Let the Teacher Training begin!

19 Feb

Wow… I’ve had an amazing first few days here at Moksha Yoga Teacher Training LA 2013! During this time, I’ve been getting to know the other 60 trainees, the Moksha co-founders, the organizers and a number of experienced teachers who practice at the local studio as well. Since introductions on Day 1, I have felt a bond with the people here. It’s really beautiful. Many of the trainees have expressed, and thankfully, continue to openly express their personal fears about starting this trek. It’s been validating, reassuring, and it has helped me let go of my fears too. Its exciting to sit among my peers, who like me, really want to be here.

I’ve never been in a lecture space where the students are so engaged! This is due to the fact that the teachers are grounded, genuine, passionate and therefore inspiring. As they start to lecture you see a crowd form around them; we’re like children eagerly waiting in anticipation for the next part of the story and clinging on to every last word. Even more illuminating for me is what we’re talking about! We’re discussing such simple things in our everyday world that, in my opinion, we’ve forgotten about and sometimes take for granted. I’m unlearning in some ways, recognizing that these simple things (like breath awareness and ecology) are actually incredibly profound. If we would only spend a little more time paying attention and being present in the here and now.

I’ve also been experiencing a lot of intense emotions, primarily expressed thru tears in my final savansana or during deep discussions with fellow trainees. These tears are an expression of my joy and gratitude. I love my life!

My initial practice in the Moksha Yoga LA studio was devoted to the many people who have made it possible to be here. I would list all of your names but worry that I would probably forget someone! So instead I will just say my “thanks” here and send my love to each and every single one of you.

Just breathe…

14 Feb

I could not have picked a better day to start writing about my trip. The sun is beaming, the birds are chirping, and I’m surrounded by loving relatives who I have not seen in about 6 years. Oh yes and its Valentine’s Day!

After sitting in the rays for 20 minutes straight in the backyard, I feel rejuvenated and hot! Thankfully I just have to move my chair a few metres and I’m under a palm tree. Its been a long time since I’ve traveled for vacation, though I recognize that this time I have off is much more than a vacation from work. It’s a vacation from everything and everyone, and it’s definitely not the kind of vacation where you lay around and do nothing all day. As of tomorrow I am engaging in an intense, life changing experience. I’ll be joining about 60 other aspiring yoga teachers and yogis at a lecture space in Los Angeles. I feel a bit sick to my stomach when I try to imagine what it will be like, but I won’t let my nerves and mind get the best of me. My efforts to practice my intentions on fear and compassion, (See post from Feb 13th, 2013.), include putting aside this protected time for self-reflection.

KamaLA

PalmTree

What am I afraid of?
Well for one, I feel like an imposter – am I deceiving myself thinking I can quickly learn and confidently teach yoga? I start to think, I shouldn’t be here, and question whether or not my practice is “good enough”. Will I have the strength to power through this training program without embarrassing myself? Heh…interesting how putting down these feelings and thoughts on paper reveals how negative I am being and how they are just words that are not serving me well. Lets try again…I’m so grateful to be here because I really want to be here. I can’t wait to add this practice to my life, whether at home alone, at work with clients and colleagues, or the greater community in which I live. How lucky am I?!

I’m also afraid of forgetting the teaching script or screwing up my presentation! I fear the butterflies in my stomach will fly up into my throat and head causing me to freeze in front of a captive audience. Yes, I know there are no butterflies in there…its just that I’m so nervous!

…I had to put my pen down as I was writing this to take a few “yogic breathes”. My breathing will surely help me maintain calmness. Nothing is stopping me from breathing…

And lastly, I find that I am comparing myself to others – people who I know absolutely nothing about. I think to myself, I’m less experienced/flexible/advanced than others who will be at training. These notions are unsubstantiated. I think the practice of being non-judgmental starts with me not judging myself. I can do this!

This reflective exercise has been very helpful (Thanks D.C., xo). I will stay with my breath from here on in and enter tomorrow with an open heart and mind. One of my teachers from my home studio left me a very thoughtful card before I left for LA. I had trouble connecting to what was written on the front of card until now. What I am doing takes courage…”small steps, big heart, one breath!”  Thanks for all of the support to date. ❤

CourageCard

30-Day Challenge (Jan 14th – Feb 12th, 2013.)

