It’s time…

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I’ve just logged onto my blog for the first time in too long. Obviously you know I’ve been focusing on the final weeks of yoga teacher training and it is with excitement (and maybe a little anxiety) that I tell you I have just one week of training to go before graduation! A year has passed and we are now ready to be unleashed to share the joy of yoga with the world. This Sunday I get to teach a class and then on Tuesday night I start a regular teaching gig at a studio close to home. I am so excited! My plan is to simply teach, wherever and whenever I can pick up a class and eventually to start my own classes. I’m keen to teach raw beginners and prenatal to expectant mums. Maybe kids too, we’ll see how it goes. It feels a little strange, that is to say, I am a beginner again, a new teacher ready to make my mark. Basically I just want to help people find yoga and teach it to them. That’s it really, pretty simple.

I promise I will post a Frock Friday blog today too! I can feel the creativity beginning to flow freely again now that my exams are over and with only one student teaching flow left to teach next week at our final class! Woo hoo!

love & light xo

From the Mat… Replacing Fear with Joy!

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It’s been nonstop teaching lately and last week I experienced teaching yoga to real people!  Not my fellow student teachers, not my family and not my best friend, actual students! Three of us volunteered to take over a fellow second year student’s class for her while she’s away on holiday.  We decided to break the class into three parts so we could take turns teaching for 30 minutes each. I was first up teaching the invocation, warm ups and warriors I and II with Sun Salutations. I was nervous, nothing new there, but excited too because I knew this was going to be a very different experience from teaching in front of my peers and teachers. Sitting there on my mat at the front of the class, as I began to speak I couldn’t know if would remember everything I had to say, I had no idea if I was making sense at all, and in the back of my mind I wondered if I might fall flat on my face!  A little while later I was in Downward dog I think, and I looked up to see how everyone was doing and suddenly I felt a rush of joy! Finally! Joy was taking the place of fear! Wow! I was so happy I couldn’t stop smiling!  I have struggled so much with anxiety while teaching these past six months. I was putting so much pressure on myself to be perfect, even though I tried not to – it’s not easy to change your nature overnight. I told myself again and again to let it go.  Now I know that one day I will step on to the mat to teach and there will be no fear. Only confidence and joy – and yoga!

Meditation is definitely helping because the anxiety is transforming each time I teach and I can now manage to keep any panic attacks under control by breathing through them, so things are definitely improving, and that’s ok. Because now I’ve found the joy, the elusive joy that I knew was there, I had seen it in my fellow student teachers.  I know that if I continue to step out side my comfort zone and onto the mat to teach, I am staring my fear down, I am completely and utterly present with myself and while it still freaks me out, I am loving it just the same.

I get to do it all again this week!

love & light xo

From the mat… Letting go

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Teaching yesterday was… interesting. When it was over, I felt excited but also relieved because something really bugged me. It never turns out in class the same as it does at home when I practice. At home I have the image of a room full of my fellow student-teachers in my mind. Sometimes I also have my dog, my kids, my husband or my best friend to teach to, but mostly it’s my imaginary class.  The first part of my teaching assignment was to teach the inversion Viparita Karani and on the whole it went well. I began strong and I felt more comfortable than on previous teaching assignments. Then about thirty seconds into teaching I got hit by a huge adrenalin rush. It completely took over my body leaving me feeling helpless and I might add, also slightly annoyed. There I am, up there doing my best to convey the essence of a confident and relaxed teacher when all of sudden – WHAM! I started to shake, my voice quivered and I lost track of my thoughts which caused me to forget elements to the sequence I was trying to teach. My mind went completely blank! Really? I’m doing YOGA and my body decides to send me through what can only be described as a freaking panic attack? I mean, WTF? So the second part of my teaching yesterday was to take the class through relaxation, also known as Savasana. Again I was overwhelmed with adrenalin at about the one minute mark but this time I was prepared for it. I  focused on my breath and while I was talking about relaxing and letting go to the class, I mentally told myself to do the same. By the time everyone was all tucked up in the little blankies and savasana-ing away, I was sitting on my mat at the front of the room feeling pretty good about how it all went. I won’t go into my mental battle with deciding on how long to let everyone relax for, but suffice to say, in the end, I was speaking straight from the heart, I felt like I had been teaching shavasana for years, not for the first time. I did have a little moment of feeling proud of myself.

