Yoga

3 Things I Learned in Thailand Supporting a 200 hour Sivananda Yoga Teacher Training Course

thai3thingsI completed my Sivananda Teacher’s Training Course (TTC) in June 2013, Okayama Japan. (This was the second 200hr RYT program I attended) It was at a beautiful Japanese style hotel in the mountains.  Why did I decide to attend?

Yoga every day? – Check!

Hot springs every day? – Check!

Delicious Japanese food (and not Indian curry every day)- TWO Checks!

This time, the environment is very different.  The venue is a resort in the beautiful mountains of Northern Thailand.  It was my first time in this country, and my first time as a TTC staff member.  I booked my tickets, took time off from my day to day responsibilities (I have the most understanding family and workplace!), packed my bags and showed up.

I had no idea what to expect.

My main duty as a staff member was for Japanese <-> English language translation.  For this session in Thailand, the TTC and Advanced TTC (ATTC) were conducted at the same time.  Class schedule for TTC and ATTC means two different morning classes, different lectures, and different main lectures.  It is physically impossible for one person to do all the translations.  We had a team of five people for Japanese support, and we made a great team :)

I went with the intention to help people learn.  To help spread Guru’s words.  To help others step up to teach others.  The very things I was translating, the very things I was helping to teach, were lessons I need to learn for myself.  I learned a LOT, and there are three things that really sank in this time around.

1. Practice every day.
2. The importance of a proper diet.
3. Surrendering to what the universe has to offer.

Proper exercise:

Throughout the course, all staff members teach as selfless service.  We had daily reminders to take care of ourselves as well, do not let your own practice slide.  We were able to join in on morning class, afternoon class, or do our own practice.  Being there, I gladly attended every session I possibly can.  It felt really good to be able to attend someone else’s class.

Honestly, it’s something I slack on when I’m at home.  I teach 4 classes a week, but do not go attend someone else’s class.  After returning from Thailand, I didn’t practice for 3 days.  My body felt so heavy.  I rolled out my mat, did my practice and felt so much better.  I do not need a vigorous exercise routine that leaves me sore every day.  What I need is a basic routine that I can do without any stress on my body.  Whenever I feel the afternoon dullness, I roll out my mat or go to the gym instead of having another cup of coffee.  My mind is much clearer and sharper when I put in my personal practice.

Proper diet:

I’ve always had a diet with a lot of vegetables before this TTC.  I wasn’t a complete vegetarian, but every meal did not have fish or meat.  We probably did 2-3 times a week for non-vegetarian food.  While traveling, my digestion always goes out of wack.  So coming into the training and coming out of the training, I expected a few hiccups.  To my surprise, it didn’t go too out of wack.  During the training, although I was super busy, I felt great.  My mind was clear, meditation was easy.  More than anything I noticed my stomach doesn’t hurt after a meal, my intestines don’t feel heavy.  After each meal, I feel dull, sluggish and felt pressure in my insides.  I thought this happens to everyone after a meal.  I was so used to that state that it felt normal, I never thought to question my digestion.  While I was in Thailand, I feel light, more energetic and have less water retention.

A proper yogic diet is a vegetarian diet without eggs, onions, garlic or mushrooms.

I was told before that one day, I’ll feel like I want to start having a vegetarian diet.  Honestly didn’t expect it to come in this way.  My entire family loves fish and meat.  It’s going to take some time for me to adjust my boundaries around family food events.  I can’t expect everyone to suddenly become vegetarian.  I have no doubts things will work out in the end tho.

Surrender:

I always believed if you want something you gotta work for it.  Research, look it up, plan it out, and head towards your goal.  It really is important.  But sometimes, it’s not always about me and my performance.  I can work hard, but I cannot change the way other people work. I need on my own duty and surrender to the outcome.  If you put in your true, good intentions, things will work out in your favour. Sometimes what I think is good for me, may not be the best outcome.  Put in the work, and surrender.  The universe will give the perfect outcome, every single time.

These are the three things I have learned on my recent trip to Thailand.

Like this?  Comment and let me know what your exercise is with self-care, food, and surrendering to the universe.  I would love to hear from you!  Don’t forget to share the love with your friends!

The Yamas – Brahmacharya: The Teaching of Moderation


Brahmacharya Pratishthayam Virya Labhah – Yoga Sutra 2.38

The fifth teachings in the yamas is Brahmacharya – Moderation.

Moderation, and controlling your own energy.

Most people associate Brahmacharya with celibacy, reserving any sexual activities.  Controlling your sexual energy is important, but we humans have other desires which should be kept in moderation.  When we control the stimulates from the outside and turn our focus inward, letting go of our desires, our mind is said to be free.

In our modern world it is becoming harder and harder to control our own energy.  It’s too easy to be overloaded with information, sugar and alcohol.  By the time you realize, you might of drank the entire bottle of wine, eat cake every day, not eat enough nutrients (hello veggies!), watch TV for hours on end, overpack our schedules, and not get enough sleep.  When we lose control, we become inbalanced and we can’t be our best selves. In that sort of state, our minds cannot be calm.

At first, it’s super hard to control the stimulates, but we can control them little by little.  For example, if everytime you walk in front of a cake store, and you can never resist their delicious cakes.. Find a different route home.  Watch an hour less TV every day.  If you only have Sunday mornings free, spend the time to rejuvenate.  Meditate, take a walk, have a nice bubble bath.  Create time to look inward instead of focusing on what’s going out outside of you.  When you’re able to focus inward, your mind will become calmer, and you will feel happiness come from with in you.  It takes a lot of practice, I know, I’m working on it too! Let’s take one step at a time. 

Let me know what’s your one thing you would like to moderate in your life.  How would you moderate it? How will it make you feel when you take this stimulant out your life?

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Be Kind to Yourself

Most of us are our own worst critic.

We’re so hard on ourselves. Especially when learning new things.

When we were in school, we were all taught the same way, we all took the same test, and we got a grade on it. We try SO HARD to ‘get’ it, to understand. If we don’t get it the first time around, we feel reaaaally really bad about ourselves.

Remember the first time you stood on a yoga mat?

When you said wtf is a downdog!?

My body doesn’t bend that way!

You want me to WHAT!?

Yea, that feeling.

I remember my first class clearly.
The class started by doing the splits both ways to ‘warm up’, when my toes were so far away.

I never expected myself to do the splits both ways that day. I still don’t.

Did you nail the perfect alignment during downdog on your first try?

Did you only give yourself one chance to find your balance in headstand?

You probably gave yourself more than one try.

Sometimes it takes years to be able to do a pose.

Honestly, it took me 12 years from the first time I did yoga,
until I got myself comfortable in a headstand.

When it comes time to learn about yoga philosophy,
do you expect yourself to remember everything on your first try?

You give yourself more than one chance to get into a headstand,
but don’t give yourself more than one chance to understand philosophy.

This is what I always tell my students. We must be easy on ourselves.

It’s important that we are all good students, and want to learn things.

It’s equally important, to take our time.

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