Monthly Archives: November 2013

Quick practice for low back pain

These days I wake up most mornings with a dull ache around my hips and in my lower back. I absolutely love co-sleeping and breastfeeding my little one, but now that she’s bigger and more squirmy at night we get into some interesting (and not necessarily ergonomic) positions. After a night like last night, when she nurses a LOT and we all get a restless night’s sleep (she’s teething, teething, teething) I head to my mat for a little low back love.

Lucy and I rolled out our mats side by side and pulled out the box of blocks too…just in case. We turned on a little music (Shantala’s amazing album “Jaya!”) and then I got onto my mat while Lucy played nearby. As I moved through the sequence Lucy joined in sometimes. She loves to hang off my back leg in lateral standing poses and leans into the back of my legs in downward dog, poking her head through my knees to grin at me. As I got towards the seated part of the practice she sat down and built a tower with her blocks…eventually those blocks became lovely toe adornments for me 🙂

lucy yoga blocks

If you’d like some low back love too follow along with this sequence below. If you’re not sure about the names of the poses just Google them and you’ll find lots of pictures. Spend at least 5 long deep breaths in each pose and do the right side and then the left side for each pose before moving on unless otherwise stated. Enjoy!

Balasana / child’s pose

Adho Mukha Svanasana / downward facing dog

Uttanasana / standing forward bend

Tadasana / mountain pose

Parsvakonasana / extended side angle pose

Prasarita Paddotanasana / wide leg forward bend + variations (walk hands to right foot while pressing left thigh and hip back. other side. walk hands between legs and draw head towards the floor)

Trikonasana / triangle pose

Uttanasana – Adho Mukha Svanasana – Lift right leg, bend knee and open hip holding for 2 breaths – straighten your leg and draw your shin up to the top of your mat for Eka Pada Rajakapotasana prep / pigeon pose. (2-3 breaths upright, 5 breaths in a forward fold). Repeat on the other side

Virasana / hero pose (sit on a few dense, supportive blankets or yoga blocks)

Triang Mukhaikapada Paschimottanasana (if you don’t have a regular yoga practice or if you have “bad knees” I’d suggest omitting this one)

Janu Sirsasana / head to knee pose

Gomukasana / cow’s face pose (legs only with forward bend)

Ardha Matsyendrasana / half lord of the fishes pose

Sukasana / easy seat with short meditation (while toddler runs circle around you saying “all done!” in the cutest, sing-songy voice ever)

A day in the kitchen

Lately, my favorites days consist of Lucy and I spending long, lazy afternoons in the kitchen baking, cooking, and exploring. She likes to pull all the bottles and spice bags out of the pantry (and even test her strength by lugging the big bag of potatoes out and around) while I make some of our favorite recipes.

Today was inspired by our trip to Lester’s yesterday (after a beautiful, crisp morning in Bowering Park). In addition to our regular veggie haul we picked up a large bag of turnip greens and a gallon of cranberries. Knowing we wouldn’t get through these goodies during the week I set out to freeze them in single portions to use throughout the months ahead.

Turnip greens became a favorite of mine while pregnant; they are an excellent, natural source of folate. When Lucy went to sleep for her midday nap I cleaned, blanched, and dried most of the giant bag keeping some fresh to eat this week. Then when little L woke up and came downstairs to join me, we cleaned the cranberries and she helped me pour them into 1 cup bags (for muffins or other goodies) and 4 cup bags (for cranberry sauce). While we were sorting I had a pot of sauce simmering on the stove. I used this recipe since I wanted to avoid conventional sugar. I didn’t have any organic oranges and didn’t want to use the peel of a conventional one, so I squeezed the juice from one clementine into the mix. When I took this off the stove Lucy eagerly tested it out. Then she asked for more….and more! By the time she got through round three she had bright red cranberry juice everywhere! Arms, legs, face, clothes and even on the soles of her feet (yes, she stomped in the bowl). It was fun 🙂 I plan to serve this tomorrow night with one of our favorite casseroles (it’s a bit of a treat rather than a weekly thing): Broccoli, Chicken & Quinoa casseroles. It’s a recipe from the book Quinoa 365 which has a lot of great ideas for this favorite grain!

Next came the cranberry muffins. I’ve been using this recipe from Simple Bites a lot lately (I love this blog for the great recipes and also the tips for cooking whole foods for families more easily. I’m planning to work through some of her ideas in the coming months as I find myself with more and more time for these relaxing afternoons). I used fresh cranberries and chocolate chips for my add ins and they turned out delicious, as usual. Lucy and I relaxed on the couch with a cup of tea for me (water for her), a plate of muffins, and her favorite books before heading out into traffic to pick up Sean.