The good news? I’m not the only one experiencing these episodes while teaching. I mean, there is a certain safety in numbers. It does ease me somewhat to know that. The thing that bugs me the most is that I am SO prepared for when I get up there to teach. I mean, more than prepared. So why does my body turn on me? The bottom line is that it’s all ego. It’s ego that causes us to panic, it’s ego that wants us to do well and it’s ego that picks apart the whole thing. Stupid, stupid ego!  As yoga teachers we are there to serve, that’s it. It’s not about hearing from our students how awesome our class was or even if we can get into insanely advanced poses. It’s about self-acceptance and letting go. Period.

love & light xo

Give a frock Friday

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Twirling in a sumptuous gold frock by Dolce & Gabbana by Dutch photographer Jan Welters for Elle France. Love, love this frock and this shot. Click here for a fascinating interview with Jan and his road to self-discovery and freedom on his search for inner peace through yoga.

I have a new teaching assignment for next week (why do I always draw the short straw?) which is to teach the class Viparita Karani and Shavasana. For me, this is definitely the sequence to end all sequences. If I can teach this, I know I can teach anything! I am preparing for it now, planning, writing and visualising. My kids and hubby are going to be so relaxed this week from all the practice they are going to be put through!

Have a wonderful weekend.

love & light xo

Source: Le Yoga Shop Paris Le Journal.

From the mat… just be yourself

yoga dive inOnly four months in and with eight still to go in yoga teacher training, already the transformation is showing on all of the students in my course. Training has been much harder on me than I expected. Much, much, much harder. The information I take in each week in class is huge, some weeks my brain is bursting with so much new information on anatomy, philosophy and sequences to learn for teaching that I feel like my head is going to explode. I wonder, how am I ever going to remember it all?  Then on top of that, there’s the transformation we are all experiencing as we go through training and the emotional roller coaster that that entails.  You see, there’s this path I desperately want to be on, and yet there seems to be so many obstacles to overcome along the way. On top of which, my body is changing, my brain is changing, my thoughts on life and my understanding of what it is to be a yogi is broadening, and oh, the vulnerability of teaching, did I mention that one? Far harder than anything I have done. It is a far greater responsibility to be a yoga teacher than I imagined.

rumiThe truth? It feels as if teacher training is dragging me over hot coals, and the incredible uncomfortableness of having to face my fears is taking me to a vulnerable place that I have spent my life avoiding. Although I want to run away from the responsibility and self-discipline of it all – and at times I do escape, I am also discovering the pure joy of turning up and meeting my fears head-on. In fact, I’m learning to accept and embrace them. The trick is, and it’s a pretty basic one, is to just to be yourself. At first I was trying to be just like my teachers. But how could I be? I was doomed to fail. Then I realised that all that was required was for me to be me. Of course this made me feel more vulnerable, and for a while I thought I was never going to be able to let go. I still don’t know how I’m going to get through. What I do know is that each time I step on to the mat to teach, I’m going to do my best to connect with the class and eventually, I’m told the nerves will dissipate, and the wisdom of my years on the mat will take over and my voice as a yoga teacher will shine through. That’s the plan anyway!

love & light xo

 

 

 

From the mat… I’m grateful

35e02ab0863b0e0d266d22a218b14289Today I felt the need to write a little post about how grateful I am to have my yoga practice and the teacher training in my life right now. It is an incredible gift! Yes, sometimes I am amazed with how much information my brain has to take in every Thursday, but by the time the next Thursday comes around I am ready for more!

946f569af4ebb8820ee8b7a831ba2f5dFor a while now I have had a day job that has been extremely difficult to fulfil with an open heart. I work in an environment that on the outside looks like heaven on earth, but the truth is that it is a microcosmos of negativity, micromanagement at its worst, and yes, that ugly word, bullying. If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know that I haven’t ever written in detail about my day job before, but I felt compelled to share this with you now because having yoga and regular daily meditation in my life has kept me strong and given me the tools to manage my feelings with it all as I search for a new job. You might be wondering why I don’t just quit, and in the past I have quit much better jobs, yes.  The downside to the beautiful place where I live is that jobs are difficult to come by, so one doesn’t just quit, no matter how bad, at least, they don’t in my experience.  I’m not writing this because I feel like moaning about my life to you. I write because I simple must sing the praises of life with a daily yoga and meditation practice and how much it means to me. It has saved me from my life’s tough challenges. It is a blessing and I am grateful, grateful, grateful!

My wish is that these words may inspire someone else to take up yoga and change their life for the better.

love & light xo

 

From the Mat… my first time teaching

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This past week I experienced teaching yoga for the first time! It was an exceptional moment in my life because I know absolutely now, that this is what I am supposed to be doing!

My big hurdle was nerves. Mercifully, for our first time teaching the sequence had to be just five minutes long but, we would all be teaching in front of our fellow students and our teachers, which is daunting for even the experienced teachers in the course – five minutes felt like an hour! I focused intensely on learning the poses and then I spent a lot of time on the words, basically this was the most frustrating part because no one tells you how hard it is to find the right words. Then I had to learn how to say them while at the same time giving instruction to breathe! Somehow I just knew it would all come together, I just had to have faith.

