Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

Do Christmas and Yoga go together?  I have to admit I am a bit of a ba humbugger sometimes.  I think Christmas is so great for my children.  Their eyes light up at the thought of Santa coming and leaving gifts under the tree.  They are so excited about leaving a magical key for Santa on the door knob so he can enter our house while they are sleeping.  They are equally as interested in preparing just the right amount of hot chocolate and leaving some delicious cookies and are so kind never to forget the reindeer's carrots.  This is what I love about Christmas.  My children are not greedy and only asked for two things each.

What I guess I get lost in is the "stuff" issue.  How much stuff is under the tree?  How much should I spend on each person?  What ever happened to giving something to someone just because you wanted to, not because they put a specific item on their list, but because out of the goodness of your heart you made something, or saw something that you thought they would love.  

I love baking for my friends and family.  I love sharing traditions and starting new ones.  I love watching my children.  I absolutely love spending the day with my family.  I try to focus on what I love, and not on all the stuff.  But as my living room piles up with toys that will be forgotten in a few days I wonder where is the yoga?

Om Shanti,
Peace to all,


I spent the day at Le Nordik spa with a very dear friend today.  WOW!  We were sitting on a bench ready and waiting for our first activity which was a relaxation massage.  This guy walks through the doors after having a massage, his hair is tousled, he looks all blissed out and can hardly focus and walking seems almost drunken and out of his mouth he says "WOW".  That pretty much sums up the day that we had.

For those who have been to Le Nordik you may agreed that it is a day of decadence and fulfillment.  It certainly was not difficult to find the yoga at all.  The massage was full of sensation and the baths and sauna's full of detoxification.  From hot to cold - I even explored my edge in the cold bath - it was about minus 10 outside already and I decided to explore the benefits of the cold bath before just dipping my toes in and running.  When I started to shiver I got out but the 7 or 8 minutes that I was in actually felt refreshing.

We finished with a lovely vegetarian lunch.  I had these wonderful dates stuffed with some kind of creamy cheese.  My friend said that watching me eat them made her feel as if she was interrupting something "special".  Really it was special.  Not just the stuffed dates but the entire day.  I chose throughout the day to be present, which is much easier when there are no distractions such as children, computers, phones, or whatever else you can think of.


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Trying to find the yoga.

The more I study yogic philosophy the more I try to find the "yoga" in everything.  Sometimes this is easy sometimes not so much, but I am trying.

The other day we put up our Christmas tree.  My husband and I stayed up late to have it mostly decorated, leaving some for the kids but not too much as they also have their own little tree.  In the middle of the night our nicely decorated tree fell over, breaking a lot of our decorations.  My husband was to say the least quite annoyed.  I took a "yogic" approach and though oh well.  Yes I was a bit irritated that some of my lovely decorations were broken and that I had stayed up late, losing precious sleep, to decorate a tree that would have to be done again.  So I thought were is the yoga - well nothing is permanent, the past is done and the future is not hear yet, be present in the moment.  So I took a deep breath, got the vacuum and started doing it over.  Not thinking about how lovely it looked before because honestly I have no recollection of what it looked like before it fell.  I was happy that I would have another opportunity to decorate a tree with my children.  The sleep that was lost, I guess I can just take a nap!

Finding the yoga with situations with other people is sometimes difficult.  I am struggling with the practice of ahimsa (non harming) with satya (truthfulness).  When people say things to me that hurt my feelings, how do I bite my tongue so as to not say how I really feel and be truthful with them, at the same time avoiding a potential argument - harming myself but by not doing so I am not being true to myself.  Feels like a chicken and egg thing to me sometimes!  Perhaps I need to work on my approach the hard thing with this is the history with some individuals and the relationship dynamics does not always allow for honesty and openness.  Still working on this one!

Looking for the yoga in everything and everyone....

Om Shanti, Peace!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Week-end 5

Holy cow is all I can say!  Bramacharya - for some this is celibacy for the rest of us this is living life in moderation.  Can't we all use a little bit of moderation.  I find it quite humorous that this practice was discussed and suggested to us in our 6 month long teacher training right at the time with the Solstice and Christmas celebrations are about to begin.  I am sure that as far as the facilitators are concerned this is just the natural evolution of where we are with the yamas and niyamas - however is it a coincidence - I think not.  So bramacharya/moderation it is an ideal that we should all strive to do everything in moderation, eat, drink, shop, have sex, watch TV, exercise and the list goes on.  The reality is that most of us do not do this we eat too much, drink too much, sleep too little, watch too much TV and don't exercise enough.  Baby steps right!  I am going to strive over this very festive season to eat in moderation.  I will still enjoy, I will still sample but I will not have 18 cookies when all I really need is one, because really the next 17 never taste as good as the first one did!!!

Another concept that I love is "Now is the time for Yoga" it is the first of the Yoga Sutras.  I love it.  Live in the now man.  The past is the past, the future is not hear yet.  Yoga is not just asana it is a way of life.  Once you have tried it all, failed or succeeded, loved or not - Now is the time.  Not yesterday, not tomorrow, not in an hour but Now!  How powerful is that!

