Teaching Yoga

Teaching yoga is like standing on one leg and hopping, while rubbing your tummy with your left hand, tapping your head with your right hand, at the same time as telling the class to do the same thing with different hands to what you are currently using.

In addition to this you are acting the conductor to a perfect symphony and must never miss a beat, never be out of time! Listen to the music! Feel the music! BE the music!

Your mouth is saying what you already planned to do with your students, but like a speaker on a stage there is a distortion, a delay, so you must allow for that. You must give the class time to catch up.

It’s also an exchange. A transfer.

You are the current of electricity and you are also the brakes of the car. You are the mover, but you are also constantly holding in your awareness where your students are, what they need.

It is the performance of a life time! Every damn class!

But it’s not for you.

So it’s your students’ day! Their time!

And you want so very much for them. You want them to see the world through your eyes, but you know that to try and explain your world would be to infringe on theirs, to take away their amazing journey of discovery!

So you must hold back, hold back, wait. A hint here, a nudge there.

And never forget a line… Inhale, hands to the mats, Exhale bend your arms 90 degrees elbows in… Inhale… Exhale.

You hold their experience in your hands.

And you do this KNOWING, that you are simply not good enough.

While DEFIANTLY CHOOSING… not to care that you know this.

‘If not me,

than who?’

This profound act of self expression, self exposure, self sacrifice (not with ‘bad’ connotations), trust. .. And love.

Sat Nam

Namaste

– ❤ Tam

 

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Don’t let your movement box shrink!

I follow this amazing gymnast on Instagram. (#movementbox).

He has a feed called ‘movement box’. And every day he says don’t let your movement box shrink, followed by an assortment of vids of beautiful contortions of the body.

I follow this man for my belief in his shared joy in finding out the incredible possibilities of the human body and human will, when combined.

I  of course strive to be half as good at him (aim for the stars, reach the sky, love the sky!), but I also pride myself in knowing that in my own way, I am also good at the things he does.

For example: I am also an ideas person. And I also find a primal sort of joy in pushing my body to its limits and beyond without hurting myself.

But that is not what I want to write about today.

His message is so very powerful! So powerful indeed!

Maybe you are one of those people who finds it easy to be self motivated to do the things you need to do each day. Those things that make your heart sing but terrify you so much at the same time. Those things.

If that’s you. Then, salute! You’re amazing. I’m so jealous. Please tell me your secret so I can share it with everyone I meet. And I know there are those wonderful full heart resilient people out there. I have been lucky enough to meet a few, and lucky enough to have read some of their books. Like Brene Brown for example… That woman has done the work! She really has! She gives new meaning to the expression ‘wear your heart on your sleeve’! I am currently, for the third time, reading her book, ‘The Gifts of Imperfection‘, hoping that some of her spirit will sort of, rub off on me…

Life is more… ‘Stop and starty’, for me, than smooth going.

I sort of have bouts of extreme productivity creativity and stress. And then sort of bouts of inactivity, soul searching, and sometimes darkness and even depression. (Note: I do NOT advocate the medical model of depression, but the word is still the best way to describe the human experience that perhaps we all know quite a bit about).

It’s during these latter times that I have to dig deep and watch for my warning signs, take note of new warning signs, look after myself, and most of all, dig into my Toolbox!

Obvious examples of this Toolbox include mindfulness, meditation, creative outlets, connection with others, yoga, mantra, laughing, having fun, and keeping up with the chores!

But another less obvious one is – you guessed it- the Instagram inspired genius of:

‘Don’t let your movement box shrink!!!’

It’s during these times when some days I don’t particularly maybe want to get out of bed, or life just seems too hard maybe, that I have learned to set tiny attainable daily goals for myself. Then ‘hold’ there…

Grow the movement box a tiny bit…

Then set some more goals.. Move into them, grow that little bit more…

And so on.

In other words?

Don’t let the things that were easy for you yesterday, become hard for you tomorrow.

Don’t let all the things you worked on during the productive wave in your life slip away… If you can help it.

A concrete example?

Have you ever started from scratch in yoga or any form of exercise? After a few months of little to no practice, either because of life circumstances or illness or just ‘not wanting to anymore!!!’?

I have. So many times…

And man, did my movement box shrink! Physically, emotionally, literally, figuratively… Everything!

And growing that movement box back does not come without its fair share of sweat and tears.. and even prayers… whatever your interpretation of those words are.

Okay.

I want to say one thing extra.

Because I really believe this. ..

