Friday, December 30, 2011

The End of the Beginning

Happy New Year! Time to change your life!

Only a year ago frustration and helplessness seemed to be the normal course of my life for the foreseeable future. The job I once loved had gone supernova and quickly fizzled out. Disillusioned, I went to bed dreading each morning, and spent many nights drinking away the previous day. When the layoff notice finally arrived I was anxious but emotionally relieved.

My apartment, which once felt like a warm home became infested with inconsiderate, destructive and dishonest neighbors. Rodents appeared. Pipes exploded. Something died under the porch and began to smell. IT IS TIME FOR A CHANGE life screamed from every audible angle.

Halfheartedly I went on job interviews but the thought of sitting in a cube, no matter how cool the company, depressed me endlessly. When it seemed I was close to clinching a writing job at a well known, well funded start-up, I had a panic attack. Not a slight feeling of nervousness or trepidation, a full blown can't-breathe-chest-caving-in-seeing-stars-need-to-lie-down-so-I-don't-faint panic attack. As crazy as it seemed, I put the kibosh on any additional forward momentum with the position. In my heart of hearts, I knew it was the right decision. Clueless about what would come next, I vowed that my next "life move" had to be one about which I felt 100% confident.

For a long time a voice in the back of my head had lingered, whispering ideas about working in fitness. Helping people change their lives for the better seemed an inspirational way to earn a living. With my newly found unemployed free time, I began hitting the yoga studio hard. Sometimes twice a day. Each class was like a therapy session, forcing me to look at myself and the choices I'd made to get to the spot I was in. Svadhyaya. No one else was responsible for my unhappiness. If I wanted to be miserable, it was my choice and mine alone. If I wanted to be happy, I could choose to be happy. The moment I sincerely understood the truth in that, life became much simpler.   

As you now already know, I chose to take a chance and pursue my aspirations. I've completely changed careers and it is one of the best decisions I have ever made. In the past, fear of the unknown stopped me from pursuing all sorts of things. Now I choose to eliminate fear from the vocabulary of my life. I am grateful for the year 2011 and will remember it as the year in which I began taking responsibility for my choices and emotional well being. It is the year I began living life deliberately instead of letting it just happen around me while hoping for something to change. I began practicing the mantra "Nothing changes if nothing changes." And then I lived it.


New Year's has always been one of my favorite holidays, and this year seems extra special. In 2012 I will begin my new career, celebrate one year without cigarettes, and TEN years with the love of my life whose unwavering love and support have been absolutely critical. I will continue to make our new apartment a home, and begin the rest of my life with joy and gratitude. In hindsight, it seems ludicrous that I ever felt helpless. I am the person most empowered to change my life, just as you are the person most empowered to change your life. Don't accept the expected because it is normal, expect normal to be exceptional.

Happy New Year!
W/Marc and Rebecca, the people who helped me change my life.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Book Response - The Science of Pranayama

