Day 17 -Moksha Yoga Teacher Training

Random meditation artifact hanging out in teacher training space.

Oh la la. Je suis fatigue. So happy it’s Saturday, my one day weekend, woop woop! I’m almost too tired to write this blog, but if I can wake at 5 am, 6 days a week I can do this. Right.

Today was our last day with Pierre. As a part of this training, he really was another amazing teacher! They have not only been knowledgeable, but most approachable, kind, compassionate and fuuun.

Here are 2 videos Pierre shared with us.

This one is about the hard love that is found between dads and their son(s). The type of love that isn’t so easily expressed but is as desired, needed and nourishing. It is a greek vid. very well made. Very.

This next video give us an example of something the human body is capable of doing when it uses co-contraction. Simply put co-contraction can be definied as the simultaneous contraction of agonist and antagonist muscles around a joint to hold a position. This can make for very strong lean muscles. Big muscles don’t necessarly mean strong muscles.

As you will see in this video this pair do not have big muscles but the muscles they do have are most powerful in strength. This is a type of strength that can be developed in yoga when you co-contract (hug the bones with our muscles is another way of describing it) while in poses. For example while your arms are raised in a lunge pose, although the focus may be in the legs, you can still activate (co-contract) the muscles in your arms. Co-contracting can also help contain your body and its alignment in place. Nuff said, as I remind myself, this is a blog not a class.

Enjoy watching the spectacular demonstration!

There are many things I could be doing right now, keep writing this blog, prepare for my class presentation, reply to emails, study the teaching script, laundry, but I’m going to chose none of these. I’m going to shut down my computer and turn on the TV and actually watch it. I’ve turned it on once before but felt I could better spend my time so I started reading yoga instead with the still TV on. I deserve to do nothing but stare at a screen, to veg., to relax and I plan to enjoy it guilt free.

Txs for following my journey! Thanks for your interest!  I hope you are all enjoying a fun weekend with lot’s of soleil.

Day 16 -Moksha Yoga Teacher Training

Thought of the Day: Day 14 + 2 days off = 16

Another training day, another great day. Lucky me. Really.

So funny moment happened today, ok maybe not funny but definitely insightfully interesting. Actually a few of these moments occurred.

Insightful moment 1: Kidnapped

You know the people who are funny by nature just by being themselves. They aren’t funny because they are telling a joke or a funny story, it is their mannerisms, the way they communicate that just is really entertaining. These people make me smile, lots! (for those reading this from work, people like Miss Marley).

There’s this sweet womyn in my course named Beth, she is the kind of womyn I just described. I forget how we got on the topic but passing in conversation she was commenting on how much of a tranquil, relaxed, calm individual I was. She assumed I had always been like this. I had never heard anyone describe me as such in my life. Me relaxed? Me not high strung or doing whatever I do fast? (note to CT workers: except cash of course :p )

I wasn’t kidding about the slow walking thing. Since I’ve been here my parasympathetic nervous system has kicked in and has kidnapped the way I’ve been living for so long. Will this remain? Will I come back a more calm, soft spoken, slow person? I doubt it, but perhaps I’ll find a new normal. Something in the middle perhaps. I must admit it’s a little annoying grocery shopping and it taking twice as long.

A sample of my lunch. A salad with: Watercress greens, sunflower sprouts, tomatoes, apples, cucumber, ginger and of course cheese. Delish.

Insightful moment number 2: Released.

What muscle helps us breath yet can accumulate a lot of tension and we would never know it? Here’s another hint: It is shaped like a parachute and is located beneath the lungs, under our floating ribs. It is …The Diaphragm.

Pierre our advanced anatomy teacher taught us a really neat technique he started (literally) years ago where we can release tension accumulated in our diaphragm. The sensations felt by people was everything from feeling light headed, to wanting to yell or start crying. It ends up helping many be able to take in more air after. It’s really quite neat. I’m not even sure I would have ever paid much attention to my diaphragm.

One of the 50 diaphragms Pierre released today. He was sweating he was working so hard. We were watching in amazement.

