OM TT Day 2 – Jan 7 (6-9pm)

Posted: January 8th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: doing it, yoga | Tags: , , | Comments Off on OM TT Day 2 – Jan 7 (6-9pm)

I thought Day 1 was intimidating enough by the sheer amount of knowledge that a yogi must retain.  Day 2 felt like twice the amount of information.  Having done yoga for years, it felt like second nature to do the asanas but to learn the various parts of the body that we must think about in minute detail, especially having to look for it in others and understand the correct way to handle adjustments, is HARD.  Even more difficult is remembering all the Sanskrit names for the asanas!  Reminding myself to… Breathe in.  Breathe out.  I haven’t led any sequences yet but we learned today that just describing the steps can be a challenge.

KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE – It’s kind of funny how there are many correlations  between yoga teacher training and my professional as a UX designer.  One of the main takeaways for me today is that you must understand who you’re teaching (i.e. who you’re “designing” the sequence for).  Use simple, clean sentences for easy poses (no need to elaborate or use flowery language) but describe harder sequences with more detail for advanced students.  I think having an engineering background will help me out here >_<.  I’m all about functionality and straightforward “technical” language. Ha ha.  I’m really looking forward to making the class plans!  🙂  I read ahead and saw Cyndi’s little stick figure drawings for various sequences.  Yoga wireframes.  Indeed, the whole class is just a storyboard for the asanas.

Today we went over adho muhka svanasana (downward facing dog) and ardha surya namaskar in depth.  Practiced it.  Analyzed it.  Adjusted one another.  I won’t elaborate here since I have other homework and have to continue with the practice of said sequence.  It was a good way to meet more of the other students and reminded me of Thai yoga massage class.  You just chill out, have fun, and touch each other.  Not inappropriately, of course.

Quote of the day:

Beginning teachers teach what they know.  Advanced teachers teach what students don’t know.

-Cyndi Lee

OM TT Day 1 – Jan 6 (6-9pm)

Posted: January 7th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: doing it, yoga | Tags: , , | Comments Off on OM TT Day 1 – Jan 6 (6-9pm)

OM. I took this pic (of Cyndi Lee) while on the OM Yoga retreat in Costa Rica.  Nearly a year later, I am happily one of the 22 students in the OM Yoga JHE 200 hr TT Express Track.  Tonight (Thursday) was the first class. I was trying to catch up on reading all day and knew that I needed a miracle to focus if I want to complete all the required readings on time.  Work has been slow so that helps but the office always has distractions.

I was the first to arrive and immediately settled in to continue my reading.  The yogis trickled in and soon the Forest room was pretty full.  I was really happy to see Bonnie who I met last year at the retreat.  SO nice to see a familiar face and to go through this with a friend.  As we went around the room for introductions and to describe our yoga/meditation background, it was really interesting to hear the stories of how folks came to that moment and place.  There was a girl who moved from Kansas City to do this.  There is only one male in the class.  There are 4 Asians including myself.  Why did we all choose OM TT?  Other than the fact that Cyndi is teaching, I think the group consensus is that it just felt like the right time and the stars aligned to allow each of us to meet this endeavor. I’ve always had a connection with OM Yoga.  It’s where I took my very first yoga class.  Part of it has to do with the integration of Buddhist principles which I’ve not found anywhere else.  2011 is my year to deepen both my yoga and meditation practices.  As a child, I’ve gone on multiple meditation retreats with my parents but looking back, I probably didn’t do it right.  And now as an adult, meditation is something I need to become acquainted with again, like an old friend.   Dad has told me repeatedly to meditate more as well so this will make him happy.  Perhaps later this year, I will go to Myanmar again and really dedicate myself to a vipassana retreat at Chanmyay.   When I went there in 2004, my mind was all over the place and my heart was definitely not open.

After going over some ground rules for the course and a warm-up vinyasa, we were divided into our “study groups.”   We were basically grouped by geographic location when in reality, most students will probably meet at or around OM for study sessions.  I am in the “Jersey” group with 3 other ladies.  Meanwhile, there were a couple of groups of 5 because most people live in Brooklyn or downtown NYC. I looking forward to getting to know my group better.  But I’m just a little sad that I’m not in a group with Bonnie! 😉

Next, Cyndi led us through Ardha Surya Namaskar, Step Back Surya Namaskar, and Surya Namaskar A & B while Edward did adjustments (I love it when he adjusts me!).  In her usual witty fashion, she would answer people’s questions and throw random quizzes back at us.  Let’s just say there is a LOT of things I need to look up and I’m doubting my understanding of the poses.  We also split into groups again to evaluate each others’ tadasana so that was fun.

