We went to Niagara Falls and Great Wolf Lodge last weekend, and it was amazing. No matter where we are, being with my family is like being wrapped in a warm, adorable, fluffy blanket — even when the kids are running around the house screaming, pinching each other in the backseat of my car, or interrupting me (“Mama! Mama! Mama! Mama! Mama!”) when I’m on the phone. I can’t get enough of them, and I never take them and their awesome uniqueness for granted.

As the Rascal likes to say…, “SHHHHABAH!” (?)

So the fact that I haven’t gone to my beloved yoga studio in over a week has meant that I’ve had a little more of that early-morning special time with my cheaty little monkeys — when they’re quiet, still, not wreaking havoc, and it’s just love.

The exact same thing happened this time last year. I stopped going to yoga for about three weeks last January/February. And at the time I thought I’d lost my motivation because my teacher was away in India.

But now I know that I’m a bear.

Journey behind the Falls….

I seem to need this time every year. Yoga studios are packed with people resolving to get lean and zen, and it’s so cold and dark out that early in the morning. I just want to be home and quiet. Don’t want to explain anything or make any excuses, or even really to blog about it. Just want to be quiet and contained. Like a bear.

Or like a yogi in a cave, my own silent retreat.

I’ve been having a love affair with yoga for almost thirty years. My mom used to practice yoga (à la Hittleman) on her bedroom floor every morning, and she’d take me to her weekly class at the Yoga Centre of Toronto now and then. I used to laugh when the ladies chanted ohhhhmmm. I did my first splits in that class all those years ago…. My brother and sister could have cared less about the yoga, but I was fascinated. And I haven’t lost any of that fascination.

But yoga and I are on a break, at least until this private, quiet “hibernation” spell ends, and until the dust of all the changes around here begins to settle.

So, my yoga right now has to be sun salutations in my bedroom, drinking hot water with lemon in the morning and eating a salad a day. My yoga is getting the kids to school and to their programs on time. My yoga is witnessing my thoughts as I walk to the store to pick up the toothpaste we ran out of, as I try to wiggle the Monkey’s loose tooth without squirming, as I wipe the Rascal’s ever-flowing fountain of snot, scramble to meet editorial deadlines, avoid Starbucks and get to work on time. My yoga is bathing my dog, cleaning dishes, cooking dinner, making lunches, grocery shopping, and not swearing at Maaarge for meowing for food every time I walk by her (feline hypothyroidism, FTW!).

I’ve gone straight to seventh series, it seems, and I’m hardly halfway through primary. I’m a bad, bad Ashtanga yogi, and it’s OK for now. But it also sucks because, in another sense, I’m exiling myself from people and a place that I love (another bad habit of mine of which I’m well aware; I hope they’ll take me back).

But still….

I’ll return to my dedicated daily yoga practice when I’m ready, when my family’s ready, or when Pattabhi Jois appears in my dreams again, telling me, “You. You practice,” and to go find something “yellow” (?).

In the meantime, I’m OK with failing at a something. And, honestly, that in itself is some kind of achievement for me.




xo Haley-O

Photos by Haley Overland/Cheatymonkey.com