Friday, February 5, 2010

EcoYogini the Frozen Sailor

I thought after my lofty "I am green because I walk to work" post the other week I should give you an update on how that said walking to work is going (and as it's Friday it's nice to have a shorter post!). 

I will be honest, the first three weeks I only walked to work on average about 3 of the 5 days. I felt like it was 'no big deal', I felt connected to my city and smug. Why wasn't everyone ELSE doing this?

This week was my first- walk to and from work every single day. My tune sure did change!

Although I'm no longer winded or getting side stitches (sad that they occurred in the first place, I know!), I am exhausted when I get home. Wouldn't you know that it has been COLD COLD COLD this week?? Of course the opportunity to walk to my work coincides with a cold Canadian winter and not the beautiful weather of summer. I thought I was prepared for the cold, with tights, knee high insulated boots, knee length winter jacket, scarf, mittens and a hat. HAH. 

snow at my parent's cottage (see the deer tracks?)
Then on Tuesday it was -30 Celcius (-22 Fahrenheit) with the windchill. If you have never experienced that kind of cold, it ISN'T something you want to expose your skin to for a forty minute walk. Thankfully the collar on my jacket was high, so I could hold it up until only my eyes were showing. I had to switch hands as the wind was whipping into my mittens and freezing them. At each stop light I would turn my back to the wind and scrunch down with my eyes closed.

I morphed into scary, angry Yogini this week, as wouldn't you know it was that cold Tuesday, Wednesday evening, Thursday evening and today. YAY. Even though I had some fun new Québécois podcasts (Christiane Charette!) to supplement my French-fix, my inner dialogue looked a bit like this:

"Oh My Goddess, it is EFFING COLD.
Being an environmentalist sucks a**.
Why do I DO this to myself?? 
I wonder if someone I know will recognize me while they're driving and bring me home? Maybe if I look sad enough a kind, non-rapist stranger will take pity on my poor self and bring me home....
Holy Eff, the squigee guy IS NOT WEARING A HAT. Isn't he cold?? Is he CRAZY? Quick, walk past and don't make eye contact.
Can eyeballs get frostbite? Cuz they effing hurt a LOT. 
Maybe I should just sit down and rest for a bit... WAIT- that is BAD.
Since I can't feel my legs, it's weird that I'm still walking....
I hate walking to work. This sucks. I am NEVER doing this again."

Repeat each day.

Annnnd, as you can see, when I become angry or irritated (or cold) I drop a lot of f-bombs.... Actually, keeping my swearing under check is something I work on for the benefit of my work and friends who may find it offensive. But the Andrew is sadly exposed to a lot of 'Lisa the Sailor' at home...

Now that I have achieved day numéro CINQ in my walking adventure this week, even though my face feels like a map of prickly needles, I am proud of my accomplishment. In one week I have saved myself 75$ in parking and 2.5 hours of carbon that would have been spewed out in the atmosphere.

ALSO, speaking of accomplishments... last night I FINALLY got my head off the floor in Wheel! Only 5 years in the making! WOOT WOOT! Now to actually work on alignment... :)

Happy Weekend!

article and photos copyright of EcoYogini at


  1. AWESOME! On all levels, although I don't know that I would have been able to stand that cold either. My buddy who is a grad student in Edmonton always tells me about how freezing it is-I can't even imagine...honestly. So props to you for making it all 5 days.

    I never used to use profanity and actually was really opposed to it...there's a post somewhere on my blog about it even...but then I married an Army man and I hate to mouth has become quite adept at throwing out incredible words now. ;-)

    Congrats on the head off in your pose! Maybe it just took all those frozen walks to get it there :)

    Enjoy your weekend!

  2. That was the funniest post I've ever read of yours and I can only imagine. I don't walk to work. I live too far. But, I walked 5 out of 7 days (for exercise) last Winter. I walked in 10 to 20 degree weather, but not in negative temps, EVER. OMG! Crazy girl! And what's sad is that I cannot bring myself to do it this year. If its below 30, forget it! I empathize with you totally and YOU SHOULD BE SO PROUD OF YOURSELF. Really, its an amazing accomplishment! As I've written in a few of my blog posts, you are inspiring!

  3. Congratulations on wheel--that one took me a long time...and, then, once I got it, coming down smoothly turned out to be whole new adventure (though it helped, recently, when a teacher told me to not wait until I'm completely out of energy to start coming down...yes, I do need advice like that).

    No question, it's not easy being green in the winter. I've been getting around by bike and foot more this year than previous winters, but still using the car a lot...

  4. Great on the wheel! Congratulations... Oh dear I feel for you on the walking in the cold... Sending you warm vibes

  5. I really hope you treat yourself to something special this weekend!! All of that walking in that BITTER BITTER cold, and a huge wheel accomplishment! That is amazing! So proud of you.

  6. Gosh, I can not imagine how cold that is because living in Sydney (Australia) it really doesn't get too cold, but good effort and well done with the wheel! I love that feeling of when something finally clicks and takes you to that next level.

    I'm a f-bomb girl and have just learned to embrace it. I work in media and it seems to be a good word to use without having to say too much. It's just a word. We spend too much time being offended as a society when we could invest that energy into better things.