13 Feb

In preparation for upcoming training, on January 14th, 2013 I started the Moksha Yoga 30-Day Challenge. Here are posts I put up on Facebook for my friends and family to read:

January 14th
Starting up the 30-Day Challenge tonight with an amazing crowd! I’ve also added to the intention tree.

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January 15th, 2013.
2/30…….Wow…I don’t think I’ve ever sweat that much. Thanks! — at Moksha Yoga Square One.

January 16th, 2013.
3/30…leaving with a high! Walked right out of the room after class holding a block that I didn’t even realize I was holding! Ha ha!
: )

January 19th, 2013.
Had an amazing morning!
4/30 – thank you for waking me up and taking some of my anxieties away about upcoming training, Indie! Xo

5/30 – hardest class I’ve done to date. Staying in stillness in savansana for the entire session. Thanks for the mind-body challenge. I learned so much today. — at Moksha Yoga Square One.

January 20th, 2013.
Just finished classes 6&7/30. Feeling “emotional”, a by product of being grateful to our teachers and for the space in which we practice.

January 21st, 2013.
8/30…practiced in the back of the room today. As much as I enjoy the front of the room I think it’s good for me and my practice to move around!

January 22nd, 2013.
9&10/30…Dear Plank Pose, I am hopeful that with determination and persistence, we will one day be best of friends. Until next time, -Kama.

January 23rd, 2013.
11/30…Sweat, Stretch, and Unwind…I think I could have slept in the studio tonight. — at Moksha Yoga Square One.

January 25th, 2013.
12/30…A different studio for a different experience! Hoping to see someone I know who is going to training too! — at Moksha Yoga Etobicoke.

January 26th, 2013.
Lucky 13/30…blessed to practice this morning with amazing teachers.

January 27th, 2013.
14 & 15/30…Had a fantastic meditation class this afternoon, now for some moksha yoga and reiki restorative! Another beautiful studio with a welcoming community! — at Moksha Yoga Uptown.

January 28th, 2013.
16/30…filled with joy. High on life, hope you are too! : )

January 29th, 2013.
17/30…just got home, still in a trance from class. In the driveway watching raindrops fall onto my car windows…pitter-patter…how soothing. : )

January 30th, 2013.
18 & 19/30…reflective this evening on the importance of letting go of attachments and being aware of who may be watching my practice. I found myself modifying my flow and listening more in order to support newer students. If I’m not conscious I may model poor habits or lead someone else into injury. Thanks for your guidance! — at Moksha Yoga Square One.

January 31st, 2013.
20/30…10 to go! Wow – time flies when you’re having fun!

February 2nd, 2013.
21/30…getting “intimate” with my breath. Noticed when I find a pose challenging (i.e. my beloved plank) I’m cutting my breath short! Kept reminding myself to focus on my breathing (inhale and exhale) to remove the chatter in my mind. — at Moksha Yoga Square One.

Trying out another studio this AM. Continuing to be “intimate” with my breath. — at Moksha Yoga Hamilton.

February 3rd, 2013.
23/30..what a great class today! Its amazing how little tweaks refine and strengthen one’s alignment and depth. Thanks for reminding us to SMILE and ‘breathe or our faces will turn red!’

24/30….And back for restorative! 🙂 — at Moksha Yoga Square One.
February 4th, 2013.
25/30…discovering tranquility and ease by breathing deeply into each posture. : )…I’m addicted. — at Moksha Yoga Square One.
February 5th, 2013.
26/30…Wow that was an energizing Moksha Flow, I’m in the zone! A very special thank you to the studio owner for your words of wisdom and encouragement! You are so beautiful! ♥
February 9th, 2013.
27/30…Thanks for waking us up this morning! Remembering to have a beginner’s mind in each class…practicing active listening. — at Moksha Yoga Square One.28/30…opening up new possibilities! Xo Thank you for your guidance, unconditional love, and support. : )
February 10th, 2013.
29/30…moving with breath. Energized for the day!
February 11th, 2013.
30/30…I’ve successfully completed my 30-day challenge in 29 days! :)Giving and receiving a lot of love tonight!
Kind of funny how one can fall in love with a complete stranger. ♥

Finishing my challenge with a reflection about my intentions to: 1)Face my fears, 2) Think and act with compassion. Now its time to bring these intentions  to life by practicing them beyond my mat.

