Next on my List

I have a big travel list of where I’d like to go in the works all the time. I took this 6 month part time job abroad to accomplish some of my restless wanderlusting goals and dedicate myself to my yoga practice. During the process of finalizing I had a lot of fear crop up in the way of finances- at 23 you’re supposed to be starting your career and looking towards the future. In one particular moment I remember having a meeting at the bank and the accounts person across from me saying “have you started saving for a down payment yet?” My response was “a down payment for what?” He wasn’t so impressed- “A house, of course. If you want to be in your own place by the time your 26 you’ll need to start saving now…big time.”

And here I am. Student loans in tow, not saving for down payment, spending all my money on yoga classes and tourist traps. I don’t know- the future will most definitely be financially interesting, but I’ve learned that no matter what, its always worked out for me financial wise. Always. I’ve always made it WORK. SO why can’t I make it work for what I really love? 

This list is my 6 month no financial fear travel calendar/ list. I will not ‘put a trip on hold’ because of money- there is always a way to make it work- you just have to work it. 2017 is my year baby!

JANUARY

Luxembourg:

IMG_5763.jpgluxlife.jpgSettling in Luxembourg has taken some time and I’ve tried to be as open book as possible with sharing all the ups and downs. And there have been many ups and downs! A few months ago, back in Canada, I honestly couldn’t have told you where Luxembourg was on a map. Now I’m living here. It still boggles my mind a bit. I’m so close to everything and the country is absolutely more beautiful than I ever could have dreamed of. Sitting on 3 different plateaus I never realized how beautiful a land formation could be with an old and historical city built upon it.

Trier, Germany:

From Luxembourg, Trier is only an hour train ride away and is Germany’s oldest city. Its an ancient Roman capital that was inhabited a thousand years even before the Romans came along. Its been described to me as the perfect historical day trip- which sounds perfect while I’m settling into Europe.

FEBRUARY

Paris, France:

I think hitting Paris in February is the perfect time- not only because its valentines but it’s also my Mama’s birthday. I think we should meet in Paris- how romantic!

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-MARCH-SAVING MONTH-

APRIL

Amsterdam, Netherlands:

Meeting my parents in Amsterdam for a week of biking & yoga would be a perfect holiday! I get holidays in april & may so these trip will be longer and more thorough. Amsterdam seems like a good relaxing city- walking along canals and visiting museums.PLUS, the tulip festival is in April!!

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MAY

Greece-Anywhere & Everywhere:

May is my birthday month and I plan on making it a big one. I’d like to be in Greece for a week, island hopping, doing yoga and getting salt water cured. I’d love to get the history of Athens mixed with the relaxation of a good ol’ blue and white beach. 24 couldn’t start any better in my opinion.

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-JUNE-SAVING MONTH-

JULY

This is my big one. My big dream. My most expensive. I’d like to finish these 6 months with a yoga retreat in Bali. Its all to be decided…to be dreamed of more…but its on my list and I can’t seem to get it out of my mind.

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Those are all my MUSTS but I do have a list of optionals OF COURSE, depending on cost:

  • Rome, Italy
  • Barcelona, Spain
  • Florence, Italy
  • Lisbon, Portugal
  • Provence, France
  • South Africa
  • Marrakech, Morocco
  • Croatia
  • Goa, India (but thats big dreamin’)

Where else shall I go and write about? What are some of your best travels?

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**Most of these inspiring images are not mine.

The 8 Limbs Series: Ahimsa & My Bathroom

Yeah, you read that right. I’ve been thinking about how to write this blog. The ways I show (nonviolence) love to myself, the planet I live on and others (species aside). Let me start my saying:

There is a reason Ahimsa is the FIRST of the Yamas, which are the first of Pantanjali’s 8 limbs to yogic life/practice.

Love is the root of it all. It is the ground on which we walk as humanity. To all you cynics and non-mushy-gushy yogis out there- it is the reason you shower, or wash your hands or do your hair in the morning. I think my bathroom, all jokes aside, is the biggest hub for love in my house (perhaps the kitchen…but thats a whole other blog). Now don’t get me wrong hardcore ‘ahimsa-is more- than-an-essential-oil’ yogis, I haven’t forgotten about you either, but I believe there is a blending. Love makes room for it all- physical & spiritual and that is why I think the bathroom is the greatest place to start.

