Travels

December 23, 2010

 

Backpack Travel
Asa & Channing at the Tower of Pisa
Photo: Lindyy
, through a Creative Commons Attribution License

Prompt: Travel. How did you travel in 2010? How and/or where would you like to travel next year?

My desires to travel, beyond going to Mexico and other states in the US, has been growing evermore. Paul and I have had the intention to go abroad before we have children since we were first dating. It seems like the logical thing to do. I want to see other parts of the world and neither of us are ready or willing to buy a house anytime soon with the way our market is. The travel part just hasn’t happened quite yet, we’ve gotten pretty heavy into working the past few years, but in the past few months we have been talking more about making some real plans, and will hopefully be doing something really neat after our wedding in August. Originally we thought it would be nice to go to Spain for a while and travel around Europe for our honeymoon, but it has gotten so expensive over there that we kind of decided to look into somethhing more reasonable. Also, Paul has been to Spain, and even though it would be wonderful regardless, I also think it would be cool if we went somewhere neither of us had been before. Well, just in the past few weeks, an amazing opportunity has arisen and it seems like the stars may be lining up for us to do some serious traveling. I am very very excited. Nothing is set in stone, but if it all works out we may be going to Hawaii for our honeymoon, then heading to New Zealand for 5 months to WWOOF on a farm or retreat, come back for Christmas 2011, and then actually move to Singapore for 2 years.

We also have the opportunity to work with our good friends Alma Desnuda in the Bay Area to help promote their amazing music. Paul and I both have talked a lot about this, and they have talked to us about it before. We are still talking about the details, but it may happen, and then we could go to New Zealand in the Spring of 2012.

As for this year, in July, Paul and I drove up to Northstar for Wanderlust. It wasn’t a super far away trip, but was great. I also went up to Oregon to visit my parents in August for a few days. Other than that, I just worked a lot this year.

Try

December 18, 2010

Prompt:What do you want to try next year? Is there something you wanted to try in 2010? What happened when you did / didn’t go for it?

1. I want to become a yoga teacher, and teach 2-3 classes a week by 2012. This was my New Years Resolution the last 3 Years, and I finally did it. Yay me!

2. I also want to stay with my morning meditation practice. I have been working on this, and I feel like I have a pretty good head start to make this one happen as well.

3. I want to spend more time practicing Yoga, and not just asana, but additionally the Yoga in my daily life, in my driving, at the grocery store, with my fiance, and at work. I want to try keeping the yamas and niyamas engraved in my mind, and keep reading spiritual text to stay inspired.

4. I want to try to spend more time with my brother and his fiance.

5. I want to try spending more time focusing on myself instead of on what others are doing- Try to be less caught up in the drama around me, and choose to stay focused on what I am doing, finding ishvara pranidhana in my action, intention and speech.

6. I want to try creating a ritual for my yoga practice to do each day.

7. I want to try doing one thing at a time and finishing these things before moving onto another thing.

8. I want to try letting go of my need to ‘hurry up and get there’- whether that’s Friday, Summer, the store, or simply to the next pose. I want to try being in the moment more, and being more mindful.

Without in 2011

December 18, 2010

By David Plant

Prompt:What can I do without in 2011?

My teacher has been posting these Prompts that are just wonderful little ways to inspire writing. My friend was mentioning this particular prompt in class today and it stuck with me. Usually we are asked what we want for Christmas, and what we want in the New Year, but honestly simplicity is a beautiful thing. This is what I have been pondering. It all seems so normal, but undoubtedly overused in 2010 by me.

My List of the 12 Things I Can Live Without In 2011
1. Negativity
2. Excuses to not do things that are good for me
3. Procrastination- especially thinking I will do it later…I rarely did!
4. Car Trouble
5. Forgetfulness
6. Limiting thoughts/actions/what I think I know
7. Back Pain, Knee Pain, and Headaches
8. Drama at work
9. The need to give advice
10. Confusion
11. Clutter-in my head, in my classroom, in my house
12. Impatience

Trust the Process

December 18, 2010

After Day 1 of our last 3 days of Teacher Training, a quiet voice inside is saying these words to me. Don’t hurry! Trust the Process! I had taken this photo of a card a while back to remind myself then.

