Sunday, September 29, 2013

Sunday night ~ and the Eve of Week Two

I just got out of my night shower and I'm all lubed up with a combo of sesame and sunflower oil.  Yes, Dennis, I tried to get most of it off of my hands before getting on the laptop!  hee hee  

The first week was so very diverse!  Long days, to be sure, but SO MUCH FUN TO LEARN!  This school is so incredible ~ we experienced Chakra Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, 5 Elements Yoga, Vipassana Yoga, Karma Yoga, and of course hands-on Asana practice for Hatha Yoga.  And anatomy of the body. 

You may wonder what lineage I am learning.  For example, Debbie teaches Anusara Yoga.  The lineage of this school is from the Bihar School of Yoga in India ~

I never realized there were so many  "styles" and  "types" of yoga.  It is truly fascinating!

We are also studying Vedic Astrology and we study the planet for each day of the week:  it's color, gemstone, deity, chant, and what the planet represents.  For example, Monday represents the Moon, so the color is white, gemstone is pearl, deities are Shakti/Paravati, the mantra is Om Som Somaya Namaha, and it represents the Mother.  Our charts have been prepared and presented to us and my head is swimming trying to understand it all.  The one thing I DO know is that Vedic astrology is different than the astrology we all know in the west.  It differs by 22 degrees due to the Procession of the Equinox.  So in Vedic astrology, I'm actually an Aries, not a Taurus.  So much to study and learn!

Last Tuesday I was in the Group of 5 that got to cook the Ayurvedic lunch for everyone.  How I love GHEE!  The food has been cleansing and delicious!  In fact, I made myself a Kitchari tonight for dinner by following this recipe.  CINDY, how can I not think of you?

We take a hike almost every day after lunch and that is a very nice break after so much intensity of learning.  After that we go into Yoga Nidra which is a practice like savasana but lasts much longer.  Its purpose is to train the mind to go into a deep state of relaxation without falling asleep.  No success for me yet, nor for anyone else in the class ~ we have ALL fallen asleep!  Here's more info on the practice ~

And of course there is the chanting and the learning of Sanskrit.  I was really struggling with the chanting at the beginning of the week, but I'm getting the hang of it.  It IS very calming.  And my malas are being used ~

This first weekend was also really nice.  My roommate, Kim, invited me to join her and some of her massage therapists friends to go to an Improv show last night at a very intimate theatre.  It was INCREDIBLY FUNNY (just like "Whose Line Is It Anyway") and now I can say I have done Laughing Yoga, too!  It was the perfect release for a very focused week. 

So I must go to bed.  It's almost 10PM and 3:45AM will come around pretty fast.  I'm shutting down the computer for the week, so I'll be in touch again next weekend.

Have a lovely week ~ stay in the moment ~ and enjoy the journey.

With Love,

What a perfect Sunday morning ...

... for a VOMIT.

Yes ~ that's how my day began.  Up at 6:15AM with a 7AM arrival for our Sadhana, which is a spiritual practice that includes the mind (meditation), body (cleansing and exercise), and spirit (chanting).  If you're interested, check out the link below ~

This was the only Sunday we will be at the Center as we needed to move to the next phase of  our cleansing.  Today was called Laghoo Shankhaprakshalana.  The procedure is outlined at the link below ~

We prepared a 2 liter bottle of warm salt water (4 teaspoons of salt).  I drank the first 1/3rd fairly well, and proceeded through the exercises.  The water tasted OK ~ it was simply my mind pushing against drinking that much water so fast.  I chugged the second 1/3 of the bottle with a little more difficulty.  The goal of this cleanse is to get the water all the way through the body, but I didn't quite make it.  I started my 2nd round of exercises and about half way through, I just had to vomit (thankfully I made it to the bathroom).   I finished the final third of the bottle and completed another round of exercises.  Many of the students felt the effects during the process, but my system processes more slowly.  After driving one of the students home (I'm aiding a wonderful young man, Citrus, with transportation), I made it home around 8:30 AND just in time.  Because here's the deal:  you drink salt water because the salt stops the absorption of the water into your cells so it literally washes directly through.  And boy did it!

