Thursday, December 31, 2009
Amanda and I went together last night. She’s an amazing girl I met through my yoga training. We have become close, along with my other friend Steph. The three of us have a lot in common...not just the same English golden retriever.
Colin always begins his classes with a quote, story or intention. This is my favourite part as it always includes a funny story, which usually I’ve heard before from our yoga training. They never get old. He has a way of making things make sense; relating yoga to our everyday life, actions, and thoughts. Last night he spoke about fullness. How can we find fullness in everyday experiences?
I’m not the type of person to walk around thinking the world and my life is awesome! I’ve been through a lot and sometimes think....”seriously?!?...why me?!?” I think everyone does at some point or another. However, I do consider myself a strong woman as I have gone through things that forced me to be this way. It’s not something you’re born with; I believe it’s something that’s created over time, with all life experiences.
Since I’ve started this journey I have looked at life, my decisions and experiences a little differently. At times it’s hard. I am stubborn, aggressive and quarrelsome...it’s the aries! Sometimes I do overreact. Hareesh has taught me that there’s no such thing as an overreaction. It’s MY reaction because something in the past has caused me to be upset, and a “samskara” (scar) has been initiated....that’s a whole other blog though...
So, when I’m fully aware and present in the moment of being upset, angry, confused or sad, any emotion really, I’ll try to find fullness within that circumstance. Take Colin’s story for example. It’s -30 one night, and you’re driving on the highway. You get a flat tire. Instead of swearing and kicking your car because we all know we’ve been there done that...but really, did we ever stop to think what good that will do us? Sure you might release “something” but will it really facilitate something? Instead, try to find fullness in the moment. How can you make something negative into something positive? Maybe this was supposed to happen? Maybe you’ll miss that accident that might have involved you down the road? Maybe that person who comes to help you might be the man or woman of your dreams, and now you’re having dinner next week. Again...this is Colin’s example, but I do see, and agree with where he’s coming from.
My past experiences have proven to me that everything happens for a reason. If I didn’t go through the tough times I went though, I wouldn’t be the strong, successful, MORE FLEXIBLE woman I am today! I’m thankful for those experiences, as they taught me a lot. Not just about life, but myself.
It’s NYE and one of my resolutions for 2010 is to TRY and examine every circumstance I’m in. Step back for a moment (it’s ok to take a minute and think...) and look at the situation as a whole. Will this decision bring fullness? Am I benefiting from this decision I make? How can I make the outcome more optimistic and encouraging?
Wishing you all a very Happy New Year! May the mind, body and spirit within you bless you all with lots of love, prosperity and good health.
Cheers to 2010 and another chance for us to get it right!!
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
It's been one year, today. I can’t believe how fast a year has passed. Maybe it was all the weddings? Maybe it was my new job? Maybe it was my new found passion for yoga? It’s probably all of these things, but one thing I know for certain, it was the incredible amount of love and support I got from ALL my family and friends!
The old ones were considerate and gave support; the new ones listened and were accepting. ALL of them gave me more love than I’ve ever received. I am so thankful for all of you in my life. You’ve made it a lot easier…and I LOVE each and every one of you.
As I continue through my journey and my life, your support will keep me grounded, your love will encourage me, and your friendship is what keeps me striving to be the best I can be!
In kindergarten your idea of a good friend was the person who let you have the red crayon when all that was left was the ugly black one.
In first grade your idea of a good friend was the person who went to the bathroom with you and held your hand as you walked through the scary halls.
In second grade your idea of a good friend was the person who helped you stand up to the class bully.
In third grade your idea of a good friend was the person who shared their lunch with you when you forgot yours on the bus.
In fourth grade your idea of a good friend was the person who was willing to switch square dancing partners in gym so you wouldn't have to be stuck do-si-do-ing with the dork of the class.
In fifth grade your idea of a friend was the person who saved a seat on the back of the bus for you.
In sixth grade your idea of a friend was the person who went up to your new crush, and asked them to dance with you, so that if they said “no” you wouldn't have to be embarrassed.
In seventh grade your idea of a friend was the person who let you copy the social studies homework from the night before that you had forgotten about.
In eighth grade your idea of a good friend was the person who helped you pack up your stuffed animals and old baseball cards so that your room would be a "high schooler's" room, but didn't laugh at you when you finished and broke out into tears.
In ninth grade your idea of a good friend was the person who went with you to that "cool" party thrown by a senior so you wouldn't wind up being the only freshman there.
