Tag Archives: yoga teacher training

On to the next one

Like pretty well everyone else out there, the end of 2014/beginning of 2015 has me reflecting on the past year and looking towards the next.  I’ve never really been one for official new years’ resolutions, but I definitely have some goals for 2015.

A year and a half ago, I made a tough decision to leave what was a pretty good job that I was totally comfortable in to pursue one that I knew would have way more challenges and potential emotional difficulties, but that would help set me up for some future goals.  The most immediate of those was doing yoga teacher training, and I’m so happy that I ticked that one off this year.  Big decisions and changes and new people are hard for me so taking the leap was definitely, well….a leap! Ha.

IMG_5962

Going into the new year, I want to take on a few more private clients and by the summer have my schedule set up so that I can teach in a studio setting too.  I find private clients so fulfilling, and with my erratic schedule it’s much easier to make it work, but I really love the energy of a class and can’t wait to start doing that too!

Hand in hand with the teaching goal….I definitely want to make this the year that I start focusing my energy on what I love doing and start to phase out the things that I don’t.

I also want to organize and beautify my home.  Clutter stresses me out, yet I can’t seem to keep it away.  I feel a big purge coming, and afterwards I want to (finally) do some decorating.  I don’t have the innate eye like some people do, so I’m definitely planning on enlisting some friends’ help with this one!

And it wouldn’t be a new years’ post if I didn’t mention some health goals…..

The past few months haven’t been great for me, fitness and eating-wise.  I’m usually really good at motivating myself and keeping myself on track, but for some reason I’ve just totally gone off the rails this fall.  There are certain truths that I know: I feel best when I’m eating healthfully, staying hydrated, sleeping well and making exercise a priority.  Refined sugars give me an instant headache.  Dairy makes me bloated (aside from the fact that I also really hate supporting the industry as a whole).  Less than 8 hours of sleep makes me really grumpy.  Muscles don’t stick around if you’re not using them.

So for 2015, I’m not hoping to do anything revolutionary, simply go back to what my ideal looks like.  I’ll be tracking my workouts again (which I gave up on because it was getting embarrassing….) and maybe tracking my food for a week or two as well, just to create some accountability.  I may even dust off my fitbit – nothing motivates me like competition!  My plan is to start posting some sort of weekly recap on here.  Someone yell at me if you don’t see one around the 7th!

Oh, and another goal….some more advanced asanas.  I really need to work on both strength and flexibility, and there’s nothing like a little headstart!

IMG_7728

Here’s to 2015!!

SBC: Days 5 and 6

I’ve decided that I’m definitely giving myself a pass on the blog every day thing on days that I work a double shift.    Something about 14 straight hours at work makes me feel pretty entitled to taking a pass on pretty much everything else that day.

5) Top five highlights from summer

1. Bali.  Duh.

IMG_4868

2.  Weekly roadtrips to visit someone awesome.

3.  Sunday morning yoga in the park.

IMG_6389

4.  Cottage visits with amazing friends.

5.  Realizing I can pop up into headstand every.single.time.I.try now (this used to feel soooo unachievable)

IMG_6443

6) Six things about fall you’re looking forward to

1.  A trip out east to visit one of my dearest friends.

2.  Starting to work with my very first private yoga client – so exciting!

3.  Hikes through High Park with Kaylee.

4.  Mocassins.  Boots.  Warm socks.  I loooooove being barefoot most of all, but something about fall footwear makes me super happy.

5.  Crisp fall nights.

6.  Cozy comfort foods.  Soups, stews, roasted veggies, pumpkin everything.

my first (practice) class

I did it!

Today I taught my first full-length class to the group.  And it was awesome.

One of the major evaluation aspects of this training is (obviously) your ability to lead a class.  We’re fortunate to get two opportunities to do this, the first counting as a practice, then again a few days later to actually be evaluated on.  For most of the people here at this YTT (myself included), this is their VERY FIRST time doing anything like this, so having a practice class is a really awesome tool.  Post-class, our instructor gives feedback on what you did well, and what could use improvement.  And after lots of hugs and high fives, you can also persuade your classmates to let you know what they thought.