Hmmm...She doesn't look like a scientist.
         When I chose The Science of Pranayama to read for this essay, I had hopes that it would teach me how to increase lung capacity by practicing Pranayama, or about the effects Pranayama has on brain function. I did not expect a graphic colon cleansing lesson involving Vaseline and a “small bamboo tube 6 fingers long” in the excerpt on Basti, nor did I anticipate the lesson that the mind will control itself, “without emission of even a single drop of semen for 12 years” but those are exactly the lessons I learned. It seems that the science of Pranayama according to Sri Swami Sivananda, is very much an art.
         The first section of this book is dedicated to the “Shat-Karmas” or “Six Purificatory Processes.” During our yoga training, we’ve come to learn them as Kriyas. According to Sivananda, it is imperative that these processes be executed and mastered by “Those who are of a flabby and phlegmatic constitution only” in order to prepare for the practice of Pranayama. How an overly flabby person would execute Basti the way it is described in the book is a mystery to me, but apparently it is just such a person who would benefit most. The book contains an interesting full page black and white photo of a man wrapped in a cloth performing Dhauti. In the photo, about a yard of the gauzy fabric needed for Dhauti is being pulled from his mouth into a dish of tepid water laid at his feet. In the book, all six Shat-Karmas are said to cure asthma, however Dhauti is also said to cure fever and leprosy. This would be an excellent time for the science portion to back up these ancient practices as there must be some anatomical, scientific root to the claims of alleged cure for such specific ailments. Disappointingly however, not even a slight explanation is given.
         In Sivananda’s explanation of Neti, it is performed with a thin thread dipped in glue and not with the more commonly adhered to Neti Pot. This practice replaces the stream of saline water with the thread for purifying the skull and curing rhinitis. Trataka, Nauli and Kapalabhati are explained very minimally compared to the first three processes in this section of the book, though Kapalabhati is explored in depth later. Trataka is claimed to induce clairvoyance in the practitioner, while Nauli “destroys all intestinal disorders” and Kapalabhati “destroys all the disorders of phlegm.”
         In the second section of The Science of Pranayama the “Five Essentials” needed for proper meditation and Pranayama practice are discussed. When these essentials are met, then eventually the practitioner will be able to “retain the breath for 3 Ghatikas (one hour and a half) at a time,” when this is achieved the “Yogi gets many psychic powers.” Once again, I would be fascinated to learn if holding the breath for ninety minutes is humanly possible, and if so, what physical effects is has on the body and brain, but there is no science offered. Some time is spent discussing the proper location for practicing Pranayama, along with the best time of day, and what kind of person is best qualified for the practice. The “Dietetic Discipline” is described with the most detail, offering promises of levitation for those that consume the proper food and drink at the appropriate times during practice. Sivananda also explains which foods are forbidden (salt, sour foods, mustard and oil are some examples) with no explanation as to why they are harmful to the practitioner.
         Ideal postures for practicing Pranayama are then discussed including Padmasana,Svastikasana, and Samasana. Siddhasana, or “The Perfect Pose” however, should be noted as “not suitable for ladies” for some unexplained reason. Ironically, the bikini clad women on both the front and back covers of the book are sitting in this pose.
Back Cover. This is an ancient don't, ladies!
During the portion on the three Bandhas the reader learns that the entire purpose of the practice of Pranayama is to awaken the sleeping Kundalini and eventually achieve Samadhi, as “the goal of life is self realization.” According to the author, Kundalini is “the source for all occult powers” and is awakened by inhalations and exhalations which are measured by various units of duration including “Matras” and“Angulas.” Some other benefits of Pranayama include “the power of thought reading…levitation…psychometry, clairaudience…moving about unseen by anybody in the world…the power of entering the body of another man…the power to remain always young.” It seems the Pure Yoga Teacher Training is holding some knowledge back from its humble students. It is fascinating to read such claims, and it is interesting that the author also states that one who achieves any of these outrageous powers must never reveal them to any living person. These achievements must always stay within the yogi so they are not perverted by those only seeking entertainment. I hope my love of David Blaine is acceptable, I don’t believe he wants to pervert any ancient knowledge.
There are sixteen different types of Pranayama exercises explained in this book. Included are all of the practices we’ve discussed in class. The explanations of each are very instructional, with no scientific reasoning or offering given. My favorite Pranayama explanation is that for “Murchha.” The practitioner is instructed to “Retain the breath till you expect fainting then exhale slowly…this makes the mind senseless and gives happiness. But it is not suitable for many.” Indeed. The title of this book is at best misleading, though it was still an interesting and sometimes unintentionally comical read.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Writing Meditation...Fail...?...

Lead another writing meditation.

We are well into week 7 of training now and with just under a month to go, my excitement over the prospect of teaching is growing exponentially each day. I'm confident that I will be a knowledgeable, caring and creative instructor, though I'm sure there will be some hiccups along the way. Speaking of hiccups, I lead a writing meditation this past Friday night that I'm not quite sure went over the way I'd hoped for.

