Posted in canada, Life Travel, North America, Toronto City, travel, Yoga

My first February in Toronto

On Wednesday, 7th of March, I completed one month in this beautiful city of Toronto. It has been a journey overloaded with new thoughts, new tasks and new dimensions to look at the world.  Sharing a few observations that have kept me warm in this cold place.

I remember tales from back home that I used to hear about Canada; how it is also known as Mini Punjab. They say the sign boards in Canada are also in Punjabi. That you can easily locate a turbaned man in almost every place you go to. The kids have the option of selecting Punjabi language as a subject in school, the flights have a huge database of Punjabi movies, the local radio stations play Punjabi songs and you see people doing Bhangra on the road and that everyone you meet there have some family back home, either in Ludhiana or in Jalandhar.

All myths were busted when I landed a month ago in Canada. While I had come to believe that Canada would be more Punjabi than Punjab itself, I am glad that it isn’t. From the time I boarded the Air India flight to Toronto till today when I de-boarded the TTC Bus 134 outside Centennial College, I have seen an unimagined world of mixed cultures, variety of ethnicity and no right or wrong way of being human. And to this, Punjabis have made a significant contribution.

Back in India, Canada has always been synonymous with Punjabi, however, I have met more Gujratis, Tamilians and Lankans in the past one month. It is not a just Punjabi thing. I use public transit, visit public libraries and more often visit the newcomers’ services centers in my local region. I believe Canada has not branded itself as multi cultural out of no context. There are blacks and browns, orientals and Caucasians, short hair and extensions, bearded and bald, pierced and tattooed, with all their differences, they are all operating in the same air. The one thing that remains common across cultures is that they all wear snow boots and furry jackets. Yes, when the weather becomes harsh on Canadians, they say that the warmth within stays intact. The diversity of the city is also its pride that is seen loud & clear. Though I haven’t made many friends here, it looks like I have landed in the right place in my pursuit of becoming a true global citizen. It is a good way of knowing the world in one place.

By far, the public libraries have been one of the most exciting places to visit. There is access to new information, free wifi and free tourist passes. For each library card, on every Saturday, you can collect a free pass to visit the tourist attractions in the city like Toronto Zoo, Ontario Science Center, Bata Shoe Museum and many more places around the city. These places are also advisable to visit during the winter months as exploring outdoors is not an option for many.

It is true that technology has helped a great deal for me to maneuver around this new city. For the millennials, most of the information is also accessed by downloading an app for what is required. Weather Canada tops the list of must have apps in this city. Few Sunny days are mostly followed by a few flurry days, courtesy the lake effect. The TTC transit apps can help you to increase your mobility. TD bank incentivized me with 5$ to download their app and start using it. Kijiji has been useful in finding part time jobs and renting apartments. But the most interesting one so far has been Tinder. It truly reflects the multi cultural vibe of this city. However, for me, the most often used app is Meethi Mirchi, so I don’t miss Bollywood at all. I do miss the food delivery apps from time to time, the convenience of ordering warm Chinese food on a cold day was a bliss.

The past one month has been slow and steady and at the same time overwhelming with everything new and vibrant. My visit to Cliff-side with my Canadian cousins gave me a glimpse of the natural beauty around the place. My upcoming volunteering activities at YMCA as a Yoga Instructor look like a foundation step to my dream of owning a yoga studio one day. There is an excitement to learn the French language giving me hopes of new avenues.

But for now, it is a challenge to set myself up in this country and working towards building a career that I truly want. In a month, I have been able to fetch an interesting part time job for myself. I have to distribute flyers for a window cleaning guy in Downtown, who has agreed to pay me 15$ per hour. While I longed to become a waitress, this one will make me happy too; I get to see the city and get paid for it.  I guess a global citizen never says no to work.

I also played a ‘5 minutes’ quick Holi, visited Indian temples in foreign land and relished Kadi Chawal at the Scarborough Gurudwara.  While India still fills most of the spaces in my heart and probably always will, I can certainly say Toronto is that home away from home that doesn’t make me sick for my home.

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Posted in Yoga

Breathe…. and balance!

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November of 17th, 2016, for ever got registered as the day of my headstand. Sirsasana, the king of asanas as they may call it, the inverted asana that not only demands your complete attention but also needs you to conquer your fears, the one that entrusts in you enough power, boosts your confidence and tightens your hold on your practice of yoga asanas, all of this was attained in my regular practice of yoga on that very day. Reaching this milestone in my practice was an outcome of precisely seven months of patience, perseverance and practice, in that particular order.

My instant reaction to this was almost losing control on my breath making it difficult to hold the position for long. That feeling of what just happened was so unbelievable that I had to gather tremendous energy to stay focused on my action. And I did. For the next 45 seconds, I did it.

What this essentially means is that now I have completed my sequence of 12 basic asanas. I wouldn’t be dying without standing upside down at least once in my life. I practice what I preach. My teacher training course in Yoga has fully yielded now. For those who know me well, also know what it meant to me. I am full of gratitude and feel blessed by my gurus who would gave me immense positivity to make this happen for myself.

Though headstand in itself is no milestone in your practice of yoga (there are no milestones, you just do what you can!), but advancing the practice is a huge feel good factor in itself. Just like me, there are many out there who are motivated to advance their practice but are reluctant to give up on their psychology. Hence, the practice of sirsasana becomes a must in letting go of your fears.

If I go back to my days when I constantly struggled for the posture, I see that it made me angry on myself, there were even days when I have trusted others more than me to reach there but all of it seems irrelevant today. There is a certain level of calm that should come from within, the energy should be positive and the time has to be right. Nothing happens before the right time. Losing patience is perhaps the biggest mistake that I have learnt from. After many trials and failures I did realize the hard fact that good things come to those who wait. From then on, I waited. I waited but I didn’t give up. Of course, I lost my patience time and again but on one given day calm took upon me and what a delightful day it was.

The consistency in practice gives me an empowerment that I can make my practice stronger and better. One small step in the right direction becomes a reservoir of hope and motivation. And so it becomes important to keep ourselves pepped about these little achievements in our daily practice of yoga. And so I say, let your daily stance of yoga surprise you!