On Teaching Yoga

AmieHalfLotusBlogYoga. This beautiful, fulfilling practice that has become a beacon back to Myself. While I took pretty much my entire pregnancy off of practicing, I have added it back in to my life postpartum and I have once again been reminded of how important it is for me to maintain a regular practice. My life feels fuller and more balanced with it.

Back when I decided to do Yoga Teacher Training (Part 1, 2, and 3), I never actually imagined that I would be teaching yoga. It was more so a final adventure or hurrah before settling down and having a baby. It was something I wanted to do to deepen my practice, to learn more about the foundations, the philosophy, and how to incorporate yoga in to all of my lifestyle, not just as part of my exercise routine.

I got pregnant 2 weeks after returning from my trip. I like to think my trip played in to this… I can’t recall a time in my life ever that I have been more present for such a large chunk of time. The memories I have of Yandara and the experiences are vivid in my memory. I can recall all 5 senses of being there… The sight of the early morning sunrise through the windows of the paviliion, the sound of the waves lulling me to sleep at night, the taste of papaya and oatmeal with homemade granola, the feel of the hot sand between my toes as we walked to the beach during our lunch break, and the smell of the hot apple cinnamon tea that was consumed in large amounts instead of coffee. The trip centered me. I treated myself to massages, an astrology reading, and more importantly a reiki session to balance my chakras – something I think I needed for a long time and something I attribute to me finally getting pregnant after 16 months of trying.

So then I didn’t practice for close to 10 months, and when I did start practicing in the spring with Emily and Ebb & Flow Yoga, I was excited to make it a regular part of my life again and was hopeful she would continue teaching in Blackfalds. Then I found out she was pregnant herself 😉

When Emily asked if I wanted to rent the space she was renting to teach I was actually pretty taken back by it… Me? Teach Yoga? It honestly sounded a bit absurd at first. This was a practice I kept fairly private. Something I did for myself without blasting it on Social Media. Something that I incorporated into all aspects of my life, not just as physical asanas. Could I really teach? Would people even want to take my class?

After thinking about it for a few days I decided to give it a go.

So I went about navigating the process of setting up a class – advertising it, registering people, getting some things together to set the vibe, and sequencing my very first class.

I thought I had it *just right*. I was going to go into that classroom and kick ass at teaching Yoga. I was going to make the most zen experience for all those yogi’s they weren’t even going to know what hit them.

And then the day arrived.

And I got nervous.

And you know what energy I created in that classroom?

Nervous Energy.

I can’t deny it. There’s no point. I was really freaking nervous. I was so worried they were going to see right through me as a sham. Someone who wasn’t good enough to teach yoga. Sure, I was able to adapt the sequence to their level during the class. I was able to tone it back because what I had put together wasn’t a good fit for their first class. But it threw me for a loop.

And therein lies the problem. I let my thoughts of what others may or may not think of me cloud my thinking and take me away from the real purpose of teaching yoga. I let my energy change the feel of the class and so I fumbled on my words and I mixed up my lefts and rights and I left feeling awkward and unsure that I made the right choice to try this whole “Yoga Teacher” thing.

I took the next day (during nap time of course) to reflect on the previous evening and what I would like to do differently the next class.

I decided the next class would have a different energy. I was so worried about who I thought I should be that I forgot to just be ME.

Since that first class the vibe has changed, it’s become more fun, less like I thought it “should” be and more how it is supposed to be. Does that make sense? I’m probably just rambling. 😉

It’s been a fun ride so far. I look at my practice differently. And while I never intended to “teach” that seems to be exactly what I was meant to do and I hope to continue doing.

Namaste, ya’ll. 😉

2014 in Review; Flexibility

Well I, for one, can’t believe it is already going to be a new year. 2014 seemed to fly by! I have to say, it has 100% been my most favorite year yet. I know I stepped away from the blog world a bit for most of it, but in doing so, I created some great memories, a baby (which is still being created 😉 ) and I learned a whole lot about myself and my happiness.

