Goldilocks does yoga

It’s not easy to find that perfect yoga class. When you’re a yoga lover, a lot of classes will count as great, because hey, you’re doing yoga and yoga is awesome and breathe in and breathe out and tree pose and plank pose and savasana.

But often, it’s just a little too hot in the hot room. Or not hot enough. Class is too hard for your energy level, or a little too slow. You’re tired, you’re wired or you’re distracted. The teacher is leading that pose. The one you dislike *cough dragon pose*. There’s music, and you want it to be quiet, or there’s no music and you want some to help you move.

You end up feeling like Goldilocks.

Tonight, I debated whether or not to go to yoga. It’s Friday, therefore I am tired. However, I was thinking of the moment I would get to step on my mat all day, and I couldn’t let go of it just because I was tired.

I made my way to Pure, my yoga home, for Sasha’s class. As soon as I took my first deep breath, I felt like Goldilocks when she finds the bed, the chair, the porridge, that is just right. This, I thought. This is what I live for.

Sasha is fantastic. The way she speaks, slowly but with energy, motivates me. She radiates joy and calmness, a wonderful combination, if you ask me. The classes she leads resemble my own practice more than any other teacher’s class I’ve done. This is the practice I would have done had I stayed home.

We did lots of pigeons, mixed in with our flows. My hips feel delicious right now. It’s been difficult to practice with an injury, and tonight, for the first time in almost two months, I felt like myself again. It felt like my body, moving the way I know it can, making me feel that moment of yoga bliss that’s been slightly out of my grasp as I struggled to modify my poses and let go of my ego as I heeled. I still felt some pulling and twinges, my muscles whispering not to push it too much, but it was the best practice I’ve had in a long time.

At the end of class, we rested in waterfall, with hips on blocks and feet up in the air. Then, a magical thing happened. Sasha took hold of my feet and massaged each one, squeezing out any remaning tensions and worries from my body. When I settled into savasana, I felt like I had just spent a day at the beach.

My whole summer was spent in a yoga bubble. I did my teacher training in July, and even though I injured myself in August, I was still doing yoga, because I was learning, breathing, thinking, discovering things about myself and just being. I was riding the yoga wave and it was blissfull.

Then, I went back to work, and while my yoga bubble didn’t burst, it certainly got smaller. I’m not one of those people who just has a job. My work is my purpose. I’m meant to be there with those kids every day, teaching and learning. I’m happy to go to work. I don’t count down the days to the weekend and get crabby on Sundays because I have to work the next day.

Being invested in my students and my work, my “real life” bubble gets bigger while my yoga bubble shrinks. I’m looking for balance. I haven’t quite found it yet, but I’m a work in progress. I’m trying to make my yoga bubble my life, because it’s so peaceful and happy in there. It doesn’t mean I want to quit my job, it means I want to bring my yoga with me, everywhere I go. Like I said, I’m working on it.

Thank you Sasha for the amazing class. I’ve missed this feeling and I’ve missed writing about yoga. I am one happy yogini.

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From a place of love and joy

Before I started my yoga teacher training, I thought I would be writing about it almost every day and sharing all the new stuff I discovered.

It didn’t really work that way.

I learned so much about myself and my practice, but it was such an intense process, I didn’t have time to figure it out. Half the time, I didn’t understand what I was feeling, learning and experiencing. There was no way I could seperate it all into neat little blog posts.

People ask how yoga teacher training was. I don’t know how to answer. I wasn’t just one thing. It was everything. My life, my practice, my goals, my emotions, they’re all connected and I can’t pull out one thing and say it was good, or it was bad.

I do know how I feel now. I feel limitless. I can do anything and be anything.

Also, I know that I want to teach yoga from a place of love and joy. That’s what I have to share with the world.

Here’s a little look at my journey.

Day 2: Learning how to instruct pyramid pose.

Day 2: Learning how to instruct pyramid pose.

Learning about anatomy. This is Severus showing off his spiral line.

Learning about anatomy. This is Severus showing off his spiral line.

Practicing inversions.

Practicing inversions.

Getting ready to attempt a headstand.

Getting ready to attempt a headstand.

Supported headstand.

Supported headstand.

Breaking through limiting beliefs. (Yes, I broke that board with my hand!)

Breaking through limiting beliefs. (Yes, I broke that board with my hand!)

Awesomeness.

Awesomeness.

One thing I am sure of: This is only the begining. There is so much more to learn.

Bendy straws and popsicle sticks

I could write a book called “Tales of an unflexible yogi”. Instead, I wrote an article for elephant journal.

I was really pleased with this article. I wrote it a couple of weeks ago, before I started my yoga teacher training, and I felt like it really represented how I felt about being a popsicle stick in a bendy straw world.

However, I wasn’t thrilled with the way the piece was edited. It doesn’t feel as much like me anymore. Certain parts are in bold font, or italic, and I feel like it puts emphasis on the wrong words and thoughts. They even changed the title. Also, they spelled my name wrong (but then they fixed it).

I am still happy with the content of the article, and I invite you to read it and tell me what you think!

Will I be the only yoga teacher who can’t touch her toes?

I see this sign every morning on my way to yoga teacher training!

I see this sign every morning on my way to yoga teacher training!

Things I’ve learned after a week of yoga teacher training

Ponytails get in the way.

You can’t french braid your hair at a red light.

Bangs are the devil’s work.

Just stop doing your hair. Really.

Downward dog is still not awesome.

Chair pose is awful when you do it every day.

I don’t know everything.

In fact, I barely know anything.

That’s ok.

Ayurveda is fascinating.

I am kapha pitta.

Crying is expected.

Anatomy is complicated.