What can help release this tension without pulling on your connective tissue attached to your diaphragm: Free Hugs! That’s if you’re into hugs. This video is based on a true story viewed by over 60 000 000 people.

Day 15 -Moksha Yoga Teacher Training

So here I are, half way through this program. Of course time flies so incredibly fast when we are out of our element in a fun and nourishing environment. Almost like summer camp with a lot of learning involved.

I have to admit I was REALLY tired today, I napped every chance I got and I think I’m beginning to be so good at blocking out the noise that when the bells made noise today when class re-started, I didn’t hear them right away after lunch was over. Pretty cool ability though. I can go into a deep relaxation sleep with 40 – 60 people talking around me. Crazio.

I’ll keep this short tonight in honour of investing in more sleep (this turns out to be a false statement). For the past 2 days, Pierre Desjardins has been teaching us advanced functional anatomy. They have been long lectures but packed with interesting stuff. We’ve been learning about our composition at the molecule level. About the protons and neutrons and how we really are an energetic body at our core. Kinda like what was explored in What The Bleep do we Know. Here’s the trailer for this movie, well worth watching the whole thing. It will inspire your mind with countless ideas of the universe and being a part of it:

We also discussed how everything we are made of is a form of connective tissue and how it is capable of not only adapting but communicating together faster than our nervous system. How our intention and thoughts affect our bodies and how yoga can help change our energy (explaining why yoga helps me flow the sticky energy in through me).

The other thing we talked about in great length is water. How many of us are chronically de-hydrated without realizing it and how this can lead to many chronic illnesses. There is a resourceful book called: Your Body’s many cries for Water that talks about this way more in depth. Tips: Drink water until your pee is clear, drinking fluids is different than drinking water, you want water (with maybe a little lemon juice if you just don’t like the taste of treated water). And if you do nothing in a day but stare at a screen you should be drinking 8 cups. So if you’re active you should drink more. And for every coffee you have, drink an extra cup. Oh and apparently it is the best defence against wrinkles, true dat. As wrinkles are primarily formed by our skin/body drying up.

On the topic of water, this choir is imitating the sound of rain. So neat!

Tip of the day: For those who practice hot yoga or sweat a lot from other forms of exercise, adding a dash of sea-salt to your water will replenish all the minerals you lost.

Day 14 -Moksha Teacher Training

I had a chance to catch up with my parents tonight. Yey! They let me know they were following my blog, so cool! Thanks for reading maman et papa! If they came from the blogging generation I often wonder what they would have written about as they raised 4 kids, as they worked hard at their jobs, as they somehow juggled it all together. So while we were catching up, my mom asked how I was doing with this whole no caffeine, wine or nicotine thing.

“In this type of environment it’s actually kinda easy” I replied.  Easier than I would have anticipated. Not that I wouldn’t enjoy a glass of wine right about now, but overall the sense of being detached from tools that enhance my performance in the rat race is pretty cool. Not being on the road so much, but rather having my activities and amenities closer to one another also helps. Being surrounded in a new environment with no association to these performance enhancers (to have energy on command, to fall asleep, to deal with stress) must have something to do with it too. And really the whole napping thing helps immensely, I can’t stress this enough. If, and when, I own a business there will be a resting area for employees. It will most likely not be in a separate room but rather an area part of the staff room with pillows and blankets and yoga mats to lie on.

Yesterday and today we’ve been learning a lot about hands on adjustments. Whoa! Much tricker than I thought. Usually when I’ve been adjusted in postures it seemed so intuitive for teachers (and adjusters), they seems to pull it off so gracefully. However there is much to think about:

– Are my hands approaching them creepy style?

– Is this their sacrum I am feeling? Or correct hip bone I’m pressing on?

– Am I adjusting with enough pressure? With too much pressure?

These are about 20% of the things we need to be thinking about. Mix that in with paying attention to a whole class you are instructing and suddenly you are thinking about 5 things at once. Of course it gets easier with time but at first it’s just a little hard and proven to be a little entertaining at times. On this note I have a story to share.