It is the first place you go in the morning, the last place you go at night- where you are with yourself. For many, the shower is where some of the best thinking happens. In my bathroom, I take care of myself- I oil pull, I brush my teeth, I wash my face…I take care of my body and allow my mind to be aware of that. Ahimsa isn’t singularly mushy gushy, and it isn’t all active activism either, it is the two coming together to create a whole (get it, yoga…unity…the whole shabang). The products we use, because we use products- whether its leaves and grass or sulphates and parabens- are direct choices we have made to purchase in order to show ourselves love. Some choose self love in conjunction with the environment or animal safety, which is WONDERFUL! Some choose self love in conjunction with sharing beauty and fab-u-lous-ness which is also WONDERFUL (and also a form of showing love for others)! Some choose it all and decide based on the day (myself).

Which ever way you choose, notice the based of this pyramid is love for yourself. If you love yourself, the world will change.

So, heres a look at how I love myself in my bathroom (ha-ha yeah,yeah the puns keep coming):

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When  I started this year I thought no way would I neti and no way would I oil pull- turns out your resistances are what you end up needing to move towards. I have a separate coconut oil and salt for the bathroom. You don’t always have to use coconut oil for pulling though!! It is very vata (because its cooling) and I should probably use sesame oil, but I like the taste of coconut oil better (another resistance). I never feel cleaner or more ready for the day than when I’ve neti’d and oil pulled. Recently I was traveling for work and didn’t neti for a week- Now I have a major cold and what I’m pretty sure is a sinus infection. I used to get them over and over and over, until I started my neti!! Talk about self love!! (& love for everyone else, i’m not a fun sick person…)

Next to the coconut oil is a solid perfume that Andrew bought me for Christmas. It smells like a field of flowers which I figure must be loving for more than just myself. I’m really smell oriented and honestly would and have bought ‘chemical’ perfume for the right smell ( Bobbi Brown’s ‘Beach) but i’m finding this is just as good (almost…).

Rose water spray. Rose water spray. Is there anything more loving than dousing your face in 12 dozen hydrating and pitta pacifying roses? I think not. Its really just ahimsa for myself.

Andrew also bought me this Peace & Harmony oil blend for Christmas. My best and most thoughtful showers happen with this oil. So delicious smelling and like I said, I’m smell oriented. I feel so relaxed after using it and I could always use more relaxation.

IMG_9368Shampoo is something I usually flip flop on. Sometimes I buy the real expensive kind- you know, the ones they put on a much ‘fancier’ shelf at Shoppers with argan oil or gold flecks or magic? Lately I’ve just been using herbal essences or fructis- whichever is more on sale at the time. Sometimes there is more ahimsa in being able to keep the finances rolling than to have great hair.

A few days ago however I found my favourite brand of natural shampoo & conditioner at Winners for cheap! I had never tried the lavender (I stick to mints or lemon). My showers have been so lovely and I love that they’re all natural and cruelty free.

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Is there anything more ahimsa than a sunny morning with “Ain’t no Mountain High Enough” playing and salted coconut SCRUB?!? Probably. But it really does give me a good happiness & love vibe for my day, which then I can go spread! Lush, thank you for making this. It. is. so. good. I use it all over- not just hands.

IMG_9372Now, I’ve been using this for years. I love it. It is a tried and true friend that I simply cannot let go of.  Its one of those bottles I’ve probably seen every morning and every night for the past 7 years. Which is crazy to think of. Products have an influence on our lives- they do. Companies are more than just companies at their most base levels. Our history bonds us- Apircot scrub thanks for helping me tackle the world ‘blemish free’…mostly. P.S I’ve often looked at this and thought “anti-imprefections”…..I think I fall more on the “Anti-perfection” side (cough cough, ahimsa). makeup

Last is my make up. I use whatever deodorant is cheapest at the time, and I know I know. All the all natural hippies who I love with all my heart are going to tell me to go all natural and cruelty free- I have, and I can’t find one that actually works well. If anyone has any recommendations that aren’t $20.00 and work, EMAIL ME PLEASE. I’d love to try. For now, watermelon lady speed stick. (and yeah, I don’t use all natural toothpaste either for the same reason)

Make up wise, I love Tarte cosmetics. Lights, camera, Flashes is my favourite mascara and I’ve yet to find a blush that I really love quite yet. They’re cruelty free & vegan. I also used a ‘dream bouncy blush’ from maybelline…but it fell in the toilet as I was creating this, which means its now in the trash. So i’m not completely natural.

