Actually Teaching

We’ve been learning a certain sequence to teach in our training, which makes it a little easier when it comes time to actually teach. I definitively plan on making it my own when I graduate though – a lot of my favorite poses are missing from the sequence. ūüôā

We’ve been taking turns teaching different parts of the sequence in class. Everyone says I’m doing really well, but I’m also so nervous – so I feel like I’m not really doing as well as they say.

The first time I had to teach in front of the class – I practiced teaching the sequence to my friend. I wasn’t that nervous and everything went fine. But them moment I actually stood up in front of my fellow classmates I got extreme stage fright. But I guess I did okay since everyone seemed to like it.

Last week my yoga instructor was subbing a class and invited the girls in my class to come. I was the only one that went and he asked me if I wanted to teach the warm up. He asked me in a text as I was running out the door to the class… so I said no. I felt bad about it, but I had nothing prepared – I didn’t know it that well and I didn’t think I was ready. He tried to coax me, but I chickened out. I told him if he had asked me the night before then I probably would have done it. Though he responded by saying that sometimes you get called to teach classes out of the blue. Fair enough.

Tomorrow, we’re having people over for a 4th of July BBQ. Before we start cooking, I’m going to teach a full practice yoga class to my friends. Woo. Next weekend is the final weekend of teacher training where we have to teach a full class under observation from our instructor. I thought getting a practice class in would definitely help. I’ve been trying to create the perfect music playlist.. though maybe I should start focusing on the routine…

Conflicting Info

I feel as though in today’s society we are fed a lot of conflicting information – especially when it comes to health. And I definitely feel like that’s been amplified a lot in the yoga teacher training – especially with all the different guest speakers we’ve had.

Overall, I think I am healthy. I suppose I could add some more vegetables to my diet, but in generally I don’t eat many sweets and have been avoiding processed foods. I think in all diets at least these two things can be agreed upon:

1. Refined sugars bad
2. Vegetables are good

In conclusion, I believe that as long as you keep your refined sugars down and your vegetables up (and eat everything in moderation) you can be very healthy.

I’m kind of getting sick with the back and forth of “Being Vegetarian is the healthiest way!” “No, being Vegetarian is unhealthy – you’re not getting enough nutrients!” Let’s face it, you guys. America is unhealthy no matter what way you slice it. If someone goes vegetarian that was eating pizza and cheeseburgers and fries every day – yes, they are going to be healthier than they were. If a vegetarian that was only eating pasta and rice starts eating meat – yes, they are going to be healthier than they were. It’s all about balance, avoiding refined sugar, and upping your vegetable intake. Honestly, I think either side can live a very healthy life as long as they make the right choices for what they put in their body.

So yeah. We also watched that documentary on juice fasting which made it seem really great! Then we had a lecture on nutrition and the woman said not to juice fast. I don’t know what we’re supposed to do!

I feel like a lot of the learning experience in Yoga Teacher training is to take what you need but leave what you don’t. You have to make your own decisions for what is right for you.

There’s a lot of spiritual stuff as well that I’m not sure is right for me. But that might be a post for a different time.

MOVIE REVIEW: FAT, SICK, and NEARLY DEAD

Part of the training required us to watch a movie called “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead.” This is available on Netflix if anyone wants to watch it.

Now, I’m not exactly sure why this was on our assignment list. You’re preaching to choir here. I would assume that most if not all of us in Yoga Teacher training is generally healthy. But I still gave the movie a chance and I found that even though I knew most of the things in the documentary, I got really inspired by the narrator’s story.

It’s about this guy Joe, who is about 310 pounds and has a rare auto-immune disease. He’s on a journey to make his body well again. He completely changes his diet with a juice cleanse for 60 days. He lives off of blended fruits and vegetables and eats nothing else. To me, this almost sounded unhealthy. Don’t you need other sources of food? However, I suppose that drinking fruit and vegetable juice for 60 days is way healthier than stuffing your face with pizza, cheeseburgers, and french fries for 60 days. Anyway, I quickly came around to the fact that this was a healthy decision. Joe was monitored throughout the entire test and had constant blood work done to make sure he was staying healthy. He had more energy than ever and was actually reversing a lot of his health issues really quickly.

During the movie he was taking a roadtrip across the US to kind of promote what he was doing. He met this other guy randomly at a truck stop who had the same auto-immune disease that he had. The other guy, Phil, was also obese but was a truck driver and not quite ready to change. Joe gave Phil his business card and told him to call him if he ever did need some help.

Joe completed his journey lost a little under 100 pounds got rid of his disease and no longer had to take medication. Phil ended up calling him a few months later and Joe set him up with the cleanse. Phil ended up getting the same results.