We did lots and lots of back bends and body, heart and soul opening postures.  I especially found this interesting as it has been mentioned several times in this course that you can learn a lot about yourself.  I was practicing an upward bow - it's the bridge you probably haven't done since you were five - one of my teachers was demonstrating how you can have the student hold your ankles and I did this.  I felt so afraid that I was going to push her over.  I blurted out - I feel strange relying on you....  this is evident in my life in many ways.  So through learning more ways to teach the upward bow, I learned that I have a blockage in my life.  A heart opening posture opened my heart and mind to realization.  I am not stopping here and I hope to learn more, about my body, my mind, my limits and my frustrations - bring it on because "Now Is the Time for Yoga"!!!

Shanti Om

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Yoga and Baking

I started my Christmas baking today, which you would not thing is yoga but really - it's all yoga. If the yoga traditions and postures have been handed down to us over centuries by the great yogis and sages then isn't Christmas baking also a teaching. If we look at our mothers and grandmothers as our teachers who in most cases, teach us about traditions then could they not be considered "yogis" or sages. Will my daughter who helped me dip my chocolate snowballs in icing sugar consider me her "teacher" if she does this same activity with her children - if she has them?

The Christmas baking started out by my husband asking to make chocolate mice and "5 star bars" that his mother makes. She had given me the recipe when we got married, and for him these treats have become a tradition that he likes to have. In addition to the other treats that I make, that my mother made, that my grandmother made and that her mother made and I am going to go out on a limb and assume that her mother made and so on. Again these postures and breath exercises and teachings that we use in yoga are "treats" that we give to our body, just as is the Christmas teachings or baking that I love.

I bake not necessarily for myself, although I do enjoy it, but mostly for my family and friends. Really who doesn't love it when you show up at their house with a plate full of treats. I use my baking as gifts, and again I have never had anyone say - geeze those cookies you sent - sucked!

I really try to find the yoga in every day activities. With baking or cooking for my family I feel at ease and calm and in a way I guess am practicing karma yoga (selfless yoga). I look for nothing in return as it is just what I like to do. It's all good and it's all yoga.

Om Shanti

Monday, December 7, 2009

Week-end 4

Wow is all I can say. I have taken many many courses and classes in my short life but I must say I have never been so intensely riveted as I am now. I hang on every word that my teachers speak, I am quick with my pen to write it all down, lest I forget their words or teachings. I am truly blessed to be learning so much about something that I love so much.

We had our first of three written exams this week-end. I think I did fairly well. I studied and worked hard so my hope is that it has all payed off and that I pass. I was relaxed and not very nervous going into it - let it be what it is. My hope is that I learn from my mistakes and not become fixated on getting the highest mark but doing my best.

We also had our first real set of teaching. The program is built in a way that we teach first for 5 minutes, then another week-end for 10 minutes, then another for 20 and then finally for 30 to 40minutes. It is nice that the build up is slow and the number of students is also slowly built up as well. Since I have been teaching classes for a while, teaching for such a short period of time is difficult for me so I do have to work on this. I am most looking forward to our teachers feedback as most of the people in the course I think are hesitant to say anything bad whereas I don't think our teachers will be like that.

This week we are practicing asteya, which is non-stealing. It is not just in the littoral sense of stealing items but this includes stealing thoughts, words, coveting items, time, space. My challenge for myself is to stop stealing my children's words. I find that as a parent I "rule" the roost occasionally and do not always let my children finish speaking. For example when they ask me to do something, I say no - then they try and explain why they want to do it. I often don't let them tell me and just say to them that I said no. I am going to try to let them explain without cutting off their words, my answer still may be no but at least they will have had a chance to say their bit. My second practice of asteya is to stop stealing space in our house. I have found that increasingly over the years our clutter has increased. I have one small desk for my computer and it is surrounded by papers. Our hutch in the dinning room has met a similar fate. My practice of non-stealing with space begins with clutter and tossing what we don't need or want and putting away what we do.

We have a "home" group of 5 people that we get to connect with towards the end of each week-end where we discuss the Yamas and Niyamas with and it is a great time to re-group and check in. I asked if anyone was noticing changes in their relationships with all the yoga stuff that we are doing. Some said yes and others no. I have found that some of my relationships are changing drastically. I feel closer and more connected with my husband which is great and he is in some way taking on all of these challenges with me, sometimes consciously and sometimes not. So in terms of our family life it is really improving. We had a pretty great relationship before - not without its issues of course, but it is getting even better and I am thrilled about that. I am finding that my relationship with someone else who I am close to in my life is becoming more difficult. I am still trying to put it together in my head how to deal with this one. I cannot force what I am learning on this person but I know the benefits it could have on their lifestyle and our already strained relationship... The changes in myself are really great. My house is staying cleaner, I am getting rid of clutter, my diet is much better and I am feeling healthier and more alive. I am listening more to conversations most of the time rather than speaking so I am learning more about the people around me and just letting them speak and I am enjoying it. There is lots more to work on, but these are unexpected surprises and I am sure that there will be more.

