Confessions

Before I became a yoga teacher, I would race into a hot yoga room wanting to sweat. Back then, sweating was what felt good and the only thing that felt good to me. It didn't matter to me how I got to that hot room, I would get frustrated at the slow drivers in front of me but I was careless because all I want is to get into that yoga room... and sweat!

I remember one time the teacher came in with a calm voice to start and then instantly had us in plank position for 5 breaths and alternately switched to downward facing dog about 2-3 times. I got so frustrated that I almost threw my water bottle and walked out of the room. I didn't know where this anger was coming from and ignorantly, I was blaming the yoga teacher for making me work hard and sweat. When ultimately, it was a level 3 class and I got what I wanted to achieve, and it was... to sweat!

When I was in my yoga teacher training, I started to realize the hardships of being a teacher and conducting a sequence. It gave me a whole new perspective. The frustrations I had at the teacher for making me hold the plank pose made me realize that if I ever do encounter that moment, that anger has nothing to do with the teacher. The frustrations stem from somewhere else. 

Everybody comes from their own hard battle. One of the great things about being a yoga teacher is being able to recognize someone else's battle and not letting their negativity affect you. My yoga mentor taught me "yogah chitta vritti nirodha" which translates to "Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind." Basically, our mind is constantly filled with crazy chatters and in yoga, the movements of our body is fluid when our mind is fluid. The key is being still and quieting our mind chatter in order to move gracefully into the practice. 

I wish I could go back to that time when I got frustrated at the teacher and change my behavior. I did come into a conclusion though that it's important I recognize this and share it to someone who might be new into yoga. The quality of your life depends on the quality of your mind. Your mind is a very powerful vessel. Whatever your mind is thinking, your body follows. Nowadays, I set good intentions before I start my practice. Truth to be told, I make it a habit to calm my crazy mind before I even attempt to do a child's pose. ;) Clearing your mind from the chatter can be done by starting in Ujjayi breathing, meditation, or alternate nostril breathing.

I am at a point of my yoga teaching life when I sometimes doubt myself when it comes to teaching a large class because I have this fear of being judged. We all have our own insecurities when it comes to being in a spotlight. But every time fear holds me back, I say "chitta vritti nirodha."  Again, this speaks about the volume of mind and body connection.

Enjoy the journey, the universe is unfolding as it should.

 

 

 

 

SUNSET YOGA ON THE BEACH

There's something special about the summer in San Diego; a blaze of color staggered across the sky- oranges, pearly pink and vibrant purples maneuvering their ways above the crown of my head. The air was mild and the sun was fading against my skin with the comforting smell of fresh salt-water sea and the sound of waves crashing. Growing up, summers on the shore were always about watching the most perfect sunset.

It was a warm Wednesday afternoon, I slowly take my time to walk down the beach to admire the lavender kissed sky. 

Someone pinch me.

I am teaching YOGA on the beach? 

It feels so amazing to share yoga out in nature. Over the past few weeks, I have been dedicated to my yoga practice and I must say that it is finally nice to get my feet wet again. From then on, I decided to chronicle my yoga experience, to not only better my practice but to see myself in a new light, to observe myself grow as a human being.

Teaching gives me that. To observe, to learn , to grow and to get acquainted with myself. The best part of teaching by the beach is the natural sound of mother earth- birds chirping, waves crashing, tree branch swaying synchronized to my breath. As I transitioned to warrior 2- a very powerful pose I might add, I dig my toes into the sand and bring my gaze to the sun setting into the horizon. I caught a glimpse of the green flash! I let out a big *sigh and truly savored each inhales and exhales. Its a great balance to be teaching yoga on the beach compare to my hectic life in the sky. 

I encourage you to visit Carlsbad Village Athletic Club for details on other classes. It's a great group of yoga instructors and volleyball players sharing the same interests on active lifestyle.

Join me next time for Sunset Yoga on the beach. Allow yourself to melt into the earth, shining your heart to the sunset sky. 

Q&A with Yogi Mommy blog

 

Why yoga?

The greatest answer to this is personal awareness. Yoga can make you sweat, burn calories but the most important part of the practice is something people can't take away from you, it is turning yourself inward and giving yourself inner peace. It is the state of being aware of your mind, body and spirit.

A few months ago, I was interviewed by a good friend Lindsey of Yogi Mommy blog. This little Q & A shows a glimpse of how I view yoga. Enjoy!