During my MFA program at Lesley University, I was lucky enough to take a seminar with the wonderfully talented YA author Anita Riggio. Her seminar, entitled "Finding True North" is designed so the writer (or student as it were) is able to clear the mind in order to access a deeper, truer part of themselves which will strengthen and inform future pieces of writing. Anita does this by having the students close their eyes and practice breath awareness for a few minutes, deepening the breath with each inhale and exhale. Essentially, a Pranayama exercise. She then leads the students through a guided meditation, asking the student to envision themselves in particular, extremely detailed environments where people specific to each person are encountered. Towards the end of the guided portion, Anita offers a phrase to the writer that upon opening their eyes, they should begin writing with. For example, one of the writing exercises involves the writer considering the perspective of the most meaningful person in their life, the exercise then begins with the phrase "I always meant to tell you." The writer then spends an hour or so engaging in stream of consciousness writing. Is this making sense? You can download the actual seminar (Which I HIGHLY recommend, be you writer or meditator or both!) here. There are about five different exercises in the seminar.

Well, dear reader, I attempted to truncate this seminar and conduct it with my fellow trainees as the opening to a class. My intention was that the exercise would focus on Svadhyaya or study of the self/internal reflection, a Niyama we've been studying. And while I think I achieved that purpose, I also think I managed to totally bring everyone DOWN in the process. At Lesley, it was a fairly positive experience. People wrote from a wide range of emotions. But by the end of my attempt, everyone just sort of sat either stone faced, or dare I say even a little irritated. But hey, I took a chance. It didn't work out exactly the way I'd hoped but I went for it. Maybe this is a "know your audience" lesson learned. I'll keep it a bit lighter next time.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Some Thoughts On Garudasana (Eagle Pose)

See everyone? My Sanskrit is really coming along now. This past weekend we had an essay due based around a pose covered in the ever-so-in-depth Light on Yoga by BKS Iyengar. If life is a yoga sequence, (And lets face it, isn't it REALLY?) this book is a step by step manual for how to live. I chose Garudasana since I am in love with the pose. Hey now, it's also seasonally appropriate! (Get it? Thanksgiving, it's a bird!) Here are a few tidbids I gleaned from Iyengar and one or two other sources.

BKS Iyengar: So blissful, so fashionable.

In Light on Yoga, Iyengar states that Garudasana strengthens the ankles and releases tension in the shoulders. He states that the garuda, or eagle, is the king of all birds. According to Iyengar, “Garuda is represented as the vehicle of Vishnu and as having a white face, an aquiline beak, red wings and a golden body.” Garudasana is a very powerful pose. I feel strong and alive when I’m wrapped right arm under left and right leg over left. I feel rooted and confident. Until I read Iyengar’s description of Garudasana, I hadn’t thought much about what colors might be associated with an eagle. Red and golden are perfectly related to the Chakras I feel most connected with while in this pose.

            Manipura Chakra is located in the solar plexus or mid-spine, and its color corresponds with the image of the eagle’s golden body. Manipura Chakra is centered on power and ambition. Both of these qualities must be present in the yoga student to achieve this pose. Conversely, when a student achieves this pose, there comes a feeling of power and ambition. Though Iyengar’s eagle has red wings, the Muladhara Chakra associated with the color red is located in the tailbone. Considered the root Chakra, Muladhara is supportive and extends down from the base of the torso through to the legs and feet, all essential components of Garudasana. This pose requires a strong sense of balance. Visualizing the physical locations of the Muladhara and Manipura Chakras helps to focus on and maintain that balance. Lately I’ve been concentrating on engaging Mula and Uddiyana Bhanda while in this pose, and have found that very helpful in staying balanced. These Bhandas correlate with the Muladhara and Manipura Chakras as well.

            Establishing a steady drishti is something I find difficult in Garudasana. Since the arms are raised in front of the face, I find myself trying to find a point between my arms in front of me. When my arms obstruct this point, it is extremely tough to stay balanced. When I try to focus on a point on my forearms, I find that it is too close and my balance becomes compromised. Iyengar does not comment on drishti for Garudasana in Light on Yoga, though in his photo his arms are more tightly wound than mine generally are, so there is less obstruction in front of the eyes. Keeping an internal drishti is an option during any pose, though is difficult in the more intermediate balancing postures. 

Eagle. See how happy she is?
    Garudasana would be well placed in a class built around themes of strength, courage or cultivation of personal power. It is also an excellent choice for those that work while sitting at a desk. The arm placement in Garudasana helps to draw the shoulder blades away from each other, opening the upper back. The legs and ankles are also fired up in this pose. This posture is a welcomed relief for those that sit hunched over a keyboard and computer screen all day, though the effects of Garudasana are certainly beneficial to all.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Nadi Shodhana - Balance That Breath, Folks!