During our Group Teach class tonight, I noticed that I wasn’t as scared as I have been preparing to be. What’s funny is I totally messed up and almost repeated one side thinking we hadn’t done it, but we had. I remembered a time when one my teachers did this, and they laughed it off, so I did too, and people smiled. I was ok. I felt human, and I actually made a joke.I was still red in the face, but that was the mildest side effect of teach-fright I have had so far.

I also noticed that I am going to have so much time to prepare before my classes in the future. The classes we have been teaching are put together in a mere 40 minutes, divided up, and we have very little time to prepare before students begin showing up. I can’t imagine doing anything like that in the future, and that is also comforting because I feel like if I can do that, I can do anything.

Ahhh, as I sit here drinking my hot cocoa, I am getting excited about tomorrow. I am sad about this being the end, but I know inside that its really only the beginning.

What are your thoughts on teaching now versus when you started this course?

I will teach someday, I know that. I am just not sure when I will be ready to teach. I feel like I should be asking some deeper questions, but I honestly don’t know what to ask other than, what could work on most to become a stronger teacher/student? Right now I feel like I have barely had any time to let all this stuff sink in even over the course of 5 months. It’s a lifetime of information, and I feel like the only way to ingest it is to actually go over it again, and start applying what I have learned to my own practice along with beginning to teach friends. I am at a place in my life right now where I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, I have visions of what I will become, but I am trying to balance that with accepting the beginners mind.

After Havi came, I felt like a million bucks. I came home with a smile, thinking “I can do anything.” I thought everything was going to fall into place and I was going to remember all the wonderful things I have learned in training, and if I didn’t I would still be ok. I was thinking “Me and all my fears, we are going to be ok?”. I had a nice afterglow that lasted about 20 minutes till I talked about it with someone who flattened me out and gave me a taste of logic-pie. As much as I know he is right about a lot, (I need to know my poses back and forth, I need to be able to be clear, and I need to be able to recall information and not stutter through a class), but to me it’s more about him having faith in me, and I in myself. That’s what got me the most. I felt like squashed of my confidence, since its in such a fragile state. Maybe I am the kind of girl that needs some sugar coating to get me through the darker moments. Right now I need a lot of encouragement and I guess I am expecting it, and getting the opposite is painful. I still have a lot of fear in my throat, and it’s coming and going in waves. On one hand I want to accept it because that’s apart of me, but I want to change it and get better. This goes all the way back to lovingkindness- how can I accept, but still change?

In the same article, Mary talks about a few things that really opened my eyes. She says to ‘Wait until you feel ready(whenever that is???)…’I would recommend assisting or following a respected teacher around for a couple of years’(I think-a couple of years?holy shit! That’s a great idea, I would love to continue to assist after this course. ).”

I don’t want to be another teacher that ‘does more harm than good’. And right now, I wish I had more time to dedicate to this, but I am fighting with the reality that I have a pretty full life. I am doing my best, but I don’t know if it’s possible for me to work full time as a teacher and become a yoga teacher. How do people do that?? I want to say that I can, but this has been the most challenging year of my life! And I am so tired.

I am thinking that I will be teaching friends for a while right now, and hopefully assisting when I can. In my heart I know that this will take more time than I had originally imagined, and that I need to keep working at it, and stay in my practice. I have never been so immersed in something before. I have never loved a subject more than this before. Yoga has taught me so much about my life, and I know I am never going to be ‘done’. I can’t imagine not being teacher, or letting go of the practice, especially all the yamas and niyamas.

I realize that my biggest obstacle are the limitations I put on myself. I can come up with so many excuses, so many victimizing thoughts, but I notice them now. I see clearly what I am doing. I forget which article it was in, but in this last packet of articles someone wrote about how they still had these ‘issues’ come up in their behavior, but the difference was that now they noticed it. That’s the first step, the being aware, right? So I am going to keep taking those steps, and hopefully one day (sooner than later, I hope), I will be ready!

