For the Love of Yin!

Growing up and barely passing biology, I had no idea I would have eventually turned into a bit of an anatomy geek. Actually, to be more specific I should actually define it more as a kinesthetic functional yoga anatomy geek – now that’s mouthful! My yoga teaching has always been from an individual anatomy standpoint, more than trying to get into that perfect pretty pose seen on the cover of Yoga Journal. “Back off when you need to, move into it if it feels good,” can be heard on a regular basis in my classes. Yoga, to me, isn’t about touching your toes, getting your foot behind your head, or handstands! All that is just bonus. The real meaty stuff is in the postures some consider “basic.”

It has always been about meeting yourself where you are, and anatomy plays a big part. I was reminded of this when a wonderful friend gifted the amazing experience of  the Yin Yoga Foundations workshop with Joe Barnett in late February. I was humbled that someone I adore would want to support me by gifting me experience; and hands down it is one of the top ten best gifts I have been given.

In the last two years, Yin Yoga has been such a delicious treat for my body. It is a slower practice, where the poses are held for five minutes or more. Practicing Kripalu yoga gave me permission to really be in the body and notice what is going on. My appreciation for Kripalu’s three stages, (1. Body and Breath Awareness, 2. Focusing Inward and 3. Meditation in Motion), is deep. Yin Yoga just takes that even further. It just resonates so much with me and where I am at in my practice at this moment. I got into Yin Yoga due to Paul Grilley’s Anatomy for Yoga dvd – really if you love yoga this will change the way you practice or teach.

I knew I was in for a good workshop when my geek flag flew high at the sight of a partial skeleton prop, (Joe named him Norm), laying in the middle of the floor. Using Norm really helped make the connection with the concepts of the lecture of how bones and joints move. It really hit home more when we got on the mat and was able to look around the room at each other. Some people were more flexible, some less so and it wasn’t always due to the muscles (connective tissue) but the bones and joints.

Everyone is different. Some people won’t be able to comfortably touch their toes due to their bone structure they were born with. Some people won’t be able to do a full split comfortably, again due to the bone structure. One of my favorite moments was the picture of several femur bones and you could see the difference of size in each and every one of them. When you start to think about the relationship with of the femur bone to the size and placement of the hip socket, it really sinks in just how much yoga IS an individual physical practice and not a “one size fits all” exercise.

Since the workshop, I’ve been hungry for more and wondering how can I get myself to a Yin Yoga Teacher Training to go way deeper, and another teacher training that is very anatomy based. In the mean time, I fill my need with making time to take local classes, rereading anatomy yoga books, and restructuring my teaching so that I can take on more private yoga peeps. Working one on one with people is a great way to get that image out of their heads, of what we have been bombarded with, on how we should look in a pose instead of how we feel in it.

A fire has been lit within me. I see a path of where I want to go a bit more clearer, and it was due to a friend supporting me with an amazing experience. I am humbled and blessed.

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GoodBye 2012

Surrender to What Is

Surrender to What Is

2012 could be labeled as my own “annus horribilis,” if i didn’t see the bigger picture. My yoga teaching, dwindled from a pretty decent 13 classes in 2012 to only 3 at the start of 2013. Four of the six places i was on the roster at closed over the course of a year and one just didn’t have enough people to support a yoga class.

All i wanted to do was pull the covers over my head and mourn. I was going to miss the people and community i had helped create over the last five years at these fitness centers. How was i going to pay my bills? What was i going to do? The main question in my head was, “am i supposed to be a yoga teacher anymore?”

When the last place closed a few weeks ago, it broke my heart. It was a place that felt like home to so many. It was a point when i really questioned if i was suppose to give up and find something more stable. When i heard the news,i promised myself that i would mourn for a day, then i would make a list the next day, and that friday would go into action. The universe had other plans for me and i surrendered to them.

I didn’t have time to mourn. My phone rung, my email and facebook messages blew up with friends/tribe members offering leads to continue both my yoga teaching and my massage business. I started to think more out of the box with creating opportunity with some of the offers i was receiving.

My yoga peeps believed in me. My inbox was flooded with questions asking me where they can take my classes because they missed them. I was offered a chance to sub at a yoga studio, and an audition at another yoga studio, both due to people talking about my classes to the owners without me knowing.

Ultimately, i started to believe in myself and my teaching. i started to believe in just surrendering to the path the universe has sent me on. My schedule right now is scattered with a few subbing jobs in addition to my regular schedule at one of the gyms that remained open. All i can do is have faith and see where i am lead.

I could label 2012 as my “annus horribilis,” but i won’t. It was a year that pushed me out of my comfort zone, a year that helped me fall back in love with teaching yoga, and a year that reminded me life is about experiences.

I have a strong feeling that this upcoming year will really be filled with amazing adventures.

…bring it.

Hello Yoga, nice to meet you….

What does a girl need to do to get her yoga on, in a city with no yoga? Take two buses to the nearest teacher offering it in the American Legion Hall a town over was the answer. That was the start of my yoga journey so very long ago. I still have no idea how the thought of doing yoga came to my mind, but I went with it and sought it out. Little did I know, walking into the one room building would end up changing the direction of my life.

Downward dogs felt like I was in a game of awkward twister for one.  I probably cussed out every plank silently, and during savasana I was introduced to my Ms. Monkey Mind. Everything that could be thought of in that period of trying to settle in and let go bombarded my mind. I remember peeking open my eyes looking around and wondering, “are we done, yet?”

As we rose to our finally seated position for the closing “Namaste”, I did feel calm and happy. I had been dealing with a huge load of anxiety, panic attacks and uncertainty, but at that moment on the mat I had forgotten it and smiled. A little “hokey” I know but at that point I knew  I needed more of this “yoga thing”, and ordered my first mat from her on that first day for $28. (Trust me, it wasn’t the fancy choices we have for mats today. The only choice you had then was  “what colour do you want blue, purple or green.” )

I didn’t know why then, but I wanted my Yoga Teacher’s “life”. She was a Yoga Teacher, Massage Therapist and Reiki Practitioner. I didn’t know what that last thing was, but I figured it couldn’t be that bad. Now I realize there is something so satisfying helping people feel that “ah” moment.  As I have been teaching yoga over these last few years, my reasoning has morphed, but the foundation remained even if I lost myself a little. Those few seconds of bravery getting on the buses to walk into a room of strangers, to do this “yoga,” sent me on my path towards my authenticity.

Along the way I ended up a little lost, a lot scared, and misplaced the things I love. Follow me on my journey of rekindling my spark, getting back on my path towards my authenticity which builds upon that foundation becoming a yogini at play.