Tag Archives: bikram yoga

Who I am as a Teacher is…

Hello my loves!! Been gone so long! You know, I think about writing all the time, but when the inspiration doesn’t come, the inspiration doesn’t come. I often have all these lofty ideas for things I want to write about…and if they stay with me for longer than a few minutes, then chances are I am gearing up for something. 

So, here we are, Saturday afternoon, and I am inspired!! 

This morning I was in class, lying in Savasana, and I was reflecting on the teacher and the style of his teaching. All through my teaching, I have noticed how others teach and how effective it was. At times I have been more loving, generous, talky, picky, bitchy, loud, silent, strict, focussed, mean, nice, easy, carefree, specific, conscious, unconscious….the list goes on…in my teaching. I’ve been teaching almost 11 years, so I’ve been every type of teacher. I have tried on as many styles as I can think of on the path to teaching as me. I needed to borrow other people’s style and detail. I had to study how others teach, how students react to those teachers, what people say about them, how their tools worked for me…or not. I had to try it all on in order to see what fit!! I am the most at ease in my teaching now.  The way I teach is the closest to just me, Ida, teaching yoga…not “Ida The Yoga Teacher” teaching class.

Back to class. I was hearing the teacher and listening to how he used his words. I noticed how he paced his class, how he controlled the heat, the air, the doors, etc. It started me thinking…in the evolution of teaching (I am assuming this is in everything we do, but I am only referring to teaching yoga, as that is what I know 😉 ), we start by gathering as much information as we can (mostly in the form of taking other people’s classes), and start to use this information in our own teaching. We try styles of speaking, intonation, pace, timing, body language, etc. (well, I hope everyone does this…especially as a young teacher-figure out who YOU are as a teacher, try it ALL on!), and soon we start to figure out who we are as our own teacher. The goal, I understand now, is to teach from who I am and use tools that I’ve learned along the way to gain more knowledge and just keep growing my teaching with what I learn through the growth of my own practice, as well as what I learn through teaching…haha, and would not forget to mention what I learn through LIFE…forever and always evolving. 

All this made me think “who am I as a teacher?”…”who is he as a teacher?”…”who are we all as teachers?”….!?

I focus mostly on alignment and precision and eliminating the bull$#!t we all create in our own practice. Stand still, breathing normally, begin again. This morning who he was (at least how he was to me) is simple, concise, clean, easy (as in “at ease”, not that the class was not hard).

All the feedback I’ve gotten over the years, classes I’ve taken and all the different “techniques” I’ve tried and used over the years are all stepping stones and tools getting me to where I am now….I teach from who I am. I teach with the intention that everyone who leaves from my class feels INSPIRED to want to come back and try it again tomorrow. My intention is always to feel better…I want my students to always FEEL BETTER after class. Who I am as a teacher is precision. All those things work together because I tried it all on until the pieces came together. This is who I am now, it’s come together at this time like this and it feels complete and joyful. Some days I’m lower energy, and some days I’m higher…but always, who I am as a teacher is precision. My intention for ALL my students is to be INSPIRED to come back tomorrow and to FEEL BETTER. 

Try it…who are you as a teacher? Make your goal to seek out and find as many techniques as you can until you figure out who you are as a teacher. Keep your intention clean and concise and allow yourself to be you, teaching yoga, with all the tools you have learned along the way…and will continue to learn…forever and always evolving. 

That’s all I got this sunny Saturday, yogis!! Felix and I are gonna go head to meet our pack and get some exercise and vitamin D!! Have a wonderful weekend!

Lots of love,

Ida xx


Honesty trumps everything. Thoughts on my ten year anniversary!

Hello Kittens!

I am 5 days until the anniversary of teaching my very first yoga class. Bikram says it takes 10 years to become a teacher. On June 7th, it will be ten years since I taught my first class. May 31st was the ten year anniversary of my graduation. Whew. What a ride!!

If you asked me ten years ago today what I would be doing now…well, I’m sure teaching would be in the mix, as I was at teacher training, but I’m not sure I could have even fathomed where my job, my life, my yoga would have taken me, and all the things I would learn in the process.