More studying to do for next week-end. I swear I live for yoga, in that I mean - it's all yoga! Yoga truly is a way of life and not just pretzel like positions of the body.

Hari Om

Thursday, December 3, 2009

11 minutes

I always wondered why some yogis suggested doing certain activities for 11 minutes, or a minimum of 11 minutes or 11 minutes or longer. So I asked the question and apparently our brain cycles in 11 minute cycles. So I have been meditating for 11 minutes or more every day since October 26th (I missed a day because I was at a birth). Apparently the goal is to work up to 31 minutes. Then you can balance the various systems in the body. Starting with 11 minutes is because our mind cycles in 11 minute increments. I think that explains why you may have a thought and then about 11 minutes later have that same thought again... I am still working this one out.

The goal of mediation is not to block everything out or to push all thoughts down and repress them. Rather it is to quiet the mind. A similar feeling is if you have ever been driving and wonder how you got from a to b because you can't remember - then your mind was probably in a meditative state. The act of sitting in meditation is actively meditating rather than the passive mediation that happens when you are doing repetitive tasks like driving or reading.

I have been practicing the 11 minute minimum for almost a month and a half now and it is hard to tell what is going on. The minimum date limit to do these types of practices is 40 days. As I mentioned I had to miss a day because of a birth so I needed to start over again. In reality I am only a week and a half or so in. The point of the 40 days is to try to break up old habits. I am not exactly sure if that is happening yet but I am noticing some changes. The other difficulty is that with our training we are practicing ahimsa and satya and those practices as well are likely to change a person as well.

Some of the things I have noticed with my meditation practice are that it takes me less time to get into a meditative state, I am always surprised that it has been 11 minutes already (I have a timer), my back no longer hurts in mediation, my arms and legs rarely go numb anymore - although I am less aware of my limbs. I have less random thoughts running around in my head. The tasks that I am either given to do, or chose my self I start and finish. I am becoming much more calm with my children. With the exception of my daughter waking me in the night to nurse, I am sleeping more deeply. I am trying to become more aware of other changes but some of those are readily available and I am noticing them. This is kind of cool!!!

My challenge to anyone who may read this, today, tomorrow, next week, month or next year - try a 40 day mediation for a minimum of 11 minutes every day and let me know what happens.


Monday, November 30, 2009

Back to Basics

This evening I decided to be courageous and to be daring... no not bikram yoga or hot yoga, not even Ashtanga or Power yoga... dun dun dun.... I took a beginner class! This is something I have not done in about 10 years or more if I really had to think about it. The thoughts of attending a beginner class were a little bit daunting as with anything that you have done for a very long time, I have picked up some bad habits I am sure.

I entered class with low, or maybe even no expectations of how it would be. For the first few minutes I thought oh god maybe I should leave, this class is probably not for me - I will be discovered as a fraud, I am not a beginner and everyone will know. The instructor started talking and my first thought was oh no, this really is going to be too basic. Then I clicked in my head that that was the reason I was here - to learn and to get back to basics. Every yoga class is for everyone, whether that be beginner or advanced. A beginner should be able to take a beginner class or advanced class and do something with it. I decided quickly to embrace this opportunity and learn from this woman who was speaking in such a nice slow angelic voice. To listen to my body and respect it's limitations. To really take the time and explore the postures. As beginners take more time to enter into a posture I could use that time while already in it to really feel what was happening in my body and in my mind.

There were not a tone of postures done, but I still felt great at the end. I learned more from listening and experiencing another teacher. I was also able to hang out and experience "the edge" or "the wall" in some postures which was nice for me too as this is something that I don't always do in my personal practice at home.

This week in our training we are practicing Satya - truthfulness. Since I felt as if not telling this wonderful instructor that I was in the teacher training (It had been suggested by our instructors that we do this) I approached her after and thanked her for her class and told her it was lovely and that I was in the TTC. She was very open and welcoming of this and did say that it showed - my postures were advanced. I got giddy at this and though again - who cares how advanced my postures are as I was where all these beginners were a long time ago and sometimes I am still there.

Going back to basics in yoga can also transfer into going back to basics in life. I was feeling very stressed out as I entered the studio with thoughts of Christmas - a time of year that most people love but quite honestly I find is filled with pressure. I am going to try to bring that back to basics as well and ignore the pressures of what is expected and just do what I can!


Saturday, November 28, 2009

Birth in Week-end Three

Last week-end was our third week-end into the teacher training. I was feeling great. My whole family had been very sick - H1N1 sick although I am not 100% sure that is what it was - it sure seemed like it. I was able to fight off the illness I think by practicing yoga every day, meditating and taking my vitamin C.

So the teacher training week-end was off to a good start. We covered some more anatomy, talked about chanting and putting classes together and how postures are linked. We were also able to practice teaching each other sun salutations. As I have taught classes before and have been putting my sessions together to teach prenatal classes I found this part not as intimidating as my counter parts. It was nice to get feedback though - I always feel as if I am talking to fast but was assured that the pace was perfect - so I was happy.

