Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Dry spell

It struck me yesterday I have been in a dry spell i.e. I have not cried for over 8 months now!!! That is nearly a whole year. I'm not sure if this is something to be proud or ashamed of. Today I just read this beautifully written post by Rachel at Alive in the Fire and it got me thinking about it again.

I clearly remember the last day I cried. June 17th 2011, the departure gates at Manchester airport, UK. I said good bye to both my parents not knowing when I would see them again. My trips to my country of origin are often like this, not knowing when I'll be back. Could be a few months or could be years. Who knows. If that doesn't get the water works going then what would?! So I was all snot and tissues whilst lining up to go through the security scanner, clear plastic bag of my 100ml or less liquids in hand, shiny new Australian passport in the other. 

That was it, my last crying moment. I have no idea why I haven't cried since. Heck I have been through a lot since then. Mainly nine weeks of BYTT. Every other person there was crying at some point every hour (hmm maybe make that ten minutes). Even when class mates had breakthroughs in dialogues or were reunited with their loved one I still didn't shed a drop of water to join them. Yeah I was super emotional for them but just couldn't cry. 

There was a time, only a few years ago, I probably was crying on a daily basis because of one thing or another. So I must not be that emotionally retarded??!! I just do not have an answer for this dry spell. My frustrations are not coming to the surface in liquid form these days. Maybe I have a blockage somewhere & the result is blocked tear ducts? Who knows. Maybe I just don't need to express myself by crying any more. Maybe I'm just in a content, happy place with no need for tears. I should embrace this dry spell, not worry about it & one day I might cry again....

Monday, February 27, 2012


I'm about four years late with this one but I've only just discovered the tv show Gossip Girl. Some people probably think it should have been left undiscovered. For me it's good background listening/half watching whilst I work, breaks the silence. 

The only reason I'm bringing it up here is sometimes I feel technology can be a double edged sword. Most of the story line scandals in the show develop when gossip is broadcast on a website for all to see from the mysterious 'Gossip Girl'. As all the kids on the show subscribe to the site and have smart phones the gossip is spread in seconds with sad, humiliating consequences for the person involved. 

Only last week I talked with two different friend's about 'the old days' before technology and the internet. If a friend drifted away & lost touch it happened. Now you find out they 'unfriended' you on Facebook and you start wondering why. Even stalker like behaviour begins to find out the reason. What used to be said privately between friends in person is now broadcast for all to see on the web. Back stabbing, snide status updates, hate groups, we are all guilty of it from time to time I know. In the spur of the moment when you're angry its too easy to have a rant, click send & its there forever logged in the FB archives. Cyber bullying is too real. 

Don't get me wrong, I love the internet & social networking. It is a great way of keeping in touch over long distances but when that is abused it can have really hurtful effects. When is too much? Will there ever be a way of mediating it?

Gossip Girl reminded me that even though it's a fictional show it can be related back to real life goings on. Has there been times you told a friend in confidence something only for them to text, email, twitter or FB it to someone else within a blink of an eye? It seems the only way to keep things private is within your own thoughts or only with people you can truly trust.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Read the Orange book

It's come up in various conversations over the last month amongst fellow teachers to read the 'orange' Bikram book. I have read it, I pretty much bought it straight away when I started practicing. Like most books or even movies & in yoga practice you always seems to miss something the first time round. I can re read a novel a few times, even though I know the ending and the gist of the story, there are some scenes, chapters or events that feel like I'm reading it for the first time. 

Like in your personal yoga practice you might not hear certain instructions until your ready. I feel this is true with the Bikram books. You might not absorb the information until your ready. Now is the time to hit the books again. I've been told I'm at the point in my teaching path that I need to start going a bit more above & beyond. It's easy to just spill out the dialogue each class but I need to be understanding more about what is going on in the postures. What is happening inside. There are plenty of lines in the additional dialogue that touches on what is happening. "This is a compression posture, compression of the pancreas." But why do we need to be compressing the pancreas, what is happening in the pancreas as it is being compressed, why is this beneficial? That kind of thing.

Sadly at training this connection between anatomy, the postures & the medical benefits wasn't really touched on in great detail. Don't get me wrong Emmy, Rajashree & Bikram all gave informative lectures involving anatomy, pain & psychology. A favourite line from Dr P. the anatomy lecturer was 'that's a yoga question, Bikram will answer that,' whenever any question came up about a posture & it's related anatomy. Which is fair enough I suppose, he's the doctor not the yoga guru. 

