How you Breath, is how you Live

Yoga, for me, wasn’t really a choice. It kinda happened to me.  But for that I am very grateful.

You see I have navigated nearly three years with post concussion syndrome and myo-facial injury but it still manages to throw me for loops. In March 2017 I said goodbye to my weightlifting life and bought a two month groupon for unlimited hot yoga at De La Sol yoga studios in Hamilton. Yoga was the only method of movement that seemed to do any sort of good for me at the time.

My body was broken, my muscles were weak, and to be honest my soul was quiet discouraged and low with this progression of negative symptoms. Disheartened, I began attending classes regularly. My immediate response was that it made my body feel GOOD. I was blown away by the dedication of the teachers at the studio and the variety of classes that I could attend based on my skill level and body’s ability that day.

But something bigger has shifted in the past 7 months. First? I noticed that this might be the first time in my life that I actually have started to listed to my body. Truly and deeply. WHAT do you need right now body? How do YOU want to move. How incredible. That we don’t truly MOVE the way we want to- effortlessly with grace and ease. We are taught how to move- we don’t just do it. Why are we so rigid? This movement, with breath, has become so therapeutic to me.
Second? I stopped pushing myself past my limits. I have always been an incredibly big headed person when it comes to lifting, or working out in general. My ego has been kicked in the gut these days. It’s damn refreshing (mostly). I lay there while everyone else is balancing on one finger (haha) and it.feels.good.
Lastly? The inevitable happened. Yoga made its way into how I live my life. I am more connected, I look forward to taking a break and recentering, and I frequently take lessons from practice and apply them in my day to day journey. I know everyone says this will happen but I really didn’t understand it until I experienced it.

Bottom line is that I appreciate my whole self in its entirety so much more. The connection between body and mind that yoga has given me is something I’m having a hard time putting into words.

If you’re experiencing muscular discomfort- talk to your physiotherapist or health care professional about yoga (I find hot is the best). It’s not full proof, but I would say about 80-90% of the time I feel so. much. better. after a class. It sets the platform for me to take on my day. My mind is in a better place, I have given my body some love, and I have worked and stretched my muscles in a therapeutic way that is not damaging but rather nourishing. I am better able to do my physiotherapy and strengthen in areas that allow me to progress. Not only that, but it helps the pain. My muscles are stiff and ridged. The heat combined with the movement truly provides the right atmosphere for them to let go and relax.

De la Sol has a 30 day yoga challenge coming up next week and I’m excited to dedicate some serious time to my practice. 30 yoga classes in 30 days might be too much for me! We’ll have to see how it goes. But I think this could be a good push in the right direction. I still would like to get back to weightlifting and running eventually, but I would never leave yoga behind.

Too long didn’t read: MOVE WITH BREATH. It’s in the title. My yoga teacher begins every class with that saying. It’s so true. You will thank yourself if you do.

I hope you’ve found some time for yourself over the hubbub of the long weekend. There’s often lots of drinking, eating, long hours and stress involved. As for myself, I’ve been terribly sick. Rest, slow calming movements and bubble baths are on the agenda.

With thanksgiving, breath and a whole lot of love,

Kolina

Love Month

February rolls around and there are are a few types of people:

  1. You love valentines day and everything, I mean everything  is pink. Right down to the little red hearts you draw in your agenda.
  2. You hate valentines day with a burning passion and tend to gravitate towards ignoring the fact that pink, a wretched colour, even exists.
  3. Wait.. it’s valentines day??

I feel like as I’ve gotten older, random holidays that pop up throughout the year hold more meaning for me. You could care about them.. or you could not. Truth be told though, you’re probably going to be having way more fun if you’re the one participating. I didn’t really think like this until I learned what it’s like to be unable to join in. The year I got hit by that car, was the year all of my friends went all out for Halloween. This sounds silly but after halloween came and went and I was still bedridden, the thought occurred to me that  I might never get another halloween. Suddenly it seemed stupid that given the choice to have fun with it or pass, I had always decided that it was too childish for me. Now the only thing that seemed childish was how I chose to use my perspective. I know this seems drastic.. missing one halloween doesn’t seem like a big deal. But I missed out on many aspects of my life because of this accident. Some parts I still miss out on even now, two years later. If I didn’t learn to appreciate the things I can in my life from this experience then that would be very, very drastic.

