Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift, that's why they call it present...

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Assisting to reach enlightenment

Now that we have observed our 4 classes, we’re moving on to adjusting/assisting in actual classes. I am super excited for this as it’s a chance for me to learn more, connect with other yoga teachers, and have a real conversation with actual students. I signed up for my favourite classes with my favourite teachers. I think it’s important to assist when you’re already familiar to the type of class, and the teacher is comfortable with you. I signed up for Megan, Colin and Marinella. I feel I am very lucky as I get a different experience each time as these 3 teachers have different teaching styles.

Last night Amanda and I assisted with Megan’s class. We signed up together because we’re always taking these classes together. We’re very supportive off each other...and again we think a lot alike.

We started by first speaking with Megan. Asking her questions about her class, herself as a teacher and if there was anything she wanted us to do, or not to do. Megan is an amazing teacher, she simply said “GO FOR IT!” She mentioned that it was too bad she had to concentrate on teaching because she would enjoy watching us and what we’ve learned...and maybe even learning something from us. She’s one of those teachers who doesn’t think she’s better than you, or smarter than you, and actually wants to teach you. I don’t feel ANY of the teachers at this studio are like that...but it’s definitely something I have encountered before in other studios and practices.
Amanda and I were PUMPED! To be completely honest, we both were a little nervous too. None of these students knew who we were, and this was our first class. We’ve adjusted our friends and each other that have DONE yoga and knew what to expect....this was a whole new ball game.

We got in there and watched as the class began to practice. Where to start?? How to start...what to do?? We both just watched for a little bit, taking it all in. I saw a lot of times where I could adjust or assist someone, but it took me a while to jump in and actually do it. You really have to consider WHY you’re assisting them. Is it because you want them to look a certain way? There not fully present? You think they can go further, higher, be longer? Or you just want to enlighten them?
You also have to take into consideration the fact that that might be as far as they can adjusting might hurt them. They might not want someone to help them...some people don’t like to be touched. I finally put my guard down and helped align some hips in Warrior one. Something as simple as drawing your right hip back, your left forward and drawing them in together made sense to people, and it felt great to see when someone actually understood my adjustment. I enjoy the adjustments where I’m putting the ownership on the student. Resistance adjustments. Using my fist on the back of their hamstring and asking them to push into my hand while in high lunge. This puts the control on them. They will understand where they need to push harder...and it’s a major way to suddenly become aware of where you are and what you’re doing. I didn’t do a lot of adjustments, but the ones I did I got a great reaction from. One woman said “Thank you! I’ve never felt that stretch before” What a feeling to be able to help someone feel something differently; because they enjoyed it I feel it’s something they will remember to do to get that feeling back again next time.

I also really enjoyed assisting in relaxation. When a student was in child’s pose, with the help of light pressure and elongation you could just feel the student relax and let go beneath you. I think I spent the entire class smiling.
There is still a lot to learn about with adjustments, and I definitely need to build on my confidence and awareness. I’m sure Colin’s class with work on both of those attributes.

“I can't change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.”

Marjaryasana and Marshmallows

This weekend we had another 4 day retreat. This was EXTRA special because we ALL decided to stay @ Shannon and Lindsey’s place for the entire weekend. This ALSO happens to be where I’m going to be living in about 2 months time.
We were suppose to have our midterm...umm I mean “check in” as Colin would say, on the Thursday night, however we convinced him to let us have one more FULL week (as we only got the outline a few days before) of studying. The midterm will be tomorrow instead.

This weekend was dedicated to adjustments and sequencing. Friday night was my favourite night so far out of this incredible teacher training. It was called “Bring a Stiffy night” WAY too many inside jokes to mention! We had to bring someone to class with us. Someone who wasn’t very flexible, or hadn’t done a lot of yoga before. I knew RIGHT AWAY who I wanted to share this incredible night with. One of my best friends, Seher. We’ve known each other for about 7 years now, and have become very close over the last year. She’s SO supportive, and most of all is VERY real with me. I really respect her, and knew she would have a remarkable time.
Colin and Grant lead our “stiffies” through a basic 60 minute practice, while we got to watch, adjust and assist our friends/family. As soon as Seher came into down dog...I knew I would be challenged! NOT because she couldn’t do it...but because she was amazing in it! Straight back, shoulders integrated, melting heart. I had to step back and realize I wasn’t going to “correct” anything Seher did, just assist in enlightenment. Help her to SHINE! She did! We all had a great time. Some were challenged more than I was, but we all learned so much. Most of all, we all had so much fun. I hope I have brought a new meaning of yoga to Seher, I have no doubt she’ll be in the front row of my classes when I start to teach....or at least the middle ;) Thank you again!

