Yoga Teacher Training Diary, 1st Edition

March 10, 2015 at 5:45 am

I’ve now completed two full weekends of Kundalini Yoga Teacher training and twenty-two days of my assigned 40-day sadhana. There is so much I could say, but I think for the sake of time I will just share snip-its of my class notes in bullet-point form.

February 14, 2015

  • Don’t say “I hope that _____ will happen,” instead say “I trust that _____ will happen.”
  • When life feels too big, call on your infinity; make yourself bigger than the problem.
  • Yogi Bhajan said… smile at your mistakes because you have opened up a new neural pathway in the brain.
  • There are four cycles of Kundalini at the throat chakra… “The most important power of a person is the spoken word, both what you speak and how you speak. Ugly words are effective, and praises are effective” (from our teacher training manual).
  • For the first 40 days after birth, an infant should stay within nine feet of its mother (within the protection and peace of mother’s aura). It takes three years for the child to build an independent aura. (<—I think I could write an entire blogpost on this alone.)
  • I love all the plants at Yoga Phoenix!

IMG_20150214_125037754_HDR

I want to be a yoga teacher when I grow up.

February 18, 2015 at 10:10 pm

When we fold our hands in prayer,
God opens His arms and gives us a hug.
Life is fulfilled with this union.
That is yoga.
-Yogi Bhajan

About three months ago I wrote a post I titled “Now what?” In it I expressed confusion about where my life was heading:

It won’t be long until all my children will be in school. I feel like I’m soon to be laid-off from my day job. What am I supposed to do now? Write more books? Get a job? Put my doula training to work? Volunteer in the community? Train in midwifery? Become a foster parent? Fight against modern day slavery/trafficking? I have no idea.

IMG_0946My friend, Felice, introduced me to Kundalini Yoga and Meditation several years ago. She attended yoga teacher training while we were writing our book, The Gift of Giving Life (in which she wrote a whole chapter about meditation). Since then she has written more books about Kundalini Yoga and Meditation, and she has taught thousands of students around the country and world, including me. But I was resistant. Boy was I resistant. And never in the years she urged me to keep up my yoga and meditation practice did I ever have a desire to attend a yoga teacher training myself.

Vaccines and Vulnerability

January 14, 2015 at 7:52 pm

A few years ago I wrote a blogpost in which I looked at the home birth vs. hospital birth debate through the lens of my brothers’ boating accident. It was my final word on the matter. Today I’d like to do the same with the vaccine debate. ‘Cause let’s be honest… it is getting really (really, really, really) old. Right? People on both sides tell tragedy stories and hurl horribly mean words at each other. I won’t give those hurtful words any weight by listing any of them here. Regardless of your personal views about vaccines, I think we can all agree that resorting to name-calling and meanness is… just not cool.

Here’s the thing about stories… we can never know the full story. Nothing will teach you to doubt the details in any news story better than being the family in those news stories. As my brothers’ boating accident made headlines, I cringed over and over at the mistakes and misrepresentations in both print and television outlets. When it comes to “news,” doubt the details. Always doubt the details.

Now what?

November 10, 2014 at 11:11 pm

I’ve been pregnant or nursing and caring for my children full-time for more than a decade. I’ve been blogging about pregnancy, birth, and mothering for over seven of those years. As a new mom, I had been neglecting to meet my own needs for intellectual growth and fulfillment, but my blog gave me that outlet. From 2009 until 2011 I wrote a book with four co-authors about spirituality and birth. Birth has been my passion (obsession?) for most of my adult life thus far.

But I don’t expect I will ever give birth or breastfeed again (so many mixed feelings about that one). My “baby” is nearly four years old. And I can feel my brain pulling away from birth. I still yearn for all women to have empowering and beautiful birth experiences, but my mind no longer buzzes with birthy topics and blogpost ideas.

Now what?

crossroadImage Source

Buried Treasure

October 10, 2014 at 7:42 pm

I wanted to be healed. I wanted to be calm and happy without medication. I wanted to meet the baby who had been visiting me in dreams and visions. I was on a trajectory of hope, aiming for a future I believed was right for me. When it all came crashing down, there was no sense in reaching for that hoped-for life any longer. All I could reach for was getting through another day, and another, and another.

Fortunately, I’m no longer in survival mode. I’m not fighting tooth and nail to get through the day. When I do still have anxiety, it is mild and manageable. I am finally beyond the insomnia that plagued me for months. I’m sleeping without sleep-aids! Most of the time I can genuinely smile. I can take care of my family. I’ve regained my appetite. All of these things are huge victories.

But now that I have the energy to do more than just survive, I also have the energy to look to the future. Assuming that my medication continues to work for me, I will continue to take it… probably forever. I come from a family riddled with mental illness. Most of the members of my immediate family are taking (and always will be taking) meds for those illnesses. I am certainly in good company. But I wish it weren’t so. I wanted a future without medication, and it’s been painful to accept the future I’m looking at instead.