Last weekend (which was the half-way point of training, mind explode!!!) I lead a Pranayama, or breathing exercise focused on balancing the left and right sides of the brain and breath. Nadi Shodhana, or "Alternate Nostril Breath" involves breathing through each nostril separately, alternating the breath by covering the nostrils one by one. In the below video, this very nice lady on a beach in California does an excellent job of demonstrating Nadi Shodhana. Thankfully, there are no videos of me demonstrating this technique.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Anatomy Weekend - System Overload

The weekend of 10/15 we had a guest trainer lay down some intense anatomy knowledge. Folks, the human body is entirely too complex to learn over the course sixteen hours spread over three days. Lillee Chandra of the Yoga Tune Up program spent the weekend teaching us the ins and outs of flexion, extension, abduction, adduction, golgi tendons, the psoas, the scapula, the thoracic cavity, the calcaneous and SO (stressing SO) much more. Miss Lillee is an expert in all things human body. This was a skosh unnerving (see what i did there?) considering that I have not thought about human anatomy in a text book capacity since high school.

SeXXXy, right?

When I returned to my apartment after our session with Lillee on Friday night, all I wanted was warm tea to calm my brain, and a warm bed in which to digest the plethora of biological terms swimming in my head. Neither of these things were to be. When I returned home, it was to a loud, (fun!) drunken house party. A true rager. A goodbye party for friends moving to Pearl Harbor naval base in Hawaii. No warm tea and bed that night, but plenty of cold beer and barbecue. It was a fantastic time! Such is the life of a yogi. Roll with the punches. My physical therapist friend LOVES anatomy and wanted to know all about what I'd learned that night. I wasn't quite on par with his knowledge, but after many beers he didn't mind. I feared his phrenic nerve might cease being involuntary.

Every yogi's best friend...Err....

 After chatting for a bit and engaging in some Drunkasanas with other folks at the party, I was able to duck away and take a look at the homework Lillee assigned for the night. The rest of the weekend continued to be a no nonsense crash course in anatomy and self massage using the Yoga Tune Up Balls (this deserves a post all to itself, it's that good). I'm chugging along in my training, and I am absolutely loving it. Joining this program is one of the best decisions I've ever made.

Friday, October 14, 2011

My Chosen 'Sutra' (Thread)

My homework due at training this evening is an essay about a specific Sutra or "thread" from the book "The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali." The whole of the work is broken up into four books which each contain different Sutras, essentially basic guides for life. We were to choose one Sutra and then write a reaction to it. Below is what I'll turn in tonight (minus the pics!).

Patanjali: The Man, The Myth, The Yogi

Book One, Sutra 33
“Maitri karuna muditopeksanam sukha duhka punyapuna visayanam bhavanatas citta prasadanam. By cultivating attitudes of friendliness toward the happy, compassion for the unhappy, delight in the virtuous, and disregard toward the wicked, the mind-stuff retains its undisturbed calmness.”

    This Sutra is echoed by the more modern teaching of The Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have done to you.” In the Sutra however, Patanjali breaks down this idea further by describing the four types of people one may encounter. The happy, unhappy, virtuous and the wicked must all be treated in certain ways by the yogi. By treating each type of person appropriately, the yogi may stay balanced and peaceful in her own mind while addressing those around her in a positive way. 

  By greeting the happy with friendliness, the yogi stays free from jealousy and negative speculation about the happy person. Friendliness and well wishes basically ensure those feelings are returned by the happy person, thus creating a positive experience for both parties. By offering friendliness the yogi also keeps at bay her own wickedness which otherwise would cloud the mind-stuff and destroy any chance for calmness and peace.

  When we offer compassion for the unhappy, we show that we are sympathetic to their feelings of unhappiness, despite the matters of why they have come to be unhappy in the first place. The yogi does not place blame or judgment on the unhappy, but offers empathy and mercy towards them. These actions certainly will not increase unhappiness, and may possibly serve to reverse the feelings of sorrow and elevate the unhappy to a better emotional position. By offering compassion, the yogi inadvertently invites compassion to be returned and keeps a stable, peaceful mind.  