Saturday we mentioned to Colin and Grant how we would love to push our boundaries. We wanted new postures to drive our limits, prove our strength, and test our skills. BOY did they listen! We practiced all day Saturday with poses like bound half moon and bird of paradise and even Vasisthasana variations. We definitely felt it over lunch, and ended up passing out for a nice nap. It also could have been the fact we finished 4 bottles of wine the night before and stayed up until 3am....??
We all went back to our “Sorority” house for the weekend to celebrate Earth hour. We made an amazing dinner, drank a few bottles of wine by candle light and spent the remainder of the evening by the bon fire eating marshmallows, S'mores, drinking wine and telling stories. I really do love each other these girls. Each of them have brought something into my life and have opened me up to something only dreams are made of. Like I have always believed... Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart. I am really looking forward to ALL the adventures and journey’s to come with these amazing special people.

Sunday was the same, except we focused a lot of inversions. This is something that challenges me. I LOVE being in the pose...but getting into SCARES me. Colin came over to help me in as he has always noticed I collapse my chest and heart when I try. He always gives me a good positive empowering speech before we start. I realize getting up into the full expressing shouldn’t be my main focus. I try to bypass the start when I need to stay integrated and open so I am able to move into the full expression. I’m going to work on just the beginning for now. Making sure I’m staying enlightened and strong.
We worked with partners to be able to get into the full expression, and actually feel what the pose was like. Amanda and I worked together. I really do enjoy having Amanda as one of my good friend and in my life. We think alike, and have a lot in common. She was able to support me, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. I was able to come into handstand, headstand and Scorpio...which I never thought (right now) I would be able to do. What an amazing feeling, very powerful. There is something about being upside down that I really enjoy...I guess it’s the unnatural feeling of the unknown. You really are viewing the world differently...what a gift!

Thank you to my amazing friends and amazing teachers for another adventure into the mind, body and soul.

“Surrendering might feel like defeat....but THIS tastes like VICTORY!”

Thursday, March 25, 2010

What do you really...REALLY Want?!?

Last night in Colin’s class he made a reference to the Spice Girls! YES...the Spice girls. My favourite part of Colin’s class is when he shares some spiritual philosophical advice before each practice. I was listening so intently, tuning into what he was saying...and he said the group’s brows furrowed and I lost concentration. “REALLY Colin?!?” It wasn’t only myself who lost it, the entire class laughed. Before assuming he had lost touch with himself...I listened, and gave him the benefit of the doubt. “I KNOW this is going somewhere good!”
He mentioned one of their well known songs “Wannabe” They sing “Tell me what you want...what you really really want” What DO we want in life? What would people say if you asked them this question? How would you answer if asked this question? A lot of people say to be famous, wealthy, beautiful, skinny, fit...does anyone ever just say to be HAPPY?!?! Maybe because they’re already happy? Or maybe because they think THESE things, these superficial things will MAKE them happy? After he asked this question I thought about the game a few of my friends and I play, “Would you rather”

Would you rather be the richest, most beautiful person in the world...but have NO one in your life? OR would you rather be poor, ugly and have a million friends/family? Which do you REALLY REALLY want??? Obviously in this case more will choose the first one. Isn’t there ever an in between? Be in the middle with the money, and still have all your friends and family? For me...that’s where I am. I’m not rich, by any means...but I’m not poor. I do ok. I’m able to purchase things that I want by working hard for appreciate them more this way. I don’t have a million friends, but I have a large family that includes very close friends. If given the choice RIGHT now to go either way...I wouldn’t. I would stay right where I am.