Does anyone know what a rectus femoris is?

I do.

(It’s a muscle in your quads. I’m so smart now.)

You have to step outside your comfort zone.

Warning: It’s not going to feel great.

Everyone has an opinion on what you’re doing.

Sometimes it helps.

Sometimes it doesn’t.

Wine helps.

You can’t eat a big breakfast because you might throw up during yoga.

You can’t eat too little, because then your stomach will cry for help during bridge pose.

Finding your voice as a teacher will take time.

You’ll get there.

Speaking to a group won’t kill you.

Probably.

Ask questions.

Ask more questions.

Don’t expect to get it all at once.

If you cry, you’re entitled to ice cream.

Be happy.

Enjoy the experience.

Teaching yoga poses is fun.

People vibrate at different levels.

Surround yourself with people who bring you up, not down.

There is still much to learn.

There is a lot to read.

You can’t do it all.

Don’t let your yoga stress you out.

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Reaching for my toes

Today was the second day of my yoga teacher training, and it started with an experiential anatomy master class on the superficial back line. Now, that’s a lot of words that just two days ago would have made me say “umm, what?”

The back line of your body is just that, the muscles that make their way from your heels all the way up to the top of your head.

We worked on the feet, then the achilles tendon, then the calves. We kept working our way up, but the big aha! moment for me was when, after working out my calves, I was able to touch the floor in my forward bend. I’m not usually able to do that without bending my knees and I was sure the problem came from my hamstrings. I love how I’m getting to know my body better!

After lunch we had a discussion on Gunas. We’ll talk more about this tomorrow in class, so I’m going to wait a while before I try to explain it. It’s very interesting. We’re also going to talk about Ayurveda, which I’m looking forward to.

Later on in the afternoon, we practiced naming the different movements of the body. Todd, my teacher, had us stand around in a circle and name the movements as we were doing them.

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Then he said we would all give out three instructions to the others. I was first! Just yesterday, this would have made me panic. However, we are a small group of only six people, and in just two days, I feel comfortable enough around these people to speak without being nervous.

We then tried to get the others in a pose, just by giving out the same instructions on movement. I tried triangle pose. I was missing a few steps, but it was pretty good for my first time!

Later, we took turns getting into pyramid pose and having the others give us instructions so we could adjust our pose.

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Tomorrow morning there’s another master class, this time focusing on hips. I really hope there’s no dragon pose involved!

First day of yoga teacher training

It’s been a long time since I’ve had a first day of school where I was the student and not the teacher.

Today was my first day of yoga teacher training.

I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’d gotten a lot of tips and advice. I was also told that I would have breakthroughs and breakdowns. I was told that my head might explode from all the information and that I would either come home and become a hermit after a long day, or just be filled with the need to talk to someone, anyone, about anything but yoga.

So far, after one day, none of this has happened.

I was a little worried that everyone would be flexi-bendy-straw people and I would be standing there like a popsicle stick. But, honestly, I didn’t notice anyone else’s flexibility. During all of the practice we did, I was so interested by what I was learning and trying to figure out how to apply this new knowledge to my poses that I wasn’t looking around at anyone else.

I also learned that I’ll get to go home a little earlier than I thought each day, which is great, because I’ve spent so long on a school schedule that I don’t remember anything anyone says to me after 3:30. However, it’s not time to go to the beach, but time for homework. Today, I read about anatomy and muscles I had never heard of. I’m going to be so smart.

I also got to experience something new today. Getting stuck in traffic. How do people do this every day? And why? If I had to do this every day, I’d move. I didn’t know what to do with myself, so I ate a muffin and an apple. (I had brought a big lunch because I didn’t know how hungry yoga teacher training makes a person. For the record, it makes you regular hungry.) I would have eaten something else, but I couldn’t reach my crackers. I might weigh a ton at the end of this challenge.

I was pretty happy not to have to teach any poses yet. I know it was only the first day, and that I will eventually have to speak to the whole group and lead a class, but I’m glad it wasn’t today. I need a little more time to get ready for that.

I’m looking forward to the next 27 days! (The yoga, not the traffic induced weight gain.)

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Summer solstice

If you were to image the perfect first day of summer, today would be it. It was sunny and beautiful. It was also the last day of school. Actually, yesterday was my last full day with my students, today was a picnic with all the kids and their parents. It was a lovely day. I’m working next week, but only for four days. Then I’m off for the whole summer.

The strange thing is, it doesn’t feel like summer. It’s not about the weather (which has not been happy lately). I think it’s because normally, at the end of June, I look ahead and see two months of lazy days, beach days and sunny days. This year, however, I’m going to be doing my yoga teacher training from July 4th to the 31st, six days a week. It’s not “time off” like I normally have.

I’m excited about this teacher training, and I can’t wait for it to start, but I’m also nervous and a little worried. I get sweaty palms and my heart beats fast when I picture myself talking in front of a group. It’s not the same as teaching kids. I’m a little scared because I don’t know what to expect.

I wanted to do something special for the summer solstice, because it feels like an important day. This day only happens once a year. But then I thought, all days only happen once. If you waste it, you never get it back. So instead of trying to find some meaningful, first day of summer thing to do, I did what was calling out to me. Reading and yoga.

This is not a very exciting way to spend a Friday, but I am tired. I feel like I just let go of one whole school year of thinking, planning, worrying, laughing, and teaching in just one day.

I went to Sasha’s flow class at Pure tonight, and she massaged my feet during pigeon pose. I could just feel the stress and the weight of the year melt away. I spend so much time standing, and my feet were happy for the love.

So, while there was nothing particularly summer solstice-y about my day, it made me happy.

What made you happy today?

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