Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Heated yoga and bike rides

The weather's been strange here - Yesterday it was cold in the morning, hot and sunny in the afternoon, rainy in the evening. Yesterday I was out in the downtown area (pretty far from where I'm staying) by the time I realized I was cold and would actually have to buy a jacket if I wanted to survive the next few months in the northeast, so I caved and bought a "4-in-one" heavy winter jacket from Sears for 1/2 price (still way too much money). Since I had already gotten myself into shopping mode (which doesn't happen very frequently), I went to a camping store and bought a lightweight long-sleeved capilene-type shirt. It suits me well and I realize now I didn't need all 300 shirts I brought as I've been living in the same two outfits for the past week! Finally I went back to Kensington Market to check out the vintage shops. I found another great winter jacket for 1/3 the price of the Sears on, and bought that as well. So now I have 3 long sleeved shirts, two winter jackets, one fleece sweater and a partridge in a pear tree. I'll return the Sears jacket which doesn't have nearly as much character as the Columbia one from the vintage shop. Sorry, I'm sure that story doesn't interest anyone but it's part of my trip so it's part of my travelogue!

Later in the day yesterday I went to a Bikram yoga class (http://www.bikramtoronto.com/) as I found that they had a special for a full week's classes for only $20. Bikram yoga, as I found out, is yoga in a heated room, almost as hot as a sauna, so that by 10 minutes into it you have sweat pouring off you. The philosophy behind it is that your skin is your largest organ, and sweating is a great form of detoxification. You're also more flexible in the heat, and spending time in a heated room, like a sauna, is great for your immune system. People who do it regularly say they never get sick.

As a beginner (and being prone to fainting spells) I didn't do all the poses but I did spend the full time (90 minutes) in the room, which was an accomplishment in itself. I tried to stay very hydrated but I probably didn't drink enough to replenish all the water I lost through sweat as I felt tired later. I think it was a big shock to my body as I haven't done yoga in a long time - I'm a bit achey from it today. I plan to go back several times this week!

After the yoga there was a talk at the yoga studio on the philosophy of food. The young woman giving the talk, Monique, is a holistic nutritionist whose main point throughout the talk was that food=energy and we must take the time to appreciate that fact in order to absorb all the energy and nutrients from the food. At the end the group of us got into a discussion that touched on organics, food politics, and food combining. Monique relayed a story that I liked... she related eating to meeting someone new. When you meet someone at a party and you shake their hand (or in Europe you kiss both cheeks), it's a way of opening yourself up to sharing energy with the person. If you are around someone that you haven't officially 'greeted' by introductions, you will feel strange being around their energy field. It's the same with food: We should take the time to 'greet' or thank our food before sharing energy with it. I like that idea. Monique and I are staying in touch and I plan to hang out with her before I leave Toronto.

Afterwards I checked out a cool jazz/blues bar where they have two or three shows every night. I'll definintely have to go back sometime soon - there are tons of other places for good music it seems as well.

Today was a big biking day. It's supposed to rain for the next two days so I wanted to spend the day outside. I rode to High Park, which is on the West side of Toronto and down to Humber Park marshland area. Had a nice picnic at High Park and watched the birds for a long time. Hiked and biked through the trails and took tons of pics. It's a bumper year for Monarch butterflies and I rode through butterfly conservation areas where there were tons of them. I'll post pictures tomorrow. I was able to get within inches of the butterflies when they were on flowers. I'd never been so close - they're so beautiful! I got a bit lost at the end of the ride but trusted my sense of direction (and the position of the sun) and found my way back to Lynda and Emaline's.




This really is such an international city! I saw many restaurants of the following ethnicities: Portuguese, Maltese, Indian, Ethiopian, Greek and others I can't think of, in addition to the usual Italian and Chinese (Toronto has three "Chinatowns").

After I got back here, Emaline and Lynda took me out to a health food store called "The Big Carrot." It was okay - pretty small and expensive. They've complained that Cananda doesn't have the great health food stores like the US, especially the big ones like Trader Joes' and Whole Foods and I am starting to miss those stores!

Time for dishes and maybe some reading. I've been so busy I haven't been reading at all and I need to get rid of some of these books to fit everything back in my bag when I leave here! I guess I should stop buying winter jackets as well...

To end the night, for now, I want to relate a quote my yoga instructor said yesterday. "Life is not about finding yourself, it's about creating yourself." Have fun creating!

4 comments:

Monika said...

hey=) It's all interesting! It's all good. Keep the writing coming.
I don't mean to be a downer, but I heard about Bikram yoga and there's a bit of controversy surrounding the "founder" because he's trying to patent it or something and yogis are pretty ticked. I don't know the whole deal though.
Hope all is well!
Thinkin of you.

Monika said...

hey=) It's all interesting! It's all good. Keep the writing coming.
I don't mean to be a downer, but I heard about Bikram yoga and there's a bit of controversy surrounding the "founder" because he's trying to patent it or something and yogis are pretty ticked. I don't know the whole deal though.
Hope all is well!
Thinkin of you.

Anonymous said...

Yes! The Big Carrot! Go back there and drink everything they sell. One of those things is a really amazing drink, but that's all i remember. It's not sold in the US as far as i know.

Report back.

~christina

Anonymous said...

Yes! The Big Carrot! Go back there and drink every beverage they sell that isn't sold in the US. One of them is amazing, but that's all i remember.

Report back.

~christina