I need a workout. Seriously.

Okay let me rephrase that. It’s not like I need to workout because I am unfit (unlike before) and that I still need to work on losing weight (although I still do) but I think I need a workout that will complement my yoga practice. I need more cardio, perhaps. I think this may help with not just losing weight, but also in stamina and endurance. What do you think? I kinda want to try surfing, or perhaps mountain biking. I should check that out soon, I suppose. I did see a lot of my yogi friends strapping on their surfboards to yakima racks on the tops of their cars and it seems that it’s a good combination to yoga. Let’s see how this goes :)

Any other workout you can suggest….outside of dance, that is???

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One of the poses I long to be able to do is the kapotasana. Much as I have a bendy back, this one is a wee bit elusive to me. Then again, I suppose it’s just practice, right? However, the last time I attempted this during a workshop with Jivamukti teacher Sandhi Ferreira, she exclaimed as I fell yet again in my attempt to get there, “Girl, You Gotta Stop Bailing!”

I was like, huh?

She was like, you’re almost there but just as your head is about to touch the floor, you tighten up and panic, thus you miss out on it. She said all I had left to do was surrender to it. After all, we had worked on opening the body parts that needed to be opened up for that particular pose. I didn’t really give her statement much thought at first, mainly because I was dealing with other issues around the time that I took her backbending workshop and to be honest, that was the first time in months that I had reconnected with the backbend after having gone through a personal experience that closed up my heart, thus making backbends extremely painful for me. So the fact that I could find my heart flying and me falling back with that open heart, that was already overwhelming.

Anyway, it wasn’t till the other night that I really realized the extent of my propensity to keep bailing. When things get hard, I do bail and when I do, I don’t even bother to attempt anymore. With that realization, I have decided that it is time to start exploring again. And to just try. So yeah, I really got to stop bailing :)

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Since I started yoga, I have gone through many transformations. It’s kind of like a metamorphosis many times over. It’s interesting how something seemingly “ordinary” can cause such a massive transformation in your life. I say ordinary in quotation marks, mind you. Nonetheless, each transformation has led to the discovery of a new side of me. I do acknowledge that the old parts of me still exist (yes, the part that enjoyed Margarita nights and liked the smell of old-fashioned cigars and check out cigar specials every now and then —but then I don’t really smoke, right? I just loved the smell :)) but that it has evolved. Today, however, I was reminded of one thing in the face of these transformations: transforming doesn’t really mean getting rid completely of the old, but modifying to make it work better. Yep, this came in the middle of exploring a new way to get into Ustrasana. I shall write about that more when the ideas solidify but I just needed to jot these down :)

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In a recent article I read in one of the wellness sites I follow, the writer posed the question about whether or not to play music in class. I find that I rather enjoy classes with¬† music, but that on some days, I prefer those without. I think it really depends on the situation. Sometimes it fits, sometimes it doesn’t. As a teacher, I find myself relying quite a bit on having a playlist to go with. I find it keeps me on my flow better. It does cost quite a bit, however! I wish there was a way that I could just design online playlists and have that play even without wifi in the place I teach. Har.

What about you? Do you prefer classes with music or not?

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The day after my very first yin workshop, my teacher sent me a text message asking how I was feeling. Now, even years later and though I have become a teacher myself,  whenever I attend a class with her, she still asks me how I am. Sure the question has evolved from just how I am feeling physically to asking about how the practice was for me and what stood out for me. In class, she makes sure that she gives me an option to deepen in my practice, but always is ready to pull me back when I need it.

I’ve come through many other teachers since then, and what always leaves a mark on me is how they are able to make the practice amazing for the entire class, even when it’s filled with different levels of practitioners. And all they really do is give the opportunity to make a choice in how far to take the asana. Just the other day, for example, my teacher let me sleep through half of the class, perhaps because she knew that it was exactly what I needed at that moment. I’m sure it would have been easy enough for her to come my way and say something to gently nudge me out of my rest, but she let me. In the same way, I’ve had teachers who would come and kindly place a block in front of me, even if I can do the pose, just so I can have more integrity in my pose and so I can learn to cultivate better awareness rather than to just do a pose the way the photograph shows it to be. A few days ago I got to watch my own teacher shift gears completely and totally throw out her sequence when she arrived at the practice space because that was what the moment called for.

This, I believe, is what truly makes a teacher. More »

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