Breakdowns & Breakthroughs

Yoga. Yoga. YOGA! This has been my past two weeks. Literally from the moment I wake up, to the moment I go to bed. Good thing I love it, right?!

So far this training has been everything I could have asked for and more. And more, and more. To the point where sometimes it feels like it’s a little bit too much. After months of wandering around, it feels so good to have a purpose. To fill my days with something meaningful. To be learning about something so thoroughly that I’m so passionate about. To be able to learn and ask questions and get answers and ask some more! I didn’t realize that there was so much to teaching yoga. I didn’t realize that there was so much to knowing yoga! It’s incredible. But, it’s constant. It’s so much. It’s continuous, with very little time for breaks. Early mornings, long days, and so

much

information!

And the past few days, it’s kind of got to me. In addition to the classes and long days, there have been weddings near by that has continued loudly into the night, cows and dogs that never sleep, and storms that hit full peak in the middle of the night. So that definitely hasn’t helped. And the style of the past week has been Ashtanga – a super strong, intense practice that has really, really tested me.

I’ve always been a bit intimidated by Ashtanga. It’s difficult: it requires a lot of strength, and a lot of dedication. And this week I’ve gotten lost in it. My body feels one way about it, and I feel another way about it and somewhere in that I’ve gotten really confused. I love the theory we are learning about it. I love that it is so inclusive, so beneficial – mind and body, so straight forward. I love that it is so traditional, and that it isn’t just a workout on the mat, but a really beautiful lifestyle. I love that it’s intensity leads to strength – both mind, body and soul. But, my body disagrees.

 At the beginning of the week, despite the intimidation I felt, I began to gain a real appreciation for the practice. It wasn’t as hard as I thought, especially with some modifications. I could make it through the practice and feel positive about it & it didn’t make me want to cry! But through the practices this week, I’ve had a ton of ups and downs. I’ve had my best and my worst practices this week.

Monday – observed the class (part of the learning requirements) & I realized how much sense the practice made
Tuesday – practiced & made it through better than I thought!
Wendesday – practiced & was taken out due to pain in my knees about ¾ through
Thursday – practiced with the modifications my body needed and had an extremely strong practice
Friday – sat out due to soreness
Saturday – walked off near the end in tears

I was literally all over the place. I went from a day of being stronger than I thought, to discovering inabilities, and then the next day was the strongest practice I’ve had. After that, I went from listening to my body and needing a break to the next day where I tried to find balance but ended up pushing myself too hard. At first I blamed my lack of muscles for the practice being so challenging. But through it all I think I’ve realized that it just a really tough practice. It’s not even my muscles that are sore! It doesn’t feel like I just need a rest and some good stretching to get back on track. My joints hurt. My bones hurt. It’s tough!

And also, It’s hard on the ego. Since I sat out on Friday, I thought that my body should be good to go by yesterday. I got on my mat with full intentions of finishing the week of strong. I wanted to prove to myself that I do indeed have it in me to do this style. And after all if I’m going to teach yoga, I need to be able to do it, right? And so I gave it my best. And despite thinking that I had made some real progress learning the limits of my body, I went in as much as I could. I went so hard that I walked off my mat in tears. And the worst part? My “so hard” was skipping every second vinyasa, hanging out in child’s pose often, and massaging my knees and shoulders between poses. My body hurt. And I didn’t listen. I didn’t listen because I wanted to be on my mat. I wanted to be doing the practice like everyone else – they could do it, so why couldn’t I? I pushed myself because I felt that I needed to. My ego needed to. And I can see now that that is absolutely ridiculous.

All of this has lead to a bit of a breakdown yesterday. A breakdown entirely fueled by exhaustion & the need for catharsis. I needed to let it all out in order to get a grasp of it all and to make space for all the positivity that’s really happening here. I needed that to realize that the ego needs to take a hike, and I need to learn my mental limits as well. And I think that’s much harder to learn than how much weight my knees can take, or how to modify asanas to work with my body.

