Who, what, when, why, where: Yoga, me, Bali

I recently was asked by one of the gyms where I teach to put into words my Bali yoga training experience: why I went, who I studied under, styles I received training in, and info about those styles. I just sent this off in an email and thought it would be something great to put on here as well. Enjoy and let me know if you have any questions!

Why I went:

I recently spent 3 and ½ weeks on the island of Bali where I received 200 hours of yoga teacher training from the Awakened Life School of Yoga based out of New York City. My goal was to deepen my understanding of yoga, the practice, the history, to refine my own personal practice, and to strengthen my ability as a teacher improving my skills, technique, cuing, sequencing, and adjusting. I have been teaching for Shasta Athletic Club since April of 2011 and have sought training from various instructors since to improve my teaching but felt the time had come to offer my students more.

Who I studied under:

The Awakened Life School of Yoga was founded by Liz Carey and Chris Sabido both yoga instructors themselves with successful careers as corporate coaches, mentors, and business owners who have studied meditation, counseling, and spiritual enrichment. They brought in 3 other experienced yoga instructors: Basil Jones, Gabrielle White-Wolf, and Joe Miller. These 3 regularly teach in NYC, own studios, advise and teach celebrities, appear on national television programs, write for print and online yoga and health publications, and travel the world teaching yoga and yoga teachers. The training and influences of these instructors includes a master’s degree in anatomy at Columbia University, a PhD in biomedical science, membership with the International Association of Yoga Therapists, yoga teacher training at the Om Center in NYC, certification in Feldenkrais and Sanskrit, with extensive practice under Leslie Kaminoff, Amy Matthews, Tom Myers, Gil Hedley, Sean Corn, Sharon Gannon, David Life, David Swenson, Dena Kingsberg, Edward Clark, Alanna Kaivalya, Emil Endel, and Daniel Aaron.

Yoga styles I was trained in:

The bulk of my training was with Active Vinyasa Flow which has its roots in Hatha yoga. We also practiced and studied Slow Flow (a slowed version of Active Vinyasa), Restorative Yoga, breathing techniques (pranayama), and various meditation styles.

Info about styles:

Hatha is a Sanskrit word that means willful or forceful. Literally, “ha” means sun and “tha” means moon; symbolizing the balance that is inherent to the practice of Hatha yoga. This is a path towards creating balance and uniting opposites. Using our physical bodies we develop strength and flexibility while we learn to balance our effort with surrender in each pose. Hatha yoga refers to a set of physical exercises (known as asanas, poses, or postures), with the sequences of asanas designed to align your skin, muscles, and bones.

Vinyasa yoga uses the poses of Ashtanga yoga but links them to breath in a flowing, varying sequence. (Ashtanga yoga is a set series of postures that you adhere to each time you practice.) Active Vinyasa is a strong and fun class typically with upbeat music that begins with sun salutation poses, then moves to standing postures, balancing, seated and reclining postures, backbends, and core isolation and strengthening. Special emphasis is always placed on moving safely and correctly into proper alignment, using breath to move, and practicing quieting the mind to find and leave the class with more peace and calm.

Restorative yoga is a gentle healing form of Hatha yoga that is practiced with props to provide support for complete relaxation. Only 5-6 poses are practiced in an entire Restorative yoga class. These gentle poses create physiological responses that are beneficial to your health and can reduce the effects of stress and stress related illness. This is a slow class that is deeply nurturing and suitable for all ages. Breathing and meditation techniques are applied during the gentle, restorative poses that use bolsters, blankets, belts, blocks, and other props. A deep relaxation is gained helping bring the body into even more balance.

Image

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 Yoga Video: Day 9

I’m feeling the effects of 2.5 hours of daily yoga asana! I’m looking forward to taking tomorrow off and observing the amazing Basil Jones from the other side of the yoga mat: the sidelines. It will be good for me to observe and really take in how he works. Ok, stop this serious business! My roommates and I are cracking up right now over French fries and chocolate cake (well they are anyway, I’m here with the computer having eaten a Greens+ Chocolate Energy Bar), laughing hysterically about all sorts of nonsense. We had a restorative yoga class tonight and I just kept laughing! It was hard to be “serious.” ☺

Well, the tiredness is returning. I need to go to bed. I hope you enjoy the video. I will try to get one in the day light soon!

Enjoy! Namaste.