Tag Archives: bikram

Intention Leads us to Education (growing as a yoga teacher)

Hello sweet yogis!

I am not sure if I have ever mentioned that I have some kind of a physically-photographic memory for corrections and feedback. Does that make sense? I think I remember every single correction I have ever gotten in class since I started practicing. When I get a correction, I store it away, and it comes up every time I do the posture so that I use repetition to learn it until I do it without having to think about it. Sometimes this takes one class, sometimes it takes one year (you get where I’m going).

I have the same memory for teaching feedback. I am pretty sure I remember and recall every correction and “piece of feedback” (can I say that?) I have ever gotten since I started teaching in 2003. I remember it, store it away and, like so often in life, only use it when I am ready…when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.

Amongst us teachers, “feedback” can be traumatic, useful, mysterious and/or somewhat of a miracle!!! In any case, it’s usually nerve-wracking to get it. Feedback involves another teacher whom you respect taking your class and you knowing the whole time that they are listening intently to (ugh, and silently judging) you. Haha, right??!! I jest about the judging, but it can feel that way, can’t it? It has been very scary to have teachers whom I respect take my class. At every level we want to be peers, and yet we all have feelings of insecurity, doubt and being not good enough. I have been very fortunate over the years of my teaching career to teach at many schools around the world, and teach at teacher trainings and advanced seminars. I have been exposed to many esteemed teachers taking my class. It’s been great, I have learned from every single teacher who has given me feedback. Sometimes its hard to stomach or it’s hard to hear, because sometimes feedback is negative. Besides hearing something like you flap your arm weirdly or you are the worst teacher ever, we sometimes we have to get feedback that is EVEN WORSE (I am joking, of course, because how can someone tell you you are the worst teacher ever? Ha, ridiculous, and who cares if you flap your arm, you were probably nervous). Receiving news that a student complained about me has been some of my saddest times as a teacher. As my mother says, all information is good information, however, so when I have gotten feedback that a student felt somehow shamed or put down in my class, I know that not all factors led solely to me and my behaviour, but my actions or words created the space for someone to feel badly. Definitely not my goal, so has lead me to acknowledge and correct. However, getting POSITIVE feedback from a student that they learned something, that I was able to help them self-realise in some way is the best feedback ever. Over the years, I have had a great chance to see how my words land on other people because I have been watching it happen so closely for so long.

I used to give really specific feedback, because that is how I got it. I used to give long pages of feedback to teachers with everything from sequencing of dialogue within the postures to suggesting ways for them to work on body language and learning to stand still. It’s all important, right? In order to be good at something, you must understand and effectively execute each and every part of it…notice I did not say that you have to be the best at everything…? I said, in order to be good at something you must understand and effectively execute each and every part of that thing. So, in our case, in order to be good yoga teachers, we need to understand and be able to effectively execute not only the postures, but be in control of our teacher’s mind, body, emotions. You can’t teach your students to stand still when you can’t stand still yourself, and you can’t teach your students to keep pushing themselves to become a little stronger or a little more flexible or a try a little harder if you yourself are not doing that AS A TEACHER. Your yoga asana practice is important for you for however it’s important, and it shows up in your life however it shows up, but your TEACHING IS ALSO A PRACTICE. Your time on the podium is growing and changing just as much as your time spent on your yoga mat, and it deserves and needs just as much time pushing and exploring and learning as means to forward motion and evolution.

Fast-forward to now and the kind of feedback I get to talk about with teachers. I am blessed to work on a day to day basis with a group of gracious and wonderful yogis who have been doing yoga together for many many years! It’s family, isn’t it? I don’t often give nit-picky feedback regarding the words of the dialogue because instead, I get to have conversations about intention of us on a bigger level as teachers and how we are here to create big change in big ways, and how these postures are teaching us the mechanics of the human body as well as the power of our minds! Of COURSE, sometimes I still pull out my dialogue and we talk about that, because the dialogue is the best tool to BEGIN TO LEARN to speak directly to the physical body, in my opinion…I love to fit the body perfectly into the words and lines of the dialogue exactly like a puzzle, and it never ceases to warm my heart to see the relaxation someone feels when everything goes in the correct place and, voila, feels like perfection.

