Live raw, Laugh with intention, Love self

 Week one after my first advanced teacher training (TT) weekend and I get the energy to blog.

A week ago I sat in the opening circle and felt at home and lost. I am sure you are wondering, why? Well, I have spent the week wondering that as well. Not an intense session of drilling myself or having to “come up with” an answer, simply wondering. Asana, pranayama, meditation, journaling and reading all were main characters this week in my first act of this journey. I loved them all. Being in this bubble of yoga for a weekend and then being asked to smoothly transition to “the real world” is such an odd, rough and confusing period for me. I get so lost in the love of the weekend. Just the same as when I arrive on my mat or in my daily mediation. I am present. Ok, lets be real I am a Leo in a zen world just trying to arrive in the moment and every time can change, but my heart and life style are more and more aware. (It brings me the quiet I crave in life, I know shocking right?!)


So all that mix up brings me to the point. I love this life, this practice, this feeling and I have NO IDEA how to describe or share that to the outside world. How do you explain the best weekend ever to people who just think you did yoga all weekend? How do you describe a feeling of awareness that you can barely articulate yourself? 

I want to share with people how yoga (the world of yoga) has benefited me, cared for me, expanded me and I am having such a hard time. When I teach it seems different, my students are open to explore and they brought themselves to their mat. It is not my responsibility to give more then a space for students to give themselves permission to explore mind, body, breath and beyond that it is in their hands. 

Ok, so that thought seems easy, right?! What about when it is someone you love and spend your life with, partner, family, friends? What if you want them to know why you do it? What if you want them to know how? What if you want them to share it with you? 

Think, think, think…as Winnie the Pooh would say. Well, all I have come to is that they do not have to understand it is not their path or their dream. Whether that answer is ok with me or not…I am learning. Image

Boy, how time flies...

7 months after the completion of 200 TT and my life path has been raw and unexpected, full of laughs and lots of exploration on self love. Not too much, right?! 🙂

And the education continues. T minus 3 days until 300 TT starts up!! Ready, set, yoga!

Well friends, this is the last blog post of my amazing, intense, liberating 200 hour yoga teacher training. I have been asked to bear my soul, give my educated thoughts, prove I have maintained the homework, reading, writing, etc all in a little virtual space I call My Raw Experience. Now it is time to fly!

Michelle (our so very trusted and respected leader), Madeleine, Tami, Alicia, Kim, Lisa, my fellow TT family and we can not forget Mary have been an amazing guidance throughout this path of a very complex, very beautiful thing called Yoga and all that surrounds it. There is a lot, there is more than I could ever imagine, but it was worth it. These woman brought a bright new understanding to different parts of the world of Yoga. There is so much more to learn, but the last 5 months will always be cherished and appreciated…and written down because how the hell would I remember!

As all of this fun comes to a close, a new chapter begins…actually being the teacher.

Michelle asked, “What are your thoughts on teaching, being a yoga teacher, or your desire to be a yoga teacher now compared to before you started this program? You don’t need to have a definitive answer, and it doesn’t need to be your cemented plan – just reflect, where are you in this moment?”

One thing and one thing only (that’s is a lie, but I am going to surrender to this moment for now) comes to mind and that is, “I CAN DO IT, I CAN REALLY DO IT”!

Was is real in January? No. Did I think what would happen after? Sure…all kinds of possibilities. Did I ever visualize myself teaching, like actually in a class teaching? No. Now that the training (just this part at least) is over and I HAVE taught a class or two or three…I see the light!

To be complete honesty, this is all I want to do. I am so excited and passionate about it and I see myself as a little sponge throughout the summer, into next year and beyond just soaking up all the knowledge, training and experience I can. My heart is here and now I just have to figure out how the hell my day job will incorporate into this. 🙂

Thank you friends for reading and commenting. As this chapter closes, the next is just waiting to be started. Read on people! xoxo

Do I rest and take a moment for myself? Yes. Do I slow down and take a moment to smell the flowers? Yes. Do I stop to think how THIS moment is effecting me good or bad? Yes. So have I “surrendered”? Yes, I guess…at least for moments here at there…maybe.

To be honest, I have read Mary Paffard’s article on the last niyama Ishvara Pranidhana (which is translated to the dedication and commitment of surrender…or something like that) and I am still at the same place. I do not want to “surrender”. I also did some more research to see if I can be a peace with this niyama and in reading two different articles and a book I still am at the same place. I do not want to “surrender”.

Then I thought,  geez Gina, you are just being stubborn. What can I let go of? Well this isn’t really letting go now is it. What can I stop doing? Well this isn’t really telling me to stop anything. Simply just surrender. Yep, ok got that all written down.

