Moksha Yoga Teacher Training Day #21

Today was our last and final day off of the training. So what did I do to utilize my time off? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Well not really I did get up in the morning and went to Joe’s yin/yang class with music at 9:30am, but I had a whole day planned in addition to class which included another long run to Runyon Canyon, buying groceries, making my lunch for the week and practice teaching for the following day: I was teaching again, but this time I’d be teaching in the hot room!

But let’s talk about Joe’s class for a moment. All I’ve heard nothing but great things about Joe Komar since arriving to Moksha LA and how badly I needed to take a class with him. Now I understand why. Joe has a very commanding presence in the room (it was also super nice not practicing in Studio B for a change!). Joe is gentle with this voice, but assertive with this instruction. This class was just the right amount of push I needed, with the right amount of tough yin. This was not an easy class by any means. I was blown away afterward by how “out of my head and into my body” I felt. This class was exactly what I wanted. With trainees teaching the Moksha sequence day after day, it’s hard to get into your own practice. Joe gave my practice back to me and for that I was so grateful. Thanks, Joe!

The grocery, cooking, practicing plan happened, but the run did not. I don’t know if it’s an LA thing or my brain on training, but I’ve become a baby and the last thing I wanted to do was go running in the wet and the cold. It was raining and cloudy all day. What gives?!

This is where I should have gone on my day off! The beach! But the weather was not cooperating.

This is where I should have gone on my day off! The beach! But the weather was not cooperating.

The more I didn’t run the more I was dreading the Around the Bay Race. (But, hey! We all know how that turned out!) And the day before, during our presentations, I discovered there was a 5-time Boston marathon runner (hi, Natalie!) among us. Natalie is a champion with a PB of 3:30 something, and officially my new hero.

I thought right then and there I would run the few days I have before the race when I got home. Erin will be running laps around me (so I thought)! With all the yoga I’m doing you’d think I wouldn’t worry to too much. But apparently yoga isn’t running training.

I can’t worry about this now. Now I need to rest and prepare myself for the 4th and final week of training.

Grow Your Yoga

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Spring time tends to the the universal time to clean, rejuvenate, and prepare our minds and bodies for the warm weather to come. And why not! With the snow and cold gone for another year, it’s time to celebrate!

When I think of spring I can’t help but think of my teenage years and Nickelodeon cartoons. This tune, in particular, from Rocko’s Modern Life, defines the spring season for me. I will never be able to get song (or episode) out of my head.

Now that the cleaning fever is upon us – yogis far and wide unite! It’s time to Grow Your Yoga. Sounds great, right? You may recall the monster of a challenge I took on last spring – the Living Your Moksha Challenge – the challenge where I lived and breathed yoga for 7 weeks!

Well Living Your Moksha is back with a new name and a new attitude. Grow Your Yoga encompasses the same ideas as Living Your Yoga, but it’s compressed into a 30 day challenged and focuses on 4 of the 7 pillars – Be Healthy, Be Peace, Be Accessible, and Reach Out. All the proceeds for this years challenge will go towards the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust.

I just signed up. I love my yoga that much that I will challenge myself for a second year in a row to bring my yoga off my mat. As a newly certified Moksha teacher, it only made sense to take on another 30 day challenge. This is an opportunity for teachers and students to bring yoga off your mat and into your everyday life. Take from the challenge what you want and do as much as you can. There’s no pressure. This is a challenge for you to explore your yoga.

So, who’s ready to Grow Your Yoga with me?!

Moksha Yoga Teacher Training Day #20

After 20 days of training you’d think everyone would know what’s going on! We get up, we eat, we do yoga, we eat, we listen to a lecture, we eat, we listen to another lecture, we eat…but no! You need to be on your game at all times. That is, I learned very quickly, when Jeremie is around.

Our morning asana was a total trick. As the end of training draws near, I kept thinking who has yet to teach a class? Jeremie! I’ve been very curious what king of yoga teacher Jeremie would be like. Today I thought my prayers have been answered. Because this morning, Jeremie walked into the room and began class. Excellent.

But is not what happened. Jeremie had us all fooled. He (and I bet Bryde was in on it too) tagged-teamed Nava (hi, Nava!) in after instructing pranayama breathing. We were teaching the class! Each person would teach two poses then would tag in someone in to teach the next two. It was fun and also very distracting. It’s really hard to practice when you’re constantly thinking “What the hell comes next?!”

I know your tricks now, Jeremie. With Asana TBD on the schedule and your comment about this being the best class of the training. But not because of you but because of us. I’m on to you now. But with 10 days left what could possibly be in store?

But there was good news that came of this heart pounding morning. Apparently my presentation did go really well the day before because Jeremie gave me a shout out at the beginning of class. Thank you, Jeremie! All is forgiven.

