My journey of yoga teacher training at the Purusha Yoga School in San Francisco, Ca.

Staying mindful & healthy during summer holidays

I’ve always had trouble doing this but this year something has changed. Maybe because I am a bit older and wiser or maybe because I just love my body and mind a bit more deeply.

Here are some changes I made so July 5th is not so painful!

  1. Bring a water bottle EVERYWHERE – Staying hydrated  is a key element to ensuring you do not drink or eat too much.
  2. Go the distance – parking is a hassle on the 4th no matter where you go, ditch the car & take a hike! Be sure to wear your cutest and most comfortable shoes :).
  3. Take a deep breath & take a look around. Life is good, if you are at work, great you are working, with family, friends or partying you can do this.
  4. Show gratitude for your freedom to be (even if it feels constricted at times)

5 Simple Sanskrit Words To Live By

I really liked this articled so I pressed it to here to share with you!

via 5 Simple Sanskrit Words To Live By – mindbodygreen.com

Whatever your practices or beliefs may be, we all need reminders to help you lead a good life. Sanskrit is a language of vibration, meaning the energy is held in the words. By now we’re all familiar with OM, the sound of the universe, and Namaste, meaning the light in me honors the light in you. But there a few more lesser known Sanskrit words that can also help steer us toward our best selves.

We can instill the meaning of these words into our hearts and into our practice by repeating them to ourselves as mantras. Here are five simple Sanskrit words to live your life by:
1. Santosha: Contentment

“When all your desires are distilled
You will cast two votes
To love more and to be happy.” -Hafiz

Santosha is the practice of finding contentment or happiness, regardless of the external circumstances. Our habitual thought patterns often tell us what we don’t have is what we need, in order to bring us joy. However it is not long before we settle into dissatisfaction and begin to quickly search for something else to take its place.

That new watch gets scratched, the new lover has some faults, or the new job isn’t quite what you expected. So we want out of this moment and into the next — always searching and never truly happy or content.

Santosha is a the practice of remembering that what you have now is precious and transitory. Use this word daily to cultivate some gratitude to just who and what you already have.

2. Upeksha: Equanimity

“You are the sky, everything else is the weather.” -Pema Chodron

One definition of equanimity means to stand in the middle. The Buddha taught that we are constantly being pulled in different directions, either toward the things or people we desire, or away from the things or people we are averse to.

These emotions are our weather and the sky is our equanimity. To practice equanimity we must cultivate mindfulness, an awareness of when we are becoming the weather so that we are less jerked around by transitory thoughts. Use this word when you feel yourself being pulled into a riptide of thoughts that are not serving you.

3. Sraddha: Faith

We may not always know how our path is unfolding, so at times we might feel uncertain or stuck in life. Often we are unsure of where to go and how to make the right choice. Sometimes we may even sense a lack of purpose and not recognize our true calling. We might feel lost.

Sraddha is the inner, intuitive belief that you are walking steadily towards your life’s goals. It takes us away from our limited perception of reality to a more universal vision. Remember this word when you need to find courage to believe that everything about your journey is unfolding exactly as it should.

4. Bhavana: To cultivate

“Your mind is not a cage, it is a garden. And it requires cultivating.” -Libba Bray

This earthy word reminds us that for any plant to grow well, the health of the soil is most important. So we must look to nourish and nurture the soil (our minds) to provide an environment that will benefit us spiritually, emotionally and mentally.

To cultivate you must pull out the weeds, the most persistent, deeply ingrained ways of being and thinking, and plant the behaviors or ways of being that you want to bring into your life. That’s when you can begin to sow love, kindness, joy, happiness, humility, gratitude and peace.

5. Satya: Truth and honesty

“To believe in something and not live it is dishonest.”-Gandhi

The beauty in this word lies in the effect it can have on our lives. If we live in accordance with our truth, then our life will be freer of suffering. If everything that we think, say, feel and act on is leading us toward our higher path, then this the practice of Satya.

To know what your “truth” is, you will need to sit quietly with yourself and ask in honesty: In what way is my moral compass pointing? What is the purpose for my existence? Then, you try to live in accordance with the answer.

Cut out the lies you may tell yourself and stop listening to what other people say or do or think of you. Stand tall and strong in your belief of how to live a good life. That’s when you’ll notice that gossip and comparison stops. You will also stop seeking answers. If you are truthful about your shortcomings and where you have messed up, it will only help you grow.

It is when we look at all the parts of ourselves without judgment, that we are comfortable with our whole. We drop all the guilt and shame. We acknowledge that who we are right now and in any given moment is perfectly OK.

Class practical

Sunday was a beautiful day. As a class we learned more in depth about the sutras at Sutro park in San Francisco. As we laid in the sun, Eric gave us insight to a number of different key points about becoming a yoga teacher and personal practice.

unfortunately, I was no able to fully commit to my presence, all I could do was continuously vision what my practice class would be like following lesson.

When the time came, I felt myself begin to rush. I had 2 flows, a warm up and cool down to fit in. My music was not working and the playlist went out-of-order, so I was also DJing. That is okay. I just moved through asana’s very, very quickly.

