So, in another few weeks, I will turn 40. The big 4 – 0. There, I said it, I have revealed my age. (If you ask nicely, I might tell you how much I weigh too...maybe.)
I have no problem doing this. In fact, I think we should be proud of our age, not embarrassed by it. This year and every year, I am grateful for the additional year I have experienced here.
A bit of a strange perspective perhaps, in this 'youth-crazed' society, where people are busy trying to hide their age. But hey, I've been called strange before and will probably be called strange again in the next 40 years – or maybe within the next 40 minutes! I'm okay with that.
So, back to this age thing. In the past year, young people I know have been diagnosed with serious, life-threatening diseases. We aren't talking a 'bout of the the flu' here, we're talking truly serious stuff. And you know what? They aren't even 40 yet (one of them isn't even 5 yet)! These people have kids the same age as mine, they are taking care of themselves, living full lives and then bam...something crazy shows up in their lives. Why?
So, this year on your birthday and every day, be grateful, be happy, celebrate where you are! Light up that cake with all the candles it will hold! Chances are you've worked hard, seen some things and are ready to keep right on going. Thank your stars above that you are here to celebrate with your health, your friends & family and yourself.
Deep breath in, deep breath out.
Labor Day is one of those holidays I take for granted, mostly. For our family, it's a great 3-day weekend to spend together having fun swimming and barbequing. It marks the end of summer – sorta – since school started 2 weeks ago and it's still 90+ degrees here in Florida. So, I guess symbolically it marks summer's end if nothing else!
But what about your yoga practice (you knew I'd get to that, right!?)? No, I'm not reminding you to get back to class (should I?)! What I am asking you to do is to take a moment to acknowledge the fruits of your yoga practice. Maybe you have committed yourself to coming a few days a week, maybe you have started a meditation or breathing practice at home, or lost a few pounds, or noticed some extra muscles that weren't there before. Maybe you've stopped yourself in a moment of stress and remembered your practice! Acknowledge that! Give yourself a pat on the back for that!
In truth, this yoga thing is about what you take with you when you leave the yoga class. Whether it's an awareness of your breath, an increased feeling of ease in your everyday movements or an greater union of your mind and body overall, there is something that yoga has done for you. And it couldn't have done it if you weren't showing up for your practice! So – you must be doing something right. :))
In our society, it is easy and common to remind ourselves always of what we have not yet done. Of what we have not yet accomplished. Change it up this September and this Labor Day week...Acknowledge what you have done!
What key new things did the Teacher Training students pick up at our most recent session?
Tips in mirroring – i.e., using someone’s wedding ring as a guide to right/left. Or your own jewelry placement.
Pulling ball of big toe forward in Paschimotonasana.
Using variations in Triangle pose when students seem to be moving too fast, creating more mindfulness.
Moving from Chatarunga to cobra or updog without resting belly on floor. (and how to guide students to build more strength here!)
Observe from feet up before assisting a student.
Assisting in childs pose, being pressed toward me and not pressing down, which makes more sense
Another a-ha was when in downdog I was told to stay active through my biceps and to open the shoulders more.
We had another wonderful weekend learning about assisting in yoga postures and sequencing using vinyasa krama. :)
Find Your Voice Yoga Teacher Training: Weekend 1 “A-ha's”
SO ….what did we do? What cool things did we learn?
We had a great weekend at Teacher Training! One of the favors I asked of the students was to share some “A-ha's” they had from the weekend. I also 'warned' them that I'd be asking them this favor every weekend. :)
So, I'll go first. One of my “A-ha's” was how cool it is to lead this diverse group of trainees and to see and hear what each was getting from the sessions. Also, how I need to build up my stamina for talking ALL weekend. :)
What our Trainees had to say:
“My 'A-ha' has been in the fact that I feel as if I understand how yoga is a blueprint for living the best life we can, specifically, how I can. It encompasses so many of the principles that I hold, and want to hold:
Good morals: truthfulness, integrity, non-violence, etc.
Although I've been introduced to the 8 limbs before, I found an overwhelming sense of understanding (and the feeling there is so much yet to understand) and find it comforting to be surrounded by the other individuals with the same desire to live this way.
Thanks for a great 1st Module!”
“Studying yoga, the history of it and what it has evolved into today, made me realize that my current mind set is geared towards a yoga 'lifestyle'. However, there are many aspects that should be tweaked or fine-tuned for me. There is one thing in particular that I really need to work and improve and I feel my yoga practice will really assist me in this journey.
Thanks for an excellent weekend!”
“After only practicing yoga for a short time, I was surprised at how well I adapted to the class and the poses. Along with my walking exercises, I've lost 3 pounds.”
“Using a blanket or pillow to relax the inner thighs in Baddha Konasana.”
“Feeling energy movement in my hands.”
Thanks to you all for an awesome weekend! I'm looking forward to Module 2 and the Entire training!
Yes, I could have called it Confessions of a Type A Yogini, but this seemed more appropriate for what has dawned on me recently.
And here it is: Yoga is NOT going to change the fact that I'm a Type A personality. Nor will it change the fact that I tend to be in a hurry a lot of the time. It's just not. I am me, this is my personality and really, I don't want to change it! (Another reality yoga has opened to me!) I do, however, want to be able to understand myself and respond appropriately to things in my life.
