Stylin’ Airstream lunchbox

This is a REALLY cool vintage heavy-duty lunchbox based on an all-time classic Airstream. Oh how I love our trailer! I would want to memorialise it as well as a piece of art if I could, and take it with me to work every day :).

I love how he made the propane tanks out fo 35mm film canisters. Talk about upcycling :).

It sits at 15.5″ long x 8.5 tall” x 5.5 wide”. Maybe not big enough for my lunch, but I wouldn’t care!

From Paul’s Flickr page ….

Danny Paradise Ashtanga Yoga Workshop

Thanks to Facebook, last Saturday I haphazardly stumbled across a listing for a fantastic workshop to be taught at the Yoga Loft in Lindsay by World Renown Ashtanga Yoga Master, Shamanic Practitioner, Prana Facilitator, Philosopher and Musician, Danny Paradise. The thought of attending a class inspired by him had me beyond excited at the thought of slaDE also experiencing the style and teachings of this truly talented Yogi. You see, although Danny is a fellow Canadian, his workshops usually have him travelling on a whirlwind schedule (8-9 months of the year — he’s been globe-trotting since 1979), leading workshops and holidays in exotic locations. He pretty much leads the dream life I aspire to, of travelling the world, spreading the love of Yoga, healthy living, and Prana, returning to his roots in Hawaii and Canada on his ‘down time’.  To give you an example of his amazing lifestyle and itinerary, he’s in: USA – August; Spain – September; Germany, Spain & Greece – October; UK – October-November; Thailand – January & February; Israel – February; Bali (the Spirit Festival!) – March; Thailand – April.; Brazil – July, and full circle back to the USA in August 2012. This dear readers comes solely from the scheduled events posted on his website. Whoa!!! Sensational :).

About 6 years ago, I had the privilege of participating in a day long workshop led by Danny at a yoga retreat in Goa, India (I spent 4 months there, discovering yoga in exchange for my web design services) as well as doing a photoshoot on the beach with Danny and friends. This was my first introduction to yoga in the ‘wild’. WOW! The strength, the beauty, the form. In addition. I thought Danny was a fabulous teacher. At the time, I had little to compare his level or style of instruction to. I was a fledgling yoga student and had no idea what the practice of yoga would truly mean to me and my life. Of course, one can’t predict the future, but yoga in itself has been as instrumental in an extreme change through my life progression as was my introduction to skydiving, 20 years ago. Fast forward 6 years to Lindsey Ontario … after experiencing many years of a wide variety of yoga and teaching styles, I was extremely excited at the thought of sharing in this workshop with slaDE~. And that we did. What started as an initial 3 hour afternoon sojourn at the Yoga Loft turned in to a 4 hour class with a lovely evening meal attended by Danny and friends from the studio. Danny did not disappoint. To this day, I find him an incredible teacher, displaying a chill laid-back humble style that is intuitive, knowledgeable, educational, entertaining and extremely valuable.

What I truly loved about Danny’s compassionate and playful afternoon Ashtanga workshop was his provision of a reading list along with notes on and time for a full Pranayama practice.  He spent a good 45 minutes discussing what yoga, shamanism, prayer, meditation and healthy living has meant to him throughout his yoga lifetime (he started in 1976 with David Williams & Nancy Gilgoff). Throughout the rest of his Ashtanga (Primary Series) class, Danny skillfully guided and encouraged us, his students, to empower our minds and make a daily practice of yoga that is “sacred, safe, meditative, healing, joyful, expanding, energetic and pain-free — modified where necessary” (whether it be pranayama, meditation or asana). Many a wonderful quote and inspirational message came from Danny. His personal thoughts and interpretations on yoga expressed the practice as being about (as transcribed from my hectic scribblings during the class):

  • consciousness and self-understanding
  • evolution
  • healing
  • soul work accessing deep levels of the brain
  • reconnecting
  • body and spiritual purification
  • aging with vitality, grace, health and clarity
  • an ancient tradition as old as the human race that delves in to the understanding of human consciousness
  • one way of eliminating fear, anxiety, disease and stress
  • grounding in the present (the only place where true healing can take place)
  • communication with spirit
  • a way of understanding aging and death
  • a gateway for emotional release
I desperately needed this reintroduction in to the magical world of yoga’s realm. Sometimes I find myself losing sight of the possibility of such presence and strength in my life, especially when my body feels weak, unforgiving and judgmental. It’s at times like these that I need Yoga most. Yoga is indeed a truly personal and private journey towards liberation. And I am most grateful for this opportunity in my transformative and educational journey.

