Sunday, April 26, 2009

Guerilla Yoga and Weekend Ponderings

Outside yoga- the ULTIMATE eco yogic experience. Although spring has been slow to gather up speed here in Halifax, finally this weekend the temperature creeped up to 20 degrees (celcius). While living in BC I used to practice yoga outside often- either on the dock on Kalamalka Lake (picture on the right) or our decks. All winter I have been waiting rather impatiently for outside yoga and yesterday we had our opportunity!

We met up with friends Kevin and Heather at Point Pleasant Park (they bicycled, Eco-warriors with their yoga mats attached!) and wandered around trying to find the perfect yoga spot. Our hope was to eventually wander upon Fort Ogilvie, a particular section of the park that has a nice flat grassy area. We actually found the area, but unfortunately it was sectioned off due to "mushy" grass... The neat part of Fort Ogilvie is that it was actually used as a protective Fort for Halifax a few hundred years ago. The canons and brick/cement "fort" are still intact in this part of the park! We decided after a few minutes to be rebels... GASP. I was a little nervous, I'm not really a rebel! But this part of the park was quiet, no one was around and that fort looked SUPER flat, perfect actually for some wonderful yoga practice. The Fort is accessible from the back up a sloping hill and overlooks the harbour and beautiful ocean. It also has a pretty big "Keep Off" sign on the front lol. The ultimate guerilla yoga experience!

In any case, we climbed up on the top, kept far away from the edges and practiced while the sailboats floated by and birds chirped overhead. It was the best yoga experience I have had since we moved to Halifax in July. The ocean wind kept the sun from becoming too hot and brought such a feeling of connectedness with the quiet. Andrew, Kevin and Heather's mats being light and PVC, however, kept being swept up with the wind so our asanas flowed through mostly wide-legged standing postures ending with a peaceful Ohm. Unfortunately I forgot my camera at home, and although the guys reported that someone passing by took a picture of Heather and I during High Lunge-twist, I have none... Next time!

Practicing Yoga while feeling the wind slip over my postures and listening to the sound through the trees is my absolute most blissful experience. 

On another "eco" note- my container garden is progressing! We planted the garlic, peas and carrots a few weekends ago and have been keeping them inside until they've sprouted. We also bought a new recycled fiber container to replace the horribly combusted "biodegradable" Zellers planters. Doesn't the garlic look fabulous I cannot wait to eat produce that we've grown ourselves. :)

We also went walking downtown today, it's super muggy, 68% humidity with a ton of wind. Funny how the wind remains humid as well. Our destination: the Smiling Goat CafĂ© Organic Espresso Bar (we're not very good at walking just to walk). This was the coffee shop where I had first encountered the "bioplastic" coffee cups that are not actually "compostable" in HRM's municipal composting facility (or your backyard compost). The barista informed me that they were making a statement for Halifax's composting system- if they get enough "bioplastic" then they will have to update their systems! Right. In any case, they have now switched to recyclable plastic (as opposed to sending these "compostable" cups to the landfills). My yummy fair trade organic iced-mocha was fantastic with it's truely biodegradable straw (which actually will compost in a regular system). 

While drinking our coffee I glanced through the Halifax's Green Guide. This always irks me, as many supposedly "green" options (i.e. Lush, Aveda) are represented here. There was an interesting interview with a Waste Management representative who indicated that these "compostable" cup-statements that have been flooding the recycling system have been very problematic recently as they are virtually indistinguishable from regular plastic cups. As a result, they are processed and essential "ruin" the end product, decreasing it's value and as a result, being thrown into the landfill. Another reason why "reduce" is more important than "recycle".

On our return it had clouded over, the wind moving the clouds so quickly in our Maritime sky and I saw this lonesome blackbird, chirping on the wire. I just managed to catch her on film before she flew away. 



  1. i know you don't like lush...but they do a lot of their products sans-packaging, which gets them eco-points in my books. and that's what is mentioned about them in the green guide. i like buying shampoo without a bottle to throw away, which i can do when i buy their solid shampoos. it helps me cut down my plastic-dependence. no one is perfect, and we need to make wise choices as consumers. i also like knowing exactly what is in my beauty products, which they list nicely, so i can decide to buy them or not.

    there are good things about all of the places in the green guide. making some attempt is better than making none at all.