While I knew that fruits and vegetables were good for you, it really opened my eyes to how you can heal yourself by putting the right foods into your body.

And now I want to buy a juicer.

OFF TOPIC – FAMILY VACATION

Here’s my first Off Topic post. I’m always nervous about writing these because I wonder if anyone actually cares. But this is really my only outlet to document things at the moment so if you don’t care about my trip to Disneyland with my nieces and nephew… well you can just skip this.

I suppose it’s not completely off topic because it’s all about love, and love is a big yoga emotion, right?

I’m going to start out by saying something very sad. I’m just going to put this out there. My brother passed away in November of 2012. I always hate bringing it up. I’m OK with talking about it now, but I feel like it just brings down the mood of whoever I’m talking to. It ruins the casual small talk. “So do you have any siblings?” “Uhhh… no.” That’s usually how I handle it. But anyway. Putting it on the table. Moving on. This is a happy post.

I have 2 nieces and 1 nephew that live in Alaska with my sister-in-law and her boyfriend. Her boyfriend has 2 boys that live in Oklahoma with their mother normally. So they planned a visit to Southern California with ALL of the children. First 3 days in Disneyland, 1 day in Legoland, and 1 day in Seaworld. Then we rented a house in Venice Beach for all of us to stay at. They were here a total of 8 days. The Mr. and I were a tiny bit worried how were were going to handle 5 children. But it turned out to be one of the best experiences we could have hoped for.

This was the first time we met my sister-in-law’s boyfriend and they were both really nervous about it. I have no hard feelings what-so-ever. I don’t expect her to just be sad the rest of her life. In fact, I was really happy for her that she found someone. She deserves to be happy. But anyway, the hubby and I really, really ended up liking her boyfriend (i’d be friends with him on my own) AND his children were amazing too. I was actually kind of sad that his kids weren’t actually my nephews because I grew really attached to them.

Disneyland was the first stop. Mr. DestinationYogi and I went down to Anaheim immediately after work. They had taken the red eye from Alaska and were already down there and had spent a little bit of time in the park before taking a nap in the afternoon.

It had been about a year since I saw the kids so it was like Christmas for me. I love these kids like they were my own and it really kills me inside that I can only see them once a year. My oldest niece I feel is like a clone of me. She looks just like me and has a very similar personality. She also has the same exact pickiness in eating food that I had when I was her age.

Seeing them was amazing and getting showered in hugs was a great feeling. One of the most interesting things is to me is that the kids don’t really remember the things that we’ve done together. Like any specific events. “Do you remember when we did this?” “No.” But they remembered that they loved me. I guess you can forget events but you don’t really forget feelings.

The hubby and I love Disneyland. We’ve been a bunch of times, have an annual pass, and even got engaged at Disney. With 5 children it was a much different experience. We didn’t do half of the things we normally were able to do, but we didn’t care. The trip was about them and making them happy. And somehow, the fact that we were making them happy was much better and more rewarding than if we went by ourselves and got to do everything we wanted to do.

Legoland was interesting because it was a little more child-like than you would think. Or maybe it was just about at child-like as you would think. But I’m glad that we went for the first time with children because it’s really not for 2 adults to go to on their own. My nephew is obsessed with Legos and this was a huge treat for him. He was also the only one old enough to do a special robot building this, so Mr. DestinationYogi took him for a special nephew-uncle bonding thing.

The hubby and I skipped out on Seaworld and came back early to get the house ready in Venice. The kids came up after Seaworld and we grilled some dinner and hung out in the backyard pool and hot tub.

The next couple days were just relaxing which was what we all needed. On the last full day, I took my sister-in-law and oldest niece into Hollywood and Beverly Hills while the boys and my 2-year-old niece went to the beach.

Our first stop in Hollywood was the set of “Dog with a Blog” which airs on the Disney Channel. An old co-worker of mine works on the show and she gave us a private tour of the set. We got a to meet a couple of the actors as well as the dog on the show. My niece was excited, but there was a lot of waiting around so she was a little bored. Overall, I think she enjoyed it.

Then we went into downtown Hollywood. Had lunch, did a bit of shopping… But the real fun was when we went to Beverly Hills. I thought my niece would be really bored because it was Rodeo Drive and the shopping was really for grown-ups. However she LOVED it. She’s going to be such a diva. We went into Tiffany’s jewelry store and she was so excited and called it “Heaven.” She loved looking at the shoes, jewelry, and handbags – and she’s only 8 years old!! I’m glad she had such a good time.