Every morning I practiced for as long as I could, then I would meditate, after which I would head off to my day job. In the afternoon I practiced some more, this time with yoga mats spread out on our back deck and my wonderful daughters and darling hubby as my willing crash test dummies! I am so grateful for their help, I love them so much!

I think I was as prepared as I could be, and by the time I stepped onto the mat in front of my fellow student teachers, I was still nervous but I was also very calm and also very happy – I couldn’t stop smiling! When I finished, I took my place on my mat amongst my fellow student teachers, but what I really wanted to do was click my heels together and high-five every one of them!

I have never had an experience like it! The feedback I received was amazing, very positive and I feel so happy and transformed from the whole experience, I’m looking forward to the next time already.

Have a wonderful week.

love & light xo

Glamping is good!

It’s January and for my little family, that means it’s time to pack up our car with our tent, camping equipment, too much food and my over-packed bag (I am the worst packer ever) then we catch the ferry over to our favourite little beach on Straddie, which is a little island off the coast of Brisbane also known as Stradbroke island. We are heading to the north island, which until recently was experiencing a terrible bush fire but it seems as if this has been finally put out so we are going ahead with our trip after all. We will be camping with 3 other wonderful families, all seasoned campers!

My plan is to head down to the beach every morning to practice yoga, either by myself or with anyone of our group willing to join me. We were told yesterday at Yoga teacher training that we are beginning teaching next week, all of us have been given a 5 minute sequence which we will be teaching over the next month – aargh! I am excited and nervous at the prospect! I mean, it’s not like I didn’t sign up for this, but teaching already? The thing I’m most scared about is forgetting what I’m doing mid-asana. I have a terrible habit of forgetting what I’m doing when I’m nervous. I wonder if I can use palm cards?? It’s a simple warm-up sequence of cat-cow and extended leg pose with a downward dog thrown in between. Something which I know very well, but still… it’s nerve-wracking!! At the very least I take comfort in knowing that my fellow-trainees will all be feeling the same way as me, that we are all in this together.

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Anyway, I’m sure the first time will be the hardest, after then it should all be smooth sailing, right? Ha!

love & light xo

P.S. What do you think of my new blog banner?

From the mat… my first day at yoga teacher training

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The day started early, then after arriving at the temple, we were in silence for the most part, there was chanting, meditation and then yoga practice followed by yoga philosophy – all before lunch. I cannot take my mobile phone with me, I leave it in my car in the parking lot. I wear no watch either because I don’t want to know what time it is, I want to let go of time while I am there. And chai, so much chai, so yummy too, and I never thought I’d like it but now I do. I am slightly anxious because the introvert in me is nervous of being in groups of strangers. I enjoy meeting new people, but I am very uncomfortable with having to speak about myself to a group of strangers. When it’s my turn to introduce myself and provide a brief reason as to why I am doing the course – I lose my voice, I start to sweat and I mumble something which, even now, I cannot recall what I said. You might wonder then how am I ever going to teach yoga to a group of people? It’s not the same thing as talking about yourself. The yoga will speak for me. Besides, I will learn how, they will teach me. Obviously.

Later, I am so hungry by lunch that I devour my lentil soup. No I am not a vegetarian, I have given up alcohol but not caffeine or meat. At least, not yet. Who know’s what other changes I’ll go through over the next year, but if I go on the testimonials of the returning students (at least a third of the students have already completed the training the year before and are back for more), then I will be going through some serious life changing experiences and I need to just hold on tight and let go!

I know there will be a few weeks of adjusting to study and practice and fitting it all in with work, my children and husband and life in general. But hopefully with all the extra yoga and meditation, I’ll be doing it all with grace and zen. That’s the plan anyway 😉

Have a great week!

love & light xo

 

Weekday Inspiration…

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My plan is to do this, as soon as the clouds leave and the sun returns.

I’m on holiday this week – I am taking a well-deserved break from work to rest as much as possible before yoga teacher training begins on Thursday after-which everything steps up a notch. So I decided to post a few pictures with the hope they inspire you to take a mini break too – even if it’s simply while on your lunch break or if from anything else that may be occupying your day and/or your headspace. Enjoy xo

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This looks like so much fun!

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I love market shopping on the weekend.

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I will make time to read an actual magazine this week.

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I will take the time to look at the starry night sky.

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I will make time to actually stop and drink my latte and soak in the atmosphere instead of grabbing a takeaway and consuming it as I drive to my next destination.

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I will continue to practice every day.

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I will read more, especially my book for book club because I’ve only read 2 pages and I’ve got at least 1000 pages to go!

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I will go to my zen place whenever necessary.

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I will do as much of this as possible… sleeping in, lying about, recharging my batteries is essential.

love & light xo

 

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