Y.

Yoga Teacher Training: Halfway There!

Yay!  I am so happy to finally get the chance to sit and write! It’s been too long, Internet, too long.

So, here’s the scoop: I have been taking yoga teacher training classes Saturday’s and Sunday’s for the past 5 weeks and it has been amazing. I am not finished just yet, but the incredible self-observing journey this has taken me on is one that I am grateful for. I, too, am eager about what this all means at the end of it!  I cannot yet generalize my whole experience since I am not a time traveler and have, well, not experienced it all, but I want to share with you my journey thus far.

I don’t know whether to say that my life at the current moment is crazy good or crazy bad; therefore, I will just label it ‘crazy’! Having a full-time corporate job, finding a new apartment, packing, starting to move, going to yoga on the weekends for 14 hours and then yoga during the week for at least 6 hours (total of at least 20 hours a week, if you’re keeping track!), attending family events, attending friend events, being a wife, and finding time to just breathe (*breathes*) has been a little… crazy! You’d think that yoga was relaxing (it is!), but this teacher training is definitely isn’t; it’s quite intensive and like a part-time job! So I guess I’ve been, for the past month, been working 1 full-time and 1 half-time job- mamma mia!  But. all. worth. it.

My Experience:
Rather than me go on about how each week was and go off on a tangent, I want to share with you my entries in my journal that I have been keeping (don’t worry, they are short and to the point!). But just see how crazy of a roller coaster ride this is (I was surprised!): Read more

N.

New Journey: Getting My Yoga Certification!

Yes, you read that title right: yoga certification.  Friends, I’m doing yoga teacher training! Me!

Now, I haven’t been practicing yoga for that long -just short of one year to be exact- but the thought of getting my yoga certification was something that crossed my mind every now and then.  I always dismissed it, though, because I didn’t think I could make that time & energy commitment.  Not only that, but I didn’t really believe myself to be disciplined enough.

Interestingly, though, I have had quite a few friends, family members, and even strangers come up to me and tell me that I should become certified and teach.  Their faith in me made me really take another look inside myself and try to see what it was that they saw: passion and bravery.  A couple of months ago I laughed the idea off, but today, I’ve actually decided to embrace it!

Yoga has been a big part of my anxiety recovery. Okay, okay, let me count the ways 🙂 Read more

I.

I faced a monster under my bed and found a few things. What will you find?

Last night, I made every excuse in the book as to why I couldn’t go to hot yoga: I didn’t have the appropriate clothes, I didn’t have a towel, I only had three dollars in quarters to rent a towel, I had a headache, and I was hungry.  Yes, I was making excuses as to why I couldn’t go to my second-ever hot yoga class.  You’d think that something scary happened at my first-ever hot yoga class that affected me or something.  Well, yes, actually.  That kind of was the case.

About a week ago, my lovely cousin Julia asked if I wanted to go to a hot yoga class.  I told her that I had never been to one before and, truth be told, I was afraid.  But, I knew that the day had to come when I finally faced one of my biggest fears.  So I agreed to go with her and off we went. (Side note: I almost passed out because of the last summer’s heat wave during my giant panic attack.  It scared me so much that I became afraid of the heat)

Before we entered the room at the yoga studio, the receptionist stressed that, no matter what, I could not leave the 110˚F room, not even if I felt dizzy or wanted to leave.  Wow, no pressure, huh?  Nevertheless, I was already there and felt that I was ready to accept the challenge.  As we entered the room, I could immediately feel the heat.  All the memories of my attack came back into my mind: the dehydration, the stress, the mental fogginess – ah!  However, I kept telling myself “Loren, you were brave enough to come into this room, you are brave enough to stay and not run away.”  And that’s exactly what I did.  As the class commenced and continued on for about an hour, I stayed.  I was actually amazed at myself for doing all of the poses and breathing on point.  I was in the moment.  I was keeping up with others in the class.  I was so happy!

And then it came.

During the last part of the class, I started to feel locked in.  I knew I couldn’t leave the room (rules are rules).  And I was hot.  So much, that the heat was starting to get to me and I, mindlessly, was letting it get to my mind.  Shockingly enough, though, I kept going.  Until I couldn’t go anymore.  I couldn’t leave, so what did I do?  I started to cry.  Yes, for the last 20 minutes of class I was crying my eyes out. I was so uncomfortable.  Sure, I had a bad experience in the past and while I tried to burry it, it just came back from the deep subconscious and taunted me.  But that was life showing itself to me.

