Ayurveda and the fine art of planting your ass on the couch

Jenny Bee
August 3, 2018

This has been one long week, in one long month.

And I’ve decided to stay in tonight. A Friday night. My husband congratulated me. He’s going to work this evening, and I thought about getting a sitter and going out. But I’m not going to and he knows how hard that is for me.

He said, “I’ve noticed you’ve been relaxing more.” And it’s the nicest thing I’ve heard in a long time. I took it as a massive compliment. Because I am one of those people for whom relaxing feels all but impossible.

Habitually, if there is a free space in my calendar, I plug it up. With a coffee date, a time to plan a workshop with a friend, a show, yoga class or rock climbing. The truth is, a hole in my schedule makes me nervous. The thought of not having my days planned in advance makes me anxious. So I plan and over plan, and I inevitably burn out. This pattern I’ve noticed. We all have them.

I often joke that my husband is anti-social (he’s actually not) and that my social life is “hyperactive.” (that part is accurate). And I’m pretty sure I could get myself an ADD diagnosis.

But now that I know more about Ayurveda, I know why I have these tendencies and I know how to correct them. That “relaxing more,” he mentioned is unnatural and very intentional. I have a Pitta-Vata constitution. I go go go like the wind (Vata). I push push push with my fire’s (Pitta)’s lust of life. And then. Well, there’s not a lot left. Exhaustion… We are all made up of the three doshas, but I often feel like I’m 0% Kapha. That which is grounding, steady and solid.

But I’ve noticed myself, these days, gravitating to be in the presence of those who are more Kapha. They speak more slowly and intentionally. They are loving and emotional. Most importantly, they often have big, dreamy eyes.

But the point is, I’m trying to slow down. I’m trying to honour myself and my cycles. Honour the reality that a woman doesn’t function the same way the entire month. Honour that it’s summer and it’s friggin’ humid and hot out there! There are seasons and cycles happening all the time and I am getting better and better at tuning into them. (If this paragraph is interesting to you, I highly recommend the book Wild Power). And it seems to be working.

I have friends, for whom, I am the Yang to their Yin. Those very Kapha friends who might not “naturally” have that fire that sometimes causes me so much grief. Those friends who might need a little extra nudge to embark on that project they’ve been meaning to get to for the last five months or 10 years.

Okay, okay, so tonight I didn’t do nothing. I did write a blog post and the evening has barely begun. But at least I’m in comfy pjs and by butt is firmly planted IN the couch. I “plan” to be here till tomorrow afternoon…

 

MONTREAL BOOK LAUNCH SUNDAY!

Jenny Bee
July 18, 2018

If you’re reading this, it’s possible we’ve known each other for many years. Or months or days. Or maybe we’ve not met in real life. And what better time than the present to see each other in real life? THIS SUNDAY, JULY 22, I am stoked to be launching A Yogi Mama’s Guide to Yoga, Ayurveda & Your Child at naada yoga.

Join us for:
-Snacks and refreshments
-Baked goodies by Audacieuse Vanille
-An Ayurveda- themed yoga obstacle course (5 Elements) with Alba
-A raffle! (Jenny’s book, Free Family Yoga classes and an Ayurvedic consult with Jenny)

For those of you who pre-ordered the book, you can pick it up Sunday and I’ll even sign it if you want!

If you can’t make it, upcoming dates on the #bookbabytour:

Kids Colouring Morning
Saturday, September 1

Drawn & Quarterly
11-12pm

Free Family Yoga and Book Signing
Saturday, August 18
Whetstone Wellness
1-3pm

Montreal’s Buddha Bazaar
Saturday, Sept 22

Centre de Loisirs communautaires Lajeunesse
10am – 8pm

Coles Carlingwood in Ottawa
Indigospirit in Orleans
Weekend of Sept 30
details TBA

Book Signing
Saturday, October 6
Indigo Place Montreal Trust
1-4pm

Expo Yoga, 2019
Details TBA

I really, really hope you’ll be a part of the celebrations.

