Day 27 -Moksha Yoga Teacher Training

What day is it? It’s International Take a Break from Writing a Blog when you’re on Day 27 of Moksha yoga teacher training day! Yey!

Please stand by as I celebrate. You may want to, too. Or, you could simply enjoy the moment that follows this one.

Day 26 -Moksha Yoga Teacher Training

In the Moskha Yoga community they refer to their community as a Sangha.

Wiki of Sangha: Sangha (Pali: सन्घ saṅgha; Sanskrit: संघ saṃgha; Wylie: ‘dus sde) is a word in Pali or Sanskrit that can be translated roughly as “association” or “assembly,” “company” or “community” with common goal, vision or purpose.

It seems many students in this Teacher Training Sangha are getting pretty tired including myself. Everyday is filled with so many new experiences and valuable information past on (to resume in a nutshell). No dull moments, no day is the same, so much learning to process, to reflect upon, to inspire and so many emotions brought to the forefront.

Today we were introduced to a Kirtan (sorry just too tired to resume it in my own words).

Wiki of Kirtan: Kirtan (Sanskrit: “to repeat”;[1] also Sankirtan[2]) is call-and-response chanting performed in India’s devotional traditions.[3] A person performing kirtan is known as a kirtankar. Kirtan practice involves chanting hymns or mantras to the accompaniment of instruments such as the harmonium, the two-headed mrdanga or pakawaj drum, and karatal hand cymbals. It is a major practice in Vaisnava devotionalism, Sikhism, the Sant traditions, and some forms of Buddhism, as well as other religious groups (see religion)

A picture from the back of the room during the 'moving' Kirtan today.

It was amazing! LOVE the kind of music a Kirtan creates together, how everyone is invited to be a part of this music, the sensation of energy flowing. It seemed to be a grand experience for many, many people.

K, me go sleepy now. I’ve had 2 – 4 hrs of sleep these past 2 nights and I’ve cut back my alpha naps during the day because I’m trying to maximize my socializing time with these beautiful people before we all keep moving forward in our life. It feels a tad surreal that it’s coming to an end.

Day 25 -Moksha Yoga Teacher Training

I’ve indulged in video montage passion tonight and lost track of time, so super fast blog here I go.

I was filled with emotions today. I felt strong anger surface most of the day. Was weird, and awkward to have my parasympathetic nervous system take the curb so quickly having my sympathetic (fight or flight) take over in such a peaceful zen place.

As I’ve previously shared, I feel more connected with what is going on in my body since I removed the caffeine, wine and nicotine out of my system. Someone in class used an interesting analogy when she was talking about raw food, referring to it as cleaning your antenna, good one! So this clear reception was loud and incoming.

The message: pushed learning via anxiety is a bad idea pour moi. Not into it, at all. It makes me angry, bitter and not so sweet. I couldn’t let go of it, I tried. I expressed my emotions with a few people around me to try and channel it out, I thought how much this day would not matter in a month or year from now, I tried to go to my happy place (in this case it was gymnastics), I practiced yoga and deep breathing, nothing worked.

This presentation I had to give became my nemesis.  It even affected my practice teaching whereas the experienced teacher giving feedback after class said: I sensed you were really tense while you were teaching, perhaps nerve? she ask. I replied: “no, anger”. People laughed.

TO snapped

Apparently the presentation went ok. I wouldn’t really know, my anxiety made the whole experience a blur.

Give me an angry customer, I’ll deal with the situation no questions asked, give me a line of riot cops, I’ll approach them peacefully with no hesitation, give me students to teach for the first time and I’ll give it a try even with a slight smile in my voice, give me a crowd of peaceful yogis and a 10 minute presentation to give and I want nothing to do with it.

I’m not a public speaker by choice and this has become clear to me. And if I were to become one, it would start with baby steps and a whole crowd of 2. And this letting go thing I need to master? Obviously no baby steps made there yet.

Day 24 -Moksha Yoga Teacher Training

So I’m about to whine, not about how tired I am (cause I’m not), or how sore I am (not again) by rather whine about this presentation I have to give tomorrow.