Our excercise was to practice teaching a group of 6 while one person was focusing on practicing adjustments on the students. So there we are in warrior 2 pose. This is a pose where our hips can be something important to look at if we are to adjust them. So let’s call the womyn adjusting: Sally. And the womyn doing the warrior pose: Becky.

Sally kneels down and starts looking closely at Becky’s hips and our teacher comes around the corner and asks her what she is looking at, she replies “her hips”. Then the teacher asks where her head and eye level were? Sally looks straight forward and suddenly realizes she was directly leveled in front of Becky’s crotch with her head only a few inches away. She bursted out laughing. I stood behind the whole time and also didn’t realize it until the teacher pointed it out. We apparently don’t automatically think about these things yet, but hopefully we will very quickly as it could make for a purdy uncomfortable situation.

Kneeling is Deena, one of our extremely knowledgeable teacher's, teaching us the how to's and ethics behind adjustments. She is recreating the above adjustment story with one of the students in Warrior 2 pose 🙂

That’s all she wrote.

I leave you with a quote:

Even after all this time, the sun never says to the earth, “you own me”.   Look what happens with a heart like that.           It lights up the sky.

(I don’t know the origin of this quote, sorry, one of our teacher ended class with it yesterday, loved it)

Day 13 -Moksha Teacher Training

I didn’t sleep so well last night but somewhere in there I had about 4 hours of sleep. Tonight will be better. Although not being a morning person and feeling tired during our 7 am classes, I’ve been surprised with my ability to get through yoga and feel good about it. And this morning reminded me of why.

I would like to introduce Dina. She was our remarkable anatomy teacher with a style I greatly appreciate: hands on. Wish I could have worked longer on the picture, but night calls. Dina is soon to be a certified osteopath and is also co-owner of a Moksha studio in montreal. Today was our last class with her..

Hot yoga, without fail for my body type, has not only felt as though it cleanses my physical body with all the sweaty beads of sweat that pouring out of my body including in places you would never imagine could sweat (like your shins) but somehow this physical experience also cleanses my mind, my feelings and channels my energy. It makes it all flow and flow out it goes.

This is probably why I have been so drawn to this practice over the years. It can help unstick me sort of speak. It’s not like it has been a miracle cure in curing me from feeling negative emotions but it definitely moves them in the right direction. And as far as my physical bobos go, it helps me manage my physical challenges. It’s also has drastically changed my circulation. It’s almost like attending a class is like having a treatment or body work done.

Being here has been fabulously rewarding for a plethora (love this word!) of reasons and one of these has been learning more in detail how to improve my practice. For example I used to go a lot more for depth in postures which in some cases can actually end up putting more strain on the body.

What I’m learning is that focusing on containment, by rooting, grounding, engaging muscles to be wrapped around our bones, and working with our breath to stretch SLOWLY into the posture is key. It’s definitely a different way of practicing which I believe is less hard on the body yet as rewarding if not more rewarding. You just might not look as “hot” doing the postures. Although that’s debatable.

Day 12 -Moksha Yoga Teacher Training

“because it’s all about me”

I’m feeling really upset right now with something that has nothing to do with my teacher training experience and everything to do with an aspect of my life that is close to my heart: my heart.

I could try and switch gears but that would feel as though I would be forcing something by masking something else.

So here is my angry blog of the month:

I’m tired of being tired. Tired of fighting the big and small fights, tired of standing up against a wall, tired of trying to change things to make them better, tired of trying to make sense of it all. I’m angry at being angry. Angry at all the things that just didn’t work out the way I wish they did, at all the lessons I had to learn through pain, angry at observing anger for what it is, I’m angry at stress. I’m sad about being sad. Sad about all the sadness that has ran through my veins, about holding on to it for too long, about all the sadness I have created in others, sad about them holding on to it for so long. I’m tired of being tired. Angry about being angry. Sad about being sad. Enough said.