In the Eastern traditions, there is less emphasis on 'fixing' what's 'wrong' with you and more emphasis on learning to find, develop and use your own unique strengths. We all have them, yet, I think, we focus so much on our 'weaknesses' that we can't (or don't have time to) develop our strengths. We see our strengths as secondary, too easy, not enough. We in the West all do it to an extent (and I suspect it's spreading). Our society is based on being driven, being the best at as many things as possible and not having any weaknesses! No wonder we're stressed out! Ugh!
My advice? Ditch it. What yoga has gotten through my thick head is that I have strengths and I can use them. I can focus on them and develop them. Those weaknesses just aren't as daunting. A bit of acceptance can do wonders. I'm human, I have strengths, I have weaknesses. Move on!
Yoga has provided me with some incredible tools to come to this realization....to calm down. Besides gaining strength, balance and flexibility with the physical yoga postures, I've got my breathing practice. (Yes, sometimes I need help just breathing.) Saying that we underestimate the importance of deep breathing is an understatement as most of us take our breathing for granted, we just expect it to be there. We tend to under use our breath too, using about a third of our breathing capacity during a normal day and if we're stressed, it can be even less! We hold our stress in our shoulders and breathe very little.
Try this exercise:
When you take a deep breath in, remember how much you have – in your breath and in your life. Slow down for a moment and on days when a moment seems to be all you have, it can keep you sane. Feel yourself relax just a bit. Recall your strengths and yourself. When you breathe out deeply, let it all go. Connect in that moment with a feeling that you're okay, it will all get done, it will all be right.
So, will I cure my Type-A'edness? No, I hope not. Maybe its one of my strength that I should develop (in a healthy way, of course!) and just keep right on going. I am always sure that my yoga practice will help me realize and understand more of my strengths and help me accept and love my weaknesses too.
I walked into my first yoga class as a total ‘gym girl’. It would be good for me to add stretching to my ‘real’ workout routine, I reasoned. I had no idea what to expect when I walked in the door – who were these people who taught yoga, would they chant?, would I have to?, would I get hurt?, would it be a waste of my time?...the list of questions in my mind was long!
Thirteen years later, I am a certified ‘yoga girl’. After that first class, I was hooked. I felt so good after class (and a bit sore the next day), that I couldn’t wait to go back. The people were friendly, the class was just right for me, and it was not a waste of my time…not even close. Even though I’d always been active (spinning, running, walking, etc), this was different. After practicing a while, I noticed I wasn’t tired at my desk in the afternoons, climbing stairs was much easier. Overall, I felt more in-tune with what I wanted and didn’t want, for example, I naturally ate better because that’s what made me feel better.
Yoga’s history is long. The first writings on yoga date back about 5000 years. That yoga was different from what we practice today. No, it wasn’t religious (a question I get a lot!). The first yoga was about meditation and getting quiet in your mind. Even in ancient times people were stressed, I guess! The only ‘posture’ was sitting. The physical practice as we know it today started later, the postures being used as a tool to settle your body (read: work out the kinks) before you settled into meditation and quiet time.
While there are many types of yoga classes today – from those that will make you sweat, to those that move slower and focus on relaxation – the purpose is still the same as it was in ancient times: work out the kinks, so you can have a clearer head. That’s the mind-body connection of yoga. It’s how I use yoga in my life and how I encourage my students to use it. Crazy yoga postures are not the goal, even though you will progress in your postures as your practice deepens. The goal is to use your yoga as a tool to help you with the all the other stuff in your life. To help you get up easier in the morning, to have more patience with your family, friends and colleagues, to feel healthier in your body and mind. Those are the real ideals of a yoga practice and when you make that connection, you’ll keep practicing and moving. That’s what yoga is all about.
So everyone’s had this bug – at least everyone in my family has had it.
Every time I get a cold, I vow to really re-examine my diet, my breathing, my practice, my overall attitude to see where I can make changes so that the next bug doesn’t affect me quite as much.
Now, I say this with a smile because there’s always something that can be tweaked a bit here and there and then ‘life happens’ and some good intentions go out the window.
BUT, I figure if I make small changes and continue to adjust, then I’ll have learned a heck of a lot by the time this is all over AND I may have kept myself out of the way of at least a couple of bugs, right?! It’s all yoga…
In this month’s issue of Natural Health magazine, there’s an article titled “Secrets of People who Never get Sick.” I like the sound of that! There are 10 suggestions on the list, and I’ve decided to focus on 2: 1) Stress less. You knew there’d be a tie back to yoga class, right?! Seriously, though, the article says exercise helps (duh). Stress affects the nervous system and your immune system and according to the article, if increases your risks of bacterial infections as well. Other ways to keep stress at bay? Laughing. Yep, laughing. And breathing. Deep breathing. Filling your lungs and letting the breath really flow. So – laugh, breath, yoga. I can do that.
And 2) Take more naps. When is the last time you did that? When’s the last time you were really drowsy, but opted for a coffee or soda instead of a 10-minute snooze? “Sleep deprivation has the same biological effect as stress: Overtired bodies ratchet up production of the hormone cortisol, which gives you energy but restricts production of human growth hormone, limiting your body’s ability to repair itself. Just like stress, sleep loss has a degenerative effect on your health, and a lack of sleep is also tied to compromised immune function.” Caffeine takes 20 minutes to get into your system and take effect, so if you drink a cup of coffee before your short nap, you will wake up more energized. You can have your cake and eat it too. J
Here’s to your Health in 2011.
See you in class soon!
Topic: ABY Articles & Blog
No comments found.