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A couple of blocks from my house in Montreal is a field, one of the few remaining undeveloped pieces of land in my neighbourhood. It’s a wild space, an abandoned space, a reclaimed space, a politicized space and a contaminated space which is also an oasis of biodiversity. Formerly owned by Canadian Pacific Railway, the field was purchased by the city of Montreal with the intention of being developed, despite resistance from the community.

As a free and unregulated space, it goes by several different names including the Maguire Meadow or, my favourite, Le Champ des Possibles: The Field of Possibilities. I have spent a lot of time in this field. I have sat and thought about my life, talked about life, set intentions for my life. I have run, drank wine, made wishes, made out and danced in this field. I have planted seeds, pulled weeds and picked up garbage. And for the first time, I’ve taught yoga in this field. Read the rest of this entry »

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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 »

Now for a little self-promotion…

I’m super honoured to be talking about The Yoga of Blogging (forgive the cheezy title ~ I wanted something catchy and a little blatant) at this month’s Montreal Girl Geek Dinner!

This is what I promise:
Three years ago, Roseanne Harvey was an overworked yoga magazine editor who begrudgingly managed the company blog. Since then, the magazine has gone out of business and now not only does Roseanne spend all of her free time blogging, she finds it transformative and fun. Her blog, it’s all yoga, baby, has a dedicated readership and is known for its engaging content, lively discussions, and sense of community.

Come listen to Roseanne’s journey from the print world to the “blogasphere,” as she shares lessons learned in the trenches of the online yoga community. If you’re thinking about starting a blog, this talk will illustrate the infinite rewards of doing so. If you’re already blogging, you’ll receive inspiration to fearlessly define your niche, increase reader engagement, and spark wide-ranging conversations.

And this is how I describe myself:
Roseanne Harvey is a writer, editor and yoga trouble maker. She is fascinated by how yoga is represented in popular culture, and skeptical of the increasing commercialization of yoga in the West. As the former editor of ascent magazine, she’s not afraid to use her media literacy skills to shine a critical light on yoga culture, while celebrating service, creativity and grassroots yoga initiatives. She’s also a yoga teacher who believes in making yoga accessible and available to all people, and she teaches weekly classes at rad’a yoga centre montreal and the Mile End Mission.

Seriously, who wouldn’t want to spend a Wednesday evening geeking out to the sound of my voice? If you happen to be in Montreal on September 29, come on over to Brutopia, 1215 Crescent St (yes, it’s a pub on Montreal’s most notorious bar strip ~ which I think is hilarious and oddly appropriate) and learn about the story and the geeky girl (moi) behind it’s all yoga, baby.

In case you aren’t familiar with the Girl Geek Dinners, they are a self-organizing web of global get-togethers with a goal of making technology accessible and interesting to all age groups and all people, particularly women (although geeks of all genders are welcome). These monthly events are aimed at providing a welcoming atmosphere and a platform for learning in an informal environment. They started in London, England five years ago, with a vision actually very similar to my approach to yoga: “to encourage people to embrace their passion for something like technology and to explore what they can do with it.”

Oh, the stories I have to share! I can’t wait! Thanks to the Montreal GGD crew for thinking this blog is interesting. And huge shout out and much love to the rest of you in the trenches of this wild community. Thanks for being part of the adventure!

Image via Things that go Bling (http://brazen-design.blogspot.com)

So y’all might remember that last summer I decided to take my love for roller derby to the next level. I signed up for boot camp, strapped on some skates… and dropped out after learning that I have no talent at all for rollerskating, and I am in fact a non-athletic delicate flower who should just stick with standing on my hands in yoga. But I continue to be obsessed with the all-female sport on wheels and still regularly attend MTLRD (Montreal Roller Derby League) bouts in my neighbourhood.

I’ve noticed, though, that my relationship with the game has changed. I used to watch it and want to be on the track, to be the jammer scoring the points or the blocker knocking out opposing team members. Now, I’m happy to be watching from the bleachers with a PBR in my hand, and I’m more aware of how the amazing, dedicated, hard-working women on the track can inspire me in my everyday life. Here are the 5 most important things I’ve learned from being a roller derby fan:

1. Obstacles… simply hip check ’em outta the way Or even better, try to find another way around them. In roller derby, the primary objective is for the lead jammer (the point-scoring player) to make her way through “the pack” (8 players from both teams). She and her teammates will let nothing stand in the way. Hip checking is allowed and necessary, while elbowing isn’t. And the jammer uses speed and strategy to get around the opposite team players. Watching this makes the perceived obstacles in my own life feel so much easier!

2. Community over competition In the final bout of the recent Beast of the East tournament, the two teams vying for top place, Les Filles du Roi and La Racaille (both of MTLRD) had a quick dance party to “99 Red Balloons” on the track, before tearing into each other. It’s not unusual to see two jammers amicably chatting before they sprint off, and when somebody goes down with a serious injury, the bout stops and everyone gets down on one knee until the injured player is off the track. And no matter how heated things may get on the track, there is always an after party.

3. The importance of team spirit The jammer may be the star player who gets all the attention, but she can’t make it around the track without the support from her fellow players, who block the opposing jammer and assist her movement through the pack. Sports have teams, yoga has the kula, and in the rest of life we have our friends, family and allies who help us get through the rough patches.

4. Strong powerful women are hot Okay, I knew this already. But I have to say that part of the appeal of roller derby is the sexiness factor. And not the definition of sexiness that we’re fed by mainstream culture, but a sexiness that celebrates strength and fit bodies of all sizes, and redefines femininity. Roller derby, for me, is also all about ass. That skating leads to some serious glutes, which are highlighted by shorts and cute skirts. It might just what Venus Williams was going for in her French Open outfit ~ except that on roller girls, it works.

5. Animal print, gold lamé, fishnets, and panties over spandex = awesome These are the basic elements of many derby team uniforms, and they look just as hot off the track. I confess to already having a fair amount of animal print, lamé and fishnets in my wardrobe ~ now I’m going to see if I can rock panties over tights in public…

Take a journey into the mystical origins of North Indian classical music in Raga Unveiled. The new film from Gita Desai (who also brought us the seminal yoga doc, Yoga Unveiled) will premiere in Montréal on Monday, May 17 with a special screening at La Sala Rossa. Gita will be in attendance at the screening. Raga, literally translated as “colour” or “mood,” is at essence a series of five or more notes upon which a melody is made, although the form is much more complex and subtle than definition allows. The practice of mantra yoga (recitation of sacred syllables) is rooted in the mysticism of raga. The film delves into the history, philosophy, theory, technique and spiritual significance of this transcendental musical form.

Raga Unveiled
7:30 pm, Monday, May 17
La Sala Rossa (4848 St Laurent)
Tickets $10 in advance, $12 at the door
Co-presented by Naada Yoga and the Kabir Cultural Centre

Yoga Unveiled
4 pm, Sunday, May 16
Naada Yoga (5540 Casgrain Ave)
Tickets $5

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