200 Hours

I just finished a 200 hour Vinyasa Yoga Teacher Training program with a group of really terrific students and teachers.  The classes taught us how to design and lead a creative and safe Vinyasa yoga class.  

We also learned about yoga anatomy and physiology,  breathing and meditation techniques,  as well as the history of yoga and about the different styles we have today–Bikram, Iyengar, Ashtanga, Hot Yoga, Kundalini, Yin Yoga and of course Vinyasa.

Even more importantly, I learned a lot about myself.  I learned to be more accepting of things as they are – How to take things in stride; to not obsess over the past or worry about the future.  I am learning to live in ther present moment.  I learned (finally) to forgive a long ago hurt, and I am  learning to let the future unfold as it will without attempting to control every detail.  My new motto is,

Embrace the Uncertainty.

The future is certainly uncertain, and I am enjoying the freedom of letting go of my attempt to control events and giving it up to a higher power, I know that everything will work out not, necessarily as I had planned, but for the best.

 

 

A New Adventure in Yoga

If you have been following this blog, then you know it started as a personal reflection on trying to get back into shape after a fairly long hiatus.  I use the blog to keep myself on track, to hold myself accountable, and to share what I learn along the way.  Posts have ranged from general physical fitness, running, recipes I’ve tried, nutrition facts, the dangers of chemicals in health and beauty products, and books I have read throughout the year.  I enjoy the blog and hope I have inspired some people to also get “in shape” — physical, mental, emotional, all kinds of shape!

Now I have embarked on a new project.  I have applied to, and been accepted in, a 200 hour Vinyasa Yoga teacher training.  The program will run primarily one weekend a month throughout the upcoming year (sounds like the National Guard!).

Waldo finds himself 2

I am excited for myself to deepen my own practice and to learn about the anatomy and physiology of yoga, the Chakras.  the proper techniques, principles of meditation and breathing as well as the application of the path of yoga in everyday life.

I hope to not only become strong in my yoga practice, but also to become more centered and present in my daily life.

 

 

 

 

 

Then of course, as this is a teacher training.  I am excited to share this knowledge with others and lead yoga classes.

The program starts in October and I will be sharing what I learn here, so stay tuned!

 

 

Yoga – A Wonderful Experience

 

I went to a yoga class this afternoon at lunch time and it felt sooo good.  It is so easy for me to get out of the habit of going on a regular basis. But I’ve been noticing tightness in my hip from running (which I never had before) and an overall blah feeling and so I made the effort to get myself to class today.  Now I feel great!

 

The combination of physical movement, stretching, breathing and being in the moment make for a wonderful experience that carries over into the rest of my day.  And someday, I may get to this:

 

All photos from Tammy Z’s Yoga Studio on Pinterest

 

Thoughts on a Yoga Mala

This morning I participated in my third annual Yoga Mala.  A Yoga Mala is a 2 1/2 -3 hour practice comprised of 108 Sun Salutations practiced in 9 sets consisting of 12 Sun Salutations.

Each year for the past 6 years, the Seacoast yoga community has come together to participate in the Mala.  Teachers from different disciplines each lead a series of Sun Salutations in their style.  It is a great way to bring together the yoga community and share the practice.  The energy and love in the room is amazing.  Even more amazing is that the event is a fund raiser for food and heating fuel assistance for needy people in the region, and this year, we raised over $56,000!

While 108 Sun Salutations seem overwhelming, I got through it!  We were encouraged to rest as needed, and again, the collective energy in the room gave me strength.  That is not to say that I wasn’t exhausted afterwards.  I was, and I took a nice nap this afternoon, and I’m sure my shoulders will be tender for a few days, but it was fun and well worth it!  I’m already looking forward to next year’s Mala.

yogamala

Back Bends

An important part of yoga is the back-bend.  It can be a bit scary at first bending back wards as we don’t often put our body in this position in our day to day activities.  There are a lot of back-bending yoga poses: standing back-bends, bridge, sphinx, cat, upward facing dog, bow pose, cobra just to name a few.   See some photos here

In class when it comes time to do a back-bend can you sense your anxiety rising?   These are positions that we avoid in our daily lives, and so they feel unnatural and even somewhat scary.  Back-bends are important to counteract our typical daily movements — sitting at a table, working at a desk, hunching over a laptop, slouching on the couch, even driving!

All that forward bending stretches and weakens our back muscles and compresses the front of the spinal vertebrae leading to poor posture which can cause back and neck pain, constrict the heart muscle and other vital organs and even lead to negative self esteem and moods.  For more information see this article and this one.

 

Back-bending has many benefits, “they energize, refresh and invigorate the body- opening the chest, encouraging inhalation, an action associated with embracing life” (yoga.net), and “they are poses that open the heart chakra, build courage and stamina, and give us the sort of energy that propels us to reach out toward others.” (Yoga Journal).

So next time you are in yoga class, embrace the back-bend for your physical and emotional well-being.