Archive for February, 2007

Panama Pics Part 1

Wednesday, February 28th, 2007

Its been a while since I’ve posted, but this yogi has been on the go 24 hours a day! 

I’ve been blessed with a wonderful opportunity and will be sharing some news once I get all the little details worked out.  I’m very excited!! 

In the meantime, given this bit of winter blahs I’ve succumbed to, I decided that it would be a good time to figure out how to upload some Panama pics onto my blog.

I miss that Panamanian sun!!

A brief rundown and some background…

Our trip to Panama was perfect!

We got a great deal on an all inclusive resort which wound up costing us only a $100-200 bucks more than a flight alone. For two weeks!  The booking agent couldn’t figure out how this deal came to be and we weren’t about to have them double check.

So it was decided that we’d spend a few days at the resort to decompress, soak up the rays, indulge in some fine dining and then strap on our backpacks to explore the country.

The scenic pics below cover the resort and then the first part of our journey into the highlands of central Panama and our stay in Boquete.  The highlands are beautiful! We hiked in the hills, swam in the river, bathed in some natural hot springs and checked out some petroglyphs (a form of prehistoric rock art found in many cultures around the world and at many times. They are made by carving, etching, incising, rubbing, and pounding the rock surface to create images.)

This all took place around Christmas time, so we happened across parades and festivals almost everywhere we went.  The parades were hilarious… people from around the area would stand around for hours in anticipation of the town firetruck which was loaded with Christmas lights to lead the parade around the main square.  Following closely behind the truck would be some locals in their decorated cars.

 

 to be continued……

student and teacher part II

Friday, February 2nd, 2007

A month or so ago, a good friend of mine started noting a vague interest in yoga.  At first I thought he was bringing it up just to be supportive of my new endeavour, but it quickly became apparent that he wanted to give yoga a try. For real.

Now (let’s just call him “Mike”), is a very athletic guy.  He plays hockey, golf, works out at the gym regularly and I must admit he’s not too bad on the bball court.   

We tried to find a time when he could come down with me to the yoga sanctuary and I’d take a level one/beginner class with him. 

Didn’t work out…. a few weeks go by and there we are chatting when the topic again turns to yoga.  Mike’s main goal is to gain some flexibility and learn to relax.

This time instead of trying to find a time and class that we can both go to, I suggested that he just pops by my  place one day for a whirlwind introduction to yoga and then we could take it from there.  Not only would this make things easier but it would also remove the bit of the intrepidation Mike had about trying yoga in a large studio environment and it would give me a chance to flex my yoga knowledge on a complete yoga neophyte.

So Jan 23… one day after my class teaching experience (see previous blog)… Mike comes by.

I started with a rundown on what yoga is (IMHO), the importance of maintaining the breath as the focus and how to perform Ujjayi breathing (I figured a Vinyasa/Ashtanga type practice would be most suitable for him given his type A personality and athletic nature).

I then showed him a quick rundown of the sun salutations and what options he would have and taught him what a flat back should look and feel like.

Next.. the practice. 

Of course I assumed Mike’s hamstrings would be tight..most men’s are.  However, I’m used to practicing with and seeing men that have been doing yoga for quite some time..so to see how tight the hamstrings and psoas were on Mike really made me reflect back to where I was when I first started yoga. 

Wow.. there was no way I could touch my toes with anything resembling a “flat” back in those days! 

We went through the very basic standard standing, sitting, inversion and backbend routine.  I noticed the usual suspects… the rounding of the back, dumping into the shoulders, crunching of the neck and ribs, change in breath, clenching of the jaw.. it was great!

It was a wonderful effort and Mike was a great student and teacher…but the best was yet to come…. 

Savasana and meditation

By this time..Mike was sweating and ready to call it quits. I think I might have fried his brain with all my verbal cues while he’s trying to explore his asanas for the first time!  “Straighten your back, lengthen the neck, remember to breathe, etc..

So I got him to get into corpse pose, and began a very simple guided relaxation / meditation.. “focus on your breathing, bring your awareness to areas of tightness, overall body sensations,” etc.. I then left him to his own devices for a few minutes before I guided him back to seating position.

I think one of the first things out of his mouth in regards to the practice was something along the lines “you know when you were talking about letting your thoughts just go by..it was great….there was this point where there were absolutely NO thoughts at all”

His description and obvious pleasure from that moment of stillness really resonated with me.  This is what it’s all about!!!

Welcome to Yoga Mike!