Sunday, January 31, 2010


Moving together/Kripalu

Yoga teacher training gives the student the unique opportunity to become in sync with a group of people. The energy of the class can be powerful and help elevate the practice to a higher level. I clearly remember the feeling of disconnection during my first class back from kripalu yoga teacher training. Time passed, I found connection with the students I teach, and sometimes the people who regularly take class in the studio where I practice. Jenna Hussey used to say at the end of every class, " Its really you, you bring it, you make it happen." The studio where I attend can be a crowded experience with everyone jockeying for a few inches of space. Once we've settled in and get going, things usually move along and we all have a nice practice. But every once in a while when your in the right place at the right time it's magic. Saturday the students to my left and right really made it happen. To my left was a woman whose perfect breathing rhythm allowed me to breath fully and in synch with the movement of the practice. To my right was a woman who through her relaxation filled every asana to its full capacity. Her ability to enjoy and let go allowed me to do the same. I experienced a complete class and left feeling connected and satisfied. Thank you to the two lovely ladies in class who made it happen, your gift did not go unnoticed.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Yoga Teacher Training

Yoga Instructor Randal Williams giving a demonstration
This a photo of one of my instructors giving a teaching clinic on shoulder stand with variations and modifications during my yoga teacher training at Kripalu. What a fantastic opportunity! When I think about my teacher training I get all warm and nostalgic but in reality I am sure on this day ( and many others) what I was really thinking was, " I wonder what's for lunch?" " Ah my back hurts from sitting on the floor for so many hours." " oh my massage appointment is tomorrow, thank God!"
Recently a dear friend of mine wrote to say she had just entered a yoga teacher training and did I have any advice for her. I excitedly replied with congratulations and told her to just take it in she would get what she needed out of it and how fantastic she was doing this. Then I got to thinking a little about my experience in teacher training I realized there is definitely some practical advice we can all give to people about to enter a training. I wrote back with a list:
  • Get massages ( as prevention to muscle injury and relief from overstretched achy muscles)
  • I liked the tiger balm pain relieving patch for achy muscles but anything similar can be really helpful.
  • Drink twice the water you normally would every day. ( it will help flush the toxins out of your system and keep your joints fluid)
  • Go on a vitamin regime I used C, D and E ( talk to your holistic practitioner in the health food store) you will need this as a lot of toxins are flushing from your system and you are using more than the usual amount of minerals. Things tend to get a little depleted.
  • At least once in the practice there is something that really hurts. Do get it checked out but usually it's an old injury coming to the surface. By the end of someones training the injury usually is gone and never comes back.
  • Pace yourself. Listen to your body.
  • Go for an acupuncture treatment when possible
  • Eat mindfully and holistically
  • If you can get in a sauna or hot tub, do this as often as possible for your muscles ( I did every day in my first training)
  • Yoga teacher training can bring a lot of emotions to the surface. This is part of the process and should be viewed from a non judgemental point of view.
  • Expect an extraordinary amount of conversation concerning bowels and gastrointestinal issues. one word, Metamucil.
  • Coconut water is an excellent replacement for potassium and minerals.

I tried a google search but only found training schedules, prerequisite readings or articles on making a living as a full time yoga teacher. I couldn't find any suggestions for surviving the actual training. I'm surprised, surely someone would have advice for the yogi in training?

I would love to hear from you, what advice can you give my friend, or others embarking on this experience?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Winter Day

Sometimes a long winter day is just the needed medicine. A walk in the woods and a cup of hot chocolate make everything seem perfectly fine. In between I have been doing some much needed organization. Very boring things I've put off far too long. With much inner resistance I have finally resigned to, "just do it and get on with life!" Feels good to have some of it behind me and a restorative yoga class to look forward to this evening.

Winter, a lingering season, is a time to gather golden moments,
embark upon a sentimental journey, and enjoy every idle hour.

- John Boswell

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Breath Baby, just breath

I haven't been around much lately. I've been really busy, up at the crack of dawn and working till I go to sleep or collapse. It's been hectic and I'm a little fried around the edges. Basically I got hammered with overflow work that wasn't possible to complete in December. I'm finally over the mountain with just a small hump to jump. I can finally begin to slow down and breath for a bit. Today I got a big reminder why breath is so overwhelming restorative and medicinal. My day started off with an early morning appointment with my academic advisor. I had a small window of opportunity to get what I needed done. I am waiting, waiting, waiting and my advisor is no where to be found. Finally a half hour later I'm frantically filling out paperwork and running out the door. I have quite a bit to do and today I have an unforgiving schedule. As I double check what I need for my lectures I can't find something I know I packed the night before. I am looking everywhere, becoming more panicked by the moment. The clock is ticking and in order to be on time to teach my classes I needed to leave ten minutes ago. I still can't find what I need. I stop breathing, completely snap and begin screaming while I dump my work bag on the floor tearing through unable to find what I need. I run out the door and once in the car I see it on the floor of the car. No time to curse, I gun the car into motion and drive entirely too fast. Almost there, I'm looking for a parking place which takes an inordinate amount of time. After slamming the car into park I take off running as fast as I can in my heals till I arrive at the class where I am indeed slightly late. With barely an introduction I begin my lecture, hardly taking a breath until I actually get to the segment where I speak about the medicinal qualities of breath exercises. I automatically take a long breath and instantly feel better. I lead the class through a sample of breath exercises and decide I will do the breath work as well. We all begin and within a few minutes I feel a rush of calm not only come over me but the entire class. When we end there is a lovely silent moment. Wow what a powerful message....
Wishing everyone peace, namaste and deep lovely breaths.

Sunday, January 3, 2010


Beautiful Snow
Oh! the snow, the beautiful snow,
Filling the sky and earth below,
Over the housetops, over the street,
Over the heads of the people you meet.
Skimming along.
John Whitaker Watson