This is the first of many posts about food! I love to cook and bake (and eat) and am a bit obsessed with whole foods and their impact on health. Recently I’ve been wistfully telling Sean that I’d like to become a chef. He laughs a little and asks if I’ve learned anything at all about turning the things you love in life into your job 😉 But that topic deserves a whole post to itself! More to come… for now, happy eating!

Moving on

It’s with a mixture of sadness and contentment that Bobby Bessey and I announce today the closure of Shakti Yoga Studio.

For four years we have been working together every day to run our beautiful space. We’ve worked long days, evenings, weekends. We’ve spent more time together than with our own husbands (and have had a good few laughs about this!). We’ve been proud of our dream being realized and so, so proud of the beautiful community that has grown from such simple beginnings. When we opened our doors for the very first time we had no idea if anybody would come. Now we can look around us and see familiar faces; people who were there on that first weekend and have kept coming back. Plus many more who have joined us along the way. We have an amazing staff of teachers, many of them graduates from our own Yoga Teacher Training program and a wonderful Studio Manager who was one of our first students. We are proud of this community and we feel blessed to have shared space with each and every person who has walked through our studio doors these last four years.

While our community has grown and become more and more rich our personal lives have also been transforming. In the beginning Bobby and I thrived on the busyness of entrepreneurial life. We loved the process of creating, building, exploring. We learned A LOT (and have continued to learn every day). We poured our hearts and souls into the studio.

Four years later we find ourselves wondering when it will get easier. The equation of energy in and remuneration out is still very out of balance. Running a business takes a whole lot of time and energy. And right now, we’re tired. For me personally, the last 18 months have been a whirlwind while I’ve struggled to find the right balance between the demands of my business and the new love of my life, my sweet daughter Lucy. This struggle for work/life balance is not new, I know! But what I’ve realized is that I will never, ever have another opportunity to raise my child. She’s growing every day! Running a business on the other hand, I can do anytime. And maybe I will again someday. But for now, I’ll be home with Lucy and enjoying every minute. I hope you’ll stay in touch with me here on my blog, in my yoga classes (to be announced soon) or by email, phone or in person. I’d love to continue the community that has grown up around Shakti in this new phase of my life. Thank you for reading.~ Namaste


Welcome! Welcome to my blog, welcome to a space of jointly learning, sharing and engaging. I’m writing this blog as an outlet for the creative and intellectual juices that still flow through my university educated and business trained mind despite my work these days being more of the heart centered, family oriented variety. You see, I’ve made the decision to stay home with my 18 month old daughter rather than continue my work as an entrepreneur and small business owner. Interestingly enough the decision to stay home came in the same way the decision to open my business came to me 4 years ago. Then I was immensely passionate about something that I thought nobody else could do in the way that I could. Now I feel exactly the same way about raising my daughter.

When I became pregnant I told my business partner that I’d be happily back to work three months postpartum without missing a beat. She, an experienced mom, smiled and nodded. I could tell she didn’t believe me. “No really, nothing will change. I’ll be so excited to get back to my first baby, the business”. Ok she nodded with a slight grin.

The parents reading this will know exactly how the rest of the story unfolds. Baby arrives, parents fall madly in love and decide that there’s nothing in their world that can even touch the importance of this little being. Life things change to accommodate the tiny star who is now the absolute center of the universe.

Since having a baby some of my old passions have taken a backseat to my new passions. These new passions include: birth, breastfeeding, natural parenting, whole foods for families, evolutionary, gentle and/or attachment parenting, free range parenting, baby wearing & co sleeping. Some interests that have been with me for a long time have suddenly been elevated in importance: simple living, mindful living, local foods and sustainability, cross cultural engagement and awareness, travel, environmentalism & “green” products.

The underlying thread that connects my interest in all of the above is the philosophy of yoga, which I have been integrating into my life for over a decade. Yoga has taught me how to make space in my life for the things that really and truly matter. It has taught me to listen to my heart, follow my intuition and to live fully. I feel quite certain that if it weren’t for my long standing yoga practice, I would not be giving myself permission to stay-at-home.

I don’t have one particular goal for this blog but I’m sure many will reveal themselves as I write and share. As they say at my local La Leche League meeting, some of what you read here will appeal to you, some of it won’t. Take what works for you and your family and just peacefully leave the rest. I offer this blog up as a space to learn, engage and share and I hope you’ll join me in that journey.