In tenth grade your idea of a good friend was the person who changed their schedule so you would have someone to sit with at lunch.
In eleventh grade your idea of a good friend was the person who
gave you rides in their new car,
convinced your parents that you shouldn't be grounded,
consoled you when you broke up with your significant other
and found you a date to the prom.
In twelfth grade your idea of a good friend was the person who
helped you pick out a college,
assured you that you would get into that college,
helped you deal with your parents who were having a hard time adjusting to the idea of letting you go.
At graduation your idea of a good friend was the person who was crying on the inside but managed the biggest smile one could give as they congratulated you.
The summer after twelfth grade your idea of a good friend was the person who
Helped you clean up from that party.
Helped you sneak out of the house when you just couldn't deal with your parents.
Assured you that now that your significant other were back together, you could make it through anything.
Helped you pack up for college and just silently hugged you as you looked through blurry eyes at 18 years of memories you were leaving behind.
And finally on those last days of childhood, went out of their way to come over and send you off with a hug, a lot of memories and reassurance that you would make it in college as well as you had these past 18 year.
But most importantly sent you off to college knowing you were loved.
Now, your idea of a good friend is still the person who gives you the better of the two choices.
Holds your hand when you're scared.
Helps you fight off those who try to take advantage of you.
Thinks of you at times when you are not there.
Reminds you of what you have forgotten.
Helps you put the past behind you but understands when you need to hold on to it a little longer.
Stays with you so that you have confidence.
Goes out of their way to make time for you.
Helps you clear up your mistakes.
Helps you deal with pressure from others.
Smiles for you when they are sad.
Helps you become a better person.
However most importantly loves you!
These are two amazing emails I received today from my best friends...Thanks again <3
"Quotes that remind me of how strong you have been!
"Remember no one can make you feel inferior without your consent."
"Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead."
—Louisa May Alcott
“The size of your success is measured by the strength of your desire; the size of your dream; and how you handle disappointment along the way.”
"A strong woman walks sure footedly, but a woman of strength knows when to ask for help."
"A strong woman has faith that she is strong enough for the journey, but a woman of strength has faith that it is in the journey that she will become strong."
These all remind me of you. One year already, and not only have you handled it with strength and courage, but also with a LOT of grace. Love you xoxo"
Just read your status and I cannot believe its been a year. I know this may not be my place to say this, but I am really proud of you. You have shown incredible strength, grace and dignity in the face of such heartbreak and that to me shows what an incredible (and strong) person you are. Just wanted to let you know that I am thinking of you and sending you lots of good positive thoughts and love."
Thursday, December 24, 2009
There was only about 15 people there, I’m sure everyone else was busy with family/Christmas/holiday/shopping stuff. I still can’t believe I won’t have any classes for two weeks...going through major withdrawal!
I set my mat up at the front of the class. I’m proud of myself that now I’m able to survive at the front now, as it is the hottest part of the room. Colin came in and started off with a quote, “What you focus on, grows” I smiled! This quote has been lingering with me for a few months; ever since I read the book “The game of life, and how to play it.” One of the most fascinating, incredible books I’ve ever read. It really makes sense, whatever and where ever you put all your concentration, heart and soul into, grows. Gets better, or can get worse. The phrase “I can’t” should be banned from the English dictionary in my mind. If you “can’t” you won’t! You’ll never get any further in life with those thoughts, you’ve basically set the bar and committed to the fact that you CAN’T do what you would like to accomplish. When you focus on the good, what already is and set your goals to what could be, you’ll be astonished with what can and will happen. I’m not a religious person what so ever, but I do believe “what you ask for, you shall receive” ...it's been proven to me time and time again.
During the class I realized that I wasn’t sweating as much as I usually do. I’m getting better, stronger. However, does that mean I’m not pushing myself beyond my boundaries anymore, therefore not working hard enough? Maybe I’m just getting use to the heat? Colin asked us how we were feeling, was it too hot, too cool? I’m the only one who mentioned I wasn’t as hot as I usually was. Colin walked over to the thermostat. “Devon, you’re right, it’s only a cool 46.4 degrees” I guess I am getting use to it.
Over the holidays my discipline will be to push myself to where I’m uncomfortable, but still at the advantage of the pose. Your discipline should always be rewarding, never punishment. I’m going to focus on going deeper in my stretch, focus on my balance, focus on quieting my mind and opening my heart. Whatever I focus on, will grow!
