Our Lululemon Photo Shoot

It’s been a while since feeling this excited at wanting to pounce out of bed and start my day (our wedding day and Skydiving in to the Blue Hole were both similar in depth and sentiment). An incredible surge of emotion welled within me from the time I opened my eyes … exaggerated and self-indulgent feelings of intrigue, excitement, nervousness, giddiness, blissful happiness, and worry (doubt as to the level of skill and/or connection Lululemon might be hoping or expecting from us) energized my spirit. I felt as if every nerve-ending within my body was electric and on fire. This incredible flowing life-force helped me embrace a sense of complete presence, savouring each and every moment of the day that unfolded. I didn’t want to miss a beat in this day of wonder and adventure.

We both felt incredibly rested … the comfortably sublime bed was a much-needed haven before the ‘storm’. And with some time to spare, we made our way down to the Business Centre to practice some of our more complicated mounts. Unfortunately, when trying a tricky knee balance, that I usually have a spotter for, I fell quite solidly on my wrists, jolting my shoulder. Lesson learned … better to approach the day with a bit more caution and grounding. I was literally flying too high!

The taxi ride to the UBC Boathouse (our location shoot for 8 hours today) was in an ultra-modern Prius. How appropriate! Never one to take taxis, I felt much more comfortable being ferried within an enviro-friendly vehicle. The weather was rather dreary and dark. Typical Vancouver winter weather. However, nothing could dampen my mood, truly! Upon arrival at the UBC Boathouse, I was in awe by the sheer beauty of the space that we were to call our play-space. A gorgeous synergy of wood, aluminum and big bold windows created a fabulous place to be creative in. The beauty of this day … the professionals looked to us for direction and catered to our every need, allowing us to feel at home from the moment we walked through the door. I savoured the camaraderie of our team. The crew was so talented with their individual skills and vision. I could get used to this! 🙂 Yet, I felt completely humbled by the experience. Who was I to be the centre of such attention? It felt surreal and almost out-of-place in my world of self-imposed introversion.

 

Through this whole experience, I’ve learned that everyone deserves the sort of opportunity that we’ve had today. A chance to be recognized, appreciated, pampered, connected with other like-minded souls while doing something that we truly love. That last point is wherein the magic lies. Loving life and what you do can only provide endless amounts of happiness, opportunity and gratitude. Offering our skills and passions to the world is where we excel and find the most gratitude and satisfaction. Care to join us on our next yogaFLIGHT adventure??!

The Journey to Vancouver

What a surreal day! I spent the morning in Toronto with our friend Anshu, trying to catch up on the sleep I didn’t get last night (as if that will happen — you can’t regain what is lost). I’m super excited about the next few days, and sleep wouldn’t come to me easily. So I tossed and turned, catching a few winks here and there. And before I knew it, slaDE was home from his half day at work and we were zipping off to the airport. As Judi, the copywriter for the advertising firm designing our fabulous photo shoot says: “There’s something exhilarating just about being on the move – but even better when the flight is on time and the hotel is cool :-)”. Indeed, our hotel, the Opus, is in the heart of Yaletown and is über fabulous and chic in a trendy and modern sort of way.

Better head to bed … 6am and a full day of partner yoga will make for a tired sKY if not fully rested!

Practise Makes Perfect

Practising yogaFLIGHT and finessing our flying for the photo shoot this Friday has been such an exciting journey. But one thing that we’ve been lacking is an outside perspective on our practice. So we came up with the idea that a gym with mirrors would be a great way to solve our dilemma. It so happens that less than a mile away, a lovely gym in Oshawa called Platinum Family Fitness has a gorgeous space with mirrors lining 2 walls. That’s exactly what we’d been seeking! With two hours of in-your-face body flight, we’re so much better geared for Friday, having seen where we could make improvements, with optimum visualization of the lines and alignment that visually is more appealing, safer and and more graceful when in the midst of yogaFLIGHT.

Unfolding Dreams

Had an amazing yogaFLIGHT session with my husband this afternoon. The realization that we have 5 more days to practise our partner yoga moves is hitting home for us both. A busy summer has left us with little time to actually fly and play. So with a deadline of Friday, we have just upped our ante and need to ‘get in the game’ so to speak. It’s time to finesse and synchronize, play and connect. The excitement keeps building, day by day. And the realization of such an astonishing development in the journey towards our dream’s unfolding is so fantastic! We feel very blessed and incredibly privileged.