It's 11:30AM now  and I'm fine and feel light.  I am quite thirsty and hungry so will go upstairs now and make a drink consisting of yogurt, coconut water, honey, cardamom, cumin, salt, and pepper.  The drink is called LASSI, and is good for aiding digestion, introducing probiotics, and repairing the flora of the gut. 

So even though today's cleanse did not call for vomiting, I'm sort of glad I did.  I have never been a fan of vomiting, and a memory has emerged of a thunderbird ring that my Mom gave me when I was a child.  She told me that as long as I wore that ring, I would not vomit.  I don't really remember being sick, but I do remember that ring.  And let's face it ~ through the last 40 years, when I have vomited, it's usually been from an excess of alcohol, so my mental connection is not a positive one.  So today was a good start of a disconnect from that mental connection. 

And good news ~ I have even more of an opportunity to reroute my brain!  Starting tomorrow morning, and through the week, we are adding Kunjala to our morning cleanse ~ the cleansing of the stomach.  And how is that accomplished?  By vomiting warm salt water. 

Welcome to my world. 

Friday, September 27, 2013

Friday night sharing

This week has been one of the most meaningful weeks of my life.  I am finding my inner joy again!

I couldn't have chosen a better school for me. Certainly the locale is beautiful, even though I've had very little chance to explore.  The instructors are deep, open and inviting, and there is no stupid question.  I feel very free to speak my mind and ask any question.  The school itself is the perfect size ~ not too big, and feels so much like home, even after only 5 days.

The other students are also a wonderful blend of flavors.  I did confirm today that I am the oldest, with Rick close behind me by 3 months.  Three women are just turning 50, and the balance are in their 20's and 30's.  Everyone is warming up so nicely and we are really moving into a family unit.  I think most of us have had our moments of tears, and there is great respect and quiet compassion from everyone as we all go through our process. 

I have always felt a deep sense of spirituality in my life, and we are being taught the true spiritual meaning of yoga.  I feel like I've been plugged in and my body, mind and spirit are coming alive again.  I'm in deep gratitude. 

We do get a little break tomorrow ~ instead of getting up at 3:45AM (which I LOVE, by the way), I don't have to get up until 5:45AM.  Our class tomorrow is only from 6:30 to 9:30, so I'll enjoy my first almost full day off.  Sunday will also be a short one ~ 7:00 to 8:30AM as we're doing another big cleanse.  That will certainly be the day to get my home chores done and relax, and my intent is to share more about my experience. 

I hope this week has been a good one for all.  Even though I have been unplugged from the Internet, my heart is full knowing I am loved.


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Sunday afternoon final preparation

We were all asked to return to the Center this afternoon for a private "interview" with the faculty.  It was a tad bit intimidating walking into the yurt and seeing 8 people sitting in a circle waiting for my arrival. 

We talked for about 10 minutes regarding my Intake Form where I had to answer all sorts of personal questions about my life.  We discussed the breast cancer (briefly), my thyroid medication, my excessive habits, and then we went onto the IMPORTANT subject ... my constant connectivity.  Really?  Come on, I only have a laptop, tablet, and smart Phone with me.  What's the problem?

So ... they have now REALLY STRONGLY ENCOURAGED me to put it all away for this process.  We even laughed about my bad handwriting and what good is writing a journal if I can't read it later? 

So ... this IS my sign off for now.  My next free day will be Sunday afternoon after another cleanse.  They say it's a surprise.  Yeah, right.  Anyway, I am going to follow my own advice and CARPE MOMENTO and just see how I feel each moment.  Maybe after a grueling week of cleansing and training, I might just want to come home and go to bed.  WHO KNOWS?

Just know that while I'm going through this amazing experience, I can FEEL YOU supporting me.  And that is more valuable than ANY piece of technology.

With Love,

My Space in Sedona

Just so you have a visual of where I'm living for the next month, here are some images ~

This is my bedroom with my altar to the left ~


Another shot of my bedroom with the computer still set up.  That is getting packed away tonight. 