I’ve been working on my sequence in my head since day 1.  Or maybe even before then – just kind of taking a mental note of anything that I really loved in a class I’ve attended.  I used to do this to tuck it away for the times when I would practice by myself at home, but I definitely noticed myself doing it in more of an “I want to steal this” way in the weeks leading up to this training.  So once it came time to actually program my own class, my problem wasn’t knowing where to start, or trying to fill an entire 60 minute slot, it was what to leave out so I wouldn’t go over my time!

I finally whittled it down to 60 minutes, then it was time to work on my music.  First playlist draft? 2 hours, 26 minutes.  Oh. Good.  Once I got the music situation not only under control, but to a PERFECT 59:05, my lovely roommate was kind enough to let me teach her my class.  I was nervous, and unsure of myself, and all those other icky feelings.  After the first go-through, I was totally rattled.  Everything that sounded so good and so smooth and so automatic in my head was really, really hard to put into words that would come out of my mouth.  I couldn’t figure out my cues, much less get left and right straight (this is something that’s been hard for me my whole life – I make a big ‘L’ with my index finger and thumb at least once a day – so I don’t know why it was surprising).  Kind of the way it feels when I start speaking French to someone.  I know that I know it, and it’s perfect in my head, but it just won’t come out right.

Something weird happened though.  I didn’t worry about it.  As in, I didn’t keep practicing it.  Not in my head, not out loud to myself, and certainly not to anyone else.  Until last night.  I “taught” roomie and another girl, and it was better.  Still, I lay awake far past my bedtime (which has been 10:30 here), totally nervous.  I slept poorly, and woke up way before my alarm (so as not to waste precious stressing time on silly things like sleep).  I was the 4th girl to teach today, so I made my way through 3 other practices, trying to really give each of them my full attention, mostly failing miserably since I was so stuck in my head.  Then, it was my turn.  I got everyone set up, tucked my little cheat sheet under the corner of my mat, and pressed play on my iPhone.  I decided to start my class with a short reading, channeling one of my favourite teachers from home.  For the first few lines, my voice shook.  I felt that little sting of tears welling up like they always do when I’m in a situation where I feel overwhelmed.  But I kept reading, and by halfway through, my voice was strong and clear.  I felt empowered and strong and all of those awesome “girl power” words.

And then I kinda, if I do say so myself, kicked ass.

I didn’t have to check my cheat sheet.  I hit all my cues the way that I wanted to, and I only screwed up left vs right once. The hour flew by, and before I knew it I had everyone in savasana and was sitting on my mat at the front of the class, hands in prayer at my heart, with more tears threatening to spill over.  This time though, tears of joy.  Pride.  Release.  I did it.  And I did it well.  All I had to do was step out of my head, step out of my own way, stop over-thinking it, and let it happen.

After class, there were only glowing reviews.  From my teacher, and from my fellow students.  The words “you’re a natural” may have even been tossed around.  And it felt so good.

So.crazy.good.

 

PS: for everyone who has predicted that I’m going to come home totally transformed, a witch doctor, only playing kundalini chants, chimes and instrumentals in my classes….I played The Foo Fighters, Arcade Fire, and a dubstep remix of Ellie Goulding.  And we only said “om” once.  I’m still me.

 

Jailhouse cuisine

Don’t be mistaken – I am definitely NOT likening my amazing month of YTT to being in prison. I am (very) willingly here of my own free will and loving it.

We are fortunate to have a great restaurant that takes care of our meals for us, but I looooove cooking and baking and generally just getting creative in the kitchen. My roommate is the same way. So we’ve been working with the rather limited resources of our villa’s kitchen to create snacks and treats (please don’t tell our teacher about the amount of treats).