So how do we continue to learn and grow as teachers…where do we find “continuing education”? As Bikram yoga teachers we are handed very little information about what happens through the years AFTER teacher training, and how to stay fresh with what we do. (After post edit* I made a choice not to talk about going back to TT as our continuing education…I spent many years visiting TT and learned sooo much! The opportunity to learn and hang out with so many teachers, and Bikram, Raj, Emmy, Jim, Lynn, Diane…you know…was over the years so amazing for me. But it’s not always an option to travel around the world and take time off life etc to be able to spend a week doing posture clinics. What I wanted to talk about here was what ELSE can we do to keep learning and being inspired…5 years of teaching, 8 years of teaching, 10 years of teaching…). We are required to re-certify every three years, but for many the re-certification isn’t a priority…at least not after you’ve done one or two. So how do we keep learning? Do we go and take other styles of yoga teacher trainings to learn from other teachers, and then begin to teach something different? How about melding a little of this with a little of that and making something “Hot and Half the Time”? Some teachers fall away because they get bored, some because they can’t pay the bills…some keep doing it the same way everyday for years and years, and some find ways to further grow as a teacher and create freshness and inspiration for themselves. It’s challenging to stay excited and inspired as teachers, isn’t it?

Although I am not a big feedback session giver anymore (in the sense that I don’t often take someone’s class specifically with the intention that I will sit down and give them FEEDBACK), I L.O.V.E talking about yoga and teaching and think this is one of the best ways to be inspired as teachers.  I am always happy to talk to anyone about their class and I am happy to give feedback in the sense that I can tell you if I thought what you are doing is effective, and if not then give you some suggestions on what to try to be more effective. Because that is the goal, to be effective at what we do. Everyone has different goals for themselves, so effectiveness is relative in regards to our students being successful. Our goals and intentions as teachers need to be open and encompassing of each student’s goals for themselves, not what we think they need to accomplish in the class. People come to us to learn yoga, and we are there to teach them yoga. Whatever you believe is in the realm of yoga is up to you, but in my opinion, in a Bikram class our job is to teach the asanas, and through that they will learn their own self realization (but don’t tell your students that too soon, or it might scare the newbies off! 😉 ). To be more effective is to have people learn to connect with themselves through the postures, I think. The words and directions of the dialogue are the starting tool, and your strongest and most reliable bridge from you to your students in the yoga room. Through that connection, you learn to connect to their bodies, so they can connect to their bodies, so they can connect to their minds. As you teach, you learn that there are many ways to instruct and teach, and that there are many paths and lessons that we guide our students through…but it starts by bringing their toes and heels together and looking in the mirror, doesn’t it?

All that being said, education is everywhere! You might think that the only way to get more education is to take another training and become a teacher that has more openness and freedom to teach a variety of styles of yoga. Awesome if that works for you. The way that we are taught to teach Bikram Yoga specifically is very precise. It has to be. Bikram is teaching several hundred people in a short time to teach yoga…he developed a way to do it that has served him (and us) for many years. As Bikram Yoga teachers, we are taught to look at the bodies and say the words, to have a conversation with our students with only their bodies to respond. We are trained to be clear, concise, specific, detailed and direct. We are trained well, at a beginning level, as beginner teachers. What we do with our knowledge after we get it is up to us. Jump back to the teachers who fall away…boredom, finances, politics amongst yoga studios…what are they missing after training that causes them to lose the drive that brought them there in the first place? Connection. Inspiration. Knowledge. Deeper understanding of not only someone else’s journey, but also our own. We must be self driven and determined in our own ways to continue our learning and education. We are very lucky that if we want knowledge, we can get knowledge, it is everywhere and extremely available at our fingertips. There are no “Long Term Teaching of Bikram Yoga” books (hmmm…note to self), but there are rules and suggestions about teaching everywhere. Just because you aren’t taking a Bikram Yoga specific workshop, doesn’t mean that the rules about learning and teaching don’t apply to your job teaching. Just because you are taking a class or watching a video of a posture that you don’t teach in a class, it doesn’t mean that you can’t learn from the teachers’ pace, timing and tone of voice as they instruct. And, just because there isn’t anyone (is there?) that is on TED talks talking about Bikram yoga, it doesn’t mean that all the talks on leadership and teaching and connection aren’t helpful for you to learn ways to guide your students and help you gain confidence…it’s ALL HELPFUL and it’s ALL EDUCATION!

So…all that being said…here is what I would tell you as the first thing to think about in your teaching, I don’t even need to take your class. Before you even walk into the yoga room, ask yourself, “what is my intention?”. Through your intention you can plan your actions. With your intent clear, the tools that you have collected along your path are ready and available as needed because that is their job…you acquired these tid bits and tools through your own personal continuing education, and when you are clear why you are there, they will make themselves available…but you have to build your collection, don’t you?