Merry Christmas, and Happy Holiday to all!!!
Thursday, December 17, 2009
simplicity, patience, compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.
Simple in actions and in thoughts,
you return to the source of being.
Patient with both friends and enemies,
you accord with the way things are.
Compassionate toward yourself,
you reconcile all beings in the world.
Watch your thoughts; they become words.
Watch your words; they become actions.
Watch your actions; they become habits.
Watch your habits; they become character.
Watch your character; for it becomes your destiny
It is my nature that makes me love you often,
For I am love itself.
It is my longing that makes me love you intensely,
For I yearn to be loved from the heart.
It is my eternity that makes me love you long,
For I have no end.
Om Bhur Bhuva Swaha,
Tat Savitur Varenyam,
Bhargo devasya Dhimahi,
D'Yo Yona Prachodhyat.
Earth, Mid-heaven, Heaven!
Let us meditate on that most
Excellent light of Divine sun,
That it may illuminate our minds.
If you want to become whole,
let yourself be partial.
If you want to become straight,
let yourself be crooked.
If you want to become full,
let yourself be empty.
If you want to be reborn,
let yourself die.
If you want to be given everything,
give everything up.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
This was a Mantra we chanted along with Christopher Wallis aka Hareesh. Here is a little background information on this amazing person.
Chris been exposed to Indian spirituality from the age of six and was initiated into the practice of meditation and yoga at the age of 16. Six years later, while traveling through Europe and India, he felt called to study, teach, and practice Indian philosophy and meditation full-time. He now has 18 years of practice, 10 years of academic study, and 11 years of teaching experience. His degrees include a B.A. in Religion from the University of Rochester, an M.A. in Sanskrit from U.C. Berkeley, and an M.Phil. in Classical Indian Religions from the University of Oxford. He is currently earning a third masters from U.C. Santa Barbara, as well as doing doctoral research at Berkeley on the traditions of Tantric Shaivism. He received traditional education at yoga ashrams in upstate New York and India - in kirtan, mantra-science, asana, karma-yoga, and more. He currently teaches meditation, yoga philosophy, Sanskrit, chanting, and offers spiritual life-coaching. His goal in teaching is to balance accuracy with accessibility, profundity with clarity, and intellectual integrity with heart-expanding inspiration. His students have commented that his combination of rigorous and thorough knowledge with profound love for the tradition is rare and delightful.
I was lucky enough to spend 3 days with Hareesh, and I learned SO much. Our Kula Teacher Training group attended a public lecture Friday night. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t the only one who was blown away. We also got to spend Saturday and Sunday morning with Hareesh in our private Burlington studio...JUST the students!
We learned all about Tantric Yoga philosophy, from beginning around and including 600BCE- to now. We discussed what Tantric Yoga is...all of us had a different understanding of what it was.
Tantric Yoga is focused more on all the sciences of yoga and “weaves” it together (Tantra (Sanskrit: तन्त्र; "weave" denoting continuity). Alchemy, chemistry, anatomy, mediation, anatomy and physiology.... In other words, Tantra yoga studies the tree of life instead of limiting itself to any single branch of the tree.
If I wrote everything I learned, thought about and now knew...this blog would be never ending. I’m going to touch on some of my favourite quotes, and memories of this weekend.
“The witness then abides in its true nature”
Everyone we encounter in life is a reflection of you. People come in our lives for a reason. Maybe it’s to challenge you? Consider it an opportunity for self awareness. Have you been to egotistical lately? Offensive? Sometimes the things that annoy us the most in others, is what we hate most about ourselves. Maybe they’ve come into your life to offer some sort of inner healing. Have you ever met someone, and they “get you” right away, after a simple chitchat? Think about everyone who comes in and out of your life, it’s a gift, a chance for recognition and expansion for your soul.
Bhāvanā: Engaging in the power of self awareness. “Calling into Existence”
Meditation is something that came up a lot during our weekend retreat. Learning to hold the situation in your awareness, breath into it, into the cradle of conscientiousness ...doors will open where there were merely walls. I REALLY look forward to this. This was something VERY hard for me to concentrate on as I was very sick. Closing my eyes kinda made me dizzy and nauseous. Not to mention all the sniffling, sneezing and coughing I was doing. I look forward to doing more of this once I’m fully recovered and able to be fully present and aware in the moment. I also look forward to healing a lot of my samskara’s that I know are still present within me.