Grocery stores essentially don’t exist here, so food-making also involves a certain degree of swiping ingredients. This is where the “jailhouse cuisine” thing comes in. Anyone read/seen Orange is the New Black? It totally reminds me of the prisoners coming up with these prison specialties with the few items they can buy from the dispensary and steal from the cafeteria then cobble together with little more than a microwave. We have a stove top instead of a microwave, but you get the idea.

So far, we’ve made an awesome hummus (it took over an hour), vanilla-infused cocobiotic (think kombucha, but with coconut water instead of tea), and oh-so-much raw vegan chocolate. The chocolate has morphed from a basic coconut oil, cacao and chia seeds to peanut-butter-dipped-chocolate-covered-frozen-banana-bites and almond butter cups made in an ice cube tray. You heard.

Anyway, if you’re ever dying for chocolate and only have some basic pantry ingredients, a bowl, a freezer, and 2 minutes plus some waiting time, you’re in luck. And technically, none of these ingredients are bad for you. They’re all even in the superfoods family. You probably just shouldn’t eat the whole thing in one sitting.

All the measurements are really approximate because ummm I don’t have any measuring tools. But you can eyeball it.

Super Easy Raw Vegan Chocolate
1 cup organic cold-pressed coconut oil
4 heaping tbsp raw cacao powder
2 tbsp chia seeds
Optional:
1-2 tbsp vanilla or chocolate or chai (do the chai!) protein powder (this acts as a sweetener)
Chopped raw almonds, raisins or whatever else you can pick out of the breakfast granola
1 pod worth of vanilla seeds
Pinch of sea salt

Make sure your coconut oil is liquid. This happens at above 21•, which is always in Bali. Stir in everything else, making sure to get any lumps of cacao smoothed out. Taste. A lot. Put the whole bowl in the freezer. In about 15 minutes it will be hard enough to roughly chop into pieces and devour.

week 2: check

I know that I said pretty much this exact same thing in my last post but holy s***!! time is flying by!  Today actually marks the halfway point of my ytt, which is welllll over the halfway point of this entire trip too.  I’m sad that I only have 15 days left to soak in everything that not only my training here, but also Bali in general, has to offer.  On the other hand, I’ve been away from home for a whole month now and am starting to miss the comforts of my own space.  My bed.  My fridge, stocked with whatever I want.  My vitamix! My puppy, who I know is being well taken care of by my amazing family (thanks again guys!).  Friends.  Family. Internet that doesn’t take me back to the days of dial up with web pages taking a full minute to load sometimes (in case you were wondering why I’m not updating much…..THAT IS WHY).

At this halfway junction, I have sooooo many things that I want to share, but I can’t find the words.  They’re not there yet.  All the lovely yogis who I know who have done a teacher training told me the same thing – it takes a really long time to process what happens in this month.  It’s been this weird wave of things coming up, then fading away.  There are things that I’ve let go of that I have been wanting to for a long time.  Then others that just keep nagging away in the back of my mind.  They’re like an itch that I can’t quite scratch.  Some of them are just these vague awarenesses that come to me sometimes in savasana, then disappear again by the time I come back into my body.  Others are constant companions.  I’m working on just accepting it as it comes.

I’ve also been working diligently on my patience this month.  Anyone who knows me well, like beyond the “in public” side of me, knows that this virtue is not one that I was naturally bestowed with.  I have whole days where I feel like the universe is playing with me, trying to find where the breaking point is.  Extending that breaking point further and further is something I’ve been working on for years, but I knew that this month would push me way past my comfort zone.  Being in such an intensive setting, 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, for 30 days? Crazy. And with a whole bunch of women?? Crazier.  Sorry ladies, but man can we be annoying sometimes.  It’s estrogen overload over here.  But I’m really proud of my progress so far!  

Speaking of work….I’ve been programming my class!  One aspect of our testing is teaching a 60 minute class to the group, and I’m SO EXCITED for mine.  So excited that I’m pretty sure that mine is at least 90 minutes long as of right now.  And there’s nothing that I want to cut out.  And the playlist I’ve been putting together for it? 2 hours and 28 minutes currently.  So much for my fear of not knowing what to do.  Tonight my villa-mate and I are going to “teach” each other our sequences, then start the inevitable process of trimming it down to size.  And for those of you keeping track, that means that my grand total number of hours practicing yoga today will be around 9.  Yes, everything hurts.  Mostly in a good way.

