Is This Useful?

Is This Useful?

I lost my contact lens at the yoga studio the other night.

This might not seem like the end of the world but for me, it's a bit of an issue. Without special hard contacts I can barely see - so if you've ever seen me in a yoga class that I'm not teaching and I don't smile or wave at you, I'm not avoiding you, promise! It fell somewhere as I was taking it out of it's case, which is pretty inconvenient in a busy yoga studio on a Monday night in-between classes. People everywhere. Imagine looking for a needle in a haystack. Only it's a really expensive custom made needle that you're supposed to use everyday for a year or two. Oops.

Two of the sweet girls working the desk that night were on their hands and knees scouring the floor with me. When I explained that it wasn't a daily but a pretty special custom made lens, one of them looked at me and asked how I was being so chill about it.

I explained that the contact was already missing so there's really no use in me getting upset about it. I obviously wasn't bouncing off the walls and cheering, but it really wouldn't help my cause of trying to find the missing contact if I let myself get worked up about it. Remember - this was right after I practiced - 'Zen Jenn' was out in full force.


My Savasana Game

My Savasana Game

I spent last weekend with 51 amazing students who attended the first PYC Muskoka Yoga Retreat of the season. A lot of our time in meditation and practice was spent bringing more awareness to what our mind is naturally drawn to and with that, deciding if we need to set the intention to focus on something else. 

In theory, a boathouse yoga studio is filled with the perfect sounds to fuel your practice. Birds chirping. Water lapping. Wind rustling.  It sounds pretty dreamy doesn't it?

In reality, there's lots of other sounds. Machinery helping the boys work hard at the marina. Boats pulling up for gas with music blasting through their speakers - sometimes it's Van other times it's Gangsta Rap. Kids shouting that they've finally found a frog. The pounding of a hammer fixing something at a cottage across the way.

You never really know what you're going to get on any given day. 
It's a completely uncontrollable environment. 
And I wouldn't have it any other way.

Having an Impact

Having an Impact

Do you ever wonder if you're making a difference? 

I know I do. Maybe it's because I've been positively impacted by so many powerful people in my life so far. Maybe it's because I'm in a line of work where - if I do my job well - people can leave their time with me feeling better in some way than they did when they walked in. Maybe it's because I've always had a tendency to overanalyze life and why I'm here - anyone else with me?

Whatever it is, every so often I find myself questioning whether my words and my classes are having a positive influence on the people reading - that's you - and the students in my class. I think it's human nature to fall into the trap of thinking that our day-to-day actions don't matter all that much. After all, we're just one tiny person in this massive world full of people. Do we even have enough reach to make much of a difference?

I've done my best to keep the writing weekly in hopes that I can still 'teach' someone something while living abroad. It's a lot of me staring at a computer screen typing away instead of having students around to interact with. In a way, I lost touch with that teacher-student relationship and the impact that I can have on people through sharing the powerful practice of yoga. 

Lessons from London

Lessons from London

I leave London tomorrow. 

And like I've felt about a lot of things this year, I have very mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, I'm so excited and ready to hit the ground running with PYC Muskoka. On the other hand, I'm actually surprised at how sad I feel to be leaving here. I guess I should clarify, I'm not at all surprised by the fact that I'm sad to leave Mike, that's a given. But I'm sad to leave our little home. I'm not sure when it happened but somewhere along the way this year, I actually settled in. It took longer than I thought it would and there were moments that I wasn't sold on this whole London life but now I'm already excited to head back here in the fall. 

I'm a big believer in pausing to reflect on big life experiences and how they've helped me grow. I can thank the overanalyzing, deeply emotional side of me for that. It feels like I blinked and this year abroad is over, but looking back, there are several key things I'm taking away that can be applied to anyone's life, whether you're living on the same street you've been in since you were born or are about to embark on a big life adventure. 

Lead With Love

Lead With Love

There I was strolling down Regent Street after a class at Psycle London. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about commuting in this city, it’s that patience doesn't exist and walking down any crowded street is a little like survival of the fittest - may the most aggressive Londoner win.

But this morning I didn't have my game face on. I was in no rush and so distracted by my free smoothie for hitting the milestone of 25 rides that I almost didn't see him coming until I'd already been bumped. Actually more like body checked, in the arm so hard by a man in a very nice blue suit that my smoothie went flying. He was moving so fast that it took him a few strides to even turn around to see me crouched on the sidewalk collecting my cup and leaving the remnants of my smoothie reward splattered all over the street. 

Preach (or maybe don't)

Preach (or maybe don't)

I had a serious moment of hesitation shortly after I published last weeks post, What Makes You Happy? I shared it with the world and then went to the kitchen to tackle the piled up dishes before going to bed. I was scrubbing away at a pan when I started overanalyzing this blog, my writing and what it is exactly that I'm trying to share with you.

I started worrying that I might be coming off as 'preachy' with these posts.