More on Restorative Poses

December 16, 2010

Since we are so big on the Restorative Practice, and we all know how beneficial it is to allow the body to completely relax, I thought I would share a wonderful blog I came across. There are pictures and descriptions to get your Restorative Practice down and chilling.
Do Restorative Yoga2010_10_01_archive.html

Surrender

December 9, 2010

What, most simply, can you surrender to this week?

I am surrendering to the things I have no control over. Lately, I have not been very impeccable with the words that come through my lips. I feel like I have been complaining a lot about this and that- about work, and being too busy, that I am creating misery in my life by doing this. It’s not very yogic of me, to say the least.
There’s a HUGE lack of yamas and tapas here.

I read in a recent article in Yoga Journal a little inspiration in this direction as well. “Shift your perspective”, advises Sue Frederick, the author of Dancing at Your Desk: A Metaphysical Guide to Job Happiness and Brilliant Day: 7 Quick Solutions to Turn Your Day Around. “Focusing on problems brings you to the low end of your energy continuum,” explains the longtime meditator. “Start thinking about solutions, and your energy shifts.””
In this article she explains the ways meditation can truly help the way you feel at work too, and meditating is what I intend to do to help make this change. I’ve been working up to 3 sits per week, but I’m in a place now where I am doing it every morning before my yoga practice. I’ve even been sneaking in my pranayama practice on my lunch break.

I know for a fact that I have been wasting my sacred energy on things out of my control, and that is possibly one of the reasons I am so tired and quite honestly, so grumpy some times. It occurred to me when I was talking with Paul the other night, I was rehearsing the same old frustration at work with him, when he kindly, and wisely asked me if there was any way I could focus on the good things at work instead of the bad.(I have thought of this, but hearing him say it to me, at that moment, in this sweet way, helped tremendously). He also asked if what was happening really had all that much to do with me and my work, or if I could allow it to just be there, and again, focus on the positive stuff. I had previously told him that the “crap” i was putting up with was about 10% of my experience, but i was allowing it to override all the sweet stuff the kids do, and put me in a bad mood. He’s so right. There is a lot of stuff I love about my job. It was such a refreshing reminder.

So, my intention is to let go or surrender to the things I have no control over, and put my focus on what is good, or what I like and enjoy instead of holding on to the things others do like they are mine to carry around. This really just makes me laugh to think about all the time I have been wasting mulling over, talking about, and wrapping myself up in these stories about why it’s soooo bad. I am letting go of the stories I have made. Ive had my gloves on, and I’ve been dueling with someone elses reality. How silly!

Crazy Wackiness

December 7, 2010

This weekend I had the joy of meeting, and playing with, a talented yogi named Havi. She is from Portland where she has a studio called the Playground. From her description, it’s a funky space for creative madness and serenity, and they also have ‘pirate monkey meditation cushions’ (something she seemed very excited about). Along with her sidekicks (I forget all their names, but she had a purple puppet, a magnetic white dog-Shmurffle, and a duck-Selma), she helped us mess with our patterns by teaching us a crazy-cool dance called Shiva Nata. Shiva Nata dancing involves strategic flailing of body parts in all kinds of directions. Voluntary mental-F$#@%ing with. Surprisingly, I was pretty relaxed during these brain/body challenging array of movements; I had a lot of fun. But I don’t know if that’s a good thing. I remember thinking that I wasn’t going to worry if I messed up, and that it was better to not think too much. I really liked having permission to be messy, and non-judgemental about it.

Afterwards we had made some time to create space for the fears surrounding becoming an actual teacher, and did lots of ‘shmurfling’. Some of my fears were: not being ready spiritually/mentally/physically, forgetting everything I have learned and not being able to verbalize it to my students, and not making enough money to quit my full time job and teach(which is what I want to be able to do).

