Tag: love yoga

Rooftop Yoga Scene in Mandalay Myanmar by Katia Yoga

Rooftop Yoga Class in Mandalay

Donation-based yoga starting November 20!

Tuesdays at 5 on the roof of Ayeyarwaddy School’s teachers’ building.

Yoga classes include

  • pranayama (breath-work)
  • meditation
  • asanas

Bring your own mat if possible; I only have two spares.  Also bring some form of ID to get onto the compound.

*I left Mandalay at the end of May so this class is no longer available*

 

 

[Just so you know, this post contains affiliate links, meaning if you click through and purchase something I will receive a commission. I wouldn’t recommend it if I didn’t love it!]

Teaching Yoga in Nicaragua. A blog about a new yoga teacher's experience

Teaching Yoga in Nicaragua: a new yoga instructor’s experience

Teaching Yoga in Nicaragua. A blog about a new yoga teacher's experienceAfter signing up for yoga teacher training, I knew I wanted to make teaching yoga my LIFE… at least for a bit.  The stars strung together to offer me a perfect opportunity.

I had my eye on yogatrade.com for yoga teaching jobs.  I debated regularly if I should wait until after yoga teacher training or join immediately to start dreaming of my life in possible yoga teaching scenarios described on the site.  One day, I got an email offering 50% off of the subscription fee.  I joined that day and applied to positions that night.  I applied for a yoga internship in the Philippines, a volunteer position at a juice cleanse retreat in Portugal and to a volunteer position in Nicaragua.  I could barely sleep that night, I was so excited.

I heard back from the job in Nicaragua by the weekend.  We agreed to interview early in the next week via Skype.  I had a great time chatting with my interviewer and relating over the mishaps that occur in a country like Nicaragua or Myanmar.  I started off by saying my internet might cut out and she laughed, saying hers was the same.  We talked about monsoon seasons and flooding.  We talked about language, food, beaches, buses, and interacting with locals.  We really hit it off.  She said she was also hiring two other yogis for the same position so I could learn from their classes too.  That really appealed to me—it would be almost more like an internship than pure volunteering.  I was also excited about the proximity to the beach in San Juan del Sur.  And I was eager to help out—the hostel had several initiatives in town I could potentially volunteer with.  By the end of the call, the position was essentially mine.  I got an email formally offering it to me the next day and I accepted within the hour.  I told one of my friends about it, and she said it sounded like the volunteer position I would create for myself if I could make up my own dream post.  I agreed; it all sounded perfect.

Throughout yoga teacher training, I had an unfamiliar confidence and determination, knowing I would really be using everything we were talking about every day, coming up soon.  When we finished our training, I doubted myself and wondered if I was really ready, but I knew I had no choice.  My flight for Nicaragua was booked!

In the week leading up to the experience, a string of discouraging events took place.  Both of the other yoga teachers bailed.  One had trouble with her passport and was nearly thrown in jail in another South American country.  The other simply said, “I won’t be able to make it either.” Also the coordinator I hit it off with left the company.  Then I heard that elections were coming and there could be violent protests.  I didn’t let any of this stop me.  In the airport, I almost wasn’t allowed to board since I didn’t have a return flight, but that didn’t stop me either.

San Juan del Sur, my first yoga teacher experienceWhen I got to Nicaragua, I stayed in the capital for one night, waiting for a shuttle to take me south to San Juan del Sur.  It left 3 hours earlier than scheduled, so I took a “chicken bus” down with a guy I met in the hostel.  I told him all about how much I love yoga the whole way (and he actually seemed really interested, though he never did come to my class).

My first day, I got a tour of the hostel, which went something like, “here’s the bar/yoga studio.  The mats and stuff are in that cabinet.  Do you have any questions?”

My first yoga class was tough.  I planned it out and practiced the day before and ran through it over and over in my mind, describing how to do each pose.  When the big day came, I had trouble with lefts and rights when I was mirroring the class and questioned how long I was holding each pose.  My biggest problem, though, was confidence.  I had definite impostor-syndrome.  I wanted to tell everyone, “this is only my first class! Sorry if I’m doing things wrong!”  But at the end, I thanked everyone for coming and they thanked me.  They smiled and seemed happy enough.  Weeks later, when I told one of the girls who had come that it had been my very first class that she attended, she said she was shocked.

I got into a good routine of teaching yoga, practicing yoga, meditating, blogging, swimming in the sea, watching the sunsets, taking Spanish lessons and traveling on the weekend.

Teaching yoga in Nicaragua. Bridge from the stage where I taught big classesFor yoga, I worked hard to create open-level classes with a collection of variations so that whoever came to my class could be challenged in their own level.  I never knew how many students would come, what their level would be, or what kind of yoga they expected.  Sometimes “students” far outshined and outstretched me, gracefully bending deep into my prescribed shapes.  Sometimes people watched me with a constant perplexed grimace, unsure of how to match their body to mine.

