Friday, December 23, 2011


I took a Bikram class the other night. My third one ever. I've never thought of Bikram as a style that I would be able to practice exclusively/daily but I must say that I felt AWESOME after that class. All of this holiday indulgence everywhere I go has left me feeling heavy, bloated and tired. After my 90 minute sweat session in the torture chamber that is Bikram yoga, I felt like I'd certainly detoxed a bit and even carried a feeling of lightness into the next day until I decided to dig in to the cookie tray at work. I've had a burning desire to go back for another class ever since and plan to do so on Wednesday. It will be my birthday which means I can drag Matt along with me. I hope he'll enjoy it too. I may break down and purchase a 10 class card. Just wish the carpet didn't smell so foul.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Trying not to lose focus during the holidays.

Now that this months training module is complete, I have about 3 weeks or so until the next one. I've been shifting my focus toward ashtanga but haven't been consistently practicing primary series daily, due in part to all of the holiday business as well as my own unwillingness to get up any earlier than 8 a.m. I keep considering taking a break from technology (i.e. internet...) so that I can focus my attention on getting more done, in general. I'm so guilty of jumping on the computer to quickly check Facebook and before I realize it, having wasted an hour doing silly things online. Why does the internet have to be so goddamn interesting!? Anyway, I also need to focus on creating some different sequences and practice teaching. I did create one sequence...a 60 minute intermediate flow. Now I need to record myself teaching it and then practice it to the recording of my own voice.
    As far as required reading goes, I've completed Yoga Mala by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois and have now moved on to The Heart of Yoga by TKV Desikachar which is proving to be a very informative read with all the info about different pranayama techniques as well as bandhas and such...These are not topics that are usually touched upon by my everyday yoga teachers. Sometimes I think that exclusively teaching ashtanga would almost be easier than having to come up with new sequences all of the time but at the same time, I really am inspired by teachers like Kathryn Budig and her ability to constantly pump out these really fun, creative flows with a great comedic relief in class. I also have had an itching to take a Bikram class, lately. It's not something I do often, since the closest Bikram studio is about 20 minutes away from my house but all of these holiday treats and rich foods have left my body in serious need of some detoxification and detoxified is the epitome of how I feel after 90 minutes of Bikram...perhaps tomorrow. We shall see.
   As far as my minor hip injury was beginning to feel better, slowly but surely less movements were aggravating it. I had an acupuncture treatment on that leg and had the doctor stretch out the whole hip. Certain movements like kurmasana and separate leg forward bend still hurt it but it was less and less UNTIL I decided to practice my handstand kick-ups on the wall and tweaked the crap out of it which led me to realize that must have been how I originally hurt it. I tried getting into frog pose, which is the posture that I initially thought caused the injury when a teacher adjusted me a bit further than I was ready to go but frog pose didn't even affect the muscle that has been in pain at all. I think the abrupt movement of kicking into the handstand was what did it because I had taken a workshop a day or two before the pain started that focused on handstand practice so I was kicking up a lot. At least now I know what NOT to do... I'm nearly back to square one now after tweaking it the other handstand kick ups for at least a few months. It's a bummer to be limited. I had never injured myself doing yoga before this. I suppose I can chalk it up as a lesson to take it easy and remember what my yoga is truly about.

Oh and also... M told me the thinks I have a good voice for instructing. It was really nice to hear.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Today we spent the better part of the day training and I was really fascinated by hearing my teachers personal stories of her journey. She has had quite a bit of experience with different styles of yoga and world renowned teachers so she had a lot of stories to share with when Bikram Choudhury called a trainee fat and told them to give him half of their sandwich! haha and about Iyengar forcibly twisting his almost paralyzed granddaughter into postures only to leave her there for long periods of time. (This inevitably helped with her physical issues.) Not only that but realizing that to teach one really has to be on mentally sharp and on-point all of the time to be able to remain in control of a class. God forbid someone hurts themself, breaks down in tears, shouts out commentary, walks in and interrupts the class. You have to be able to deal with all of these things and not break the flow. Challenging and intimidating thoughts... When you're just a student you look at things in a completely different way but being in front of a class is a whole different ball park. I suppose I knew this but my eyes were really opened up to it today in a big way. We did some practice teaching and it really was quite difficult. I found that I was so self-conscious of how I sounded that I found it hard to verbalize strongly. Of course, it is the beginning of my training so practice makes perfect but I realize that I need to dedicate serious time to recording myself and creating classes to teach to my friends and family members. When I took on this main motivation was not necessarily to teach but to deepen my own practice, learn more about myself and gain a great experience with the possibility of teaching a few classes here and there more extra income. I was offered a place to teach my classes recently out of the blue by an acupuncturist that hired me on to do clerical work once per week. So now the idea of teaching is much more real to me and my demographic of students will probably be middle aged to older with physical injuries and ailments (hence the need for the acupuncture therapy). Normally, I gravitate towards a more dynamic, hot, vinyasa flow incorporating intermediate postures, arm balances, inversions etc. but I need to learn how to take people through a very gentle and slow-placed class. This can be so much more difficult than leading a strong class. I'm excited to learn more about yin yoga which works deep into the connective tissues. I think this would be a good style to offer at the acupuncturist office. Long holds of postures working into the connective tissues of the body.
   I also have some exciting things lined up for the next couple of months. I'll be taking a 4 day ashtanga workshop with Mr. David Williams who is allegedly the first American to be taught ashtanga yoga by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. (I say allegedly because I watched Enlighten Up! and they said Norman Allan was the first.) Anyway, lately I've become interested in delving deeper into the world of ashtanga and beginning a daily practice. It is a big commitment and quite demanding but I think the discipline, dedication and stability of it would be good for me. I am used to taking led classes and just letting the teacher guide me along but an ashtanga home practice would force me to focus more deeply on my own mind, my own breath count, my own flow etc. Tomorrow morning we will be doing a full primary series flow at the studio so I'm looking forward to that. Also, I just signed up for a 4 hour workshop in February with Dharma Mittra in Key Biscayne which I'm very excited about. When I see pictures or video of Dharma Mittra I just feel that I would really love him. He seems to be such a strong spiritual being and a wealth of knowledge and inspiration.
  Will all that said, my brain feels a bit like mush tonight after so much information being thrown at it today.

Friday, December 9, 2011

The journey begins.

  Today is the beginning of my 200 hour yoga teacher training. I really am excited and nervous all at once. I guess what makes me most nervous is that I feel like it will take some time for me to "find my voice" and refine my speaking/instructing style. Although this is one of the main purposes of the course, my teacher has us practice teaching from the very first class onward. I believe I might feel a bit lost to begin with. I've never really had much of a fear of speaking in front of a group but for some reason, leading them through a practice seems different. I'll be spending the good part of the day recording myself teaching Sun A and B.
   This weekend will involve a lot of practice time as well. I need to be mindful not to overwork my left hip which was recently strained when an instructor adjusted me too deeply in a hip opener. Lessons to be learned there, too.