Jenny
xo

The book is currently available at:
AmazonIndigo or Balboa.
Drawn & Quarterly, Montreal

Naada Yoga, Montreal
Equilibrium Yoga, Montreal
Espace Varana, Montreal
Singing Pebble Books, Ottawa

The things you think you’ll never be able do

My husband is a jazz musician. As someone who primarily dated musicians her whole life, getting married to one was only fitting. And I got one that doesn’t fit in many of the silly stereotypes. He is super reliable, solid, loyal, sober, disciplined and funny and kind. He also gets paid to work. I’m sure I could add a longer list of adjectives and ramble about how awesome he is, but that’s not the point of the post.

The point is, I often find myself alone with the kids at times that are less than ideal. He works a lot of evenings and over 7 years I usually do solo bedtime. Well maybe not usually but often. The point is, this weekend I really realized how far I’ve come in terms of being able to get shit done–solo.

When my son was born, 5 years ago I was diagnosed with postpartum depression and anxiety. I remember how much of a struggle it was to JUST LEAVE THE HOUSE. And doing it alone? Forget it. I remember once, a friend of mine who didn’t have kids at the time came over and helped the two kids and me get ready to go to the park. We managed to get out and all the way to the very close by park. IT WAS SO HARD. And when we were there, my very audacious 2-year-old was climbing so high. Way higher than I wanted her to, and with the new baby strapped to my chest I couldn’t climb to get her down. She laughed manaically and I nearly had a panic attack.

So this week is the jazz fest, and I was kind of amazed at myself and how far I’ve come. I can, all by my big-girl self, get the kids to the festival, and we can hang out and have a wonderful, enjoyable, smooth and easy time. It’s not to be taken for granted.

It just reminded me that everything really is possible. It reminded me of the yoga poses that always seemed impossible that I could now pop into without thinking twice. It reminded me that if I wanna write a book, I can write a book… you see?

It’s all baby steps, and it usually takes patience and practice, but unless, like my daughter, your dream is for your feet to turn into a mermaid tail every time your toes touch the water, then I really do think anything is possible. And I think we just haven’t yet found a way for her to reach her goal. One day, quite possibly.

Tell me, what would you like to be able to do? Is there anything I can say or do to help you work your way towards it?

CLIMB ALL THE THINGS!!!

Jenny Bee
June 27, 2018

I was fortunate to have a few days off this week, after a weekend away on a book tour in Ottawa. It’s becoming clear to me and those around me that I am at a point in my life where I could sit still, but I’m choosing not to. I really don’t want to. I feel a bit hyperactive but grounded in activity. I am comforted by action. Can’t stop, won’t stop.

Monday night, slightly panicked by lack of Tuesday plans, I reached out on Facebook, as I often do, looking for adventure, and I got a bite. From the same friend who bit the last time I was seeking a friend for adventure. We drove up to Mt St Hilaire, not quite an hour out of the city and set off on a hike and it was absolutely perfect.

I found a person who walks as quickly as I do. And uphill to boot. No small feat.

As we were nearing the summit, I said: Wow, I’m having a déjà vu. I don’t think I’d ever been to that particular mountain before. She told me I said the exact same thing as I we neared the top of the Mount Royal, the last mountain we walked together.

We got back to the city and I got the kids and hung out for some time before I left to go teach. Then I did my regular routine of heading over to Shakti Rock Gym, the delightful bouldering place across from Naada Yoga. And I climbed. Route after route. Nailing all the green routes like no one’s business (okay, except for one) and feeling so at peace.

I prefer bouldering to route climbing for many reasons. I just love the independence and the not needing a partner. I also can’t for the life of me, remember how to tie a figure 8 knot. Bouldering is just so much more simple in that way. All you need is shoes.

And some kind of dots started to connect, as happens when you’re staring at a wall of colourful holds. Climbing has been a constant for me for so so many years. I keep coming back to this need to feel comforted by the old, familiar and nostalgic.