After a stressful morning it's time to relax!

After a stressful morning it’s time to relax!

After class YuMee continued with more yoga history and philosophy, and again in the afternoon. We talked about the yoga sutras this time and dove into what each one represents and symbolizes in the body and in our practice. Our afternoon class was with Ezmy again! Ezmy’s partner James played the gutiar and sang during class. Talk about a magical combination. It was the most beautiful yin/yang class ever. And Ezmy kicked our butts.

Then the last part of the day was filled presentations followed by a reunion dinner with my LA Costa Rica friends and a day off on Friday. Yay! With a day of I had to go out and celebrate.

Awww Costa Rica. Very found memories of this place and these people!

Awww Costa Rica. Very fond memories of this place and these people!

Moksha Yoga Teacher Training Day #19

This morning I was antsy! My brain and body were all over the place, I was freaking out over the afternoon to come. Today was my presentation day! And when you’re slammed doing yoga all the time at very moment, you don’t have time to think about anything else.

In addition to training and lectures a big chunk of week 3 and week 4 are spent on presentations. Each trainee my get up in front of the whole group and present for 10 minutes. I know this is not difficult. But public speaking is one of the most feared things in the whole world! I get nervous about the idea of public speaking, but it is something I truly want to be really good at. I wanted to be prepared and I wanted to do a good job. I did not feel prepared nor did I think it was going to be good.

I struggled with my presentation topic right up until the week before training. I debated with the idea of getting personal and sharing something deep – which is completely scary – or able the blog or fitness things. I was stuck. Nothing felt right and I didn’t want to brag about me, and talk only about me. Ahhhhh! This was really hard.

My LA sangha! My  presentation inspiration!

My LA sangha! My presentation inspiration!

The morning came and our asana was lead by my fellow trainees. Although the class was great and brought my spirits up, it was almost 2 hours long! And it was hot! After class, Bryde spent the morning talking about our Distance learning projects: how we’re going to spend the next 11 months of our lives, basically, to complete the teacher training. Training doesn’t end after 30 days. That would be too easy. For the remainder of the year, I have projects to complete based on the 7 pillars, the philosophy and foundation Moksha prides itself on. After lunch was journaling time and for me this meant presentation practicing time.

Thank goodness the afternoon class was with Ezmy! I’ve missed Ezmy so much. This class was the boost I needed to get me amped up for my presentation. I finally decided to speak on community and how a community has the power to change an individual. I used myself as an example with my community at Moksha Downtown. I’ve become a person I never in my life would have guessed. I have my community to thank for this. I also snuck in the idea of consuming mindfully as a way of living green. We as individuals have the power too to make change, stating in our own communities. I had to leave with a live green lesson!

Whew! I am so glad that’s over! Next up I’d was practice teaching on the Saturday. Then I’d be home free till the end.

 

 

 

Moksha Yoga Teacher Training Day #18

Whoo hoo! After an epic birthday at training followed by another all round good day we were given another morning of rest. That’s right we could actually sleep in for more than a half an hour! This is often a very good thing, but when you’re fellow trainees walk out of the studio after have taken the morning 7:30am class (we did not have to do yoga this morning people!) you can’t help but feel really lazy. And I mean really lazy. And knowing that Ezmy was back, after leaving us for a solid week. She did have a very legitimate reason. Ezmy’s an Ambassador with Lululemon and she left for Hawaii with Lulu for something very, very important I imagine.

Anyway, Ezmy was back and was teaching this morning. And I didn’t go to her class. Now I feel bad. And I mean really bad. Why didn’t I get my butt out of bed for Ezmy? At least Ezmy saw me walking past the studio and came running out to give me a big birthday hug! Awww Ezmy you’re so great.

I quickly got over my sadness for not practicing when it can time to settle in an listen to Frank. Our morning and afternoon was spent with Frank as it was his last day with us. So we squeezed in all the time we could before he left. One of our required readings for the training, among many other excellent yoga books out there, was Frank’s Mindfulness Yoga. I highly recommend picking this up if your brave enough to even take a sample of this exploration beyond the yoga on your mat. Once our time with Frank was over I realized I had a world wind of questions to ask, but honestly didn’t know where to begin. At all. I’m still not certain I understood anything. But I trust my teachers and trust that I will on day understand. For now I’m re-re-reaing this book. I probably will continue to do so until the end of time.

Here is a reminder from Week 2: Be Accessible of the Living Your Moksha Challenge last spring. This video may shed some light on the power of Mindfulness.