Intention and plan can change at any given moment if things turn out that they aren’t going exactly as planned, but or the most part, my intention is always this; to have my students feel inspired by something they discovered or felt or thought or experienced that makes them want to come back and try it again tomorrow. Simple.

So, get on the internet, yogis! Get to the library, go take a class of ANY kind , listen to a lecture, read a book, talk to your friends, lie on the floor and start stretching…these are ALL effective ways of continuing your education as a yoga teacher, and are ALL available to us all…

I love you, puppies. Knowledge is life, go out and drink it down! I feel so blessed that after this many years, I still feel so excited to love my job and love my work and the people I get to do it with! What a ride.

Ida xxo

What to do in the face of Failure…

Hello my super awesome yogis of the universe!! It’s Friday. The last time I wrote was…I think on Sunday…oh gosh, I just looked and I think it might have been on Saturday…which means that I have missed almost a week of my challenge and it’s only the 9th of August.


SO, here’s the deal…what do you do in the face of “FAILURE”??!!

I always believed that if I am going to do something (anything) then I must be great at it. I had the (un-conscious) idea in my head that if I was not good at something initially, then I was not good at it. Period. So, those things I would not do again. Ha, sounds so ridiculous to me in this moment, but at the time (for pretty well my whole life, at some times more strongly than others) it seemed to make sense, I guess. I am pretty certain I know where it came from originally. One of my clearest memories from my early years is of playing soccer. I went to an alternative elementary school called Sundance Elementary. My brother and I were a couple of hippy kids with a couple hippy parents who went to a hippy school with a bunch of other hippy kids and parents. We talked about warm fuzzies and cold pricklies, we had a family-room not a homeroom, we had offerings instead of classes and we, the kids (if we played our cards right) could have a hand in choosing what we wanted to do all day in our offerings…it was super hippy-tastic. One of the things I loved most about Sundance was that all the kids got to hang out together, no matter the age group. Sometimes there were classes that were age limitations (you had to be a certain age to play indoor basketball with the older kids, or maybe you were too old for the puppet show field trip etc), but for the most part, we were all free agents and worked at our own pace and played with the people we were drawn too, not necessarily the ones who were the same age.

So, here I was, a small 4 year old Sundancer, playing soccer (maybe even for the first time!) with my best friend (a small tot as well) and all the BIG KIDS. I remember running and running after the ball, constantly chasing the ball, and the kids, around the field…until the moment when it was my turn. The teacher, Giles, let both me and my besty have a turn. Everyone cheered me on, directed me to the ball…and I ran up to it and was so excited and I ….picked it up. And everyone yelled at me. Well, that’s how my 4 year old memory remembers it. I attempted something new, I got yelled at, I never played soccer again. Isn’t that how our brains work and develop? Something happens like that and then, whammo, we make a choice about who we are and what it means about us. Then we get to take all those thing we decide along the way and make them part of who we are. Awesome, from the age of 4, I made up my mind that if I am going to do ANYTHING, then I am going to be AWESOME at it, or not do it at all.

Super…those are some pretty big and lofty goals…and, it’s not that I am adverse to a challenge or adverse to having to work hard at things to get better or what have you…but the excitement that was crushed in a simple second by some harmless big kids who were only trying to help a small wee person play soccer…well, it’s taken me many years to want to play soccer again (actually, I don’t have any desire for soccer, but I have played and done all sorts of other things that I never would have done because I had determined that I was not good at, therefore would not do…but now I do things that I thought I was “bad” at, and realized that even if I am not good at those things (well, I haven’t played them my whole life, after all!), they are still fun!! Haha, who knew you can have fun without having to be an expert??!! Go figure.

So, now here I am, I committed to a 30 day challenge to write every day…9 days in and I’ve already missed writing for 5 of those days. And, I will be honest, I have felt pangs of guilt throughout the past few days about not writing…but have just said to myself that that is not how I operate, I do not make goals to feel guilty when I “fail”…in fact, setting goals for me is about being committed enough to stay with them even when they get tough…but not being so attached to them that I beat myself up if things don’t look or go the way I thought they were going to. Over the past few days I have had all sorts of conversations with myself about this. I have had to remind myself that I set my 30 day challenge to be creative and expressive and help myself write more…not to make myself feel badly if I am busy and get caught up and miss a day (or 5!). I also realized that I write when I am inspired…I write about things that ignite me, and that I feel passionate about (not to say that I am not, NOT inspired and/or ignited every single day, by something or someone around me, but it’s not always at the moment that I allotted for my writing that day!)…I don’t just write every day to fill a quota.

