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.

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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.