Monday, March 21, 2011

Course Updates

I attended Barb Bancroft's Pharmacology Update for Nurses conference today, and it was an absolute delight. I mean c'mon - few topics can get as dry as pharmacology, but she presented everything in such an entertaining way that it made the facts stick! Seriously. I learned so much today, and it was all applicable to my workplace (since working with the geriatric population - in a community setting, no less - makes for the largest plethora of drug encounters you've ever seen). I would definitely recommend Barb Bancroft's workshops for any nurse. If I could, I would have enrolled in her Diabetes Update and Lab Interpretation workshops as well, but that is more money than I'm willing to spend at the moment. 
Speaking of money, workshops from Nursing Links are among the most affordable ones I've been able to find. And if you're aware of cheaper ones (in Canada, preferably in the Edmonton area), please let me know :)

Oh - I also bought Barb Bancroft's book, Live a Little, Laugh A Lot at the conference which she signed for me (yay - nerd). It's full of really entertaining facts and tidbits about the body, medicine, and well, everything. Just started reading it of course, but I'm really enjoying it so far! I'm looking forward to her new book, An Apple A Day.

I've also enrolled in the Immunization Certificate course so that I can get my Immunization Specialty as an LPN. At first I thought there wasn't much point in getting it since I was going to pursue my BN degree anyway, but then I realized that it will still be a number of years before that happens and in the meantime, I'd really like to be able to work to my fullest scope of practice (not that my workplace doesn't already have what could possibly be the largest scope of practice for LPNs in Alberta - nay, Canada). So I'm patiently waiting for my course materials to apply in the mail. I have 4 months to complete the course, which is perfect because I'll be done just in time for flu season :) Also, the chances of me being able to give immunizations at my workplace are significantly higher because as I said, I work in a community setting. 

So hopefully this Immunization course will keep me well entertained, because I'm starting to get a wee bit bored...! 

Upcoming courses for me include my Zumba Basics Level 1 Certification in April and Mental Health First Aid Certificate (gratis, courtesy of my workplace) in May. I. Love. Learning. Woohoo!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

My Great Loves

Everyone knows you only get two great loves in your life.
 Charlotte, Sex & The City

I have been doing some very awesome things lately. First, I volunteered for the Can-Fit-Pro Conference (first time in Edmonton!) which was an amazing experience. I was room monitor during Maureen Hagan's presentation on how to make it big in the fitness industry which basically meant I got to attend it (but was not able to receive CECs for it) and I met her personally! *starstruck* Being a volunteer meant that I got to go to the rest of the conference for free, so I attended Maureen's Awesome Abs for a Better Back workshop and a lecture on understanding personality types to enhance fitness instruction (for which I did receive CECs).

The whole day was just amazing, plus I finally bought myself a Bender Ball kit which included a 2-in-1 DVD for abs and butt & legs. And for those of you who are unaware of the Bender Ball, it is simply the greatest thing you could ever use for your abs. It's claim to fame is it's ability to make the traditional crunch 300% more effective, which essentially means that your crunches burn 3x more when you use the Bender Ball. It also makes ab work safer and can be used to train your other body parts in various ways. I even use it during my yoga classes sometimes, and everyone really enjoys the extra challenge the Bender Ball brings.

I have another conference coming up: the YMCA Spring Training, which will have tons of amazing speakers, including Marjorie O' Connor and Paul Plakas of X-Weighted. Immediately after, I will (finally, finally, finally!) be doing my Zumba Basics 1 Instructor Training. I haven't actually been to a Zumba class lately (since my favorite Zumba instructor took a hiatus), but I have been working out to the DVDs in my Zumba Total Body Transformation Kit. Which I think serves me better for now, because I get to learn the actual technique that they'll be teaching at the training, which means I'll be able to get more out of it. They're also doing a Bender Ball Instructor training on the same day, which of course I would've liked to attend as well... Next time, for sure.