I wish I had more time but I ended exactly at the 30 minute mark.

Somethings that I took away was too show tell, do, be more often. It was difficult to do this since many of my students were not used to running through at that level but I should have also practiced more on how to instruct movement.

Something, I feel will be difficult for me to moderate over my career is 4-2-1 breathing in poses. So, to learn, I will be counting when I am in the poses with each teacher.


Embody the mountain before you

This weekend was my first ever time leading a yoga class. My theme was surrendering to what is. As I intently thought about what embodies this, I couldn’t help but imagine large mountains and how they can weather any storm. After a deep meditations I wrote the following and read it aloud during slavasana.

Oh Mountain how beautiful you are under all the suns glory

Covered by the snow you are confidently breathing.

As the rain begins to fall you cleanse your soul, as if you are singing in the shower.

When the wind whistles determined to sweep you away you open your arms following its sweet song, you dance.

Dear with mountain, you can weather any storm.

Just breathe.


Samyama on Friendliness

I have moved around often during my young adult life. It is something I pride myself in, the ability to adapt to new cultures and be brave while meeting new people. However, the biggest pitfalls of moving so often is having to make new friends and build a new community each time.

For the first time in many years I have felt a sense of belonging in San Francisco. After I read this sutra:

“By samyama on friendliness and other such qualities, the power to transmit them is obtained.”

I understood what I had been lacking to develop such communities. See, I never really took the time out of my day in an attempt to be a better person. When I moved to San Francisco I wanted to make this my home. My family has been here for a long time, so I began to rekindle friendships. Each day I would reflect on what I could do to create more relationships in my daily life.

I know you can only attract bee’s with honey, so I decided to become honey. I made a conscious effort to be honey. Thinking every time I sat on the mat, I wanted to be approachable, cheerful and someone that others suaght out. Each day, I practice this samyama, because it is the most important thing to me. Being completly alone or feeling isolated can be difficult. Surrounding myself with the right people that made me not feel lonely was a key point to this.

So each day, I made a concious effort to speak words of positivity. I smiled more often and finally, I laughed more.

I look around me now, I am mostly friendly. It has been the hardest lesson for me and continously tempts me each day. The hardest part of always being friendly is slowing down when I am in a rush.

I realize this more and more each day I think about my friendly actions.

It will come over time, MORE SAMYAMA.


My favorite sutra of book 3

After reading book three of the yoga sutras I was left a bit perplexed. These sutras move quickly but are pretty self-explanatory. As a class, our homework was to read the sutras and deeply digest them by reflecting and meditating on each of them.

What I gathered from both was that as a yogi, if we live correctly and work each day little by little our lives will change and we will be capable of attaining great things. Some great things that come from living wholesomely are non-attachment, siddhis and intuition.

When you read through this book, some may think that by being diligent in their yogic lifestyle you will attain mystical powers. I feel differently about this. I believe that by knowing yourself wholesome and understanding humans in general you are capable of understanding the world unbiasedly. You will then have a deeper intuition and knowledge of the “unknown” because of your emotional intelligence you have gained.

The last sutra says “When the tranquil mind attains purity equal to that of self, there is absoluteness.

This is the sutra I understood the most. There is not need for grasping, justing being steadfast and living your life according to your values and morals you are able to show yourself to others. If there are obstacles presented by distractions, you are able to ignore them by simple moving on.

Patanjali wrote about not grasping. And it brought me back to floating down the river in the warm summer heat. When the current got going fast or we wanted to stop I would hastily grasp for the weeds in the river. Reaching for something that provided support or security, much like we do when with our attachments. Alcohol when we are stressed, our phones when we are lonely or anxious in public, cigarettes, our ego speaks for us when we grasp for comfort. But if we float through life according to our true intention, we will be unaffected by everything around you and more easily attain the exact things you want in life.

Learning about the Chakra’s

I feel as if I could learn about the chakra’s for years and years, maybe that is why I am attending school to get a degree in psychology! Chakra is a hindu word for wheel. We have 7 wheels in our body and I have discussed these wheels a few posts back, noting their sound that is associated with each. Chakra’s draw parallels with modern psychology and development so that we can identify potential deficits in ourselves and others and where on the body we can work to aide issues we may be facing.

Though I was only able to attend 10 hours of the 30 hour training I was able to learn a great deal of the 6th and 7th chakra as well as 1-5. Elation of the 7th chakra is usually accessed by chanting mantras, headstands and stillness.

It is important to be grounded when you access these chakras, often times when you are not grounded you can live life in a state of elation. Like bible thumpers who yell at you on the street corner telling you are going to hell, you could be out preaching to the tree if you are not careful. Ensuring that you live each moment in the present and living in bliss during the times that matter is the most important part I learned.

I can see this in my life very clearly. When I was able to access a blissful state, I felt like I could rule the world. I felt untouchable and put my mind into everything. Only after a few weeks I was able to “ground down” again. Now, when I am in a blissful state I am able to understand and channel it, with out feeling so aloof or righteous. I then practice grounding exercise like bod checks or talking to my Mother or Father, I in a sense GO HOME. That is the root chakra in a sense, it is home. When your work situation, your long term relationship, your family members, or place of living are in turmoil, you will experience great pain.