After Friday night and all day Saturday as well as having a sick family I was looking forward to a nice chat with a friend who was celebrating her birthday. I was home maybe 20 minutes and these clients that I have called to say that they were in labour and would need me soon. I got showered and went to bed hoping to get some sleep. About half an hour after getting into bed, they called and said to come now. Almost 24 hours later mom gave birth via cesarean to a beautiful 8pnd baby girl. I was frustrated with the birth experience as well as having to miss day two of a training that I am loving but am trying to practice Aparigraha and let go of expectations of how things should be and how I expect them to turn out. All things in life happen for a reason either to teach us something so we can learn or to teach someone else something so that they can learn - both of these are noble reasons.

After missing almost two days of personal practice as well as meditation practice I was anxious to get back to it. I was on a quest to do 40 days of meditation and quite honestly I lost count of where I was at but was close. It did in fact take me another 2 days of rest and practicing ahimsa in listening to what my body needed - asanas or sleep - before I was able to return to my asana practice. I will begin my meditation practice again on Monday as I have not been able to focus and want to be gentle with myself for a few days.

So with the troups healthy our life continues on all while in the midst of it - all I want is YOGA!!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Anatomy of Yoga

This week-ends teacher training was focused on Anatomy. Doing the readings to prepare for this week-end left me shaking and sleeping. My mind has this fabulous talent of falling asleep when it becomes bored, doesn't understand or isn't interested. The readings of the parts of the bones and muscles and all of that fun stuff did that to me and fast.

It was a different story once we entered the studio and started talking. I got it, I understand it and I think I even loved it. I can't tell you which bones are which but I can tell you why some people can do some things. It was pretty cool and we got to put some things into practice which I love. I really am a hands on learner so trying things out really gets me.

The other thing we spend a lot of time talking about was ahimsa - non harming. This being the basic reason why most yogis are vegetarian, but it goes deeper than that. Ahimsa starts within, it is not going to deeply into a practice that you hurt yourself, not practicing certain things in your life that hurt you such as over eating, thinking bad thoughts, wasting time you name it. It is being aware of the things that hurt you and then going outside and thinking of what hurts others. We have been challenged to practice ahimsa alternating what it is in two week periods - I returned to vegetarianism a while ago and have had no meat in several weeks so this I could not do. I have decided for this period to not waste time on the computer. I spend a lot of time surfing looking at things that mean nothing, reading stupid jokes, posting my life on face book and why? All it does is waste time that I could be spending with my children or my husband or even better on me. It keeps me up late and causes me to neglect so many things. So it has been a few days and I am doing well. I have used the computer for things that are for work and so far today it was 5 minutes and now I am writing my blog. The blog is not wasting time as I am looking as this as a diary for me too. No surfing useless sights and now hanging out on facebook wondering what people I haven't spoken to in 20 years are doing - dumb!! So let's see what happens when the two weeks are over. Stay posted for what my next ahimsa will be - maybe you could try one!!!

Om shanti,

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Finding Space

I know I mentioned in a previous blog that we were asked in our teacher training to find a space in our homes to use to practice every day. I was lucky in that the house we moved into this summer had that space and was one reason why I feel in love with this house. I thought - yeah a space where I can practice that isn't cold, damp, loud and over run with toys and kids.

I am realizing more and more how important that space is to me. The kids come in this room and they run around and yell but at night when the lights are out and everyone is sleeping or in the afternoon when the boys are at school and I am lucky to get my daughter down for a nap that space is truly mine.

It is a space that I don't have to spend an hour cleaning before I can get to the mat, because with three children if I were to spend an hour cleaning that would also be my practice time. It is a space with lots of light, we consciously decided not to replace the curtains that the previous owner left the rods in place for. It is a space that has a huge window so I can see the tree in our front yard, the sun during the day and the sky at night. We are also blessed with a lovely fireplace, it is gas so all I need to do is flick a switch, no storage of wood or danger for children and again, no mess to clean up.

The physical space to practice in is very important as you need enough room to move around as well as limited visual distractions. It is hard to focus on the postures or your meditation if your space is cluttered with mess. Likewise it is hard to focus on meditation, on the mind, on the breath and on the asana if your mind is cluttered. I am doing well in de-cluttering my space for practice as well as my home it is de-cluttering the mind that I need more practice with. I have all but eliminated television from my life - I still can't miss Grey's Anatomy but if I am not home I don't lose sleep over it or anything. I am trying more and more to avoid trash talk both listening and giving (come on we are all guilty of it at some point). As well worrying, I am a big worrier and really what is the point in worrying about something that has not happened yet and may not even be a big deal. If you read my previous blog it is about Bikram yoga - a big worry and fear - I am sure that once I jump off that cliff I will find myself cleared of a lot.

So go forth, clear your mind and your space.