Over the past few months my yoga practice has really evolved. While I still teach and practice powerful vinyasa flow yoga, I have been taking classes from an Iyengar instruction and am really loving it. I love the slower pace, I love the time spent on really making the pose precise, and I love how I feel like I've just been through a taffy puller at the end of class :P Ever since I increased my amount of cardio and high-impact activity, I've felt my yoga practice adjust to balance my body and my life. Back when yoga was my main form of physical activity, I preferred a heavy, vinyasa practice; now that I've gotten back into the fitness groove, my yoga practice has become quieter with its purpose being more to rejuvenate and restore. Certainly that doesn't mean that I've eliminated sun salutations, or inversions, etc. In fact, quite the contrary.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that now I'm returning to the activities I've always loved (instead of just doing yoga), I appreciate my yoga practice more because I need it more. Before I had gotten back into weight training, dancing and group fitness, there was always the thought in the back of my mind that my yoga practice had to cover every aspect of my wellness - I had to do some strength moves, I had to make sure I up my heart rate so that I can come close to achieving a cardiovascular state, I had to make sure it filled my spiritual well. Otherwise, it all seemed like it would almost be a waste of time.

Now of course, you can build immense, ripped strength with yoga. Tons of people do, with yoga exclusively. And of course you can up your heart rate doing heavy vinyasa flows although you will not reach the target heart rate needed to build cardiovascular health (there is an article in Yoga Journal's special issue, Yoga for Health and Fitness discussing just this issue). And of course, yoga fills my spiritual well.

However. I really started to appreciate the healing aspects of yoga when I started letting my body expand in other areas. It's one thing to really open your lower back and hams in Janu Sirsasana after a long day at work; quite another to feel it after your body is experiencing DOMS (delayed-onset muscle soreness) from a combination of a hard-hitting Step class which included weights. The purpose of yoga in my life now is to balance everything; to bring everything I do together, to make everything I do more pleasurable, and to ensure that I can keep doing everything I love to do indefinitely.

I've always done yoga for the sake of doing it, for the pure pleasure and freedom it gives my body. But I've always loved other activities as well, and I am so grateful that I've finally allowed myself to bring all of these "great loves" back to my life. I know that yoga is more than enough for a lot of people (and I am well aware that in the yoga community, many scoff at the idea of even stepping inside a gym least of all participating in the activities), but I've always been in love with the fitness world. And this certainly makes me a bit of a "black sheep" in the Edmonton yoga community, that's for sure. But hey, the fact is, I've always been a yoga girl and a gym bunny, and I think that being both makes me better at both :)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Yoga = Health

Man today is sick because he thinks he is sick. Sickness and disease have no place in the life of a person who does not accept and tolerate the self-limiting thoughts which are the real seeds of our myriad ailments. We stand hypnotized by the belief that disease and illness are our fate and destiny, rather than health and bliss, which are truly our birthright and heritage. In order to emerge from our mass hypnosis and collective hysteria and to experience health, joy and creative fulfilment, we must make a systematic application of yoga in our daily lives. 
Swami Satyananda Saraswati

Taken from the opening of my new book, Yogic Management of Common Diseases by Dr. Swami Karmananda.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

All I Want For The New Year

Happy New Year everyone!

What an awesome holiday. Spent the week with my family back in Bville, and the change in atmosphere and complete and utter lack of "things to do" was so relaxing.

When I was back home I went through my old fitness video/DVD collection, and I found my very first yoga DVD - Yoga Zone: Flexibility and Tone. In fact, it's so old that it's not actually a DVD, it's a VCD, which I naively thought would work either on my Mac or on my DVD player. Nada from neither. I also found my old Yoga Zone: Power Yoga VHS which I didn't bother taking home because I don't have a VHS player (and if I did, I would have taken home the rest of my VHS collection including Ana Caban's Intermediate Pilates, my Kathy Smith tapes, and of course, my Mom's old Jane Fondas; alas, it is not to be).

Anyway, I want to say that I absolutely love Yoga Zone and cannot believe that they are not prevailing as the world's leading yoga culture - or at least have a website! Yes, you can buy their stuff on Chapters, mostly the boxed sets - but I refuse to buy a box set containing a DVD I already own (I recently bought Yoga Zone's Introduction to Power Yoga - super awesome).

So I've decided that whenever I run into a Yoga Zone DVD at my local London Drugs, I'm going to pick it up no matter what it is. They run far and few between, but at least they're cheap (hint: everything's cheap at London Drugs!). Soon I will have a wonderful Yoga Zone collection, and I will have their awesomeness at my disposal.

By the way, for those of you who are familiar with Yoga Zone, Lisa Bennett is still being featured in their newer DVDs, which is wonderful. She has an awesome speaking voice and a strong, graceful body that demonstrates asanas beautifully.

