73. kitty cat cat cat and a monk man

April 7, 2011 § 2 Comments

During one of my bicycle rides around the countryside I came across a temple.  And there were lots of kitty cats.  More kitty cats than there were monks.

Gilles, a French model-turned-forest-monk.  You can take the monk out of the model, but you can’t take the model out of the monk.

I wanted to take pictures of the three Thai monks in the temple but they all ran away when I came near.  Though technically monks are not allowed to run so…I don’t know.  They just disappeared.

*****

In other news, today I completed the practicum section of my certification which consists of teaching a 90-minute class to two students.  It was pretty fun and apparently it was funny because my reviewers kept praising my jokes…which I found quite odd because I don’t remember making any jokes.  Actually I don’t remember much about the whole thing at all.

Oh and apparently my voice is quite loud. One instructor commented “I overheard you…from across the room” lol oops.

Sighs.  Only one more day. Unreal how time flies.

Goodbye lovers and friends.  Happy Thursday :)

72. busy busy busy

April 4, 2011 § 6 Comments

As the title suggests, life has been quite busy.

But I wake up everyday feeling grateful and happy :)

Happy feet in Thailand

…unfortunately, all good things come to an end.  We’ve started our last week of training and the unbelievable speed with which the time has passed by leaves me at a loss for words. I don’t have enough time, internet connectivity or brain coherency to share the richness of all my experiences right now so here are some brief updates.

*********

1. During these past three weeks I’ve taken over 24 GB worth of photos (approximately 2,000 high resolution images).  Yeah, the stuff I post on this blog is the tippy top of the iceberg.

Meet C, a flexible and chill Filipina-Canadian with beautiful skin.  Dedicated and determined to learn and live.  Stepped on giant wasp and recovered gracefully.

2. i just want to eat some chicken.

3. I’ve rediscovered a passion for bicycling.  Ohmygosh I cannot explain in words how lovely it is to ride in the open air in the countryside right before the sun rises and you feel the quiet wind across your face and your loose flung t-shirt gently brushing against your skin.  and perhaps a neighborhood dog will run by your side for a minute or two.

Dear morning light and nature: I love you.

4. I’ve been working on a particularly difficult pose — the headstand.  It’s kind of one of the staple postures of yoga and looks like this:

I can’t get my feet off the floor by myself and I require a spotter to help me reach the posture.  As Mark, the British instructor who is great at being simultaneously sarcastic and serious (much to the confusion of clueless people like me), was helping me get into the pose, we had an exchange that I can’t get out of my head

Me, all puffy and frustrated from multiple failed attempts: Why can’t I do it?  Is it a strength thing?  Do I need more shoulder muscles?

Mark pauses, looks at me, then looks up for a moment of quick contemplation and replies with his clean cut British voice: No, it’s a confidence thing.

I found myself getting quite defensive when he said that.  And I don’t know why, because there are areas in my life in which I have confidence about (or at least I think I do, and I’ve been told that I do by outside observers and friends)…and yet something about his comment bothers me.  And I still can’t do the pose by myself.  >.<  I’ll keep you guys updated if anything changes.

This is instructor Mark.  His serious tone of voice and his sarcastic tone of voice are impossible to distinguish.  This creates much confusion within me.

5. Our certification exam consist of two parts: (1) a practicum in which we plan and lead a 90-minute class and (2) a written examination covering theory, philosophy, and anatomy.

Poseposeposeposepose. I did not expect this much note-taking to be a part of this process.

  • We did a practice run of our 90-minute class and mine went pretty well until the last 30 minutes – I realized my closing sequence was a bit short so I ended up giving her a long massage during her shovasana to fill the time (shovasana = final resting position in which the student lays down in a state of semi-sleep).  My student enjoyed it but apparently I let her rest for too long.  Oops

If all else fails, put your students to sleep and give it a fancy named like ‘shovasana’

  • As for the written exam…hmm…I’m not sure if it is overconfidence or underpreparedness (perhaps both), but I haven’t given it much thought.  I hope I’m not burning my own tail with this attitude.

Knees and hips don’t lie

6. I’ve stopped following the world news.  Oblivion really is bliss because it has been wonderful.

7. I received an amazing Thai massage from this tiny enthusiastic lady with thumbs of steel and the sensitivity of a feather.  It was almost life-changing.  She also gave me a ride home on the back of her motorbike which was nice.

8. Okay, so not everything is all butterflies and rainbows. I think I’m overextending my body…my knee and hip joints have been feeling painfully strained these past couple of days and this morning I felt dizzy and cold even though it was above 90 degrees today.  And I’m still a “jobless recent college graduate without clear goals.”  Interestingly enough though, that last statement doesn’t bother me as much as it used to.

9. Um….here’s a picture of a crying baby who didn’t want her hair tied:

10. And…one more introduction:

Say hello to J, the only male in our training.  Computer-technician-turned-massage-therapist.  Works in the US, vacations in Thailand.  Not a big fan of girl talk.  Has a frisbee yay.

11. And…here’s a pair of kitty cats living the good life:

Purrrfection (sorry guys, I couldn’t help myself with that one)

…you know, those cats look like they’re floating or dancing in the air. Alternatively, the one on the right is inside a womb on the verge of being awakened by orange kitty cat who has been in search of a fellow kitty cat friend/lover.