I need to go fourth and find answers. They are out there. The Orange book is my first stop. Time to re read it. In one posture clinic we were told 'how can you tell your students to read the Bikram books if you've never read them yourself.' Another amazing wealth of information is Diane Ducharme's forum Bikram Yoga for You. Then I will be able to talk more between postures about why and what is happening in an informed, educated way. 

Extra special book now, signed by the boss

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Cold water that actually stays cold!

I must have been living under a rock to not have discovered the brilliant, superb, amazing thing that is a Hydro Flask! Thinking about it, now I am familiar with its branding, there were a LOT of these babies at TT. No blooming wonder, this is the only water bottle that keeps water cold in the hot room. 

Not being a fan of plastic BPA leachy bottles I've being trying to find a good metal bottle for a while. I ended up binning a LuLu metal bottle at TT as the paint chipped off & it actually went mouldy round the screw thread. The best I had before my recent discovery was a nice Cheeki bottle with a wet suit like cover. Still this sweated and didn't keep my water cold long enough.

Hydro Flask first appeared a month ago at the Scarborough studio. As an owner of so many metal bottles I over looked it, I did not need another water bottle. It wasn't until the Joondalup studio had a spanking new display of lots of colours and sizes I took notice. I know how material, superficial etc. etc. of me. Bit like a magpie attracted to shiny things I am. The pretty colours sucked me & made me pay attention. So I got myself one, a lychee red one with a sports cap, Jo even made me a name tag to stick on it. All mine, no looking back.

And I never looked back. My water was still icy after a full three hours out the fridge. After class I guzzled down the chilly liquid goodness. I used it to teach with & nearly drank the whole 700ml as the cool refreshment soothed my vocal cords. Only down side is trying not to drink it all for practice. When my water was warm it was easier, on the rare occasions I did drink, to only take a sip in class. Now it's hard not to chug more often. It tastes great but as we know it plays havoc on the guts practicing with water gushing around. 

Wish I'd discovered this bad boy sooner. It truly is the best water bottle ever. Does not sweat on the outside, neither hot or cold to touch but what ever is inside stays the same temperature it went in for hours. Get one, you won't be sorry. 


Sunday, February 19, 2012


Usually when it comes to books being made into a film I am disappointed. Let's not talk about Twilight here. I should know better when I read a great novel not to even bother with it's big screen side kick. 

However one of my favourite all time  movies is Breakfast at Tiffany's. I'm a huge Audrey Hepburn fan, proud owner of the Couture Muse Collection & a tidy stash of other memorabilia. Awesome, beautiful actress, sadly left us before her time. I just happen to be quite a Tiffany's fanatic too. I even wrote a paper on Tiffany's for the Luxury Brand Management unit of my Masters degree. Every major city I have visited on my travels which has a store I've called by, just to look. Obsessed...yes. (I have been gifted with one Tiffany's piece which I totally love & cherish, an Elsa Peratti Elongated teardrop bangle)

Surprisingly I haven't read the actual Truman Capote novel. I saw it by chance with the amazing Penguin books old style cover. Such a design classic I just had to have it! I wasn't disappointed. The story is only 138 pages long which is probably why the film can stay so true. Obviously there is a few added scenes and Holly is a lot younger in the book. Still a most enjoyable read, especially for fans of the film. Highly recommended!

Penguin classic

The magical blue box & white ribbon

My gift back in 2009

Happy Sunday!

A day off. Luxury. I'm planning on practicing this arvo but for now I'm taking it easy. Paper work has been done, a banana bread baked, time for some writing. 

Day job wasn't so frantic last week but it was still busy with no down time to get small bits & pieces done. The past two Thursday's I've pulled 17 hour days to get everything in. I originally said I wouldn't practice the 5:45am if I was teaching in the evening but I have been left with no choice but to do this in order to get my own mat time in. It wasn't so bad, the adrenalin kicks in the moment I step up onto the podium & last Thursday was probably one of the best classes I've taught. I do wake up Friday morning feeling wrecked with a yoga hangover but hey it's Friday I can drag myself through 8 hours of day job before it's wine & the weekend. 

Yesterday was a great day, again long, I was out the house 14 straight hours with my day starting at 5:30am. I opted to cover the 7:30am class which was awesome. I practiced the 9:30am in which I was a little tired, tight, scattered but I needed it. This was followed by a teachers workshop. Very exciting getting everyone together to talk yoga. We went through Pranayama breathing & Triangle in the two hours. So much to talk about. We shared our experiences, read the dialogue, pin pointed the common mistakes & how to correct them. Very, very useful. We are going to do this once a months now which is great. 