Saying goodbye was one of the hardest things. Not knowing when I’m going to see them again. Spending the most time with them that I ever had. Plus making a new friend (my sister-in-law’s boyfriend) and meeting 2 new children that I grew to love. But I am so thankful for every minute that I got to spend with every single person on that trip. It really made my life and realized how LUCKY I am to have such wonderful people in my life. I know we’ll see them next summer, but every year in a child’s life is a LONG time and they change so much from year to year. It’s hard. But they are the best and I know they are happy where they are.

Life Updates

Well, I’ve already fallen behind on my goal to post a few times per week. Can’t believe it’s almost been 3 weeks since I last had an update. That being said, I’ve have a very, very, very busy last couple of weeks. After my last post, I was finishing up my last week of work. I work in post on a TV show and the season wrapped up. I actually left 3 days earlier than I was supposed to due to previous plans of my family visiting. So I worked really hard to get everything done on time. Then, on my last day of work I picked up Mr. DestinationYogi and we drove to Disneyland to meet up with our nieces and nephew from Alaska. We did the whole Southern California tour and they were here for 8 days. Probably some of the best 8 days of my life (I’ll write a post about that later). Then when they left, I immediately picked up a freelance editing job and have been working on that nonstop (other than teacher training).

Oh and I also ran a 5k on Saturday morning. It was the color run, which meant you volunteers sprayed you with colors as you ran. Here’s my team:

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I’m on the far right. Did I mention it was a bachelorette party? My friend in the middle with the flowers decided her ideal bachelorette party was running a 5k followed by a brunch. It was fun!

I don’t know if I would do a color run again – the color blue still hasn’t washed out of my skin. That was certainly fun going from this to brunch to teacher training and explaining to everyone why I was blue!

Getting back into the groove of exercising and teacher training has been a little difficult. We had training on Saturday and Sunday and I definitely wasn’t there mentally on Saturday. I think I actually fell asleep a couple of times during the meditation… oops!

But Sunday I was definitely there – I did my first headstand all by myself!!! (usually I can hold it, but need someone to spot me and lift my legs.) Check it out –

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I’m in the blue on the right.

They call headstand the king of yoga poses because of all the benefits. It stimulates the blood flow and gives your organs a rest from being pulled down by gravity.

My diet hasn’t been the greatest because of the vacation thing, but I’m getting back on track. Whole Foods is one of my new favorite places – you don’t have to check the labels, everything is organic and the animal products are all antibiotic free and humanely treated. It’s more expensive but overall it’s better for your health (saving money in the long run) and is also a good lesson in conserving and not wasting food.

I’ve also discovered zucchini pasta! I got a spirailzer (http://smile.amazon.com/Spiralizer-Tri-Blade-Vegetable-Strongest–Replacement/dp/B00GRIR87M/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1403544739&sr=8-1&keywords=vegetable+spiralizer). You just throw in a zucchini, turn the crank, and out comes zucchini pasta. It’s so easy to make. The “noodles” hold a sauce really well and you can eat tons of it and IT’S GOOD FOR YOU. Of course it’s not as good as regular pasta, but it’s still good. I would also recommend making a half spaghetti half zucchini spaghetti dish for a good transition.

This post was a little random, but I have some more focused posts coming up this week.

 

BOOK REVIEW: “YOGA AND VEGETARIANISM”

I finally finished the book assigned in yoga teacher training called “Yoga and Vegetarianism” by Sharon Gannon. You can read my first thoughts on the book in a post or two below this one. It was less than 150 pages but it took me well over a week to read it because it was so pretentious and I couldn’t stand the author’s “Holier Than Thou” attitude. This book might be good for those who are already vegan, but as a meat eater, it’s just condescending and rude.¬†The author has a very in-your-face all-or-nothing attitude toward veganism. She doesn’t care if you’re against factory farming. She doesn’t care if you are vegetarian but still drink milk and eat eggs. She doesn’t care about any of your efforts to save animals unless you are 100% vegan. The basic premise of this book is – unless you are vegan then you are evil.

Here’s an excerpt from her book:

When you speak to others about vegetarianism or animal rights, you must not view them as stupid, callous, or evil. Instead, see them through your eyes of compassion. See them as holy beings, capable of kindness. If the person eats meat, why not view that as a temporary condition? If you can’t see others as potentially kind and compassionate beings, how can you every expect them to see themselves that way?

Uhhh, thanks for pointing out that I’m CAPABLE of kindness. How big of you.

Eating meat and consuming milk is an addiction: an addiction to violence. To facilitate a lasting positive change, we must view the person who is still eating these foods in the same like as we would view a drug or a sex addict.

Thanks again. Makes my heart all fuzzy. In an earlier chapter she compared women being raped to people eating meat. I would have put down the book at that point but I had to finish it for my assignment.