This is my private patio at my private entrance behind the house ~

Some of the young students who flew into Arizona for this training have no transportation.  So this afternoon I took them around to the grocery store, Walgreens, Natural Grocers, and OF COURSE the Goodwill store.  I had to buy a long shirt to wear in the evening after I shower and do my sesame oil massage.  It takes a while for that oil to soak in!

So life is very peaceful up here, and I feel very blessed. 

I signed up for WHAT?

OK ~ I've done a cleanse before.  You drink the tea at night, take some pills during the day, and drink lots of water.  But today's "experience" had me both scared, yet open to try.  So I took a big breathe, reminded myself that it was too late to turn back, and dove in.

Yes, Callie ~ I have now done a neti pot.  And you were right, it wasn't bad at all.  Of course I had a little trepidation due to breaking my nose in July, but thank God, that salt water flowed right in one nostril and out the other beautifully!  And both ways!  Squatting down in the rocks is not so bad (not allowed to sit on a step or a rock ~ heaven forbid!)  But I wasn't done yet ... then there are the sharp exhales out of each nostril to get all that stuff out of my sinuses.  And then we stand up and do strong forward bends with our arms swinging between our legs (Jeff calls it "snot throwing") that made me feel a little silly.  And because all that snot can't be out YET, we do the Funky Chicken ... bend over with a flat back and forcefully exhale and slap our elbows into our ribs.  I wasn't looking at any of the other 14 students squatting in the rocks right around me, blowing snot out of their noses, but I can only imagine they looked and felt the same way I did.  Somehow that made it easier to handle.

Next cleanse is the eye wash.  Fill a small eye cup with salt water, squat again, put the cup against your eye while looking down, and bring your head up.  50 blinks on each side while your eyeball is splashing around in the water.  Not so bad.

But the 3rd one ... put a big pile of salt in your palm and drown it in sesame oil.  Make a paste, and yes sir, squat again.  This time you rub that salty/sesame paste onto your gums.  Top and bottom both sides.  And SPIT!

So I'm thinking that's great ~ I got that done.  Well get this.  WE WILL DO THIS EVERY MORNING AT 5AM after our morning chant.  Out in the dark!  And maybe in the cold because a storm is blowing through!  And this starts tomorrow and we do it EVERYDAY.

So ~ when you wake up tomorrow and don't want to go to work, feel blessed that you're not squatting in the rocks, in the dark, blowing snot out of your nose.

Namaste ~

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Orientation Day

It was with a little nervousness but much excitement that I woke up early on this first Saturday morning in Sedona.  My bedroom is so lovely as it has a large, uncovered window which looks out at almost ground level to a very private backyard.  This picture doesn't do it justice, but the sunrise was very pretty this morning.

Of course the first morning of anything is disorienting ~ but I made it out the door and managed the only THREE MINUTE drive to the Center.  I was VERY surprised to walk in and see a large group of people sitting in a circle in the yoga room.  As much as I was hoping for a small group, we are 15 strong, including 3 men.  Since today was all about getting oriented, we also introduced ourselves.  We have one man from Mexico, a woman from Canada, and 3 of us from Tucson!  The reasons for attending are varied ~ 3 women are turning 50 and looking to reinvent themselves.  Yes, I believe I am the oldest one there and the only one who is currently "leading" yoga classes.

We received our Training Manual and textbook (YIKES!) and more information than my reeling head could handle.  I took notes like crazy and tried to find a comfortable position on the floor.  As far as I can tell, all 4 weeks will be spent sitting on the floor.  NOW I know why we'll be using Indian blankets when I return to our classes!

We took a lunch break and I picked up my favorite veggie wrap from Subway and of course had to check out Bealls and a GIANT Goodwill!  I'll be back there again, for sure, on my day off.