I picked the word Flexibility for 2014, and in doing so, prioritized 3 goals, including physical flexibility, financial flexibility, and emotional flexibility.

fallenangel Physical

Much of the first half of 2014 was spent on the “Physical” aspect of increasing my flexibility. I let go of my gym membership and crossfit membership and bought an unlimited Yoga pass at a local studio. In March, I participated in a Yoga Instagram Challenge. I signed up for Yoga Teacher Training, at Yandara, and wrote about it in 3 parts (Here, Here, and Here). Yandara really was a life changing experience for me. I came out of it feeling physically and emotionally centered, something that is hard to achieve in our go-go-go society. From January to July, my physical flexibility increased a lot. It’s hard to quantify, but I was able to do yoga postures I had only dreamed about doing before. And it felt really good. Then things took a turn when my nausea and vomiting started. I fell off the yoga band wagon pretty hard, and have yet to find my way back to it. All in all though, that is okay, because by letting go of my physical flexibility I was able to focus more on my emotional flexibility.

andmEmotional

Emotionally, I think things started to turn around when I spent my time at Yandara. After that, I was ready to let go of the control I was trying to have over getting pregnant, and instead, just focus on living. Well surprise, surprise, I got pregnant a mere 2 weeks after returning home. This in turn led me through an emotional release so-to-speak. I had all of these expectations and assumptions about being pregnant. How I would feel, what I would do and not do, what I would eat, how I would look. Pregnancy has been the single biggest wake up call of my life. I have realized with great certainty, that planning is a feeble thing, and I am only safe to believe that none of my plans will ever go, well, as planned haha. I was sick and miserable. I felt emotionally torn about becoming a mother when I didn’t “have” a mother, and for a bit, I felt a little bit lost. I’ve worked hard on overcoming this hurdle, accepting things as they are, and acknowledging that in protecting my physical health, I am also protecting my emotional health. I am so looking forward to being a mother, to loving the little girl who made me so sick at first, and whose flips and punches and kicks make my heart already feel like it can’t fit in to my chest.

babykFinancial

Well….. this is probably the one I slacked off most in. I indulged this year on more than one occasion. I went to Mexico for Yoga Training, then again in December for a Vacation. I went to Germany, and to Switzerland. I took a Graduate level course through a very expensive online school, and I plan to continue taking more of them in the new year. Matthias bought a Motorcycle. I purchased a lot of furniture for my house, and I hired cleaners to come in and clean for me. I payed for prenatal yoga that I never attended. Oops. I did manage to pay off my credit card, and lower my credit limit by over half. I also managed to help pay off one of our time shares and pay down the other one by half. I know. Who in their right mind gets TWO time shares? My husband and I apparently. So I suppose all was not lost in this arena, but it definitely could have gone better.

We still have some grand plans to pay down our line of credit by half before the baby comes, but now with trying to finish our basement and our plumbing going to shit (literally.) I am not sure if we will accomplish this by March!

sunrise

Why I’m a Horrible Prenatal Yogi … And Why That’s Okay

I had grand intentions. I really did. I was going to keep up my Yogi lifestyle, breaking out my mat for daily asana and pranayama. I felt great with my sequencing and flow post Yandara. I was feelin’ that Yogi-High.

And then the first trimester sickness hit. And all that intention went to hell. I went to yoga once during my first trimester. And the only real reason I went was because I wanted to sign up for Prenatal classes before they filled up. I signed up for the Wednesday evening class, and then closer it got, the more I dreaded it because of how sick I was. Luckily, I started taking Diclectin the week before class started, and it worked! So I went to my first class, and at 13 weeks, surrounded by all the soon-to-be-mama’s who had beautiful round belly’s, I was suddenly really self conscious. I was just super bloated and fluffy looking. I could barely carry on any type of vinyasa because I got so out of breath, and chaturanga? Haha, think again.

Not to mention the absolute exhaustion I was still feeling. Add on a couple night shifts and teaching spin twice a week and the next week I knew I needed to take an evening of rest instead.