I have already had such a good lesson from my August challenge!! I am not writing a novel (right now!) or have a deadline to my editor (YET!), so I will continue on my path the way I am going. I am still committed to my writing challenge for this month, but I am also committed to supporting myself along the way (because, if I don’t support and champion for mySELF, then I will never be able to support and champion for ANYone else along the way…).

I love you, yogis. I hope you challenge yourself to do and try new things every single day. As I am realizing, “being good” at something has nothing to do with my ability, and everything to do with my intention. “Failure” only exists if I say it exists.

Love and special unicorn kisses,
-Ida xx

yoga post…Front Row…go or no-go?

Hello good sunny morning my loves!!! It’s Wednesday morning, July 31st 2013 (seriously where is 2013 going??!!???!?! wowza) and I have been thinking about this for a while…my next challenge is writing. I have written about challenges many times before…from doing a 30 day yoga challenge (30 classes/30 days) to ways of creating challenges outside of the yoga room, such as green juice every day, more water every day, seated meditation every day…you get the idea. So, this challenge, starting August 1st, is to write every day. So get ready, read what you like, I will try to keep the uninspired ones short 😉

BUT, the reason for today’s post is THIS….the FRONT ROW in yoga class (but really, isn’t that just a metaphor for Life…). Do you like to go there? Do you like to practice in the front row when you take class (as Bikram yogis, we know the front row to be the mirror, but being in the front row of ANY class has some stigma, no? Think about math class, or aerobics class or dance class or cooking class or whatever class…people often think only the “good ones” can go at the front of the class). If you practice at a studio where there is a mirror, the mirror is likely the front row, and the closer to the mirror you are, the better you can see your reflection. Simple. However, being in the front row also means that there are all sorts of people behind you who will inevitably be…dun dun duuuuu…looking at you!! Ha! Or so you think. Chances are everyone behind you is working just as hard to stay focussed on themselves, on their own practice. Of course, sometimes there are people in the room who are learning from watching…watching you in the front row…or a few people who just want to watch the beauty of the yoga postures. That’s when you are simply sharing your practice as a means to inspire the others around you.

Last week I got asked a couple times about the Front Row so I decided I would tell you MY opinion. 😉

I think everyone should practice in the front row at least once in a while. I don’t believe for one second that the front row is reserved for the “good ones” or the teachers or what have you. I believe the Front Row is reserved for people who want to focus on themselves, for people who want to work hard and concentrate and be able to see their body!! The front row is there for people to go in it!! USE THE MIRROR! That’s why we have them, that’s why they are such a big part of this practice.

Ok, that being said, the front row does in some way “lead” the class. It doesn’t mean that if you are in the front row you need to do all the postures perfectly and not fall out or sit down or take a break…what it means is that you take care of yourself, you work hard, you challenge yourself and when you take a break, you take it mindfully, a couple breaths, then back into the posture. Sound familiar?…it’s because that’s yoga.

So, don’t be scared of the Front Row. Be mindful of how you feel when you get to class. If you are working through an injury and the likelihood of you needing extra breaks or extra savasanas, then maybe that is not the day for you to be in the front, but rather take it easy in the back. If you have never practiced in the Front Row, maybe today is the day. See what is different for you, see if you notice your practice in a different way when you can see your body in the mirror. See how you feel to be leading the class with your energy, your concentration, your determination, your breath and your focus.

AHhh! OK, yogis, it’s time to go out and be in love with this day!! Actually, I’m about to go take Bestest’s class, THEN outside…wonder where I’ll practice this morning…

Happy looking at your reflections, yogis.
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!!

Ida xx

5.31.03-6.2.13 Ten Years!

5.31.03-6.2.13 Ten Years!

Spring is Springing, time for a challenge….

Hello Pupps!!

I don’t know about where you are, but here in Tahoe it’s pretty spring like these days. I know, I know, you might be thinking “isn’t Tahoe a SKI area??!!”…, it is, and there is still lots of skiing going on. But here in town, there is hardly any snow and the sun has been shining for days on end with nary a cloud in the sky! Everyone is talking about when we are going to get the next big storm (we’re due) and how it could snow for the entire month of March…awesome. 