Monday, November 2, 2009

Fear in the Face of Yoga

As part of the teacher training program I am taking we are encouraged to try different types of yoga. Since I have been practicing for so long I have tried so many different kinds already. Like many creatures of habit I have stuck with those that I like. I have never done bikram or hot yoga. For those of you reading who many not know what that is it is yoga done in a heated room, the benefits are that you can go further without damage because the heat softens everything up. The heat also causes you to sweat like crazy which helps to eliminate toxins in the body.

Part of the reason I have never done Bikram before is because I am a little scared. I normally do not enjoy sweltering heat - things like sauna's and hot tubs work for about 5 or 10 minutes and then I feel claustrophobic and need to flee asap! The fear for me was that Bikram would be like doing yoga in a sauna - sounds quite unpleasant if you ask me.

Funny thing you would think by reading this blog that I have tried it and either loved it or hated it right. Wrong, I have tried to go to a Bikram class twice this week and have not made it. Is it life getting in the way or Bikram or is it still the fear holding me back.

Stay posted and see if I look Fear in the eye, in the Face of Yoga!!!


Sunday, November 1, 2009

Balance in Yoga and Life

A good friend recently reminded me that balance does not always mean good, it means simply balance - good and bad! Balance is something that you have to work for. For anyone who has known me a long time they know that my life's goal has always been to achieve balance - I am also a Libra which plays into this as well. Balance is good/bad, yin/yang, love/hate - constant opposites.

With my practice I am trying to achieve balance and admittedly in practice as well as in life, I sometimes fall over. It may be that I teeter and topple in asana and I often actually fall over. I am not clumsy I am just not necessarily focused that day. Or sometimes I teeter and topple when trying things with my children or in the inner workings of my marriage - it is all about achieving balance.

I have found that with my new adventure in yoga school I have been reaching and reaching and focusing on yoga an study and asana practice and meditation practice that the balance of my family life needs some work. We had what in my mind was a horrible evening. I worked at one of my many part time jobs this afternoon and returned home in a lot of physical pain. I think from standing all day my hip joint which lead down to my knee and circled around my ankle, or maybe it started the other way, was aching and nothing seemed to work. I tried some arnica, I had my husband massage and I tried sitting. The kids wanted to be with me and I felt as if couldn't do it. I couldn't stand or sit, I really had no idea what to do, so I plugged along in our evening routine.

Then once everyone was in bed and my husband was doing his thing I rolled out my mat to try to once again find some balance. In my practice and in my life. My hip joint still hurt but I listened to my body and did a gentle practice. It felt good, not great but good and sometimes I have to be OK with good. Is my pain completely gone, no but it feels better. Do I feel completely balanced no, but this is something I will always have to work on and I need to remember take the pleasant with the unpleasant or the good with the bad and it will all work out just fine.

Om Shanti,

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Week one of HTTC done!!

Wow what a week! We were asked, in addition to our few hundred pages of reading, to practice asanas every day as well as to practice breathing exercises every day. We were also requested to find a space in our home dedicated to yoga. This part was easy for me as when we looked at our new house I already knew so I have a beautiful space in our front room with a fire place, candles, my statue of Ganesha and my big front window with our beautiful tree where I practice already.

The space was easy to achieve, I have that! The every day part I was a little afraid of. I am used to practicing about three times a week - which is sometimes a stretch with three children as well as the many part time evening jobs I have and the two small businesses that I am trying to start up. The every day practice was going to take some rearranging in my life to achieve so I had to do some major life re-evaluation to work it out. I have decided to post pone one of the small businesses until next year - it will always be there. I have also decided to quite one of my contracting jobs. Both of the decisions were difficult but necessary for me to focus fully on the teacher training as well as to move forward towards the next phase of this journey. Once I had made these decisions the rest followed.

The asana practice did happen every day. It was not always long nor was it always of the best quality given whatever what happening during the day and how many little people were crawling around me. But I did it. I rolled out my mat and lit my candles every day and practiced. I am very proud as I thought I would not be able to do it. My breathing exercises also happened every day and not always after my asana practice. Usually at night after putting the children to bed or after getting home from work. I would again, light my candles and pull out my zafu (meditation pillow) and breathe for 11 minutes.

I am amazed at the dedication that it took to do this. The first few days I felt as if ugh I have to practice now but by the end of the week I was much more positive, and admittedly a bit sore. I am also realizing the age of my body, I am not as bendy as I was ten years ago before having three children and a car accident and a knee injury and a back injury all of these issues that I am trying to break out of my mental and physical state! Cheers to more yoga and a better way of life.

Oh and I was also able to give up meat for an entire week. I am learning to cook more efficiently so that my husband still has his much loved and much needed meat protein while I enjoy a purely vegetarian diet. I am hoping that this lasts as I know I feel much better as a vegetarian I just find cooking as one with a meat loving husband can sometimes be a challenge. I am also in the process of cutting out dairy, this is mostly for my still breastfed daughter who is having some challenges that I think may be related - but that is for another blog.