Make up is one of those funny things for ahimsa in my mind. Some days its loving for me to put it on and feel beautiful. Some days I feel just as beautiful with none. Love is what feels right that day.

 

My point with all these products and bathroom talk and ahimsa is that taking time to love yourself spreads. It ripples into the world and the more love and nonviolence the better. The better you FEEL the better we all THRIVE. So do yoga, spend an hour dancing in the bathroom, practice ahimsa in the most wonderful of ways 🙂

 

Love & Light,

Katie

Spring Bliss & Cleaning

Welcome to spring! The snow is melting and the birds are singing but most importantly, the sun is shining! This time of year I always feel so much appreciation, so much so that I think Thanksgiving should maybe be a spring holiday. I work much much better in the heat and the sun and so when I finally start seeing it, all I feel is gratitude.

As such, this spring practice focuses on two Niyamas (self care/observances): Santosha &Shaucha.

Santosha translates to contentment or gratitude. As you move through this spring practice, I encourage you to feel the abundance of your life. This is not always an easy practice, we tend to get caught up in to-do lists and moving on to the next thing. Wherever you are the moment you decide to practice, create a list of things you are grateful for- even if they seem simple or silly. A practice of gratitude can actually manifest abundance, as you are putting your energy into the things that bring you bliss. Here is my list when I sat down to create this practice:

  1. Parents & little brother
  2. Extended family
  3. Luna & Bella
  4. Andrew
  5. Friends who are like family
  6. Yoga 
  7. My job
  8. My apartment
  9. My coffee mug
  10. Coloured highlighters

Shaucha is the practice of cleanliness of body, mind and environment. In this practice create a clean, quiet space. We will focus on twists and full breath in order to detoxify the body (twists ‘wring’ out toxins in the body and get things ‘moving’, breathe cleanses the energy channels & nervous system). As you move and breathe visualize your body letting go and being restored. A little spring cleaning is in order!

The poses in this practice are:

  • Seated Spinal Twist
  • Seated Cat/Cow
  • Seated Lateral bends
  • Cat/Cow
  • Downdog
  • Warrior 1
  • Warrior 2
  • Goddess (repeat with the flow of breath!)
  • Forward Fold
  • Tree (its spring, its a must.)
  • Squat pose & Squat twist
  • Butterfly

There is also a playlist for YOGA TRAVEL TEACH SPRING PLAYLIST ON SPOTIFY

Feel free to save or print this practice guide. Be sure to flow at your own pace. Set an intention. Be safe. Only move towards bliss. Happy SPRING!

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Have fun and if there are any questions, please ask away!

xx K

2015: The year of CHANGE and CHOICE

Yesterday I was looking at an instagram prompt for a ‘challenge’ i’m doing (december reflections by Susannah Conway). The prompt was “the best decision I made in 2015…” and I couldn’t come up with just one choice. SO I thought I’d fully write about it instead. So here is 2015, a year in review.

First of all i’d like to put on record t3c92aba3b7631b750076afb3f700389f.jpghat I am a lover of choices. They’re not easy, mostly because they are monumental in the way they function. Every single thing you do, or don’t do, is a choice.  Yes, of course things happen, awful things that you have no control over and no, i’m not saying people who are ill choose to be ill or anything of that nature- I believe in other things just as much as choice, like karma and destiny and love and all those ‘hippie’ things. But choice is so concrete- its something you can analyze and learn from- not in shame but with compassion for the yourself and the journey.