Samskara’s: fundamental impressions left on the heart of an individual.
As simple as I can make it, a Samskara is a “scar”. Left behind from every experience you’ve had past and present lives. When repeated, these samskara’s can get deeper and deeper. Take a foot print in the sand for example. Water flows over sand so naturally, easy. Then a foot print is made in the sand. The water (life) still flows over the foot print, but now just a little differently. These are like scars on the heart. Experiences you’ve had in life effect the outcome of every situation after a samskara has been made. These are different for everyone. The good news is that it can be healed. Simply by adding yoga, a samskara can be released naturally. Not only with yoga, but being conscious of these “scars” When someone pushes your buttons, and you feel yourself getting all worked up, not only have they found a samskara, you’re actually deepening that scar. If you don’t react, you weaken it, and eventually it will fade.
“The cause of all our suffering, is that we don’t know who we are”
The Four Noble Truths:
1. Life means suffering.
2. The origin of suffering is attachment.
3. The cessation of suffering is attainable.
4. The path to the cessation of suffering.
To live means to suffer, because the human nature is not perfect and neither is the world we live in. During our lifetime, we inevitably have to endure physical suffering such as pain, sickness, injury, tiredness, old age, and eventually death; and we have to endure psychological suffering like sadness, fear, frustration, disappointment, and depression. Although there are different degrees of suffering and there are also positive experiences in life that we perceive as the opposite of suffering, such as ease, comfort and happiness, life in its complete is imperfect and incomplete. This means we are never able to keep permanently what we long for, and just be content with the moments that pass by. We are given the ability to see things as they are, and except them. We are given the ability to be free from the thoughts that harness our soul. Learn to love, cherish and embody those moment, those feelings, use it to your advantage, life it too short!
What is Yoga? What does Yoga mean? The Sanskrit word yoga has many meanings, and is derived from the Sanskrit root "yuj," meaning "to control," "to yoke" or "to unite." There became many jokes and quotes around our practice that evening.
“WOW Devon...you totally YOKED that trikonasana!!”
I made a lot of progress this weekend, mentally, physically and very much spiritually. I see a lot of what I’ve learned I already knew...but didn’t know the proper name, action, and how to follow through with it. I’m happier; a little less stressed, and I definitely know how to deal with the things that challenge me on a deeper more rewarding level.
Thank you to Kula, Hareesh, Adam, Colin, Grant and my amazing new friends!
“Divine is more than meets the eye, but everything the eye meets”
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Dan, Amanda, Lindsey and I went to the front, set up our mats and instead of laying down preparing ourselves mentally and spiritually for the practice…we practiced! You can always tell the Yoga students apart from the regulars. I helped Lindsey align her down dog, and we all took notes on each others poses, and postures.
Our instructor Megan began our class in savasana, as usual. It’s her thing, and I like it. Coming full circle in a practice to me makes sense. We started strong with a lot of core work. It’s funny, when she calls for down dog, a little part of me cringes now. I NEED A NEW MAT!!! Mine slips, and the stupid over priced towel I bought that’s suppose to be NON slip…makes it more slippery! I guess Christmas is coming….Santa??
Overall, even though it was only an hr class (WAY too short for me, and Lindsey!) It was a great class. I really enjoyed going with my yoga friends. Personally it makes me work harder, feel stronger, and the energy that’s fed off each other is divine. I also learned more about my 3 friends. Dan is a fireman, Lindsey loves highlighters and is super structured, Amanda needs me to face book her every Tuesday night, and we also have the same dog! These people just keep getting better and better. I look forward to having more of our friends join our Tuesday night get together @ Kula!
This weekend is our 4 day yoga retreat. Thursday to Sunday, overall it’s 24hrs of yoga! I am SO excited. Wish me LUCK!
Friday, December 4, 2009
Take a relationship for example. This can be any kind of relationship, with anyone. You’re close; you’re comfortable, secure, and FAMILIAR. Then something happens that throws you out of the loop, disconnects you, and sometimes turns your entire life upside down. This is where everything becomes UNFAMILIAR. It’s a VERY scary place sometimes as you’re not use to it, it’s different, and you might feel all alone. The best thing to do is embrace that feeling, think positive thoughts. How can this situation benefit you? Slowly and surly things will fall into place whether you believe they’re suppose to or not. You’ll find yourself back to being FAMILIAR again. This time around you might find that you’re more stable, stronger, and aware!