Inspiring Dreams Within A Dream


yogaFLIGHT, yoga, skydiving and Airstream travel. What a heady package this life we lead. I am hoping that through weaving the tales of our adventures, we inspire people to pursue big dreams of their own. The last thing anyone wants to do is get to the end of their life and wonder, “What if?”. I am so blessed to be living this life dream with my soulmate and best friend.

Surrounded By Love, Remembering That I Am Not Alone

I found myself fully awake as slaDE made preparations to go to the dropzone to jump this weekend. I’m used to (sort of) my husband’s early morning departures during the week where he quietly readies himself for work at 5am. And if I’m ever-so-lucky, I can remember his sweet gentle kisses in the sleepy haze of my early morning slumber. But this morning at 7am, the striking cold brisk chill in the air woke me up alarmingly fast as I bolted to empty my bladder. Overnight, literally, the weather had changed from a lazy warm Indian Summer’s night to that belying the abrupt onset of a Winter’s morning. Once I hit the freezing grip of the toilet’s caress, I was wide awake. Sigh, so much for sleeping in :). I knew that with the weather forecast of below freezing temperatures and unruly high winds that I wouldn’t want to be skydiving this weekend (plus my back still is going through mini-spasms — not ideal for arching or abrupt off heading openings). I’m a skydiving snob per se, a fair-weather jumper. And yes, I am okay with that. I’ve spent too much time wrapped up like the Stay-Puff Marshmallow Guy / Michelin Man in the sky, and from these experiences, I know exactly where my comfort zone lies. Who wants to be questioning whether one can pull a sequence of handles at deployment time because the fingers have frozen, with all sensation pretty much gone, or at least numbed. NO Thank you!! Been there, done that.

With that being said, I chose to wrap myself up, nuzzling deeper in the blankets of our kingsized bed, loving my husband from afar (Skydive Toronto — 2 hrs away from our homebase in Oshawa) in yet another loner weekend in the Airstream. I sometimes wonder if I’m making the right choice. Of not spending that quality time with my husband on his weekends skydiving when I have other tasks to do or reasons to not be at the dropzone. I guess you could call it dz burnout. I’ve always been a bit of a loner. Yet as I sit here, I’m somewhat sad at my decision. Every singular moment that we have together is a pure luxury, regardless of what we’re doing. How could I say no? And in that moment of questioning and melancholy, I found myself wrapped in love. Literally, embraced by the warm wool blanket gifted to us by a girlfriend in Calgary. Three years after the fact, this worn and well-loved bed covering is one of the valuable items in our rV that continuously provides us with unfailingly comfort in the colder climes. And in this sweet moment of awareness, I think of her, and smile. The trend continues, and I think of, with deepening gratitude:

  • my Mother, whose warm fleece hat covers my head in the morning chill
  • my Idaho-based girlfriend whose lovingly crafted sunflower quilt provides us with warmth, sunshine and love in the darkest of nights
  • another skydiving girlfriend whose pyjamas I was wearing, acquired last winter in the midst of her move to an rV lifestyle
  • the complete stranger whom we purchased an Airstream from off of eBay (I think of this man often, silently thanking him for such an amazing home)
  • a dear lovely soul who is suffering from a terrifying illness and injuries that has this person fighting with every bit of their amazing strength and courageousness. It leaves me wondering: what can I offer or do to make life better for them?


And with these heartfelt revelations and remembrances, I realize that I am truly blessed to be surrounded by love, friendship, family and above all else, good health. Even in my solitude, I am never alone. There are always reminders of those who have left forever imprints on my heart. Of those who are experiencing tremendous trials and startling tribulations that leave me breathless.

With this surge in emotion, I am suddenly overwhelmingly quiet. A deep sense of love emanates from within, filling any space where a void may have existed briefly this morning. I am honoured and truly blessed for the friends and family in my life, for the life-partner that comes home to me, to us, unfailing in his love and dedication. With this appreciation, I’m realizing that, next time, I’ll be hard-pressed to not be by my husband’s side, even in the coldest of winters and difficult of days. I want to be his steadfast blanket, supporting and warming him when he needs me most.