I could make up more excuses. We went to Germany, I had other things planned, I was really tired, I didn’t want to take the drive in to RD from Blackfalds. Yup, I thought of them all. But really, my heart just wasn’t in it.

I signed up for Back to Back sessions, and after only making it twice to the first 8 week session, I was READY to commit to the 7 week session. I set an alarm in my phone to encourage me to go, and when it went off I got dressed up in the only exercise clothes that still fit and I headed into RD on that -25 evening. Only to find out I had the wrong time. And I was 45 minutes late to an hour class.

That was 3 weeks ago and I haven’t attempted to go back.

Why? I mean, it IS easy enough to put on comfy clothes and drive the 20 minutes to the studio. I dutifully did it for months, almost every day, from January until May.

The only GOOD reasoning I have is that my body demanded (and is still demanding) rest. I teach spin classes twice a week, and I have to bring my A-game to those because I am the one leading the class. I can’t, and don’t slack off when I am there. I walk my dogs 4-5 times a week for up to an hour. They need the exercise, and I’d feel guilty if I withheld it from them. So prenatal yoga, and any yoga for that matter, fell to the wayside and dropped down on my list of priorities.

Remember my word of the Year? Flexibility. And while I am still working on all of these goals, the over arching theme is fluidity, being less strict with myself and honoring what my body and my mind truly need.

And that is why I am a currently a shitty Yogi in the Physical Sense, but a very much improved Yogi in the philosophical sense.

Because Yoga to me is to be present, focusing on my family and my dogs and hunkering down rather than being go-go-go, to breathe, even if that means huffing and puffing up 3 flights of stairs to get to the spin bikes, and to find inner peace and harmony, which right now looks like 2 Dark Chocolate Justin’s PB Cups and a Hot Bubble Bath.

One day, hopefully sooner rather than later, my body will crave asana. One day, when I am no longer pregnant, it will be safe for me to practice headstand and handstand. One day, but not today.

Yandara Yoga Part Tres – Lessons & Take Away

1. Friends will stand by your side when the waters get tough. Even if said friends just met you 14 days ago.

2. Watching the sunrise with family is better than getting an extra hour of sleep.

3. Everyone else, including that asshole who cuts you off, is enlightened. What can they teach you? What are they trying to reflect within you that you need to work on?

4. I still really dislike it when people aren’t punctual. Lol *cough* Christopher *cough*

5. I am strong. And not because I need to be to defy what I experienced growing up, but because that is who I am and that is what my spirit is.

6. We are all connected with everything.

7. My spirituality comes from inside me. I don’t need to look for the answers outside, they already lie within me.

8. Flower crowns, and laughter make the world infinitely brighter.

9. Blackberries and Strawberries are so fucking enticing when you haven’t had them in 2+ weeks.

10. I never need to fear acceptance. I never need to fear abandonment. It’s okay to let down my guard and let people into my heart.

11. I’m not that great at meditation, but I am working on it 😉

12. I really enjoy just sitting and being. I don’t allocate nearly enough time for it.

13. It’s okay to cry. It means your feelings are there and you aren’t lost in your brain. Plus my heart-strings are directly attached to my tear ducts, so that doesn’t help matters.

14. I don’t need to drink coffee or eat chocolate everyday, but I really like to do so.

15. Dairy really hurts my tummy and not eating it makes sense to me.

16. I need to make sure that I take the time to take care of myself. And that I should advocate the same for the people I love.

17. I really love Yoga. Like really, really. It makes me feel more whole. I love the lifestyle, the philosophy, and the history of it all.

18. Who needs drugs when you have Savasana? More people should do more yoga.

19. Everything is already O.K. and just how it needs to be. I don’t need to control every detail of every situation. I need to focus more on being present, centered, and aware so that I can learn the lessons life is giving me.

20. There is so much goodness, beauty, and love in the world. All you have to do is open your eyes to it.

20 lessons for the 20 souls that hold a special place in my heart.

Wishing you peace and eternal sunshine, Namaste.

 

Part Dos

Part Uno