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Progress...5 Months of Yoga

Posted May 21 2009 12:00am

Only when you can be extremely pliable and soft, can you be extremely hard and strong

- zen proverb

I never thought I could do it. Seriously. Crow pose? That? Hunh? You want me to put my knees where? So, when I first started yoga, 5 months ago now, I sucked. I was angry and I sucked. I have always been sort of athletic, but this was hard! And yesterday, I noticed change, progress. Yesterday, my teacher Fran lead us to crow pose and I didn't even think twice. I went into it and held it for several glorious breaths. I'm getting stronger. I feel it. I no longer have acid reflux, carpal tunnel and my feet are different, they are stronger and my toes are all facing the same direction. In 5 months! I've also learned to breathe, slow down, and listen to my body.

I found two great teachers. One is Fran, an amazingly gentle, patient and well trained teacher at my gym. She encourages me to find the openings in my body, and to maintain a softness (I"m used to muscling through everything). Her class is not competitive, but it's hard. I am always pouring sweating after about 3 minutes. She teaches Anusara yoga.

And then there is Beryl Bender Birch. She literally wrote the book on Power Yoga. She is one of the leaders of the yoga movement in America. I attended an Ashtanga yoga training with her a few months back. "Ashtanga yoga is a system of yoga transmitted to the modern world by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. This method of yoga involves synchronizing the breath with a progressive series of postures—a process producing intense internal heat and a profuse, purifying sweat that detoxifies muscles and organs. The result is improved circulation, a light and strong body, and a calm mind." I took a liking to Beryl (after she ordered a steak at a table full of vegetarians), she took a liking to me and BAM, I had a second teacher. I'm doing an intensive week long training in the mountains at Omega Institute with her in July and then going to Belize in the winter.

I originally set a GirlTrek goal to be certified as a yoga instructor by the end of the summer. What I've learned is that yoga is a lifestyle...a practice. A more appropriate goal is to learn to master my practice first. Beryl says "I can't teach you how to be a yoga teacher, your teaching comes out of your practice. If you don't have a practice, you have no business teaching others how to have a practice. You have to teach by example." (She talks about it here)

That is what GirlTrek is all about, teaching girls to be healthy by becoming healthy women.

I am still hoping to become an instructor - in due time. It will stay on my goal page until it happens. Until then, I'm training for the 1/2 marathon in September with the GirlTrek Team.

Pray for me,

- Moe
P.S. As you can see in the picture, I'm not a small girl. I have a heavy ummm...trunk. Anyway, I took this picture for you because I couldn't find a picture on google of a woman of color doing this freaking yoga pose.



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