Saturday, June 30, 2012

Yoga Lessons - First Week Back at the Studio

This week was my first full week back teaching yoga and it was more of a party than work. I was so happy to see my coworkers and students that I spent more time socializing and catching up than actual teaching but I still managed to learn from my students as I do every time I am at the studio.

One of the men I teach told me about a book he is reading which focuses on the mediation aspect of yoga and why it is so important to try to still the mind during your practice. I have noticed his postures have gotten a lot stronger, he can hold them longer and do more in class. He is a fit guy so there is no physical reason but because he has started to train his mind as well as his body he has started to overcome his challenges in class... this is a powerful way to make changes in your yoga practice.

I took class earlier this week and the teacher singled out a big strong man, asking if he was a rugby player. The man said no and the teacher told him it's good that he is doing yoga because he is already so strong that he can use that strength to gain flexibility. He mentioned that people who are more flexible have a harder time building strength in yoga class and he is so right.

As a more flexible person I love the floor series because the postures are short so you can challenge your depth and before you know it the teacher says CHANGE. The standing series kills me, I can push to my most flexible point but then there is still a bunch of time left in the pose and I have to stand there... and hold it... and grit my teeth... and breathe. I grind my jaw so hard in some postures that it has made a gouge on the left side of my teeth so I really have to learn how to relax my jaw. The best way I have found is to keep a slight smile, as Bikram says - A Happy Smiling Face.

It is agony to hold the postures and feel the burn in my muscles, it seems to go on forever before the teacher indicates it is over. Just like my student, I have to work on controlling my mind as well as my body and acknowledge those tought thoughts or feelings that come up during class but ultimately let them pass through me. My goal would be to have no positive or negative reaction to how I perform in each posture but simply dwell in a feeling of peace for the entire class.

And finally, one of the staff at a studio I teach has just returned from teacher training. I have heard great things about his class and he is an intellegent person with a strong practice so I know he will be a wonderful teacher. He came to the studio early with hopes of going shopping nearby but the mall was closed so he waiting while I taught my classes and he told me he was listening to hear how I time my postures. Afterwards we sat down and he had so many insightful questions for me and I was touched that he wanted my advice, he made me feel like I am a good teacher too. I was so happy to see his passion for teaching and for the yoga and I remember figuring it all out when I started and would not trade that process to jump ahead to where I am today, it is fun and challenging and frustrating and enables you to grow so much.

I left the week feeling lucky to be exposed to all these people who are on their own personal yoga journey, we are all simultaneously experiencing different things but can inspire and influence each other... we are all connected.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Summer Playlist

We are driving up to the Okanagan next week and I want to make a fun summer playlist to listen to as we wind through the mountains. We drove up last weekend and I had to continually harass my husband to list out all the CD options we had and then change the one that was already in the player... I figure if there are all my favorite songs on one CD I won't need to change it the whole trip! (hehehe)

There are so many great songs on the radio lately, I don't want to forget any of them so am keeping a list...

1. Diet Mountain Dew - Lana Del Rey
2. Titanium - David Guetta ft Sia
3. Pumped up Kicks - Foster the People
4. Raise Your Weapon - Deadmau5
5. We Are Young - FUN
6. Starships - Niki Minaj
7. Good Life - Onerepublic
8. Video Games - Lana Del Rey
9. Some Nights - FUN
10. Take Care - Drake & Rihanna
11. Kids - MGMT
12. Born to Die - Lana Del Rey

And I'll keep adding, I have until the middle of next week to put everything together!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Back to Bikram

"We only said goodbye with words
I died a hundred times
You go back to her
And I go back to....."


Well that's not exactly what Amy Winehouse sang next but it was the reality for me today as I took my first class in about 6 weeks.

The best thing about the first class back is that I give myself permission to go at about 60% and take breaks whenever I need. My mind and body feel lazy and my competitive edge doesn't exist because I have just returned from vacation. As a result, I simply observe the class and my body, listening to my breath and being happy with whatever I can do and laughing at the many things I am now unable to do. Why can't it always be this way?

I guess the answer is that we can't always live like we are on vacation. We have to work to make money for our next vacation and we settle into a schedule that can sometimes be stressful and wear us down. I like to take a complete break from my practice when I go away so I can reflect on some of the changes my body has gone through and set new goals for when I return.

It's amazing how much my body has continued to change since teacher training. I have leaned out slowly over the past 3 1/2 years and it really has been a slow process but I can see a difference in how my body shape looks. I have also gotten stronger and it's something that has lasted which is nice. Bikram talks about the cumulative effect of yoga and each class you take stores money in the bank so if you take many classes in a row you will deposit strength and flexibility into your body's future. I can see that now; it's something you have to practice for a few years to notice. The great thing about yoga is that even though you may feel like you have reached your peak or you have become bored with your practice, look for the tiny little improvements and know that there are still massive changes your body can go through, they just take a long time.

I would like to commit to a more regular practice, just getting myself there every day would be great. I still have to let go of judging myself when I do have to take a knee or can't kick out in Standing Head to Knee but maybe that will come if I just commit to getting in there more often....

Anyways, the class was great because the teacher was relatively hands - off and let the class experience the postures for themselves. It was just what I needed and the walk back through the sunny streets of Vancouver was beautiful too. I'm looking forward to taking class tomorrow now and hope I can keep up my attitude of non-attachment and simply observe and enjoy the class.