Knowing this and knowing how to breathe, you will be fine.
This is why you learn about the chakras, isn’ that neat?

My favorite sutra

Sutra 2.7 & 2.8
Attachment is which follows identification with pleasurable experiences.

Aversion is which follows identification with painful experiences.

Happiness is an inside job.

If we continuously think that pleasure brings happiness and pain only brings  sadness, what would life be like?

In my mind, I think of a disporportional body. We love, love; so our hearts are big. We hate muscle aches so we avoid working out. We like meditating, but we forget to breathe and fall asleep. What do we get? Skin, bones, a big heart, simple mind, resting body with no spirit to continue.

Happiness is an inside job, if you are truly happy you will feel no pain during harmful experiences but go through them with a sense of understanding that it is what it is, and just breathe.

Let’s say for instance, physical activity is the only thing that gives you happiness. One day, your knee snaps and your unable to do any physical activity for 2 months. How do you survive? Your happiness is gone.

No, it’s not, you see this as a lesson to take care of your body and learn from it. Your happiness is inside you and you find other things that make you happy. You learn to take your mind for a run with meditation or a ponder through a nice read.

Your happiness is your choice.

If for instance other things like animals or people give you happiness, look at the qualities in them which make you happy.

Animals don’t live forever, when it dies will you?

If your cat is loyal, carefree and cuddly, exude those characteristics in your life and you yourself will be more happy and they will never die, because it is in you.

Pantanjali says that some people are like deer, forever sniffing around for a scent they love, forgetting its on their forehead right between their eyes.

Happiness is an inside job.

Happiness is a choice.

Happiness is here.
Happiness is now.

My first teaching experience.

My First teaching experience.
This weekend in beautiful Colorado I had the opportunity to show my mother the skills I was learning at Purusha Yoga School. As requested by Joy, I had to teach a subject a 30minute flow. Though my mother was physically unable to participate, she was able to use her 30+ years of teaching knowledge and experience teaching teachers to assist me in my teaching demeanor. In the early evening of Friday, my mother and I were basking in the beautiful high mountain sun. I began to go through my teaching routine where I began with a simple breathing exercise, which my mother was able to do. She then listened and watched as I went through the rest of my flow noticing a number of different things.
Her notes of area of improvement were:
  • Not letting my form fail when verbally instructing during Show-Tell
  • Attempt to not say “now we are going to..”
  • Be more direct with where body should move with unique phrases
  • And most importantly, SLOW DOWN
I feel I am slowly improving on guiding others through a flow, last weekend, I was the lucky pick to guide the group through extended side angle and revolved side angle. I sort of missed the mark on the extension and instead lead the group into intense side stretch. I have a feeling this may be an area of frustration in the future as I continue to learn more and more variations and poses. The best feedback I got from Eric was that I was myself throughout the instruction. Being myself is my most valuable asset, I have SO MUCH ENERGY, I want to share it with my future students subtly, verbally and intently.
Something I have found hard to do is create a 5-minute journey at the end. My father has always said I have had the ability to speak from the heart, I think this is what I will do at the end of my class, take a nice quote from a current read, an instance in my day and reflect from root to crown chakra as a 1-2 minute journey, then allow others to think in silence & reflect on their own. I am not a singer or else I would belt out one of these beautiful chants, but I want to attract students not make their ears bleed.
I am hoping to enlist more willing specimen into my yoga teacher practice as I continue this endeavor. Hopefully my recruitment efforts will be more fruitful next week.

The 60 hour mark

A truly amazing weekend. I know I will hold this experience very close to my heart for a long time. My classmates, teachers and myself are all amazing teachers, I am grateful. I see myself changing, I see my classmates changing and it is awesome. We have this great dynamic flow, every time we all speak we have growth. We are constantly learning from one another and it is wonderful. I’ve never felt more in the perfect place.

Each weekend, I try to change more and more. I see how bossy I can be, I see how I over share, I see how I jump to conclusions. These are things I do not like about myself, I am working to make a conscious effort so I can positively impact my community. I aspire for every word that leaves my mouth to have perfect intent with purposeful compassion. I aspire to not be so reactive, I aspire to listen more keenly, I aspire to speak more slowly.

Purusha school is helping me with this greatly. I am thankful.

The most powerful exercise I felt this weekend was the partner mediation. Staring into someone’s eyes and focusing on them always has a deep affect on me. I was partnered with “Trad” I felt great pain for him. He was able to sit with me, and see me for me. I tried to fix him, I was wrong. I should have told him what I heard. I heard pain, my heart broke, I just wanted to hug the man. I wish I could have told him that I heard his pain and I identified. Instead, I tried to fix, telling him he was essentially wrong. This is not what I am supposed to be doing. I see this now clearly, thanks to Joy.

I need to express myself hearing what people are saying and not fixing others. If I continue with accepting and showing others are heard, I will speak less. I will be more intent with my words. Thank you, Trad for showing me this.