After the workshop I hot footed it down to Scarborough to meet with a future Spring Trainee to run some dialogue. I was blessed enough to be given a lot of support before my training experience so now it is my turn to give back. It went well, I was very impressed. It reminded me of how we were when we first started doing dialogue and how far we've come since last May.

To round off the day I taught the 4pm class. I received some lovely feedback from a student who said it was the most enjoyable class he'd taken in ages. Cool. I also got some very valuable feedback from a fellow teacher. I need to start teaching now. Sounds weird I know. I had my assessment with my mentor last week who said I'm ready to start making corrections. The teacher yesterday pretty much told me the same, to use the dialogue to actually teach & correct. 

Spewing out a verbatim class every time won't progress myself or the students. Now I need to start focusing on the students more, teaching the words & not just 'saying' them. It will mean having to cut out some words to focus on the words that are important to the common mistakes. Homework!! I am aware of the mistakes student's make but have been too scared to say anything. In the workshop yesterday we touched on this. Simply by repeating a line in the dialogue until they get it, ie. "sit down more, sit down more, sit down more." I also need to slow down & give students a chance to actually digest the words that are being said. Incorporating a pause I was told will help, even though it might feel like an age to me, to the student a pause in air time will give them chance to think about what they are hearing. 

Very exciting times, this job just keeps getting better & better!!

Fresh sunflowers from our garden

Buddha with his Sunday offerings

Rough as guts

This post is about three weeks late now but I thought I'd share it anyway. When you've been practicing Bikram for a while & regularly, you forget how hard the practice once was for yourself & still is for others. Part of teacher training is to bring back those memories of feeling awful, being too hot, stressed and nauseous. Oh I did remember, very often, thank you Boss my compassion is now ingrained to my soul. 

I had another reminder of the rough side to Bikram the week after my wisdom tooth surgery. Sensibly I took nine full days off practice & teaching as I didn't want to be near the hot room with a body full of prescription drugs. I returned to my mat for the 4pm Friday class. Good yoga buddy J had joined me, we'd not practiced side by side for over six months so it was very exciting. 

First 25 minutes was great, no drama, mouth felt fine. Then I killed myself in SH2K & it was game over. Ego and fresh hamstrings were the main factors. Once my heart rate got up and my blood pumping I felt my head was going to explode...through the holes in my gums!! I sat out out of the first set of Standing Bow, I was on the floor again after Triangle. Having my mouth on the towel in Locust caused problems and by Spinal Twist I was so nauseous I laid out of that one. Funny as I was on the right side of the room everyone was turn & twisting to see me lying there, eyes screwed shut (major no no as you all know) trying not to loose my lunch. I even contemplated bolting before blowing in firm as I truly believed I was gonna spew. Rough as guts I was.

J even helped me roll up my mat and haul me from from the room the moment the instructor left. I sat in a crumpled sweaty mess in reception. A few of my regular students who knew I'd had surgery came over to offer some support. General consensus was we all agreed pain killers & antibiotics are useful & beneficial at times but they hammer your poor body. Mine just wanted to expel every last milligram out of me in that class.

It was a great reality check & opportunity for me to put my own words into practice. I'm always telling students if they feel sick to just lie still, focus on their breath & try to relax. I feel I was humble enough to know when I needed to sit down & not totally kill myself. Despite closing my eyes when I laid out toward the end, lying still did work. Water was another factor to my sickness, I was swilling it round my mouth as I thought it would help the throbbing in my gums, which is didn't. It just made me feel sicker. Stillness & breathing definitely does work, you just have to give to a chance to work.

Two more days later & I was back in the room & class went so much better. With a few more days for the drugs to get out of my system my body wasn't working so hard to detox. Three weeks later everything is healing nicely, no more horrific mouth throbbing, head exploding feelings!!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Teacher Training spending totals

Finally I got around to totting up the HUGE pile of receipts I accumulated from TT today. Purely for my own interest I kept every single receipt for anything I bought whilst in LA. After doing the sums I wasn't too shocked at my findings but one area I did do a double blink...did I really spend that much?!! 

It is a burning question for future teacher trainees how much to budget on spending after shelling out the BIG dough on the course. So I thought I would share my experience. It can be kinda weird talking about money, it's very personal, everyone is different, some people eat more, some people eat less, some shop, some don't so please take these sums lightly, it's a rough guide.