Havi not only created a safe space for my fears, as not to make me feel like they weren’t valid, but built a radical fort around them, and gave us some unique and  fun business ideas. I left feeling like I was let out of my container or cage, but with a better understanding of what lies within it…and what I can do with out it(without my fears, that is.). I was able to make room for the new patterns I have been creating thus far in the program, and was able to see how I have been growing. It was refreshing, to say the least.

I sang silly made up songs the whole way home.

I was able to notice the patterns that I have, and form some goals to move forwards.

My goals from here on out:

1. Accept my fears for what they are, give them a safe place to be (like a sandbox or a plush room full of tea and pillows), and give myself permission to be separate from them so I can experiment what it’s like without them.

2. Truly find time each day for my meditation practice-No matter what. Talk with P about my goal to so he can help me create the space I need in our small apartment.

3. Less judgement-Be OK with my process, and take baby steps each day by staying involved at the studio, reading the handouts again, and making time each day to be grateful for this path I am on, the body I have.

4. Practice Mindfulness by doing one thing at a time. When I feel the need to change directions mid-work, create a habit of stating what I am doing and why I want to finish before moving on.

Yay for crazy wackiness and Havi! You are welcome in my neck of the woods anytime.

Restoration

November 9, 2010

In Sunday’s Teacher Training we discussed and got to experience a restorative practice. Different to what one might expect from a typical yoga class. These poses are what you might consider to be the creme de la creme of yoga.

For each pose you need to set up a slew of different props, and about 10-15 minutes for each pose. I heard somewhere that Restorative yoga is kind of like the dessert of yoga poses, if you compared yoga to food.  I certainly love a good workout, and this type of practice can seem like the opposite, but the benefits are showing to be worth it. The word on the mat is that a practice like this incorporated into your day can help calm your nerves, recharge your batteries, and help restore balance in your body; that’s what I call ‘the cherry on top’.

Now all the props did seem a little intimidating, but the pay off is so worth the work. The more supported and comfortable the body is, the more relaxed and rejuvinated the outcome will be. This is where bigger can be better, when it comes to the amount of blankets and pillows you set up. It’s all about ‘doing nothing’. And don’t be fooled, these may look easy, but it can take some time to melt into stillness, and let your mind become calm and rested as well. With practice, I have read, it becomes easier to get there, and as with any other pose breathing is always essential.

So, our homework for this evening was to do a restorative pose of our choice when we got home. In our sweet class today, we were given some wonderful ideas for doing some of these yummy poses. I was able to experience on where I laid upon 4 bolsters, used about 10 blankets or so, an eye pillow and maybe something else, I was under it all in bliss. There were a few adjustments here and there to make sure my hands were fully supported, and I have to say I felt like a “Queen”-everyone said I looked like one.

Even though I only stayed there for maybe 10 minutes and felt some relief, Michelle says that when these are done for 15-30 minutes they are said to be better for you than napping, resting, and even sleeping. Better, in the sense, that they allow the body’s nervous system to completely relax when there is absolutely no effort. In class we used zafus, blocks, bolsters, eye pillows and all the blankets in the studio. I would love to stock up on a few props for myself.

I decided to set up my fiance first, and I had a well up of joy while giving him this love and care. It felt really good to provide him with some restoration since he is such a busy man, and rarely takes time to do thing to reboot. So, the pose I chose was Upavista on a chair (reclined legs up on a chair). I busted out every pillow in the house, hunted down the blankets, and cozied him up on one of our IKEA Poang chairs. It was perfect because it was already cushioned. I supported all his joints, even used t-shirts to support his wrists, and after I got him all settled after a few adjustments I gave him a little face massage with a little lavendar oil. I gently placed a sarong over his eyes, and within 7 minutes, while I was settling into my own Upavista on the couch next to him, he started to snore. I took it as his way of saying “This is just what I needed”. He woke up 15 minutes later and said he needed to go to bed cause he felt like he was going to start snoring, and might fal asleep. He had no idea he was already.