I couldn’t agree more Steph...THANKS :-)
We took this quote about making the familiar unfamiliar so it could be familiar again, and used it in during our practice today. Our entire class was devoted to the classic Down Dog (The poses of ALL poses!)
I use to always think this was the ONE posture I could do without problems. I mean my feet weren’t flat on the floor, but that was a flexibility issue, and I knew I would eventually get there. WOW...I was wrong! After yesterday this is now one of the hardest poses I’ve ever done! There are SO many aspects of down dog I never knew, or use to think about before. I’m pretty sure I’ve been doing it wrong this entire time.
Integrated, expanded, rotated, engaged, bended, straightened, rounded, melted, inwards, outwards, together, apart, drawn in/out, general form, action and isometric...are just a FEW things I have to remember when in down dog...oh, and don’t forget to breath...and be at peace??!!??
This explains being familiar and unfamiliar perfectly. When I use to go into down dog, I was confident, focused, a little tight...but aware, from what I thought. Colin and Grant then helped show us what would make this pose more beneficial to us. Stronger and more engaged. Thus being able to hold down dog for longer; with less focus on our bodies, and more focus on our mind, and spirit. Eventually this would come naturally for us. Right now I’m trying hard not to think “ya right!!!” I think it’s because the pain and ache in my shoulders and back is very intense right now.
Colin, Grant and the rest of the class helped each other move the muscles and bones in our bodies while in Down Dog. We could feel the difference between being integrated, expanded...and ALL those words listed above. Those words are different for everyone as everyone’s body is different. We learned what people with signs of scoliosis in the spine should do, and what others with hyper extended muscles would do. Half way through the class we were ALL unfamiliar with Down Dog. Not to mention frustrated and a little discouraged. We worked through all the possible moves and even going to the extremes of the positions to make sure we felt the differences. Some of us knew right away what we liked and disliked. What felt good and what didn’t.
During the next week, as we all practice in class and at home. I’m sure we’re all going to be much more aware of what our bodies are doing and hopefully move back into the familiarity of Down Dog.
When everything starts falling apart that’s when it starts to come together!
Sunday, November 29, 2009
We talked about this in relation to practicing yoga. When we're getting into a pose, what are the assets and perils of this pose? Do we push it to the extreme so we can "GET" the pose flawlessly, or do we do only go as far as what we can do for that day? Everyone's different, and everyone will have a different set of asset and perils, so every situation…and posture.
Once we started our class we worked a LOT of shoulder integration and expansion. Starting in down dog, moving our shoulders up, down our back and inwards, keeping it there coming into plank, cobra/up dog, and then back into down dog. You wouldn't believe HOW much of a difference it makes when your shoulders are integrated. It's a lot harder (because I’m not use to it) but so much more beneficial. This is the perfect example of what I meant by assets and perils. The perils being that I couldn’t move my back and shoulders for two days, but WOW what a feeling!
We talked about the different between integration and expansion, and what they both have to offer. When we're in a pose and we're not integrated or expanding like we're suppose to, depending on the pose, there’s a chance we could loose the possibility of what the pose has to offer.
We discussed some of the things mentioned in our textbook chapters we were supposed to read. We discussed the focal points in our bodies. Where were some of the focal points in some of the poses we do?
Side Plank= could be heart or pelvis
During our next practice, we should always be aware of what our focal point is
Colin spoke about “Mula Bunda” aka root lock. The first of three interior body “locks” used in anasura practice to control the flow of energy. This increases the stability of the pelvis, and, since the pelvis is the seat of the spine, its stability creates a safe environment for spinal movement. Thus, mula bandha strengthens—and teaches the importance of—the solid foundation that should underlie any movement.
At the end of our practice we met with out groups and quickly went over how many times we went to yoga that week and if it matched our goals that we had set for ourselves.
We spoke about our Hindu God Ganesha. This is what found out...I’m so happy that we got this Hindu God. I think it works perfectly along with our journey.
Ganesha: He is the Lord of success and destroyer of evils and obstacles. He is also worshipped as the god of education, knowledge, wisdom and wealth. In fact, Ganesha is one of the five prime Hindu deities (Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva and Durga being the other four) whose idolatry is glorified as the panchayatana puja. The elephant head denotes wisdom and its trunk represents Om, the sound symbol of cosmic reality. Ganesha is also the destroyer of vanity, selfishness and pride. He is the personification of material universe in all its various magnificent manifestations.