There is something that ‘sticks’…

Through the waves and flow of life, the ups and downs, and ins and outs.

The productive, and the quieter times.
.

Something sticks.

Just by living, and just breathing even! I believe it’s sort of part of our human right of passage that this is just a given. Life can have hard times. Breathing is enough.

So while not letting that movement box shrink is a hard lesson I have learned if I don’t want the bother of clawing my way out of a tight spot, yet again…

Those things that stick, are forever. Nothing is for nothing. Every step counts.

I’m sure Mr Movement Box understands this more than most!

Keep moving, keep showing up. Keep learning.

Don’t let your movement box shrink, if at all possible. And also…

Know that Ginger, the soft root, good for tea and many other things, will grow right on through the hard plastic container you plant it in, if you neglect to re pot it ….

And know that there is NO TIME for using this tool, except ‘now’…

No really! 😀

There isn’t.

♡ Tam

Karma…

Karma…

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This word has come to mean so many things that there really is no way to start to explain it..

If you… Did something in your past life, right? Then… It’s about energy, right? You know. Every action has an equal reaction… So… You know. Those bad, naughty things you did that were just not right, they come back to bite you in the butt, right?

‘Oh but what about what I do to someone else? Does it make me a bad person if I tell someone off for being mean to me…?’

Oh no! That’s their karma, see!

So if I get sick, or some horror happened to me, I must have been a criminal in my past life… Or if a child has a horrible parent… Then that child deserves it, right?? Because that child MUST have been a horrible parent in THEIR past life.

It’s a lesson that child needs to learn.. So that the child can move past the karma and… Move on and ‘unblock’ themselves so that they can be like god… So that they can reach the kingdom of heaven… Ultimate bliss… Nirvana…

It’s like… Oooh… It’s like original sin! Yes. That’s what karma is. Your past stuff that you are born with… I know how this works. That is why there are horrors in the world. That is why innocent people get hurt…

(Cos nobody ever thinks about or talks about GOOD karma, not really…)

Or maybe…

Hmmmm.

The Sanskrit word karma is said to mean ‘action’. Karma is your action. You are action. You are karma. You and karma and not separate… So I get it… Everything I do, and everything I have done, am doing, will do… Basically… Everything that I could think of as ‘me’ is karma…

Wow.

What a powerful word.

It’s all these things… Its so much more. But it’s so simple…

What do I think?

I love this word! I love Sanskrit! I love yoga! I love every single different interpretation of this concept and this word…

But what do I think??

I like to think of karma as where I’m at, right now, in this moment. I am a moving thing. I am an action. I am not a sitting still this. I can’t be still. That’s impossible. My cells are moving, working, all the time.

And if something happens that I think is ‘bad’… Well, maybe it is and maybe it isn’t. Maybe it’s good for me and maybe it’s not. I don’t think judging is helpful.

But karma… Karma is beautiful. Karma is the flower that grows because I planted it. Karma is the lessons I need to learn so that I can have more fun! Karma is there to help me wake up and pay attention! It’s the neon red light pointing at my head saying to the universe to come and get me! I’m not afraid anymore!

It’s this… And it’s nothing.

It’s not science.

It’s a beautiful word I can use to explain the explainable… Just like all words really…

Here’s me! All action! All karma!

And it’s a funny thing once you begin to pay attention…

What happens then is, well….

I can’t think of a better word to describe that, other than simply…

Magic.

❤ Tam.

 

How to make your own yoga mat spray in 2 easy steps:

1. Buy yoga mat spray from Wellness Warehouse.

1a. Run out of spray from Wellness Warehouse and think carefully about spending that amount of money on something you can make yourself.

1b. Still undecided, visit  Wellness Warehouse again… ‘Maybe they’ll have a cheaper one this time…’

1c. Arrive at Wellness Warehouse. ‘Oh good, they’re out of stock! It’s fate! The universe is telling me to make my own yoga mat spray.’

1d. Procrastinate for another week. ‘My mat doesn’t reeaaally need yoga mat spray..  it’s a LUXURY. I can go without yoga mat spray…’

1e. Go to the V & A Waterfront and visit every ‘smelly stuff’ store and ask them if they have essential oils.

1f. Stare at the 967 different essential oils for at least one hour per store.

1g. Go back to Wellness Warehouse.  ‘Oh! They have essential oils here too!’

1h. Open every ‘tester’ and then smell like a Dutch spring flower garden for the rest of the whole day.

1i. Ask google about some of the names of essential oils you remember.

1j. Ask google ‘how to make homemade yoga mat spray’.