2015 was the year of CHANGE and CHOICE (because where theres one, the other follows)

  1. Completing my B.A : an ongoing choice that resulted in change. After 4 years of choosing to go back to a routine I didn’t necessarily love, I had the piece of paper. The next choice came at graduation time- do I go, oIMG_0442.jpgr do I work. I chose to not go to my university graduation. And I know what you are all thinking- how could you not go to graduation, you spent 4 YEARS there!?!? I decided that I was closing the book, not just turning the page. Which I know sounds harsh, but I truly never felt like I necessarily ‘fit’ with university academia. I LOVE my major ( English Lit) and I wouldn’t trade all the reading and learning about classics and plays and novels and poems I did for the world, and I also LOVE the memories I made there but university lacked creativity- it lacked passion for me really.I can hand in papers and get good grades, but why does that really matter? In my mind, commencement of my time there and my degree had already happened- the change was done, so the choice was to begin my new job and look toward a different change.
  2. Moving:  Moving into this apartment was an interesting swirl of IMG_8424.jpgevents. I knew I wanted this place for the moment I stepped into
    it and so did my roommates. Choice was NOT drawn out. The change was. It took forever to ‘lock it down’ but after multiple phone calls, we were moving. I’m so grateful for this place and the changes it has brought already.
  3. Yoga Teacher Training:  After moving in I started to look at the yoga studios in town. Finishing my B.A I was really ready for my ‘life to start’ and I felt so stuck in my B.Ed ( after 4 years of drawn out uni I was IMG_1984.jpgjumping into another year since I signed on for the concurrent ed program in first year!). I’ve always wanted to teach, I simply felt and still feel at times (unless i’m actually in a classroom on PRAC) disillusioned by school. SO I began to look to other options. I truthfully thought I would drop out of uni- I didn’t think I would start my B.Ed. I found a great YTT program that spanned over the whole year and with a teacher I felt I sort of gelled with. And that was that. You can have it all, you can do it all. I thought if I were going to get this degree, I needed SOMETHING that would balance me out, and I found the perfect thing. I don’t know what will come of either teaching certification but I’m really happy that come May I’ll be able to explore that myself!
  4. Luna Bell: I made a snap choice in August to adopt a stray cat that IMG_2124.jpgwill surely continue to change my life for the next 20 years. This may have been my best decision….Its a tie between Lu and YTT. SO much love. SO many cuddles. SO many times i’ve rolled my eyes and thought ‘ WHY are you doing that’. I love her.

I know a lot of people who had 2015 bring change and choice. 2016 will probably involve some as well, however I’d love some adventure and exploration. Those are the things I am manifesting for 2016! What are you looking towards?

Fin

Well thats it. I’m done my prac. Done my first 6 weeks of being an english teacher and going back to (dreaded) school. I can’t explain how much i’m going to miss my host teachers and the staff as well as the school itself. I really started to feel like part of the community and then BAM prac was over!I’ll even miss the gorgeous hour long commute- car pool to the school. Mornings are hard but I love car rides.

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Mostly I will miss my students. I know i’m going to continue thinking “oh! so-and-so would love this book!”. I’ll miss all their teenage quirks and all the brilliant things they say about Shakespeare texts that just HAVE to be writIMG_5520.JPGten down. (Othello needs a nap and a nyquil has to be my favourite academic comment on the play ever.) I got cards and hugs and love and i’m pretty convinced its the best school on the planet earth. I’m excited to go back in February!

So with prac done, its time to start a new chapter. These next 4 weeks are made for group projects, scholarship applications and CHRISTMAS. It my favourite, most wonderful time of the year! I have to be honest, I wasn’t looking forward to it this year- I’ve really had enough of the cold and last winter I SWORE I wouldn’t be able to make it through another one. However now that it’s almost December the coin in my brain has flipped and i’m currently waiting by the window for my winter wonderland to show up (and then swiftly LEAVE after Dec 26th). This will also be my first Christmas in my own place- one where I get a tree and decorate and bake, all those things that my family did for so many years and I was so grateful for. I’m looking forward to it all, however I’ll be missing my Mum and Pops and not-so-little brother. Partly because when we do Christmas, we do it well, and also because I love them and would love to be with them everyday.

Anyways, to the next chapter- may you be as WONDERFUL as the last!