I followed a formula we learned in yoga teacher training to try to address every part of the body using a variety of types of poses.  One girl thanked me after a class, saying it was just what her body needed.  People asked me what type of yoga I taught, and I said I was trained in Hatha, but it was hard to know.  I thought of Pradeep Teotia describing kinds of yoga, “hatha yoga, vinyasa yoga, ashtanga yoga, aerial yoga, yoga-lates, acroyoga… some other shit yoga!  Yoga is just yoga!”  Each day, I came closer to knowing my yoga and learned from my mistakes how to be a better yoga teacher.

Sometimes I forgot my place and had to spend a long pause looking at my notes.  Sometimes people corrected me on left and rights.  Sometimes people corrected my cuing alignment.  One day I had 19 people in a space for 10.  Sometimes parades went by and I could hardly even hear myself over the music and drumming.  One time, only one student came and she didn’t do the poses I said even when I asked if there was anything she wanted to focus on or if she had any injuries we needed to work around.  I also started doing sunset yoga on the beach, which was pretty magical with the waves purring as they crept onto the beach in front of us.

In class, I tried to remember to cue moments to use the straps and blocks.  I also learned to go a little slower, breath a little more, and make people do some “weird” stuff.  I did restorative poses, chanted om and asked everyone to be still for short meditations.  I told people to stick out their tongues in Kali and made little jokes about some of the poses.  People laughed with me.  Most people who came seemed to enjoy our hour together almost as much as I did.  People would smile and sometimes thank me again at breakfast.

Eventually, another teacher did come.  It was so nice to have a yoga class to go to and to learn from.  We had lots of fun showing each other funky poses and stretches and exploring outside the studio as well.

But there were still some down-sides.  The internet came and went, as did the water in the apartment.  Sharing the small space with 8-10 volunteers was tough- no one wanted to take on cleaning.  The walk home up a dark high-way was frightening, especially after one of my roommates saw a machete-fight.  Construction started on the hostel, so I would say, “breathe in [kong, kong, kong] and out” over the hammering noises.  I felt lost sometimes waiting for my daily hour of teaching.  The wall and the roof of the volunteer apartment didn’t actually meet, so tarantulas and scorpions could (and did) crawl in.  I met a toad one night in the bathroom and a cat in the kitchen.  A praying mantis leapt into my bed another night in the dark and I nearly killed an Atlas moth in my fan when it came toward my light in the night.  Also it was just too darn hot in the apartment.  One time, the water tank leaked in through my window, drenching all of my clothes.  To top it off, I got fleas from a cat that crept in.  In that moment, I called out to the universe “ok, ok!  I hear you!  I’ll go!”  The next morning, the landlord told us to be extra careful because he saw a thief lurking by the bars that served as our apartment’s front wall.  That sealed the deal for me.  The hostel coordinator said he understood and wasn’t upset about me leaving earlier than originally planned.

Sunset in San Juan del Sur, my first yoga teacher experienceI packed up and prepared to go to Guatemala.  Everyone said San Marcos is a yogi’s dream.  The night before I was planning to fly out, I got an email from my old boss and someone had quit, leaving an opening for me back in my old job in my old world- with my boyfriend and my friends, in the rice paddies, by the dusty markets and the lazy cows, with all those adorable smiling children.  My decision was made before the actual job offer even came through.  I was back in Myanmar before I knew it.

My first yoga teaching experience was gone as quickly as it came.  As hard as the situation was sometimes, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.  I learned so much from teaching every day.  I was so thankful that they let me experiment and learn and grow as a yoga teacher even though I had no experience, nothing to back me up.  They took a chance on me in a way I can still hardly believe.  I am also proud to have pushed myself and followed my passion, even if it was a bit short-lived.

[Just so you know, this post contains affiliate links, meaning if you click through and purchase something I will receive a commission. I wouldn’t recommend it if I didn’t love it!]


My path to Yoga: Blog about finding asana, yoga and self

My Path to Yoga: what lead me to start doing yoga and how yoga changed me

My path to Yoga: Blog about finding asana, yoga and selfI’ve been doing yoga since college in Arkansas, back in 2005.  My friend Merry invited me to go with her for PE credit and I figured, “why not?”  In a way, I feel like when she asked me to go to yoga, it was the universe speaking to me through her.   We were a little out of place, because the class was mostly adults from the local community who had clearly been before.  We laughed hard as we tried to figure it all out on our mats on the smooth wooden floor of the fluorescent-lit gym.  Everything was so awkward and perplexing, but it all felt good and it was fun.  We were shushed a lot for being so rowdy, but we calmed our giggles week by week and stretched a bit deeper week by week too.

