Monday Yoga: NEW TIME!

September has somehow magically appeared, and with it will hopefully bring the return of routine and schedule!  After a wonderful summer of travel, fun, wonderful work and lots of time in Canada I’ll be back in Oxford shortly… which means Yoga and Dance classes are back on very soon!

Monday morning yoga will undergo a slight time change to help facilitate those who have to head to work.  The new time will be:
MONDAY 7:45 – 8:45 am!

I hope that this will enable more of you to start the week off in a relaxed and less stressful way!

Yoga classes will resume Monday September 9th, and contemporary dance on Friday September 13th.  I look forward to seeing you then!

I’m back!!!

Just a reminder yoga & dance classes are BACK!  I’m excited to share practice and some new dance combinations after a happy visit to Canada.

Monday August 12, 8-9 am
Monday August 19, 8-9 am
Classes are in the multi-purpose room at the University Club on Mansfield Rd.
Drop in £7 or £5 for University Club members!

Friday August 16th, 7:30-9 pm
Classes are in the multi-purpose room at the University Club on Mansfield Rd.
Drop in £7 or £5 for University Club members!

Email if you have any questions or enquiries.


Class Update: July 11th

My Dear Dancers, Yogis and Yoginis!
First of all I wanted to share how much I’ve appreciated your interest in the classes and for sharing your practice and dancing with me these past few weeks.

I am unexpectedly returning to Canada in order to coach at my old gymnastics club and as a result classes will be on hiatus until next month.  I apologise for any inconvenience this causes. I have really enjoyed the classes we’ve shared and look forward to more in the near future!

The next YOGA class will be Monday August 12th 8-9am

The next DANCE class will be Friday August 16th 7:30-9pm

For more information please check the class calendar page and as always, if you have any questions or feedback I would LOVE to hear from you:

Be well until I see you next, and keep on moving every way you can!!
Best wishes and Namaste!


I never had the privilege of meeting him, but for the number of times Malcolm has spoken about him I feel like I’ve meet Harry Parker many times.  He was an incredible coach, and a wonderful man.  It is always tragic when the life of someone so gifted is cut shorter than everyone would hope, but his wisdom and passion will exist forever in the hearts and minds of all those he taught, inspired and who’s lives he impacted.

Coaching (or teaching as Harry said in the video below) is one of those blessed professions where you have the ability to make a huge difference in other people’s lives.  And with the best teachers/coaches, more often than not, the greatest impact has very little to do with the subject matter.  My favourite teachers and coaches have helped me in every aspect of my life, become a better person as I picked up those skills/knowledge.  I have seen the impact that Harry has had on my husband, and I know the greatest legacy is to honour those teachings by one’s every day actions.  So Harry, thank you for the role you played in helping shape Malcolm into the incredible man, athlete and rower he is today.

Harry Parker: Why We Row video
Row2K Remembrance Article
Harvard Crimson Article
Harry and Abigail: Doubles Race at Head of the Charles 2012

Every day should be…

I think every day should be Mother’s Day…
Where would we be in this world without them?  I have heard a quote that describes motherhood as having a piece of your heart walking around outside yourself – or something to that extent.  As I approach this stage of my life, and having been so far from my mother and family for the last few years this day is always bittersweet.

I miss my mom.  Pretty much every day.
But I feel so blessed to have such an incredible, passionate, loving, caring and inspiring woman as my mother.  Below is a picture of me as a little girl. As you can see I bore a striking resemblance to Little Orphan Annie.  When I was little I hated my curly hair. I would beg my mother not to blow dry it after my shower/bath because it was straight when it was wet.  My mother, to make me feel better about my crown of ringlets, got a perm.


She’s that kind of lady.
I hope to be like her one day. I hope my children will think of fondly of me as I do of her…

This loving message is also being sent out to the mothers who aren’t my mother.  My incredible Mother-in-law who accepts me like her own child.  My coach who nurtured me both as a gymnast and young woman.  For my aunts, great-aunts, cousins, sister-in-laws, and friends who have supported and loved me, and been incredible role models of powerful, strong, and capable of anything women.  I love you all.