Do you ever notice that parents always think their kids are the smartest kids? We have the opportunity, as adults, to actually witness small beings learning and experiencing new things pretty well every moment of their lives!! We, as adults, have learned it all, experienced it all, so we take the normal stuff for granted. Ever really allow yourself to experience the sourness of a lemon as though for the first time? How about looking at a flower, or a leaf, as though seeing the delicateness of the petals and the amazing seamlessness of how the colours blend into each other?…You get the picture. As we grow, we learn. Once we get to a certain age, we learn how to take care of ourselves, we have some life experiences, get into a bit of trouble and figure it out, have to make a couple choices, relationships, moving, living alone…etc…after we gain some life experience, we think we pretty well know…everything…right? So, our parents and other people around us continue to try to parent us and give us advice, without it seeming like advice, and take heed and charge forward and continue to gain life experience. Then, as we get this experience, we start to see things about ourselves, patterns, behaviours etc. We start to see how much we thought we knew “back then” and how much we really didn’t know…which means as much as we think we know now, it must mean that we still don’t actually know anything because we are only so little into our lives and development (but at least now we are wise enough to see that we still have so much more to learn and experience! Ha!). One of my favourite ideas that I heard way back in a different part of my life, is this…there are a bunch of things that we know we know (I know how to cook, do yoga, sing, teach, drive, etc etc), and then there are a bunch of things that we know we DON’T know (I don’t know how to fly a plane, play the guitar, tap dance, build a car, etc etc)…and then there is the category of the things you DON’T KNOW YOU DON’T KNOW…IMAGINE IT! There are so many things I don’t know I don’t know, so I don’t even know that I want to know them or am yet to even discover them!! So, you see, the learning and experiencing is endless!!

OK, so here I sit, 5 days from the ten year anniversary from teaching my first class and I have been having floods of emotion and memories. I have never done anything for TEN years in a row! I have been remembering classes taught and classes taken. I have been remembering times of loving what I was doing and times of not loving it. Times of feeling I was in the right place and times of wondering what the hell I was doing. I have had moments and hours of physical strength and physical weakness, emotional strength and emotional weakness. I remember times of true pure happiness and bliss standing on a podium leading students…and I have also felt completely sad, frustrated, fearful, nervous, excited, joyful, scared, inspired…I can quite honestly say, in my now ten years of teaching this yoga, I have experienced every part of who I am in that yoga room, on the podiums of all the many schools and beaches and grassy yards and living rooms and poolsides and dreams that I have had the opportunity to teach a class in.

I have had many people say many things about the way I teach class, and about me because of it. I have had a couple of brutally honest things said to me through this process, but that is for another post. I will say this…the other day a student revealed to me (when talking about me having taught for 10 years), that I open the door more now.

It’s true. I do open the door more. And it’s true all the things people have said to me and about me. It’s true I’m tough. It’s true my class is tough. It’s true you will work hard in my class…if you want to. And it’s true I’m loving and caring and honest. In fact, all I need to say is I’m honest. Right? Honest is all of those things wrapped up together! To honestly teach something to someone from an honest place…isn’t that pretty well all things we could be all wrapped up in one big ball of awesomeness that sometimes hurts your feelings or stings the Ego a little…and it also lifts you up and fills your bucket and maybe strokes your Ego just a little. But it’s real and it’s true and it’s all of us. The parts we like and love and admire as well as the parts we hate and despise and are embarrassed of.

So, in my ten years of teaching yoga, I can honestly say that I have learned
So, in the past ten years, the biggest thing I have learned is

Huh. Apparently I have learned too many things and had too many life lessons and character building experiences that I can’t narrow it down. That was the last 10 years…and now, I am so excited to see what I can get up to in the NEXT 10 years!!

Until then, thank you to everyone. Seriously. Thanks. We’re all here at the same time, we might as well help eachother out!!

Love,
Ida xx

5.31.03-6.2.13 Ten Years!

5.31.03-6.2.13 Ten Years!


Hello my loves!!

Last week I spent some time working on an email interview with a fab woman I know, and have known for some years now (she said since 2005!), Jennifer Lee, for (one of) her website, Peace and Hotness. Jen opened Bikram Yoga Whiterock (a studio that ranks up in my top 5 I’ve been to…it’s on the second floor, has an amazing view of the ocean in the distance, is almost all windows and catches some AH-MAZE-ING sun/sky shows!), back many years ago, but is constantly evolving (oh gosh I LOVE all the stuff Jen has been up to lately!! Go check out one of her OTHER projects…The Vegan Project) and now has so many other things on the go, she no longer owns the studio but has now given birth to some more relevant to her now passions!! Seriously, go check out her blog/action, she’s a total inspiration. Love you Jen xx

Jennifer Lee Boyle. Beauty.

Jennifer Lee Boyle. Beauty.