This year love month came around and it got me thinking about what it means to have a day to celebrate love. Valentines day for me always seemed very family centred. My mom still writes my sister and I valentines day cards. I still have a teddy bear on my shelf with a heart written ” I love you, love Oma”. I’ve put more effort into the cards I’ve written for friends than I ever did for any crush.

So what does celebrating love on this day actually mean? I think it can mean a lot of things. Love to me has always been multifaceted. I think it exists as one entity that can be expressed in a multitude of ways. This, in and of itself, is why I do not think having a day to celebrate love is lame. We’ve all heard it: “you should be celebrating love evverrryday, not just on valentines day.” Yes. Yes you should. But if everyone took this day to sit down and extra appreciate what love actually exists as in their lives, then maybe it will feel ever more present on days that are not February 14th.

Things that I think we should all have ~ F E E L I N G S ~ for :

  • Ourselves!! Self looooooovvveee!! When’s the last time we all took a good hard sit down and said “hey body!!! Yeah I mean you, you beautiful thing that has taken care of me for my entire life–  I’m gonna start listening to what you actually want!” Personal care is a journey I’m still working on. I’m slowly starting to learn about what it means to listen when your body & mind ask for something.
  • The earth!! I think this one is so forgotten. We all need to be showing gratitude for the foundation that governs our every step. February has sported some wonderfully snowy days so far. Catch those snowflakes!! This includes looking at lifestyle changes that can help us be kinder to our environment. 
  • Friends and family!! These people in your life that love you and nurture you are important!
  • A significant other who recognizes the universes that you hold inside you!!! You don’t have time for mediocre and if thats all they can give you that then I’m sorry but a love month can become a goodbye month pretty damn easily. ( See bullet #1 & listening to what your mind and body want)
  •  Art. Read some poetry, some fictional work, watch a film, go to a museum, a dance show, play some new music. I am always searching for the human condition in it’s purest and most expressive form.
  • Show some lovin’ to your furry friends!! They’re there for you when no one else is! (Maybe cut meat out of your diet once a week?? Shameless plant based plug? Maybe. But animals need love too!)
  • Just caring about humans in general. Don’t engage in negativity. Ditch the stigmas you carry, the biases, the misconceptions. If you don’t get something learn about it. I have big feelings about not. making. others. feel. lesser.

Mostly I think that love involves expressive gratitude. What are you thankful for? Lead each day with the things that you are appreciative of, and you will find that love for those things, places, or people will flow quite freely. These are all things I’ve been trying to get better at working into my life. I really think reflecting is a great way to learn and make subtle, important changes.


An end note with a personal opinion:

I often see posts that look a lot like this circulating on valentines day:

You don’t have a valentine on valentines day? Well some people don’t have a mom on mothers day or a dad on father’s day so shut the f*ck up”

My human experience has included these two things:

  1. I have not had a dad on father’s day since I was about 15 years old.  
  2. I have been valentine-less for the previous 21 valentine days. 

I know how much it sucks to scroll through social media, on both of these days. Do you know how shitty it is to look through hundreds of pictures of people golfing on July 21st know that will never be me and my dad? I also know what it feels like to be totally fine on both of these days because I don’t have a dad on any day and I am happy for those people that get to spend time with their fathers. I also didn’t have a love on any other day.  I would be lying though, if I said it has never sucked to wonder what it’s like to be posting a picture of someone you are so in love with on a day meant for cherishing them. So it troubles me to see this post floating around, making people who may quite possibly feel as though they will never find love, feel even worse about themselves.  Wanting to find a person, does not mean you don’t feel bad for someone who has experienced loss. The two do not equate each other.

If you are lonely on valentines day and want to express that loneliness on valentines day that is okay. If you are not lonely on valentines day that is also okay. If you feel like you want to extend love into other areas of your life because you reckon you should give it back to the universe that is also okay. If you have a significant other that you want to celebrate on valentines day, that is wonderful and very ok. If you have lost a parent and are sad that you cannot show them the love you wish you could on this day that is okay (and for that I am so very sorry – because I know).

But could I please ask this: That we all be very aware and respectful of others & their personal feelings, all days. Especially on days when some of us might be a little lonelier. 

(And if there are lonely people in our lives maybe we just need to show them a little more love, not a little more apathy)

With the most love to everyone this month,

Kolina