A Journey Through Yoga Teacher Training

The journey of an atypical yogi seeking to enrich her life and the lives of others by spreading the practice of yoga. Namaste.

Yoga begets positive change, so that which was previously impossible becomes possible.

This is the first shot from a yoga shoot I did, I can’t wait to see the rest of the photos!

As the sankrit saying ‘Mana eva mausyanam karanam badha moksayoh.’ ‘As the mind so the person; bondage or liberation are in your own mind.’ If you feel bound, you are bound. If you feel liberated, you are liberated. Things outside neither bind nor liberate you; only your attitude toward them does that.

Sri Swami Satchidananda, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

A nice Thursday morning mantra. Perspective is everything. Our happiness is under our control.

Namaste

As part of my yoga teacher training homework this week, I had to attend a restorative yoga class. As a power yoga/vinyasa addict, I had never even been to a gentle yoga class, let alone restorative.

The class was an hour and fifteen minutes long, with only about 5-7 poses total and really long holds in each pose. All poses were either seated or reclined and we used tons of props! Two bolsters, 3 blankets, a sandbag, a strap, and two blocks. We moved into every pose very slowly, taking time to set up the props in the right way so our whole bodies were supported.

The class was extremely relaxing physically (I’m embarrassed to admit that a dozed off a couple times). It was interesting to notice that while sometimes I felt by mind relax in the poses, other times my mind modifications were running all over, thinking about the most random things.

Overall I really enjoyed the class and I think its great that my teacher training exposes us to all different styles of yoga.

Still, I’m probably sticking to a bit more active of classes in the future :p

Namaste

Handstand Assists in Yoga Teacher Training

The focus of training this weekend is inversions and arm balances (so fun!!) and yesterday focused specifically on Adho Mukha Vrksasana (handstand) and Pincha Mayurasana (forearm stand). We learned several different ways to assist students in these poses (grabbing their hips to help them up, stabilizing one leg at a time, etc.) but the assist pictured above was my favorite. It requires two people to link their hands together, providing a safety net for a student to practice balancing. This is an assist you would use for a more advanced student who has the strength to kick up on their own, and just needs to work the balance in the middle of the room. I loved practicing this way because you have so much room to explore your balance. It’s similar to practicing balancing on the wall, except this method gives you range both in front and behind you.

I’ve had some major breakthroughs with my inversion practice these last couple weeks. With my handstand, I’ve loved using a really tight strap on my upper arm to keep my elbows straight and my upper arms hugging in really tight. I’ve also been able to really connect with the idea of shifting the weight forward by bringing the hips over the shoulders.

My pincha has also improved SO much. Yesterday I was able to hold a straight leg pincha (usually I can only hold scorpion pincha) for probably 10 breaths.

My Sirsasana A (headstand) holds are getting longer and longer each time we practice also (my teacher loves making us do 5 minute headstand holds). Sirsasana B (Tripod headstand) is still challenging for me but it’s ALL mental. Away from the wall I feel like I can’t lift my legs at all, but even knowing the wall is a foot away my legs float right up. Definitely something to work on.

So excited for 6 hours of arm balancing today!

Namaste

Level 2 Urdhva Dhanurasana Focused Sequence!

This weekend teacher training was all about urdhva dhanurasana or wheel pose. As an in-class assignment, we all created a sequence for different styles of classes (beginner, restorative, power flow, prenatal, etc) that focused on urdhva dhanurasana. My team was assigned a Vinyasa Level 2 class.

Sequencing is so much fun!

Feeling so completely blissed out this evening. I feel so whole, so complete, so full of love, so smiley. This weekend in teacher training my intention was santosa, the second niyama meaning “contentment” or as I like to think of it, cultivating joy in each moment.

I will never be able to express how grateful I am to have yoga in my life. Yoga teacher training is truly an amazing experience.

All I can say is thank you. Thank you yoga. Thank you universe. Thank you God.

Namaste to all you beautiful beings of light <3

I’ve been in New York City for the past week with three friends to celebrate New Year’s, and today I was able to squeeze in a trip to Strala Yoga.

When I first started getting into yoga, Tara Stiles’s books were my main resource. I had always wanted to go to her studio, and it turned out that the apartment I’m staying in in NYC was only a few blocks away from Strala.

It was a really fun class -  lots of movement and very flowy with upbeat music. I’m so glad I got to fit the class into my trip!

Tonight as part of teacher training I attended one of my instructor’s classes and gave adjustments throughout the class. Like what!! That’s like real life almost a yoga teacher stuff. I still trip out on it.

Anyways adjusting was much scarier than I expected. Going to class I was totally confident, not a care in the world. But once I was in the class with a room full of strangers, all who are focusing deeply and working through all kinds of things in their own practice, I felt like I didn’t have the right to intrude. I felt like I was infringing on their sacred time with themselves to practice.

Now I know this isn’t the case. Most people go to group yoga settings because they want to be taught and want to improve. I know I personally LOVE getting adjustments.

I started off adjusting the other teacher trainees in the class because I knew they’d like it, and then that gave me confidence to continue adjusting others. I gave a lot of down dog and child’s pose adjustments because those are the easiest and usually feel-good adjustments. I didn’t feel ready to perform some of the more complicated adjustments (Warrior 3, etc) but did get a lot of hip adjustments in.

I also didn’t give any savasana adjustments. I feel like this is something I really want to practice on people I am close with first. And people in savasana just look so vulnerable and peaceful, I was scared to disturb them.

I’ve also realized how many times I’ve used the word “scared”in this post. Fear and doubt are huge challenges for me in yoga, and life in general. But I will say I think a little self-doubt when adjusting is probably a good thing. It’s always better to err on the side of caution when touching other people’s bodies in yoga.

Moral of the story: one big yoga teacher training milestone has been completed!

Urdhva Dhanurasana in Big Bear!

This photo was taken over my Thanksgiving break in Big Bear with my family (photo cred goes to my dad) for my yoga studio’s Pose of the Month Challenge on Instagram. I love these challenges because they are a great excuse to do yoga in crazy places, like on top of a huge tree stump.

I love this pose because it such a deep stretch and huge opening in the front of the body. This pose is also said to “reset the spine”.