I do not miss school. I’m quite happy to be done with it. I love learning! L-o-v-e  i-t. But presentations and exams are not my forte. Don’t like them at all. And I don’t miss the days when being a student felt like there were no days off, because there was ALWAYS something to be studying for or, I was left feeling guilty about not studying.

It would have been fun to go to the Lilith Fair today or meet up with some yogis at my favourite restaurant in TO: Fresh. I guess I could have done the restaurant thing but I just wanted to keep my focus in line with this presentation. Although I now find myself procrastinating and finding any excuse I can not to focus, like writing this blog for the sole purpose of whining about my presentation. Whain, Whain, Whain. How annoying. Honouring this no negative self talk for 30 days I must also add: I love myself, and really is annoying negative? Annoying is just annoying.

This picture was taken last spring as my friends Melodie and Eddie and I went for a walk in the Edmonton River Valley.

Fun things I did today: kept working on that picture/video montage. I should have asked to submit that as an idea for my presentation. That would have been FUN. And because this video thing is all self taught, it totally would have fallen in-line with learning. Sigh + Urr.

One of the presentations a student gave the other day was on an art project. She is very smart and creative this womyn. She took a yoga mat and permanent markers and invited everyone to the front to write something on the mat for 10 mins.. Everyone loved it. It was a fabulous idea. And her presentation was done.  So simple. Much simpler than mine.

Here’s a trailer for a documentary we watched in class yesterday called Yoga Inc.. It’s basically a perspective of the commercialization of yoga. There are divided opinions behind this in parts of the yoga community. I could probably write a whole blog on this and perhaps I will, just not now, however the gist of mine is that yoga doesn’t hurt people whether it is practiced in a park or a business. If it is the capitalist business model we don’t like, then focus on changing that system and just let yoga be.

Well back at it I go. Sigh + double Urr. Love.

Day 23 -Moksha Yoga Teacher Training

I must admit I’m feeling pretty lazy tonight. It’s our day off tomorrow so I started the evening with some research and created an outline for a 10 mins. presentation I am giving in class on Sunday. The topic: On The Front Lines Of A Hot Yoga Studio’ – how to deal with challenging personalities, student complaints, innapropriate behaviour and tears of joy from a compassionate place. Still needs lot’s of work.

Then I got distracted with working on a slide show/video montage that I started. It’s called: 30 days, 60 students. Now it’s late and I feel I should go to bed. Sorry about the short blog, although I’m thinking most of you are having a fun time on this friday summer night.

Taking a pic. of me as I take a break from taking pics. for the video/slide show montage (Really! There are 3 take's in this sentence?)

If you have some time on your hands and would like to research and practice yoga off the mat and in your spiritual life, I encourage you to learn about the Yama and the Niyama’s. They are great ethical guides.

Bonne Nuit!

Day 22 -Moksha Yoga Teacher Training

It gets hard to chose what, out of my day, I should share in this blog. So much happens. So many interesting moments, learning moments, sad moments, happy moments, connecting moments, tired moments (I could go on here -see my point). My days are filled with such a variety.

The selection begins.

Many memories were created today by learning more on numerous topics as some students shared their 10 minute presentations with the class (mine is on Sunday). Topics ranged from laughter yoga to fatfobia to a choreography directed, practice and performed with 60 people in 12 minutes.


What I most appreciated from these presentations was how open people were as they shared their knowledge, their opinions, their feelings. I felt deeply privileged to be on the receiving end as it seemed to be coming from a place deep within. It was almost as though I could feel what they were talking about rather than mainly processing the information through auditory channels.

We also spent our practice teaching this afternoon doing an exercise that was a version of American Idol called Moksha Idol. Our names were put in a draw and if selected we had to come and instruct 7 people in front of a panel of judges/amazing teachers. In my opinion it was more an exercise for our anxiety than anything. Although I must say the feedback was very informative. We did this for 3 hours and everytime a name was picked I think my heart started picking up a beat.

2 hours and 59 mins. later and about 45 names had been called to face the crowd and judges and I was not one of them. I was sooo relieved. Mostly because I had already faced my fears once this morning as I did my first live 15 mins. of teaching half the class as part of an hour and a half class that started at 6:45 am. It was hard but went better than I thought. It was the start. Hopefully the start of something big in my life.

