Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Feeling good! Or are they?

This past week-end I taught my first class at Rama Lotus.  I put tons of pressure on myself before going because in my mind this is THE school to be a part of in Ottawa.  They were one of the first schools in Ottawa and are currently one of the biggest.  They were one of the first schools in Canada to have their teacher training course recognized by HRDC which is also huge.  Their space is amazing and so are their teachers.  In my head I made it bigger than I probably should have.  I should not have made this class seem any more important than any other yoga class that I have ever taught.

It was interesting it was a prenatal class that I was substituting for.  I had met non of the women before, all except one were first time mom's which is great.  I really try to focus on bonding with the baby during my prenatal yoga classes and in the past women have quite liked this approach.  So of course I tried it again.  I have to say they were the toughest crowd ever!!!  During asana practice I always encourage my students to smile - which some may find odd.  Smiling means that you are breathing and that you are relaxed in a posture, if you can't muster up a smile, even half a smile then you may not be as comfortable as you could be.  Not that you need to be laughing and smiling the entire time, but bringing joy to your yoga class can and should be attainable.

During prenatal yoga there is very minimal assisting due to the nature of the pregnant body.  Most of the assists are verbal and visual not much touch and mostly I remain on or near my mat.  The class tends to run at a smooth easy and sometimes a bit slower pace.  The savasana is longer usually about 8 to 10 minutes which for people who have not done a lot of yoga can seem long.  So we do the practice, they have their savasana, I chant a bit at the end.  Close the class and barely get a smile, maybe the occasional nod and thanks under the breath as they leave but that's it.

Feeling somewhat dejected and wondering did they enjoy the practice did they hate it  - what????  I was sitting outside waiting for the cloak room to clear and started chatting with another teacher.  She asked how the class went and proceeded to tell me that she used to teach prenatal and stopped because she could tell anything about how they were feeling, the same thing I was wondering.  Then it hit me!  Pregnant women are giving so much of themselves, of their energy and of their being to their babies that they don't have much else.  They may not be able to give more to their environment.  Aparigraha!  I was grasping at an expectation of how my students should or could be reacting, instead of just accepting where they were.  With the realization that most of what happens is internal I will approach my next class with less expectations of how I should be and how they should be and just lead the practice.  They will get out of it what they need and I will be doing what I love and am good at!


Friday, January 22, 2010


Before I write my blogs I would normally spend a few days thinking about things to write about.  This time on the subject of non-attachment it was no different.  Especially since I am constantly trying to link the philosophies of yoga to real life.  As I was pondering the subject of non-attachment I was of course drawn to my children and their view of the world.  We have consciously raised our children to be attached to people and not to things and I think if we were to measure our success as parents in this one aspect we have succeeded.  When my children hurt either physically or emotionally they reach out to people in their lives that they are bonded to.  They don't scream for a favorite toy in the middle of the night nor do they have a special thing that they carry around every where they go.  Don't get me wrong, occasionally they like to bring a toy with them when we go somewhere but it is not the same - I will die without this item - type of toy, more of the special toy of the day kind of thing.  Last night a dinner the boys were asking us why we don't live with our mommy's and daddy's anymore, this became a discussion of, when you get older you might...  My eldest son became very distraught and started to cry, he said "mommy I want to live with you forever".  As much as I love my children and it would be great if they stayed with me forever, it is still my hope that they find their wings one day and fly out of the nest and maybe have baby birdies of their own.

This discussion with my children and realization that no they are not attached to things but they are still attached to us.  As we are to them.  Can the practice of non-attachment be %100, I don't think so.  Physiologically it is built into mothers to be attached to their babies, this is true of most mammals, if I didn't feel a sense of attachment to my children at birth would I have breastfed them, cleaned them, cared for them?  I thought that this was my aha moment and then I read another blog, belonging to one of my teachers and she said basically the same thing. 

In this process of thinking about aparigraha and practicing it I had to really sit down and think about what I am really attached to, what I think is a necessity and what I just keep because it is pretty or I like it.  Could I live without some of these items that I hold dear - yes.  Am I ready to give up all my worldly possessions - no.  I think I am a person who is more attached to expectations and what is coming next.  I am a planner and I follow plans, not always to a t!  But I like to know what is coming next, for example when this training is done what will I learn next, instead of just finishing what I have started and sitting with it for a while, enjoying and putting to practice what I have learned.  I have expectations of certain people in my life and am always disappointed when it doesn't happen and this is a pattern that needs to be broken - I need to stop putting all of my eggs in one basket and learn that I have several people in my life whom I can rely on for various things and they on me.

So I remain attached to my children and to my husband.  I carry a healthy attachment for some of the items I possess knowing that if they were gone tomorrow I would not die.  Sticking with the rule that for every new thing that comes into my house at least one has to go.  My items will be here long after I am gone and will it matter because at that point no attachment is necessary - we leave the world with what we entered it with!!!

Hari Om,

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Ooops I yelled!!!

