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.

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Bali Yoga Trip: Day 23: Candidasa to Ubud

From the ocean to the city, I’m now in Ubud now that my yoga teacher training is over. Ubud is a yoga mecca of sorts. There are lots of yoga clothing, statue, and accessory shops here (along side the surf and general tourist stores). There are several yoga studios and many, many, energy healing centers here. It’s a large city, much different than Candidasa, but yet, there are still the farms (rice, I think mostly) within the city and we ate the Café Angsa tonight that overlooks a rice farm. It was beautiful. I am typing this in my new room at the Indra Homestay, sharing a room with one of my roommates from the yoga training, Joey. Our friend Nicole is also here, staying in her own room. We were at a resort in Candidasa, Puri Bagus, with room service, pool, bar, restaurant, beach, cabanas, spa, etc. This place is much, much different. We are paying 10,000 rupia per night (which is a little less than $10) which should give you an indication of the difference, but, I LOVE it! I will definitely make a video of this place to show you. It is SO Bali! I’ll save the details for then.

My plan tomorrow is to go to the Radiantly Alive Yoga Studio in town and take 3 classes: either the Radiantly Alive Vinyasa class or the Hatha class, the Roll and Release class (using tennis balls and other props to release myofacial tissue in the body), and the Flying High Yoga class (described as “using the aid of gravity and the Hanging Yoga Belt, learn how to lengthen the spine and increase your flexibility. The hanging Yoga Belt is a fantastic tool to perform restorative inverted poses, and to intensify ground Yoga poses as well. It relieves tension in the muscles, elongates and decompress the spine, and increase flexibility.”) It may sound odd to have just completed a 200 hour yoga training and then go to a studio to take more yoga, but I love it! This studio has a special day pass where you pay 15,000 rupia (a little less than $15) and you can take as many yoga classes as you’d like for the day. After the amount of yoga I’ve been doing each day, 3 classes will be easy in comparison! I’m thinking it’s a good deal and I want to increase my experience with different styles, teachers, and make the best of my time here in the yoga mecca. ☺

From underneath the most powerful ceiling fan I have ever experienced, I say goodnight and Namaste!

Bali Yoga Training: Day 19: half day off!

Again I’m sitting on my bed listening and chiming in with my goofy roommates and laughing hysterically. It was a much needed half day off today and I had a goal of creating a creative video for you today, but instead I happily took some down time by the pool, in the restaurant, and via a massage before I practiced with my group for our 2.5 hour Vinyasa Flow yoga class tomorrow morning. Now, as my roommates are settling into their beds for our 5:30 am wake up and 6:30 am class, I’m typing via the bright glow of my computer amidst the darkness.

It’s coming to an end, my yoga teacher training program. It has been an incredible time. It feels like it’s been so long, yet we just arrived. I have made some really great friends and as we get to spend some down time, find each other on Instagram and Facebook, and share our hearts as we lead the yoga classes, I’m learning a whole new side to these people who I’ve meditated with, explored around the island with, and sweated and groaned next to on the mat.

This video is from one of the past few days’ explorations. It’s from the traditional Balinese dance performance a few of the girls and I went to here in Candidasa. This time, it’s me on the stage! Enjoy my first time ever attempting this art and I’ll see you tomorrow.

Namaste!

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 Video: Day 15: Balinese Dancing, Culture

The Internet here at the resort has not been working for a few days now so I haven’t been able to upload, check emails, check Facebook, or return texts with any consistency (for my iPhone friends), etc. Hopefully it will get settled soon, very soon.

Today was a really good day. This video is AWESOME and from just one of the day’s amazing adventures. There’s so much that happens in a day, it’s hard to sum it all up.

For now, I’ll just talk about this video. We had a half day today: meditation, yoga asana, an essential oil lesson, and yoga nidra. My Yoga Teacher Training program includes 2 days of tours and I took my second one today. We went to a Royal Bath/Swimming Pool, a Royal house, and the small native village of Tenganan, know for geringsing double ikat textiles. After the cultural tours, a few of us then adventured into Candidasa for a traditional Balinese dance and dinner. IT WAS SO GOOD! I loved the music. I loved the dancing. I loved the costumes. I loved the instruments. I loved the makeup. I loved the expressions. I loved that they pulled us up on stage and has us dance with them. YUP! My phone ran out of memory so I don’t have a full video of myself on stage. One of my friends recorded it, so I’ll have to get it from her. I hope that you enjoy this and get a good taste of this culture. We were the only ones there tonight! It’s definitely the slow season right now in Bali. It was nice to have the whole place to ourselves, honestly. I am quite a big fan of local life and not many crowds. God is good.

There is so much more to say, but I still haven’t read emails from my Mom and sister and I need to go to bed so I can be rested for more yoga stuffs tomorrow.

Thanks for reading. Have a good one. Enjoy. Live fully. Namaste!

Bali Video: Day 14: Monkeys!

This video is actually from yesterday. I took two. Of course my adventures from today could have resulted in their own video, and one I would like to share is the movie I just finished watching: “What the Bleep Do We Know?” Wow. What a great film! Yes, there were parts that were a tad boring and some of it I’d like to sit with a little bit longer to see how it resonates, but overall, this film is powerful! It explains quantum physics and the impact it has on us, our planet, our minds, each other. Wikipedia says this about it: “What the Bleep Do We Know!? is a 2004 film that combines documentary-style interviews, computer-animated graphics, and a narrative that posits a spiritual connection between quantum physics and consciousness.”

Youtube has the full film here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ioONhpIJ-NY

Enjoy these two videos! The monkeys were such a treat to find yesterday! It was a nice reward after the 45+ minutes hike up to the top of this hillside. I didn’t go into the Monkey Forest in Ubud because of the stories I had heard from others in the group about the violence they acted out on people and each other, but I really did want to see monkeys here in Bali! It’s very much what this movie discusses: when we set intention, when we believe and expect, that intention happens. God is that good. I think you’ll enjoy the movie. It demonstrates how the mind rewires/renews and how science proves (quantum physics) that what we think about, what we meditate on, what we expect, manifests. We are powerful. YOU are powerful. I am powerful. One of my intentions is to change the world and help people see how important they are. When I know, when you know, how important I/you are, this world will change. We create worlds. What are your thoughts about? What are you meditating on? I am powerful. I am changing the world. I am beautiful. I am a leader. I am wise. I am an incredible steward of money. I create wealth. I am a blessing. I am healthy. I am strong, courageous. I have clear objectives for my future but I live fully in the present. I fully enjoy the present moment. I am thankful. I am full of joy. My life is great. I live the life I want right now. I remember people’s names. What are you?

Thanks for reading. Until next time: Namaste!

Bali Yoga Video: Day 13: half way point!

One of the girls and I hired a guide today to take us up a nearby mountain. Here’s a video from our excursion. I’ll have to share the video of the monkeys at the top tomorrow, so stay tuned!