Jealousy. Competition. Ego.

You’re an athlete competing for a spot on the provincial/university/local team. You don’t see your name on the lineup and feel the pang of disappointment. Maybe you see another name of someone you thought you were more skilled then and you feel the venom of jealousy.

You’ve been working so hard in your office; showing your determination to exceed expectations and consistently showcasing your impeccable skills at your job. Suddenly you get word that your colleague, someone who maybe doesn’t work as hard as you or hasn’t been with your office as long as you, gets the promotion you have been determined to get. You feel the hit to your ego and the distaste of frustration.

You’re a new yoga teacher, fresh out of teacher training and so excited to take on the world, spreading goodness and your joy of yoga. You go to your first teach out or apply to teach at your favourite local studio and suddenly realize how many other teachers there are applying for the same classes. You are thrown into a pool of yoga competition to have the best voice, the most inspiring practice and the most unique teachings. After just being taught all about compassion, reducing ego and supporting all beings, how do you react to a world full of jealousy, competition and ego?

The first two examples happened to me many times. The success of my athletics and my career were always at the forefront of my mind. But my ego and competitive spirit fuelled my drive to be the best and due to many failures I did make the BC Provincial Volleyball Team and win Canadian Western Nationals, I did make the Acadia University Varsity Volleyball team and become a starter and rookie of the year in my first year, and I did get hired for the marketing career I desired the day after I graduated university with my BBA degree. But was I truly happy on the inside? Not at all. Because I always wanted MORE. As soon as I achieved one goal, I moved onto the next best objective, not even celebrating what I had already achieved. I continued to compete, sometimes competing so hard with my friends that I forgot to support them. I would get jealous of praise they received because I wasn’t receiving it. It was incredibly unhealthy and it left me feeling empty.

That was why when I found yoga it was so nourishing for me. It was the first environment that I had been in that didn’t encourage ego or competition; infact, it discouraged it. Yoga was truly a breath of fresh air.

So after I received my first 200hour yoga teacher training certificate and was a fresh little yogi fish in the big yoga world sea, I was surprised to see the competitive environment of yoga teachers lobbying for classes. Fortunately this time I was prepared with my tool kit of teachings and awareness and was able to recognize the environment and my nature before I succumbed to it. I applied and got classes, celebrating this achievement and feeling humbled for the opportunity. I watched as new teacher friends also got classes, some at the same studios I applied for, and this time instead of brooding with jealousy, I celebrated their success with them!! I was shocked that this even came naturally to me, that it wasn’t an effort to release my competitive nature. It was actually easier on my mind and my health to find love as my first reaction.

So while I still catch myself in life getting caught up in ego, as all humans will, I am grateful for the teachings and humility I have received through yoga and the love it has filled my emptiness with. I have moved leaps and bounds closer to daily Santosha (contentment) and I could not be happier. 🙂

My wish for humanity is that everyone may find this release of ego and competition. At the moment our world is full of jealousy, anger and hatred due to the egos of one another fuelling competition and disconnection. If we learn to support and uplift each other instead of fighting each other, we will find our world full of love and happiness. This movement starts with each of us. It starts with me, it starts with you. Please be kind and inspire a more loving and supportive world.

Namaste my friends.

Smile More.

nicthehappyyogi

I stand strong beside my friends; no matter your gender, sexual orientation, race, culture, or background, I will be your friend. We are all one. But there is one thing that challenges my ability to create friendship, and that is when someone is not living a life in kindness, when they are not leading a life built with love.

So when I read about feminist movements  resisting being “likeable” and resisting “smiling more”, I just don’t support these measures of resistance. I understand that there is a long history of women being conditioned to be quiet, to be polite and to not have an opinion on things “only men” should talk about, and that shit is WRONG. Women have a voice and I want that voice to be heard loud and clear! I want our voices to be respected around the world. This is where the “anti-likeable” movement is coming from, which definitely makes complete sense. To be “likeable” to fit into a box defined by men/society is not right and I do NOT support this box. And to be told to, “smile more” instead of telling someone what you really feel due to fear of being judged or being punished by men/society is not right and I do NOT support this either.

But… Continue reading

Is Yoga For Everyone?

nicthehappyyogi

I’m not flexible.

I’m too busy.

I’m can’t focus long enough to be still for 75 minutes.

I don’t want to become too flexible.

I have injuries.

I can’t meditate.

Yoga is too hard.

Yoga is boring.

These are the common comments I get when I tell them I teach yoga/ask if they would like to yoga with me. Since they can’t touch their toes, balance on their head, retain focus, meditate or are too injured, they think that yoga isn’t for them. Or they tried a couple yoga classes and either felt intimated by advanced poses or not stimulated enough to be interested. No matter your reason, you just feel like yoga isn’t for you. Well, yoga CAN BE for everyone, but the yoga you did previously or what you consider yoga may not be the best type of yoga practice for you right now. Yoga has many different forms (8 actually) and while one may not serve you at this moment, another could. Our bodies, minds and lives are constantly evolving, and so should our yoga practice. Continue reading

To sing, or not to sing.