During Yoga class as we got into a posture he asked...”what do you really really want RIGHT NOW?!?” Do you want to force your body into a posture you might not be ready for...but at least you’re doing it? OR do you want to do what YOU can do today, and maybe not touch your toes, reach for the sky, or bend backwards? You might actually gain MORE with the second choice...and never doubt that one day you WILL be there...when you’re ready.

Reality is funny. There are two thoughts on reality. One is that we’re blind to it. We don’t SEE clearly because WE already have preconceived notions of what reality is or is most cases how we THINK it should be. The other thought is that reality is constantly cooking. Sometimes we want to consume it ALL right away; we get over excited and sometimes end up being disappointed because you couldn’t wait, as it wasn’t ready for you. Colin constantly mentions this phrase “when you’re ready, the teacher will appear”
The simple truth is it means when you’re ready for something you will be offered "teachers" or resources to illustrate you the path! The truth is… the path was always there but now your consciousness is abundant and ready to absorb the information to make it more authentic to you. Now you can take advantage and use this information. “When the student is ready.” This basically means when you’re open to the information, and/or growth. The teacher will appear: This means that you will be able to recognize and dynamically seek out the people, places, and information that will help you towards enlightenment.
When you're not ready to learn something you're blocked off to the information. Your mind is congested, and you don't correctly recognize it (YOU’RE BLIND!) You don't acknowledge the truth about it and anything someone tries to educate you about will not really count for the reason that you won't accept it as the truth.

In the end, I guess we DID learn something from the Spice Girls…Who knew!?!

Sometimes is ok to wait for things to be ready for you. Maybe NOW wasn’t the time for you. I don’t believe in “giving up on anything, or anyone” (thanks Tina Auntie) so just let it simmer…and when it’s ready, trust me, it’s never tasted SO good!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Open the curtains ...let in the Light...New day dawning...let go the Night
We're all difference here...Stand tall in your Truth no place for fear
Look deep inside...for the timeless spark...shining forever...laugh at the dark
Don't look back...tidal wave of Love...Can't be stopped...It all flows from Above
Now is the moment....Wake-up bell rings...Let it all out....Merry Band sings!....Ready everyone?! Time to rock

John Friend

Monday, March 22, 2010

Return From Saturn...

This past weekend I turned 27!! Where have the years gone!?! I can’t believe how much has happened in the last 5 years...let alone the last year. I’m stronger emotionally, physically, spiritually, and looking back...would I change anything? This is a funny question that I’ve thought about over and over again. I don’t think one should have regrets, as in my case I’m in a better place now. I have an amazing job, I’m going to be a yoga instructor, I’ve met some amazing people, and have had some remarkable experiences. I’m much more grounded, and learned a lot about who I am as a person...and definitely who I want to become and stay as when I get older. If I changed anything in the past...none of this would have happened. I know I ONLY have myself to blame...and THANK for this. Obviously things weren’t so good in the past...but they happened...and I’ve moved forward. I’ll never forget...and I won’t dwell either. ...what would be the point? This only stresses me out. I can’t change why try to change the future. If things are suppose to happen...they will. Let life take its course. I should be confident enough to know NOW I’ll be OK...whatever happens in my life, whatever comes my way.

I had an amazing weekend with truly amazing friends, and family. This was a Birthday to remember, not because of the events or how “crazy” it was...but just the fact that the people I love and who love me, came together, some had to put differences aside/swallow their pride, and everybody had a great time.

I am truly thankful for the people I have in my life. I’ve become VERY close to some of them and look forward to continuing these friendships down the road.
Thank you again to all who made my day SO special. I love you very much!

This weekend is another 4 day yoga retreat. This is a little nerve racking since I have my first midterm in yoga on the28th. I’ll be spending this weekend at my future home with my two newest friends from yoga, Lindsey and Shannon. We’re planning a “Yoga Sorority Weekend Blast” ...along with some hardcore studying we’ll be having a campfire in the backyard, planning our Karma yoga night on April 10th, and spending time with each other!


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

In a nutshell...