As we played Moksha Idol.

On a last note I will answer a question my friend Melodie asked me earlier today:

hey, i was thinking about before you left and all the yoga you were doing and how sore you could be so how is it right now with yoga 6 days a week?

This part of the training has actually been easier than I thought. The preparation I did before leaving doing double yoga classes with a combination of cross training apparently worked. I don’t find my body to be too sore (acting up of chronic ailments excluded). The healthy parts of my body are a little more tight than usual but overall it’s not a bother or something I find overly challenging. Also, usually the 2nd class we do a day, is low key. Most of the time it’s not even in the hot room but rather the practice room which for me is such a different experience for my physical body. Txs for asking!

Bonne nuit!

Day 21 -Moksha Yoga Teacher Training

Did you awake this morning or did you wake up?

It’s a little hard getting motivated to write tonight. We finished class late and I’ve been studying for teacher training practice tomorrow morning. I get to teach half the class for 15 mins.. Ohhhh ya. Hmm.

We finished late because we had a new guest teaching us tonight. His name is Michael Stone and he is quite an odd person. Odd in a good way and I’m thinking he may even see such a description as a compliment.

He has a very strong calming energy, very grounding, doesn’t have answer for everything, calls things as he sees them and even asked us not to give hugs to people during an exercise we did where some people got teary eyed. He asked us this because he believes in experiencing moments to feel. When we hug someone who is about to cry, many times more than not it shuts down the emotion rather than open it up. It becomes distracted.

I’m still taking in a lot of what he shared. It was a 4 hour lecture, so hard to resume in this  blog, but it pushed my perception boundary, my belief system but at the same time in a lot of ways it resonated with how I feel.

He also talked about how we create stories in our head and live in these stories so much more than living in the moment and moving on to the next moment once that one is done. The moment is described as being present in your environment, not being present in your head while you are on autopilot in your environement. I tried this as I was walking home, I realized I looked up and around for a change. I noticed the top of trees, their bark, the wind ruffling through the leaves much more than the cracks in sidewalks as thoughts usually feed my mind stories.

I realize it is so cliche to say “live the moment” but really, try it sometime, it’s almost as hard as meditation if not harder. No jokes. This means no stories in your head about anything, no lists you’re running through, no feeling bad about reacting meanly to someone that day, no thinking of the size of your ass yo barely ever see, how you can’t wait to talk to your boyfriend when you get home,  but rather feeling your tangible, present, environment and being there with it, engaged.

I leave you with his thoughts on what he thinks our biggest addictions are in our current society: Fame, RRSP’s and Romantic Love.

Day 20 -Moksha Yoga Teacher Training

Homemade breakfast/lunches vs. blog. Close call but blog wins!

I woke up this morning with 4 hrs of sleep. Insomnia overstayed her visit again last night. Had been a while, so, much catching up to do. When I arrived to class this morning I did something I had not yet done. Lied down through a whole yoga class. Then we had an hour for breakfast which I traded in for sleep and woke up, ever so gently to most of the class sharing their energy in a circle singing together with yogi Keith on guitar.**I wanted to show a short clip of this but seems I would have to upload the vid. on youtube, I can’t figure out how to upload it straight for my computer **

It is incredible the difference this had on my day though. I felt rested, chatted with people during breaks, even ventured out for cookies and frozen yogurt with a sweet gal I met in class. It was nice. It felt like a “normal” day.

It got me thinking more about Crohn’s and why it’s standing so close to me. Even though I am living the healthiest of lifestyle, I feel tired everyday. Yes I take naps and it helps keep my eyes open during class, it does its job of getting me by so I can take advantage of learning the impressive material covered with great interest. Still, it is a struggle and this struggle seems to add stress on my body. And it is not that I am certain of this theory. It could very well be that no matter what I do this shadow will always follow me.

Crohn’s and stress aside I still feel the days are too long. This week for example we have practice teaching study time to squeeze in and additional time prepping for a 10 mins. presentation. So this is the main reason I decided to cut into my food preparation time, eat out more this week for my main meals during class, eat soup when I get home and keep writing my blog (although it may be a little shorter some days).

Day 19 -Moksha Yoga Teacher Training

Retro subway wheels that drove me home tonight.