Happy Mother’s Day to each and everyone of you. And to you…

SirtonHowardWedding_0679 copy

THE Boat Race


Tomorrow thousands of people will gather in West London next to the Thames River to watch 18 men battle 4 1/4 miles in 159th The Boat Race.  Since 1829 crews from Oxford and Cambridge have met annually to test their strength, stamina, courage and will in a rowing race that many in England hold in higher esteem than the Olympics.

When Malcolm first mentioned his interest in coming to England and rowing in the Boat Race following the Olympics I was a little skeptical.  I knew it would be a wonderful experience – I just didn’t know how much fun it would be, for both of us!  I have cherished this experience for a number of reasons, one of the most important is seeing how much fun Malcolm is having both on the water and in the lab.  Much to my amazement I also enjoy being on the water – except for that first outing (which was the equivalent of beating my head against a wall).  I started rowing (to be honest) because I was jealous of the team environment.  When you leave a sport you’ve basically grown up in, it’s hard to replace that environment.  I’m lucky because I’ve been able to find that in University (Cheerleading team), Dance, Crossfit and now rowing.  But it’s addictive.  Once you have it, you never want to let it go.  I saw it in the Canadian M8+ last year, and in the Blue boat here…

But enough about me. I’m writing this because I’m so proud of my husband. Of what he and his teammates have worked so hard for over the past seven months (and all of the years before).  It has been exciting to see every step of this process, watching how they have come together, pushed one another, elevated each other and have overcome each challenge they faced.  Preparing for the Olympics was a challenge in and of itself, but how these men (and women) balance that training with their academics is more than admirable.

I hope tomorrow the crews have the opportunity to showcase themselves, their talents, their hard work – and to do so without interruption or disturbance.  I’m excited for tomorrow… and if you are too, you can watch the race on the BBC here in England (and on the internet too), or on tape delay on Sportsnet in Canada.  There’s also a live text feature that will outline what’s happening as occurs.  Click here to access the link.

There is also a great article on Malcolm… check the link below!

And some fantastic shots of training (and from the race too I’m sure) here

Tomorrow is going to be a thrilling race, and though I’m not part of the boat I’m honoured to be along for the ride.

Flash Back: Part Two

Here’s one more routine from the 1999 National Championships.
I think it’s amusing that I don’t really remember these routines and they were the most recent, while other routines I could likely still perform (not well mind you but…)

Seeing these videos obviously has me reminiscing. I was quite honestly surprised by some of the things I did.  I enjoyed some of my apparatus handling and the musicality we were aiming for.  Although I realize (now) that I could have been even more expressive – but perhaps that comes with maturity and experience (which I have in spades now haha).  But my overall feeling is that I am proud of my ‘brand’ of gymnastics.

I was never flexible like a contortionist and this code of points didn’t emphasize the big risk elements we see today. But I believe that what we (my coaches and choreographers) were trying to achieve was the whole package – strong technique, interesting apparatus manipulation, expressive choreography and challenging musical choices, all put together in (a hopefully) enjoyable package.

I have to say Thank You AGAIN to Mario Lam for his kindness in transferring these videos.  To have seen these has meant a great deal to me, and I know to my peers of this generation.  I think it is useful to young gymnasts now as well.  We WERE dancing even when the code of points didn’t ask for it.  And if you look at routines from earlier generations as well you can see the challenging risks and handlings they were doing even then!  Sport will always evolve. It has to. But it needs to also remain grounded in “its essence”.  I feel like I was able to capture a bit of the essence of rhythmic gymnastics; and regardless of the outcome of my career I will always be honoured that the path I took and the experiences I had shaped the person I am, the gymnast I was, and the people I met.