 

5 days in

I can’t believe I’m already on day 5! That’s 1/6th of the way done. For all you math whizzes, that’s 17%! What!!

If you don’t follow me on Instagram, you need to. Because I can’t tell you how gorgeous it is here. And I still can’t seem to upload photos. Bali is beautiful in general, but the resort (resort doesn’t feel like the right word, because it’s not like the ones you think of in the Caribbean) is insanely so. It’s an eco-resort, so designed to be as natural and sustainable as possible. Every villa is a bit different and actually each owned by an individual family. The villas are open. Not open concept. Open. As in not 4 walls. There’s a full roof and floor and some half walls, but any little bit of nature that wants to come in can. Lizards, bees, frogs, even monkeys! We haven’t had any monkey visitors yet and I hope it stays that way. Apparently they aren’t very friendly. My shower is in the garden. My villa-mate’s toilet is in another garden. It sounds a bit strange but it’s actually amazing.

Every morning we have a practice for 2 hours, then breakfast, then a workshop for 3 hours. In the afternoons we get a bit of free time to study. Or more often, hang out in the pool or the ocean. Soooo necessary because it is HOT here! Another 2 hour practice in the evening, followed by dinner and a very early bedtime.

I don’t know how much I’ll get into details about classes or workshops on here right now. But tomorrow I have to teach my first sequence to the group so that’s exciting/nerve-racking! Just a round of sun salutations, but I’m not very good at speaking in front of groups. I’m really shy and I get embarrassed ridiculously easily. Then I blush, then I get more embarrassed. It’s a vicious cycle. One of the things that I’m actually hoping to take away from this month is more self-assuredness. Probably a pretty necessary quality if I actually want to make a real go of this teaching thing!

Today roomie and I started a cleanse. One week. Just juices, smoothies, teas and a whoooole lot of water. I’ve done cleanses in the past, but never when I’ve been asking my body to not only practice yoga for at least 4, if not 7, hours a day. When it’s 35 degrees. Although I do still feel like I’m taking a break right now. Working in a restaurant is a pretty physically demanding job. I’m often on my feet running around for 14 straight hours, so this should be a piece of cake, right?

Today’s the day!

It’s hard to put into words what I’m feeling today. In just a few hours I’ll be checking in to my teacher training, and as I sit in this cafe waiting for the boat to take me back to the mainland from the Gili islands, I’m experiencing every emotion you might expect.

Excitement. Sooooo much excitement. This is what I’ve been waiting for, working for, and looking forward to for a very long time.

Joy. Sheer joy at the thought of spending the next month of my life doing something that brings me so many good vibes.

Sadness. I’ve been enjoying my travels so much, I’m not sure I’m quite ready for them to end. And I miss life back in Toronto already, and I’m barely a quarter of the way through the time I’ll be away.

Trepidation. What if I’m not “good enough”? I know that’s a very un-yoga thing to say, and anytime I have a friend going to a class for the first time I tell them that there’s no “being good at” yoga. But seriously, what if I’m not good?! I was always teacher’s pet, top of the class and my inner child doesn’t know how to be at peace with anything else. And what if I don’t have friends? The other kids don’t like me? I get lost? It seriously feels like the first day at a new school. What will I wear??

And then the more serious concerns: what if I don’t love it like I think I will? What if I’ve put so much of myself into this and I realize it’s not for me? What happens then?

I’m trying hard to focus on the happy emotions, and not let the nerves get the best of me. Because nerves aren’t a bad thing. They let you know that you’re on the edge of something big, something potentially shattering and amazing and life-changing, good and bad and everything in between. Next time I check in, I’ll officially be a yoga teacher in training. And that’s pretty awesome.