“Though Yoga is an ancient teaching it is open to interpretation in all eras and by everyone who enters into the exploration of finding who they really are and what is their ever-evolving place in this endless creation.”

 From Danny’s website, here are a few more personal impressions :

  • Everyone is born to follow their dream.
  • Borders were created by narrow-minded men {not women!} to divide and control people, but God created a world and a universe without borders, without limitations…
  • Only a person with a tiny mind wants to lock people out or in.
  • Death is just another stage of evolution.
  • Love is an endless well available at all times from the Great Spirit…no charge!
  • Go organic! Stay Flexible…
  • Find out what’s really going on….Travel!

My thoughts exactly! What do you think? What does yoga mean to you in your life?

 

Lessons in Acro Yoga

As the fluid business of the past week settles in to my core, and I sit with the experiences of our Acro Yoga intensive 4 days, I listen instinctively to the valuable lessons that i’ve been blessed with. The biggest being:

Happiness formula = Doing MY best and feeling good about it whilst finding the value in my worth and efforts.

Unhappiness formula = Comparing myself to others. Or as Baron Baptiste has said: “when we focus on the things we can’t do, we lose sight of the things we can do

The leaps and bounds in improvement and stability of my acro yoga (aka yogaFLIGHT) skills has been tremendous and somewhat overwhelming. If I were to compare myself and technique to others that participated in the throwdown, I was truly ‘nothing special’. A beginner at best. However, I still view the time spent with Eugene and Jessie and their acro crew and talents as inspirational models of beauty, grace and flight. I so admire their years of hard work in getting to where they soar effortlessly and beautifully. They are indeed all magnificent!

  • Acro Yoga may look easy and fluid, but only because there has been much repetition, learning and practice (and perhaps falls from great height).
  • engagement of the core and extension through my extremities makes all the difference
  • by coming in to my centre, both physically and mentally, I am able to focus and shift any energies of fear and discomfort
  • hand to hand does not equal death grip
  • Acro Yoga maneuvers with a broken finger is not the best of ideas (although I wasn’t going to let it stop me!) — see the hand-to-hand point above 🙂
  • success with Acro Yoga is similar to being on the Slackline. One needs to find both stillness and breath to keep balanced and focussed
  • it’s okay to stay true to my desires and needs
  • remember the laughter, the fun and the play! oh yes, and the FLIGHT!!!!
  • from the acroyoga.com website: “In the pursuit of excellence we sometimes lose sight of why we were attracted to something. The joy and excitement we experienced can easily be replaced by obsessive striving, and a strong desire to ‘strike the pose’. In so doing we move away from our innate sense of discovery in favor of our attachment to completion.”
To come away from the experience that I did with such a wealth of knowledge and new friends was a priceless adventure well worth the commitment which I at first feared due to injury.
Do you have any experiences that you pushed yourself beyond your comfort zone but were grateful to have participated in?

Recovering

What a joy it was to sleep in this morning. The temperatures of the past week had waned, and a cool morning breeze filled the room and warmed my soul. I couldn’t help but wake with a smile, thinking of the past month here in Montreal. So many amazing and diverse memories, all involving flight and wonderful connections. The joy in life really seems to be all about connecting. Without that strand of humanity to link one experience with another, life would feel incredibly empty. Here’s a similar analogy that resonated huge with me this week. Kate “B-girl Lynx” Alsterlun extended this analogy as learned from Eugene Poku: In yoga, the breath is like the string of a pearl necklace. The pearls are the asanas and the breath brings the asanas full circle and keeps the practice together, continuous and circular.

The morning was spent with Paul teaching us some tricks to strength in Chaturanga, Downward Dog and jump forwards, linking the Sun Salutation together as a fluid strong movement. I felt very blessed to witness his teaching style and to learn some pointers for my own practice and teaching. Before we knew it, we were on our way back to Verona for a visit with slaDE~s Mom. It would be so good to arrive back at our Airstream, to sleep succulently sound in our own bed.