Then I started to think.  I thought of the fear I had as a ‘monster’ under my ‘bed’.  Believing that this ‘monster’ existed, avoiding it, and fearing it, only made it bigger, meaner, and scarier.  But all of that happened in my mind.  Interchangeably, the ‘monster’ in that yoga class (and in my life) was the heat.  I was tired of running away.  I was tired of this ‘monster’.  So I made the executive decision to finally face the ‘monster’ and looked under my ‘bed’.  I continued to move along with the class to the best of my ability and took charge of my thoughts.  And you know what?  I made it until the end of class, still crying, but I was done.  As I was ready to get up, though, I realized that I seemed to have shocked my body, because at the end of the class, my toes and fingers were frozen.  They lost their blood and oxygen!  It was the same thing that happened to them the same day I got my giant panic attack.  Yes, it seemed that towards the end of the class, my body went through its own little anxiety attack.  But surprisingly enough, my mind was unaffected.  It was stable.  And in all honesty, my mind was just wondering why my body was getting all worked up.  I wasn’t afraid.  I wasn’t in a panic mode.  I was calm!  But just to be sure, I stayed on my back, rested on the yoga mat, and got hydrated.  My fingers finally moved and I could finally feel my toes. And I went on with life. Honestly, still a bit scared that this could happen again (it’s not a comfortable feeling!). But last night, I proved that I could do it again.

While I was making all the excuses in the book to avoid going to another hot yoga class after the first, my mind got strong on me and made me walk into that yoga studio.  Yes, I was afraid of my body going into a ‘shock’ again, but I faced that second ‘monster’ and both my mind and body were OK!  I did cry at last night’s class.  But this time, it was at the very end of class and they were tears of joy and accomplishment.

Life is hard and there are many ‘monsters’ that come and hide under our ‘beds’.  They come out of the blue and can affect us in a negative way.  They can make us beat ourselves up and think that there will never be a way to get over it.  But as I am experiencing it, I am seeing that there is a way to get over it and you will find a second chance, happiness or something else over that hurdle!  The uncomfortable is just that: uncomfortable.  But try to be uncomfortable little by little and you’ll see that you, too, will start to become comfortable.  You will become brave.  You will have an ease of mind, heart, and soul.  You are brave.  And I will go to another hot yoga class!

underbed I faced a monster under my bed and found a few things.  What will you find?

Loren.

A.

As for the week-long toilet seat argument? Who cares. Namaste.

Before my giant anxiety attack last summer, I never regarded yoga as something valuable. I respected the people that did it, but chuckled inside at how serious they took it (I know, how mature of me). While bending in different positions seemed like an awesome skill to have, I wasn’t interested in yoga.  I didn’t see any benefit in doing it.  It just wasn’t my thing.

After my husband and I got married and finished moving into our new apartment, there was already so much stress that I had been under and was suppressing.  There was that whole wedding thing which, like many brides out there, wanted it to be perfect.  Everyone was going to be talking about this and that.  So, naturally, I would stress out, scream out loud, and cry so much until I figured out what would make everyone enjoy our wedding and make them happy.  Next, there was that moving-in-and-living-together-for-the-first-time-ever thing (that was also stressful).  The whole toilet seat argument?  Yeah, it happened. For a week.  And all of this was just the tip of the iceberg at the time (January 2013).

I did nothing about all of this negative energy inside of me and just let it marinate, like a tomato sauce over low heat on the stove; however, my husband saw how sad and unhappy I was and suggested I try the yoga studio down the block.  I refused so many times but finally, to make him happy, decided to try it out to prove to him that it was just another waste of time.  I convinced him to try it with me and off we went… to an open-level vinyasa class.

Stepping into the classroom, you could immediately feel some sort of something in the air. Everyone was in silence for a couple of minutes to themselves, when suddenly, the instructor hit a gong and everyone went into a loud expression of “ommmmmmm.”  Confused,  I quickly nudged my husband and gave him a what-in-the-world-is-this-place look.  I couldn’t help but press my lips together to not laugh and started to look around the room.  Everyone was so calm, focusing on their breath, and in the moment.  And I?  I was waiting for someone to come out and tell me that I was on a secret hidden camera TV show.

