Friday, June 24, 2011

Swing High, Swing Low...

... then swing up high again!

Days 20, 21, 22, 23 and 24.

I did not wake up on the right side of the bed today.  Mixed feelings made my stomach uneasy and it made my tear glands rather active, so early in the morning.  After doing morning kriya exercises and going for a glorious bathroom visit, I sat outside my balcony, hoping to catch the sunrise, for a little bit of self evaluation.  I thought about the things that have happened the last few days and I tried to shake off the possible emotional side effects of my hormones going haywire because of my messed up menstrual cycle.  I also looked into the next few days ahead of me and the things I have to do.  After an hour of quiet time (or at least it seemed like an hour), this is what I came up with.

Sun is up!  Time for morning coffee.

1.  I realized that we are drawing closer to the end and I do not like it.  Days are passing by too quickly and I find myself, in spite of our busy hours, pausing to remember that I only have a few more days left here and that I am really anxious about leaving.  And every new day makes it a day closer to having to leave, so the more anxious I get.

2.  Do not get me wrong.  I miss home very much.  I think of family and friends a lot and I always want to know that they are doing fine.  It is just that I have learned to love it here so much and the Sanctuary feels like home now.  I do not want to leave the comforts of this place. 

3.  Pim was right in the beginning.  I am safe here.  WE are safe HERE.  We are inside a beautiful bubble where it is safe to make those mistakes because there is support, encouragement and love at every possible corner.  Safe to learn and RE-learn from our mistakes.  Safe to cry, be sad, nervous and frustrated and show our soft side.  Safe to let go of fears and inhibitions.  Safe to be yourself.  

*not to mention there is no fear of going hungry because the Love Kitchen will always be there with the trusty servers, whom I have come to love as well.  

4.  I am such a sucker for saying goodbyes and I am extremely dreading having to do so on the 30th.  Separation anxiety is at a high.  And to think I am still here!  The thought of waking up and not seeing Eva on the bed next to mine freaks me out.  The same goes for the thoughts of not being able to bother Julie in her room at 630am to "study", not getting Paula's morning hugs, not "psssst-psssst"-ing with Bree from my balcony when she makes her way to the Jungle Room, not hearing Pim's "you have to keep stretching, keep put-ching" (Pim, you know I love you and your Thai accent), not getting Jessica's giant smiles throughout the day, not getting scolded by Wendi for saying the "n" word.  The list goes on, as there are way too many things that I will be missing.  I am even going to miss being distracted in class by those who keep fidgeting to fix their hair, top, bottom, etc, wipe their sweat, ask for the fans to be turned on, complain that it is too hot (we do call it Hot Yoga and I hope you realize you ARE in teacher training for Hot Yoga) or worse, leave the room every single time for only God knows what reason.  Really.  I will miss you, too. 

Beautiful Wendi.  I will never say the "n" word again. I promise.

My sunshine, Eve.

5.  I realized I have only one clean underwear left so I need to hit the sink before the day ends.  

6.  I recalled this week's events and clearly, it has been a giant roller coaster ride of emotions.  My highs were really high, and my lows, hmmm.  My lows seemed VERY low as well (at least I had thought they were so low at that moment in time).   

Perfect examples:

HIGH:  Modules 12 and 13 = check!  Woohoo!

LOW:  I did not do very well with practice teaching the above modules.  Even I had to sarcastically laugh at myself when I realized I had gotten my “students” walking up and down the mat on their knees and making them use precious energy, sitting up to Savasana, only to have them lay back down again as I had made so many mistakes.

HIGH:  I had snuggle time (Literally! We tried to fit ourselves onto Julie's yoga mat) one time, before morning yoga class with Julie, Paula, Eve and Matti (for a very brief moment and out of Julie's persistence) and I taught them how to play Vroom Vroom (not that they could be bothered to play it with me) and told them about my socks skating days back when I was 4.  Julie said she will just take me to New York so I can skate in a proper rink.  

LOW:  I finally got my first 90 minute class done and I not only did I make James do 4 consecutive Straight Leg Table Tops, I had also completely forgotten about the whole Pigeon series.  I wanted to kick myself in the rear.

HIGH:  Bonding time with Vicky, when I had paid her a visit in her room when she was not feeling so well.  Ironically, her big hugs managed to remove heavy heart feelings and she also showed me photos from her doctor's visit of little Vicky inside her tummy.  They were amazing! I wish I had gone to the hospital with her, to hold her hand and be a one woman cheering squad.  To my dearest Vicky, know that I will not trade that hour with you for anything else in the world.  I love you.