Yoga in Motion: so far to date our Team Kula has raised over $2600 for our breast cancer fundraiser in April. We just started our fundraising evenings of fun and so far they have been a success. Last Sunday Michelle held the book sale at her house from 3-10pm and most people came and cleared them out before 6pm! Most of our books came from family and friends, along with a few donations from our teachers from Yoga. As we looked through the books...we realized that a lot of them we wanted to hide and keep for ourselves because they were SUCH great books...but we let our friends and family have first pick.

On April 10th the 8 of us will be holding our very own KARMA CLASS! 4 classes, two hot, two regular. We’re going to be leading our friends and family through a few practices such as Yoga Bootcamp, Yoga Goddess, Ashtanga primary, and Hatha. This will be the first time we going to be leading adjusting, assisting on our own. We’ll all be taking turns leading through the practice, while the others walk around and help to enlighten the practicing students.
This is something I am really looking forward too. We were given the studio for the night by our amazing yoga teachers. What a blessing. This way everyone who comes to practice will be able to have full use of the amazing facilities on site, as well as eat at the amazing Wild Seed food bar when finished. I’ll be able to show all the special people in my life what I have accomplished so far, and share in my love for yoga with them. Some of them have never taken, or even seen a yoga practice, I am VERY excited. Maybe I’ll even spark a few interests and lead the way for some new future yogi’s

Our classes have been sort of slow lately as we’re still trying to get through the “30 postures to liberation” These postures will help us in further our knowledge in future postures that we learn. We’re learning the General Form, main actions, focal point, modifications, props, common misalignments, and adjustments. For EACH posture. As you can imagine this takes a while. After getting up and actually doing the pose and learning all of the above, we really only get through about 3 or 4 per class. I do find this very interesting, and as we go through easier because with a lot of the poses you’re doing the same actions. It almost makes me just want to write “see previous posture” for each posture after that.
We’ve continued to observe the classes. I picked Grant, Colin and Megan’s class to observe, and EACH was VERY different from the rest. I learned something about the teacher, the practice, the students and myself in each observation. This was one of my most favourite activities. I especially enjoyed Grants two hour Ashtanga practice. Watching Grant practice yoga is very much like watching a school of fish move together through the water. SO precise, so fluent, so strong, and so very beautiful. At one point during the class he used the phrase “no float to the top of your may” I had to laugh because he ACTUALLY FLOATS!! I know it must take immense strength, power and concentration...but with him it just looks natural.
There are too many pros that have come into my life taking this course. The friends I’ve made have been one of the biggest highlights. Supportive, genuine, caring, hilarious, bubbly...just to name a few attributes. I believe these friendships will be everlasting. I’m really looking forward to seeing what the future holds with these friendships...So exciting!

I’ve recently shown signs of my body actually changing...for the better. Took long enough! Half way through the course and I’ve lost 15lbs to date...and probably a LOT more inches. Not everything has been so positive though. I recently dislocated a rib on my left side. WOW did that hurt, especially when BREATHING! Something I REALLY need to be aware of during yoga...suddenly became SO hard. At times I would try to avoid it...which had its perils. I spoke to a few people in my class who had had this before, two chiropractor friends, and my teachers. They all’s VERY painful, but not life threatening. I had actually seen this on a show “1000 Ways to Die” probably not the most intelligent thing to you can imagine...I was pretty scared. Anyways, after a crazy class with Colin, some stretching with my other yoga teacher Marinella and some adjustments...I’m ALMOST healed.
Speaking of “healed” I’ve been talking to my Aunt Irene recently. She read blog and emailed me about my feet, and these oils that she herself had been using. We continued to talk over the last few weeks. I was amazed by how alike we were. We both are very spiritual people, and think along the same lines. She knows her stuff! I trust and believe her completely. I really enjoy reading her thoughts on these things, as I am always interested in finding out about new ways to heal the body without invasive surgery or complicated medications. Currently I’m using pure lemon oil and pink grapefruit oils on my feet, along with love and positive affirmations to help heal. I’m really looking forward to the outcome...I have nothing to lose! I’ve always believed that I have a heightened ability to not only heal, and in due course get the things I want. I know this may sound egotistical, but when you have had it proven to you over and over can you not believe?!? This obviously isn’t the way for everyone, and I would never force it upon anyone...I just hope people understand that this is MY way, and please don’t judge. I’m getting together with my Aunt in April for lunch and to talk about life, our journeys, our proceedings...and whatever else comes up. I’m really happy that my Aunt and I have become closer...this is a great feeling!! I know this is truly the beginning of a beautiful relationship!