I enjoyed my poses. I stayed for about 10 minutes in my original set up, and I noticed my mind was wandering a lot. I kept thinking about class that night, and then how much time I had been in the pose. I was wondering if it was working whether or not my mind was relaxed. I ended up getting up after 10 minutes to brush my teeth and wash my face, and then came back and did it again in the spot I had set up for Paul. I was able to really relax into it, and stayed for about 15 minutes more there. I felt calm, my mind was settled. I was very comfortable doing nothing. I was ready for bed after that. I couldn’t tell if anything else was happening on a nervous system level, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

I plan on incorporating a restorative pose into my regular home practice now. Thanks for the cool assignment Michelle.

Just a cute note-It has taken me 2 days to edit and write this post, and last night (Monday), Paul asked before we went to bed if I would set him up in the pose again. I though that was great he enjoyed it so much.

Ayurveda

November 6, 2010

Today listening to Tracy talk about Ayurveda was awesome. I really love learning about stuff like this. I seriously have like 3 books about it on the shelf, but the time I make to read it is slim. I just need to take classes instead of thinking that “one day” i will have the time.
I look forward to putting some of the Ayurveda practice to practice.

Some things I learned tonight that I want to start doing to balance myself:
-Try eating meat once a day- co-op grass fed meat- just to see if it makes a difference in my mind and body.
-Buy some Royal Jelly to take on lunch breaks to combat the tiredness I feel midday
-Make green drinks with Vita Mineral Green for lunch with a cheese, avocado, tomato and mayo sandwich.
-Feel good about drinking my glass of red wine, or dark beer at night- I don’t need to feel guilty about this.
-Oil up- put oil in my smoothie, on my face at night (buy sesame oil), and on my joints every day
-Start thinking about balance oppose to finding ‘the perfect this, or the ideal that’. Can I sit with what is and be a peace? True peace comes from within, not in the outer. I like how she said “There could be bombs going off behind me, and all I have is water to drink, and I am still the same inside- at peace.
-Meditate everyday-no excuses
-Stay warm in the morning with my practice-make sure I am warm
-Put warm stuff in my salad like rice, pepper flakes, warm pears
-Cook pears and apples
-Seated supported Badokanasana during naps
Things to consider
-Like attract like- hot day plus hot yoga equals hotter- hot pitta isnt balanced
Cold salad on a cold day equals cold vata- cold vata is unbalanced
This can be applied to anything…the season, the tempurature, the body, the dosha
How do I know this is a legit practice?
I trust Michelle. I trusted Tracy, even though I only just met her. She seemed knowledgeable and sweet.

Traci spoke of her teacher who had been passed down this tradition of Ayurveda through 700 years. Pretty amazing if you ask me, but if you think about traditions, and how they have held up in our culture…Grandma Betty and the almond in the pudding…or putting up a christmas tree, eating turkey on Thanksgiving, opening presents on Christmas and Birthdays, putting out stockings on Christmas Eve, drinking egg nog, making certain recipes like fruit cake, wearing wedding bands, or even wearing white to a wedding..these too are traditions passed down through generations, so I don’t think its unfathomable that this would be possible. Im just saying that to combat the naysayers out there thinking…”there is no way”

How could you pose this idea of health to someone with no knowledge on the subject?
Ayurveda is recognized by the world health organization as the longest continually practiced form of health care.
It’s a 5000 year old “science of life”.
it encompasses all areas of life and is the art of living in harmony with nature.
Ayurveda is focused solely on balancing the doshas, named vata, pitta and kapha, to create health and vitality through the use of lifestyle changes, dietary changes and panchakarma- purifyication of the body. Ayurvedic medicine encompasses herbs, natural remedies, massage and various forms of body care aimed at bringing balance to body, mind and spirit. Ayurveda does not rule out western medicine entirely, but does focus on natural remedies. Ayurveda believes that all forms of healing have value.
The different doshas depend on your energy levels, your body, skin and hair type, your cravings, and the tendencies you have in work, sleep and mobility. These tend to change throughout our life, but also stay the same. The goal of Ayurveda is to balance and be aware of how your body reacts to certain foods, times of day, seasons, and situations. The goal is balance, not perfection.