What I learned and/or relearned today:

  • Asana means “ground” or “seat” …to sit with whatever comes up (I used to think it just meant “posture”)
  • Heaven is all the spiritual aspects of the universe and Earth is all the physical aspects we can work with, the ground.  Joining Heaven and Earth…(union of the mind and body? aka yoga?)
  • Mandala means environment or “sacred space” (not just the circular diagrams one sees in Buddhist and Hindu art)
  • When standing in tadasana, the toes should touch and the elbows should face inward a little
  • When standing in tadasana, you can use a strap to measure the alignment of the ear, shoulder and ankle bone
  • I don’t know the meaning of OM
  • Ahimsa means non-violence
  • Some women have absolutely no hips or belly — amazing!

I’m exhausted.  Time to hit the sack and maybe read more in the morning.  Namaste.

new year re(solutions)

Posted: January 5th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: doing it, yoga | Tags: , , | Comments Off on new year re(solutions)

I’m not sure how I feel about new year resolutions.  I make them sometimes but never seem to keep them.  So I feel like I just keep doing the same things over and over – repeating the same solutions and not really thinking about the process.  Recently, one of my favorite meditation teachers, David Nichtern, wrote a blog entry on the Huffington Post which really resonated with me.   I’d like to use what he suggested as a framework for the new year:

I intend to cultivate equanimity and balance in 2011 — not to panic when things appear to be off track, and not to relax when everything seems to be going smoothly. I intend to cultivate awareness and presence and not focus too hard on the outcome — paying more attention to the process and developing understanding and sympathy for myself and others.

Starting tomorrow, I’m going to begin the teacher training program at OM where I know I will have to remind myself to have more compassion…for myself.  A friend asked if I was ready and my immediate answer was ‘No’.  It’s hard not to measure yourself against others in a class setting and to feel like you’re not at a comparable level.  I’m not advanced.  I know that and even though I practiced steadily over the holidays, I still can’t invert without a wall and am afraid of falling.  So it makes me a little anxious that I’ll have to start learning the ways to guide others.  Also, here’s the required reading list and I’m already behind..

Yoga Body Buddha Mind…………..Cyndi Lee
Yoga Body…………………………….Judith Lasater
The Breathing Book…………………..Donna Farhi
The Wisdom of No Escape………..Pema Chodron
The Yoga Sutra of Patangali………Chip Hartranft

These books are not required but are strongly recommended:

Sacred Path of the Warrior………..Chogyam Trungpa
Light on Life……………………………….B.K.S. Iyengar
Yoga The Iyengar Way………………Mira Metha
Good Life, Good Death……………..Gelek Rinpoche

I say this every year, but I also want to go to bed earlier and have a normal sleep regiment.  These days, it’s normal for me to sleep around 2 or 3am, even when I don’t have any work!  I think that as part of my 6 weeks of OM Yoga TT, I will also challenge myself to be a vegetarian.  😛  We’ll see how that goes.

Tonight, I’m trying out CrossFit to see if it could be a cheaper alternative to core fusion.


Posted: November 14th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: doing it, yoga | Tags: | Comments Off on Inspired

An OM yoga teacher said that for a lot of students, making the leap to do teacher training will actually inspire them to take their practice to another level in the weeks before. I’m feeling some of that inspiration. In my years of doing yoga, I’ve never been consistent with inversions. And if I don’t practice regularly (i.e. every week) then I actually regress and can’t seem to do that handstand or forearm stand when I could do them only a few months before. I think part of the reason is my lack of upper body strength and another is mental. I’m just a bit scared. I try to visualize the pose before doing it and if I can’t connect the mental model and the physical, then I won’t get up. I feel somewhat sheepish that after 10+ years, I still can’t do any inversions away from the wall :-\ You have to be able to do headstand away from the wall and handstand and forearm stand at the wall. I’m making an effort to practice, practice, practice … and get there before the new year. I also signed up for one month of unlimited core fusion classes at Exhale Spa so I can improve my core strength ($100 ideeli voucher).

Maybe I’ll also try to remember all the Sanskrit names for asanas. Wish me luck!

image credit: cute japanese yogini site

The experience of the body and movement

Posted: June 16th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: doing it | Comments Off on The experience of the body and movement

As a “user experience” designer, I’m constantly tasked to think about the user’s flow and experience while interacting with ….a website, a computer screen, a mobile device. What does the user experience when going from A to B? Lately, I’m more interested in how I experience the body. The movement of breath and how I feel inside my own skin. And with my newly acquired skill of Thai massage, I’m really intrigued with experiencing another’s body through healing touch. It’s kind of amazing how you can change another’s physical, emotional and mental state with your own.

Finished Level I

Posted: April 13th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: doing it | Tags: , | Comments Off on Finished Level I

I just finished the first level of Ananda Apfelbaum’s amazing Thai Yoga Massage workshop. Even though there were moments when I had doubts – i.e. “What am I doing here?” …I feel like I got a lot out of the training and I’m eager to learn more. I’m lighter on my feet when I leave the class. Some fellow students are coarser than others and I feel like I got hurt in certain places but I guess that comes with the territory. Hopefully, the weird, quirky patches will pass…