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I have never been a very good singer, so everyone says. I have always been called ‘tone-deaf’ and that I have ‘no rhythm’. Watching old videos of me and listening to recordings confirmed everyone’s statements but I am beginning to think that my lack of voice and rhythm stemmed from my lack of confidence, not my lack of talent. These statements from friends and family, while not meant to hurtful, did affect my self esteem and caused me to stifle my voice for many years.

I began to notice a change in my voice about two months ago in a yoga class when singing the mantra ‘Aum’ or ‘Om’. All of a sudden my voice didn’t sound like mine anymore, it blended with the teacher’s tone and became one instead of separate. I was harmonizing with her! And the vibration in this harmony was incredible. Ever since this beautiful moment I have felt a shift, a spark of confidence in the beauty of my voice. I am now singing Aum louder in classes, no longer fearful that others will grimace at my lack of tone. I am even playing with my voice, singing while walking down the street or cleaning the house, enjoying the sounds I am capable of creating. It’s amazing was a little self-love can do to add fulfillment to your day. I now firmly believe that I am not too old or untalented to learn to sing. I know I have a beautiful voice inside of me, it was just smothered by my self-doubt and fear. Do you have a voice you have yet to discover? Or have you always doubted your creativity to paint or draw? Or your ability to be athletic? There is nothing that you cannot become, you just need to believe in yourself and practice, practice, practice. Remove the fear, unveil the beauty.

Be true to you. Namaste my friends.

Happiness is a Choice

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I have officially arrived in Melbourne and wow, is this city beautiful! From the old fashion trams, to the abstract artwork on every block, to the beautiful trees and grassy fields, to the gorgeous harbour and walking paths, I have to say I’m in love!

But this post isn’t exactly about Melbourne; I’ve had a lot of time to think since I arrived because the Internet in our apartment does not work. This means I cannot spend endless time browsing the web on my phone and computer. It means I need to actually spend time with myself and the people around me. How horrifying is this for most people of our generation, to live life past the screens! Many would be frustrated with the disconnection to their online world. They would allow the first five days of their first visit to Australia to be ruined because they were forced to step away from their phones and computers. They would choose to feel the emotions associated with being unhappy because they would dwell in the thoughts that they’d rather be connected than where they are now.

The thing with happiness is, it is entirely our choice whether to be happy or not! How we react to any circumstance is a choice. We have expectations of how we would like our day to go, how we expect our life to unravel, but when it doesn’t happen the way we want it to we can choose to be unhappy and bath in negativity, or we can choose to be happy with what is thrown our way and perceive it as a positive change. With the internet not working, I choose to see this situation as an opportunity to spend more time exploring Melbourne and catching up with my boyfriend whom I haven’t seen in 4 weeks. I choose to not only be happy, but ecstatic that the internet is broken! I’m ecstatic that my first Australian activities are completely uninterrupted by the online world. 

Happiness is in fact a response to external stimuli. We are exposed to so many situations every single day; from the person who serves us our morning coffee, to the drive to work, to the tasks at work, to our athletic activities, to our conversations with loved ones, to our time spent alone. Each moment of every day we have an expectation of how that moment is going to unfold and sometimes we do not get the result we expect. The result becomes an unexpected stimuli that we then choose to react to. Reactions can unfortunately become habitual, such as yelling at other drivers in rush-hour on your way to work (most people don’t even realize this reaction anymore, it has just become a natural response). But breaking these habitual reactions is simpler than you think, you ultimately just need to become aware that you are making a choice. Another driver cuts you off and instead of instantly reacting without thought, you take a moment to think, “Will yelling at this person really make me feel better? Will it really add value to my day? Will yelling make me happy?” When you suddenly become aware of how your body and mind have previously reacted and how you could react, your choices shift to a more positive place.  Continue reading

Trust in the Path

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As I am about to go on a new adventure, take on a new path of my life’s journey, I find myself reflecting on the wonderful year I have just had. I reflect on the choices I have made, the friendships I have gained and the growth I have experienced. I reflect on my yoga journey, wondering how I got to where I am and what would have happened if I had made different decisions. I do not regret any decisions I have made, my imagination sometimes just likes to visualize what might be different.

This thought mostly stemmed from the decision of which apartment my love, Paul, and I would purchase when I moved to Calgary. We originally made an offer on a beautiful loft in Marda Loop, Calgary but were out-bid by a more competitive offer from another buyer. We were devastated, not being able to shop the apartment market again for two months. When we finally were able to move forward with a positive outlook, we found another wonderful place and this time it became our home.

This was two and a half years ago, why am I reflecting on something that happened so far back? The reason is, the location we live in now is what determined which studio I would practice at when I returned from Alabama in Spring of 2014. I Googled studios as soon as I was home and came across Yoga Passage. It had some incredible reviews and was only about a 30 minute walk or 7 minute drive from my apartment, a wonderful walk on a sunshiney day! Due to its proximity and its reputation, I started to practice at Yoga Passage and immediately fell in love. The studio was traditional in the way that they did not get caught up in their appearance, popularity, and yoga trends. But the biggest draw for me was that they were a community. Yoga Passage has been around for about 15 years, and prior to that it was a studio under a different name, making it one of Calgary’s first studios. I loved the teaching/traveling experience the instructors had, the way they welcomed the students and invested in getting to know them. Yoga Passage truly felt like a second home to me. I was safe, I was learning and I was loved.

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