Uhm. Okay.  Clearly that last sentence indicates my brain has gone haywire and that it is time for me to join the kitties in lalaland.  Good night people.  I’m going to pass out and dream about eating chicken.


71. it’s a good day to have hair

April 1, 2011 § 3 Comments

70. strollin’ with a monk

March 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

walking meditation with a thai monk.  we walked. very very slowly. very very quietly.

69. joy ride

March 28, 2011 § 1 Comment

Hey guys.  I have something to confess.

The truth is that I’ve been cheating on you.  I’ve been having interesting insights and meaningful inquiries, but I haven’t been publishing them here for two reasons:

  1. I’m becoming busier because I’m actually starting to “live life” instead of consistently distancing myself and observing it from the outside
  2. If something does compel me enough, I handwrite my entries with pen and paper (I know, it’s like I’m going back to the Stone Age)

I also find it difficult to express and share some of the experiences I’ve been having during this yoga training because the most meaningful ones are usually ones that are just…inexpressible with words.  And even if I could find some phrases and explanations to capture these moments, they would detract from experiencing such fascinating experiences firsthand for yourself.

So for right now, all I can say is that consistent meditation is a great gift to give yourself.

I just hope I can keep it up when I leave the jungle.

…I’m not really in a jungle, but it does feel like it sometimes with all the monkeys and geckos and whatnot.

*****

And. I may have few words but I do have images to share!  Here are three fellow yoga trainees:

K, a psychotherapist-lecturer-yoga instructor-author from Australia.  Accomplished and continually striving.  Deep eyes.  Amazing abdominal strength. Soft spoken, significant words.

S, a free spirited nomad whose home base is Germany.  In love.  Has experienced all kinds of love.  Used to sell crystals, “traveled until I wanted to go home,” unafraid.

KG, a recent college graduate from New York.  Spent a year teaching English in Korea, loves children.  Open-minded and independent. Bright smile.

******

Happy Monday everyone. Let’s make this week a good one :)

66. yoga props

March 22, 2011 § 2 Comments

Here are some props we use during a yoga practice:

we pour flower petals over ourselves during the opening of a practice

mats. for obvious reasons.

straps to hook and tie ourselves into to increase stretches

blocks to balance on

 

*****

…im kidding about the flower petals. i just think they’re pretty.

 

 

65. daily life of a yogi-in-training

March 20, 2011 § 2 Comments

Upward facing dog

The daily schedule of a monthlong yoga teacher’s training course:

5:30 AM – Roll out of bed and prepare for the day in a zombie-like state of grogginess

6:10 AM – Neti. we stick saline water up our nose with a mini teapot-like device to clear our sinuses.  I know it sounds unpleasant but it is quite effective.

6:20 – 8:00 AM – Meditation + pranayama + warm up exercises

Meditation circle

  • Meditation: exactly what it sounds like.  We sit in a giant circle and meditate.  Each morning a trainee rings the gong/bowl thing and opens the meditation session with a reading of his or her choice.  These readings are usually of the inspirational and/or old-age wisdom sort.
  • Pranayama:  Breathing exercises.  Even after my pranayama experience in India, I am still amazed by how creative people get with something as seemingly simple as breathing in and out.
  • Warm up exercises: hahahahaha…these are just great.  They range from quick and viscious karate-chop like punches to slow and syrupy hip swaying to swooping the arms wide and holding our breath as we repeatedly pump our stomachs in and out.  And this one time we yipped like a dog ^.^

 

8:00 – 10:00 AM – Asana practice.  This is what most people picture when they hear the word “yoga.”  Sun salutations/stretching/posing/downward dogging/etc.  These sessions can get pretty strenuous and continuously leave me feeling sore the following day.

Upward facing dog. Again. We do a lot of these in Ashtanga yoga.

10:00 – 10:45 AM – Silent breakfast. I love breakfast so much that I plan to dedicate a whole entry about it so just for now I’ll spare you the details :)

Rice porridge and eggs

10:45 – 11:00 AM – We gather into our small groups to practice and quiz each other on the sanskrit names for postures.  With names like utkatasana, ardo mukha svasana, chataranga dandasana, and utthita parsvottanasana, these sessions get really confusing really fast.

11:00 – 1:30 PM – Lesson and/or discussion about one of the following: yoga philosophy, anatomy and physiology, teaching methodology, and pose breakdown/adjustments

Instructor M draws the sole of a foot to visualize pressure points

1:30 – 3:00 PM – Lunch break.  After finishing your meal, you see people walking around in loops, laptops or smartphones firmly in hand, as they attempt to find the rare hotspot where the wifi miraculously decides to work.  Everyone usually fails.

3:00 – 6:00 PM – Another lesson or discussion, usually followed by practice teaching sessions

Monk chat

6:00 – 7:00 PM – Chant. Or finish up with lessons.

Adjusting Warrior Pose 1

7:00 – whenever – Dinnertime, usually filled with jovial company and, of course, delicious vegetarian food.  After finishing off a post-dinner cup of tea, people start heading back to their rooms to recover from the day with an early bedtime.  Sometimes there is a movie screening after dinner.

Poolside dinner to end the day

All of this happens all day from Sunday to Friday.  We’re free on Saturdays to roam around the city or just sleep in and relax.

My writing in this post is quite objective.  I consider it a bit dry. Oh well.

Goodbye friends :)

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