Firstly I'll say I am GOOD at budgeting. I can be very frugal when needs be, cut back on luxuries etc. Then I can go polar opposite & have a blow out. Very all or nothing type of person I am. One thing, I did not use a credit card once at TT, I was very cash only, no debt. Some people will have to though, again personal.

Here it is my spending for nine weeks in LA...*drum role please.....*

  • Food shopping - mainly in Trader Joe's, odd few things from Whole Foods & Fresh N Easy; $790.11
  • Eating out & foody treats (coffee, cupcakes, ice cream etc.) mainly on a weekend only. I ate in the hotel about 5 times as it was expensive, boring & not that great; $234.70
  • Room set up when I 1st got there - George Foreman mini grill, kettle, toaster, plastic plates, cutlery, food storage boxes, Britta Filter, clothes drier etc. $200 ($30 of this was the car service I hired to drive around the shops) My room mate gave me $30 towards things that would be shared, but most of what I bought was for me & my comfort.
  • Trolley tickets to Manhattan Beach - $25 ($5 each go, round trip)
  • Miscellaneous - Random things like toiletries, medications, gifts, the odd book, stamps, postcards etc. ; $226.98
  • Clothes - yoga clothes, a new teaching bag, Vegas shopping treat trip; $975.77 ($200 was for Graduation dress & shoes)
  • Random unaccounted for stuff - dollar here & there, tips, taxi, bus tickets which I didn't have a receipt for; roughly $150
  • Hair stylist for graduation & 1 massage - $147
  • Grand TOTAL: $2,749.56
The biggest shock was the amount I spent on clothes, more than food!!! I honestly thought I'd been good, apart from in Vegas. I spent more towards the end of the course on treats when I knew my budget was good & I had extra to play with. I didn't actually buy that much, more quality rather than quantity, that adds up. Not included is my Vegas plane ticket as that came out of a totally different stash of cash.

Over all I'm happy with this. My budget was $3000 for the total ten weeks (including the week I had at home after). I came home with money too & I didn't have to touch my 'emergency money' that I had just in case. (This is totally personal so not sharing that) I did have to scrimp & save for nearly a year to have a tidy budget. I raised money by selling cards, doing car boots sales & ebay as I like to be financially independent of my partner & family. Anyway why should they give up their hard earned cash for me?!

Don't forget on top of this & the course fee's there are plane tickets and insurance. Please no one who is not a citizen of the USA enter that country without medical insurance. It is not worth it. $500 on 9 weeks insurance is nothing compared to a hospital fee in the States. 

Hope this has been useful! 

Friday, February 10, 2012

It's a Moon Week

Time has flown! It's been over two weeks since my last post. Not that I don't have anything to write about, I do, lot's, so much has been going on in my world. Mainly yoga based of course.

I am flat out again. Day job has been insanely busy, busy, busy. All good but very little down time. I've been pulling ten hour days to make ends meet, even sacrificed practicing the new 5:45am Wednesday class at BYJ so I could be at my desk bright & early at 7am. 

It's a Moon Week. Full Moon was on Tuesday. I don't really follow moon cycles, it's more of an Ashtanga thing. However, I feel I can pin point some of my scattered-ness, crazy busy-ness, general feeling out of sorts on the Moon this week. It's not just me who's had a bonkers week, others close to me have had their tribulations.

Teaching is going well. I have a whole new post lined up to cover the past two weeks adventure's in the room, it's been an interesting few weeks. I'm back on the mat practicing more consistently. No massive breaks in between classes. (oh I know four days is hardly massive but for me it is!) Quite spectacularly I fell on my arse in Eagle in Monday mornings class. Hilarious. My instructor buddy was right next to me & I bet she she was dying to join me in laughing out loud. In all fairness I was trying to sit down deeper and work on my alignment when BAM my foot slipped straight out, threw me off balance, I toppled backwards, as of course all my body weight was back on my heel ;-) & landed flat on my butt. I picked myself up & carried as you do.

I had set myself up for a busy weekend but waking up this morning with a yoga hangover I'm going to reshuffle. There are a few appointments I need to keep but I am planning on taking some me time. Mainly get a good nights sleep & wake up naturally. Rest & revive is in order, and possible a nice crispy glass of white tonight to get the ball rolling.

Have a great weekend everyone & I shall return very soon with something more interesting to write about!!