In 4 days I will turn 27!! WOW...time flies! I have been reading about “My return to Saturn”: The Saturn Return is an astrological phenomenon that occurs at the ages of 27-30, 58-60, and finally from 86-88, coinciding with the time it takes the planet Saturn to make one orbit around the sun. At this time a person crosses over a major threshold and into the next stage of life.
Interesting...I wonder what the world has in store for me?! I’m ready, willing and excepting as I KNOW it’s for my own good, for me to succeed and BE GREAT!


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

LuLu wearing elephant in the room...

During the last two weeks we’ve been asked to observe yoga classes. We’re observing the students during their practice. Looking at some of the major tendencies, are they in alignment, are they maintaining integrity...are they simply present? We had to pick 3 teachers. I picked Colin (my yoga teacher whose class I go to religiously EVERY Wednesday) Megan, who’s class I got to religiously EVERY Tuesday and Grant, my other yoga teacher who has a 120 minute Ashtanga Primary practice on Sundays...that I have yet to build up the nerve and do. I knew right away who I would pick to observe. Not just as teachers, but the specific students that go to their classes as well.

My first night, observing Colin’s class was pretty intense. Not just because I wanted to DO the yoga and was struggling to just sit still and try not to be noticed, but because I realized how much I have actually learned during this teacher training. It was actually a small class that night, probably only about 40 people, compared to his usual 65-70. I had my note book and pen all ready. Colin mentioned to the class why I was there, so they would be nervous thinking I was judging them. Once the practice started, I didn’t know what to write...I was astonished at the number of people I wanted to get up and align. I am a very hands on person, my favourite part of our classes is when we get to adjust and align each other. I personally feel I have a natural eye for these sorts of things. Finding where another can enlighten, grow and expand.

I noticed a lot of rounded backs, crunchy shoulders, and people just not letting the love of yoga and themselves in the moment fully develop. It was heart breaking...but I knew that I use to be JUST like that. If you had asked me a year ago to observe the same class, I would have said that everyone looked great! Everyone was doing “yoga” This is what I mean by learning so much already. Amanda, who is one of my good friends in my yoga teacher training course, was front row (Every other night I was RIGHT beside her!) The conversation was completely different. Amanda was doing yoga! She was present, aligned, and content. It was so wonderful to watch her. This is what made me recognize the differences in the room.

My pen started to write, and I finished 4 pages back and front in less than 10 minutes. I stopped to read a few things and noticed that everything I was writing was negative. I hated that feeling. The energy needed to change. Maybe I was trying too hard? Maybe I wasn’t looking close enough.
We usually have two blocks and a strap with us during our practice to help with reaching, pulling, extending etc...You can use them in any pose you’d like, that’s what they’re there for. I noticed that during “runners lunge” one of the woman in the class reached for the blocks, without Colin having to mention to use them if you couldn’t reach or extend, and needed the height. I got the biggest smile on my face! I was SO proud of her for taking initiative and ultimately REALIZING she needed the extra help that would really benefit her. I started to be more aware of the little positive things, and they turned out to be a BIG change in liveliness.

The other thing I noticed is the way Colin moved around the room, and adjusted particular people. I would sometimes stare and ask myself...”where do you start?!?” Do you pick someone who’s been doing yoga for a while and just needs a small lift that maybe they were completely unaware about? Or do you put out a fire, which could possibly lead to more, longer adjustments because the energy flow isn’t there?
I guess this is something that will take practice and LOTS of presence. I also have to be aware that sometimes no matter how hard I try...sometimes it just won’t work. I have to be ready, and OK with that, as it is a part of teaching, growing, and learning. I’m very excited...and READY!

It is based on the idea that an elephant in a room would be impossible to overlook; thus, people in the room who pretend the elephant is not there might be concerning themselves with relatively small and even irrelevant matters, compared to the looming big one, which in this case is...THEMSELVES!