 

After a heartfelt goodbye and farewell to Frank, we split up to attend our afternoon asana which was taught by more trainees. To end off the day we close with more history of yoga and the Hatha yoga Pradipika with YuMee. If you don’t know what this means don’t worry about it. Nor did I… nor do I, I think. It was a mind numbing – information overload kind of day to say the least.

Moksha Yoga Teacher Training Day #17

Morning asana was taught by more trainees including my new bestie Jamie Wessel from Moksha Yoga East Vancouver – East Van folks look out for Jamie’s community classes she’s the best! I was so proud of her today. It’s so cool we’re teaching yoga classes!

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After class (and my karma cleaning duties) Bryde introduced to us YuMee Chung, Moksha International’s newest staff member. She gave a talk on the History and Philosophy of Yoga. This is some heavy stuff, but she was a delight to listen to.

Today was a free afternoon after class! Yay!! Bryde taught our afternoon asana and threw a bit of a curveball at us. Our community is falling apart and the group dynamic has shifted in the past few days and Bryde called us out on it. So, to salvage our minds and hearts towards each other, we did a staring meditation with a partner on our mats. My partner was Matt. Bryde set a new intention for us as a promise to each other. Matt is my new buddy, and I promised to be there for him and not let him hide. I will encourage him and be his support. And he will be mine.

Bryde, thank you for acknowledging the group lack of effort and fading community, and giving us the shift kick in the butt we needed. I know I needed it today!

Moksha Yoga Teacher Training Day #16

Happy Birthday to Me!!! Yes, everyone day 16 (March 3rd) is my birthday and celebrating turing 27 was more than I could have hoped for. I was in LA with sunshine, my yoga teachers, and fellow trainees. It was absolutely perfect.

My birthday morning kicked off with a visiting Peer Support Guide mentor, Diane Karlos from Moksha Bloor West – she was one intense lady. But I mean this in the best possible way. I’ve never had a yoga teacher like Diane before, and I don’t think anyone else has either. When Diane walked into the room right away the energy lifted. Having the kick-some-ass approach to yoga, made me remember that yoga isn’t easy. At least it’s not if you don’t want it to be. But it can always be fun. And that is what I enjoyed the most about Diana’s teaching: there was tough love and sweat!

After our hour asana we had a morning lecture with Frank. Frank touched on mindfulness in the body and sensory reactions to feelings and how feelings of pleasure or unpleasure stir our beliefs. Say whaaat?!! I know it was confusing to me too.

It was a long birthday morning and the week 3 wall is starting to hit us all one by one. You can see it all around. At the end of lecture Frank lead a 20 minute meditation. The time flew by. Meditation is a powerful thing.

After lunch Ted finished off the last hour of our posture workshops. I really did not want these to end! Ted’s gentleness and open heart towards everyone and their unerring questions was such a treat to listen to. And his stories. I miss Ted and his stories! But, lucky for me – it was my birthday and all – our posture workshops ended with the entire group singing Happy Birthday to me! And I really have my friend Jen Allen (Hi, Jen!) to thank. My new pal from Moksha Yoga Charlottetown bought me a birthday balloon which I happened to carry around with me all day. Ted happened to spot this from the crowd.

That's Jen to my right! And Jamie and Dan.

That’s Jen to my right! And Jamie and Dan.

Our afternoon asana was lead by my fellow trainees (another job well done by everyone!). And to end my birthday we had more presentations. But to end things off one an even better note the group sang happy birthday to me again, I was given a mini raspberry tart with a candle and everyone got cookies! Yay for birthdays! And let’s not forget the mini birthday striptease, shout out, and hat thrown to me from another trainee buddy Matt (hi, Matt). Remember back to day 5 when we acted out our favourite and least favourite class ever? Well, Matt played the role of Peter Ward, and lets just say we upped the anti. Big time. Thanks, Matt.

And! To make the night even more special Krista, Mere, and Morgan bought me dinner and a birthday cake!

Birthdays are the best!

Moksha Yoga Teacher Training Day #15

Week three has officially begun. With all the warning signs flashing – the tiredness, the cranky yogis, the droopy eyes during lectures – this week is going to be a hard one no doubt. I woke up not so early, as always after a relaxing day off, and made my way to the studio for my first morning asana taught by my fellow trainees. In the hot room! Oh boy!

Everyone is doing such a great job. It’s amazing to me the progress everyone is making and the quality of everyone’s instruction. I’m doing yoga with real soon-to-be teachers. And it’s awesome! This morning Joe (one of the Moksha LA teachers) lead a silent meditation proir to class. I love meditating and quickly realized I don’t do it often enough. Rule number one of post-teacher training: implement a daily meditation practice.