    Virtuous people are often envied or resented for their luck and accomplishments. These feelings stem from inadequacies one feels about themselves. However by treating the virtuous with delight, as Patanjali suggests, the yogi may in turn learn to strengthen and grow the virtuous qualities already in their possession. In our modern culture, the virtuous are often coveted and despised by the jealous and envious. Some are not able to delight in the success of others, and must then focus on shortcomings of the virtuous and attempt to tear them down out of spite. This takes an enormous amount of mental and emotional energy, distracting the envious from their virtues, successes and delights. The mind cannot be peaceful and calm when it is poisoned by jealousy and malice. 

    This leads us to the final of the four types of people Patanjali describes in this Sutra, the wicked. According to Patanjali, the yogi is to treat the wicked with indifference. By doing this, the yogi does not give up her peace or clarity of mind. The wicked do not want assistance or guidance from the yogi, therefore it is best that they are treated with indifference. It is likely that at one time the yogi has acted wickedly, and that must be remembered. Hope the wicked will recover and become a better person in the future, rather than despising or engaging them. The wicked will never accept well intentioned advice therefore the yogi should not offer it lest she lose her own serenity.

    Sri Swami Satchidananda’s commentary on this Sutra asks the reader if she can think of another type of person not mentioned by Patanjali here. I offer the arrogant person as an additional character. Arrogance is a corrupted form of pride. The truly arrogant are most likely overcompensating for feelings of inferiority despite virtuous accomplishments. They are never pleased with themselves nor do they know how to maintain a serene mind. The arrogant attempt to make those around them believe an exaggerated version of reality. The arrogant however, are not truly proud in the pure and positive sense. They are liars who spread falsehoods to themselves and those around them in an attempt to quell internal conflict. I believe this type of person should be treated with a combination of compassion and indifference for all of the same reasons listed in the previous examples. I agree with Satchidananda that this Sutra in particular is an important one to keep handy in the mental rolodex. These ideas are basic, positive ways to treat others which in turn help the yogi to achieve peace, serenity and calmness within.        

Friday, October 7, 2011


Who knew Sanskrit was so sensual? Yesterday in Rebecca's 12:45 class I had a yoga victory. Never once had I attempted the pose Titibasana (Firefly), no teacher had ever woven it into a class. But Rebecca is not like teachers of yoga days gone by! She is a Titibasana wielding maniac! Ok, she's not actually a maniac. I mean, maybe she is, I only see her for a small portion of the week. The point is, she doesn't hesitate to include difficult asanas and seriously challenge her students.  

Rebecca: Probably not a maniac.

She lead up to the pose gracefully, including poses to warm up the shoulders and hips. From a wide legged forward fold, I placed my hands on two blocks, dropped my ass down, squeezed my shoulders in with my knees, pressed into the floor and to my absolute shock lifted my feet up off the floor. It wasn't perfect, but the basic form was there. Rebecca gave me a little shout out, a confidence injection that allowed me to straighten my legs just the tiniest bit more. In a moment, the realization that I'd just executed a tough pose that I had never attempted before seeped in and I rolled back and fell on my butt. VICTORY! What other things have I skipped over just because I figured there was no chance I could do them? Rebecca related a conversation she had with a friend that resulted in her being told, "You must take on the challenge delicately, but you must take it on." Nothing too earth shattering in this advice, save for the fact that we should adhere to it more often.

Firefly: Hopefully mine will look like this one day.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Find The Boney Landmark - Weekend Number Two

Weekend number two of Pure Yoga Teacher Training was all about adjustments. Learning how to properly hands-on adjust a student ensures their safety and success and is a vital component of being a competent instructor. Putting your hands all over sweaty strangers and pulling them around is awesome!

Don't you want to rub all up on this dude?