Acro Yoga Fusion Throwdown, Day 4

Today began with learning a complex and long performance flow created by by Eugene and Jessie. Layer upon layer upon layer of seamless dynamic moves and intricate weaving of acro yoga techniques with a dance and yogic flair. Sutble, fierce, challenging but oh so beautiful. I partnered up with the beautiful and talented Laurence … so competent in fact that she was equally skilled as both flyer and base. Working with me (an inexperienced acro flyer) is an incredible challenge as it is … but Laurence was patient, kind and solid as a base. Although I have dabbled as a base the past four days, I am nowhere close to providing the necessary caliber of stability needed to safely hoist people through such maneuvers as ‘Star’, ‘Around the World’, ‘Ninja Star’, etc. The trick to getting to this level is practice, practice, practice. Wish I had someone more my weight and height to play and experiment with on a regular basis. The afternoon revealed a mini-workshop with Jason Nemer of acroyoga.org on the basics of successful handstands. Again, lack of mobility and strength in my shoulders left me wanting for more …. I’m learning that both daily core and shoulder strengthening and building is becoming necessary in this lifestyle of more advanced acro yoga (or what we call yogaFLIGHT). Time to redirect my focus.

The ending of our weekend climaxed with a boy vs girl Creative Process. With a quick 30 minutes to prepare our staged act, we stepped in to ‘the Cypher’ and rocked our performances with giggles and fire … the penultimate throwdown before an informal acro-jam. Personally, I was hoping for more flow practice after the throwdown with Eugene and Jessie. But as with all endings and beginnings, the flow of their structure is what I make of the time and interaction within the context. So perhaps I was expecting more of myself. However, feeling somewhat reticent with my new-found knowledge and skills, I sat back shyly whilst the more experienced acro-yogis soared through delicious flows and experimental flights in their acro-jam. Sometimes just watching can be enough. I am however yearning a deeper connection with an acro community. Time to investigate the Toronto scene whilst we’re in the area for a few months!

The evening was spent cooking and dining with our hosts at ‘Chateau Yogi’. Paul and Bryce had the perfect kitchen and patio space to enjoy a twilight potluck of personalities and stories. Of course, I enjoyed finding the beauty in photographing shadows, light, people and textures.

 

Acro Yoga Fusion Throwdown, Day 3

Morning review, B-girl afternoon. I thoroughly enjoyed the morning review. The past two days have literally flown by, with so much to remember through each flow sequence, let alone a whole day of advanced learning and techniques that can only be felt through experience and not specifically a workbook of moves. It’s been quite the blessing to have such high caliber of instructors, teachers, trainers, acro yogis (both base and flyers). To learn from the best has been phenomenal but also a frustrating and sometimes emotional experience for me. I am the least experienced flyer here and the advanced level of the manoeuvres we have been doing has challenged me beyond any expectations of what I came into this throwdown with. My ego took quite the brutal turn today and that’s where the emotional aspect came into play. I felt quite unworthy and inadequate with what I’ve brought to the table. The beauty and grace and skill of the people we’ve met is phenomenal. I feel somewhat out of my element, but have always been encouraged through this process by Jessie and Jill, two sensational instructors. Collin and slaDE have also been encouraging , and it’s been great to fly with other people as my base. I’ve even grown more comfortable in my skills as a base. Something I wasn’t certain I’d ever see … I suppose you can say that my tool-belt per se has expanded considerably! And the friendship base of our craft has grown exponentially. Today I really learned the importance of providing a safe effective spot vs a reluctant uncertain spot. The role of the spotter is imperative to the safety of the base / flyer partnership, especially with such advanced asanas as we’ve been trying. And regardless of the skill level of the duo, a spotter has been used 98% of the time here. I certainly find safety and comfort in that backup.

The afternoon brought its own set of challenges. I discovered that B-girling wasn’t really my thing (break-dancing). I was quite klutzy and clumsy in my dance efforts, and felt the need to step back from the less than joyful break dancing strength routines. My shoulders have certainly proven to be a painful challenge from the beginning of this intensive 4-day workshop. slaDE fell naturally into the rhythm and moves of this genre, and I enjoyed photographing the others in the throes of their bliss. It was truly lovely to watch, but finding the desire and need for my own space, I managed to steal away for a walk amidst the Place des Arts, photographing the people immersed in the ‘Just For Laughs’ festival. A fitness contest called ‘The Ego Games’ was especially amusing to film. Some great photos from a Sunday afternoon follow.

10% in your life is what happened to you and 90% is how you react to it.
 ~ Lou Holtz

 

From there, our group shifted to the home of Jessie and Eugene for an evening potluck extravaganza. A delectable yummy assortment of food and people. But as I find happens when good times are had, the time flies by, and with a 45 minute + commute back to our host’s place, I was wanting to find time for a cold shower to reduce my core temperature, and make my way off to bed before midnight. 6am comes awfully early and quick with less than my desired 7 hours of restful sleep.