Om Shanti,

Sunday, October 25, 2009

End of Week-end 1

Well it was the end of the first week-end. I must say that I am stimulated, overwhelmed, tired, sore and excited.

We learned so much. Since I am not new to yoga some of the information was repetition but that is great! I love to talk about yoga philosophy as well as history of yoga and there was lots of that today and we are told that there will be more. We are learning so much about the 8 limbs of yoga, which I knew a bit on the surface about but it is so amazing to go more in depth about them. We are also talking more and more about the yamas and the niyamas and I can't wait to delve into that even more. We were told today that we will have to give a presentation on some of the yogic sutras over the next few months. This is something that I have not read much about so am intrigued to find out more - it is basically the yogic teachings and from what I understand is similar but not the same as some of the verses in the bible.

Postures postures postures. I mentioned that I was feeling sore! This is actually from sitting not from doing postures. We do have to sit a fair bit but we also have time to delve into postures or asanas if you will. The sitting actually is starting to hurt my back a little bit. We have covered correct sitting postures but still you can only do something for so many hours before it starts to give you sensation. I actually find that working on the postures is something I look forward to, it stretches out the body, makes it feel good so that the sitting doesn't bother me as much - if that makes sense.

Pranayam - breathing. Breath breath breath. I tell my prenatal students about this all the time. I love to sit and do nothing but breath - this is in fact trying to meditate although not always achieving meditation I try. The three part breath is all about breathing into the belly, the ribs and the chest - something most people never do. I love having a review about this because as a prenatal yoga teacher and prenatal teacher I get a little robotic sometimes in how I teach things so it is nice to have a reminder or suggestions on how to do better. Something I am striving to do all the time. If any of you are reading my blog - all two of you. Then just practice your pranayam a couple of times per day if you can remember, then it will become more automatic.

We got our home work for the week and I must say I am afraid. We have been asked to practice yoga postures every day on our own. This is something that I must admit I do not do. I practice about three times a week and sometimes this is a struggle for me. My first reaction to this request was fear/shock/ oh my god how am I going to do this. Then I thought wait a minute. I can fit this in between running my business, taking care of my kids, taking care of my home and starting another business venture - right...??? I still don't know if I can but I am willing to try. We have also been asked to meditate or try to meditate for about 10 minutes per day. Again this is something that I rarely do. I have three kids and a husband and lots of distractions in my house, but again something that I am willing to try. We also have something like 200 pages of reading to do. Funny this task did not at all scare me, I read all the time. This simply means switching my reading focus from fiction or birth books to yoga - good, bring it on I thought.

I am hoping that through the asana practice and the pranayam practice as well as through the reading that I will notice some slight changes in my body and in my mind over the next couple of weeks. After all that is the goal right!

Here is to another 51/2 months of yoga teacher training. Bring it on!!!!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Wow well the second day was certainly full. We covered some postures in depth, what they are good for the correct/incorrect ways to do them. Who should/shouldn't do them. What chakra's they covered and what the benefits were. I am surprised to hear that so many postures are useful for sexual energy - has to do with celibacy.

We covered basic sun salutations and then we also talked about the Ashtanga Sun salutation. Being an Ashtanga teacher already I was really focused on this. I can see for some of the people in the group that these two practices would get confusing and I saw and heard a lot of confused questions and people in the group trying to wrap their heads around the differences. For you if you are reading my blog - the classic sun salutation is more about breath and lengthening the spine where as the Ashtanga Sun salutation is about heat and strength - just and FYI.

I have learned to come to class a little bit early I was there about 10 minutes before class today and the only spaces left were right in front of the window. Good for Ashtanga hot and sweaty practice, not good for sitting and learning. Ottawa is cold and rainy right now and it is common practice at the center to keep the windows open all the time - even just a crack. Being right beneath the window - was chilly and I am so glad the center has blankets!

Lunch was also interesting. There is a room that they let us use for lunch. A bunch of us brown baggers were sitting in there and no one was talking. I thought at first that this was because we were all starving but then I realized that this is a big group of people (we are 40) and there are few who know each other. You could see that getting closer to the end of lunch people were starting to chat a little bit and open up if only on the surface.

My body is already going through some interesting changes in this process. I have been practicing for about 18 years. Which makes me seem old I know, but basically I was first introduced in high school and loved it and I used to practice with this local T.V. show - "Yoga with Joy". Joy if you are out there you totally inspired me. I then took Yoga at this gym in Orleans when I was in my last year of high school, continued through university and haven't looked back. There have been of course times in my life where I have lost my way but yoga has always been there for me when I needed it. Anyways I was recently in a car accident and was rear ended, my entire right side has been affected by this. I am tight and find a simple forward bend to be a challenge. I have been practicing at home through this and it has been getting better and better which is great. I don't have time for physio and massage and all the other therapies so yoga is the best thing I can do. Anyways after all the sun salutations that we did today I was starting to notice that the tightness in my shoulders and neck as well as my right hip were feeling better and better by end of the day and I don't know how many surynamaskara's later! It is AWESOME!!!

