Peanut Butter and Juli has a beautiful post on the Hawaiian word ahonui. Ahonui can be translated as patience, perserverence and many breaths. It was the breath part that caught my attention and made the connection to the practice of yoga. At its core, ahonui means yoga, and yoga means ahonui. The power of patience, perserverence and breath can take you through challenges you never thought possible.
photo by Jeff Kubina @ Flickr
I’d like to re-echo Juli’s question here, for my yogis and readers:
What does ahonui mean to you?
Photo by Niko R @ Flickr
Today combined energy work with adjustments. J spent the WHOLE DAY with us (she is totally amazing!) and led us all down some incredible paths. We spent the morning with energy work. It is impossible to describe the things that happened in class, but I will share that my “take away” is that once you open your mind, the possibilities are endless. As my Mom reminded me this evening: “Minds are like parachutes: they only function when open.”
If you’re curious about the energy work, email me. I’d be happy to share my experience and some of the resources that were given to us.
The afternoon was more work with adjustments, specifically focusing on the adjustee’s energy. It was great to work with a lot of different people with very different body types and shapes. I’m on the tall-end of average height for women and it was a struggle to adjust some of the taller men and petite women. We learned some great moves, though, to help compensate for this.
One awesome exercize that J had us do was to line up in rows on eight, one person on the mat and one person behind them doing the adjusting. J would call out the poses in the flow and every so often she would say “switch!” at that moment we had to move down the line. The speed at which she called everything out meant you had to stay focused, present, and attuned to the person you were with. Sometimes you were only with someone for the space of a “flat back” or a “fold forward”. I messed up the line at one point as I was adjusting this one woman and I was totally into her energy. As a result I forgot to switch when the “switch” was called. Whoops! Anyways, I really liked this drill and felt that it brought all of the elements of adjusting together into a cohesive whole.
I feel that more than any other weekend, we connected as a unit. Not because someone gave an amazing teacher experience, or shared a painful story, but that we, as a group, connected in much stronger way. I feel uplifted and energized by all that we shared energetically and through touch. I am so lucky to have met and interacted with 42 amazing, compassionate and corageous people.
Finally! We learned modifications and adjustments today! I have been anticipating this for a long time. One of my favorite things about yoga is being adjusted by the teacher. It feels great! I’ve been wanting to give back with that, but had no idea how to do it well or safely. Today was the day!
JB was back with us, for the last time, and led us all through a modified flow with specific attention paid to wrists, shoulders, knees, hips and lower back. It was interesting to go through all the modifications and realize just how many I did when I first started to learn yoga. Knee down in cresent lunge, knees down in chaturanga, and shortening my stance in the warriors. At the time, I didn’t even realize they were modifications — I thought they were the real pose. LOL! But that mentality really helped. It kept me from being overwhelmed and forced me to work at a safe pace until my body built up the strength and flexibility to carry me safely through the flow.
We broke into groups of four and taught each other the flow with adjustments. After getting over my initial fear of hurting someone or being too forceful, it felt really good to get in there and help someone relax into the pose. Sutra II,47 in the Yoga Sutras says that
“Yoga pose is mastered
by relaxation of effort,
lessening the tendency
for restless breathing,
and promoting an identification
of oneself as living within
the infinite breath of life.”
Adjusting people to get them more comfortably into the poses resonates with this. Once you’re comfortably in the pose, you can breath. In yoga, it’s all about the breath. Breath is power, energy, life. It feels good to know that I can help someone achieve this with just my hands and words. Feels a bit like a superhero moment: “with great power comes great responsibility.”
Now it’s time for a shower, a snack, and some meditation. I recently got Anodea Judith’s Chakra Balancing kit and am excited to try out one of her guided meditations.
It’s been one of “those” weeks. You know “those” weeks? The ones where you just can’t seem to catch your breath, are perpetually tired, and by Friday you look at your desk in the office, your desk at home, the kitchen, and your bed and wonder which hurricane could possible have hit all these places at once.
Yeah. One of “those” weeks.
Which is why this image has become a Friday staple for taking the edge off:
Original image & link here.
Posted in Humor
Tagged funny, lolcats, Yoga
Today was an awesome surprise! Mary Kaye was with us all morning talking about adapting yoga for kids and teens. It was a great workshop and I feel inspired to teach kids and adolescents. I can only image how different it would have been if I had had yoga as a child or a teen. I was never an athletic kid so I struggled in gym and anytime I had to play a competitive sport. Practicing yoga as an adult has given me so much strength of body and spirit that I wish I had access to it as a kid. Yoga and meditation are definitely practices I will introduce to my own (future and hypothetical) children – if they are willing. Mary Kaye is also the author of two awesome books for kids and teens: I Love Yoga (for kids) and Breathe (for teens). These will definitely be added to my bookshelf!
The afternoon was with J. It was great to have her loving, no-nonsense personality back in the studio. We taught the same flow as yesterday and today’s teachers were finally much more comfortable with the new flow. I didn’t have to teach (thank goodness!) as I’m still working out the kinks in some of the trasitions. Another week and I should hopefully have a better hold on it. J talked about setting and holding the steadyness – rythym – pulse of a yoga flow. It’s the heart and soul of any vinyasa practice and by setting a rythym, allows the students access to meditation through motion.
J had us do an “aum/om circle”. That was SO awesome. Everyone starts off together on the same om and as your breath runs out, take another and join back it. It creates these waves of sound that is indescribable. I could feel the vibration of the sound deep inside me. Coincidentally, as we chanted the first om, the sky cleared and the sun shone into the studio until we sounded the final om and the sky clounded back over. It took my breath away and brought tears to my eyes. Beyond the experience, it tapped into my greatest wish: to sing. I tried for years and years to sing and I just don’t have the talent. But when I om, especially in a group, I feel like I am making music. Beautiful, meaningful music.
More papers were shared after dinner. I am in awe of the people in my yoga class. So many have walked through fire and come out the other side. I admire their courage, strength and resiliance. It really is an honor to meet and work with so many wonderful people.
Best quote from J today:
“Just put on your pink bubble and you’ll be ok.”
My pink bubble is on and I’m off to sleep.
Posted in Yoga
Tagged chanting, kids yoga, om, pink bubble, teach, teacher training, teaching, teaching yoga, teen yoga, Yoga, yoga school
I’ve been told that days 8-9-10 is when all the really emotional stuff comes up and out in teacher training. It’s just beyond the half way point and people are really starting to see things bubble to the surface. Today was no exception.
JB was back with us again to lead a practice, meditation and discussion on the Yoga Sutras. “Sutra” literally translated means “thread” so the yoga sutras are the threads that weave together the entire practice. And not just the physical practice, the mental and spiritual aspects of yoga, too. One of the things I really liked about reading the sutras was the openness to all types of spirituality and religions. JB echoed this when she shared something from a book along the lines of “religion is the conduit to spirituality.” This is heartening to hear, especially in the wake of Malaysia and Indonesia banning the practice of yoga in recent months.