  2. Do you like their shampoos? I've been looking for some and unfortunately haven't come across any that work well yet.

    Perhaps a "green-ability" or "eco-level" would be a nice addendum. Allowing the consumer to know the pros along with the cons :)

  3. i do like their shampoos (the few i have tried). but some of them do contain SLS - which is what makes them lather so nicely i would imagine. i don't find it irritates my scalp at all. i use "trichomania" during the fall/winter/spring and i use "the blonde" in the summer because it has chamomile and lemon to lighten the hair.

    they also sell a shampoo that helps promote hair growth. which has been great for an SLP friend of mine suffering from stress-induced hair loss. she loves it - and it's a great alternative to chemical/drug treatments for hair loss.

    i also use one of their conditioners ("jungle") as a shaving cream. it's sold in a solid block, and lathers into a bit of a foam for shaving legs. i like not having shaving cream cans to throw in the garbage.

    you're welcome to try some of my "trichomania" or "jungle" anytime. i haven't purchased any of "the blonde" yet for the summer, but when i do, you're welcome to try it.

  4. you are so right about reducing rather than recycling! So much industry is used to recycle these ECO products. I do my part by taking the bus and my eco-co-worker has helped my kick my ziploc baggie addiction :)

    ps. Lush drives my allergies crazy when I go into that store!

  5. I hear you about doing yoga outside - that's my favourite kind of yoga! Yesterday I visited an island nature reserve and I did some [impromptu] yoga on bush tracks and shingle beaches, surrounded by rare native birds. It was magic.

    Here in New Zealand, we are heading in to winter. We've had a mild, sunny autumn and I've been making the most of it!

  6. Margaret- woot kicking the "ziploc" addiction! I am so working on that as well! :) Andrew and I plan to walk or take the bus here in Halifax more often (already planning on figuring out how to get to the park by bus!).

    Jen: I guess it's a "chemical vs packaging" choice- as those shampoos have more than just SLS in them (which would explain Margaret's allergies).

    Anne-Marie: Yay impromptu yoga! I would say that totally counts as "guerilla" yoga! so amazing that our planet is connected, yet so separate with the seasons :)

  7. re lush: some of their shampoos do have perfumes in them, but a lot of them don't. and, most of them are SLS-free now too. i'm sure a lot of their other products do activate people's allergies. but, for me, the choice is less-packaging, since i don't have allergies and i buy things that don't have perfumes in them, after reading the list of ingredients on the website. as with everywhere, informed consumerism is key.

  8. You paint such a lovely picture of yoga by the sea - thank you! (And a tiny bit of rebel action feels good now and then, doesn't it! :)

  9. My dad and I have something (well probably a few things) in common, we both get headaches when exposed to chemical scents. We couldn't even have bubblebath in the house when we were kids! I know that Lush is better than other companies, but I still can't be in their store for more than a couple minutes without feeling dizzy and light headed. They do have a lot less packaging than other places though, which is definitely a good thing for people without chemical sensitivities (I'm such a sensitive guy).

    As for the green guide, my problem is that there is no eco scale. For example, under the "grocery" section they have "Atlantic Superstore" because it contains some organic foods (I've worked in a grocery chain that sells organic foods. I have seen people wash organic lettuce, put it on a drying rack and then wash non-organic lettuce and place it on a drying rack OVER the organic. drip. drip. Guess what can no longer be sold as organic but was anyway?) A couple entries later you see the Halifax Farmers Market. Clearly one of those is going to be far greener than the other, but they are given a pretty even treatment. Sobeys is also on that list, saying "Small selection of organic produce and a separate section of organic foods." That sure is worth a mention. Three line descriptions are nice, but something saying 'SOBEYS: *' 'FARMERS MARKET *****' would be way better.

    Check out the green guide at

  10. Growing your own garlic peas and carrots? that's fantastic! Where do you keep the pots?

  11. Michelle: hehe, yes we are excited!!! We've been keeping the pots (biodegradable fiber planters bought at Kent's hardware store) inside at night and on cooler days, and on days like today (23 degrees!!) we've been placing them outside during the day :)


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