Come on, the girl who has never had a corporate job, has lived a really blessed life and hasn't even hit 30 (that's coming up fast ha) somehow thinks she knows how I should live my life. Cue the eye roll. I'm with you! According to Urban Dictionary "the cut and dry definition of preachy is a term used to describe a person who is more times than not, giving advice in an irritating...or overbearing way." You know, those people that try to shove their ideas down your throat.

What Makes You Happy?

What Makes You Happy?

My approach to happiness is a lot like cooking - and come to think of it, I'm a lot better at cooking up happiness than anything else I've tried. I know that there are several key ingredients that I need to whip some 'happy' into my life. When I get the recipe right, I feel great. When one of the ingredients is missing, I feel myself start to slip.  

I'm not shy about the mental health struggles I've had in the past. I've shared plenty of times on this blog that for a long time - the first 20 years of my life to be exact - just 'being happy' was something that felt really hard for me.

I should probably clarify that when I talk about happiness in this post I don't mean the over the top kind where you're smiling ear-to-ear and super jazzed on life. That kind of joy is the absolute best when it feels natural but I don't think it's realistic to expect that all the time. I'm talking about the peace of feeling content with whatever life looks like right now - even as it unfolds around you and things inevitably don't go as planned. 

If They Could See Me Now

If They Could See Me Now

If they could see me now.

This thought - or tune if you were ever a musical theatre nerd like me - pops into my head every so often. It’s always during the moments of my life when I’m being triggered. Whatever I’m feeling - frustrated, upset, angry, overwhelmed, anxious - is beyond the the point. For the purpose of this post you just need to know that in those moments I’m the opposite of a yoga teacher.

Truth be told, I can be kind of a jerk.

When these moments strike, I could think of myself as a hypocrite for encouraging my students to respond instead of react when apparently at times, I can’t. But I don’t. I know at the end of the day, no matter how many hours I spend on a yoga mat developing the tools that I love to share with you, I’m human. And I react - unfortunately, not always in the best way.

Remembering What Really Matters

Remembering What Really Matters

Alright guys, I have to be honest, I've had a bit of a frustrating week. After getting locked out of my bank account and struggling to gain access again (you'll hear more on that in next Monday's post) I ran into several little issues with the administrative side of running the Muskoka studio (which surprise, surprise, is not my strong suit as a business owner). Trying to deal with these hiccups in addition to the long (and amazing) hours I'm putting in for Module 3 of my 300-hour training left me feeling frustrated and really in the mood to complain.

Which I did of course, to Mike. Isn't that what boyfriends are for?

As I was about to walk out the door to catch the bus, he told me not to let this stuff ruin my day. In true yoga teacher fashion (which admittedly is often not the case), I said of course it wouldn't. After all, it's just business - in the 'big picture' these things don't matter.

How Can You Help?

How Can You Help?

I’ve been out of routine and out of my writing groove for the last few weeks. Luckily, organized, Type-A Jenn predicted this would happen with the travel I had planned and got some posts prepared ahead of time just in case I didn’t feel inspired to write while I was away. But of course, the posts ran out. 

And now here I am trying to let the words flow after a stretch of time living life and visiting with many different people that I love dearly. It’s been a while since I’ve thought about what to share with you and in trying to come up with something worthy to say, I can't really seem to find any words to pour onto this page.

It's funny isn't it. When we think too much, try too hard, we're actually working against ourselves. Life as a writer, yoga teacher, really whatever it is you do, becomes so much more difficult when you're trying to please people and prove yourself to the world. 

Oops, Missed a Monday!

Oops, Missed a Monday!

Maybe it was too much fun with these two that explains my silence on the blog this week. Or maybe it was my old roomies bachelorette last weekend that threw me off course...I think I'm still recovering. Basically, I've been having too much fun with the people I love to sit in front of my computer but I'm back to work after tonight, promise!
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This year of back and forth has me constantly saying hello and then hugging goodbye. I spoke about the countdown last week. There's little pieces of my heart scattered in different places and no matter where I am or where I'm heading, it always feels like I'm sad to say goodbye to someone and excited to see someone else.

Is the Countdown Always On?

Is the Countdown Always On?

I hate to rub it in, although I’m sure you already know this if you follow me on Instagram, but I’m writing this from 30,000 feet in the air on my way home from a 10 day trip with Mike. We started in Tenerife as our first winter in London left us craving a little blue sky, sunshine and warmth. From there we hopped over to Amsterdam where we spent Easter weekend exploring, strolling and adventuring around what so many people had told me was one of their favourite cities in Europe.

I feel it necessary to out myself here as what I like to call a ‘chronic countdown-er’. No matter how hard I try to just be present on vacation, that little whisper creeps in - oh no, 3 days to go. It’s almost over. This is your last day. Sometimes by the middle of my trip, I’m already anticipating the day that I have to leave. 

Any other ‘chronic countdown-ers’ reading this?

Yoga Made Me (less) Flexible

Yoga Made Me (less) Flexible

Whenever I tell people what I do for a living, they usually respond with:

"YOU MUST BE SO CALM"
Actually no, not at all, that's why I do so much yoga. 
OR...

