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,