Bali Yoga Video: Day 22: graduation

It’s been an emotional day! Amazingly good, difficult, hard work, fun, celebratory, inspirational, and encouraging are all words I would use to describe today. This yoga teacher training is like a boot camp for the soul and the body!

Today we had our morning meditation and it was revelatory for me. I read an email before meditation from a customer of my online store (www.LaSaludOrganics.com) asking about the whereabouts of her order. To make a long story short, I couldn’t be of much help to her because of the time difference and I couldn’t find out anything for her until Monday. I did what I could, emailed her back, but was still stressed about it and felt a burden to do something else. I came to meditation really needing to chill out. This was the perfect way for me to see the value and power of it! One of our instructors here said that we should not be slaves to our minds but we should instead be in control of thoughts and actions and know that we have power and choice. This morning’s email was a perfect opportunity to put this into practice and what a difference I saw and felt after 20 minutes of meditation! I’m thinking I will be continuing some form of meditation once I leave, tomorrow! Ahhh! Which leads me to this video: me graduating!

I am now an official Yoga Alliance 200 Hour Yoga Teacher! Along with graduation, to wrap up the training, our facilitators had us write words to describe what was the biggest thing we learned (I wrote that I am perfect, regardless of what “changes” need to still yet be made. I am God’s wonderful, beautiful, magnificent creation just. Like. I. Am.), we shared as a group what we would want everyone to know as parting last words, so-to-speak, we had a 2 hour “tell the person what you love about them” party, and then we ended the day with an incredible dinner out with dancing, a live band, then DJ, and Christmas trees! It’s the first big Christmas tree I’ve seen this year!

Overall this has been an incredible day: one of many tears, lots of encouragement, positivity, and hope. I am happy to say that not only am I stronger in my yoga asana practice, but I am also stronger in my spirit and mind as well. I’m looking forward to some assimilation over the next few days before I fly back to the U.S.

Until next time, Namaste! Xoxo

Bali Yoga Training: Day 16: perfect

This has been day 2 of sitting out of asana practice. ☹ My arms have been tingly and somewhat numb for a little over a week, progressively getting more so as the days have gone by. I mentioned in an earlier post that I had an acupuncture treatment because my wrists hurt and that it relieved some of that pain, but it has slowly crept back on.

It’s an interesting place to be: at a yoga teacher training where we are doing yoga daily, sometimes twice a day, and not able to participate physically. I was pretty upset about it yesterday, but it was a powerful moment. One of the many things Awakened Life School of Yoga is good at is cultivating a space to let one sit with and work through stuff. Chris, one of the co-founders, let me cry, laugh, cry, and process these feelings of disappointment, frustration, awareness, pity, realization, and then enlightenment. He did such an incredible job of lovingly sitting beside me, but not stopping the process. “Getting a tissue” as we have jokingly yet realistically called it. I saw, yesterday, that it’s not a big deal if I don’t complete every single yoga asana class! I realized that it’s not normal for people to have tingling and numb arms. I realized that I had been pushing through this just for the falsity that I “needed to keep up and be like or be more advanced” than the other students in the class. When I realized that, I laughed and laughed, and then cried some more. I told Christ though, that I wanted to create a new normal. His response: “You will.”

Today I had a 1.5 hour “healing massage.” I’m giving myself some more time to determine how much help this has been, but there has definitely been some shifting. He did some good work with pressure points, muscle, myofacial tissue, tendons; it was intense, yet relaxing! My body is settling into this new alignment. We will see how things are in the morning. I’m hoping, and expectant, for a miracle. One of the yoga instructors told me yesterday that I need to take a break from yoga asana practice until I don’t feel pain, then slowly ease back into it, determining which poses are bothersome. I think it all stemmed from shoulders stands, which I am pretty sure I was actually doing as neck stands; however, as I was sharing with both Chris and the yoga instructor yesterday, I have been through a LOT of trauma, surgeries, near death experiences, chemotherapy, organs removed, chemo, broken bones, falls, etc. And as the yoga instructor so eloquently stated, things are all interconnected. With my abdomen having a lot of scar tissue, it can create a pulling forward of my spine and tension on my neck.