Joe definitely has a way with words because I was very keen about more meditations. ¬†After this particular morning I was out of my head completely and loving life afterward. What a great start to the week ahead. To finish off the morning just right, it was my week for Karma cleaning. We good little trainees were assigned to clean the practice room and change rooms (in groups of 4) as a nice gesture to our hosting studio out. It’s good Karma to help out, and it’s being a good guest when you do.

After practice and cleaning the ladies locker room until it was spotless (this was my job for the week) Frank gave another mind blowing talk on mindfulness, yoga, and everything and anything else you could think of that could toy with your mind that much more.

More presentations followed our lunch hour, where agin, everyone did so great!

My second LA home, the studio!

My second LA home, the studio!

Our afternoon class came all too quickly and just like that we were back at the studio practicing once again. Ted guided us though another 60 minute asana. Weirdly, I felt tired going in, but really strong during class. It was a good one.

Even more presentations followed class and we finished off the day early. Yay to finishing early! This doesn’t happen often so one must celebrate.

Moksha Yoga Teacher Training Day #14

Friday was day 14 and that means it was our second day off!

Jackie, Morgan, Krista, Mere, and I (hi, Jackie, Morgan, Krista, and Mere!) – I was staying in a Full House. No joke! – all drove to Santa Monica to take Bryan Kest’s power yoga class. I know, you’d think having a day off from yoga that going to yoga would be the last thing I’d want to do. But when you’re living (temporarily) in a city full of amazing and ¬†well known yogis, you need to take their classes when the opportunity rises.

We arrived in Santa Monica, with the sun shining and the smell of the ocean in the distance. This moment reminded me of Cecilley (Cecilley, I miss you!). The studio was tucked away in a beautiful space on the second floor of a rather old looking building. But the space had character. Right away I was pumped to be there and even more excited I was not doing Moksha! Sorry, Mokshis. But after class I ate my words. Power flow doesn’t justify what Bryan had us doing. We focused on our own body weight and held challenging plank poses, lunges. Upper body strength, here I come.

Although Bryan’s instructions were intense, there was a softness to his tone. I’m going to hurt tomorrow. I love Bryan’s humour. Being able to laugh at yourself while doing yoga is a powerful tool to keep in your toolbox. Don’t take it (or yourself) too seriously. Bryan makes this easy and I can see why students have been taking is class for 15+ years!

Look at me! I'm such a yogi. Here I am in Bryan's studio!

Look at me! I’m such a yogi. Here I am in Bryan’s studio!

After class we all went to a favourite lunch spot of Morgans, Tender Greens where we ate lunch and drank all the lemonade we could bargain for. Then it was beach time! After several hours of soaking in the sun, we walked the streets and made our way to Real Food Daily for dinner. Delicious! Apparently the West Hollywood location is a good celebrity sighting spot. Thanks for the tip, Ted!

What a great day, but I am exhausted. 6:30am practice is going to come way to soon. That’s two days off down only one left to go. That is, if I make it to next Friday…

Moksha Yoga Teacher Training Day #13

It’s Thursday and everyone knows what this means: another Thumping Thursday! And that means break from practicing the Moksha sequence (not that practicing Moksha twice a day for the last 12 days has been a bad thing). This morning was a 90 minute yin class taught by Ted. As much as I was dying for some yin, this is not what I had in mind. Sorry Ted. Emotions where running high and feelings of aggression struck about 10 minutes into our lower back and hip opening intensive class. Wow! Maybe this was Ted’s way of breaking us down to prepare for the week ahead. Week three is supposed to be the hardest week of all. Knowing Ted, he totally had a reason doing what he did. If anything I hope it was for the pure enjoyment of watching our struggling faces! I would have done the same.

The body is an interesting being. And where we hold stress and emotions is unbelievable. I was tight and stiff and clearly needed this class. So, Ted, I thank you for your tough love today.

The amazing Dina T!

The amazing Dina T!

After class, Bryde introduced the next round of presenters then we broke for lunch. Following lunch was our last anatomy lecture with Dina T ever. What an emotional day! I didn’t want it to end. Dina T. then taught us a “Dina T. Moksha Flow” class which was hands down my absolute favourite class of the entire training. Music played — everything from Michael Jackson to the Fugees — and I cried, I laughed, and the entire class sang along. It was so magical. Bob Marley’s Turn Your Lights Down Low featuring Lauryn Hill will forever bring me back to this moment in my life, to this very class. Dina T. is such a special lady. She has the biggest, warmest heart and has an even bigger smile. She touched our hearts in a way I know I will never forget. Following this emotional class when everyone stopped crying we had the afternoon to recover.

Thank you, Dina, for everything! You made me fall in love with biology again and made me see why exactly I want to do this whole teacher training thing in the first place: to guide a class the way you do.