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 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.

Day 7 -Moksha Yoga Teacher Training

We took a challenge to not have any self talk that was negative for 30 days. I'm pretty sure I don't have to give examples here. I challenge you to try it for one day. One day of being mindful of your negative self talk and replacing it with F**k it, I rock!

“Baby Don’t Cry”

As I was taking the subway to class this morning at 6 am, hey-yo, I was thinking how I was on Day 7 of being caffeine, alcohol and nicotine free. Wow, awwwsome! Then it got me thinking to when was the last time my body had been completely drug free, including medication. That would be the age of 14. Ever since then my body has depended or deliberately taken some sort of drug. Wow. That’s more than half my life, hey-yo.

The class started with meditation, as we do every morning and it turned out to be the worst session ever. I could not sit still nor have a still thought and felt agitated as the chronic pain in my right shoulder started inviting me to notice its presence. This didn’t stop me from turning the creases of my lips upwards to try and trick my brain into believing I was happy and also genuinely I was also just trying to     just      be      happy.

I’ve been doing this “smile for myself” thing pretty much everyday since I got here. A slight smile, something I used to do a lot more when I used to practice Bikram hot yoga. Cause really why do we share so many smiles with others but rarely, if not ever, look at ourselves and smile and just keep it there?

As the day kept going, so did the pain. During our afternoon yoga class I ended having a one arm yoga practice and the pain started affecting my stomach reaaaally bad. I just lied there at the end of the class with a yoga block jabbing into my shoulder trying to break down the pain. Ya like that’s going to help for more than a few seconds worth of relief.

Then I just let everything go including the outer creases of my lips that suddenly dropped and turned upside down as intense sadness, anger and frustration raged through. The pain was no longer solely isolated to my physical being, all of me felt the pain.  I turned my head to one side and felt my pool of sweat to now be a pool of pain that I was lying in. The teacher knelt beside me and as she brushed my bangs away from my forehead she looked at me with such eyes of compassion. A tear rolled down the corner of my eye joining my drenched face covered with tears of sweat.

Sitting through two more hours of class with the relentless burning fiery pain, I finally took the decision that one week being free of any type of stimulant, depressants, pain maskers, drugs was what it was going to be -awesome in itself. And so the T3 reduced my constant pain from an 8.5 to a 4.5.

I’m hopeful it won’t take another few decades to feel drug free again.

“Better days”

Day 6 -Moksha Yoga Teacher Training

I have to bring up meditation again because it really does blow my mind. The instructions seems so simple yet executing it is far from simple.

Let’s review one of the the meditation practices again:

1. Bring attention to the breath

2. Notice when the mind is wandering

3. Bring attention back to the breath

4. Repeat step 2 – 3 a billion times

It’s a loop, a circle of sorts and the only reason you do step 2-3 and 4 is because you can’t do step one with the required amount of focus. It baffles me how I can focus on watching a tv show yet I can’t focus on my own breath for more than a minute or so without having it wandering (and I’m being generous with the minute).  This makes me think of the power of the mind on its own. Our teacher described it almost like an organ, doing it’s own thing.  Good thing I have  a lot more control over my bladder.

Learning about meditation has been fascinating, incredible actually. And being able to put it in practice everyday feeds into my learning style, hands on approach. Ya baby. There really is too much to resume in a few paragraphs because it really pushes the boundaries about how we think, literally. I’m definitely inspired to keep learning about it and teach it to others and incorporating it into yoga classes.

So I’m guessing some of you are wondering how I’m doing with the whole energy thing. I who LOVES my sleep and needs sleep to feel as though I can have a good day. Well, I’m learning that taking naps throughout the day is almost like the equivalent to having a cup of coffee. It’s awesome!

A perfect example of how to nap during breaks.

I don’t necessarily nap-nap. But I definitely lie down and find myself in a deep resting state.  So far this is working quite well. Which leads me to think more workplaces need a hammock or lying resting area for employees. I know a coffee pot is cheaper and doesn’t take as much room but beyond the financial bottom line, it seems it would be better for the bottom line of our well being. Perhaps in a decade or so? Perhaps the working culture will shift? Perhaps there will be meditation/yoga rooms at workplaces too? Now that would be bliss!

Day 4 -Moksha Yoga Teacher Training

Sunday: our one day OFF a week.

Even though it was a day off, I set my alarm for 9 am so I wouldn’t sleep in until 2 pm. I pressed snooze about 5 times and then finally got up. It was a gorgeous day in TO. Just beautiful. Sun was shining, it was over 30 degrees. Put a semi permanent smile on my face. Great day for Toronto’s pride parade. It would have been a fabulous place to take amazing pictures! Instead I went through an hour and a half of pain through an active release therapy massage. There was no relaxing in this massage. Kudos to everyone who deals with chronic pain, it’s a part-time job in itself where one might need to go through more pain to help give ride of pain. Pretty messed up.

So the beauty of my day was not having to drive. I’m absolutely loving this part of living here for the month. My day started by taking the subway to hunt for some coconut water. A very hot commodity these days, the word on the street is all the celebrities are doing it, so everyone else wants to do it too. They can’t keep up with the demand anymore. The other day I wiped out a health food store by buying the last 10, 1 litre they had. Today I picked up another 5.

I then headed to a healthy restaurant/take out place called Fresh. So delish, highly recommend it if you’re in TO looking for healthy food that will give you energy rather than drain you of it. I ate one of their rice bowls and took one to go for tomorrow. I stretched the rice bowl when I got home by adding peppers, onions, tomatoes, cucumbers and of course cheese. So I made 2 meals out of it.

A flower found in the rock garden in the front yard of the BandB I'm staying at.

Trivia of the day: Most people who go through depressions are shallow breathers. Another reason to take a pause just to breath … deeply.

Trivia numero deux of the day: While sleeping on your back, a pillow under your knees will help put less strain on your spine.

Bonne nuit. Hope it embraces me sooner than later.