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Lesson One, Concentration Yoga, by PranaTheory on Etsy

In early January I began practicing yoga again. It’s been a while since I’ve done yoga regularly – probably dating back to pre-Olive days, unless you count those mom & baby yoga classes I used to go to, which I don’t because although I adored them, very little actual yoga gets done in between breastfeeding and soothing a little one.

Anyway, back in those heady pre-Olive days, two or three times a week I would make my way to a cozy yellow room in my old town of Squamish, BC and spend an hour stretching my way into something deeper. The teachers were incredibly strong, soft women. I looked up to them, and relished every second of their teaching.

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Yesterday my Mom was heckling me because blogging has been so light around here lately. I told her that it’s been hard finding time now that I’m doing so much yoga.

And then she laughed and then I laughed because, hello first world problems.

Not finding time to blog because of your hectic yoga schedule is a “problem” millions would pay to have. So.

Perhaps not having time isn’t the issue, because although I have lost 6-7 hours a week, it’s not that I’m struggling with.

Before I started February’s resolution, I wrote that I didn’t want yoga to turn me into some prayer-hands doing douchebag who has only nice things to say in between deep breathing and lighting incense.

And to be fair, that hasn’t happened, i’m still a snarky bitch prone to pessimism and guys, I swear I havent bought a single STICK of incense! But.


I have to confess that I feel more still. Internally I mean. The incessant garbling hamster wheel of thoughts and internal dialogue is still there, but I’m somehow detached from it, an impartial observer rather than panicked participant.

It’s been an incredible thing to go through, and I know that there are eyes rolling left and right as you read this but I don’t know what to say.


I’m just enjoying the stillness.




                                      Calm 2 by FoundStudio on Etsy

January in our little town was characterized largely by shades of gray, the palette ranged from charcoal to almost white, changing but never abating, rain never stopping.

Some days the ocean was indistinguishable from the sky, the two just blended together in a hazy monochromatic landscape of charcoal and dove.

It seems almost cruel that it’s the month many choose to begin exercising or eating better and the natural world offers so little in terms of motivation, you hunch your shoulders against the wind and the cold and the wet, the WET, you are just always wet. Your dog is always wet. Your spirit dampens.

It’s so heavy, so dark. Yet there I was, cleansing from the inside out. 31 days.

It went well. Actually, I will be so bold as to say that it went really well. (oh MY!)

I did the Dr. Joshi cleanse for two weeks then segued into eating whole foods for the rest of the year and possibly my whole life OMG (When I say whole foods I just mean focusing on the basics: fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts – little in the way of foodstuffs packaged or processed).

I was prepared to be gentle with myself during this month, allow for indulgence, but I never felt myself leaning that way. It’s not a stretch to eat like this, it doesn’t feel strict or limited or as though I’m depriving myself, I just want to. It makes me feel good.

And allowing that to sink in and become an entrenched habit – rather than a diet or a cleanse, with an end date- made it easier to do. 

So here we stand, February 1st, and it is so (SO) fitting that the sun came out this morning. I sit here typing with every single window and door in my house flung wide open to the soft air and sunlight and guys, I am one happy hippie right now.

So, January Resolution=Success! Today began Yoga month. I’ve had all January to mentally prepare myself for this, and last night I made an effort to get to bed earlier than my usual 2am turn in and I tried to create a successful morning by laying out my clothes and getting tea ready and just generally making it as easy as possible come 8am this morning to stumble out of bed into some leggings and shoot out the door.

I bought a three month pass and am planning on going twice a week (three would be lovely, but a bonus). And in an incredible display of self-awareness, observe: the studio is running a “29 Days of Self Love” thing, where you do yoga five times a week (at home or at the studio) and there’s a chart where you can write your name and you get to put gold stars (GOLD STARS! If ever there was a metaphor for my need for achievement) for each day you practice.

I looked at the calendar and the stars and I wrote my name but am determined to approach this gradually. Two stars a week is fine. Hear that Madeleine? Two a week  IS FINE!

I did a 90 minute class this morning that involved chanting “Ommm” (without a trace of irony) for five minutes at the end and I was struck by how very little eye-rolling this created in me.

I never thought I’d be someone who could get behind chanting. CHANTING.

This makes me worry- I don’t want to turn into a caricature of a “yogi”. I don’t want to be at peace with everything, I don’t want to do prayer hands instead of just saying “Thank You” when the barista hands me my coffee.

I like anger, I appreciate frustration, I don’t want to meditate those parts of me away completely. I don’t want to lose my sarcasm, my acerbic nature. Discomfort serves a purpose. 

BUT, there’s that, the sardonic wit and the eye-rolling, and then there’s that other part of me that sits there and feels so loose from yoga itself, who absorbs the reverberation of voices coming at me from all corners of the room, there’s that part who at some point is unable to distinguish between my voice and those of the others, and guys, that part of me just loves this shit.

Chanting and all.

Namaste, mothafuckas!


Yoga sesh with the fam on the roof of a floating house. Adam insisted on calling it “floga”.