1k. Give up because there are TOO MANY CHOICES!!!! and then,

1l. Ask google what the ingredients in your now empty bottle of yoga mat spray do.

1m. Resolve to get those essential oils because, after all, you KNOW you like those ones.

1n. Go back to Wellness Warehouse happy with your decision. ‘Phew! !’

1o. Find that the three essential oils you chose, and only those three, are now sold out.

1p. Pick 3 others at random and head to the till as fast as possible.

1q. Realise at the till that you just spent WAY more money on the oils than you would have on the yoga mat spray.

.

2. Pour water into your empty yoga mat spray bottle, add some random drops of essential oils, and some epsom salts as an emulsifier, and shake well. Remember not to spill the water, it’s Cape Town!

Namaste!

 

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– ❤

Bringing it back..

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So you go on a five week adventure to experience ‘yoga in practice’. Out in the real world! In Europe, no less.

You cross oceans and skies and mountains. You see cities and new faces and Autumn trees in Spring. Well spring for me down here in the south…

You learn about trains and planes and automobiles. Literally. Over and over…

Yes, indeed! What a good strong practice this is!

You learn about foreign food and other people’s homes and beds. You learn about the way others live and you are interested and overwhelmed with joy and wonder and exhaustion….

And you learn about sore feet and travel blisters and then you learn about travel callus as well.

You learn about feeling safe walking at night and running and cycling in the rain. And you meet travelling musicians, and stare at  profoundly beautiful artwork and buildings until your travel partner gets super annoyed that you are not concentrating on conversation…

You learn to relax and pull up some serious mula banda, yes it REALLY HELPS, in a crowded metropolis like London. You learn… You watch your emotions swirl around and change as you face unfamiliar territory day after day, night after night… Over and over and over…

Oh man! What an authentic yoga experience! True yoga! Union. Union with god, your true self… Union with whatever it is you want to call it.

Face to face with unlimited potential simply by force of being waaaaay out of you comfort zone…

But Asana….?

Oh my god, who has time to practice asana on holiday!

So here I am, back for a half a week. Week one of ‘getting back into it’ is in full flow.

Such as it is…

My arms are weak. My tummy is well covered from all the spoiling I got from wonderful friends and family along the way. My posture has reverted back to my old slouch. My heart is less open! I’ve lost inches of height, I’m sure of it!

I can still reach my toes…. If I bend my knees… deeply.

What a wonderful opportunity!

Now I can experience fully what my new students will experience, starting out. I can learn the tiny bits and pieces of my body all over again. I can find those little intricate muscles and sensations that come with regular practice..

I can learn… About discipline.

What does discipline mean to you?

To me it means… Showing up. Again and again… And trusting that things will work out. While finding humour and joy in the process. Even though the monkey mind has a  LOT to say. Then finding that funny too.

Of course… I am human. The monkey mind is not going away. I am not yet enlightened. And honestly, I don’t think being enlightened works that way anyway…  I have not reached ‘nirvana’. I have not found ultimate bliss.

I cry. I feel pain. I laugh. I feel fear…. So much fear…

I look in the mirror sometimes and I know the thought will come… The thought that most, I think, can well identify with…

‘Oh my god, I’m so FAT!’ I think.

I pull up my shirt and stick out my belly and give it a good stare.

‘Oh my god! I have no muscle! My legs and arms look like pieces of wet spaghetti hanging off a squishy, round ball of fat in the middle! What was I thinking…’

But then I notice that, well. My body is still healthy. And actually.. Well… I love my body. Even though it does not represent the exactly ridiculous high standards I have set for the poor thing after five weeks of almost No asana practice!

What a great body I have. So forgiving! I can learn from it. It forgives me for my treatment of it, so I can forgive myself too.

‘Sorry body, you’re beautiful. Just as you are! Even if I never practice asana ever again! You will always be beautiful, to me!’

So then, I have to smile, and laugh as I get back on my mat for the first time, as I get near the end of my first private Jivamukti practice in just under five weeks. Rolling my legs over my head and supporting my back. I reach my feet to the ceiling… Salamba Sarvangasana! Supported shoulder stand.

There’s my belly. I breathe deeeeply into that belly and watching it grow and then shrink as the air flows in, and then out of my lungs again.

I may not have the strength yet to feel all those tiny little wonders that one can feel from asana practice… But I trust, it will come.

And the journey will be an adventure!

Welcome home, physical body. So good to practice with you again! I missed you so much!

With Love,

-Tammy