Sunday, October 12, 2014

Student guest blog: Breathwork

by Lisa Cosmillo, 300 hour Bali Yoga Teacher Training student

This week, the second in our training, brought us into deeper meditations, more pranayama and a deep study of restorative yoga, which included our first practice teaching experience.

In many ways, this week we could breathe. We practiced pranayama, breathing exercises, daily, which took some of us to new and deeper places. We also got to do a daily restorative practice taught by our classmates, which was a great opportunity to relax into our breath. Each evening following our restorative practice, we practiced Yoga Nidra. We were warned at the beginning of each session not to sleep -- but not to feel badly if we did fall asleep. This amazingly calming practice has been used to help with Post Traumatic Stress Disorders and more generalized anxiety -- yet another sweet opportunity to reach deeper and breathe.

Toward the end of this calming week, the heat was turned up as we were told we would be teaching the morning practices in our third and final week. Included in this assignment was the inevitable caveat that each of us would be expected to teach the elements of a full Yogic breath -- Agniraj Breathing -- as part of our class, something we have practiced since day one of the training.

So today on our second day off, most of us took the opportunity to rest, relax and take a deep breath. 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Student guest blog: Good night moon

by Paula Anderson, 300 hour Bali Yoga Teacher Training student

With the energy of the Blood Moon and Lunar Eclipse, the week was ablaze. Every morning began with fabulous practices a la Zuna Yoga, breathing deeply into the pelvis and learning to remain at peace in a carefully woven sequence of postures. Getting into the gritty, we broke down asana and adjustments with mindfulness. Best take away of the week: learning to confidently give assists into inversions without fear of injury to either party!

After breaking into groups, we all had the opportunity to teach very welcome restorative classes. Each group collectively delivered classes with their own spin on soft deliciousness. Several evenings concluded with amazing Yoga Nidra practices led by Everett.

In lecture we really started to uncover the mysteries of the Hatha Yoga Pradapika and some of its "head scratching and hmmm" verses. Good News: we are stronger than we believe. After delving into the deeper explanation of Chapter 1, Verse 1, I discovered we are ALL heroes in a half shell, courtesy of Hatha Yoga... "For those continually tempered by the heat of tapa (the three types of pain - spiritual, environmental and physical) - hatha is like the shelter giving protection from the heat. For those always united in yoga, hatha is the basis acting like a tortoise." The tortoise is an emblem of patient endurance. The practice of hatha yoga enables strength and control of the body and mind, transforming the body into a protective covering.

Who knew! See you on the mat...
#turtlepower #tortoisepose

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Student guest blog: Has it only been a week?

by Lisa Cosmillo, 300 hour Bali Yoga Teacher Training student

It doesn't seem like it could only be nine days ago that I made my way to the Yoga Barn in Ubud, Bali. This girl from Kansas (now living in Olympia, WA) would never be the same.

That night I met, albeit briefly, the souls I would be sharing my time with for the next 25 days. They all seemed so well-traveled and even the youngest very sophisticated. We came in all shapes and sizes and ages and had all traveled so far and all for one purpose, to deepen our relationships with ourselves, our bodies, our souls. With our wide range of abilities, we brought with us our mats, our yoga pants and our stories.

Little did we know that in one week we would go through so much together. Tears, laughter, nausea, hugs, back bends, pranayama, head stands ... the list goes on and on, but despite the hurdles, the fears, and the unbelievable assortment of insects and animals, we made it through this first week alive and mostly well.

When I set out to come here, I knew that this would inevitably affect my teaching and my practice, but after this first week, I feel these practices we are learning changing me, helping me. I am curious to continue down the path, to see where it leads and grateful for this opportunity.

Tonight, as I lie here in my hotel room writing this, it is the end of our first day off, and I just glanced up to see a gecko on the wall of my room. The man who works here tells me the Balinese believe the gecko carries good energy, so I just peacefully watch as he spies an insect and darts into the crack in the wall. As week two begins, I welcome all the good energy I can get. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Student guest blog: Wow! What a great playlist!

by Paula Anderson, 300 hour Bali Yoga Teacher Training student

In the still morning air, there is such beauty in simply enjoying a peaceful practice. 

I love arriving at the dark studio for our pre-dawn practice. I tend to arrive right around 5 am everyday. And like all great performances, it's best to arrive early and get settled. The show begins with the assorted melodies of the Roosters crowing and the occasional Cricket percussionists. The Gecko bellows his solo from the horn section and by now the birds are playing in force from the woodwinds. The rolling percussion of the Cicadas brings the symphony to its forte, then a solo rises again steadily from the Frog. Aaaaah, as nature continues to serenade our practice, there are many moments you may not hear any of it, being so tuned in with our breath and asana. Katherine, like any great conductor, leads us with her beautiful voice - easing,  soothing and empowering us to stay ... "just one more minute here, yogis".

And like all great performances, there will be more. So, until tomorrow morning my fellow yogis! See you on your mats when the rooster crows...