I thought of all the times rode my bike after work in Edinburgh, to climb Arthur’s Seat, training to do the 3 Peaks Challenge a decade or so ago. I climbed, with a team of friends, the highest peaks in England, Scotland and Wales in 24 hours. I thought of how, when I met my ex, Ryan, so many years ago, I got huge into rock climbing and went every day after work to Coyote Rock Gym in Ottawa, mostly to keep up with this amazing British boy I loved.

I thought of the times he and I almost died in South America because we foolishly climbed without proper ropes. I thought about how we went climbing with my dad and I crawled into a crevice and had a panic attack and my dad had to come get me and repel me down. Slightly less comforted by these memories.

But what is it, that gives me so much satisfaction? The conquering of a mountain. Or even a route at a bouldering gym…?

The hard work and moving forward, one step at a time, even when it’s really hard. Knowing that we will trip. We will fall. But we can keep trying. The succeeding after the failure. In Yoga, this inner fire is called tapas. And this particular adventuring certainly has a rajasic quality to it. It is an ego thing, for sure.

I feel great when I climb.

I feel great when I get to the top.

What are climbing closer toward? The sky… the clouds… Universal Truth?

And what can we see when we’re up there? Our vision is so much broader.

I will continue to climb. All the mountains, all the walls. All the things.

Ottawa Homecoming

Jenny Bee
June 25, 2018

Wowza!

What a whirlwind of a trip. I was just in Ottawa with my book for the weekend. Somehow it felt like I was there for a month!

Aside from a yoga retreat I went on a couple years ago, this is the only other time I’d left both the kids. It was a little weird. And a lot awesome. I travelled by bus and backpack, putting all my eggs in a big basket of nostalgia.

Before I left, the whole idea of doing a “book tour” was feeling pretty romantic (and overwhelming). Book signings and fairs… This weekend was the first of many things planned, Ottawa the first of many cities and towns I know I will visit. I had wanted to start the tour in my current hometown, Montreal, but circumstances made that impossible. I found myself first going “home,” to Ottawa, the unfamiliar and the unknown.

This weekend, it turns out, was about so much more than my book. It was life changing in ways that I will have to wait to unfold organically.

Though I grew up in Ottawa (Orleans more specifically) I really felt like a tourist. I didn’t really ever get my bearings either.

 

I ate in Chinatown, which has changed so much since I was last there. I checked out Pure for the first time, indulged at the Green Door and visited the Rainbow and the Brigg, two of my old favourite places to be at night. I hung out in the market, and took a tiny peak at what the city had to offer during jazz fest. I was in full-on exploration mode.

This weekend was a homecoming for me. While my own family didn’t get out to either of my events, my in-laws did. As did so many people I hadn’t seen in such an incredibly long time. Friends from elementary, high school, college, multiple work places. (and actually even two sneaky friends from Montreal came down!) I reconnected in ways that made me feel grounded and comfortable. There was something healed that I wasn’t even aware needed healing.

I had a moment at the very end of my weekend, at The Green Door just before heading to the bus. “I don’t hate Ottawa,” I told my friend Adam. He looked puzzled. For some reason, for many years, I’d been carrying around this idea that it was lame and I didn’t like it. But this weekend managed to change it all.

I relearned that Ottawa is this sweet, cozy, welcoming place full of kind and happy people. It took being away for a long, long time to remember this.

Thank you Ottawa, for welcoming me with open arms. To the friends I saw, and the ones I will see soon. Until next time.

Here are a few more places I’ll be on the #bookbabytour in upcoming months. If you don’t have your copy and want one, there’s more information here.

 

 

Ayurveda, Parenting, Sex & The City and Picky Eaters

Jenny Bee
June 20, 2018

Last night, I listened back to this podcast that we did on Intelligent Edge Yoga, Monday morning. I usually can’t listen back to this kind of thing because the sound of my voice and the dorky things I say, sometimes make me cringe! But I did it anyway, and found a lot of joy in it. The owner of the podcast, Kathryn Anne Flynn is an old friend. We lost touch for a number of years and happily reconnected more recently. She wrote a guest post here, after the birth of her first child.