Embarking on a new journey….Becoming a Moksha Yoga Teacher.

6 Feb

About 6 years ago a friend of mine suggested that I check out a “hot” yoga class in downtown London, ON. I remember feeling intimidated walking into the Moksha Yoga London studio and hot room, unaware of what I was getting myself into. I had never done yoga, let alone exercise in temperatures ranging between 36-38°C. My friend and I set up near the mirror in the centre of the room and laid down on our yoga mats acclimatizing to the heat until class began.

During the class, I had intense feelings and thoughts related to how challenging the postures were and how inflexible I was at the time. I wanted the 60-minute session to be finished within the first fifteen; thankfully, I was reminded to breathe. My inhales and exhales helped me get through the class and before I knew it, we were finished with the floor series. As I came out of my final Savansana, I noticed that I had released a lot of tension from my body and mind.  Leaving the studio, I remember thinking that I absolutely loved the practice and that I wanted to do it again. While completing my graduate studies, working, and dealing with some personal difficulties, I attended classes to relieve built up stress and to stay fit. Unfortunately, however, as my professional and personal commitments grew over the years my ability to get to the studio to practice became infrequent.

A few months after moving and starting my new job in 2011, I was excited to see that a new Moksha Yoga studio would be opening near my home. When the studio opened in January 2012, I brought members of my family to join me for the opening week. Once again, I was hooked and made an effort to go a minimum of 3-4 times a week. With some encouragement I signed up for my first 30-Day challenge in October 2012. I completed the Challenge with great determination. It was a rewarding and an emotional journey for me as I had mood fluctuations after and during classes. My instructors were incredibly supportive. A number of them guided me to reflect on my experiences by writing in a journal.

It was during this reflective time that I realized how grateful I was to have a sacred space to practice, access to amazing teachers, and a connection with the Moksha community. I also recognized that I wanted to teach to learn more about myself (through continued self-reflection) and to help others. More specifically, I wanted to add this to my nursing practice in an attempt to promote self-care and wellness with clients (with mental health and addiction concerns) and with my colleagues.

——

I am thrilled to share with you that I was accepted into the Moksha Yoga Teacher Training in December and will be going to Los Angeles, California between February and March 2013 to complete my training. My excitement for what’s to come is palpable! Thank you to all who have supported me to date, you know who you are.

Stay tuned for my next post focused on the 30-Day Challenge I most recently completed in preparation for my upcoming training.

: )

Bring it!

20 Feb

Its official – this weekend I registered for my first 10 km run (Race date: May 13th)! I welcome you to support the cause below by making a donation of any amount today!

 

Welcoming the New Year!

9 Jan

I took on running during the summer of 2009 after signing up for my first 5km run with a good friend. The Pinery Road Race, located in Grand Bend, was a race I was determined to finish even if it meant I was going to end up walking some of the way. Since then, I’ve participated in 4 other races within Ontario including: the Santa Shuffle in London; the Somersault Winterman 5km in Ottawa (in -15 °C weather!); the Mississauga Marathon Starbucks Coffee Hazel 5km Run; and most recently, the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon 5km run.

After the Scotiabank run I decided that I needed to take my running to the next level, so I planned to extend my baseline run time beyond the 30 minute mark (~5km). In December, I increased my time on the treadmill by an additional 5 minutes. I’m now into January and I’m thrilled because I’m running non-stop for 40 minutes! Despite the blisters that are forming on my feet and toes, I feel great! (I’ve discovered a few great products for preventing blisters too! Send me an email or comment below to let me know if you’re interested.)

At the start of the New Year I took the time to reflect on my running activity over the last few years. Interestingly, when I initially started running on the treadmill in 2009, I could not run beyond 8 minutes because my calves would burn and ache. Now, I can run 30 minutes outside on the pavement and if I maintain my mental focus, I can keep going! Music has been a huge factor in helping me stay on target. Here are some “must have” songs that I have on my Gym playlist:

  • Pendulum – Propane Nightmares (My favourite! I can listen to it repeatedly!)
  • Kittie – Brackish
  • Does It Offend You, Yeah? – We Are Rockstars
  • Culture Beat – Mr. Vain
  • Mauro Picotto – Like This Like That
  • Muse – Plug In Baby

The progress I have made over the last 2 years makes me feel proud. I have a friend who encourages me to run by continuing to alert me of upcoming races. He gifted me a fuel belt (below) for my birthday in December to motivate me to extend my runs…I hope my progress and love for running is ongoing so I can complete a Marathon  one day. 🙂
Feel free to share your successes or challenges in the comments below – I would love to hear from you!

