Day 29 and 30 -Moksha Yoga Teacher Training

I’m officially a Yoga Teacher! Yeeeeeeaaaaah! Wow, sometimes there are only words to say: there are no words and I kind of feel this way right now. Adding to this is total exhaustion but not an angry resentful exhaustion or even a “I’ve been bad to my body” exhaustion but more of a I’ve disciplined myself to the core and made it through an intensive 30 day course exhaustion.

We stayed at the “moksha farm” last night. The one I previously showed pictures from, the farm that belongs to Jessica’s (co-founder of Moksha yoga) wonderful parents and where the 1st studio resides. We had a talented talent show. No exageration, I was blown away by all the talent that expressed itself. It was incredible. I would have paid premium money to see these acts. I participated in a Bollywood performance and previewed the trailer to the slide show/vid. montage I’ve been working on.

We ate delicious food, had a camp fire and received our certificates. Along with these certificates we were all given a notable mention award. I was awarded the “sparkly eyes, smiling heart” award which really touched me profoundly. What an amazing award to be recognized for. Being surrounded by such captivating learning opportunities mixed with kind hearted people ignited in me such smiles and sparkles. The sparkles found in these people made me smile. Their courage to open up and share their delicate self was a profound experience and privilege for me. I got to know people deeply, people who were but strangers 30 days ago. What an honour. An honour that has made my heart grow.

So it is with this enriched heart that I return to the west with. A beauty-full heart because if there was one word to sum up this experience it would be beauty-full!

This is sweet Shawna in Savasana at the beach. Love this picture and how the sun is shining on her.

THANK YOU EVERYONE for following this journey and for being incredibly supportive in making such an experience true for me. Merci. BEAUCOUP.

Transitioning from this journey to the next with my favourite pose, dancers pose.

Day 28 -Moksha Yoga Teacher Training

So this video montage is almost done! I feel a little bad that it has cut into my blogging time these days but hopefully you’ll be able to soon see the final product giving you a glimpse of what this intense and passionate experience has felt like. It’s about 20 mins., which feels long but it’s hard trying to capture 60 students in 30 days. And when you have such great pics., such great video to pick from, where does one cut?

Today I felt great gratitude. I felt grateful for being here, grateful for everyone else being here, grateful for our teachers, the organizers, grateful for everyone who has made this possible for me. From my parents support to all my friends who have been patient with my absence and all the people at work who have worked a little harder while I was gone, THANK YOU!

I dedicated this grounding and relaxing posture (savasana) today to all those who made this moment beautiful and possible.

You all rock, I love you tones and feel utmost grateful for everyone who have aligned the stars for me. I have come here to nurture my soul and grow and … mission accomplished to the fullest of full. I also came here to become a yoga teacher and as of today I receive this accomplishment with an open heart.

Yoga Bliss on the beach

I taught my first full class today to one of the other teachers. We headed for the beach and wow oh wow I couldn’t ask for a better teaching feeling to be left with. It was our cherry on the Sundae, our shining moment as we both grounded our feet into the sand, felt the sun on our skin, heard the birds fly around us and watched the wind create water ripples in the great lake! It was bliss I cherish.

Mindful moments to remember for ever!

This piece is from the mat we all wrote on for one of the teacher's art project/presentation I mentioned a few blogs ago.

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 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 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

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.