So, anyhow, here is the interview. Jennifer had been specific with me not to answer as the yoga teacher, not answering what my students need to hear but simply and from my heart. Well, I realised that my integrity is strong, the answers I gave happen to be the things I would (and do!) say to my students. I liked that I thought about it as I wrote my answers, and I like that I am who I am…with anyone and everyone.

Have a read, it’s a good one 😉
How Ida Ripley Lives With Pleasure + Ease – MuseDays

Love and giggles, have a wonderful day, yogis!!
-Ida xx


Photo Shoot…yup, mine…

Good afternoon.

I’ve been home now almost 3 weeks…and for the first bit I was already getting ansty about being in one place for so long. This is now the longest I have been anywhere since last December…so, it took some time to settle down and relax into being home. I have been working on all the “housekeeping” things I’ve been putting on the back burner over the past six months…all that stuff that isn’t hard to do but takes time and attention. It’s been awesome, I’ve been ticking things off the list and am now feeling so much lighter about everything…so, now when I take off again I won’t have those nagging chores weighing me down!!

One of the things that was on my list of things to do was get some new yoga photos done. Just as the Universe works, I had it in my mind and I was contacted and connected with a wonderful photog here in Victoria, Myah Dhillon. Myah was a student at the Western Academy of Photography. I got together with Myah so she could get more experience for her school work and portfolio and I could get some new wonderful photos for myself.

Myah was great. She was gracious and clear. She let me do whatever I wanted as well as directed me a bit to get some shots she wanted…it was a perfect partnership!

Anyhow, if you need photos for anything, I can connect you with Myah…here or in Vancouver…over the summer…after that she moves to Toronto to start her career!!

OK…onto the photos. Here are a few of my favs. I have some that are simple and some which are more artsy..always good to have a combo, don’t you think??

Pidgeon set up

Standing head to knee…with a smile!

Standing Splits

Love this picture! Fish Pose

Determination. Pidgeon close up

I love having photos of my yoga practice…and this was fun to do because they are a little on the art side so are beautiful as well as cool.

See you soon, Yogis.
Love,
Ida


Excuse me, but what time zone am I in anyhow?

Hello my puppies!

I just got back to Victoria from a fantastic trip away…I was in Athen, Georgia, and then in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The whole trip reminded me…once again…how blessed I am and how much I love what I do.

In Athens my friend Jolin is getting the community flexi and hot in a beautiful new Bikram Yoga Athens which she just opened last December. I first met Jolin last summer in Birmingham, Alabama, and am so happy I got to her studio last week! Not only is the studio gor-geous, but so full of love and possibility, it’s contagious. As the studio is so new, there were may new students there…many people who have just started practicing-several who practiced at other studios, but a good portion of them are just starting their Bikram practice. I love working with people who have a good handle on their bodies already, people who have been practicing for years, people who I can help with small details and adjustments…but honestly, there is nothing like the look in a person’s eye and the smile on a person’s face when he or she thinks she has no chance in ever doing something and together we find something new, surpass an old belief about herself and her body and capabilities…seriously, there is nothing like it.
The weekend was full and bursting with wonderful people and food and visiting and yoga and sunshine and and and and. Jolin even had a little bowl of raw treats and goodies beside my bed for me to snack on through the weekend…seriously adorable.

After I left Athens, I flew up to Winnipeg, MA for a week of classes and yogis and friends…all ending with judging the first Manitoba Hatha Yoga Competition.
Let me start by saying that I LOVE the Winnipeg Bikram community! I have been to Winnipeg two other times and always have such a great time there…in and out of the yoga room. To be honest, I haven’t seen a whole lot of the city, but a city is really made by the people in it…right?!
This trip I was staying with my friends, Amanda and Kevin. They own Stafford Street Hot Yoga. Not only do they run a tight ship, teaching fab true to form Bikram yoga, but they have a huge kitchen called Ume’s Kitchen and lounge area for yogis to hang out, eat good food and visit before and after classes. They make smoothies, teas and “love buns” on Fridays and Saturdays and on special occasions they bring in people to make delicious meals.

I came in to Winnipeg when I did mostly to get a chance to work a bit with some of the competitors. The competitors at SSHY had been working on their routines relentlessly for weeks every day before and after classes in the lobby of the studio. Everyone knew what they were doing, sometimes watched, sometimes stepped over them on the way to the changerooms…the competitors supported eachother, timed eachother and gave eachother feedback and corrections. What a cute group they were! I slid in, in the end, to provide a little bit of polishing for them, but they did so much work before I got there.

On Sunday we had a sold out house (the theatre sat 250 and apparently they had to turn away 75 people at the door!). What a great first go in Manitoba!!

