Archive for March, 2007

Oh..the irony of a yogi on the move..

Wednesday, March 28th, 2007

Mr. Yoga on the go go go

For someone who seemingly spends almost all of their waking hours, reading/talking about yoga or either in a studio for teacher training, regular practice, or teaching… plus working on my line of yoga and meditation products I’d expect myself to be a bit more chill, in the “NOW”,  and most importantly patient when going through my day.

Herein lies the irony…

1) As noted above, I have an expectation of what yoga and meditation is supposed to do or make me..which is already distorting things big time.

2) I’m so used to having to be somewhere yogic at a certain time, that I’m often in a non-mindful rush and my patience for people in the subways, on the sidewalks, in lineups is non-existent.  I get frustrated and so impatient if people aren’t moving as fast as I think they should be or just aren’t “mindful” enough of their environment to get out of my way.

3) I spend so much time doing asanas or exploring yoga theory/philosophy that my actual sitting meditation time has decreased dramatically! It’s like I’m going backwards here!?  Isn’t asana largely about preparing one’s mind and body for deep meditation?

4) When I do find alone time..what do I do? I try to keep on being busy…I look for other stuff I could be doing?  Yikes.. Yoga and Buddhism speak about identifying and untying the knots of our habitual conditioning, our sankharas/samskaras and here I am stuck in the pattern!!

At least I can find some humour in it all though.. things change.. all is impermanent..

I have my yoga teacher training finishing up soon, my new product line is complete and so maybe I’ll be able to get some downtime and focus back.

But you know what? All this physical yoga stuff really comes in handy.

For example.. when I push my way through the crowds and shove slow moving, “unaware” people out of my way, I do so with much more strength, coordination and with a better posture then ever before.  ;)


Inside the mind of a yoga instructor…

Thursday, March 22nd, 2007

I mentioned in a previous blog about a potential opportunity…well that opportunity has blossomed into a full blown reality.

A friend of mine, to whom I am eternally grateful, recommended me as a potential replacement for her as the yoga instructor at a clinic she was happy to be working for but the class no longer fit in with her busy schedule. (THANKS LEE!!)   

Shortly thereafter, I met with the owner and we both just clicked.  She seemed to really like my views and approach to yoga, teaching and I guess life in general. So she decided to take a chance on me and ta da!! I now have my very own, formal, paid, yoga teaching gig!! 

Its a beautiful multidisciplinary clinic which offers all types of holistic health and wellness care which also includes a small studio for yoga and pilates (more on the clinic, location, and my class schedule once I settle into teaching in my new surroundings.)

So on to the best part.. my FIRST CLASS!   

My nerves aside…I think it went really well (at least from the outside/student perspective).

However, I want to describe the class as it played out in my head..

I got there a bit early to prepare, warm up and chat with owner. She mentioned that one of her friends might show up who has never done yoga which kinda freaked me out, as a really mixed class for my first formal teaching gig is not what I was hoping for.

However, at the last minute she decided she couldn’t make it.

“ that challenge for another time”

So it turns out that I had a class of 5 people which seems to be the perfect amount for the studio and for my comfort level. 

Of the 5:

We had the director/owner of the clinic, three regulars that attend the class (I had the pleasure of meeting them previously so they welcomed me most graciously and with open arms which helped ease some of the butterfly’s in the stomach) and a dancer who classified herself as pretty new to yoga.  

Class starts…

The beginning went smoothly..  I explained that my focus for this class would be on the most basic and yet most advanced aspect of yoga being the breath. Then I quickly went over the Ujayii breathing.

I went through some A’s and B’s (so far so good) and moved into the standard ashtanga standing series..(it seemed like they really did not enjoy my revolved triangle or revolved side angle pose?)

I think it was just after Warrior,  I had my first brain freeze.. I forgot what I just taught, on what side, etc.. I just went blank!  Then at the last second as everyone came up to the front of their mats, it all came rushing back.

Next .. we moved into the seated postures.

Went through some forward folds and then into Janu sirsasana, marichyasana, and then somewhere at this point came the BIG ONE…

A total black out.. while everyone was folding and breathing, I looked at the time.  I couldn’t figure out when I started the class and when it was to be over?.. I didn’t know where to go next? 

At that moment I had the feeling in my belly.. you know… that  panic when you’ve realized something terrible might or may have just happened?

All this took place in the blink of an eye. 

I gazed at the clock again..and suddenly realized that I had my planned sequence for the class in my notebook sitting right beside me! duh!

So as everyone was starting to unwind from their twist I took a quick peek at my outline and moved into what I had planned next which was navasana.

Everything seemed back on track, but I noticed time was running out.. I wanted to make sure everyone had a long savasana so I quickly moved to a back bend. I guided them through supported bridge and then a counter with child’s pose.

After about 10 breaths into child’s pose I checked my watch.. but now all of a sudden time seemed to completely change direction and I felt it was too early for Savasana.

However, this time I didn’t freak out.. didn’t look at my plan..I took a deep breath.. and repeated my new personal mantra (that spontaneously arose during a yoga therapy class I attended the week prior) which I absolutely love, love, love! 

“may I be an instrument for the infinite potentiality of Love”

It worked!!