Maybe this is all part of learning to be a teacher. Maybe in order to be a teacher, I need to understand limits: mine, before anyone else’s.

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Space & Discoveries

“Allow yourself the space you need” – this was my intention for practice this morning. This intention came from all the discouraging discoveries I made yesterday. My knees hurt. A lot. And throughout the day it came to light that I have been doing SO MANY THINGS W R O N G. Because of this, I’ve been putting pressure on my knees and over my practices I’ve unknowingly been hurting myself. This discovering felt heavy. It felt like I had to relearn so much of what I thought I’ve had perfected for a long time. But with this, I gave myself space. I allowed myself to not push too hard. To not sacrifice health for an asana. To not let my ego to get in the way when I had to really back out of or modify a posture. By allowing myself to listen to my body, to be gentle with my body & to take a step back, I had one of my strongest practices. Through this space, came growth. Today I learned how to love myself in a different way.

E M O T I O N

It’s funny – just last night I was talking about how my super-emotional self has been oddly super stagnant all week. Stagnant and stuck in a completely content, happy state. A state completely sustained by gratitude. And this morning I woke up & everything changed: Something cracked open. Something shifted. Something opened the gates and let all the other emotions flow. I took this picture early this morning as I was walking down to the Shala. If only I knew it would be such a powerful day: A day of self realization. Of grounding. Of fighting against the draw of negativity. It’s been a day of strengthening. Of opening up. Of coming out ahead. It has been a day of finding support in my community. Of leaning on friends and teachers. Of finding comfort on my mat. Today was a day of struggle, but it was also a day of success.

Find Someone

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Find someone who will wave goodnight & goodmorning to you from their bunk bed when it’s too hot to share.
Find someone who will finish your meals when you’re too full, and laugh when you decide to eat like a monster.
Find someone who, like you, won’t settle for an unfair price either.
Find someone to laugh with, to be quiet with, to mindlessly chat with, and to pour your heart out to.
Find someone who doesn’t run from your emotions.
Find someone who will laugh at how sweaty and dirty you are before helping you wash it all off.
Find someone who will let you sleep in and close the curtains when the sun starts to shine in your face.
Find someone who will squeeze your fingertips in public when affection isn’t culturally appropriate.
Find someone who spoons you so lovingly, and then teases you when you try to misfittingly spoon them.
Find someone who will push and pull and push again until the middle ground is found.
Find someone who makes you laugh by wiping curry off their face with a chapati and then eating it – not even trying to be funny.
Find someone who will talk to you in their sleep.
Find someone who scoops you up and pulls you in.
Find someone who will catch your eye and share a smile when you’re in a room full of locals and you’re being asked to dance in front of everyone.
Find someone who will accept the shots of rice whisky with you.
Find someone who will let you cling to them in the ocean, and who will carry you out when a stingray stings you.
Find someone who will say “one day” when you’re asked over and over and OVER again if you’re married or if you have children.
Find someone who will be with you long distance for four and a half months, then join you across the world for two months.
Find someone who will support you,
who will understand you,
and who will encourage you.
Find someone to show you what it is to love, and be loved.
Because let me tell you, I have, and I couldn’t imagine my world any other way.

Food Poisoning, Rain & Motobikes

Our next destination was Hue. We took an overnight bus and because of this our first day there was basically a write off… we slept the whole afternoon! But, we made the most of the next day. We rented a bike again and just set off! We went through random communities, around the Purple Palace, and to some war bunkers. The whole day was rainy and meek, but still pleasant and seeing all these things was great! Especially the war bunkers. In fact, it was really quite creepy, yet intense to see them. And it was easy to picture how the war would have looked in the area, trees surrounding big open areas of red earth. Especially with the rainy grey sky. While Hue was quite uneventful and probably not my favorite place, I’m glad we got to see what we did. Danny ended up getting food poisoning here, so he probably would agree that it wasn’t awesome!