In the afternoon, our Ayurvedic Chef started her lecture on Ayurveda.  I AM CONFUSED about this, but I can tell that everyone else is, too.  What I DID understand is the importance of doing a Daily Routine, or what is called "Dinacharya", in both the morning and evening.  As I write this, I am fresh out of a hot bath and covered in Sesame Oil.  My skin must be pretty hydrated because it's not soaking up very quickly!  Of course I had to Google Dinacharya and I see that this is just like anything else ... THERE IS MORE THAN ONE WAY TO CREATE A ROUTINE.  After some searching, it made sense to me to consider the more thorough routine outlined at The Ayurvedic Institute ~

The importance of a Daily Routine is not a stretch for me at all.  My current routine is to lay in bed and check my cellphone first thing ~ ha ha, but it's true.  Mostly, this Daily Routine reminds me of my Mom.  She ALWAYS took night showers and had a very strong routine in her mornings and evenings.  Mom, I hope you're watching me now. 

We need to arrive an hour earlier tomorrow (Sunday), as we have yoga class from 8AM to 9:45.  Then an introduction to Sadhana and Karma Yoga, and then we're done at noon.  Oh, except for individual interviews with the staff in the afternoon.

So tomorrow I will do my final business work and communication on my computer and cellphone.  They are REALLY ENCOURAGING complete disconnect, and knowing that my day AT the Center will be from 4:50AM to 7:30PM Monday thru Saturday, then the decision about this blog may already be made by my body.  We'll just have to see.

Sleep tight. 

The EVE of the Equinox!

You know how I LOVE the Eve of any special day (thank you, Mom), and today is no exception.

The Fall Equinox is Sunday, September 22 at 2:44 PM Mountain Daylight Time. The equinox is always a time to revisit your intentions as well as to be in gratitude for your harvest whatever it may be. Acknowledge all that you have at this time and focus on the abundance of the harvest rather than any lack.  The equinox is also a time to think about cleaning, pruning, and making any changes that you are inspired to make as a way to make more space for what you want. It is a time for expansion, freedom and commitment. Take some time to ritualize change. Honor the change of season and use the energy of the fall equinox support the release of any burden you may have been carrying for someone else. Put it down once and for all.

Today's Eve is PERFECT timing for both Dennis and me ...

  • Today, ALL of our furniture in our home gets moved and ready for tear out, which starts on Monday AM
  • Today, I start my Yoga Teacher Training at 9AM

All good thoughts to you for a WONDERFUL EVE in your world.

Friday, September 20, 2013

I Have Arrived!

Thanks to everyone's good wishes for a safe drive to Sedona, I slip-streamed all the way up here.  Thank you for protecting me with your good energy!

I arrived around 4PM, but took some time to enjoy the scenery before coming to my temporary home. 

My roommate, Kim, is a lovely person, and her cat, Buddy, took to me right away.  Of course I immediately invited him to sleep with me.  Oh how I hope that happens while I'm here!
She gave me a tour of my quarters and I was REALLY SURPRISED.  My private entrance in the back takes me into a family room with a flat screen TV, a big double-sink bathroom, and a very comfortable bedroom with lots of closets and drawers.  And the bonus ~ my entrance includes a private patio with a table and chairs!  This is DEFINITELY going to work for me!
And she is so thoughtful ~ she put flowers in my room with a welcome card.  I decided to make that dresser top my altar ...
I'm sure this will evolve and expand during my time here.
So it all starts tomorrow at 9AM.  The house is already quiet so I think I'll follow that cue.  I'd love to go outside to check out the full moon, but I don't want to disturb Kim on the FIRST night!
I'm grateful for the lovely evening Dennis and I had outside last night together.  It was MAGICAL under that moon!
So good night to all ~ may we all have sweet dreams.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The beginning of my Renaissance

It's been almost 3 years since I've posted to this blog. 

And since I'm about to embark on my own Renaissance, I feel this is the perfect time to give this blog a rebirth also.

In two days I'll be driving to Sedona, Arizona, to attend a 30-day Intensive Hatha Yoga Teacher Training at 7 Center Yoga Arts.

Intensive certainly does seem to be the operative word.  I'll be in training 6 days per week from 5:30 AM to 7:30PM for a month. 

I am both excited and scared.  My own doubts in my ability to evolve and grow bubble up into my consciousness.  A lifetime of habits are fighting for their own survival.

I am determined to LOVE THEM FREE.