When adjusting however, it is imperative that you not be a completely skeevy creep. This means employing the "Barbie Hands" or "Crab Claw" technique. In other words, no heavy petting. Keep those hands stiff and use your palms to touch those sweaty hips! Go for bone! Find the boney landmark! It's all starting to get very sexxxy up in this yoga training. There are a number of adjustments to use on any number of poses. "Fawcett Shoulders," "Sacrum Press," and "Warrior Two Tango" are just a few on which your imagination should ruminate.
No boney landmarks here! Don't touch the butt!

It feels like the group is really starting to get to know each other better, even though we are only two weeks in. All of my fellow trainees are fantastic students and will make even better teachers, I'm sure. It's a lot of fun meeting new people who are all into yoga. Not many really care about the correct pronunciation of Parsvakonasana, or discussing their favorite Sutra. It's nice to dork out yoga style with other awesome folks.

"Yeah, Kat. It's pronounced PARSHVAKOHNAHSAHNAH!"

I am four classes into my 40 class requirement! I've been going full on for 9 days, so today I'm taking a recovery day. My triceps are killing me in the best way, and I've found ribs I was not even aware existed. The prospect of teaching an actual class is thrilling, I really can't wait! Next session (which is the weekend after this coming) we'll be turning in a typed out sequence for a 60 minute beginner class. I'm stoked to put it together and test it on my guinea pig house mate. I'm sure he will LOVE IT!

Rebecca gave us this lovely piece about how yoga fits into any lifestyle, at any time and does not take anything from you, but gives. I think it's as beautiful as she is.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Week One, Day 3 Recap

At the start of the session on Sunday, Rebecca had us go around the room and offer three words about how we were feeling about ourselves and the program. I began Sunday: Optimistic! Excited! Energized! By the time I crawled into bed around 10:30 I was: Whiny. Zombified. Overtired.
It was a tough but awesome Day Three.

We spent most of the first half of the day discussing how to arrange your class sequence around a specific intention. So, if you set an intention of courage, you might sequence in balancing poses since it requires some courage to execute them without down dogging your face into the floor, bleeding out your nose, and needing a medic to whisk your broken ass away from class, never to show your shamed, shattered face again.

We also talked about keeping students safe in class and the importance of helping the student feel successful.

We discussed how to lead up to different "Peak Poses" (the tougher ones) in a sequence so that the flow accommodates the tough pose, and prepares the student strength-wise for what is coming next. Then someone mentioned the "Bird of Paradise." Well what in the world is that pose I asked? A couple of my fellow trainees jumped right up to demonstrate this:
Basically, you move from a side angle, to a full bind, and then, oh la di dah you just raise up the bound leg over your head with the hands still bound. NO BIGGIE. Try it. Let me know how it goes. I was able to get my leg up about waist high before bursting out laughing. Then we broke into groups and came up with our own short sequence leading to a peak pose. Yay! First official sequence written!

At lunch time I realized that I need to get some more variety into my food over the weekend. I basically spent three days eating home made trail mix which, while delicious and nutritious, makes my tummy not so happy. No one wants peanut barf on their yoga mat.
When I got home I started transcribing the seemingly endless pages of notes I'd once again taken, got up to the "Bird of Paradise" bit and basically had a teensy weensy ever so small mental breakdown. I watched some Battlestar Galactica and went to sleep.
Think she does yoga?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Week One, Day 2 Recap

Today I took notes.
 and lots,

of notes. As the apprentice, (Insert Donald Trump Joke Here) part of my job is to diligently take notes during class, and transcribe them later to be circulated to the group. Thus, I posses an epic trifecta of learning. First I listen to the information being taught, then I write it down, and lastly I re-read and type it into a Word Document. Choose which learning style you like most. I get all three. Which incidentally was something we learned about today. So I guess I am an audial, tactile AND visual learner. When I was younger I believe it was called ADD.

Most importantly though, I TAUGHT MY FIRST SEQUENCE TODAY! Ah yes, the lovely and vital Sun Salutation A. I'm not quite off book yet, due to lack of Sanskrit memorization, but it is a fantastic feeling to have my first instructional experience completed. As a group, we cycled through Sun A about fifteen times, instructed first by the two teachers, and then by each student chosen at random by Marc.

