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WordCamp Montreal 2010 cupcake break! (image via montrealtechwatch.com)

A little shameless self-promotion here, but just wanted to let y’all know that I’ll to be speaking at WordCamp Montreal, a WordPress “unconference” this weekend (July 9/10). This little blog is powered by WordPress and I think it’s an amazing tool for self-publishing, connection and community. In my professional life, I’ve been doing a lot of social media/blogging consultation work for non-profit organizations, so I’ll be offering my accumulated knowledge to a greater audience. I truly believe that blogging is a powerful medium for non-profits and I know that many organizations are lacking the resources to utilize it. I’ve learned a few tricks over the past couple of years and have figured out some useful ways to systematize blogging – it’s all yoga, baby has been my testing ground, actually, and I’ve applied what I’ve learned to the organizations I’ve worked for.

I volunteered at WordCamp last year and have attended a few other tech community “camps” in the past couple of years. As a noobie and non-techy, I’ve always been impressed by the sense of community and accessibility of these events. I also think that they’d make a great model for yoga gatherings, rather than the corporate conference and music festival models which are currently in place. Imagine, a gathering of yogis that is user-generated, open, participatory and self-organized. YogaCamp? Yes, please! Read the rest of this entry »

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Oooh, what a year! 2010 has seen some very big conversations go down in the yoga blogosphere. Yoga and Christianity, Hinduism, commercialism, sexism… the whole spectrum! Meanwhile, the bloggers continued living their lives, deepening their practices and writing honestly and fearlessly. I’ve rounded up a few of my favourite posts over the past 12 months – it was such a robust year, with so many strong voices, that it was hard to narrow the list down to just 15. But I did, and here it is. (These posts are in no particular order, by the way. And feel free to list some of your faves in the comments!) Read the rest of this entry »

 

This is a visual representation of my 2010.

It’s almost the end of November! Already! Which means that it’s almost the end of 2010! I don’t know about y’all, but I’ve had a big year and I’m ready to sit down, look back and think about what comes next. And thanks to Reverb 10, I can do this in a supportive community of bloggers and tweeters.

Reverb 10 is an “open online initiative that encourages participants to reflect on this year and manifest what’s next. It’s an opportunity to retreat and consider the reverberations of your year past, and those that you’d like to create in the year ahead. From Dec 1 – 31, a daily reflection prompt will be published on the Reverb 10 website and sent out via email. Participants will respond to the prompt in a creative way, and then share their reflection on their blogs and Twitter/Delicious/Flickr/whatever (using the #reverb10 hastag).

I am so ready for this. I think I’ll kick it old school and respond to the prompts with pen and paper. I’ll sum up my reflection into a daily tweet, and maybe I’ll make a couple of blog posts. But I’ll be in the wild mountains of BC for the last 10 days of December, with spotty dial-up internet and old friends, which makes regular blogging a challenge. I’m going to embrace my time offline and retreat into myself. Long nights and deep snow encourage this inward process. (And 3GS technology keeps me connected just enough!)

Sign up for Reverb 10.
Follow Reverb 10 on Twitter.

Me, girl geeking it up! I talk with my hands, apparently. (image via Alexandra Dao)

Last week I had the massive pleasure of talking about “The Yoga of Blogging” for the September Montreal Girl Geek Dinner (since I’m a girl and a yoga geek). I was amazed at the number of people who turned out, most of whom weren’t even my friends. About 50 geeky and yogic girls (and a few boys) showed up in the cozy basement of Brutopia for my talk (and I will never cease to be amused by the fact that I talked to a bar full of people about yoga).

The only way that I can describe the talk is that it was like a blog post come to life. It was even structured like a blog post: I talked for about 30 minutes, and my talk was followed by a Q&A period (just like a comments section). I started off by introducing myself and it’s all yoga, baby, my reasons for starting the blog and how I made the transition from editing a yoga magazine to blogging about yoga (which wasn’t too difficult, actually).

As I was preparing for my talk, I realized that blogging is part of my spiritual practice. My asana practice is a process of self-investigation, fueled by a desire to connect with myself and other people. Blogging, for me, has become an extension of this investigation. It’s also become a place to investigate yoga itself, and its permutations in North American culture. I think that I do this because I have a tendency to view most things in life through a cultural lens (I enjoy doing this, btw, it gives me energy and a sense of purpose).

The greatest rewards of this blog are the conversations and the sense of community. Blogging has been a tool for finding and building community. I’ve discovered an online network of people who are writing and thinking about yoga; they’re questioning and debating, exploring and engaging, and the conversations have pushed my concepts of yoga. These people are also fun, witty and entertaining, and they enrich my life. Read the rest of this entry »

Image via howtobecomeayogainstructor.com ~ yes, seriously.

If you want to become a yoga teacher, there are no shortage of training programs offering certification. Most urban studios offer a 200-hour Yoga Alliance registered training. You can get a generic YogaFit® training in no particular tradition. You can do a convenient online training program with Sadie Nardini, via streaming video/audio, newletters and downloadable PDFs. Or, if you’re in New York City, you can train with Tara Stiles to become a Strala Yoga-certified teacher in one month ~ 20 hours of workshop time for $2,500.

But the standards and quality of certification are inconsistent – and out of line with how yoga has been historically taught (“chest to chest,” through the relationship between teacher and student, and by personal, intimate experience). The yoga community in Toronto is getting together on September 30 to discuss the political and ethical issues around yoga training and standards. Some of the questions they will be asking: What does it take to become a teacher of yoga? What does the typical Yoga Teacher Training currently qualify one to do? Has business and profit taken over our tradition of passing on yoga and training teachers? What are the pitfalls of trying to regulate teacher training across lineages and traditions? Can we actually come up with regulations in a tradition with so many different points of view?

This is a conversation that reaches beyond Toronto and is relevant to yoga communities around North America. And based on what I saw at Geoffrey Wiebe’s Yoga Festival Toronto talk (which sparked the impetus for this event), it strikes a nerve in teachers and potential teachers. I asked Yoga Community Toronto mobilizers Matthew Remski and Scott Petrie to tell me a little more about their intention for this community conversation. Here’s what they had to say:

YTT has become an industry before our very eyes.  The number of programs and ubiquity of graduates would make it seem as though we were collectively training an army for some new and brighter tomorrow.  But really, there’s little cultural cohesion within the project of transmitting yogic knowledge.  And that’s because studios and lineages are doing their trainings based on business rather than communal models.  Business models by nature are limited in heritage and scope and sustainability.  But how else could it work here?  We’re not surprised, but wonder if there’s something better.  We would prefer that yoga not be used to polish the madding crowds of consumer culture. Read the rest of this entry »

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