  7. Thanks guys!!! yes, it was a little crazy, but i would be at work and think.... well i have no car option TO get home, and the bus is TERRIBLE, and i don't want to pay for a cab...
    sooooo i guess i have to walk for 40 minutes lol.

    tonight i had the most amazing HOT bath (so terrible for the environment) AND we bought CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM. :)

    Also, i forgot to mention that i cheered out loud while in wheel- seriously i thought i would NEVER accomplish wheel. i had accepted it as a yoga pose that was impossible for my non-gumby body.
    so it was such a beautiful exciting experience, no matter that it looks like four inches, it felt like i was SOARING up there. :)

  8. and here i bitch about biking to work when it's in the 30's...kudos, girl!

    yoga cracks me up how it shows each person's abilities in different ways - i'm curious to learn more about the meaning of each pose. me? i've always been able to pop into the backbend, yet a normal looking seated twist? near impossible. my last instructor said i hold too much in and won't 'wring' it out. hmm.

  9. Oh holy hell! Negative 22?! You are quite brave. And I'd be dropping f-bombs in that weather, too!

    But I think it's pretty "f-ing" amazing! ;) You're an awesome eco-yogini!

  10. Living in such an inhospitable climate (I'm sure it's lovely in summer!) doesn't sound natural.

    And although I'm sure you'd rather not, what about making a deal with yourself to drive in the coldest parts of winter? Perhaps you could even offer to carpool with someone?

    Honestly, there's no point being green if you die of exposure on your way home from work! ;)

    Congrats on wheel. Very exciting! Based on your photo, try walking your feet in a little and bringing a little more weight onto your hands. I'm sure your wheel will just get better and better!

  11. love the cursing...i am julia the sailor all day long at work while i fight with the printers and editing and re-editing letters and so on. but seriously. weather in the negative degrees? i would have used that as a pass for the week on walking to work. kinda like how i give myself a pass on biking in the winter. because i just cant deal with bitter cold in my face. you are so tough!

  12. Well done! 40 mins in this cold weather is a feat of champions! Keep up the great work! You will love yourself even more, despite what the sailor says! :)

  13. Lisa the guttermouth! So glad I'm not the only one. I loved this post and the photo of you in wheel. That is great!

  14. hee hee hee*
    your post made me laugh!! i can totally relate. i try to walk to and from work all the time, and take the bus other times, so one way or another i'm always out in the cold. cold weather is such a funny thing to be angry about, because there is no one in particular who you are angry with, and the rage just goes down into the earth and hurts no one!
    thanks for posting!

  15. Beautiful wheel! I can't even get my, um, shoulders off the floor...need to work those arms more! :) Great job on your walking practice--I just took a lunch break from digging our driveway out of the 2-3 feet of snow we're getting slammed with here. I don't even know where I'd drive if I could!

  16. OMG, congrats to you! Your inner voice sounds like mine when I have to walk in the cold. I walked to the gym this week on my lunch break (5 min walk!) and I noticed when I got home that I had wind burn on my cheeks! I wish I had more incentive not to drive to work. My work pays for parking, so it's cheaper for my b/f and I to drive than to take the bus. I'm too much of a wimp to walk the 30 min each way in winter. I hate the cold! And I have to walk over a cold windy bridge in order to get to work. I'm pretty diligent about walking/biking in summer though. I have asked my director if I can trade my parking pass for a bus pass, which would be cheaper for them, NO REPLY from him! Figures!

  17. I am with you in cursing the cold...except that as part of a class I am taking (The Mind and Getting Beyond Suffering) I have promised myself to stop complaining about how much I hate it. I am hoping that if I don't let my brain go down that rutted road so much maybe I won't hate winter so much. Here's hoping! Thanks for the great post.

  18. Wow! I totally would not think you a bad ecoyogini if you decided to drive sometimes. But you'll forever be my hero if you keep it up. I hate being cold!

  19. !?@!! (picks jaw up from floor)

    Ecoyogini, such kudos for sticking with your walk to work commitment in negative temps like that... I... am just about speechless...

    super congrats on wheel! :)

  20. Thanks for the smiles, Eco Yo-sailor. A big EFF! It's cold here, too...

  21. From one environmentalist to another-thank you so much for what you're doing. As I tell everyone, every little bit helps. And congrats on ''the Wheel''. You need strong shoulders for this. I've been doing it from day one but I still have to watch my left shoulder. I too wonder if the water in my eyes could freeze outside in the cold....

  22. WOW - you are an inspiration. I don't know if I would made it throught that first day without hitching a ride! It is great to see someone really live their beliefs.. Way to go!

  23. Oh, how I don't miss those Canadian winters!!! But dear EcoYogini, don't forget that part of Ahimsa is taking care of yourself! Once after a party in Montreal I walked home from Sherbrooke to the Plateau, about 45 minutes in the dead of winter and when I got home I realised that I was probably inches away from frostbite/hypothermia - of which wanting to sleep is a sign, by the way.

    Be a safe sailor! And as for your wheel pose - well done!! It looks great!

  24. Happy urdhva danurasana!! I can sympathize (almost). I walked to & from work nearly every day (even in winter) 2 miles each way in Chicago for about a year and 1/2. Although I think you've got it much colder. All I can say is... I was quite fit and slept well :). I did take a cab a handful times... but only in blizzard or rain. That cold you're having seems pretty extreme though. Good luck eco-warrior!

  25. Ecoyogini- have you ever tried doing wheel with the block variation? It might help you push up even more! You use 2 blocks and push them against the wall just around shoulder width apart. Press your hands on the blocks and they will help you lift up. If you've ever had a teacher in class help you with wheel by having you grab onto their ankles then it is the same idea- helping to give you a bit more elevation in the pose.

    And good for you for walking to work. You are very determined to be walking in the cold like that!


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