And lastly in her Q&A section:

Q: If the law of karma is true, then shouldn’t we accept the fact that animals are suffering because of their karmas?

A: It is true that every being is enjoying life or suffering as a direct result of his or her own past actions. The animals in factory farms may have been meat-eating human beings in a previous birth….

Seriously? You just stated the belief of reincarnation as FACT? I’m all for freedom of beliefs, but you can’t state this as fact. How am I supposed to trust that all your other statements are back by science? Congratulations. You lost me and all my faith in everything you have to say.¬†

She also admits earlier in the book that carrots and vegetables have feelings too but we eat them in order to cause the LEAST amount of damage.

That being said – just because I’m not on board with this particular author, it doesn’t mean that I’m dismissing other beliefs of vegetarianism / veganism. I just realllly disliked her approach.¬†

What the author needs to realize is that as a society we need baby steps. There’s no way that every person is going to give up their ways instantly. Ways that have been ingrained in our heads since birth and that our culture has practiced for thousands of years. Let’s focus on trying to stop factory farming. In my opinion, that’s the first rung on the ladder we need to get to. Then we can take some more steps. The all-or-nothing approach is just going to get people angry and upset.

So far this past week I’ve been limiting my meat intake to 1-2 meals per day instead of 3 meals a day like I was. And I’ve only bought humanely treated meat. Right now, that’s a good step for me. I have noticed, however, when I eat a vegetarian meal I get hungrier quicker. I used to be able to eat 3 meals a day with no desire to snack. Sometimes I’d even forget about lunch or look at the clock – “oh hey it’s 7:30 maybe I should think about dinner.” Vegetarian meals – at least the ones I’ve been eating – aren’t nearly as filling.

Volunteering at the Animal Shelter

Part of my yoga teacher training includes volunteer work. Honestly, I feel kinda bad that it’s had to take something like this in the first place to volunteer but I’m glad that I’m doing (or will be doing) it now. I chose the animal shelter to volunteer at because since I recused my pooch a little over a year ago I’ve been a big advocate for adoption. Over 9,000 dogs and cats¬†are killed EVERY SINGLE DAY in shelters in the United States. I want to help lower that number and find homes for these innocent creatures.¬†

My wonderful husband is accompanying me on this volunteer journey of mine. He loves dogs just as much as I do. In fact, he’s the one that introduced me to dogs and he convinced me to adopt rather than go to a breeder.¬†

This past Saturday we had our volunteer orientation at Best Friends Animal Shelter. The two good things about this place is that 1. it’s no kill and 2. It’s a 5 minute drive from our place. That made it a no brainer. Also it will lessen the temptation to bring a ton of dogs home because we no they’ll live even if we don’t.

Their mission is “No Kill Los Angeles” in which they’re trying their best efforts into making LA a no kill city. They work with trouble animals to help make them more adoptable. They are also one of the only shelters in LA to take in kittens under 8 weeks. Note: at other shelters kittens under 8 weeks are immediately euthanized because they don’t have the¬†resources to take care of them. That¬† just breaks my heart. SPAY AND NEUTER YOUR PETS PLEASE!!

Anyway… During the orientation we learned about the duties for the dogs and cats. And also how we can help with mobile adoptions and community outreach. We then signed up for the areas we were interested in. My number one was the kitten nursery – which is basically feeding kittens under 8 weeks with bottles. I think that’s pretty awesome. I will have to take another class to learn the proper techniques of doing this. Unfortunately they only have one class per month and I won’t be able to attend the June class. Looks like I won’t be feeding kittens with bottles until July at the earliest. That’s okay, though. For now I’m trained to walk to “well-behaved” dogs. I’ll try to help with that a few times this month.

If anyone in the LA area that is interested in adopting a cat… For the moth of June all cats are only $9 (as opposed to $50) to adopt at Best Friends Animal Shelter. And they have a bunch of cute ones as well as kittens!¬†

To Vegetarian or not To Vegetarian?

One thing that I’ve been seeing a lot of and hearing about during yoga teacher training is how vegetarianism is related to yoga. Yoga is all about non-violence and some believe that eating meat is going against those morals. Now I wouldn’t say that eating meat would make someone a violent person at all but it has been brought to my attention the way in which we get meat is very, very violent.