In the post, we talk about all kinds of random stuff, parenting, Sex and the City, yoga and ways to feed your entire family while doing your best to stick to Ayurveda’s recommendations. I laugh at the amount of times she calls me “Jenn.” If you know me by the name “Jenny Hardy” and not “Jenny Berthiaume,” it’s testament to our history!

I hope you listen and enjoy! CHECK IT OUT HERE

For those of you in Ottawa, I really hope to see you THIS WEEKEND! I’ll be at the Ottawa Small Press Book Fair on Saturday, June 23 and at Singing Pebble Books on Sunday, June 24.

Looking forward to partying with Montreal friends July 22 @ naada yoga family

Summer 2018 Book Tour! Coming at you, Ottawa and Montreal!

A MILLION THANK YOUS to those of you who have purchased A Yogi Mama’s Guide to Yoga, Ayurveda and Your Child. You can still pre-order it here. You can pick it up your copy at any of the following events (signed, if you wish 🙂 You can buy a copy at these places or just come and say hi!

 

🌻 🌻 🌻 🌻

UPCOMING MONTREAL WORKSHOPS
Shantala Infant Massage

 is one of the best ways for any parent to connect with baby.
Infant massage:
– Strengthens parent/child bond
– Helps us understand our child’s needs
– Promotes restful sleep
– Helps with gas/digestion
– Boosts baby’s immune system

This workshop includes an introduction to Ayurveda, as it applies to your baby and child. You’ll leave with a manual, oil, and the knowledge and confidence to massage your baby and children. This workshop is open to any parent or caregiver of a young baby.
1-3:30pm Monday, July 16 at naada yoga. You can SIGN UP HERE or call the studio.

Yoga Birth Workshop for Couples 
Many partners can feel a little overwhelmed and lost when they think of the big day–baby’s birthday. What am I even supposed to do? How can I help her?

Whether you have a doula or not, the Birth Partner plays a huge role in the process. Come learn how the couple can work together and create an atmosphere conducive to a beautiful birth wherever you intend to have your baby. Your partner will learn how they can best support you using pressure points, massage techniques and conscious communication. We will also discuss possible hospital interventions and pain relief options.

1-5pm Saturday August 4 at naada yoga. You can SIGN UP HERE or call the studio.

🌻🌻🌻🌻🌻

When I thought I had cancer

Jenny Bee
June 10, 2018

Some people, most people who read this post will be surprised. I think there were a total of five people who knew what I was going through a few months ago. I didn’t tell my parents or many friends, only a handful of people who logistically needed to know. I didn’t want everyone to worry for nothing (and it turns out that’s exactly what would have happened.)

I had a feeling, for a long time, that something was not quite right. It took a number of months and digging around in my quiet family history before the doctors wanted to take a seemingly healthy 34 year old seriously. Then I had ultrasounds. Which turned into a mammogram. Which turned into a biopsy. There was something there, alright. Too small to feel with an exam, but I knew it was there and the x-rays confirmed it.

With my history as a hypochondriac, I spent a few months thinking that I was going to die very young.

But I also spent those months in meditation.

In devotion and trust in the universe.

I spent those months as fully in the moment as I could be. I rejigged priorities. I realized that it was possible I was going to die. And so I learned how to live.

The day of my unplanned mammogram was the day of Shivaratri, the Hindu celebration of Shiva.

That morning, I’d gone in for an ultrasound and then they carted me over for a mammogram when they did indeed find a worrisome mass. It was awful and painful. I had a beautiful friend and colleague with me that day, Sylvia, who I will forever know as my Boobie Doula. She helped me as I lost every possible shit. Breasts jammed into the squeezy machine, the one with a lump was leaking. Which we know is not supposed to happen. I squeezed my mala in one hand, Sylvia’s hand in the other, as the machine squeezed me in its grip. I screamed and cried.