However…in this moment it is as good as spring for me, and Mexico is right around the corner (32 days!), so it’s Bikini Challenge or Bust!!! The next 30 day challenge starts on Friday (March 1st)…you know how I feel about 30 day challenges…but this is what I have come to discover:

30 day challenges are about honing in on one specific thing or area of my practice and concentrating on that for a month. For instance, we started this year out as “2013 Year of the Locust”…and let me tell you, focussing on working as hard as possible in Locust and Full Locust for the entire month of January this year has changed those postures for me!! As I always say at 30 day challenge time, “they say it takes 30 days to start a new habit”. So, if getting INTO your practice is your goal, great do a challenge….or do a personal challenge of 3 or 4 days per week instead of 1 or 2. Choose a set of postures to work on every day for the month, regardless of if your brain is complaining…get the idea?

MY challenge for this month is water and juice. For anyone who has spent some time with me, you know that I love drinks. Liquids of many flavours and varieties. Water, however, is something I only enjoy for the most part when I’m in or near the yoga room. Last week I wore down my water reserves and I got really dehydrated. Because I am in the yoga room every day, after a few days of not building the water storage back up as well as replenishing the daily loss….well, it leads to getting dehydrated which for me slows everything down, causes back up and body pain and feels generally not awesome. So, my 30 day challenge is to drink more water (specifically, have TWO big glasses first thing in the am rather than just one).  The second challenge is having green juice or a green smoothie every day. I am pretty good with this now, but by making it my challenge and committing to it I will ensure that no matter what else I eat that day at least I’ve had my greens!

So, there you go. Many people at this time of year give things up for Lent. You could think of this as the same idea…only instead of giving something up you are gaining something more! Coolio.

Think of it, puppies, maybe you have a goal or two that would work for you. But remember, whether you decide on a challenge in your practice or in your life, be kind and generous with yourself. If you love you then you will love others too 

I love you.


Continue reading

How much of what you feel do you think it yours…?

Hello and good evening my loves!! Wow, I think it’s been a while since I have written here…I had some thoughts about doing a “30 challenge” with my writing, but that hasn’t started yet. Writing has always been something that I find very therapeutic, I love to do it, always have. I decided many years ago that one day I am gong to write a book…I tried my hand at screen writing (nope), I have written several monologues, parts of one woman plays, snippets of things here and there….and, of course, this blog 😉

Needless to say, you will know when I start my writing challenge…I will be in your inbox every day!

I just finished teaching Karma class. This is a pretty small studio, so 20 people in my class is a pretty good size. We COULD fit 45 or so in there (I’ve not seen that many)…but 30, to me, is a good full capacity…alas, I digress. Before I taught, I knew I needed to ground myself and center myself for class. I had been running around, doing all sorts of things, and knew I needed to focus myself on teaching….put my teacher hat on, as it were.  I set my alarm, and began my meditation. It was the longest time I have given myself for meditation in a while. Mostly I have been stealing 15 minutes here and there, and taking long savasanas. Today, however, I had almost an hour and it was perfect. On a side note, I never pressure myself into a length of time for meditation…what I have learned is some days I need 45 minutes and somedays 10 is enough. I usually set the alarm for the most time I have, that way I am not worrying about having to be somewhere or anything like that. So…today I had almost an hour and took it! 

I will now get to the gist…something occurred for me that caught my attention. During my meditation, it was like I was standing by an open door and a huge gust of wind came rushing by me and as it passed, it pulled all these people out of me…and I heard the words “all the lost souls”…and the gust of wind took all the lost souls and blew them away…away from me. 

I have been feeling some weird pains in my body the past few days (a couple of them for a couple weeks now) and I have a feeling that many of the aches and pains belonged to these lost souls. I am an  emotionally porous person. I suck up emotions and feelings of people around me…sometimes even when it’s not people I am close to. Teaching yoga and being with all the feeling and emotions of the people in the class, I often have to make sure to brush off whatever I have picked up from others. The way I usually know it’s not mine is if I say “oh, this is WEIRD, I feel pain or emotion, etc”…it’s the WEIRD part that is important. We all have things we feel regularly, or even things we feel irregularly…but when things sneak up or are WEIRD then maybe it isn’t actually ours to claim. 