I’ve already developed my first Anasura practice. I need to work through it, make sure it flows, and is well balanced. I look forward to practicing with some of my friends, developing my skills as student so I can work towards my goals of becoming a teacher.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
As I go through my journey of becoming an instructor, I’m learning more about myself. Who I am and who I want to be. Present, future, work and play. I strive to have Kinndli’s energy and passion, Colin’s dedication and poise, Adams strength and flexibility and Chris’ focus and mindset.
I talked to my close friends and family about doing this; I wanted advice, support, and a little reassurance. Everyone said as long as I gave it my all and it didn’t interfere with what was happening in my life right now, but instead complimented and added to it...”do it with pride” I was told. My cousin Adam who I haven’t ever talked to about yoga, but knew he practiced and was amazing by his photos on face book. I asked if he could give me any advice, and he wrote me this amazing email. I read it almost every day.
“Yoga is like a gift. As an instructor, you become the gift-giver. Remember that everyone is in a different place, in need of something different. My favorite yoga instructors are those that find a way to push each student in the direction that is right for them. One single asana feels differently for each of us. That said, keep your feet on the ground... enjoy your journey. Embrace how it makes you feel - good or bad, strong or weak! Take the journey with open arms... I think that is the key to yoga: find the place (the physical place often represents an emotional equivalent) that makes you uncomfortable and work at it until it feels familiar and ultimately until it feels good. I always say that yoga is just like life- you find yourself in a hard position, you work through it with breath and determination and the chaos transforms into stability. Once you reach that stability, you are ready to teach it to others.
Remember that when it comes to instructing, you become the guide for others' journeys- it no longer becomes just about your own.”
I look forward to becoming that instructor that enlightens and strengthens your yoga practice. I’ll be there for you mentally to guide you through a tough pose. I’ll be there for you physically to help align you so you can strengthen your own practice. I’ll be there for you spiritually and support you whatever your intentions may be.
In the past, I’ve spent my practice watching others and trying to GET IT all while trying to concentrate on breathing, softening and strength. Obviously...I wasn’t getting IT! I was also very exhausted afterwards, physically and mentally (I usually blamed the heat). I was getting frustrated that I wasn’t able to do some of the things others could...the competitive ARIES in me always showed up. Through the last few weeks I’ve gotten more flexible, stronger and more aware. I’m determined to be more appropriate during my practice which meant making sure I wasn’t being counterproductive either. By appropriate, I mean a few things. Being more aware of where MY body and mind is THAT day. How far I can push my boundaries, but still maintain my focus and be present. I’ve learned to look at my practice as an entire process rather than a goal. Don’t get me wrong. I can’t wait until I am able to balance a pose for longer, stretch deeper and YES do dancers pose effortlessly, but if I only consider those things, I feel I’m going to miss out on some vital aspects of yoga.
Learning to be appropriate is something I going to reflect on before each practice. Accepting that that’s where I am RIGHT NOW...and knowing that I’ll be further along down the road. As long as I’m strong, focused and present each time I come to my mat, I’ll reap the benefits, mentally, physically and spiritually.
I did my first HAND STAND today. Not head stand...arms straight, hand flat on the floor. WOW, that takes a lot of strength. It also takes a lot of trust. Trust in yourself to know that you’ll be able to actually do it, and hold yourself up, and then trust in the partner I had helping me the first time. I know I was a little us easy...but she was scared! She was only 5’4 and had to catch and hold me...who is 5,9
Nonetheless she caught my legs and helped make sure I was balanced before letting go. It’s a lot harder than it looks...and I’m nowhere near perfect...but at least I tried it. I’m not sure if it was being upside down and supporting myself on only my hands that creates a sense of power, or all the blood rushing to my head. It felt great either way!
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Yesterday’s (Monday) class is always 90 minutes. Sometimes, that’s too long depending on how my weekend, and Monday workday went. I can only see this getting easier as I continue getting stronger in my practice. My Thursday classes are 4 hours long and two of it is done practicing…but it’s done in a regular temperature room, so it’s a little easier.
Even though my Tuesday classes aren’t enough for me, I realized today it’s a good way to extend from my Mondays class. I’m stronger, more flexible, more awake and more focused. I use this to my advantage and push myself a little harder.
Today, we were in a forward bend, focusing on hollowing our stomach, lengthening from our neck and back and folding at the waist. As I was concentrating on my breathing and trying to let go of the days events, when I just happen to look down at my hands.