Acro Yoga Fusion Throwdown, Day 2

Day 2. 

What an incredible creative process today was! We were given a partner to work with as a ‘chameleon’ within a set time frame of 25 minutes, coming up with a routine of sorts that contained spontaneous acro yoga moves that made our heart sing and worked with both partners strengths and weaknesses. I’m learning that being the base on some of these intricate looking transitions is actually attainable to me. Like a shoulder stand. Sha-wing! Today my body is extremely sore and weary, but my energy levels far exceeded that of yesterday. The afternoon workshop on Acro and Capoeira was fascinating. Capoeira is another form of dance that seems way beyond my level of experience and strength. But at the same time, it’s still so neat to witness the combination of martial arts, dance, athleticism and music intertwine with the skills of acrobatic flight.

Being today was our monthly mas-iversary, Hubby and I ate at an amazing Thai restaurant in a Mall food-court, as recommended by Eugene. Who expects to find stellar food at a food-court within a Mall? Not I. But a highly unexpected treat to be sure. If in Montreal and craving yummy and fresh Thai food, made to order, go check out ‘Restaurant Cuisine Bangkok‘ @ 1616 Sainte-Catherine Rue West. Authentically delicious!

The Acro jam in the park was very educational for both slaDE and myself. I finally feel as if I am understanding the beginnings of the move otherwise known as ‘Ninja Star’. Eugene and Jessie spent time with us, breaking each move down in to pieces. I’m enjoying the more advanced moves so much more now that I am feeling confidant in my abilities with each passing day. Hallelujah!

 

Acro Yoga Fusion Throwdown, Day 1

Day 1 at the Acro Yoga Fusion Throwdown should instead be called Acro Yoga Bootcamp extraordinaire. WOW. I am so out of shape, but I simply adored and loved every moment of flying and the body aches. Today I learned the valuable lesson of having a spotter …. it makes all the difference in safety and confidence, for me, in performing these highly advanced acrobatic moves.

 

What an incredible day! A vibrant, body wrenching, core engaging, spirit flying, confidence building, soul-inspiring kind of day. I surprised myself today by pushing my perceived limitations and thoroughly immersed myself in the acro yoga challenges gifted to us. I flew slaDE really well, surprising myself at the diversity of postures we attempted successfully and achieved wholeheartedly and with beauty. It was an incredible experience to delve in to the realms of such advance postures … shoulder stands, etc. I made the error of not snacking enough during the morning, so by lunchtime, my body crashed and I was oh so tired during our lunch break. Nourished, we returned to the studio and I spent a good long savasana revitalizing my spirit before the afternoon ramped up our energy levels. I’m finding that my body feels weak and weathered through much of the strength moves, but I am pushing my envelope and taste-testing the challenges thrown our way. The afternoon ended with a surprising burst of aerobic strength moves rattled off that pushed my limits of strength and agility. I was so weary. But despite my fatigue, I still found incredible joy and energy in photographing the unfolding events in the ‘Place Des Arts’ square where the ‘Just for Laughs’ festival was in full swing. I love the colour and character of this city … Montreal, the home of never-ending summer festivals!

Although I craved to attend the acro jam in the park this evening, my body declined the invitation and instead decided to shut down regardless of wants or desire. We returned to our hosted haven with a throbbing heat hanging heavily in the air. Despite the intense temperature, we both literally collapsed in to a deep comatose sleep for several hours. It felt amazing to listen to my body’s needs. My shoulder is suffering greatly (thank goodness for ice packs and arnica), and the pain of my broke finger is outrageous. It felt like a crazy maneuver to indulge a steaming hot epsom salt bath in 33 degree Celsius weather, but the healing powers of the salts were dearly needed. An ice pack on the head helped to keep me cool thankfully.

Trying to be present and in the moment, so I am taking each day as it comes, listening to my body, and letting the moment of flow guide me from one moment to the next. We’ll see what tomorrow brings! Time to crash and rejuvenate for tomorrow’s exciting challenges!

Revisiting Montreal in July 2011

We are so incredibly blessed. After leaving slaDE~s Mom’s late in the evening, we made our way to Montreal to our home for the next 5-6 days. A beautiful authentic man whom we meet on our last visit to Montreal (at both the Acro Yoga Sunday jam and the Yogaslackers slackline workshop) has gifted us with a place to stay whilst here for the Acro Yoga Fusion Throwdown. He lives  a stones throw away from the La Salle Metro, just south of downtown. The space is fantastic, with a humungous kitchen and a beauteous yoga studio in house. The icing on the cake … we have a bed and room to call our own with a mighty important fan to keep us comfortable during this raging heat wave. The journey thus far is bringing us the most incredible souls and opportunities along our path. The adventure continues ….