Vicky and I, the afternoon of our day off.

LOW:  Walking to a nearby beach and missing the special other.  

HIGH:  Pool swimming session with Bree and Eve.  I would not have wanted to spend my day off in any other way.




"... or places we got to be, we'll sit beneath the mango tree now."

"Our dreams, and they are made out of real things..."

LOW:  More life administrative stuff that I have to handle back home and I do not want to face those yet.

*Running in my head is Harreson's voice: "Do not wait, do not hesitate, do not procrastinate!"

HIGH:  Good news about my yoga studio and hearing from Ryan over a rather lengthy Facebook message.  

Ryan and I in the studio when we had just opened. I miss you, Pappi!

LOW:  Realizations that it is going to take another few weeks (or months even) until I can do standing bows, bows, camels, etc.   

HIGH:  I finally got a Colon Hyrdo Cleanse and the 24 liters of water that was purged out of me was LIBERATING.  I feel like I have a new tummy altogether.  Everyone should have a cleanse at least once every quarter.

7.  I can probably come up with a hundred page essay of the random thoughts that have been flying in and out of my head the last few days.  It makes morning meditation so difficult.  One time, our teacher asked to try counting to 50 breaths, just to see how far we can go, focusing on our breathing.  I think I only counted to 15, tops.  Or fine, maybe just 12.  So much brain clutter.  This meditation business is not a piece of cake.  But then again, I do not mind.  I have a lifetime to learn.

*I also have to shift positions every so often to find a comfortable seat for my tailbone in between my butt cheeks because my tailbone is a little bit too long for my own good.  Navasana kills me every single time.

8.  The only time that I am actually not thinking too much is when I am on the mat, doing yoga.  Morning classes are such precious times.  I savor every single bit of the 90 minutes.  Even more, when John is teaching.  His voice is soothing and calming for the mind and heart.

9.  I am so happy that the girls and I went for a quick beach trip to Cheong Mon after teaching our first 90 minute class.  That did the job of pressing the reset button as I was quite upset at how I did with teaching.  Our walk back reminded me of the importance of simple joys in life and allowed me to reconnect with my inner child.

Pretty orange and yellow flowers with whiskers.

Football Golf.

The one with the birds by their front door.

Bree and Julie.

How most people get around.

I met a little friend near the 711 in Cheong Mon and I wanted to take him home with me.

Another little friend.

Underwater Savasana.

Kick up, kick higher, do not stop kicking... until you fall into the pool.

10.  Iyengar puts into beautiful words the very reason why I practice yoga.  

Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured. -  B.K.S. Iyengar

11.  Final peer teaching class is scheduled for the last 4 days of training, my class on the afternoon of the 27th.  Guess who I am teaching the final 90 minute class with?  The wonderful Eva Szollar!  I am so happy we both picked D3 from the bucket, Eve.  How cool is that, that my roommate is also my co-teacher for peer teaching?  We are going to do awesome, I know it.  Those mornings of waking up with the Teaching Manual in front of my face is going to pay off.

Peer teaching class schedule.

12.  I cannot believe we are done with Yoga Lab.  I will miss afternoons of seeing my teachers do first timer issues.  

My teachers Pim, Jeanne and Harreson, showing us how NOT to do Savasana.


Harreson showing how NOT to do Sasangasana.

Despite waking up on the wrong side of the bed today, I am getting ready for slumber in a much happier light.  Another reminder for me that things do get better and rough days do not last forever.  Bad days will turn into good days and in the middle of that good day, you will find yourself having to deal with something else, that will make you want to lock yourself in your room with gallons of Ben & Jerry's Chunky Monkey and bucket-fulls of Tater's Sour Cream and White Cheddar flavored popcorn.  But NO.  You do not do that, you just deal with the situation the best possible way you can and eventually this bad day will end and another good one will begin.  That is just the way life is:  a never ending cycle of ups and downs.

A perfect reminder from Manduka yesterday:  Practice stillness - finding a golden moment when the whole world stops and listens.

Goodnight now, friends.  I pray your angels look over you when you sleep tonight.  See you when I wake in the morning.

To my family and friends back home, I know it has been storming so I send plenty of love and sunshine to the Philippines from my sunny little Samui island.  Please stay safe and dry.


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Super Machines

Day 18 and 19.

Another one of those beautiful 5am sunrises.

Colorful breakfast with my best friend these days, my teaching manual.