THEY WERE PALMS FLAT ON THE GROUND! I looked at my knees to see if I was bending them instead of keeping them straight. NOPE…they were straight! I couldn’t believe it. I’ve never been able to do that.
This is only my tenth class so far this month. I’ve come a long way; in what I feel a short period of time. I’m excited to see where my practice can go after one year of training.
I am so excited for this Thursday’s class. Getting to know everyone, and learn more about yoga. Not only that, but afterward I’m going to watch the New Moon midnight screening!
Yoga, Twilight, Edward, best friends, dinner, movies... “its not easy being me” ;-)
(Thanks for letting me steal your FB status Tessa!)
Friday, November 13, 2009
We sat “fireplace style” (as he calls it) in front of Colin as he explained the outline of the class, today, during the weeks ahead and towards the end of the course. I was really excited to learn all about alignments, different styles of yoga, and especially the prenatal course. We then moved in to “campfire style” arranging ourselves into a BIG circle. Colin asked us to introduce ourselves, how long we’ve been practicing, why we wanted to take the course, our intention and a defining moment. The first woman to spoke (unfortunately I don’t remember her name) was very outgoing, comfortable and spoke for about 10 minutes....and probably could of kept going if we had more time. The third woman I believe started something very special. She let go, completely! As she was speaking about her life and yoga she started to cry. It was very touching. She seemed like she had a very tough life, but felt comfortable enough with us, and herself to let go and share. From then on...EVERY single person cried. We all seemed to have something in common. All of us were seeking some sort of change in our life, after some sort of trauma/misfortune whether big or small (the meaning is different to everyone) happened in our life. For some it was something that happened 10 years ago, and others it was merely days ago. No matter what or when, we were all there for the same reason...the timing was right!
I’ve never been in a room where everyone has just let go like that. No doubt we were all nervous, but felt that it was ok, we already trusted each other. As we passed along the “talking stick” which became a box of Kleenex, we learned a lot about each other. Although we did cry, we also laughed a lot too. Especially when Colin quickly mentioned that if we accidently signed up for YOGA instead of the “Self help group”...we were in the wrong class.
At one point closer to the end of the circle, one of the woman started her introduction with “I want to tell you something about me...I’m obsessed with fish! All kinds! Guppies to sharks.” Of course my head popped up and looked right at her! I also have a slight obsession with fish, mostly Great White Sharks! She talked about how she admires them and how they’re able to be calm, relaxed, graceful, and able adapt so easily to their surroundings. This is something the both of us would love to accomplish.
2 hours went by and the circle was finished. We all took a deep breath. We were all very excited to get to know one another more. Colin mentioned that we take a 10 minute break. I needed to stretch. I regret not following the email and bringing something to sit on. My yoga mat just wasn’t enough. It was very interesting to see everyone get up and race to those they felt a strong connection or something they had in common with. I of course walked over to the fish obsessed girl. We talked, laughed and found we had a lot of other things in common. I got around to talking to a few other people. It was nice...definitely not like first day of school.
After the break Colin started getting into some of the teachings. We talked about the definition of Alchemy, and how it relates to yoga; being the path of transformation. We talked about being uncomfortable in our boundaries, and how that’s a positive thing. My favourite part was when he mentioned this quote. “It’s not why me, it’s why of me?” I’m going to try to think of this everyday when put into a difficult situation, or something negative happens in my life.
From there we began our practice. It was only about an hour and 45 minutes opposed to the 2 hours I was afraid of. So far I haven’t practiced in a regular temperature room. I’ve always done hot yoga. It was harder. My muscles weren’t warm yet making it more difficult to soften my postures...this is where I thought about being uncomfortable in my boundaries, and pushed myself a little harder. My hot yoga towel that covered my mat was useless, not to mention very slippery. On a positive note, I didn’t have to ring out my clothes at the end of the night. As we were practicing I (like everyone) noticed where everyone’s level of yoga was at. Some were amazing and I thought to myself, why are they taking this course...they should already be teaching, and some were a little less flexible than me which made me feel...normal.
I’m not attending this class for anyone but myself. I also realized that I’m not only doing it to become a yoga instructor, live healthier, stronger and fit. I’m doing it to learn more about me, what I can accomplish, and then what I can offer to others. By the time I’m finished this course and I haven’t learned how to do dancers pose without falling over, but I’m a little more calm present and aware during my everyday life, I will know I have achieved greatness, and I’m on the road to success, fulfilment, and happiness.