Making The Standard

13 Dec

If you’re a nurse currently working in Ontario who regularly reviews the College of Nurses (CNO) mail you may have come across my face while reading the Fall 2011 magazine issue of The Standard. I must admit it was exciting to see myself on the cover and to be interviewed about social media, but it was also a bit embarrassing for me since I started my new job the same week that this magazine arrived in our mailboxes. Somehow a copy of the magazine ended up at my orientation session and the unit I work on for all (physicians, staff, and clients) to see!

Recognizing that the entire interview would not make it into this article, I received permission by the magazine Editor to share my full response to the questions I was asked by the CNO representative regarding social media and nursing engagement. Here are the rest of the questions and answers that were submitted in September 2011. Enjoy!

Why should nurses care about social media?

I’d like you to consider Marshall McLuhan, a Canadian English professor and media visionary, who in 1964 wrote, “The medium is the message”. McLuhan’s quotation conveys that the medium (ie. Television, Internet, Social Media Tools) through which content is passed, influences society and ultimately, changes how we experience and perceive the world. Our world is changing with the introduction and use of these technologies; changes including how we view the person, health, the environment, and of course, nursing. I believe we have a professional responsibility to understand not only how to use these technologies to advance our work as nurses, but also how they may impact a person’s experience of illness and/or health, in that patients have a desire to access health resources within their environment. Nurses have an opportunity to appraise online resources and additionally, create valid and reliable health resources using social media tools for many online communities.

How can nurses use social media to develop themselves professionally?

Here are a few examples of how nurses can use social media to develop themselves professionally:

●  There are thousands of nurses and other health professionals who are currently microblogging, or “Tweeting” insights or latest information from articles they have read, as well as conferences or workshops they are attending.

●  RSS Feeds (Real Simple Syndication) and Readers (such as Google reader) allow us to receive alerts about new Internet resources such as the latest journal edition and then share them with our peers.

●  Social networking sites, like LinkedIn (a professional social networking site), enable us to network and build online communities with health professionals or like-minded individuals (ie. RNAO eHealth Champions)

What are some of the privacy issues that nurses should consider?

The privacy laws, privacy policies, and the College practice standard on privacy and confidentiality continues to apply as it always has. We should always be conscious and alert as to what information we may be disclosing and to whom we are disclosing information to.  Nurses need to use their discretion because what goes on the Internet is generally accessible to the public. Most people can be found on the Internet; in fact, all nurses in Ontario can be searched and found via the CNO website. Don’t be afraid of the technology but rather have some surveillance about what you share and what others may share about you.

What are some of your own parameters around your own use of social media, such as Twitter?

My parameters are very general and include not discussing professional relationships, respecting therapeutic relationships by never disclosing any information about who I’m working with, and being cautious about telling others where I am.

What is your favourite social media tool, and how have you used it to develop yourself as a nurse?

Currently, one of my favourite social media tools is “Mendeley” (a social networking and referencing website). This user-friendly tool, which is also available as a software application, enables you to collaborate with others whom you may be conducting research or writing papers with via the Internet. It’s a great resource for organizing, sharing, citing and categorizing articles into a database that can be accessed anywhere provided you have access to the Internet. I’m currently utilizing it to prepare for presentations, literature reviews, and for a few papers I am writing with my colleagues in academia who live in different cities.

What advice would you give to nurses who are thinking of trying social media but haven’t so far? For example, how can a nurse determine what social media tool is “right for them”?

My suggestion is to reflect upon your objective or intent of using social media in the first place. Many people make the mistake of signing up for accounts with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube.com, etc…without ever really understanding what the benefit would be. For instance, if you’re interested in finding a more efficient way to store, organize and share Internet resources with your peers, social bookmarking would be the suggested route you may take instead of Facebook. Another consideration is about how much time you would like to spend online and how it fits with your lifestyle as well. Some social media tools are more time-consuming than others, such as Twitter versus blogging.