Information worth sharing from the above mentioned days:

1.  They are not FLABS.  They are just muscles that are not contracted.  No such thing as flabs.

2.  You cannot injure yourself by "locking" your knee.  The ones who do are the ones who do not do it right.  Locking the knee is the practice of engaging muscles around your knee to maintain stability for your legs.  People should really stop trash talking Hot Yoga with all the "you injure yourself by locking your knees".  Come on over.  We can teach you how to do it the right way. 

3.  70% of Asians have FAT calf muscles because we supposedly have FLAT feet.  Calves have to work more to provide much needed support for the feet and rest of the lower legs.

*Looks like I am one of the 30% because I have giant arches on the bottoms of my feet and my calf muscles are tiny that my sister makes fun of them.

4.  Mosquitos are attracted to those with an acidic diet.  Lesson:  If you do not want those mozzies to attack, lay off the beefies and porkies and switch to a more alkaline diet.  Love your fruits and vegetables.  Your body will love you for loving them.

*Do you know that mosquitos are also attracted to the color blue?

5.  For the average adult, our hearts beat 103,689 times in 24 hours.  

*Do you know that a hummingbird's heart can beat an amazing 1,360 beats per minute?

6.  Women have amazing strength for going through pregnancy and child birth.  How the body adapts to the formation of the baby in the womb is purely magical.  Men, respect your women.  And buy them chocolate and give them back rubs and foot massages when their pelvic bones are expanding.

7.  Our liver is the heaviest gland, weighing  a smashing 3.5 pounds! Lets take care of it.

8.  Ensuring our body is functioning at its utmost potential is the key to good health and wellness and nothing else but yoga can be the key to total health and wellness.  In conclusion, the whole world should be doing yoga.

Getting ready for Anatomy class.

 I love you, Paula.  You are a super mom!

Check out my new boy friend, Peter!

Helping Doris with her Half Moon.

 And now helping her with her Camel.

I have a huge...

 Share a shoulder, win a friend!  And start feeling up their deltoids.

I loved our Anatomy weekend.  The most important realization though, would definitely be that our true selves, our conscious selves, really do have sexy abs and sexy thighs like Trev.  Maybe even sexier.

Just kidding.

Important realization would be this, that our bodies are SUPER machines.  The capacity of our physical system to work is wonderful.  Amazing.  Intriguing.  Marvelous.  Breathtaking.  

God, You are a genius.  *High five!*

My lumbar strain is significantly better after two yoga classes today.  I sat around during backbends but tried to do most of the other postures in the series.  

Oh forward bends, how I love you so!  You give so much comfort and make my spine all nice and happy. 

Our Anatomy teacher told me yesterday to just keep it moving.  Mobility is the way to go.  And lengthening, too.  Lengthen.  Lengthen.  Lengthen and feel like I am 6 feet tall.  This is a work in progress and another test of my patience.  One of the other brighter sides of this injury:   I am used to unconsciously sitting with a hunched back, but now I am learning how to sit tall and long, with my back straight and chest lifted up.  This is the only sitting position that would be comfortable at the moment.  I am determined to keep this posture even when my strain is gone.

Today is Father's Day, for most parts of the world at least.  

Happy Father's Day and Happy Feast Day, Daddy!  I am missing you extra more today.  Know that I think about you and Mom all the time and want you to know that I am doing just fine over here.  No need for worries.  During Savasana at class this morning, my teacher said to offer class to a loved one and to send positive energy, love and light to that person, even if they are far away.  I hope you got them, Dad.  I sent over big hugs and kisses too.  You are the man in my life and will always be.  I love you!

My Dad and I.

I am ready for dinner now.  My stomach grumbles and I can smell the food from the Love Kitchen.

This was a great weekend.  I hope yours was too.

Your Little Yogini

Saturday, June 18, 2011

A Rest From Our Thoughts

"From Where You'd Rather Be"
by Taylor Steele

we watched the light as it set from the sun
all the ways we could run all the ways we could run
oh my can you see the light from outer space

what was said what was done as the time had arrived

all the ways we could run all the things we could try
oh my can you tell me where this is gonna lead

and all the lights are shinning on the sea
as the rolling waves crash along the beach

and our minds were meant to sail
take a rest from our thoughts

take a break from this world
and we'll feel miles away from the places that we used to be

as we lay in the sand and we stare at the sky
watch the moon dance in white as the stars light your eyes
oh my there's no place on earth I'd rather be

and my this night just don't feel real
but I can feel your touch promise you won't let go

and our minds were meant to sail
take a rest from our thoughts

take a break from this world
and we'll feel miles away from the places that we used to be

My happy, shiny, wonderful TT family.