I know, it sounds weird in itself…but next time you feel something (physical pain, mental anguish, anger, sadness, etc) and it feels weird to have said feeling, ask yourself “is this mine”?…if it is, fine, if not…take a breath, tell yourself “not mine” and allow it to pass. 

Try it. I know, you might not be with me on this one…but you might be surprised when you start to figure out how much stuff you take on from other people!! They are sneaky, the strong ones can handle it, so the not as strong ones let their stuff float every which way and see where it lands…sneaky sneaky.

For me, this is an ongoing every day process and lesson. Sometimes I am able to brush things off immediately, sometimes I hang on to them like they are mine, sometimes I have a harder time letting go…it’s all a work in progress.

OK, kidletts…I am going to get some stuff done and then hit the hay. I am working up to telling you about another thing I have on the go right now…but that will have to wait for the best time…

Big juicy heart shaped kisses and super ruby red hugs,

-Ida x

What would you think if you stood alone…?

Hello everyone!! Ah, happy New Year!! What a great new start. I am pretty wishy washy about Christmas (Chanukah) and Thanks Giving, but the New Year???!!! I loooooove the New Year. Yeah!I love that it’s like tearing a page off and having a clean surface. We get to leave behind what isn’t working for us and create new and wonderful things and situations for what we desire. It’s an excuse to change the way we dress, drink, eat, think and behave. We don’t need a reason to make these changes, the reason is built in…it’s a New Year!!

Today in my yoga practice, I had the thought, “if we all always stood alone, what would we think of ourselves?”. If you only ever saw yourself single, as one entity, no one around…if you only ever had yourself to compare yourself to, if you only ever saw how you were rather than how you are in relation to anyone or everyone else, then what would you think about yourself? Think of it…so much of what we think about ourselves is based on a comparison of us to other people. We compare our looks, how we dress, what we have accomplished, job, money, hair, car, voice….I could go on…are you getting what I’m laying down? You see, if I take only what I am, only what I have done or said or have, then I am perfect! There is nothing else, there is no better or worse, there only IS. There only IS what IS. That’s all. Just IS.

Stand alone, my friends. Not alone, as in a “loner”. Surround yourself with people and love and joy…but stand without judgement or comparison. When you start to see yourself as whole and perfect then imagine what is possible.

Go ahead, try it…I bet you’ll like it 😉

Love and clog dancing rainbow coloured unicorn kisses,

What Do You See When You Look in the Mirror?

Hi Yogis!

I just finished my morning practice…man am I ever enjoying my yoga practice these days. Some days some postures don’t feel as comfortable physically as others, but the practice of the practice is so amazing for me lately. Why, you ask? Well…let’s see…

What do I see when I look in the mirror? I promised a while back I would post about body image and self image…and I got a reminder (thanks John) about it lastnight, so decided I would give it my best shot today.

I was never skinny or even thin growing up. I was not overweight but I was a chubby child and started developing a woman’s body early in puberty so was never the girl with no boobs and legs for days. My weight has always fluctuated up and down a bit-maybe 10 lbs difference over time, depending on how much I was exercising, how much I was drinking and partying (in my young adulthood) and what I was fueling my body with. When I started practicing Bikram Yoga, I started the correlation between what I did at night and how I felt in class the next day. The amount of partying I did had a DIRECT correlation to how much my heart was pounding the next morning in class….huh….how about that. It got to the point that I wanted to feel good in yoga class and I began making the changes in my life outside the yoga room…such is growing up I think!! In making better lifestyle changes I started feeling better in the yoga room, I began practicing more because there was not as much struggle and more and more my yoga became a constant in my life.

My body did not change right away when I started practicing Bikram yoga. It was a slow and steady process…at first my jeans felt tighter in the legs and I felt like I was holding on in my body instead of letting go. In hind sight, of course, I understand my body now and think I was probably dehydrated back then, as well as building muscles and not flushing my body properly to allow the fat and toxins to be let go…hind sight is 50/50, as they say. When I went to teacher training, the same thing happened to me and my body. I did not lose weight like so many people around me…I felt like I was holding on to everything…like my body was not getting enough fluid and/or the right nutrition that it needed to trust that it could let go of storage…I remember having a conversation with some friends in TT about body image and saying that I accept how I look, the body I have and the size and shape I am. That night in class, Bikram looked right at me and said, “Miss Maroon, I like your size. You know what I mean”…I looked at him, smiled and nodded my head, and was a bit amazed that he somehow knew exactly what I needed to hear in that class. It was the only time Bikram spoke to me in class during my training.