More tomorrow and here's looking forward to even less and less tight shoulders and hips for me!


Friday, October 23, 2009

Hatha TC Starts

So the first night of Hatha Yoga Teacher Training was this evening. Only 2 hours. I was nervous as hell. One thing I need to work on, especially encompassing the whole yogic philosophy is that not everyone is out to judge. I was afraid I was too old, that I wasn't practiced enough that I would stand out. No no no! I am just the right age, I have practiced enough and I blend just nicely thank you.

It was a nice way to warm up and just what I expected. We met, we introduced, we did a little practice, we chatted about logistics. Good good good. I am looking forward to the next 6 months being a lot of hard work and I am soooo up for it! Can't wait to learn from everyone.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Week-en2 day 2

Wow what can I say about today? It was beautiful, amazing, blissful, gentle and kind. Our energy was certainly on a higher plane today as a group. Myself though I was feeling a bit achy and very emotional, this I relate to the connection that I have made with these women as well as my moon cycle which seems to be in high gear.

We did a lot of spiritual work today which was amazing. We did a chakra balancing meditation where we looked at the colours and felt them through our funnels. We moved and danced and felt it all. I found that my root chakra was quite painful today but again I am relating that to my menses.

We had another circle time and discussed the chakra balancing and this too was very powerful. The facilitator told us that she had done this exercise many times before but could not remember it being received and having such an amazing effect on her groups. As some of us shared our stories, I again felt this amazing connection. One women started to tell a portion of her birth and I started to tear up, not because of what she was saying but because I felt it - I know it sounds crazy but I was feeling the pain that she was feeling.

The facilitator is also a healer and she offered to do a healing on one of the pregnant women in the group as she is having some issues and we were welcomed to observe and participate. We were asked to continue to breathe and to keep ourselves centred and present, focusing our energy on the woman being healed. When the healing came to a certain point where the pregnant woman was asked to imagine healing herself, I again began to tear up and cry. I was feeling what she was feeling and wanted to physically reach out to her - it was amazing. I was feeling my throat close up at this point and really tried focused on opening up the throat chakra again to help facilitate her healing as well as my own. Then our facilitator walked around the room and touch each of us (I think it was everyone) and I felt her hands above my head and was feeling fine and then all of a sudden the flood gates opened and I could not stop crying. I am still not sure why I was crying, but I was. After the healing we all relaxed for a few moments before we came together as a group. The pregnant women who was being healed shared a bit of her experience with us. I sat back as I was still crying and then we took a break. It took me about 15 minutes or so before the tears stopped. I continued to breathe and tried to focus on staying open and present. Had a drink and went outside for a walk and felt much better when I returned.

After our break the Bahkti Connection a group I know well was in our room so that we could do some devotional signing or Kirtan which is something that I love! Their focus was on the divine mother so each of our chants was about the mother and about birth which was beautiful. I love expressing myself through signing and dancing and this just seemed a fitting way to finish our prenatal teacher training. As usual I was fully present in the Kirtan and was reminded how much I love this form of yoga and need to bring it back to my life.

So I have completed my Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training and I think this training should be done by anyone planning to teach prenatal yoga as well as by pregnant women. It is a truly amazing course. I look forward to next month when I start my 7 month Hatha training to see what life and mind altering things will happen within me.

Wee-End 2 day 3

Well day three was interesting. I had had a busy two weeks between, which included my husband being away, massive amounts of preserving and broken taps in our house and a 4 year old who I think is feeling the challenges of being an older brother and starting school.

So I arrived feeling a bit knackered to say the least. I felt as if I all wanted to do was either sleep or go and get some much needed retail therapy. I think I will save the therapy until next week and will squeeze some sleep in sometime. It seems that the rest of our group was feeling the same. So in our group we have two pregnant mom's to be, 4 mom's and two never had children women. However for this week-end three of the non pregnant women are on their moon cycle - interesting I think.

Given that most of us were pregnant or on our moon cycle (including the facilitator) she decided to follow our vibe and we started off with some great meditation, lying down or supported on the wall. We then did a very gentle prenatal yoga class. It is interesting receiving a yoga class designed for pregnant women when you are not pregnant. Focusing on the baby and breathing for your baby - certainly brings me back. After the asana practice we did a pranayama and meditation portion with a new mudra that I hadn't tried before - to be honest I was so tired I think I fell asleep. We then finished with the much loved sivasana which again I think I fell asleep in.

The rest of the day we talked about teaching pregnant women and how given our varied backgrounds that might be perceived and how to deal with that. The general gist of it all was be honest with your group about whatever it is is holding you back or bringing you forward. That we are not experts in pregnancy or yoga but that we are there to facilitate their practice and hopefully they will enjoy what we have come to share.

I left last night feeling rejuvenated about why I love dealing with pregnant women and excited to start teaching yoga again. It has been about 4 years since I have taught a yoga class and I really do miss it. I suppose the next step is to see if anyone will hire me to teach again as I really do love it. I also left feeling so tired and drained, this could be a combination of menstruating as well as giving so much during the day. But I feel asleep with the boys at 8:00pm woke up around 9:30pm went back to bed and aside from nursing my toddler through the night and slight interruptions from my 4 year old I slept until 8:00am.