Homework for next class: Start reading “Anatomy of the Spirit”
Write about what kind of student I use to be, what kind of student I want to be, and find one word to describe my intention for taking this class.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Deeply and long,
As pure as prayer,
As sweet as song.
Where lilies glow
And roses wreath,
Heart-joy I know
Is just to breathe.
Ah, so I think
By shore or sea,
As deep I drink
This brave machine,
Bare to the buff,
I keep ice-clean,
Breath is enough.
From mountain stream
To covert cool
The world, I deem,
The great, the small,
The smooth, the rough,
I love it all,--
Breath is enough.
Breath: To inhale and exhale air, especially when naturally and freely.
It’s a little ironic that the most important thing to ones yoga practice also happens to be the hardest thing to achieve. It’s also the one thing when you’re born; you already know how to do.
So when placed in an uncomfortable and sometimes painful posture…it just stops?
I walked into my yoga practice today. A little sore from yesterday, but felt great. I placed my mat and towel down, and walked over to the opposite side of the room to grab two blocks and a strap. Right away I noticed I was holding my breath. It didn’t smell, I wasn’t nervous, it was about 38 degrees, but I love the heat, so I knew that wasn’t it.
I decided right away that I would direct my focus today on my breath, during my postures, and right through my flows. I needed to make sure I was breathing into my sides, deep, hollowing my stomach, in and out through my nose, all while trying to make that noise that everyone makes. I’m trying to do all of this and balance in reverse warrior…why am I getting dizzy?
Oh...I’m holding my breath!!!
Monday, November 2, 2009
For those who don’t know me, or those who do, and just haven’t heard yet. I will be training for the next year to become a yoga instructor at Kula Yoga. I have been thinking about this for a little over 2 years now, since the first time I went to my first yoga class. Actually, that’s a lie! The first time I went to a hot yoga class, I came home, called my brother, who was my inspiration for going, and told him I would never go back! It was too hot, and too hard! He told me to give it one more chance. I did…and I’ve continued to go back to hot yoga for over two years now.
I have decided to blog about my journey over the next year so I can learn more about myself, and share my journey with the people I love. Recently I have been strongly moved by a close friend’s mother whose blog became part of my daily routine. Although at times it was hard to read as she was dealing with some very tough situations, her stories always made me smile, as she has a way of finding strength and light in her struggles. I know this will be hard…and I hope to also find my strength and light.
You might have noticed that odd looking language as my title for my blog. It’s Sanskrit, and means “The apprentice”
My brother wasn’t the only one who inspired me. It was also two instructors at Kula names Kinndli and Joanna. Two very different people, two very different styles of teaching. I learned a lot from them, and they both planted the thought in my head of setting out on a journey of my own, and becoming a part of the Kula yoga family.
This is a pretty intense course. Every Thursday from 6-10, then one weekend a month which consist of 25 hrs of yoga/learning, spread out from Friday to Sunday. I will not mention the RIDICULOUS cost for this course…but know that the capital letters represent!
The course is 8 months long and requires me to practice on my own apart from my classes at least 3 times a week. If I don’t have a killer body by the end of 8 months…I have NO idea what it will take.
That is not the reason I’ve decided to go on this journey. Although I know it will end of being very beneficial for me physically, I’m looking forward to how beneficial it will be for me mentally and spiritually.
I’m looking forward most to finding my balance, my center…myself.
Today I went for my first class again in almost 7 months. Once I moved back from BC, purchasing a pass to hot yoga was the first thing I did as it was much needed. I went hard and strong attending classes 4 times a week, always mornings, for 90 minutes. My passes…and money ran out, as I didn’t have a job yet. I had to give up Yoga, and continue my exercise somewhere a little less expensive. I joined the gym…along with all my friends. I enjoyed it! It was a lot of fun…very social! I noticed my body transforming, differently than my already flexible yoga body. After 10 months at the gym, I noticed today in my hot yoga class…I am no longer flexible. I am tight in my hips, shoulders, even my savasana (laying flat on the ground aka Corpse Pose) was off.
I lay there in my savasana at the end of my 90 minute class, listening to what I think is Robert Pattinson playing the guitar. I smile. Not because of “Edward” but because I realize what a journey this will be for myself! I have a LONG way to go, and a lot of work to do!
I am READY! Mentally I am so excited, physically I can still touch my toes…so I’m on the right path, and spiritually I am alive…and also VERY HOT! I miss sweating!