Thank you for your kind comments on the previous post.  And to those of you who were my teammates, competitors, friends, and coaches I thank you for the impact you have had on my life.  This is why sport is so important.  You are why sport is so important!

Missing the Challenge

Today is the beginning of the Taranis Winter Challenge. A Crossfit competition in Victoria, BC.  Many of my friends will be competing… and I’m thinking of you all. I wish I could be there to cheer you on and support you, but know that I am sending you strength, and wishing you courage as you take on this ‘challenge’. Have fun!

This summer with its many different travels and adventures has limited the amount of time I’ve been able to workout, and at that it’s often been on my own.  Thinking of the Crossfit family in Victoria, the work they’ve put in to be ready for this weekend, and the fun (and awesome hardships) this competition will bring has me missing all of it.

Crossfit to me can actually be summarized in two words: CommunityChallenge.  As a child training in gymnastics, my teammates became my family.  The same thing happened as I bonded with my cheerleading teammates at the University of Guelph, and my classmates at the School of Toronto Dance Theatre.  These friends were more than just friends.  We supported, pushed, and inspired one another.  We enjoyed our common interests and spent so many happy times together.  When I began Crossfit, I experienced that again.  It was so fun to have people to share a new passion with, and bond with outside the gym too.  I realize that being part of a team/group makes life so much more enjoyable and it’s an aspect of my life I’m beginning to miss here…

I also think that my time in gymnastics set me up for life in terms of wanting a goal and then working my butt off for it.  Somehow it just seems to give purpose/direction to things… The challenge of Crossfit and all of it’s diverse elements mean that there is always something to work towards.  I miss that too.  Although I have been trying some new things here – like rowing today (oh yes you read that right). But we’ll see if that becomes fun and joyful because today was well, not so much 😉

I’m feeling very grateful for the people in my life who’ve shared my various passions and have become my family through them.  I hope that wherever you are, and whatever you are doing, you continue to pursue the things you love, that bring you joy and challenge you to new heights!

And of course GOOD LUCK to all those competing at the TWC! 

Good times with good people!


Have you closed your eyes to and felt the warmth of the sun on your face? Have you felt the vibration of the beat or the dance? Has the texture of something created a visual in your mind?

As I watched the video below (that a dear friend has posted on facebook) I was reminded of how deeply we can appreciate something with all of our senses. A change of perspective (due to distance, injury, illness, surprise or any number of factors) can produce a deeper gratitude, understanding and appreciation.

As you live your day, take a moment to explore something in a new way. Appreciate something as you never have before – the colour of music, the smell of a landscape, the architecture of words. Beauty is all around us ~ go deeper.

Dear friend, ~ xo Love Letters

I have heard of it before, but like many things in life the lesson keeps being presented to you until you are ‘ready to hear it’ (or learn it or live it).  LOVE LETTERS.  Back in the day before email, facebook and twitter the way to keep in touch was to write notes to one another.  I remember being pen pals with gymnasts I met at competitions; and to this day I adore writing cards and leaving little notes here and there for my husband.  But there are projects that take it a step further…

Torontonian Lindsay Zier-Vogel created The Love Lettering Project eight years ago and since then it has taken many forms. “Write love to what you love” is the focus and these small tokens of expression give way to moments of happiness, blissful memories, and connections to beautiful people-places-things.

Just over two years ago Hannah Brencher began writing Love Letters and scattering them throughout her city of New York.  An interesting component is that you can request a love letter for someone… and then they encourage you to ‘adopt’ someone, gather a group and write letters together to send a little warmth to someone that could use a kind word.

How simple. How beautiful.
I may not have a bunch of friends to gather round, but I think I’ll go out in search of some nice stationary today and will set aside some time to share a little love. (and I just may drop a nice note here & there around Oxford. Keep your eyes peeled. Perhaps there’s a note waiting for you?!)

“I wish for love” ~ on a wishing tree in Glasgow, Scotland (taken by me during the 2009 UK tour with Sylvain Émard Danse)