spiritual self-exploration through health, fitness, and nutrition

Posts tagged ‘inspiration’

How Can I Teach Yoga Starting Today?

Throughout my years of growing up and education, I never pictured myself becoming a teacher. I didn’t think I had the right qualities. But this past year, I had an epiphany. I recognized my love for yoga deepen during a tough time in my life…and this inspiration was enough to lead me to the teacher training program in San Diego. With each workshop, class observation, class participation, I delve deeper into my inner self and my confidence to share this passion grows substantially.

I’ve found that it starts with baby steps. Teaching aloud as I do my home practice. Practice teaching with my fellow students and my mentor. Even visualizing myself teaching without actually saying anything aloud. These small scale practice teaches build a foundation of confidence that will help prepare me for my first full class (teacher training final) which I’ll teach on December 7th. I’ve also found myself offering some informal advice to friends and family with physical ailments…e.g. exercises to help strengthen the muscles around the knee or ankle joints. These small words of wisdom that I’ve learned through teacher training are already resonating within me, and I’m already sharing that wisdom with others.

So, it’s not really the question of “how” I can teach today. I’ve already explored methods without even realizing.

It’s the question of: what more can I do to inspire others? And that evolves each and every day ๐Ÿ™‚

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Detox Days 2 and 3

Day 2 was MUCH easier than the first day, mainly because I knew what to expect regarding my emotions and energy levels. I continued to keep it low key with physical activity, but increased my water intake which helped prevent headaches. I also cooked myself some delicious oven roasted chicken breast for my protein dinner (only meal of the day), which I chopped up and ate over a bed of lettuce. I rarely pray before eating, but this was definitely one of those times I spent at least a couple minutes in prayer and gratitude. Honoring one’s own body can sometimes be a difficult task, but yield excellent and rewarding results. My one annoying pimple cleared up overnight. I somehow felt more radiant. I even kept my willpower (and energy) up after being talked into going to a beautiful rooftop lounge in downtown San Diego with 3 girlfriends, stuck to soda water with lemon/lime…and had a blast ๐Ÿ™‚

The last day was easiest of the three (but by no meansย easy), and found myself needing a protein bar midway through the day while I was in teacher training workshop. The juice was hard to down hourly, mostly because the only “flavor” I could really relate with was the lime. I finished the day with some chicken and a huge smile.

This weekend’s workshop was by far one of my favorites. Friday was Meditation I, Saturday was Anatomy I and Sequencing I, and Sunday was Philosophy I and II. On Sunday, I had a personal breakthrough in meditation where I learned to really connect with my inner, true self and put all my focus on one object/feeling. During lecture, I learned a lot about the Upanishads and Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras which brought me much inspiration and I found myself reading a lot about non-attachment through the teachings of Pema Chodron. It’s now time for me to be thinking about the level and theme for my final class. Came up with a few initial ideas last night that I need to meditate on. Also saw this incredible TED Talk last night on body language and how it shapes who we are. It helped me realize that all this self-talk about how I’m not sure if I can be a good teacher…is just talk. I do belong in this program and I know I will succeed. Just need to “fake it til I make it” ๐Ÿ™‚

Day 2 Detox Dinner

Out with the girls Friday night
Out with the girls Friday night

 

Weekend 2: Standing, Restorative, Pranayama

I know I’m a bit late on this one, but better late than never..! We’ve been on a 2-weekend hiatus that I mostly spent celebrating my birthday week with my incredible boyfriend who flew all the way from MD to spend time with me on our gorgeous oceanfront hotel room in Pacific Beach. We did everything from attending a Padres game, to hiking at Torrey Pines, to visiting the San Diego Zoo…not to mention ate at some delicious, exotic restaurants! Bonus: he attending yoga classes with me every morning. I’m a lucky lady ๐Ÿ™‚

The second workshop weekend, while less physically intensive, was no less challenging than Weekend 1. We spent Saturday learning the first set of standing postures, and Sunday was restorative and Pranayama (breathing). The restorative class further affirmed my love for that style, and I am thrilled that my mentor, Jackie, specializes in restorative. Because we only had time to learn 3 restorative postures, I am inclined to get further training in this specific area after I’m done at Pilgrimage. Something for the future, perhaps? Restorative poses are a place of rest and inner calm, grounding, cooling and rejuvenation. These poses promote deep relaxation and letting go. They calm the mind/body/spirit, helping to relieve stress and fatigue. They also help relieve anxiety, depression, insomnia and headaches.ย 

On another note, who knew breathing technique would be so (for lack of a better word)ย complicated?ย Ujjayi Pranayama is the foundation of proper yogic breathing. Ujjayi helps improve life force energy. It is said that life is measured by the number of breaths we take; thus, lengthening the breath will lengthen our life span. Ujjayi improves concentration and instills a meditative quality that maintains the rhythm of our personal practice. During our teacher-led Ujjayi exercises, I felt a bit of anxiety as a result of timing my inhales and exhales, but found this anxiety to quickly dissolve when I learned that half the class was experiencing the same thing! We were advised to stay in Stage 1 and practice that for up to 3 months until we were fully comfortable to progress to Stages 2 through 4.

Outside of workshops, I found myself embarking on a 14-day challenge (which Iย thinkย I completed..? more on this later) and I FINALLY attended “yoga church” this past Sunday with Jen P. What an experience yoga church was! I was surrounded by some seasoned professionals, and while I found this to be inspiring, it was one of the most challenging classes I’ve ever taken. Even moreso than Bikram. I could try and explain what was involved–from drumming to chanting to writing our intentions down to add to an ‘altar’–but I could not do justice for what the actual experience was like. You just have to try it at least once ๐Ÿ™‚

Headed to a meditation class in an hour, need it more than ever! Namaste โค

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Day 8: Exhaustion and Comedy

Two nights ago I got about 4 hours of continuously interrupted sleep (stupid me drank a cappuccino at dinner), and was yawning all day until I went to class. Last night – a deep, deep 8 hours of amazing sleep. Only to be tired and yawning all day today! I am convinced that this new daily routine is starting to catch up to me.

We had a beautiful one inch of snowfall late this morning, and everybody in my team at work left to go home to either (a) avoid worse road conditions or (b) pick their kids up from early dismissal. My ass stayed put because I knew I had to make my after-work 6pm class… how else was I going to thaw out my frosty toes? ๐Ÿ˜‰

I experienced a new teacher today, Francisco. This guy was HILARIOUS. His teaching style was very unique, weaving in anecdotes from his teaching experience in other cities like San Fran and NYC. All while keeping the energy going and motivating us to do what we can. He shared a hilarious story during half moon about a lady approaching him after class asking him if “weird things are supposed to happen during camel pose.” He said of course… to which she responded: “I had an orgasm.” This story made half the class bust out in laughter while stretching to the right…despite messing up our breathing for a second, it certainly put a smile on everyone’s face!

During our final savasana, he said something that really stuck with me: “The breath is the most important thing. Just remember to breathe. It gets intense in here. Who cares? So does life.”

Then he ended with something I’ll never forget:

“Thank you all for coming to class tonight….hope you have a good evening. And for the first-timers…good morning. For you have just awaken. Namaste.”

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