OK…fast forward to a few years later (I think that is a song…!), I was living in Hong Kong, teaching 17 clases/week and practicing every day. I had done my first competition year and started to get more and more inspired about what was possible. I spent all of my time doing yoga and thinking about yoga and, thus, looking at myself in the mirror. I was surrounded by predominantly Asian bodies all the time and started to get a messed up reality of my own body and what was “normal”…I started to lose weight very quickly in the first year I was there…I moved there in May and by Christmas I had developed some kind of intestinal infection or something and was not able to keep anything in. It got to the point that people were telling me I was getting too skinny but it didn’t look that way to me…finally when I got to the point that my body wouldn’t even let me keep water in…I was dehydrated and my body was so stressed I was emotional as well as weak…I finally went to the doctor and he prescribed some anti-biotics to clear up the infection. I remember the day, it was Christmas and I had taught a couple classes in the morning. The cleaning staff manager, who I liked quite a bit, looked at me and said, “ok, it’s time now, you can’t wait any longer, you MUST go to the doctor, you are too skinny and sick”…I didn’t want to believe that I had lost control of my self…but as soon as I started with the medicine, I began to feel better.

Over the next couple years I was still very skinny. It was the fist time in my life that I was a size 2 or zero…clothes fit me, I enjoyed seeing the smallness of my frame, I didn’t have to wear a bra if I didn’t want to…and for a girl who always did, this was a big deal!! When I looked in the mirror all I saw was my shell. All I saw was my physical body, this casing that I had created, and I made it mean everything about ME….did you get that? I will repeat it just in case….when I looked in the mirror, all I saw was this housing, this body, this casing on the outside and I made it represent everything about me and who I was. Whew, that’s pretty big, isn’t it? I completely disregarded my person, my soul, what I had to offer in the world became only how I looked and everything hung on this physical shell of a person.


So, when I got back to North America, and I was again around a multi-culture of people, the size of my body started to show up more to me…at first I was still very attached to this image of my shell in the mirror. I didn’t want to listen to people when they said I was too thin…I chalked it up to people being unhealthy and careless with the food they eat and the exercise they did. I “knew” I was right and that I was healthy. Over the next few years, I started to gain a little bit of weight back…slowly. As I began gaining the weight, people would say how good I looked, that I was too skinny before, and how my body was looking healthier now. I would thank them, agree that I felt better, but inside I didn’t like this weight gain. I would still look at myself in the mirror and obsess over how my shorts used to fit and how I would not let myself go back to how I was before.

Through this time, I (as I have learned and discovered) shut myself off to love. Love of myself and therefore love of others. I was too ashamed to have anyone get to know me too well because I was too concerned that I had to look a certain way to be loved and if I did not then well I wouldn’t be loved. Geeze, what a belief!! I would go to visit teacher training and see people I don’t see very often and inevitably the topic of my weight and body would come up. I would always feel defensive when people would say I gained weight and I would feel like I was now well on my way to being fat…yup, fat. I held on so tight to the past and how I was that I had no concept of being happy with the way I looked at any given time because I was only comparing myself to what I looked like before…and before was, in my mind, the ultimate body-it was the body that propelled me into the top champions circle of the yoga competitions, it was the body that fit into clothes at any store, it was the body that could do yoga postures inside and out…but it was just a body, just a shell…and now it was only something that was in the past and this new shell I had was not as good as the old one, and in my mind everyone knew it. So, I felt ashamed. Yup, I felt ashamed that I could not maintain the body of the past, I was not strong enough of mind and character to eat less and do more to keep that body.

Seriously, ASHAMED?? wow.

OK…so, listen…there are always people in the world who now comment on my body. That is the pattern that has been created…I have relied on my body and how I look in my life for so many years now. I spent so many hours and years being in a spotlight using my body that it became the biggest part of me. When I stopped competing in 2009, I knew that it was time for me to use what I had learned and what I had come to gain to share with other people. I started working on my whole self…opening my heart back up to love not only other people but to love myself…I have learned that through loving myself, my whole self, that loving other people is easy.