Stuck

July 9, 2014 at 3:42 pm

A few winters ago, I grew kale in my garden. In AZ, certain crops can be grown during the winter, and kale is one of them. Anyway, as the kale grew, it soon attracted aphids. By the time spring came around, there wasn’t a kale leaf without hundreds of aphids on its underside. If there’s one thing aphids know how to do well, it’s reproduce.

Last Sunday, I learned something new about aphids. A man I know had been in a class with a bug-expert. And this bug expert explained that aphids give birth to live young, but sometimes the babies get stuck on their way out, and when this happens, a group of other aphids will gather around and help the mother get the baby aphid out. I’m not terribly fond of aphids, but this little bit of information made me smile (which is rare these days).

2014-07-09 08.33.16 am

Healthy Curves

October 4, 2013 at 7:20 pm

A year ago, I had lost so much weight that all of my clothes were baggy and falling off of me. My breasts were virtually non-existent. People asked me, “Are you eating?” I had lost my appetite completely. Nothing tasted good to me. Even foods I had always loved. But I ate anyway. I forced myself to eat because I knew I had to. I felt like I ate all day every day. But it didn’t do any good. I just kept dropping pounds. I’ve always been “skinny,” but this was a new extreme low.

Now people are asking, “Are you pregnant?” I’ve gone from one extreme to the other. I don’t blame them. I have gained weight. A considerable amount since my lowest point last year. I have curves. My pant size has moved into the double-digits. My belly is popping out in a suspicious way.

But I’m not pregnant.

I have immediate family members who have experienced similar weight-gain while taking meds like mine. One of them believes the meds permanently altered his body chemistry. Not that long ago he was very overweight, and it has taken extreme measures for him to slim down to where he is today. As I watched the number on the scale getting higher and higher and the clothes in my closet getting tighter and tighter, I got nervous. I knew the pattern my family members had experienced. Was I headed in that direction too?

Healing Traumatized Genes

May 2, 2013 at 5:04 am

So I’ve been kind of obsessed with near-death experience accounts lately. My Grandma (a.k.a. primary-caregiver for most of my childhood) passed away last year. Her loss was pretty earth-shattering to my soul, and part of me was absolutely terrified: “What if everything I’ve ever believed all of my life is false? What if she ceased to exist? What if I never see her again?” So grief books and near-death accounts (among other things) have been instrumental in helping me to hold onto hope and faith that she most definitely does still exist, and I most definitely will see her again.

Yesterday I finished reading the bestseller Embraced By the Light by Betty J. Eadie. I found it for 99 cents at Goodwill last month and threw it in my cart. I’m pretty sure I read it back in the 90’s when she originally published it, but it was a whole lot more impactful now. I really loved her near-death story for so many reasons. Here are some of my not-really-death-related favorite quotes:

  • “I came to know that each of my children was on earth for their own experiences, that although I had thought of them as ‘mine,’ I had been mistaken. They were individual spirits, like myself, with an intelligence that was developed before their lives on earth. . . . They had only been placed in my care” (p. 35).
  • “I heard a soft, pleasant sound . . . . It was a tone similar to a note of music, but was universal and seemed to fill all the space around me. . . . The tones produced soft vibrations, and as they touched me I knew that they possessed the power to heal. . . . They were like spiritual salve, expressions of love that mended broken spirits” (p. 87).
  • “I learned that spirits can choose to enter their mother’s body at any stage of her pregnancy” (p. 95).

Phytophilous

February 22, 2013 at 12:05 am

phytophilous   adj.  : fond of plants

The other day I was in a garden center nursery, looking for a few more plants for my front yard. While I was admiring a table of succulents, debating which one to choose, a woman walked by the other side of the table and said, loudly, “Those are ugly! I don’t want one of those in front of my house!”

She wasn’t speaking to me, she was speaking to the man accompanying her, but it felt like someone had just shoved a knife into my heart. It literally hurt. Maybe I’m a weirdo, but I swear I felt the pain of those plants in being criticized that way. I’ll admit, there are definitely some plants that look a little strange, so I can understand why people wouldn’t choose them, but it still hurt to hear such harsh words being so casually projected at one of God’s creations. There are lots of people walking around who might be considered “ugly” by some individuals (don’t all of us look unattractive at times?), but thank goodness it’s rare for them to be loudly told, “You are ugly!

Trees of Life

February 12, 2011 at 6:29 am

A package I received on my doorstep yesterday has filled my heart and mind with trees… ’cause here’s what was inside that box:

This beautiful little bonsai was sent to me as part of a virtual “mother blessing” gift from my book collaborators.  As soon as I opened up the box and saw what it was, I thought, “Of course!  What could be more perfect?”

Visit Us On FacebookVisit Us On TwitterVisit Us On Pinterest