The instructor was nice and helpful.  She made us do all sorts of handstands (that I obviously couldn’t do) and then some crazy twisting (that I didn’t even know was humanly possible).  Throughout the class, however, I grew very impatient and kept looking at the clock every 15 minutes.  I kept tapping my foot and thought about everything under the sun:  what we were going to have for dinner, if the drugstore was open so I could buy a lip balm, if it was 5 or 6 urgent meetings that I had to schedule the next day at work, why my husband was able to do a handstand and I wasn’t, and what the groundhog did 364 days out of the year.  I just wasn’t into it.  I wanted to walk out and continue with life.

Surprisingly, I stayed until the end, but I left that class and never went back.  I dismissed yoga as too ‘hippie’ and not my style.  I didn’t have the time to take out 90 minutes of my life at least once a week and be ‘patient’ and ‘breathe’.  I had things to do and people to see.  Life was moving fast and my mind was moving faster.  I couldn’t stop.  I wasn’t going to stop.

Summer came around and that’s when the anxiety attack happened.  I didn’t know why that was happening to me.  I didn’t know what I did wrong to deserve it.  I did, though, sit and think for a few weeks and finally realized that I had to take things easier.  I had to slow down and relax.

It wasn’t until October of 2013 that I looked at my husband and told him that I thought yoga would help me.  So, I looked up the different types of yoga and educated myself.  I learned that there was one kind that was more meditative and less strenuous on the body, which would help with controlling my breath and reduce stress: Hatha Yoga (which was very different, by the way, than my first vinyasa class).  I found a studio that offered it and in I went.

My experience with yoga for the first two months will be one that I will never forget because it took me yet on another journey.  I had to do something crazy and something that truly scared me: I had to breathe and relax.  Not only that, but I had to learn how to discipline myself.  All throughout my life, I kept running away from confrontation.  I hated the feeling of being ‘uncomfortable’ and ‘vulnerable’.  I was afraid.  I was afraid of myself.  But I knew.  I knew I had to be brave.

This yoga class is the most basic of basics.  You sit and meditate.  You don’t even sweat.  Truth is, I made myself go twice twice a week and hated it each and every time.  But I knew I had to stick with it.  I had to do this for the monster inside of me.  During my first 2 weeks I felt anxious and so confined, but had to think positive and I overcame it.  The following 2 weeks made me feel angry and made me pity myself, but I overcame it.  The following month I started to be more comfortable with yoga and found myself crying during class.  And that’s when I knew that this was helping me.  There was something about the way I was slightly bending that let air go through my body and into my brain that made me think clearer.  It made whatever was in my subconscious come out and just pour itself out through my eyes in the form of tears.  It was so releasing.  I was so enlightened by this thing.  Who knew that stretching could make you cry?  Who knew that taking time for yourself and really investing in yourself could give you a second chance.  (By the way, crying during a yoga class is normal, it happens).

Around December 2013, I fell in love with myself.  Because I started to accept myself.  I took the time to do something uncomfortable and gained my sanity.  I also fell in love with yoga.  I started to take 90 minutes of my life three to four times a week to be ‘patient’ and ‘breathe’.  It’s now March 2014 and I owe a lot of my reduced stress and confidence to yoga and what the practice has allowed for me to accomplish thus far.

Downward Dog
Downward Dog

I wish I could show the girl I was a year ago the pictures I posted here of who I am today.  Because chances are, she wouldn’t recognize me.  She wouldn’t believe me if I told her that the very same thing that she was laughing at and dismissed because she was uncomfortable was the very same thing that gave her a second chance in life and confidence in herself.  It was the very same thing that made her brave.  It is the very same thing that led her to open up her heart and start this blog.

I would recommend to anyone with an ounce of stress, worry or depression to try a week of meditative yoga.  Who knows, maybe it can help you.  It made me realize what is really important in life (my health, sanity, and happiness in my marriage) and that we don’t have to get hung up and go crazy about the little things.  You are a wholesome human being, you have only this life to live.  Make it the way you want it.  Focus on being the best you and do what you care about.  It’s only been 5 months of me going to yoga and I’ve come so far.  I can’t wait to see where I am a year from now!  Actually, I can ;).

Chaturanga
Chaturanga
Baddha Konasana (I'm more meditative here)
Baddha Konasana
(I’m more meditative here)

As for the week-long toilet seat argument?  Who cares.  Namaste.

Loren.