Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Day 5: Zombie Yoga and Other Bad Habits

Today began with my morning meditation on the rooftop with Aussie A. Waking up in the morning is so easy when you have something pleasant and rewarding to look forward to. I expected to be really stiff after yesterday's demanding asanas, but I was surprisingly limber after a good night's sleep. The only thing still bothering me was a headache. When I told Aussie A this, she offered me her fluorite crystal bracelet to wear, as fluorite is meant to be good for headaches. As I write this blog post, I am now headache free. Everyone needs a friend who is a crystal expert! A also mended my torn yoga pants and did a great job. I'm going to try wearing them tomorrow and see if they hold up.

Ready for another big day of yoga!

A's fluorite bracelet

Today was another physically demanding day, beginning with asanas with our yoga teacher, Marita. We started off with 12 sun salutations which certainly generate a lot of heat. After joint movement exercises, we spent the remainder of the two hour session really getting into some basic poses, such as tadasana, tree, warriors 1 and 2, chair, triangle, and intense side stretch pose. The good part? Marita gives extremely explicit cueing so that we know exactly how to do the pose. As we hold pose, she moves from person to person, giving hands on adjustments to ensure we feel how the pose is properly done. The bad part? We have to hold pose while she adjusts all eight people in the class. If a bunch of us aren't in proper position, this takes a VERY long time. As sweat is pouring down our red faces, Marita moves from person to person, assuring us loudly in her German accent, "It's all right. You are fine. Everything is good. Just breathe." If we forget to breathe, she reminds us, "Breathe, breathe louder! I can't hear you! What is this? Zombie yoga? You're scaring me!" I've learned a great deal from Marital in only two days!

After two hours of this, we were given a short break, then it was time for theory. Marita prefers to teach theory in the studio so we can have hands on practice and apply the theory as needed. Today we examined tadasana (mountain pose or palm tree pose), swaying palm tree pose, and tree pose. For each pose, we identified the prana (energies) that were activated, the chakras that were targeted, the alignment cues that we use, and the benefits. This took quite a long time, then we worked in partners to cue each other in the poses. It was our first attempt at teaching, and my bossy kindergarten teacher skills definitely came in handy. Right L?

A nap was needed this afternoon, then Michelle was back to do theory with us from 3-5 pm. Today's focus was on kundalini energy. Kundalini is this extremely powerful form of energy that resides in our lowest chakra, the root or "mooladhara" chakras. Kundalini energy should only be awakened if the pathway is clear to the brain from the lowest chakras all the way to the crown chakra at the top of the head. Otherwise, this powerful energy can get trapped part way up. Michelle told an entertaining/scary story of a woman whose kundalini energy was awakened when her body was not prepared for it. It got stuck in between the first and second chakras in the area that controls sexual desire. The woman basically became a nymphomaniac until the kundalini energy returned to its resting place!!! It took about 48 hours I guess.... If the kundalini energy rises unrestricted to the brain, it causes a huge awakening in unused parts of the brain causing huge changes. The body undergoes a complete rejuvenation, the voice changes, hormonal secretions change, creativity and energy increases, and a spiritual awakening takes place. Yoga practice prepares the body to activate and properly handle kundalini energy. So basically, amateurs should not mess around with raising kundalini.

Then finally we had a discussion on how to transform bad habits through the practice of transformational Hatha yoga. This began with identifying our bad habits, and we took turns sharing them around the table, As each person shared one or two bad habits, and one man said he didn't have any (SERIOUSLY??), I realized that I had finally found my niche at yoga teacher training. I have countless bad habits! Drinking lattes, drinking alcohol, shopping too much, not getting enough rest, pushing myself too hard, and allowing stress to run my life. I think the rest of the group was impressed! Michelle shared a variety of yoga-based strategies to transform these bad habits, and as we begin to live a more yogic lifestyle, she promises that the desire to engage in these bad habits will lesson. Here's hoping!

Two more hours of asana practice where we went really in depth into poses that target the first chakra, the root chakras, gave us our first opportunity to practice hands-on adjustments. We worked in partners to physically adjust each other in poses. I felt like a real yoga teacher!

A delicious meal of Italian minestrone soup, fresh bread, and olive tapenade, beautiful sunset views, and a good visit with the girls concluded another day of yoga teacher training!
Chef Leonardo's interpretation of Italian minestrone soup

Fresh whole wheat bread and olive tapenade

Beautiful views from the supper table

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