Showing posts from April, 2012

Ahimsa - Yoga Teacher Training India

Ahimsa is a term meaning "do no harm". The word is derived from the Sanskrit root hims - to strike; himsa is injury or harm, a-himsa is the opposite of this, i.e. non harming or nonviolence. In general, I consider myself a pretty non-violent person. I am caring and am continuously trying to understand other people. Still, I often cause harm through ignorance and misunderstanding. It is easy for many of us to forget about the importance of being more than "good" - the importance of being intelligently good. 

At the beginning of this week, I carried out a violent actionIn the effort of challenging myself, I went too far and strained my upper hamstrings. As yoga practitioners, we have all been there. There are times when we ignore the limitations of our bodies and push for what we want - flexibility and a more beautiful asana practice. When we do this, we are in truth, acting violently. As teachers, it is imperative to learn how to use ahimsa in relation to our bod…

Urgent Notification: TTC/June/2012


TTC/April/2012 - Appreciate the Arrangement

When our body isn't functioning properly, all we want is to just heal. Let's say you've got a really bad cold and you're having difficulty breathing. Your mind is consumed with thoughts of getting better. You're thinking, 'I can't wait to be able to breath again!'
And then one day you wake up and realize that the congestion has gone away and you can take a full, deep breath for the first time in a week. You're so happy and thankful. You appreciate having a clear nose and a clear head. The relief fills you with an immense sense of joy. 

Why can't we be this grateful all the time? 
"Appreciate the arrangement," our teacher tells us as we lay in shavasana observing each part of our body after our asana practice. 
When's the last time you stopped to give thanks for this perfect arrangement that is capable of so much? The human body is a miraculous thing, but we seldom take the time to be grateful for it until something goes wrong. Maybe y…

TTC/April/2012 - Peace, Love, and Chocolate

Over the last year, I have been on a search for both employment and also purpose. I graduated from a prestigious university and assumed that my graduation would lead me into a position that would be rewarding - rewarding at least financially, and rewarding in that it would open up more opportunities for me in the future. I have interviewed for several positions and continually been asked serendipitously  "What's your primary goal in life?" Before my last interview, the driver who fetched me on the morning before my meeting with the executive officer even asked, "What do you think is the purpose of life?

For some reason, all I could ever think of was, "Peace, love, and happiness." I'd answer as expected upon occasion, but perhaps did not seem entirely sincere - as this greatest goal of mine was so clear in the back of my mind, but seemed too silly to say. On our first day in class here, our instructor started talking about our common goal: peace, love,…

TTC/April/2012 - Monkey Mind

The Chinese xinyuan, and Sino-Japanese shin-en, is a Buddhist term meaning "hear-/mind-monkey" - "unsettled, restless, capricious, whimsical, fanciful, inconstant, confused, indecisive, uncontrollable." Over the last couple weeks in Rishikesh, I've spent a lot of time watching the monkeys - watching how they eat like us, sleep like us, and at times even seem to think like us. The monkeys here are smart - they know exactly the best time to snatch a bag of fresh vegetables, and can even apparently unscrew bottled water. Still, something is different. If you watch the monkeys closely, you can anticipate their movements, as they are quite predictable. One species of monkeys is quite amiable towards humans, while another aggressive. One likes bananas, and other mangoes. However, it is quite difficult to predict the actions, likes, and dislikes, of each human being passing on the street. We suffer the existential crisis and are all on a search for something more. St…

TTC/April/2012 - Back to Basics

When you're just starting out in yoga, it can be easy to feel intimidated when you see more advanced students doing headstands and balance poses. And when you're one of those advanced students, it can be easy to get caught up in attaining more and more difficult poses while losing sight of what yoga is really about. Simplicity. 
Yoga teaches you how to sit... how to stand... how to breath... what to eat. These are simple, yet fundamental lessons for all of us, regardless of how long we've been practicing. Yoga helps us to restore the original human range of motion - something that's been lost as our bodies have adjusted to spending 40+ hours behind a desk every week.
Yoga helps us revert to a childlike state where we are more flexible both physically and mentally. When we're children, we're not afraid of judgement or failure. We have a sense of infinite potential and pushing our limits just comes naturally. We are resilient. If we fall down, we pick ourselves up,…

TTC/April/2012 - 1 + 1 = 1

What does yoga mean? Surrender, peace, acceptance, letting go, interconnectedness, flexibility, being grounded, openness, the suspension of judgement, a mind-body connection, balance... These were just some of the answers given to this question when asked on the fist day of teacher training.
The answers were as diverse as the students. We'd come from Canada, Japan, Australia, Malaysia, China, Uruguay, Germany, The United Kingdom, The United States, The Czech Republic, Taiwan, and other places as well. We had different backgrounds, careers and experiences. We spoke different languages.
But we'd all traveled by air and train and bus and car for many hours to reach a city in the foothills of the majestic Himalayas, on the banks of the sacred Ganges where we would become one. The personal journeys and paths that led us to Rishikesh varied, but our purpose was the same. Yoga.
The word yoga literally means 'oneness' or 'unity'. It's Sanskrit origin yuji, means '…

TTC/April/2012 - Mother Ganga

Every morning, every night, and seemingly all day long... people gather at the river Ganges, cup her water in their hands, lift it, and let it fall back to her. Since arriving in Rishikesh, we have seen men in loincloths gather at the edge of the river to bathe and give blessings, women washing their faces and saris in reverence to the water, and even children swimming out in the depths, refreshed and laughing upon their return.

The Ganges is a lifeline to millions of Indians who live along its course - it is obvious that many depend on it for their daily needs. In Hinduism, it is worshiped as the goddess Ganga and seen as the most sacred river on Earth. Moving water, as in a river, is considered purifying as it both absorbs impurities and takes them away. The Mother Ganga restores order from disorder and purifies the soul.

Before traveling to India, my mother and I visited a travel clinic for immunizations and advice. As the nurse warned us about all the possible diseases one might …

TTC/April/2012 - Mumtaz

I’d heard from several people that you either love or hate India. Before I shed tears of laughter in camaraderie with fellow students in Rishikesh, I wasn’t entirely sure of my preference – for, India had already led me to shed tears of another sort. As my mother and I tried to explore Delhi, and get transportation to the Taj Mahal, we were scammed again and again by the infamous rickshaw drivers – arriving at the various “Government of India Tourism” offices and handicraft shops rolling out carpets, looking for the next big sale. As I finally broke down, one of the salesmen said, "India's hard!" "Money is nothing!" "Have some tea!" I quickly learned that tea is kind of a big deal here.

Now, if you’re planning on travelling around India – let me suggest: booktrains and tours, well in advance. I consider myself a “cunning traveler” – so, it was quite difficult to let go… and give into the system. However, after three attempts (and almost a half day lost…