In tonight’s Restorative Yoga class, we ended the class with some chanting and contemplative silence. As I was sitting there, I began asking myself the question “when will I be fixed? When will I be healthy?” What immediately came to me, almost audibly, was: “you are perfect just as you are.” It rocked me. It was so freeing! I am absolutely perfect, right now, right here! There is no “fixing” that needs to happen! I am free to be me.

Enjoy this video. I hope it’s not too shaky. I obviously took it while walking.

Thanks for reading. I hope you are inspired to keep on moving forward, regardless of your past traumas, pains, hurts, and to stop, be vulnerable, be real, honest, and open, and realize that you are perfect: right now, without changing a single thing. You are loved.

Namaste!

Bali Yoga Training Video: Day 11

On one of the first days Liz, one of the co-founders, had us write Day 1 and Day 22 on a card. She then had us close our eyes, put our pen under the words Day 1 and with fluidity and movement up and down and around, we drew a line from Day 1 to Day 22. Most everyone’s were pretty squiggly with highs and lows. She went on to say that this was a representation of what our experience would be with our yoga teacher-training program and to expect this over the next few weeks. She stressed the normality of such an experience and that there was nothing wrong with us experiencing great highs and even difficult lows. There has been a strong emphasis to be ok with what is, to not judge, but to acknowledge what we are really and truly feeling, to not fluff over reality, all so that we can honestly evaluate and see clearly how to move forward, only after we have allowed ourselves to come to terms or recognize the right now. For me, today was a bit of a low day. There wasn’t anything in particular that was bad that happened today. I even took our asana practice off today to assist in class, so I can’t say that I was exhausted from yoga practice, but what I can say is that we are learning a lot, I have been meeting lots of new people, settling in to a new schedule, new food, new culture, new yoga styles and teachers, sitting for long periods of time, experiencing a bit of pain in my neck, shoulders, and wrists, and then applying all that we are learning, not only in front of the class in active assists, teaching, presenting, asking questions, etc., but also in conversations, in interactions with people, in meditation, and in this blog. I have really appreciated the emphasis on being ok with what raises up within ourselves, whatever the feelings are and that there is no “bad” or “good.” I think I have had a pretty good grasp of not judging, categorizing, fixing, or skipping over my feelings of the moment and blowing into “good” behavior, but there is ALWAYS more to learn! There was a moment today where I saw within myself stubbornness, a recognition, and then confusion as to how I could have responded better to the situation. I felt isolated and lonely after this small interaction but within a short amount of time, I saw that it was one of the moments to recognize what is/was, and know that I have the power to choose how I respond again and throughout the rest of the day. Coincidentally, (I think not!), Liz talked about reactiveness and responsiveness in relationships and our own self talk in this afternoon’s class session, confirming my grace for myself and my ability to choose. The day ended well with group work, restorative yoga, group hugs, a send off for our Vinyasa Flow yoga teacher Basil Jones, and a few of us practicing assists and teaching. Tomorrow is a half break day and the majority of the group is traveling to 2 hours to Ubud together. I am really looking forward to getting off site and traveling around a bit, buying little gifts for people, and seeing life in a larger city.

My acupuncture treatment today was great, by the way. My arms have been going numb/tingly when I have been reaching my arms up overhead in asana practice and that’s stopped since my acupuncture treatment. I’m SO glad! I have regular chiropractic and Heller Work (myofacial tissue release) massage work done at home, but here, that isn’t an option. If necessary, I am glad to know that acupuncture can be of help if I need it!

I need to get some sleep but I hope this is inspiring and encouraging! Thanks for reading, until tomorrow, Namaste!