I will admit that the majority of my obsession with Yoga Zone probably stems from the fact that it was the brand of my first DVD as well as my first introduction to Power Yoga (via the original Power Yoga VHS, not the current DVD one I have now, of course). Who cares. Love them, love them, love them.

Another "yoga toy" on my wishlist for this year is Eoin Finn's Blissology set. Which I would have asked my hubby for in lieu of the Zumba Total-Body Transformation Kit and Zumba CDs, if I had remembered it. Speaking of my Zumba kit! It has not yet arrived. Presumably lost, or stuck in customs. Either way I was told that if I didn't receive it this week, to call them back so they can send me a new one. I want my Zumba now! Arrrgh. Anyway, I did not get it this week, so will be calling them asking for a new shipment tomorrow.

Also, since it's the new year 'tis the season to renew my magazine subscriptions to the Shambhala Sun and Yoga Journal. Considering subscribing to Tricycle this year instead of the Sun, but more than likely will continue with Yoga Journal (unless of course, I decide to go with Yoga International this year). Decisions, decisions.

Anyway! Here's to an awesome new year for all. Last year I spent a lot of time working hard at initiating new projects and careers and certifications, etc... Now this year, I am going to sit back and reap in all of that glory. Also, I plan to go back to school and get my Post-LPN BN degree. But other than that, just concentrating on doing the best at my nursing and yoga and fitness careers, polishing my own personal practice, and perfecting my craft (at the aforementioned nursing and yoga and fitness). Oh, and I want to continue to eradicate all of my son's dental problems, starting with a very urgent visit to the Dental Hygienist this week. Hazaa!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

I Heart Fitness Dance

Last Saturday I volunteered for Spa Lady's Aerobathon, which is a 3-hour charity event supporting Santas Anonymous. I taught the yoga segment at the end. Anyway, the event was absolutely wonderful - three full hours of Step, Kickboxing, and (mostly) Zumba. I'm happy to say that I participated from start to finish, although I had to sit out a bit of the last dance because I was starting to get really dizzy. Afterward I was a nasty combination of ravenously hungry and exhausted. I literally fell asleep on my bed with my bowl of lunch next to me upon returning home.

Now the other instructors that volunteered their time were what really made the event. First of all the Step instructors - wow, I have never seen such fancy routines! And such great energy. I truly wish I could have videotaped the event because there was so much awesome material that I would have loved to recycle. As for Zumba - which I love, love, love - aside from the fabulous choreo, one thing I definitely learned was how much an instructor's energy contributes to the class. There was one instructor in particular who was literally radiating with energy and joy. Her movements were sharp and hard-hitting of course, but she had this beautiful smile on her face and you got the feeling that she might be the kind of person who never tired. I remember being halfway through the Zumba segment and feeling my body start to fatigue, and then it was her turn: the energy in the room lifted, and for the 5 minutes that she taught I didn't feel tired at all and my body felt lifted with renewed energy. It was almost like magic.

However! They were all wonderful. They wouldn't be successful if they weren't energetic in their own way. I would certainly volunteer my time for the event next year (and in years to come), but I am happy that they only host these events annually. Because literally - it was three straight hours, no planned interludes at all.

As for myself, I taught my very first full Cardio Dance class today :) I had a few weeks to plan for it, and of course I procrastinated so the majority of my choreo was thought up over the past couple of days (in fact, most of it was planned last night). So although I was familiar with my dances, I still had the odd moment during practice where I was like, "Is this the song with the mambos...? What's the chorus...?" So I was kind of nervous. But the class went off without a hitch! It was awesome. It's amazing what adrenaline will do for you. I hope I can teach again next Thursday to get in some more practice, and who knows, I may have my own class on the schedule pretty soon.

Next Monday I'm going to try my hand (foot?) at teaching a Step combo in addition to a Step warm-up (which I've already done). Step is an entirely different story of course, and my apprenticeship at the Y has taken a totally unexpected turn in that I'm shadowing more Step classes than Cardio Dance classes. That being said however, I do actually need more practice with Step than with Cardio Dance (which IMHO, and according to my feedback, I am more than ready to teach). So I have a combo made up that I'm really happy with, I just have to practice building up to it and cueing it of course. I also (finally!) found some good Step videos on YouTube. They say that Step is no longer trendy and that it's going out the window, but I disagree. Seriously, if that's true, why is it still one of the more popular classes at any fitness facility?