From here.. as opposed to some inversion…the Lion’s pose came into my head.. its one pose that I know some of them had done before and one that I thought would inject some fun into the class.

So I did my version for them.. (pretty funny sight I’m sure),  and then we went through a couple together.

Again, it seemed like time was added to the clock, but I felt that a nice long savasana would be very beneficial for them and for me.

Those 10-15 min were great..the studio was soo quiet and there is just something so calming and soothing watching over a class in Savasana.  The only thing that kinda of distracted me was wondering whether 10-15 min might seem too long for them.

So at about 7.45 we came to seated position and the class closed with a lovely OM in which everyone seemed to participate and enjoy.

All in all, I think everyone had a pretty good class, most notably one student, who really seemed to soak up the prana in his savasana.

To sum it all up, it was a fantastic experience with some highs, some lows and I look forward to seeing what happens next week.

Radical Subjectivity

Monday, March 12th, 2007

As some of you may know I am an avid reader of both philosophy and spirituality with a heavy emphasis on Buddhism…

I learned an important lesson some time ago (via my frustration at all the paradoxes inherant in the spiritual texts and a little flash of Awareness) that in the realm of metaphysics, spirituality, etc..the proof is in the pudding. The highest truths can not be viewed solely in the light of reason and logic as Truth (with a capital “T”) lies far beyond there, but direct experience of Truth is possible. I always try to keep this in mind as I read certain things. 

Some of you may ask “why read at all then?”…well good point, but the reading of certain books does keep my monkey mind focused on the process of evolving my self to become aware of my SELF.

Anyways, I’m preaching to the choir here, so to make a long story short I came across a quote from a book that I am reading that struck me as quite profound (especially the bold part).  It really resonated with something in my intellect (which often feels limited, especially on weekends and Mondays) and more importantly with something deeper (although I have no clue what that “deeper” thing really is) so I wanted to share..

“Q: How does one find Reality?

A: Truth is radical subjectivity. With the collapse of the illusions of duality,  including the supposed reality of a separate “self” there remains only the state of the Infinite “I” which is the manifestion of the Unmanifest as the Self.

There is neither subject nor object. Like infinite space, there is no distance, time, duration, or locality.  All prevails simultaneously. All is self evident, self-aware, self-revealing and total. ”

pg. 129

source: I: Reality and Subjectivity by David R. Hawkins, M.D., Ph.D.

Panama Pics Part III

Monday, March 5th, 2007 where were we?

I think we left off in the Caribbean…so the next leg of our journey was to head into Panama City. 

To make as much use of our time we wound up taking a national airline from the Bocas to Panama City. It wound up saving us a lot of time and it was a very affordable flight, probably not much more than the cost of all the buses we would have had to take to the city.

We spent a night wining and dining in Panama and it was interesting to note there seems to be a real popular trend for smoking with Hookah or Shisa pipes)  So as the saying goes..”when in Rome”. 

It was quite a nice apple flavoured tobacco and it was really weird to be smoking which is something I haven’t done in at least 5 years now, with perhaps the exception of a very rare cigar puff for a special occasion.

We also attempted to experience the famous shopping in Panama, so we headed to the biggest mall in town.

Both my girlfriend and I were disappointed..didn’t seem like anything special at all. The thing is though we didn’t check out the ”FREE ZONE” located in Colon which is about 45 min outside of Panama City. This is the world’s largest duty free zone where the deals are supposedly amazing!

Oh well…its not like I had room for anything else in my backpack anyways.

Next up on the Panama City tour was Casco Viejo, the historic centre of Panama. It reminded me very much of Europe with its narrow winding streets and churches. Most of the pics below are from there.

Casco Viejo is where you’ll find the home of the President, monuments to the French builders who began work on the canal, art galleries located in what used to be cells/torture chambers (talk about weird vibrations?), the Canal Museum, some old monastaries, churches, a really interesting urban soccer field and the Museum of National History.



Panama Pics Part II

Friday, March 2nd, 2007

So to recap and continue with our adventure..

My girlfriend and I started our trip on the Pacific side of Panama at an all inclusive resort. A few days later the backpack portion of our trip began.  We took the local buses and eventually made our way into the highlands (Panama pics part 1)

After spending some time in and above the clouds, we travelled up and then down the windy mountain roads to find ourselves on the other side of the country. 

Ahh..the Caribbean coast and Bocas Del Toro (a group of islands near the border of Costa Rica).  Our first destination was the Island of Bastimentos.  The culture and flavour here was very different from what we experienced on the pacific coast and in the highlands.  It was also far easier to communicate as quite a few people spoke a patois like english.  Strange mixtures of Creole, English, Spanish were floating all around us.  We managed to hike our way through some of the jungle to see some beautiful beaches and really just spent some time kicking back and chilling.  Oh, and I had my first real snorkelling experience.  Supposedly, I did quite well for a first timer but i’m really glad the water was calm and shallow as there were a few times I sucked in a little bit of salt water.

After a couple days on Isla Bastimentos we made our way to the main island and stayed in Bocas Del Toro town.  This was a tourist haven..full of souvenir peddlers, organized trips/tours and a lively nightlife.  We enjoyed some nice meals and cold bevvies on the waterfront and once again found ourselves in the middle of a Christmas parade!

Then we hopped on a little plane and off we went to……(to be continued)