Archive for the ‘Participation’ Category

Unplugged and Alive!

With my infrequency of posts lately, you’d think we must have unplugged, built our sustainable homestead and gone off the grid.  Well, we are pretty much off the grid – no internet, no TV and one bar of signal on the cell phone when you press it up to the window.  But in our sustainable homestead we are not.  We are in our current rental in Heathcote, Ontario…..recently referred to as “pioneer village”.

We knew we weren’t going to have internet when we moved in, but we didn’t know it would be difficult to actually get it if we wanted it.  (Being the hipsies we are, we also secretly hoped that there would be a wireless signal floating about our neighborhood that we could catch through a window).  And then came the conversation of “do we actually want it?”.  Our time in our disconnected home has been sooo restful and meaningful without the easy distractions of television and internet.  We spend our free time lounging around the fire, connecting, cooking, eating and reading.  I find the house is tidier and cleaner because I don’t feel pressed to be doing work when I’m home (because I can’t really do much without the world wide web), thus I’ll take the time to do the dishes, laundry etc.  It’s like we live at the cottage.  The place where people go to relax.  Shouldn’t that be our homes?

Our internet options are either a “turbo hub” that’s plugs into the wall and charges us by the megabyte….or dial-up.  Some of our neighbours are on dial-up.  But it would take me the same amount of time to drive to the library for free high speed as it would to upload one email on dial-up.  Some neighbours tried the satellite route and had to dismantle it because it was so expensive.  Some neighbours are fighting hard to have high speed/cable internet brought to our neighborhood (apparently the lines end just down the road from the entrance to Heathcote).  And some neighbours don’t want it.

We are saving ourselves an upfront cost of $175 and likely $80/mth. I’m not sure I’d make that money back in productivity even.  Lots of my work involves communicating and writing on the computer, but I seem to keep up just fine without internet at home.

When we first moved in, I thought I was going to bend over backwards to get the internet in our place and now I’ve adapted and am enjoying life without it.  This lesson could be extended to many things in our lives such as convenience foods, cars, a certain item of clothing, cell phones etc.  The possibilities of things we could do without is endless! Maybe even….well…no…maybe not.  No, not chocolate.

We are living unplugged and off the e-grid...."It's like you're in Pioneer Village" a friend described.


Awesome Parody!

Watch this video, this version of the song will get stuck in your head for sure!

thought bubbles: A glimpse into the Internal Dialogue of a Thinker

I observe my mother like our cat watches the automatic vacuum cleaner that my parents own. Completely detached and curious, yet slightly frightened and confused.  Why is it bouncing from one wall to the other, disturbing everything in its path just to reach the wall and bounce off again, on another linear path.  It’s not that my mother makes a mid-frequency humming sound and walks into walls – at least, it hasn’t come to that.  However, it is her addiction to bouncing from one “to-do” item to the next, and if you get in her way, or don’t help as is expected, beware….

Week #4 in the Ashram: Escapes and Exams

Shortly after writing the week 3 post of my Ashram experiences, Dylan arrived at the Ashram and we escaped early Saturday morning to attend a dear friend’s wedding in Haliburton, Ontario.  Lots of driving, little sleep, a sip of wine, black tea and sugar (all things I had not been exposed to for 3 weeks) made for an interesting 24 hours out of the ashram.

Upon returning to the Ashram, everyone wanted to know “what it was like” (returning to what some call ‘reality’).  To be honest, it felt normal.  I didn’t feel like 3 weeks was long enough to get so used to Ashram life that outside life would feel strange.  It was the sugar, poor quality sleep, tea and driving that made me feel terribly hungover on Sunday….and every day since I have left the Ashram.

Our final week of our Yoga Teacher Training Course was pretty much our standard schedule of meditations, chanting, yoga and lectures, with some practice teaching and a few ceremonies.  I was initiated into a mantra so that I now have a designated mantra that I can repeat while meditating and also while walking, driving, cleaning etc.  On Saturday morning we wrote a 3 hour exam and then a bunch of us went to help prepare the evening Indian feast in the kitchen for 200 people.  Dylan and I were given the task of preparing the Sambar.  Well, we chopped the vegetables and stirred the pot as the chef tossed in the ingredients. 