This afternoon I head off to the final day of the prenatal portion of my training. I am sure I will not be disappointed. It is certainly a nice way to start the next 7 months of my Hatha training.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Day Two

Well day two was certainly an eye opening experience. I arrived early as my family left the house so I thought I could get to the studio and catch up on some reading. I had been anxious all morning as we were told we would be sharing birth stories (we didn't get to it thank god). I am a prenatal instructor but am not used to sharing my own birth experiences and unless it is a one on one or women I know well I am not so comfortable sharing.

We started with a great opening meditation which was great, then talked about some postures for pregnancy and how they can help with birth. There happened to be a prenatal class going on upstairs so our teacher suggested that we take it. It was such a great restorative class, I really enjoyed the nice slow paced flow - something I often don't allow myself in my own personal practice. However lately I have been dipping into Yin Yoga and enjoying it but there is still a sense of getting into a posture that was left behind today in prenatal yoga.

We then watched a great video, I use the teaching version of it in my prenatal classes but the instructor showed the much more graphic version, which I really enjoyed. We then did a great meditation to see how the birth images, cesarean images, massage, yoga, and yes circumcision images may have effected us and to see where our bodies were at the present time. I was very surprised at the feelings that were brought up for me. Not about birth but about not having more children. Watching videos where women are giving birth makes me sad that I won't experience that ever again. I guess I have been holding that back for a while but in the safety of our learning and teaching space I felt it wholeheartedly that I was sad for the baby that will never be born. Funny as I don't really know what to do with that!

Now we have a two week break. I need to design a prenatal yoga class. I am happy that this is not my first time and that I have been teaching prenatal classes for years and have a very lengthy yoga background. It will be interesting to teach it to my peers however as this is an experience that often makes me nervous.

Off to bed now. All of that yoga, meditation and sharing of ideas and learning has me completely exhausted. That and I got a parking ticket - the universe telling me I need to pay more attention to parking signs I suppose!!!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Day one

Well day one of the Prenatal Yoga teacher training was absolutely a learning experience. I am sure though that there is going to be much more to come. I am re-affirming my passions for pregnancy, birth and beyond. It is so wonderful to be in a group of powerful women, some who are mothers and some who are not.

I entered today with some fatigue. It had been a very rough night with Holly. She is still so little and is up frequently in the night crying and nursing and we woke up very early as usual. So the get up and go in me is not always present. I fought back with a good breakfast, a teaspoon of honey and some nettle tea. Packed my lunch bag and off I went.

I had not intended on sharing too much about myself during this class and was hoping to be more on the receiving end. But sure enough with a class of 7 women we went around a welcoming circle and introduced ourselves and told why we were there. At this point if felt I needed to tell them that I was a prenatal teacher looking for more and to share more. It was nice as I didn't feel as if I had to teach and am not always used to being in the "student" space when it comes to pregnancy and birth.

We did a yoga class which was wonderful, as well discussed some physiology - this part I am very familiar with so sat back and listened. I found this was a great opportunity for me to take some notes as to how to incorporate some of what we had done into my prenatal classes. I could be a passive listener at this point which I appreciated. We finished up with some massage, I really enjoyed this portion - both receiving and giving. I thought I had learned something new until I showed my partner and he told me he had done that during one of my labours. We did some meditation and a chant and said good bye until tomorrow.

I enter tomorrow with some trepidation as we are to share birth stories. I am very comfortable teaching and talking about births, but not my own. It is not something that I freely share with people that I don't know. My first birth being extremely traumatic and my other two being very healing and wonderful. I am always hesitant to tell people that I have had two home births after a cesarean as most think it is dangerous. I guess like all of us, I am afraid of being judged. I am certain that this is a safe space but I still have reservations.

No sense worrying about tomorrow - off to bed for some good rest.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Yoga school starts tomorrow! I am a life long learner and go into each study with gusto. I learn as much as I can usually so I can teach what I have learned. I find I learn even more by teaching. I find it oh so fitting that I start school the same week as my children so we can all experience the nervousness of starting something new together. I also find it fitting that I will be starting the Prenatal portion of the Yoga teacher training, since I have been teaching prenatal classes for several years now.

I enter this with a bit of fear. I was in a minor car accident last week, I was rear ended by a guy who was doing about 60 and didn't see that I was stopped at a red light - and I was there for at least a couple of minutes. I am suffering from whiplash and my neck and shoulders are extremely sore. I have been icing and have been for massage but am quite uncomfortable. Let's see how hard the TTC is on me with my neck. I am also hoping that these 7 months are not too difficult for my family. Above all else they are my main priority, I want to do this for me but I don't want them to suffer too much for it.

I enter tomorrow with the same feelings as my son today when he started Kindergarten for the first time. I am afraid of what is going to happen, but excited at what I am going to learn and do.