How does this relate to Moksha Teacher Training? They say it can push your boundaries to have breakdowns. Alright. Done. Thing is, I’ve gone through many of these “breakdowns” in my life. Consider this to be one more. And I’m realizing I’m tired of it more than ever. I appreciate all the lessons, but really, can I simply live the lessons I’ve learnt or do I have to keep learning more?

Where is Jane when you need her? Every morning I wait for her but she never comes. And so I take the train.

Day 11 -Moksha Yoga Teacher Training

Day-o-rest

Today was a tired day, quite fitting for a day off. I felt so heavy, so lethargic, so slow. Speaking of slow, I must mention an odd observation I’ve made of myself: I’ve become one of the slowest walkers around, not just today but everyday since I’ve started the training. I shrug my shoulders to this.

No matter whether I was at work, getting groceries, heading to a restaurant, I used to be on fast walking auto pilot. I walked as though someone was chasing me. And I’ve walked like this for as long as I can remember and probably for as long as most of my friends and family can remember.

I noticed this slow walking thing about a week ago, I thought it was because I was tired. Then I noticed it again when I wasn’t tired. As I was walking, 95% of the people were trying to get ahead of me on the sidewalk. I actually don’t even have an explanation for it other than perhaps walking this new path is affecting my lifestyle as much as my walking style? Or that caffeine had my legs on speed?

Perhaps I’m much more of a mellow person than I thought I was, or maybe I’m still adjusting to all these changes.

News of the day: My favorite sister in the whole world has qualified to go to the Commonwealth games in New Delhi, India, for weight lifting. She is such an inspiration and role model. I love her with all my heart and no words can describe how proud I am of the courage she has had to continuously tap into in the past decade.  She’s a fan of Moksha and I’m a fan of her. Here’s a clip of her this year, lifting weights as my great friend Melodie and I were working on entering a video contest for a chip company.

This was filmed at one of her training spots at the Sapiniere, a wonderous and magical piece of land located near Spruce Grove in AB. Can you hear the birds cheering her on in the background?

I want to be like her when I grow up.

Day 10 -Moksha Yoga Teacher Training

Today was Mosha’s 5 + 1 year anniversary. We were invited to a party at the Moksha Funny farm were the first Moksha studio was started. The celebration was hosted by kind loving people who fed us a YUMMY India meal and sang and played music for us in their barn after diner.

Here are some of the moments captured (simply click on them to view them bigger):

First Moksha Studio located at the Moksha Funny Farm just outside Toronto. Was heated with a wood stove .... hmmmm... ideas, ideas.

A side view of the barn at the Moksha Funny Farm.

Mokshi's

Moksha's Funny Farm barn.

Moksha Funny farm bike/deco which I'm sure has quite a story behind it.

Travelling a new path...

Barn hArt

Day 9 -Moksha Yoga Teacher Training

Tonight I have officially called it my blog night off for the week. I have managed to contain my sore throat (not getting worse, but not better either) and promised myself to do absolutely nothing that required too much effort this evening and get to bed!

I love writing, so it’s really not that much effort, and because I love it I review what I write many times over trying to get it right. As some of you know I’m ESL (English as a second language) and went to french schools most of my life. In grade 9, I was learning: The apple is red. Not Shakespeare. So I write how I speak but usually if I re-read a billion times, I keep finding a new “writing” structure for one of my sentences almost every time I re-read. But there won’t be any of that this evening -ok there probably will be but not a dozen times over.

So I have one story to share. We are really starting to get into practicing how to teach. We get paired with someone, or a few people, and lead part of the series. I’m glad they have us start to practice teaching now because I will require lot’s of it before being able to lead an hour and a half class as a teacher rather than an entertainer.

During practice, I actually started leading the series by asking the students to interlock their fingers under their chin. For those familiar with Moksha, they know the series does not start that way, for those familiar with Bikram, you know the series does start that way. Really, I’m in Moksha not Bikram? I also asked the womyn I was paired with to lie down in vipassana (a silent meditiation retreat) rather than savasana (relaxing lying posture on your back).