Finally, on Saturday evening we all graduated.  There are now 26,000 Sivananda certified Yoga teachers in the world, I am number 25, 998.

Week 3 of Ashram Life

This week started off with a huge Hindhu festival called Kavadi.  We were expecting 20,000 people to attend, but we think the numbers were closer to 10,000 and it wasn’t as crazy as we thought it would be.  However, there was definitely still some crazy things, like the hooks in this man’s back:There are strings attached to the hooks which another man holds on to when they dance.  These men dance for 4-5 hours in a parade of a chariot around the temple.  The man have been preparing for this event in advance with meditations, fasting etc. so that they enter a trance on the day of Kavadi and do not feel pain and do not bleed when the hooks are inserted.  You can see them dancing in the photo below:

The festival was full of food, music, worship and pretty saris, so here are some more photos:

And while there is much more happening at the Ashram (not including 4 hours of yoga, 1 hour of meditation and 6 of chanting and lectures daily) and in my practice, I will just share a few more photos for now, perhaps some stories next post.

I will have better photos when my camera arrives this week, these are just from my phone.  Onto the final week of my life in the ashram, I can’t believe I’ve been here for 3 weeks and while one week seems short, I have a feeling some of the hours of these 7 days will feel like forever.  Bring on Scorpion pose.

Week #2 in the Ashram…

These are my lessons from the second week of life in an Ashram in the Sivananda Teacher Training Course in Val Morin, Quebec:

  • The World Cup squeezed it’s way through the gates of the Ashram and instead of our 2-4pm lecture on the 4 Paths of Yoga, we ate popcorn and watched the final game!
  • The scary rustling and sniffing around my tent at night is a stray black cat……that has stirred up emotions in meditation of when our old black cat died on my 18th birthday….xoxo Blacky.
  • My ego pops up everywhere, awakened everyday by another ego.
  • I was scolded for tossing my cutlery ‘disrepectfully’ into the dirty dish bucket by one of our lecturers and I cried and cleaned the floors for an hour after that.
  • “Kriya” day was Thursday.  Kriyas are purifying/cleansing practices and thus:
  1. I poured water in one nostril and out the other (Neti Pot) = fairly easy.
  2. I threaded a catheter through my nostrils and out of my mouth to floss and release mucous from the nasal passage = much gagging, many attempts, many thoughts of giving up because I could feel the thing at the back of the throat but couldn’t reach it, more gagging, tears, snot……success in left nostril! (later in breathing exercises, I could breath so clear from my left nostril and I felt suffocated by my right…..almost makes me want to do this more…)
  3. I drank 8 cups of warm salt water quickly and proceeded to vomit it out (you’re supposed to, it brings mucous from the esophagus out) = not terrible, no acid comes up so it feels pretty normal and you can see all the mucous.
  4. The last was to swallow a long piece of wet gauze and then slowly pull it out = very few of us could even watch this, nevermind attempt it.

Very excitingly, this Sunday is the festival of Swami Sivananda’s death and there are going to be 25,000 people here at the Ashram!  It is a huge celebration that we are helping to coordinate, should be crazy.

Om Namah Shivaya

Yoga Teacher Training

After a year of debate and research, I am registered to attend yoga teacher training in Val Morin, Quebec.  I am taking the bus to a Sivananda Ashram where I will spend the month of July, following the daily 6-9pm schedule of the ashram which includes meditation, lectures, yoga, chanting, and some more meditation.  It’s going to be a lot of sitting in my head and sleeping on the ground (I’ll be camping).  I’m excited and nervous to potentially unearth, and hopefully release, some demons that I may have buried in this complex mind of mine.  Unfortunately, cell phones are not allowed and internet is not available…thus if you want to reach me…. smoke signal?

(I have Friday’s off, so I do plan to check my email somehow once a week)