Growing My Yoga Practice – Relax?

“I have been left wondering after class “I didn’t have that emotional epiphany.  What is wrong with me?”  I never tied this to the fact other people may feel the same way about relaxing.”  

I am the worlds least flexible yogi.  I can’t do all the fancy poses.  My IG posts are never going to get tons of sponsors.

But I love Yoga.  I love teaching Yoga.  I think Yoga is one of the best things you can do for your mind and body.  I am a 200 Hour certified instructor and I have had the pleasure of teaching at the University I work for as well as some classes for friends and fellow fitness nuts at Fuquay Co-Working.  My teacher’s (Brett Larkin) Uplifted program has kept me plugged into new developments in yoga and helped me connect with motivating fellow yogis who push me and help me continuously learn.

Teaching has helped me come into my own practice and get closer to feeling comfortable in my skin (yes, even a yoga instructor can feel insecure or lack confidence…) and it is time for me to take my practice to the next level.  I have always desired to focus on my teaching on those who are new to the Yoga world and those with disabilities and injuries, especially wounded veterans.

As part of this desire, I am taking the Level I Teacher Training with Warriors at Ease (WAE).  Their mission, values, and vision, all align with who I am and what I desire to do with my practice, both solo and as a teacher.

So, to get to the point of this post, please follow along as I complete the training so learn along with me and hopefully find some joy and inspiration in my journey.

The first lesson that I want to share:  Many people think of relaxation as one of the ultimate goals of yoga.  This is part of the reason that I practice and is always one of the goals that I bring to the classes I teach; I want to help my students relax.  During the lecture tonight, it was discussed that we must be careful about “forcing” relaxation on people.  It can set up an unreachable expectation for students who don’t feel like they are relaxing.  This can actually raise their stress, not lower it.  This was VERY eye opening to me – I have experienced this myself in practices.  When fellow yogis have shared the emotional breakthrough or beautiful experience they slipped into during class, I have been left wondering after class “I didn’t have that emotional epiphany.  What is wrong with me?”  I never tied this to the fact other people may feel the same way about relaxing.  It has to be maddening to hear some of my phrases about feeling totally relaxed when you just can’t.

I will keep this in mind for my classes from now on.  I will tweak my language to make it clear that relaxation is not the ultimate goal and that there are other head spaces that you can go into that are just as beneficial and are steps on the road to being able to relax (and that the definition of the term relax can vary from person to person.)

This is my first major lesson from my next level of training and I look forward to incorporating it into my classes.

Quick Tip For The Day – Smoothie Prep and Yoga Pose

I love fresh and organic food.  I love saving money by buying in bulk.  I love the co-op I belong to who always delivers a crud ton of greens.  I get really annoyed when I don’t eat my food fast enough and it goes bad.  (Insert moment of guilt for my first world gripe)

I only make one or two smoothies a day, I travel a lot, food tends to go bad quickly for me, but I love to save money buying large amounts from local sources.  This really applies to greens.  They are great in smoothies but I hate when they get all slimy.  I had a huge tub of mixed greens that I didn’t want to waste, so after a quick google search I blended them up and froze them.  Success!  I highly recommend it to save time and money!

Thank you to Green Thickies for pointing me in the right direction.  I did not follow their directions to the letter….I just kept stuffing greens in the blender, adding a cup of water, blending, and then repeating until I had no more greens.  Poured in a muffin tin, froze for two days (I totally forgot about them prior to a short trip) and then popped them out and put them in freezer bags.  EASY PEASY!  I tried one this morning with my strawberry banana concoction (I am so bad at following actual recipes) and it worked like a dream and even helped thicken up the mix a bit.


Smoothie Muffins!
Smoothie Muffins!

On a separate note, this week’s yoga pose takes us back to the basics – Downward Facing Dog.  Here is what I look like one day one.  I’ve already done some reading on how to correct my form and I look forward to developing this week.  My personal goal is to get my heels down without losing form.  Check back in a week for my Yoga Pose of the Week summary!

Start of the Week
Start of the Week Progress Photo