I went home shaken and terrified, assuming the worst. Which every good yoga teacher knows you’re not supposed to do. I would have to wait weeks for the biopsy. And for the results.

For Shivaratri, I’d planned to go with my dear teacher and friend Jayme, up to the Sivananda ashram in Val Morin. An all-night party where we’d sing our hearts out. I really just wanted to curl into a ball and cry. But Jayme reminded me that I knew what was best. So we went. As we stood and approached a giant image of Shiva, destroyer of the ego, to perform an offering, Jayme said, if you’re going to set an intention, now is the time. 

I didn’t think. I looked into the gigantic, dark eyes of this god I hardly knew and I said, “I surrender to a higher power. I surrender.” And I did. Ishvara pranidhana. For the first time in my life, I REALLY felt what this is. Funny enough, that post was written exactly a week prior. About something I felt was unrelated.

After that, I lived. I honoured what I had. I found contentment in what I had. I sang, I prayed. I hugged my kids so tightly as often as I could.

It was during this time that I wrote my book. I sure as hell felt an urgency to get it done. To leave something behind… incase.

Weeks later, my husband came with me for the biopsy. After the transformation from terror to peace, I felt relived. I cried as I waited and the surgeon who did the procedure was an actual angel. In speaking with her, I knew that whatever the result I was going to be okay.

I got called to come into her office a week later. Benign. The most relieving words a person could ever hear.

I’d be lying if I said I still spend every day in the gratitude I did throughout that time. But my life has forever changed. It might not have been cancer but something, one day, will kill me. One day, this body will cease to exist. So I keep going forward with joie de vivre. I try to live as fully as I can. And I will continue to until my very last breath.

I walked right across the street after the results and got this tattoo, Bhuvanshvari, the Goddess of the worlds, whose body is the Universe

I know there are people reading this who have cancer. Who are undergoing treatment for it. Families who have lost loved ones to cancer, including my dear stepsister who recently stood by her mother’s side for months caring for her before she died last year. There is no disrespect, no trivializing meant in this post. Five months later, I felt like I had to share.

Blessings to you if you’re reading. And to the sisters and mothers and grandmothers that we have lost and will lose to breast cancer.

 

 

Summer lovin’

Jenny Bee
May 27, 2018

For those of us with school-aged kids, school might be on, but it still feels like summer, doesn’t it?! We have a few plans to go out of town, but we’ll also be here for a good chunk of it. And when we’re here, I’m happily delivering fun and practical workshops to YOU!

Next Saturday, I am really looking forward to the workshop Ayurveda and your child (bilingual). The material in this workshop is inspired by my new book, A Yogi Mama’s Guide to Yoga, Ayurveda & Your Child. (There’s still time to preorder here!)
Join me June 2, 2018, 13h – 16h30 at Espace Varana, 4660 Notre-Dame ouest, Montreal, to learn about Ayurveda and how to apply it to parenting in simple enough ways.
more info and to Save your spot here.

🌻

BOOK BABY TOUR

I’m thrilled to be going back home to Ottawa in June. I am taking my new BOOK BABY on tour! I’ll be at the
the ottawa small press book fair
Saturday, June 23, 2018 in room 203 of the Jack Purcell Community Centre
(on Elgin, at 320 Jack Purcell Lane).

Sunday, June 24, you can find me at Singing Pebble Books for a chat and book signing.

If you’re in Ottawa and preordered the book, you can get it at either of these places.

🌻

Shantala Infant Massage

 is one of the best ways for any parent to connect with baby.
Infant massage:
– Strengthens parent/child bond
– Helps us understand our child’s needs
– Promotes restful sleep
– Helps with gas/digestion
– Boosts baby’s immune system

This workshop includes an introduction to Ayurveda, as it applies to your baby and child. You’ll leave with a manual, oil, and the knowledge and confidence to massage your baby and children. This workshop is open to any parent or caregiver of a young baby.
1-3:30pm Monday, July 16 at naada yoga. You can SIGN UP HERE or call the studio.

