English: North Saskatchewan River valley viewe...

North Saskatchewan River valley viewed from Glenora neighborhood in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Recently my horoscope asked me if I was ready for a reality check. It’s time, I was told, to assess how well I knew the “fundamental facts” of my current physical location. It was a grounding activity in the most literal sense. Being a literal girl, this appealed to me. Perhaps it will appeal to you too.


So to begin:


Do you know which direction north is?


North is directly out of my bedroom window. It’s where I see the green and white Northern Lights and where the smell of cigarette smoke from the neighbors drifts in.


Where does the water you drink come from?


The North Saskatchewan River is the source of our drinking water. Probably a better option than any ground water around here given the farming and chemical plants in the area. But not by much.


What phase of the moon is it today?


We just had a full moon not long ago, so the moon is in the early “new” stages. I didn’t see it last night or in the sky yesterday. When the moon is full, or close to it, you can see it during the day this time of year.


What was the indigenous culture that once lived where you live now?


Plains Cree


Where is the power plant that generates the electricity you use?


That I don’t know. We have power plants in the area, according to Rob, but which one feeds us, I couldn’t say. I can tell you that living rural you are more aware of the fragility of the power grid than you are in the city. Lights flicker when the wind howls and during summer storms. Last summer, we lost power quite often during those weeks when it seemed like we were living in the eye of a hurricane.


Can you name any constellations that are currently in the night sky?


Ursa Major and Minor. Orion. These are the ones that Rob points out most often to Dee. She is more interested in the configurations than I am. I just like the clearness of a night sky and the light of the moon. I am a moon girl.


What species of trees do you see every day?


Anything pine is decorative and a transplant. We live on the prairie. Too far from the mountains and the boreal forest for pine to be native. Poplar and Birch are the native trees. Anything else was trucked in.


These questions are meant to be a starting point for deepening the connection with one’s specific locale on the planet in an effort to be grounded, which is very yoga. You need to establish where you are before you can decide the best route to anywhere else.

Yoga is all about grounding – being present. Start in the physical and progress to the interior and eventually enlightenment shows up.


Not necessarily that simple but not the worst way to go about it either.




yoga (Photo credit: GO INTERACTIVE WELLNESS)

I don’t think much about getting paid to teach yoga. I should. One thing my teacher training instructor hammered home to us was that “People don’t value or stick with instruction that is given to them for free”, and she was correct.

In fact, I knew this from my time spent in the public school trenches – if it was free/it was a “gimme”. Anything you simply share is eventually taken for granted by the majority of people. Especially in our North American culture where so much emphasis is placed on price and the material.

But, I haven’t ever pushed to be paid at a certain rate. When asked, I throw out a few numbers based on what I know about the market and I accept what is offered. Money is fine but karma points are often much better.

This morning I got a call from the woman who hired me to teach at the community hall. She had been thinking about my rate of pay and wondered if I was happy with it.

At a minimum wage job, it would take me about half the day to make what I receive for teaching one hour of yoga. It’s not the worst part-time job ever. It’s barely a part-time job at all given that I work on average about three hours a week minus travel time, which is also pretty negligible.

“I hadn’t thought about that,” I told her.

“Well, I have been thinking that maybe we need to raise your rate,” she said. “The yoga program has been very successful here and we wouldn’t want to lose you.”

What prompted this, I think, was less the idea of losing me and more contact with fitness instructors.

The fitness program in our little hamlet has grown from yoga to include a program for senior citizens twice a week and two weekly Zumba classes.

I don’t know what the instructors of the classes charged for their services, but I can guess and it’s probably more than what I settled for initially.

However, they came from proven backgrounds and have additional communities that they serve. I was just starting out.

So, I got a raise and didn’t even have to ask for it. How awesome is my life?

A yoga class.

Image via Wikipedia

I teach yoga two evenings a week at the local community center. Class size varies from one session to the next but there is a small core who sign up every time. One of them is an older lady who lives down the street and for 76, having never done any yoga prior to starting classes with me a year ago, she is incredible spry and limber. It’s amazing to see her progress and to know how much she enjoys and values the instruction. Introducing people to yoga and watching them find themselves in the practice is even more joyful than teaching grammar was back in my public school teacher days of yore.

During the winter months, Rob usually walks me over to the hall where classes are held. It’s not even a two-minute jaunt. Just out the back door, down the drive, up the alley and across the street. But it’s dark, icy and made more precarious by the bags I schlep with me. He carries my equipment and I point the flashlight, and the process repeats in reverse an hour later when class in complete.

Last night, Rob ran into our sweet elderly neighbor as he was hustling up the alley to walk me home from class. Greetings were exchanged, but Rob stopped to chat because she had halted in her tracks and he had a feeling she wanted to tell him something.

“Your wife is so lucky,” she said.

He didn’t reply and she continued,

“You carry her things and walk her to class and then come back to help her get home. That’s just so nice.”

“Just doing my part,” he replied.

He told me the story later and I concurred,

“I am lucky and I know it,” I said. “I read so much about men who have no idea that it’s the little things day in and out that matter the most, and here I have you. I never have to ask you to pay attention, help out, or for much of anything really. You just do.”

Kind of reminds me of the lyrics to a song I shared not long ago,

There’s no way to describe what you do to me
You just do to me, what you do

Except it’s more than what’s done to me but what is done for me.

He would argue, correctly, that this is a mutual thing, which is as it should be.

But, I am very lucky. I don’t take that lightly or for granted.