(Insert pouty face) I do not want to stop with my momentum of the future. I am also still appreciating right now and taking in every minute. So am I following this niyama or am I way off? As you can see this was a tug of war for me and my mind/heart. Hope this is not boring anyone yet as I know this process of mine is crazy. I am sure this is some long time ago, super smart guru’s way of telling me another great tool to figure out the ways of the world. Awesome…I might be missing another one of those things. Whatevs, I will pick it up eventually. (Return to smiles)

(Back to my story) After this long, crazy (said with the up most respect for myself), drawn out process of “How can I surrender?”, I came to one answer that made the most sense to me and after all that is probably exact the darn point. I am surrendering to the fact that this moment and the future are just too much fun to only concentrate on one. Party on!

Me, Me, Me

Last weekend was the second to our last meeting for our teacher trainer program and the incredible Tami Hackbarth educate us on marketing our yogi selves after this training thang. “How to find your people?” was the first portion of the presentation. I thought, awesome, this is going to be loads of fun. Then she went and asked the question no one likes answer (I do not like to answer), avoids for most of their life, dodges and reflects on something else or just simply says, “Of course I know the answer to that question” and doesn’t answer it and moves on.

The question was, “Who are you?” Then you fill in the blank. Easy enough, right?! WRONG!

Sure I know the county line perspective of who I am, I might even have some city limit ideas of who I am….but do I know exact point of designation answer of who I am????

For the last 5 months that has basically been the underlying question from day one. Through philosophy, asana, dharma talks, unlimited readings, blogging, mediating, breathing, check ins, Q and As, a variety of topics covered by multiple experts, thinking and writing and thinking and thinking I should definitely know by now, right?! WRONG! Ok, Ok, so I know enough to get by and not sound like I am totally lost in this thing called life. However, in the last 5 years and more intensely in the last 5 months I have come to appreciate one thing about me. I do not have to know it all. Brilliant, right!? RIGHT!

3 decades have gone by and all I was looking for was the answer, the Right answer. The high expectation to WIN (as a fellow TT friend once said) at everything I did, the expectation to be right, the pride, the ego, blah blah blah…I need a nap this is exhausting. The best thing about life is there is not a right answer about “Who you are?” The answer will constantly evolve; I am constantly changing, learning, experiencing new and old things. Life doesn’t need to know exactly who I am….I just need to appreciate me in this moment, my space and what I have in my control to offer as a teacher/person and hold that true for all my people to flock to me…ok, maybe trickle in one by one at first. But by gosh, they will trickle with confidence!

The lesson learned here is (thank you Michelle and the greater beings of life) it is ok to not know, to surrender (more about this topic later this week) and be in the moment of just right now!

Hip Hip HOOORAY…I know who I am…sort of. 🙂 Off to this thing called ME.

To speak intelligently on Sunday’s anatomy class with Lisa would be hard for me since I was not able to make it. Being apart of every aspect of the TT is so important to me and this was the last anatomy day with Lisa and I had a migraine. This weighed heavily on me. Disappointment, sadness, failure all were strong feelings that day. Then I got couple texts saying, “…feel better, I will fill you in, notes on the way”. A huge appreciation for friends that “got my back”. I was blessed with notes and great friends.

The thing that struck me the most was the ways to fix the shoulder problem and that the real problem is in the thorasic spine. “Backbends (especially passive backbends where you let the front body stretch and soften/open the chest) are fabulous for this issue. Sometimes it helps to go deeper into your habitual pattern before trying to go the opposite way/fix it”. All of this knowledge was weird to me, but fascinating to see how we can work with the human body further than what we think with an injury.

I am working with a sequence now for a friend with a past shoulder injury. Not only are we not avoiding shoulder work, we are going in to lift the “weight off the shoulders” with props, care and confidence.

Thank you my friends for lifting the weight off my shoulders and being helpful in a time of need. Grateful!

My head got heavy with a constant beat of a drum, my sight got blurry as if a window was fogging up on a rainy day and the ray of light that projected on me was like the devil was sending up for me. The pounding of voices in the room, the foreign languages rippling in and out of mouths and the unstability of my focus was all that was racing through my head last Saturday while in teaching training. Why was this happen? How could I recover and pay attention? Why was it only 2pm and we were not done until 7pm?

This was an experience that I had to deal with due to Aunt Flow coming to town. Thanks for the rave you were throwing in my head, Flow. She came and slapped me across the face and left with a voice saying, “I will be baaaack”! Bitch!!

During this brain wrenching headache, Michelle asked us to answer a few questions in our blog this week. One of them was, “What if you were at your peak cycle time and that day you had a very important yoga class to teach, what would you do”? All I could think is…”how to get through THIS day and what if people had to depend on me today”?

Put on a happy face and the show much go on were phrases I was trying to make my motto that day and honestly think it got me by. Raw, honest and true to self are all things I would bring into my important class for that is what will get me by. Throughout this program being true to yourself and honest to those around has been a theme. So, I would walk into that class and state the elephant in the room (no, I would not state that Aunt Flow is visiting, but that I am not on my A game today and forgive me), as I probably look like shit, then not speak of it again and create a space for the students to practice their intentions. This brings care for me and others around me.

As soon as Savasana was over and a quick Namaste…I am off to fetal position and counting sheep! Good night Aunt Flow, till we meet again…

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