Monday, April 23, 2012

"When you love your work that much-& many teachers do-the only way to get out of trouble is to go deeper in."- Parker Palmer, The Courage to Teach
I love my Monday night class. I teach yoga to in-patients of the Eating Disorders Program at my local hospital. We spent a lot of time talking about the meaning of yoga (both in a big picture and personal way) in my Immersions and Teacher Trainings. Boiled down, this is what resonates with me:
-It's all about service. My job on this great Mother Earth is to serve.
-It's about getting to know yourself better. This is why I come to mat, day after day. Because each day, I learn something new. Sometimes it's profound. Sometimes it's not. And that's ok, as long as I keep learning.
 So, back to Monday nights. It's not about the asana. It's about tapping into that part of yourself that you've always been a little bit afraid of. You're not sure why, but it makes you uncomfortable. And then we just sit and breathe and follow our breath in, then out, connecting with the metronome that's in each one of us. The breath that guides us through our practice--it tells us when we're trying too hard (not breathing) and it tells us when we've got it (we move gracefully on each inhale and exhale and feel the pulsation deep within). The breath that is the greatest meditation teacher.
 Yeah, we move a little bit, but mostly it's about reconnecting with our breath, our bodies and our spirit. About feeling better about ourselves and our place in this world.
 And I do it because I get so much more from their practice than they'll ever know. My heart bursts when I see them relax and let their guards down. When they move their bodies in a way that helps them connect to themselves. And when their bodies, mind and spirit all align, and they know themselves better.
 If I can give them just one or two tools to put in their tool-box for when they leave the hospital, then I've done my job. So that when life gets in their way, they have yoga to turn to to help them through, rather than reverting to old, destructive behaviours.  My job is to serve. And I will gladly continue for as long as they'll let me (although I did win major brownie points tonight for holding the practice outside in the sunshine!)
 Namaste _/|\_

Sunday, April 22, 2012

2012-004-21 Part Deux

Sorry, there is no photographic evidence of the amazing spring skiing.

I hooked up with my buddy, Dan, as soon as I got off the gondola. We did an easy blue run off Angel and then went down to Divide (the sun was shining and that's just what you do)! There was no new snow, so the groomers had been out in full force. The World Cup downhill was great (and fast!) and Gold Ecstasy was not hard and scrape-y for once.

Went back to the village--Dan brought his fat powder skis for me to try out. They're longer and heavier than anything I've ever skied on, but we did a few runs on them just so I could get a feel for them.

Back on my own skis, we mosied over to Wawa for some fun. Birdcage bump practice and then it was time for lunch.

After a yummy bowl of beef pho, we headed back to Wawa to try some harder stuff. Paris basin and Waterfall were a piece of cake (and the snow had softened up during lunch so conditions were PERFECT) so we went to Goat's Eye.

We did the top of Cleavage and then the chutes of Ewe First and Mother In Law.  This was my do one thing a day that scares you--I had to go in for a rest and a chocolate milk after this one! We went back up and did Upper Afterburner, cut across to Freefall (holy shit, moguls as tall as me and they didn't look that big from the chair lift!) then across to Gladerunner (which was the icy mogul'd run Jim and I wound up on last week, but was groomed and lovely yesterday!). It was definitely one of the best runs of the day ('cept the bumps, I did OK on 'em, but they're not my favourite). My legs were screaming at me, so our next run was the easiest of all Goat's Eye runs, Sunshine Coast. It's also my favourite =)

We swooshed down without stopping, then headed up to the village in the Gondola. Back up Angel, down Boundry Bowl (I kicked it's ass!) and over to Divide again. Bye Bye Bowl wasn't nearly as nice as it was last Sunday, but my legs decreed that they'd had enough by the time we got back down to the village. Grabbed our stuff and down to the base in the Gondola. Dan took my poles to whack off an inch or so. Had an apres ski drink in the lounge and hopped on the bus home.

The best part of the day? There was hardly anybody else there! Not a lift line in sight and had many runs to ourselves. You can't beat sunshine, great snow (the base is still ~250 cm), no people, live music and great company! Can't wait till next weekend!

I've skied 24 days at Sunshine, 2 in Whitefish and 1 at Lake Louise. With my season's pass, each of my days at Sunshine has cost $33 instead of $83. If I ski three days next weekend, I bring that down to $29.62/day. I'm getting next year's pass before the end of May, so if I ski the same number of days next year (27) it'll cost me $25/day. Can't beat that!

Now, I'm going to go for a walk and loosen up the muscles in my legs and then I've got to get to work. For once, I've got an early shift on a Sunday!

Saturday, April 21, 2012


And still skiing! No new snow overnight, but it should be an excellent day of spring skiing!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Do One Thing a Day That Scares You

Well, yesterday was full of things that scared me!

1. Hiked up to Delirium Dive to check it out. The sun was shining and it was the perfect opportunity to see first hand what I've only seen in YouTube videos. Jim (my ski-bus buddy) assures me that I can do this. First, I need to get me some avvie gear!

Check out this video to see what I'm talking about!

2. Skiied just past the boundary rope--not out of bounds, but in a non-patrolled area. It was steep, there were rocks, but oh my God, there was fresh, untracked powder!! Jim and I made beautiful (ok, his were prettier than mine, but the guy's a former ski racer who's been skiing for 47 years!) big swooshy S's in the snow. So. Much. Fun. We did it again and again and again!

3. Skiied Goat's Eye with the expert skier. He took me through some trees...there was swearing...he got me out fairly quickly when he realized I wasn't up for bush-whacking. Unfortunately, we'd gone past the point of no return and the only way out was down an incredibly mogul'd up, icy run. I got down it one turn at a time and got a high five for my efforts at the bottom. Then we went back up to the top (see #2, above) 'cause the snow was better!

Best part of the day: I didn't wipe out at all! I kept up with the ski-racer-turned-powder-hound all day (although I'm pretty sure I was a lot more tired than he was, even though he's got 20 years on me!) and lived to tell about it. Sunday bus-friends rock! 

It's hard to believe that a year ago I could hardly make it down a green/easy blue run. Yesterday the only blue run we skied was at the end of the day on our way out. Everything else was black. Skiing with people who constantly push me has made me a better skier. Like my yoga teacher, Noah, says, "There's always more. More harder. More dangerous." In asana practice or on a mountain side, there's always more.

Being scared of going fast, of steeps, of black diamond signs (my brother is always telling me, "Ignore the sign, just go! Turn. Turn again. You'll get to the bottom eventually."), some fears are justified. It's a dangerous sport I play. There are big risks. But the ones I take are calculated. I know that I can turn. It may not be pretty (see #3, above), but I can get down. It's just better when there's somebody to talk you down off the cliff (literally). And skiing with somebody who recognizes that you can do more, but not so much more that you're going to hurt yourself or hate them and never ski with them again. =)

It's been a big ski year for me. I've grown more confident. Speed is my friend. Steeps and I are feeling each other out...but I think we'll get along just fine. And the whole diamond thing? Well, what girl doesn't like diamonds?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Tuesday morning 5K

The sun is shining and it looks like spring is here! That means spring skiing and hitting the paths and trails again! Today I walked a 5K loop in my neighbourhood that takes me up a big-ass hill with a spectacular view of the snow capped mountains, along the river and home again. I forgot my inhaler and a water bottle. I guess it's been awhile since I've hit the trails!

Life is full: skiing, friends, yoga, sleep (glorious, glorious sleep! What a difference it makes!).

Alas, I've still got to have some lunch and get ready for work. Happy Tuesday!