For the past several days and a few more to come my husband has been away on business.  I am normally not a yeller.  I mean I occasionally yell "kids time for supper", or "what did you say", or "stop fighting" the later if I am not in the room.  But yesterday I was trying to cook supper for my three children.  My youngest was on the floor, emptying my cupboard (and crying), the middle one was screaming "I'm hungry I want a snack" over and over and over and over, and my eldest was yelling "I want a drink" over and over and over.  Needless to say after a few days of single parenting I think I had reached my brink, they were driving me NUTS.  I was trying to cook a nutritious and delicious dinner for my children, who by the way had been fighting with each other and doing things they know they are not supposed to be doing for the past 2 hours since they had gotten home from school.  The yelling and screaming from the three of them in our small kitchen was the last straw... I yelled - "STOP IT"!!!  Literally at the top of my lungs.  As I mentioned above this is not my normal parenting style.  I would normally talk them through it, explain why they couldn't have a snack, give my son a glass of water and pick up the crying one...  but no, these tools did not seem to be working!  The sad part about my outburst was that it worked.  They were angels for the rest of the evening.  For anyone with three children it is rare to have all three be angels for more than an hour especially when they are all 6 and under!!!  They went to another room and played nicely together, they sat at the table and not only were quiet during dinner but they ate it all, brushing teeth and getting ready for bed and actually falling asleep was a dream! 

Here I ask the question, the style of parenting that I don't normally use - the yelling part - worked!  Is this because it is only reserved for the rare occasion when it is absolutely needed?  Or was it a coincidence.  Did my three babies sense that with the outburst that mommy had, had enough and we better not push it?  I don't dare ask...  I do know that I don't plan to use that method again for quite sometime.  However effective it was it is still  not how I want to parent my children.  It didn't feel as if I was practicing ahimsa that is for sure - maybe they weren't harmed but I sure felt it!!!

Om Shanti,

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Yoga and Balance

I was reviewing some of my older posts and was starting to feel bad.  I found that some of them weren't as positive as I normally am or as I felt that they should be.  I mentioned this to a friend of mine and she reminded me about balance.  Balance and yin/yang, good/bad, positive/negative and so on.  Still I felt that with all of the negative that I felt was coming out in my blog I felt as if it should be balanced with some positive.

The good news is that between my back and ankle, I am able to visit my chiropractor and massage therapist more often and I am making the time to do that.  It feels great and I know that through the extra pain, things are being released in my body and the benefits will be paramount.  Apparently the burning that I am feeling through my hips and back mea that things are releasing and changing - yeah!!!

My yoga asana practice is suffering as I am often too sore to do a full practice or am fatigued easily - this forces me to practice ahimsa and listen to my body, which is also a very positive thing for me.  I do try to do this often but sometimes my head is fighting me and saying - if you just push a little further you will achieve perfect asana, pushing can also sometimes hurt pushing that asana further away from me!  Ha ha!!!

With bramacharya and christmas this was not easy but I didn't feel bad.  I normally live my life in moderations.  I rarely drink alchohol and if I do it is never very much.  I hardly ever over eat and over christmas this was not really any different, I kept the sweet treats that I baked in the freezer and only took them out when I needed a hostest gift or we had company.  I won't say that I never had more than one of a treat - man those chocolate peanut butter snow balls are good, but I didn't eat an entire container!  Good for me.

Now with the cold weather here and the feasting of Christmas over, it is back to home made soups and yummy home cooked meals.  I baked 6 dozen muffins the other day as our freezer is almost empty - time to fill it up with home cooked yummy things, there's got to be some yoga in there.  There is something to be said with the satisfaction I get from preparing nutricious and delicious food for my family and watching them enjoy it!

Hopefully this entry was more positive - even though I am respecting the properties of yin/yang and balance being good and bad.

Om Shanti, Peace!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Ahimsa and pain

I may have mentioned a while ago that in September I was in a minor car accident but was rear ended from behind.  I have since been seeing a chiropractor and a massage therapist.  It seems that my pelvis took the majority of the impact and it hurts!!!

Ahimsa - non harming.  Pain with a purpose?  I had a really great deep tissue massage the other day, however the past couple of days I am in a LOT of pain

, my ankle aches and my hips ache, walking and standing and sitting are all almost unbearable.  I want to practice yoga but it hurts to move.  If I don't practice it hurts and if I do it hurts.  How do I find the ahimsa in all of this?

I know that the massage and chiro are working and that the pain is progress.  Previously during treatments I was feeling nothing.  Yoga was making me more flexible and more difficult to treat - my chiropractor seems at a loss to treat my pelvis and massage hurts.  I want to sit and meditate on it, but I don't know if I can free my mind from the hurting in my hips? 

Finding the yoga in this part of my life right now is a bit difficult.  I will muscle through and find the light on the other side.  Perhaps this is my body working on me finding the edge - the point where I can't take any more, the point where it will get as bad as it can and then it will get better.  The pain is also a reminder to listen to my body, be present and accepting.  I keep reminding myself that there is something to learn through this, that anything worth learning is hard.

I will muscle through, nurture myself and be present through the pain and be grateful and accepting when it leaves me and I know it will.

Hari Om,