 1. How would you define yoga to someone who has never heard of it before?

- Yoga came from the Sanskrit word yuj which means to bind or unite. The union of the mind, body and spirit. Many people think yoga is just stretching, but yoga is both physical and spiritual practice. Proper alignment and breath are important in the practice. But this union cannot be achieved without meditation. Without being mindful of your thoughts, the poses only become a series of acrobatic moves. So I like to call yoga- meditation in action, not just the physical practice but also the way you move or take actions in life. 

2.  Describe how yoga can help mind, body, and the spirit.

- Yoga can help both mind, body and spirit because as you are building strength from the asanas (postures), you are also mindful of your pranayama (breath) and you begin to experience pratyahara (turning yourself inward) that connects you to your deeper self. Every inhale can be quite challenging but it's in the exhales that you have this abundant feeling of letting go. 
It helps your body from constriction to expansion. As you inhale, you are creating space in your spine allowing you to be more flexible. Over time, yoga becomes more than just a physical practice but a lifestyle.

3.   How has teaching yoga changed your life?

- Teaching yoga has taught me to remain humble and to remain as life's student. There's no greater feeling than to watch my students feel strong and more grounded. One time during svasana, one of my students started crying. While unsure of what was going through her mind, I know that her one hour practice on the mat took her to another level. Afterwards, she came up to me and thanked me for teaching a wonderful class. This changed my outlook in teaching because there will always be someone in class that are coming from a hard battle. I love that yoga helps me genuinely connect with people.

4.  What form of yoga do you teach? Which one is your favorite to practice and why?

- I teach Vinyasa flow, hatha and restorative yoga. I particularly love vinyasa flow because it is both challenging and fun. However, after teaching hatha yoga I gravitated towards the methodical approach of teaching it. Ha means sun and tha means moon. It truly is the practice of balance and union of opposites. 

5.  How can yoga help someone overcome obstacles, or build self-esteem in their life?

- Yoga becomes more powerful as you practice it daily. It teaches you compassion and to be non judge-mental. As you explore deeper into the spiritual practice of yoga, you will discover the 8 limbs path of yoga and these will refine your behavior in the outer world. While many of the poses relieves stress, yoga also de-clutters your mind of the negative and helps you focus on the positive. When we focus on the positive, we let go of our fear that are preventing us from achieving our goals. On a deeper level, yoga peels a lot of the emotional layers we experience in life. The rhythmic breath allows you to ease the nerves and calm the mind. When your breath circulates around your body it connects to your mind, and this offers your body prana (energy) to think more thoroughly and let go of fear. Fear and anxiety are the cornerstone of low self-esteem. Yoga opens a new fearless world to boost your confidence by simply focusing the mind on the positive. And not to mention... performing advanced postures gives you strength and confidence as well. 

Berkeley- Vegan Adventure!

My life as a flight attendant is constantly changing and being on reserve makes it that much more unconventional. One thing though that I have been wanting to do is try all the amazing healthy food from all the places I visit. So one day while being on reserve in Oakland, I drove my car around Berkeley to search for some healthy VEGAN food. Berkeley is nestled in the most quaint town just north of Alameda in the bay area. There is so much to explore but what attracts me the most is the sense of culture that envelopes this town. When someone says Berkeley, I immediately think of the prestigious public University empowered by liberalism and revolution. And of course, I couldn't help but think the food here must be good as well. My first stop was this low-key restaurant called Cha-ya. There's plenty to say about a cash-only restaurant without a website but one thing is that you have to be open-minded... and obviously Yelp helped. While it had many great reviews, my experience at Cha-ya was incredible indeed and I am beyond inspired to make these healthy concoctions. 

Below is the picture of a vegan soup bowl called Cha-ya Nabe. It's a vegan sukiyaki with napa cabbage, red onions, carrots, mushrooms, kabocha, lotus roots, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, snap peas, snow peas, silver noodles and tofu in sukiyaki broth. Ummm, can you say divine?

After Cha-ya, of course... I had a craving for something decadent yet healthy. I ended up in Cinnaholic, a place where wild dreams come true! To get further, their ingredients are dairy, soy, egg and cholesterol free. Talk about inventing something that all vegan culinary chefs worships! Gourmet "vegan" cinnamon rolls. 

Pause...

Just enjoy this photo for a second without actually drooling. This amazing salted caramel almonds cinnamon roll is just heaven. Absolute heaven. 

I will be posting a recipe soon inspired by all of my vegan discoveries. 

      In love and light,   Jill 

 

 

 

In love and light,

 

Jill