Throughout class we demonstrated and dissected twenty poses, (I got to demonstrate Down Dog, and Pyramid Pose) offering suggestions of modifications and adjustments. I won't lie, learning the Sanskrit is tough business. There are Danda's and Uttana's and Bhujanga's! Parsva's sound like Parshva's and Shiv sounds are Shav's! I don't know if I'm Virabhadrassana-ing or shiving someone. Am I preparing myself for unifying serenity or prison fights?

During lunch break a few of us walked to Downtown Crossing by way of new Ryan Reynolds movie set. Yeah, no big deal, we just hung out and watched them film a car chase for a minute before we were allowed to cross the street. Then at DTXing one of my fellow students who doesn't live in the city gave a bum two bucks when he begged her as she was getting change back from lunch. He explained he was starving and needed food. She gave him a dollar, and then he said well how about two dollars, so she forked it over. He immediately turned around to the convenience stand beside us and purchased a two dollar scratch ticket. Another concept we discussed today was balance and wholeness. With abundance, there is also barrenness. With innocence, must also come depravity. It was jarring to see it so closely juxtaposed within such a short time-frame.

To end practice Rebecca had us each choose a colorful card from a deck she offered up to the group. She told us we would pull the card that we needed to have, that we should reflect on it, and then bring it back tomorrow. My card is about forgiveness.  
Jeez is she using The Force on us or what? This is something I've been thinking about all summer long. As humans, we sometimes put ourselves through a lot of needless crap in order to...Well, honestly I'm not sure why we do it. We carry other peoples bullshit drama around, and allow ourselves to be marginalized by those that aren't even deserving of our time. Often, we feel there isn't much we can do to change things, if those involved are family, friends, or coworkers for example. Forgiving those who treat us poorly, and forgiving ourselves for allowing ourselves to be treated poorly may not change the treatment, but it can change our outlook and reactions to it. Am I getting too airy fairy here? Maybe I should crack a beer or something. For realz though, I'm finished worrying about the perceptions of others. If someone is treating me like I am an asshole, it is probably because they themselves are assholes. I mean, I'm pretty sure I'm an awesome person and not someone of the asshole persuasion. So, that is their deal. Negativity is no longer my cross to bear. That door is closed. That door is closed because I took a chance and chose to step through it while it was open. And I think, for me, that is what this whole thing is all about.
There was a beautiful sunset tonight.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Week One, Day 1 Recap

Last night we kicked off training with a light meditation, and basically a meet and greet. There are 13 of us in the group, all ladies plus the two instructors Rebecca and Marc. It's already evident that there are some amazing people here. Lots of us are on a career change path, leaving office jobs from all sectors. There is a wide range of ages, personalities and yoga skill levels which is refreshing. Nothing about the group is stereotypical. (Save for the fact that it's all female maybe)

Today will begin more of the in depth training and teaching now that the logistical stuff is out of the way. This program is no joke! Each student is required to complete an additional 40 hours of class time outside of the intensive weekend training sessions. The 40 hours is broken down into three components; 20 hours of taking a yoga class, 10 hours of observing and taking notes in classes, and 10 hours of assisting a student partner in a class. Looks like we will all be getting to know each other pretty well!

The Training Manual!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Zentrification Begins

Today I begin a ten week training program through Pure Yoga teacher training at the Equinox club in downtown Boston.  I've been practicing yoga for about four years now but only recently started a more intensive practice. When the opportunity presented itself to join a teacher training program, I went for it. I've joined as an "Apprentice" rather than just a straight up trainee, this means I work closer with the instructors, demonstrate poses in class, and help with set up and clean up of the room. In exchange for extra work, I pay half the tuition for the program. Sweet deal!

While I'm super excited to start, I really don't know what to expect. Will the trainees want to go for a beer to rehash class? Or will it be more of a chia seed, spirulina crowd, horrified by my pizza eating, cocktail having ways? It sort of feels like a "first day of school" for me. Will I be the oldest in the class? The youngest? Biggest? Smallest? Will they all be more advanced than me? Will I be able to typecast everyone just like in high school? WHAT WILL HAPPEN ZOMG!
Look it's me! JK, this is TOTALLY not me! (yet...?)

If I'm not too sore to type, I'll let you know all the details from now until just before Christmas.
~Yours in Comfy Yoga Clothes