Our next destination was Hoi An, but now with his food poisoning we had a bit of a problem: two days before we had booked a bike rental for the journey, with stops planned along the way! But with him being sick, I woke up in the morning assuming he wanted to move it to the next day, or change plans completely. But, he wanted to power through! I was hesitant, but he was adamant. I guess in the long run it made sense not to waste a day, but being sick is so brutal on its own, and adding a bike on it is just torture! Since he clearly wasn’t in the best state, I did the driving. I was super hesitant at first (he had done most of the driving up until this point) and I was a bit nervous as we were planning to split it! But, once I got going all those nerves went away. It was raining quite a bit that day, so I started off extra, extra, EXTRA cautious, but I quickly gained a feel for the bike on the wet roads and realized it wouldn’t be as big a hindrance as I had thought. The only thing with the rain really was the fact that with no windshield protecting us, the rain was hitting our faces like little knives! Especially mine, being at the front! It was bruuuuutal. I was surprised I wasn’t bleeding! I even had to pull over at one point to give my face a break. Thank goodness it wasn’t like this the entire way. Since Danny was sick, we decided to only make one stop at Elephant Falls. It it had been a sunny day the stop probably would have been more worthwhile since we would have gone for a swim, but it was still beautiful! We found a big rock to lay on and just spent a while there, looking at the sky, laughing with each other.

After that stop, Danny went downhill and was really eager to get to Hoi An. I don’t blame him! But we still had about two hours to go. The weather had cleared up a bit by then, and without the rain the ride was more enjoyable. And the views were INCREDIBLE. We took the highway along the coast, winding up, over and around the mountains to Danang. It was phenomenal. I wish Dan was feeling better so he could have enjoyed it in the same way that I had. And not only was that fantastic, but I’m so proud of myself for navigating the windy roads safely and efficiently! And I was even-more-so proud when we got into Danang – the traffic was ridiculous! But I stayed calm and smart and managed to get us where we needed to go. We stopped at a vegetarian restaurant that was just on our maps and it was SO GOOD. Again, I wish Dan had been feeling better to be able to enjoy it in the same way I had. We sat down and they just handed us plates piled high with food. And we paid only about $0.80 for them! We didn’t stay too long, but after playing with the little girl and giving her lots of stickers, we headed on our way to finish the journey. We had booked a hotel before arriving, and as soon as we got there Dan CRASHED. It was this beautiful resort called Senvila that we found a really good deal for, and for only $40 a night we had a high king sized bed in a super fancy hotel room with a balcony overlooking the pool! Again, the weather here was not so good so we didn’t get a chance to take advantage of the pool. But everything else we definitely took advantage of. The TV, the housecoats, the breakfasts, the shuttles into town! Ah, it was great. And after a recovery night here, Dan was feeling much better and we were able to do some exploring!

Hoi An was really cute. A bunch of old, yellow buildings now housing restaurants and shops, and bars along the river! And at night, the lanterns strung everywhere lit up and the whole place changed into this magic. And the river was also lit up with candles set off in little paper boats. Seriously cute. And such good food! Although, since Danny didn’t have the biggest appetite we devoured tons of French fries – and I had no problem with that! Along with all the lanterns, Hoi An is also known for their tailors! It was kind of a mess of a process (they tell us one day and it will be finished, but that ends up being not so possible!) but we both ended up getting some things made! Dan got two dress shirts, one longsleeved and one short. And I got a bikini (the best thing ever!!!!), a dress, and a bodysuit. I wish I had had more time to get them all exactly as I wanted them, but for the most part they are very pretty! And it’s encouraged me to learn how to make my own clothes. I mean, if they can do it… what’s stopping me!

We scrambled to pick up all our clothing with all the different timelines we were given from all our shops, but we stressfully made it back on time to get picked up for our overnight bus to Nha Trang! Somehow.