"YOU MUST BE SO FLEXIBLE"
Actually, I'm less flexible than I was when I started. 

You read that right. I started dabbling in the world of yoga over a decade ago, I've been practicing regularly for 9 years, teaching full time for the past 7 and the truth is, I'm less flexible than I was when I started. Are you wondering how that's even possible? Stay with me, especially if you're one of the bendy ones that can access a lot of range of motion in your practice. 

I guess it's important to point out that I was a dancer first and a yogi second. I came to yoga with a lot of flexibility and an inner perfectionist that always wanted to be 'the best' which in my opinion at the time meant having the most range of movement.

Teach Me How To Breathe

Teach Me How To Breathe

This past Sunday I found myself lying on the floor with a room full of strangers waiting for Alan Dolan, of Breath Guru, to teach me how to breath.

So there I was, eyes closed, hand on my belly, listening to Alan's cues. I was trying really hard to nail the technique and experiencing the flip flop between breathing and thinking that I'm sure you've experienced if you practice yoga or meditate. 

Breathing.
Feeling my belly inflate like a balloon.
Noticing the longer inhale, shorter exhale.

Thinking.
How long have we been doing this?
How long are we going to do this?
Am I doing this right?

The Liar That Lives in Your Head

The Liar That Lives in Your Head

You know that voice in your head? The one that chatters incessantly about everything that's going on in your life, worries about what might one day happen in your life, overanalyzes your every move and oh, sometimes if you're lucky, wakes you up at 3 o'clock in the morning with a few problems you really need to worry about. Today we're going to talk about that. 

And for those of you that are reading or listening to this thinking 'I don't have a voice in my head', yah you do. Whoever you heard say that just now is the very voice I'm talking about. 

We all have that voice and while it serves a very essential purpose by allowing us to process and understand the world around us, when it's left to run wild, it causes problems. By problems, I mean it has the potential to make us feel really awful about who we are and what we do.

Is your butt in the chair?

Is your butt in the chair?

Committing to a weekly post has been both a really fulfilling and at times, I'll admit, really frustrating experience. Writing is so much fun when you're full of ideas, creativity is flowing and the words just seem to spill out onto the page one after the other. But what about those days when writing is more the slow process of staring at a blank page with no idea where to start and no clue what to say? You guessed it, not so fun.

Maybe it's that we're in the heart of winter and my energy is always lower at this time of year. Maybe it's the lack of inspiration that I'm feeling during my slow season - which I'm okay with and wrote about last week - but for some reason, I've had a lot of trouble getting words out recently. I told myself I would have this post finished days ago and here I am, finally tackling my blank screen because Monday morning is here and the 'editor' of this blog is pressing me for the finished product - that's me!

Laundromat Lessons

Laundromat Lessons

I'm sitting here at the laundromat - glam Friday, I know - and overheard the lady who works here say to a man leaving 'have a nice day'. He nodded towards the snowy street (in London standards) and moaned, "how can you possibly have a nice day in this?"

Mindset - it's everything. I've been in a bit of a funk this week that started with an overflowing pipe in our living room (ew) that then spiralled into seriously missing my yoga community in Canada and then moved into feeling sorry for myself that Mike works allllll the time. I find it usually happens like that, for me at least, start complaining about one thing and it has a domino effect.

Basically, I'm right where I should be. I needed to overhear the man in the laundromat letting the weather - something he can't control - dictate his happiness.

My Mid-Winter Crisis

My Mid-Winter Crisis

I've had to explain more times than I can count this year how I own a yoga studio in Canada but can somehow manage to peace out to London for 8 months of the year. It's easy to explain to the Toronto crowd that understands the short but intense busy season that hits cottage country every summer. It's a little harder for the Londoners who have never heard of this 'Muskoka' place to wrap their head around.

I explain that it's an outdoor studio and that it's only open for 4 months of the year - but if one of your could strike a deal with Mother Nature and get me 6 that would be great! I'm most often met with the same reaction...

Worry: The Energy Waster

Worry: The Energy Waster

A few months ago, I wrote a post about anticipatory anxiety and the useless but frequent habit I have of worrying about what I think might happen in the future.

When I moved to London for the year, I told Mike that I was worried about enrolling for this years June yoga retreat in Muskoka because for the first time since I started teaching, I wasn't going to have any presence on a regular schedule in Oakville/Mississauga/Toronto. He tried his best to reassure me but deep down the irrational voice in my head was worried that no one would sign up because everyone would forget about me by then. Sounds so silly typing it out and sharing that with the world, but let's face it, I'm sure that you also hear a lot of stupid things between those two ears of yours. 

Only You Know

Only You Know

I complicate things. It's a skill I've mastered over the years. From the simple decisions of daily life like: what should I have for dinner? To the big picture questions like: what's my life purpose? I overanalyze everything - especially in the wee hours of the morning when I can't sleep and am certainly not going to find any answers. 

I remember sitting with a friend a while back, struggling with indecision around a major life choice and after telling her everything that way flying around in my head I said: I just don't know what to do

She responded: 
"But you do know. You just don't want to do it."