Here are some “tips (of the day)” from our teaching instructor:

– Don’t drip your sweat on students.

– Don’t circle a student.

– When adjusting don’t touch someone’s tata’s

– Don’t touch yourself when trying to show them what to do.

– Don’t stand behind them to adjust them while they are in forward bend -she literally demonstrated this =)

I promise to only re-read twice before posting. Good night. Txs for stopping by.

Day 8 -Moksha Yoga Teacher Training

There’s a heat wave going on in TO right now, I think we are on the 5th day or so and the body that wraps my soul decided to develop a sore throat. In the middle of a heat wave? The same body however also decided to give me a break from the shoulder pain. Thank you. No T3’s today however I could still feel the affect of them in my body from popping them yesterday. It’s interesting how much more you feel it when you only have one drug in your body as opposed to coffee or wine masking it***.

So back to this sore throat. I decided I needed more than goldenseal and Vitamin C to fight it, I needed: soup and ginger. And so I walked Bloor street west trying to find soup in a few health food store, n-o-t-h-i-n-g. Go figure. So I made the decision to go to Fresh about 20 mins. away from the BandB to get healthy soup and salad and a ginger elixir.

I took the subway with my hands full of stuff from the day (lunch, garbage, water bottles, notes, books, etc.) and finally made it to Fresh only to find a huge line-up. I think to myself “ok, I can do this, I’ve come this far, all is good.” I order take out and wait 20 mins.. Not bad. Now my hands are even more full heading back. I head to the subway and miss it by 10 secs.. “Ok, no worries I’ll sit on the bench and rest from all this stuff I’m carrying around.” I get my ipod out and turn the creases of my lips up as I think home and eating nourishing food is soon to be…. until I open up the salad countainer only to find no dressing. No dressing!

For those who know me, you know I love sauce, sauce makes the salad. Who eats dry salad anyways. With no dressing, it becomes a completely different meal. Urrr… Ok, I can go back, I’ve done all of this why ruin it? As I watch the subway arrive, I go back on my steps. Back to fresh I go.

I decide to take a different way out thinking I’m taking a way that comes out on the other side of the street to avoid the traffic light I’ve been crossing once I get outside to get to Fresh -trying to save time. I walk, walk and walk some more. “Why am I walking so much to cross a street underground?” I finally get out and realize I’m a block and a half away from Fresh now. Sigh. Really! Really.

“Urrr, I’m really going to eat late now, I’m sick I need my rest, f**c now I’m going to be more tired tomorrow, will I be sicker, will my shoulder wake up flared up again from all this stuff I’m carrying? and what about my blog will I take a pass on it so I can go sleep? Damn you Fresh!”

Then I decide to be mindful about being in the present. Something we’ve recently learnt in class. So I go there, to this mindful place. Turns out it became a much more peaceful place. Suddenly walking with a whole bunch of stuff being drenched in sweat really wasn’t so bad. I can handle walking, I can handle carrying a whole bunch of stuff and I can handle sweat. I can handle being in the moment. And so I did. And so I became less angry. And so I went to Fresh and they apologized and gave me a free smoothie coupon for their mistake. And so I had a story for my blog. And yes it’s still late but I also think this elixir is workig on my throat.

I don’t want to make this too long cause that’s just boring but I really must mention an amazing teacher we’ve had for the past 7 days who has been teaching us about meditation and mindfulness. His name is Frank Jude Boccio, He introduced our group to so very much, pushed our conventional ways of thinking and nurtured a class environment that was thoroughly inspiring! It was our last day with him today. Many students expressed such gratitude for his teachings.

These are all the wonderful people I am learning with and enjoying getting to know! Kind people with gentle smiles. A shot of us with Frank on our last day attending his lectures.

Many had our picture taken with Frank and/or asked him to sign his book Mindfulness Yoga. Excellent yoga book for anyone who aspires to be a yoga practitioner or simply loves it.

***side note of the day: I usually will not take painkillers before practicing yoga because this is how one can further cause injury because there is no pain alert to tell you what the boundaries are.