Do you have a favourite momento or memory that carries you through the difficult challenging times, when feeling alone, sad and grey; a heart-worthy impression that provides a souvenir hug, enlightening and brightening your day?

Best Date Ever

It was date night: 1 month shy of our anniversary, but I wanted to make it an all-together different, fun and memorable rendezvous! I’ve been secretly planning this date with my husband for a month now. When I worked with my skydiving buddy Jill at the CNE, she spoke about her friend Peter, who happens to be the owner and Manager at the Jungle Cat World in Orono {just 30 minutes from our home base in Oshawa}. From the moment I heard about this unique privately-owned zoo, I was intrigued. And when I met Peter during one evening stint at the CNE, I was intent on exploring the possibility of a ‘Behind the Scenes‘ tour of the zoo. It sounded fascinating. AND the perfect rendezvous for our mas-iversary (monthly anniversary) date night — next month marks our 10 year anniversary since we first started dating! So in the penultimate of special dates, I surprised my husband with an unforgettable date to the Jungle Cat World Wildlife Park, an excursion that will forever be etched in our memories and hearts.

We engaged in a remarkably playful and fun tour with Head Zoo Keeper Jen Bird. She was fantastic and extremely knowledgable. The love for her job shone through in her enthusiasm and generosity. The baby Cougar (aka Puma / Mountain Lion) Sassy and endangered Amur Tiger at Jungle Cat World were the highlights of our visit. Additionally, we were blessed to also experience the Safari Zoo Camp education evening shared with 20 other grade school students. We were introduced to 10 wild animals of the park. Sassy and Nadine both made an appearance, which was thrilling yet again to see them playful and at home. The evening tour of the big cat feedings was extremely informative and enjoyable. The big cats were so much more active than from our daytime tour. Carl Tordiff was an entertaining young man who is beyond knowledgable and accommodating. Kudos to such an incredible facility far beyond any ‘zoo’ I have ever visited or experienced. An incredible experience that I recommend highly to any folks of all ages. Thank you to Peter Klose for his generosity in letting us visit with the baby cats :). Check them out at their Jungle Cat World website and on Tripadvisor.

 

Tandem a-gO-gO

slaDE has happily found a dropzone to work at for the summer. His goal, first and foremost, teach people how to fly, and secondly, earn some money throwing drogues. Layman speak: taking people for a tandem skydive. With the Sigma Tandem System that Skydive Toronto uses, slaDE must maintain a certain currency since his previous jump, all within a set time period set by Strong Parachute System.

A. If any currently rated Tandem Instructor has not made a Tandem jump in the preceding 90 days, he must make one Tandem jump with an experienced jumper acting as a student before taking a student student. The experienced jumper/ student must first be briefed on how to respond to Tandem emergencies.

That’s where I fit in! For slaDE to become recurrent, it was time for me to make another tandem jump with him. I’ve been a passenger on about 20 different occasions, as an experienced jumper, filling the ‘student’ role for either a learning tandem master or for means of recurrency. Let me tell you, it never becomes fully easy and comfortable, that relinquishing of control. You see, I have over 1400 skydives, and on all solo jumps, I have pulled my parachute each and every time, saving my own life. However, with tandems, that’s another story. More often than not, there have been ‘chicken handles’ for me to access in case I needed to perform any of the deployment or emergency functions. However, in the previous 2 times that I have jumped with slaDE, there were no such handles, apart from the main tandem canopy deployment ‘golf ball’. Gulp! 🙂 Although nervous and out of my comfort zone, I’m good with that option and choice. I have complete trust in slaDE and his abilities to land us safely on the ground.

Today was no different … the skies were a startling clear blue colour and the temperatures were invitingly warm. With the opportunity to skydive from the Cessna 182, I felt right at home, enjoying the ride to altitude as we circled a 4 square mile area around the urban airport. Our dive out of the airplane was poised and perfect. The canopy ride, stealthy (I love the Icarus canopy!) and the landing, perfection. Another jump lived, loved and shared with my husband. What a beautiful day!

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?

 

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.