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

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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 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