Closing tangent: during the Aerobathon, they had an Aerobics Care Bear stuffed toy on stage. She stood up, had on a stretch headband and even had her own headset and mic! It was so cute. I need to get me one of those. Wishlist!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Digging Deep

There is never an ideal time for things. Life gets in the way. Accomplish what you can and always strive to push just a little harder each time you train. That way you will become accustomed to digging in and it will feel like a good habit! - Tosca Reno
From Tosca Reno's latest article. From the same article:
Now if you're going to win any battle you have to do one thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do. The body will always give up. - George S. Patton
I heart Tosca. So gorgeous, so inspirational, so amaahhhzing. I think I need to print these two quotes out and post them somewhere prominent in my house.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Welcome back to my work

Dear Blogger, I think you and I are going to have a long and wonderful relationship together. I know we've done this dance many times before only for me to leave you for another, proving that I have the committed adhesiveness of a Post-It note, but I believe this time is for real. You've changed immensely, and although you're still not perfect (and never will be; and neither will I), I think I'm ready to finally settle down. Also, I am very tired of experimenting with all of these new blogging softwares when at the end of the day, I know you the best (having been a Blogger user for - seriously - over a decade).

Anyway. I've decided to unclog my creative channels by blogging and webdesigning again for the sole purpose of I LOVE IT AND I DON'T CARE ABOUT WHAT ANYONE THINKS ANYMORE. I've tried doing a purely mommy-and-baby blog, and that didn't work because I am so much more than just a mommy. I've tried doing the nursing blog thing, but I'm just not very comfortable with sharing other peoples' business, even though I change all of the names and don't tell anyone where I work. Which wouldn't work anyway, because anybody who cares enough to find out the details will find out the details. And finally, I tried doing the "I'm a yoga teacher, this is my website where I blog about yoga stuff and by the way, here's my class schedule". The latter actually appearing to be quite successful, but was very tedious behind the scenes because after all - I am so much more than a yoga teacher, and the stuff I really want to blog about is usually not "yoga-related" at all, and by that I mean it doesn't always involve asanas, organic products, Ayurveda, and my personal take on the yoga sutras. Although I do want to blog about those things once in a while.

I think what's really tainted, er, ruined my blogging experience over the past few years was my perception of my ideal target audience. I designed and wrote much more happily when my target audience was "no one" and my expected audience was "everyone". And by everyone, I mean people in other countries who I may never meet but will get to know on a deeper level than anyone else I can share room air with, and people whom I regularly share room air with but don't want me to know that they read my stuff. So like I said - everyone.

So this is my target audience: nobody. This is my expected audience: everybody. I am going to re-enter my familiar blogosphere, and hopefully re-make some old friends as well as make some new ones. Yes, for the most part, we've all had babies over the past few years, so the vast majority of blogs in my circle have mommy content in them, which is awesome because there will always be mommy content in mine. And while I will always continue to enjoy the many eloquently and hilariously written nursing blogs out there, I will not be making any references to my work whatsoever that may compromise another's confidentiality. Unless of course, I'm being really, really, vague about it. I love yoga, so there's gonna be a bit of yoga stuff here and there. I also love fitness too - this involves everything from weight training to Zumba to step classes to wussy attempts at taking up running; so there will be a bit of that here and there as well.

This blog is going to be a big ol' mess, and be about everything and nothing. And mostly all of those everythings and nothings will have something to do with me. Timmie, Timmie, Timmie. This is Timmie's Blog and she does not freaking care anymore. I just need an outlet. So read it, soak it up, or not. Leave a comment, or not; but I really like it when you do, so long as it is nice (take or leave).

I don't take a lot of pictures. Or maybe I do; that doesn't matter - the point is, I rarely find the time to upload and post them as often as I would like. For now.

Sometimes I'll blog every hour of the day, and sometimes you won't see me for weeks at a time. Isn't that how it goes? Right here and now I'm going to make it very clear that I am not going to apologize for my erratic posting because that would mean I'm apologizing for having a life. Which is actually a big pile of baloney because I do feel sorry when I don't post often, but not for you. Mostly for me, because not posting means not writing. And not writing means I've been skimping out on one of my most favorite creative outlets.

On that note, I'm also not going to apologize for boring you. And that is all for now, congratulations of having read this far. I believe we all deserve a safe place to rant and rave and showcase absolutely anything want to. This is my place (for now! Sorry Blogger, but that's just about as committed as a webdesigner can get) and I'm going to nestle myself in, nice and warm.