Today’s journal question: What have you learned so far that has surprised you (about yoga, yourself, nature of things).

I wrote.

1) I’m surprised that I can make water taste and look so good.

My recipe:

  • Chlorinated TO tap water
  • Glass bottle or jar
  • Concentrated organic Lemon Juice
  • Fresh Peppermint leaves

Adding one of the follwing ingredients (or a medley of):

  • blueberries
  • strawberries (my favorite)
  • raspberries
  • cucumber

The lemon juice seems to extract some of the sugar found in the fruit, especially the strawberries. Some would argue the above concoction isn’t water anymore, but if it helps you drink water, why not dress it up with a few natural ingredients. It’s like drinking water with a slice of lemon, while eating a strawberry and after chewing on a peppermint leaf for fresh breath. I would love to try it with a dash of maple syrup and sea salt too. The dash of sea salt would replenish the body with the same minerals found in coconut water and would be more environmentally friendly. Business anyone?

So crappy pic. but you get the idea.

2) I’m surprised to learn that I can kick in the parasympathetic mode for weeks at a time rather than hours. Not so suprised about how good it feels.

3) I was wondering how it would feel to be free of coffee, wine and nicotine. I’ve discovered it clears communication between the body and mind and gives me more information about what my body is feeling. Ok so not a big revelation here but actually rediscovering what this feels like is much more powerful than writing out a repeated cliche (sorry).

4) I’m surprised to learn that even when I am living the healthiest of lifestyle, Crohn’s is still by my side. I really hoped I would have seen more of a cause and effect between an utmost heathy nourishing environment and flare-ups, but so far none are found. Mentally and emotionally there are changes but physically not so much (I must mention that, here or not, I usually eat a healthy diet and practice yoga).

5) I’m surprised to learn that I can work on breaking down scar tissue even when it is quite old.

6) I’m surprised to learn that one of my biggest emotional challenges is: truly letting go of things. Letting go of things that bother me. Things that upset me. Things I cannot change. It may very well be the area of my soul that needs most work. I feel as though with certain things I can cut ties but others a string seems to be holding on. Perhaps it is a string of hope. Hope that those “things” could be different, perhaps it is a string representing the forgiveness required in order to let go or that a lesson still needs to be learnt (please no more lessons). Whatever it is I’m confident that one day I will know.

7. I’m surprised about the powers of my Moola Bhanda! My what? Trust me it is very odd and difficult to describe and  … a tad embarrassing. It is a completely new intense sensation I can activate in my root chakra that at this point, I’m not too sure what to do with!?!

8) Teaching yoga is harder than it sounds and looks.

Day 18 -Moksha Yoga Teacher Training

I don’t have much tonight. I’ve taken full advantage of my day off to get caught up with laundry, have an active release therapy massage, get groceries, prepare food, reply to overdue emails and type out some of my notes. Next thing I know it is 10 pm.

So today’s blog will be a peek into my notes. Perhaps a little boring for some of you and highly interesting for others. Most of them are in point form.

On Breathing:

  • When you take a really big inhale you are telling the body there are no lions out there, the body can relax. There are no threats.
  • Stress causes shallow breathing
  • Toxins also leave our body via our lungs

About our spine:

  • The curve in spine helps absorb pressure
  • For this reason yoga teachers should say lift your spine rather than straighten your spine b/c a straight back will put more pressure on it.

Speaking of spines, here’s an interesting video a dear person sent my way. How does one support this much spinal pressure? Incredible.

About our feet:

  • Those who have sciatica should not inner rotate their feet while doing yoga.
  • Very important to use the inner and outside of your feet when in standing poses as they engage different muscles.
  • When you flex your feet it is important to keep them as flat as possible.

About Moksha Poses:

  • 3 aspects to every pose:
  1. Breath awareness: brings us back to the moment, relaxes the body.
  2. Containment: contain the energy, draw it into the posture, not just hanging out in the posture. Feeling the sensations of muscular contraction when stretching (wrapping the muscles around the bone)
  3. Expression: open up into it, express it! Joy.

Here’s a Moksha 101 video for those who aren’t familiar with this style. I …..probably should have posted this at the beginning of my blog :p