And, besides all the yoga, I got to go to the Ten Spa! Its a beautiful new spa in the newly redone Fort Garry Hotel in dt Winnipeg. When you go, you must go early and sit in the steam room and shower in the mint mist and lounge in your fluffy white robe and eat treats and sip tea…seriously, a little vacation in the middle of your life at any time!

AND, I got to spend time with Amanda and Kevin and their amazing new boy, Eyvi. What a delight he is…there really is nothing like being with a small human to make you realize the wonder of the world!


Shameless Self Amazement…

Hello my loves~
I had to share this photo with you because I, honestly, cannot believe it. I know I wrote about advanced class and the shifts and changes that have been occurring for me over the past few months, but it STILL amazes me…and this wheel pose is something that I’ve been *working* (I practice it during advanced class, but not every day and I don’t work on it very *hard*…) on over the years and on Sunday I had a big breakthrough.

Before this picture was taken, I did the further expression of the posture (brought my chest to the floor and looked through my feet) for the SECOND time ever…the first time was a couple years ago and I got kind of stuck (too much on my neck rather than on my chest) so have had a tinsy bit of fear about doing it again….honestly, I think I had a bit of dis-belief in myself (I know, I know, haven’t I ALWAYS said that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE??!!)…

So…here’s the question…why was I *suddenly* able to do these postures on Sunday? I said to myself, “why not”?

That’s all.

That is the whole story. I just made up my mind and realised that I can…even if I hadn’t yet, I already knew I could. Done deal.

Open Your Heart


Yoga isn’t just about Relaxation…and other interesting tidbits

Good morning my loves! It’s another grey morning out there, but the rain seems to have stopped for now and even that seems a relief.

I just watched a quickie video interview with Rajashree (Choudhury) and the final word from the new caster was something about being relaxed for the next segment. While I FULLY agree that yoga DOES create relaxation in the body/mind/spirit, I think it is an energizer in those areas as well…don’t you think? I started doing this practice (Bikram Yoga) in the summer of 2000. I did it because a couple friends recommended it to me. I had been doing other yoga at the community center and this sounded interesting (btw, I don’t even think either of them mentioned it was HOT…but maybe I just don’t remember correctly). I have been doing this practice of yoga for over 11 years and have been teaching for almost 9. I could not even begin to tell you the amount of classes I’ve taken or taught over those years.

I will tell you this, though, I have had times of more yoga and less yoga and what I have come to believe and know in my head heart and soul is that whatever you decide for you in your practice is what is right for you in your practice. There are challenges going on all over the world right now…30/60/YEAR! challenges…yogis who have decided to do a challenge because it’s happening, or because a friend is doing it or because they want to lose weight or or or. I have done many a challenge in my years and after the last 30 day I did I decided I would not do one again (that was almost 2 years ago). I found myself in that challenge begrudging the yoga and my HAVING to go to class. WHY WOULD I WANT TO EVER HATE HAVING TO GO TO CLASS?? I know, the challenge is to show you how strong you are and how in the face of adversity you really CAN do something and give you a sense of accomplishment etc etc…and so many other things it can give/show you. But when I found myself on days being angry about going to class I decided then and there that I don’t ever want to go to the yoga room feeling angry that I’m there or wishing I wasn’t…

Yoga is about whatever you want it to be about. On the surface it is so good for the physical body. It stretches the whole body, the spine, and helps to counteract the effects of daily life (the sitting, the carrying, the stress and tension we hold…). As you practice more you start to realise the mental benefits of clearer thinking, increased relaxation, quieter mind, better judgement and/or choices…and the list goes on. A few months ago there were a string of articles about how yoga isn’t actually good for your back and body. Isn’t that the truth about anything and everything if practiced incorrectly or for the wrong reasons (people often refer to the people who push themselves to do more than the body will allow or is willing and ready to do as ego driven…this includes yogis and all athletes alike…come to think of it the same goes for people driven in all areas of life…alas, that is for another post). For me now (and, don’t get me wrong, I have done many postures and things with my body at a time that my body was maybe not ready to do but I did it anyhow…and I’ve had many messages from my body that it’s had enough. Some pains I feel and have felt are movement and healing and some are self-infliced. I totally get that now and understand the difference between ego-ing into postures and practicing yoga…) yoga is truly about the union. The coming together of the body, mind and spirit. I spend my time in the yoga room reminding myself to enjoy this life and enjoy this body enjoy the sensations I’m feeling because I CAN feel them! Most of us spend our entire lives trying to find this union and see only glimpses of it…but isn’t that the fun in life?