Monday, 17 October 2011

Outreach Yoga Challenge - Day 7 Embody the teacher within yourself

After a day revolting against the system Occupying Vancouver, it posed the question ‘what are you really passionate about?’ There were so many different voices all shouting ways in which the system is failing them, the world, the human race, its overwhelming, and it can feel connected to everything like a domino effect and each voice has important issues to resolve. Mark, a friend I was with was strongly motivated to finding justice to the massive fraud committed by the investment banks. How come an immoral crime is legal?

Why have so many of us been screwed by the banks, and people been left homeless, lost jobs, starve, whilst the 1% sit laughing all the way to Mars counting their bonus whilst the rest of us rot here on this decaying Earth we are so intent on destroying.
What we need is CHANGE.
Give the control of the money back to the people, and abolish the federal banking system and fractional banking. If you would like to understand a little more about this, a great website with hours of documentary research can be found here, wake up and understand what’s happening in your world, it’s empowering. Everyone can make a change, everyone can make a difference just by talking about it and learning. What in your life can you do to make change? You don’t have to run for parliament or become president (not that either of those have any worth) Really easy changes that are doable and will feel good could be recycling, reduce consuming, eating organic natural foods, use a refillable water bottle, take your own bags to store, jump out of a plane for charity, help others, care for an animal, turn your light switch off, use clean energy, grow some veggies, smile at a stranger, less desire, flush less, smile, feel, love. Know your enemy and understand them.

I grabbed a late night Hatha class, which really focused on alignment and posture. The poses were slowed down, with long holds of 8 breaths for each pose, just focusing on a simple 15 asanas. It was really beneficial to take time to adjust and align and be guided by the teacher, pulling a right hip back, pushing hips up, clawing the mat with fingers, straightening neck, so many small adjustments, isolating muscles and joints really working and ‘feeling’ your whole body. If you want to embody the teacher within yourself, here are some simple guidelines for sequencing;

1)      Always begin practice with some moments of stillness, to create focus and set the tone for what you are about to do, set an intention.

2)      Design your practice with a logical progression in mind; clear beginning, middle and closing.

3)      Build your practice in waves, simple movements progressing to more complex and then back towards simplicity.

4)      When practicing advanced postures ensure you prepare your body in warm ups for deeper openings, and leave enough time to do counter poses to encourage balance.

5)      Always take a savasana of at least 10% of the total practice, if it was a short practice then a restorative pose, or Qi gong stance, mountain pose, easy pose concentrating on breathing.

6)      Pay attention to how you FEEL, during, and after practice.

7)      Try different styles of yoga, and different classes at your studio, you can get lots of tips from the teachers about what works, and yoga is for sharing, so be grateful for the handytips!

Some tips for creating space for practicing in your life;

1)      Schedule time for it, make a date with yourself and honour it! Turn off, zen out J

2)      Start a practice group with friends or family, make it social, being responsible for another person will encourage you to get on your mat, you can explore partner yoga which is great!

3)      Invest in your practice with a mat, and you can resource the rest. A cushion (pillow) for meditation, a block (book), a bolster (big cushion). Some great chilled yoga music doesn’t always need to be mantras singing Harry Ommmmm, although these are nice, I like to combine music with some Pink Floyd (Like my nan used to practice to) or some upbeat Indian trance dance global house is great for faster Ashtanga type yoga.

4)      Create a yoga space in your home, even if its just a corner in your room, make it beautiful and inviting and your mat and props ready to go, maybe some candles and incense.

5)      Start small by committing to just 10 minutes a day, even if you just sit on your mat and breathe. Its a 10 minute gift to you, enjoy it, start planting the good energy.

6)      Broaden your definition of practice, allow your sadhana to include asana (yoga physical poses), meditation, breathing (pranayama), mantra (sound meditation) and study and read up on yogic writings. A great film to watch is ‘Yoga Unveiled’ its an amazing film about Eastern practice meets Western practices and the different combinations, and how it all started. It will lift your spirits and give you a broader knowledge of the practices you use.

My evening was spent with a night on the tiles with Claire and some other cool girls I met, swanky bars, girl chat and dancing. After way too much vino rouge I’ve drank for a long time, I met a charmingly chivalrous Frenchman (European), who was also a complete pervert. How typically French J Viva la Revolution!

I paid for it on Sunday, with my first hangover which I fed correctly with a nice hot shower to steam out the toxins, a power breakfast of avocado, yougurt, flax seed, gogi berries, acai powder, EFA oil and almonds. Of course not before I’d drank my replenishing hot lemon water! A bike ride along the beach to a workshop in town soon shook off the frogs legs and memories of walking like a kiwi girl who hasn’t worn heels forever backpacking the world. The workshop was ‘Balcony Gardening & Kitchen Herbs’run by  to teach how to grow your own veggies on your balcony maximising your space in this city of glass. I went along with another lovely new friend and fellow passionate foodie Delyth who writes a fantastic website with some amazing recipes that you can follow Being from Wales, we have a common ground and passion and sense of Brit humour. Its nice for me especially, it gets lonely out here without your family and friends so those new people you meet and gel with are precious. Its all about LOVE! Be open to helping a stranger out on the street, a new comer to your town, maybe evennnnnnnnn say hello to your neighbour??? ;-) Some tips and stuff I learnt from the workshop for anyone interested in growing your own veggies/herbs

-          Get a worm composter, and make good nutritious soil. Then you can dump all your fresh veggie remains, peels, fruit skins, seeds, egg shells, and it will make for great soil.

-          Growing your own veggies can be really nurturing to see, understand, great for kids to see things grow and learn. Its way more nutritious too!

-          Leafy greens lose 90% of their nutrition in just 48hrs!! So think about the stuff you buy in store, its more likely just dead food if its not freshly picked locally??

-          Bees are really important for pollinating food, seeds, so grow some pretty flowers to attract them too. Make sure you leave some water our for them, just not in the dogs dish.

-          You can grow tomatoes in a spiral woven sack to create more space, or make holes in a pipe and fill with soil and attach horizontally to your balcony, grow strawberries or herbs?

-          You can fill up a cloth shoe rack with soil, that you hang from doors and plant salad leaves in.

-          Spray baby plants with water rather dumping watering can on them.

-          Preserve herbs by drying, pickling.

-          Add some lavender or rose petals to honey to flavour.


You can look for a community to join that you can grow things between yourselves and help, share and learn about local energy, local farming, local money, local food and just have fun. Try if you are based here in Vancouver, but these communities are popping up everywhere. You can even part own a cow and get access to raw milk!  Check out this petition to allow farmers to sell it, The government allows guns but raw milk....what???? NO WAY!

After a really interesting afternoon, Del introduced me to amazing organic foody store and suddenly time stood still.......ORGANIC FETA SPINACH FLATBREAD PIIIIIIZZZAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA. I could hear something in the distance...Chelle? Chelle? Are you ok??..... Listen to what your body needs I remembered my teacher in nutrition school telling us as my greedy hand snatches out. I NEED PIZZA. I NEED IT BAD. I flew my bike home quicker than an ET kid, whacked the delight in the oven , stuffing my face with pizza, was just the medicine I needed. Friends that know me back home, know this nostalgic tradition well. Everything in a balance right, 80/20 is the general rule on food! The 20% nourishes your spirit!

I finished my evening with some wind down yoga, similar to the yoga that you can do in your bed. Perfect for a full belly and aching head. If you would like a detailed sequence for this, I’ll repost.

Don’t forget to leave a donation if you’ve found the tips handy. Leave a comment too, or sign up to be a free member, don’t be shy! Show some LoVe!

Thanks! (nomnomnom)

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