would impact my life as well as my family.

I was looking for a way to feel better. I was used to feeling drained, exhausted, warn out, weak and done in. For the most part I had accepted that this was just the way life was, a busy Mama of four kiddos meant not much sleep and what felt like endless demands. There was a part of me that hoped it was possible to feel better, even a little better.

Off I went with my yoga mat to one class a week. That one class sometimes felt impossible to get to but the possibility of feeling better kept me going even if I missed a class or two or three along the way.

It did not take long for me to start to pull out my yoga mat at home, curious as to why this movement felt so good and seemed to breathe energy into my life.

At first it started with the benefits that come when I made space for me in my life. Being able to tell myself, the demands will always be there, take some time to take care of you.

I noticed I was less irritable and had a bit of spring in my step. This Yoga thing was mine. It felt good when the kids and my husband started to understand that Mom leaves on Tuesday nights to go to “her yoga class”.

After a surgery to remove an ovarian cyst, a knee surgery that removed 80% of my meniscus, fertility treatments, 3 pregnancies (forever grateful) and 3 C – sections, I did not know this body of mine. One of the things that Yoga provided for me was a way to get to know it. Each asana, pose, left me with a new understanding of my body and over time I was able to use this information to take care of myself better and to challenge myself safely.

The breath work became a tool I could take out at anytime to reset my nervous system. I noticed I was more in control of myself, less reactive.

As time went on I wanted to share this with all women. That there was a movement practice that brought about so much transformative change in my life. For me, it being practical, sustainable and not expensive was so important. That almost anyone could practice it was another amazing attribute.

I registered with the Alberta Yoga Collage in Calgary for my 200 hour teacher training. Started teaching as soon as I finished and a year later put my Massage Therapy Practice to the side to continue to bring Yoga to women as a transformative self care option.

When I first started practicing yoga, I was stiff. I felt like I was the last person who should be in a Yoga class. I was told I was wearing the wrong pants. I felt like an imposter. Who was I to think I could be a Yoga student? I challenged all of these thoughts because the classes felt so good.

In most of the postures I had very little flexibility. I was grateful for Child’s Pose and for the standing poses because I felt more comfortable practicing those. When I would attempt a forward fold, there was very little forward movement.

In this seated wide legged forward fold (picture below), I sat on two blankets and would work to keep my torso upright. It felt so good.

I decided then and there that I was doing Yoga because it made me feel good. I was not here to perform or to put any pressure on myself to fit into these poses. I was not coming to class to put another demand on myself, I was here to take care of myself.

I LET GO AND DECIDED TO ENJOY THE MOVEMENT!

Oh, what a beautiful journey it has been and continues to be!! Making that decision to let myself off the hook. To do yoga because it felt good. To show up on the mat to move and breathe because I could, not because I had to. TO KNOW THAT BEING ON THE MAT, when I could, WAS ENOUGH. I believe that making that decision has allowed me to stay practicing.`


This picture is not here to show you that I can do this pose. Doing the pose was never my goal. I am sharing this picture because the space I now have in this pose comes from a place of caring for myself, the same as when I sat upright, sitting on two blankets in this same pose 3 years ago. Consistently taking care of myself has over time brought me to a place where I have more flexibility, more strength, more space to think before I react.
The simple intention of caring for myself has impacted me and those around me in ways I never could have known.

I am very grateful that I went looking for a way to feel better. I am very grateful that Yoga met me in my exhaustion. That my mat became a place to be, free from demands and expectations.

I hope you experience that same freedom on your mat.

Do I have to sit still to meditate or be mindful?

One of my favourite spots. Its a swimming hole, picnic area and place to pause.

This is pretty close to home and one of my favourite spots. It’s a swimming hole, picnic area and a place to pause.

I used to think of meditation as sitting in complete quiet, no interruptions for a few minutes to an hour.
That is definitely one form of meditation but for me and my season, moving meditations are easier to integrate into my day to day.

It can be walks outside, trips to the creek or even a local park. As I interact with those around me and my environment, using all of my senses. 

Hearing the sounds of the moving water and laughter, or arguing of my kids.

Seeing the colours and textures and shapes that make up the landscape.

Feeling the gentle rain land on my skin. Feeling my feet as they press on the ground. 

Tasting the bitterness of my warm coffee.

Smelling the damp vegetation, the mosquito spray, the fresh rain.

I can’t help but feel grateful without even trying to feel grateful. It flows out of me with each moment.

Including these opportunities where all of my senses come alive, consistently, has created equanimity in me.

This has come without me trying to get it, which is almost the most perplexing part of it.

Do you include breath work, meditation or mindfulness in your days?
How do you do it?
How has it changed you?