The journey: yoga retreating

Life: so much easier when we figure out that it doesn’t have to all be be figured out and we embrace the journey as the destination. This past weekend was this practice for me, in depth.

My meditation this Monday morning was on the truth: “I can stand on my own two feet.” This weekend, I attended a yoga retreat and it was challenging. Challenging for me in many ways, none of which was (really) tied to the yoga asana. A friend and I were going to go together, but she had to cancel at the last minute because her boyfriend’s mom died, which is horrible and yucky anyway, but this also left me driving the 5.5 hours to Yosemite National Park alone, to a retreat with complete strangers. Usually, this is fine, I do things by myself all the time, but it hit me this weekend, and it hit me hard. Given the circumstances, I felt sad, upset, and irritated. Then my left leg, which has been hurting pretty substantially off and on for the past 3 years, gave me excruciating pain and limited my movement to a slow crawl, unless I took pain meds. The pain was so severe, I was physically exhausted and had to skip most of the yoga classes because I was in tears, drained to the point of unable to speak coherently, even with the pain medicine. 

My personal meditation today is a continuation of the truth’s I learned at this weekend’s yoga retreat and shows me again that we may think we have xyz skill or quality or belief all figured out, but that’s a lie. We are always on a journey of growth, healing, and enlightenment. If we don’t believe we are, we are severely deceived and self righteous. 
More often than not, it’s only when we get into uncomfortable (slightly or severely) positions, that we grow. Otherwise, we humans are smart, and there’s no reason to change!

Have you been on a yoga retreat? I’ll be going on another April 29 – May 1, 2016, but this time, I’m leading it. It’s a Hot Springs, Yin/Yang Yoga Retreat in Cedarville, CA

Just imagine: relaxing, recharging, and doing yoga at a luxurious resort, surrounded by high mountains, breathing in the crisp, fresh air, and soaking in your own private hot springs hot tub. 

Registration and full details are under the Special Events tab.

Growth is sometimes hard, but really, it’s not about me, anyway. My pain, is your gain, and this is true for all of us. The more that we grow and get outside our familiar surroundings, the more that we will change not only our own internal environment, but we will change the environment around us, and in this world.

Growth happens when we step outside the familiar and plus, it’s a whole lot of fun to getaway and meet new and like-minded people. I’d love to see you at the Hot Springs Yin/Yang Yoga Retreat in April. Let me know if you have any questions and namaste my friend, I bow to you. We are all in this together.

P.S. my leg doesn’t hurt much at all today. #worthit

xoxo

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 Video: Day 8

I’m sitting pool side right now. I know. It’s pretty nice. ☺ We had a shorter day today so that we could have some rest. We still had our morning meditation, 2.5 hours of Vinyasa Flow asana practice, breakfast, and then we had group presentations! Wow. They were so fun! Each group had 3 or 4 people and a different yama or niyama. My group had saucha: a niyama. If you are curious as to what saucha means, watch this video! Hopefully you can hear. We ended our skit with a catchy fun song about the 8 limbs of yoga, another aspect we had to incorporate into our project. I love theater and this was a really special treat to get to watch all 30 of my classmates be creative, funny, deep, lighthearted, and wacky. We ended this time with a group dance session and then circled together, hugging as one group and where as one moment ago we were laughing and giggling, many started to tear and even cry a moment later. The honesty, the openness, the unity, and the love felt was mystical. The day’s organized events ended with another meditative session with deep relaxation and lunch. I washed laundry in the bathtub, hung out with people by the pool, and swam some laps. I have a massage in a bit (included as part of the Yoga Teacher Training program!) to round out this day quite nicely.

Maybe in another post I’ll explain the yamas and niyamas. If you catch my video and/or post from yesterday, you’ll get the general gist though.

Happy day to you and until next time, Namaste!