Before I go any further I’ll take a brief detour and discuss my history with vegetarianism. I was actually a vegetarian for a few months¬†of my freshman year of high school. My reasoning was that if I had to do the actual slaughtering of the animal myself then I would never eat meat. (In fact, I still feel this way. Heck, I can’t even bring myself to kill a spider or a bug in the house). Of course this upset the meal-maker of the house (my mother) who did not want to make an extra meal for me. And me, being 14, did not want to cook my own meals. I think I mostly just ate pizza and ice cream and was really unhealthy about it. Shortly after I became a vegetarian I switched over to semi-vegetarian and did not eat red meat for the next 3 and a half years. During my freshman year of college was when I broke my no beef rule. And it was for a guy. Haha. I was dating this stupid horrible mess of a human being and he finally convinced me to eat a burger again. Well, if I was going to break it, I was going to go all out. We went to TGI Fridays and I got a bacon cheeseburger. I still to this day remember how delicious that burger was. I’m sure it wasn’t the best burger ever, but to me it tasted like the best burger because I hadn’t had one in nearly 4 years. Well, I never recovered from that. Meat and more meat please. I joke that I like to wrap my bacon in bacon. And with the new health discoveries in diets like the Paleo diet, well that has just added more meat into my diet.¬†

But then we were assigned this book to read in Teacher Training called “Yoga and Vegetarianism.” I was afraid to read it because I knew it could convince me to change. ¬†And I warned my husband about it. And he said no matter what I did he would support me (cue – ‘awwwww’). The first couple of chapters actually ended up really pissing me off. Her arguments were a little harsh like comparing eating meat to raping a woman. (OK – it wasn’t that bad but it was along those lines. Her point was more that a meat eaters excuse was that we’ve been doing it for so many years so it must be right. And she pointed out that men have been raping women for years but that doesn’t make it right). She also described the difference between vegetarians and what she called “ethical vegetarians” – which basically meant “to be vegan.” It really rubbed me the wrong way because she was implying that unless you were vegan then you weren’t ethical.¬†

Then I got to the chapter on factory farming. And I have to say, this chapter basically destroyed me. I still haven’t been able to sleep soundly reading about how all the animals are tortured. For years of their life. And just recently have there been laws put into place that an animal has to have enough room to lay down in it’s cage. She also talked about some horrific incidents of how some farmers sexually abused the animals, which actually ended up making me cry – though I feel that was an unfair shot on the author’s¬†part since that doesn’t have anything to do with eating meat, but whatever…

But after all of this I do know one fact. Whether or not you eat meat – factory farming needs to stop. The abuse to the animals can’t continue. Buy grass-fed beef if you buy beef. Buy cage-free (or even better – free range) eggs if you eat eggs. Buy organic. I know it costs more, but I’d rather spend a few extra bucks to support farmers who are trying to do right. I understand that eating meat is a part of the food chain, but abusing animals and confining them to horrific conditions and quarters is not. I don’t know if I will become a vegetarian – maybe I will by the end of this. But until then I’m going to be more conscious of where I get my meat from. Go to farmer’s markets more. Maybe I’ll even try to have a “Meatless Monday” or something like that. I don’t know. I want to make a difference somehow. Maybe I can.

 

JOURNEY THROUGH YOGA

After practicing yoga for about four years, I have decided to go deeper and become a certified yoga instructor. Why? I’m not looking to change careers or anything, but I feel like it is a journey that I need to take. I feel as though with my current line of work (working in the entertainment industry) it’s important to take a step back from all the chaos and do something to help yourself and other people – something to strengthen your own self worth. It’s not a secret that there are many tyrants that run the entertainment industry and there are definitely days in which many people, including myself, feel so small and insignificant. There’s a huge list of people that are fighting for and waiting for your job to be open and¬†are willing to work for less pay than you are, and that just makes you one of many. Someone easily replaced. It kind of reminds me of learning about the industrial revolution in history class and how they worked people to the bone until they were beaten down and could no longer work – and how easy it was to find new fresh blood to replace the ones they got rid of.¬†

But I’m getting off topic here. I’m grateful to be where I am right now. It’s just sometimes it’s nice to take a step back and see the world truly for what it is. That one person can make a difference. I know so many people who are afraid to try yoga because they are inflexible. But because they are inflexible is the reason they need yoga. I certainly started off that way. When I started yoga I could barely touch my knees let alone my toes. That’s why I wanted to do it. Did I get snickers from others in my first yoga classes? Yes I did. It was hard. I want to teach yoga to inflexible people like I once was and show them that’s it okay. I can touch my toes now pretty easily. I have significantly less back pain. I have more energy. I want to share this with other people, but I need the training to show them properly.

Why did I decide to blog about it? Because I’ve found the training to be much more than just physical. I’m changing mentally as well. I’m learning to balance my life a little better and even after just two classes I’m fascinated with the change. I can’t wait to document everything and share my thoughts with you all. The support I’ve gotten from my friends has been overwhelming. You all are amazing.

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