Bali Day 7 Video: the 8 limbs of yoga

Here’s a description of the 8 limbs of yoga and my brief thoughts on the teaching from today. Honestly, now that I’ve sat with them for a little bit, talked them through with the instructor, one of my roommates, God, and mulled it over a bit, they really aren’t that “out there.” These 8 limbs are some of the very things I have done in my Christian life to deepen my relationship with the Lord, but the names are just different. Probably the only things I have seen missing from the organized Christian experience is the physical aspect (asana) of bringing awareness to our body and the breathing practices. Otherwise, these other “limbs” I have done through my church and while attending the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry in particular.

To summarize today’s teaching about them: the 8 limbs of yoga are a way of living, a practical application of one’s belief’s, designed to bring more awareness into your body and your mind.

I hope that you experience a greater joy, a deepening of unity with the Lord, an ecstasy, and consciousness that is heavenly. It’s what we were designed to walk out on this earth from the very beginning and what Jesus advised us to pray in the Lord’s prayer: “your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.”

Namaste!

Instructing people who practice yoga

What an incredible day it is here in Redding! It’s perfectly sunny and 75 degrees, and it’s November 13th. I’m sitting in my backyard with a cup of jasmine green tea (organic, free trade, and non-chlorine bleached paper tea bags, of course, from Numi), overlooking the pool, and the open space park that backs up against it. I know, it sounds all incredibly glamorous, being that I am in California and all, but there are real, non-glamorous things here as well (a black tarp along the fence rustling in the wind, the random pool toys littered about, the knocked over flower pot, the large burn pile of yard debris, leaves all over, the pool lining tearing, etc), but like ALL of life, I choose to look at the positive, and celebrate it. All of course, without ignoring the things that need to be changed, cleaned up, worked on, etc.

I have been teaching yoga now for 3 years! I can hardly believe it really. It was this month 3 years ago that I was asked by my pastor to lead my 25 person ministry team through a daily yoga practice while we were working with a church in Madrid, Spain. Wow. What a life changing trip, on so many levels. I had no idea it would lead me to where I am today, nor that I would fall more and more in love with yoga.

I taught one of my land yoga classes this morning and was talking with one of my students after class about his desire to teach. He used to coach sports and has some old injuries that make some poses and transitions very difficult or impossible. I asked him why he wanted to teach and heard a passion that is inspiring. Because of his background and experience he wants to lead, encourage, and inspire more men (and women) into the health benefits of yoga and knows that he can in a way that is unique and different than other instructors. It was a really great conversation and helps me remember why I started and show me how far I have grown and changed.

One of the struggles I have had as an instructor was the feeling that I needed to address everyone’s concern, everyone’s injury, everyone’s goals, and everyone’s problems. As I have gained experience, I have realized that I cannot, AND, I am ok with that. It is much like me looking at this yard: there is so much work that needs to be done here, but wow, it is still so beautiful, right now! It’s about trusting and believing that I am doing the best I can, keeping people’s best into consideration, of course, but also not taking things personally. It’s really not even about me! I have so enjoyed the practice of yoga for this reason: it has helped me to put into reality (practice), all the nice things that we hear at church, all the inspirational promptings we read in some famous person’s quote, all the incredible feats that we see in someone we admire. Yoga creates the opportunity to practice, in a safe place, so we can then carry this revelation out beyond the studio, or off the paddleboard. What a gift it is.

I pray a lot, as 1 Timothy 5:17 suggests, “Pray without ceasing” and have been striving to live my life as a continuous prayer (after all it is not feasible to be kneeling with hands folded and head bowed 24-7). Yoga has been the biggest vehicle by which I have gained progress in this goal. I pray for people’s lives to be changed and bettered through their interaction with me. I pray for the earth to be as wonderful as heaven (Matthew 6:10, Habakkuk 2:14). I pray for people to be healed. I pray for wisdom personally, locally, nationally, and for us all to take a stand for what is right, regardless of some short term discomfort we may feel. I pray for peace.

May my experience help you to choose the higher path, the better way. I could have easily gotten offended at my yoga student today because he gave me some great constructive criticism, but I chose not to. It’s getting easier each time because I am practicing. Like a physical posture/pose, yoga helps us to mentally grow healthier too. What are you choosing?

Namaste.