🌻

BOOK BABY TOUR

JENNY’S BOOK LAUNCH PARTY!! 
Sunday July 22, 3 to 5pm at naada yoga is the official launch party for A Yogi Mama’s Guide to Yoga, Ayurveda & Your Child. Join us July 22 for snacks, crafts, and a book reading and signing. If you preordered the book, you can get it here!

🌻

 

 

Yoga Birth Workshop for Couples 
Many partners can feel a little overwhelmed and lost when they think of the big day–baby’s birthday. What am I even supposed to do? How can I help her?

Whether you have a doula or not, the Birth Partner plays a huge role in the process. Come learn how the couple can work together and create an atmosphere conducive to a beautiful birth wherever you intend to have your baby. Your partner will learn how they can best support you using pressure points, massage techniques and conscious communication. We will also discuss possible hospital interventions and pain relief options.

1-5pm Saturday August 4 at naada yoga. You can SIGN UP HERE or call the studio.

I really hope to see you in real life at at least one of these events this summer!!

🌻🌻🌻🌻🌻

What is lost, what is gained

Jenny Bee
May 16, 2018
photo at Sacred Suenos, a beautiful permaculture farm in Ecuador that I want to go back to.

I’ve woken up a lot these days, having dreamt of the people of my past. Old friends, lovers, roommates. I’m feeling nostalgic for a “freer” time. When all I had to my name fit in a backpack and I slept in a tent. Maybe not everyone’s cuppa but it suited me well.

From a very vagabond life in the UK, South America, Western Canada, I moved to Montreal on a whim. I met my husband the second night I was here. I’ve still never taken the solo backpacking trip to India I’d been saving for.

Things happened fast and I traded in my itchy feet for feet firmly planted. And I can’t say it’s something I regret. But sometimes I do miss the way I used to live. Especially recently.

Around Mother’s Day, a video circulated on social media about all the things a mother “gives up” when becoming a mother. And I could really relate. And then it showed all the things we gain. And I could relate even more.

And I can’t help but see this parallel of what my family has recently “given up.” We had this big apartment with a backyard and a basement. We lived a block from the St Lawrence where the grass was lush. We had a laneway! We had an infamous ruelle where the kids could freely play with all the neighbours. When we moved across town to be closer to our daughter’s  school we left behind so many friends and the home our son was born in.

My longing for a nomadic lifestyle has me dreaming of the people I used to spend my time with, at once I’ve found contentment in the stability of Motherhood. I can list a thousand reasons why what we gave up was replaced with goodness tenfold.

Our apartment is very small. Even our fridge and stove are smaller than they were. But I tell myself it’s no smaller than when I happily lived in Europe.

We have walls and a roof. And they protect us from the elements. Places I’d stayed in the past didn’t have these simple luxuries. Tents only keep you so warm and dry. Northern BC is cold in the morning. Many places I was in South America had ants and flying bugs as guests (although to be honest it was kind of easy to get used to) there were no walls. Once I lived in a yurt.

School is a ten minute walk away. We no longer spend 45 minutes each way getting across town in construction and traffic. So much less that we even recently got rid of our car!

We don’t have our backyard but a park, a phenomenal park where we spend every opportunity we get. We aren’t isolated in our own pod but surrounded by more friends than a kid could need. The grass, is very, very green. Greener than it was in my own yard

We’ve had this massive lifestyle switch, almost like suburbs to the centre of it all. From depending on a car to being free to walk and bike anywhere, very quickly. It’s contrast that has felt nearly as intense and abrupt as becoming a mother did at 26.

I hit this wall a lot, as I search for contentment. As I become grateful and stay grateful for what it is I have instead of the longing for what it is I don’t. What I might feel like I gave up, freedom-wise in that transition to becoming a mother at 26, today, as I write this, I feel I’ve just gained back. Free, but with at least three really great people beside me. Many more on a sunny day at the park.