Monday, September 14, 2015

Laughter, Tears, Snoring, and HELLO TOES!

After my game being off in yesterday's morning practice and experiencing rising levels of frustration, I was determined that today would be different. The day had a great beginning--gratitude and meditation (sort of) on the rooftop, then delicious banana muffins with honey and butter with L for breakfast. When it was time to meet everyone on our mats, I set a new intention for the day--I am patient with myself. And it led to a great morning practice! I led the class in two poses--tadasana and triyaka tadasana and it went pretty well. I got my full wheel pose back (it was missing on Friday) and... wait for it.... for the first time ever I reached my toes during seated forward fold! It was a victory on the mat!

And I pronounced my Sanskrit pose names this morning after I learned a little trick from my friend A. For example, A had a family member named Vera who was a bad dresser. So to remember the   Virabhadrasana (warrior pose), she called it Vera-bad-dresser. So for triyaka tadasana, I called it teriyaki tadasana. Worked like a charm. Thanks A!

And the momentum continued into the theory portion of our day. Much to my great excitement, Michelle came upstairs with a box. It was our mala beads! Finally! Mala beads have 108 beads on a knotted string and they are used for mantra and meditation practice to keep track of how many times you've said a mantra or affirmation. Our mala beads from Michelle are made from Tulsi wood from the holy basil plant, and they absorb positive energy from our yoga practice. Our mala beads came from Rishikesh, India, where Michelle studies with her guru and leads yoga teacher training sessions. When Michelle gave them to us, she held the mala beads in her clasped hands then transferred them to our clasped hands. It was an important moment and another step on my yogic journey. We used our mala beads right away with the Gayatri mantra. It's three lines of Sanskrit or Hindu and we did a half mala, meaning we said it 54 times. It took nearly half an hour! Managing the words in this foreign language and moving along one mala bead each time I said it was really more than I could handle!

Lunch was especially delicious today... Chef Leonardo outdid himself with his pasta with pesto sauce and healthy side salad. Yummy!
Some sun on the rooftop followed by a nap was a great midday break!
Our next theory portion was where the tears came in. Today we studied the third chakra, and it's pretty evident that lots of us have imbalances or a blockage of energy in this area. The third chakra is called Manipura, and it is located behind the navel. It's known as the mental body, and problems associated with it are restlessness, pessimism, worrying, imagining problems, and doubting. Other bad habits of the third chakra include spending too much time worrying about the future or reflecting on the past, and experiencing no satisfaction in spite of having everything. Problems with ego (superiority or inferiority), negative thinking, and not trusting your own intuition are also associated with the third chakra. We each took a turn sharing what we thought our bad habits were in this area, and the tears flowed as some very personal stories were shared. Some of us were crying over our own problems, and others were shedding sympathetic tears for the people we have grown close with in the last week. It was a hard topic but an important one, and Michelle and the other participants create such a supportive atmosphere. This afternoon's session really illustrated that everyone who comes to yoga teacher training has a story. Sometimes I feel like we're living in Eat Pray Love (the Julia Roberts movie and book by Elizabeth Gilbert). 
We had a 25 minute break to regroup, then met in the studio for a yoga pose sequence designed to stimulate and balance the Manipura chakra. It was one of my favourite sequences that we have done so far with a lot of ab work, and it even included a laughing happy baby pose as laughter is good for this chakra. Next was yoga nidra (dynamic sleep where you are supposed to stay awake), but obviously the emotions of the day had left me drained. Because 40 minutes later, the next thing I knew we were being instructed to roll over onto our sides and sit up. I had been pretty much unconscious the whole time. I quickly got it together and tried to act like I hadn't been sleeping. My friends were looking at me and snickering though, and one person mentioned there was some noise coming from my side of the room. Turned out I had been snoring on and off throughout the yoga nidra, and everyone had a hard time staying focused and not laughing out loud! I was busted!
L and I had some mock cocktails (mixed it up with orange juice, club soda, and lime this time) and Leonardo served a delicious supper of vegetable barley soup, fresh bread and butter, and salad. It was another eventful day at yoga teacher training, and tomorrow promises to be even better. Lattes in the morning and morning asana practice at the beach!   


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