 

RV Dehumidifiers

With Ontario summer comes hot humid weather (or so it is at the moment!). Humidity and trailers don’t go together so well. Alas, comes the issue of humid closets and clothing. With moisture in freshly washed clothes comes a not-so-fresh smell several days later. So in order to tackle this, we needed some sort of dehumidifier.

Alternative #1

Without wanting to generate even more heat through an electric dehumidifier, I found an incredible product on the market that has served us from the beginning of our RV adventures. When I first initially did some research, I stumbled across an economical alternative at our local Co-op store in Teeswater. It’s called ‘High & Dry’ from Prairie West Industrial Ltd. and is made in Winnipeg, Manitoba (Canada). In our travels, I’ve looked for this product everywhere, but so far have only seen it at the one Co-op store close to my Father’s Canadian farm.

The 3.1 kg bag is dubbed as a moisture remover for basements, cabins, flooded areas, sheds, garages, tents, boats, or anywhere that high moisture is a problem. It’s basically Calcium Chloride in a burlap bag. Since my discovery of this product almost 2 years ago, we have gone through 4 to 5 bags. At around $15 per bag, it’s a very affordable and convenient option. Dependant on the season and destination, the bag lasts us on average for about 3 months and works impeccably well. The diagram on the front of the packaging shows the 7 lb bag secured by a hook over a pail. At first, I thought perhaps I could hang the bag from the affixed shower head but realized that such a heavy item would ultimately pull the faucet from the wall at some point. This called for an alternative resolution. With such a smart creative husband, he came up with the perfect solution. slaDE macgyvered a makeshift collection bin by securing porch screen material loosely over a 5 gallon pail with his work tie-wire. We set the bucket in the shower and it wicks away moisture from throughout the Airstream fabulously!

 

Alternative #2

Another dehumidier option that we’ve invested in is the product called ‘Damp Rid‘. I bought 2 small containers, one to keep in the closet and the other in my electronics drawer. These containers are topped up at the end of my ‘High & Dry’ contents life end (small remnants of calcium chloride replenish these containers every 3 months … therefore renewable and more eco-friendly than just pitching after 1 use).

 

Alternative #3

It was only a few months ago that we stumbled across the product ‘Eva-Dry‘:

Safe, non-toxic, natural defense against moisture and mildew. Renewable Eva-Dry dehumidifiers are filled with silica gel, a very thirsty substance. Odorless silica beads absorb many times their weight in moisture and lock it in so water can’t leak or spill out.

When the Eva-Dry is “full” you renew the silica inside by plugging the unit into any power outlet. Heat gently releases water vapor in a few hours. When the indicator is blue again, Eva-Dry is renewed and ready to go back to work. You can repeat the process for up to 10 years!

I actually saw this product advertised a few months before purchasing and was somewhat leery about it’s proclaimed capabilities. However, I was happily surprised!

Here’s a testimonial: we’ve used the Eva-Dry 500 now for the past 3 months, and I must admit, it has worked extremely well in our closet. In fact, I hope to buy another one to use for the rest of the RV (to replace the Calcium Chloride — if it works as well as the ‘High & Dry’ now, Eva-Dry will pay for itself after 9 months – 1 year comparatively). We’ve plugged it in twice over the past 90 days and I LOVE the fact that this is ‘rechargeable’. There is no need for batteries, chemicals or a purchase every few months. When plugged in, we need an outside power source to ‘recharge’ the silica pellets. So far so good! I like the colourant in the pellets which tell me when the unit needs to be replenished (when they turn bright pink, it’s time to plug the somewhat heavy device in for approximately 12-14 hours — we use a power bar to have it sitting upright during the discharge. The website recommends that “the best place to renew the Eva-Dry is in any well ventilated area or in a bathroom with the exhaust fan on”).

So far, all the alternatives have been great effective options. Economically, Eva-Dry seems to outweigh them all. The ‘High & Dry’ has been the most visibly effective humidity deterrent (to give Eva-Dry a fair chance, we need to buy one for the whole trailer). I’m happy with them all and use all three at the moment for removing moisture in the trailer. I recommend them all!

PS I’ve just discovered online that you can go to a pool store and purchase Calcium Chloride. Not sure if it would be cheaper than the ‘High & Dry’, or packaged as conveniently, but it’s an option for y’all!