When I look at myself in the mirror now I don’t only see my physical body. I see who I am as a whole. I see where I have been and where I am going. I see my light and my glow. I am not going to lie and say that I don’t have days when I look in the mirror and don’t like what I see…but on those days I ask myself why. What is it that I am comparing myself to that makes me believe something different? There is always going to be someone who we think has a nicer house or better hair or more money and better postures/kids/clothes/smile/compassion/jokes…etc…but for me now all I have to do is remember the truth. The truth is that, as I wrote yesterday, we are all one. We are all sparked from the same energy source so what we see is what we reflect. So when I look in the mirror I see my whole self just as I see my whole self in your whole self. Nothing exists unless I say it exists and my vision is a reflection and projection of my doing…so I get to create anything and everything. Period.

So, yogis…what do YOU see when you look in the mirror…?

Happy gazing…

Namaste…One Love…get my drift?

Good afternoon my lovelies!! It’s an ah-maz-ing day here in Truckee…the summer is holding on for as long as it can…someone said today it’s supposed to snow next week so we’d better enjoy it…but everyone is always talking about snowing around here so I’ll believe it when I see it.

aaaaaannnnnyyyyyhow….this morning I was in class and my mind went to “namaste”. Some teachers say it, some don’t, some understand it, some don’t. Some mean it…some don’t…so, this led me to think about what it means to me and what I think about it (I, by the way, say it at the end of my class…but I will be honest, there have been times I’ve taught class and not said it because I did not feel connected to the students…my issue, not theirs). So, here’s my deal with it….Namaste, as far as I am concerned is an acknowledgement that we are all one. One love. That no matter what the outside package looks like or sounds like or does or how it behaves, we are all one….sparked from one energy, one common light and at that inner most place, we are all one…

I have only had a few experiences, through meditation, where I actually really understood this and got it. This knowledge of everything coming from one and everything being connected…everyone and everything. So, even on days when my ego gets the better of me and I get angry at someone or frustrated or stressed out or whatever, when I allow myself to remember, I always remember that we are all one, one love…namaste.

I also just wanted to say a big thanks to all of you who commented on my last post about the yoga tops!! I managed to make it through a week of doubles at TT in LA without wearing a bandeau and no one died ;). I got a couple new tops from my friends at Yogabela and I also got a few new pieces from my friends at Onzie….I am still on the hunt for the “perfect” yoga top for me, but I also know myself and know that my style comes and goes, so having options is really the most important thing…always on the look out for the things that make me feel the best in class…we all know how it makes a difference how you feel in class when you aren’t constantly tugging or adjusting your yoga costume!!

Have a wonderful afternoon, yogis…I am about to get headed out to teach a double tonight.

I will be making an appearance in Victoria over the next few weeks, at BYSaanich…and maybe a class or two over in Van City if I can wrangle any up…so, hope to see you Victoria yogis soon!!

Love and unicorn kisses.
And, Namaste.
~Ida x

sigh…I have a problem…

Hello my loves!!

I am sad, I have a situation that I am feeling conflicted about…and it might be a bit of a rant…and it might be that I’m blowing it out of proportion…or perhaps there is someone out there who has some good ideas…

I am going to visit Bikram’s Teacher Training tomorrow for my week of posture clinics and classes and seeing so many friends…but since Bikram’s Ban on the Bandeau, I HAVE NOTHING TO WEAR. It’s serious. I *almost always* (99% of the time) practice in a bandeau and now we are not able to wear them at TT and I have no idea what I am going to wear when I’m there. I know this does not seem like too big of a problem…you are probably thinking, “just get a couple other kinds of tops, ones with straps, or borrow something for the week you are there”…yes, I was thinking that same exact thing….but the problem is I do not know of any good yoga tops that are flattering on me!! As many of you know, I was very skinny when I was competing and now I do not restrict my food intake and monitor my yoga practice the same way and my body has gone back to a more voluptuous past…meaning I like the bandeaus because the right one is flattering and supportive (for yoga) and isn’t too “cleavage-y”…

I have been feeling more and more frustrated with yoga clothing makers these past months because I feel not only that they don’t make any styles with the bigger chested ladies in mind (how hard is it to design a top that fits around me but has enough room in the boobies!!???)…actually I have been SERIOUSLY frustrated with the increasingly smaller and smaller fits of all the yoga clothing companies lately (have you notice that the smalls are so small and the mediums and larges are just normal sized?? It can’t be only me who notices this…) and have to go with what I already have because I don’t like the trend of what’s been happening…

Alas, I digress…here is my question…any of you girls out there with breasts but not a huge rib cage like a style of yoga top WITH STRAPS of some kind??

I honestly don’t know what I’ll wear…a Onzie I suppose…

OK…let me know what you think 😉

Love and unicorn kisses,
Ida x