OK, so this is like one of those life-changing experiences. In 2005, after 93 years, Mike's Gran passed away. I had the opportunity to meet her while she was alive and could say that she was a remarkable woman. She was blind, and like most people of her age had mobility issues, but none the less, she lived on her own in a big farm-home in a most beautiful part of northern England.
Following her passing, we went over to her home to help with cleaning her house to get it ready for re-sale. There was a lot to do, since she lived in the home about 40 years, and literally did not do thing to the home to keep it in good maintenance. During the night, one could hear the plaster crumbling off the walls, mice were regular visitors with easy access in through holes in the house, and general musty smell permeated every part of the house. Heck, while we were clearing up the outside of the house, a part of the chimney fell off and crumbled down.
Although we tried to give away as much of the household goods to charity as possible (armoires, beds, linens, dining tables, chairs, linens, books, etc) - no one was really interested in taking any of it. I guess antiques are just not that rare, and it was too expensive to consider shipping any of the items back to Canada. So, we literally had a fire going on all week, where day after day, we burned pretty much all of the existing remaining items in the home. I'm an anthropology major and it felt like we were conducting a big funeral pyre all week long. This experience drove home to me, that you really can't take it with you when you leave.
When we arrived came home after that trip, I suddenly felt myself claustrophobic with our space and furniture. The furniture we had at the time was big. large and over-sized. I realized that I could no longer function in the space. Thus began, a major transformation. Over a few months and much planning, we purged a lot of items that sat around collecting dust, sold most of furniture, and underwent a major renovation. The space was transformed into a lovely airy space to practise and teach yoga, as well as still welcoming for guests.
They say (who ever "they" are) that life leads you down paths where certain lessons or realities about your self needs to be leaned. That experience of burning his Gran's belongings, made me realize a few things....
Everyone has story to tell. As this is my first blog, thought I'd tell you mine....or at least a short and condensed version of how I found yoga.
I'll start the story a few years before my 30th birthday. Most of my twenties I spent in neglect...of myself. I did not exercise (at all), and ate really very poorly. My diet at the time consisted in a large part of greasy meals, big meaty-cheesy pizzas, lots of wings, chips, fries - well, you get the idea. Not surprisingly as a result of my poor eating habits and total lack of exercise, I had gained a lot of weight and was very out of shape. Still, I was still somewhat in denial, even though, I was really quite unhappy with my body and physical state. It wasn't until I went for routine check-up at 30, that the reality had hit home and the nurse informed me that I weighed 150 pounds. For some odd reason, this time, though my weight had been steadily on the rise for years, this number hit home, and the mention from doctor that, although, I wasn't "fat", my height-to-weight ratio was getting near the line of no longer being healthy. I'm 5'4" and 150 for my frame was a lot to carry.
After that appointment, I left feeling very depressed, sad, even angry that I had let myself go, but I resolved then to make a change.
I love food, so going to some kind of crazy diet I knew just wouldn't work in the long term. I needed a baby step into reprogramming myself to food so I leafed through many diet articles and styles to see if there was similarity between them. The one link I found was the amount and type of bread that the North American diet consumes. So, I told myself, that I would commit to making a small change - I would monitor or limit the type of bread and how much I would consume by day and week. This was a small change, and meant that I tried then to only eat nutrient rich high-grain or rye breads, no white, and if I had bread in the morning, there would be none for the rest of the day. Though it took, 4 months, the result was quite encouraging, and over that time, by making one small change, I had lost 10 pounds.
So, then I thought, well, what else can I change or do? At the time, I was working with the government, and most of the ladies were following the South Beach Diet. A diet developed by a heart doctor that is based on low-carbs, or healthy low GI foods, lean fats/meat, protein and lots of vegetable. I picked up the book, read through it and felt that it's principles were relatively simple to follow. I had tried Weight Watcher's as I've seen other friends whom had great success, but I found the program too complicated and confusing. With partnership from Mike (my husband) we both agreed to go on it following a trip to England, after giving up sticky toffee pudding, and dieting while travelling was just not possible.
We both had great success on the diet and lost most of the weight we wanted to lose. The only challenge with the diet is once you re-introduce carbs some of the weight does come back, but I would still say a great diet and I sometimes still today try to eat this way. Plus, my body did real well on it, I had more energy and didn't feel deprived. With this, I had lost about 35 pounds.
It was during that time of following the diet, that I decided to find some sort of exercise to do. I've never been one for aerobics, running or team sports, though I admire those who are and knew that a gym just wasn't the spot for me.
Previously, I had with friends, tried some yoga with Community Centres and the Ottawa-Carleton Catholic School Board, and remembered how much I enjoyed it. My friend Heidi, suggested that I look into Rama Lotus Yoga Centre, and it was then in 2003 that I took my very first yoga-studio class. Initially, my reason for going was simply to find an excuse later to sit my butt down on the couch, but, that did not last long, and soon I found other good reasons to go. My practise started small, first one class then a week, then maybe two, then consistently 4 or 5 and even everyday if my schedule could manage it.
Not only did yoga help me to maintain a healthy weight, get in shape, but it also helped to deal with negativity and stress much better. I am so grateful for yoga that I have been able to find yoga.....so, what's your story?