The next year when I transferred to the University of Delaware, I joined the yoga club.  It met two or three times a week and I was there for every session.  I dragged my new friends along with me too.  Soon I had a small crew of yogis.  The girls who taught the classes seemed well organized.  They knew so many different moves (which I now know are called asanas) and always knew how I could push myself harder at just the same moment  that I knew I could go deeper.  They made an announcement at one class, saying they were looking for new teachers.  My insides lurched for the opportunity, but I didn’t believe in myself.  I didn’t think I knew enough about the “moves” and I couldn’t imagine being bold enough to stand in front of everyone and simultaneously show and tell them what to do.  So I let the suggestion wash over me.  The same thing happened when I heard my neighbor had done her yoga teacher training course.  I thought, “that should be me” but I also let that idea float away.

After I graduated with my degree in business in the epicenter of worst slump of the recession, yoga and I lost touch for a bit.  I lost touch with more than one of my passions as I sat on the couch and applied fruitlessly to every job I could find related to my new degree.  After 3 months, I got an email that said “teach English in Korea” and I applied on a whim.  I was there a month later.  That year in Korea and two years in China slipped by before I found myself on a yoga mat again in Istanbul, Turkey, my next home in 2013.  My friend Kat found an ad for a cheap month of hot yoga and invited me along, which I felt I couldn’t resist.  We were in a nice apartment-turned studio facing the Marmara Sea with sleek lines and Buddhas for décor.  A lean Turkish lady with a smooth voice but a clipped accent guided us through the asanas.  We bent and twisted and leaned and grew in a way that felt so familiar and so natural and so necessary.  I didn’t realize how much I’d missed yoga.

The next year, I joined a fancy gym in my new neighborhood.  Sometimes I went just for the steamy hammam in the locker room, but mostly I went for the classes, including yoga.  I was thrilled to have regular access.  After every class, I came out feeling lighter, more limber, calmer, clearer and truly, happier.  Another studio in my new neighborhood had a deal so Kat suggested we join.  We were in a dim basement with a low ceiling for another month of hot yoga- we went almost every day to sweat it out and stretch it out.  I found I was more flexible in the heat even when I felt like I could pass out.  I got lots of positive encouragement from the instructors there who learned to recognize us.  I would have gone more after the deal, but couldn’t afford it.  So I was back to my regular gym a couple of times a week, but I wanted more.

dharamsala

In the Summer of 2014, I visited India on a volunteering trip and on a free day, found a poster for yoga classes.  I went to the studio which turned out to be teacher training center.  One of the trainees led the class.  I was the only non-trainee to show up (in a while it seemed).  They made training seem so do-able.  I remember looking at the Himalayas out the window upside-down doing bridge.  In that moment, I knew I was right where I should be.  Everything felt right.

For my next job, I moved to a little city in Myanmar where everything was covered in a thin layer of dust.  They had colorful local markets and quaint bamboo huts, cows in the middle of the road, big smiles around every corner, gold stupas reaching for the sky and gorgeous rice fields stretching to the foot of the mountains.  But they didn’t have a yoga studio.  I was more than a little bit disappointed, but I perused the small shops and found a mat.  A new friend, Jenn, turned me onto a pod cast with short sessions and I also started to try to guide myself.  I knew lots of asanas.  I knew which ones could morph into other similar poses.  I could breath energy into my body with sun salutations too.

That next Summer, in 2015, I visited Bali, a land studded with yoga studios.  I spent weeks dropping my boyfriend off at the beach to surf and motorbiking over to yoga before picking him back up for lunch.  It was heavenly.  I got into a new flow and found a new need for yoga.  One particular class really struck a chord with me in Ubud- hatha with Emily, as recommended to me by another yogi, Ali, who I’d met at the beach.  I felt really compelled by Emily and wished I had time for more classes.

Back in Myanmar, when the internet worked, I’d sometimes go on Facebook.  I noticed a trend on my feed- lots of my gal pals were doing yoga and a few were even teaching it.  This observation made me consider doing the training myself.  I sent lots of messages asking how they got into it and what suggestions they had.  I felt inspired by their responses and started to look into courses with my radar mostly on India.  My sister Natalie and I were talking and she said she’d love to do the training too.  She mentioned Bali and I said I would only do it there if it was with Emily.  She googled Emily and said, “Guess we’re going to Bali this Summer!  There’s a training session in July!”

I worked hard on preparing myself, mind, body, and spirit for devoting myself to yoga.  I was a bit apprehensive because I hadn’t been practicing in the last couple of years as much as some of my fellow future instructors surely had.  Part of me felt like maybe I should wait, but I told myself, “really, there’s no time like the present; now or never.”  I threw myself into something I didn’t know if I was ready for, but that was not new to me.

In a way, I feel like I’ve been pulled here by forces beyond me.  Like a trail I couldn’t see stretching ahead over mountain slopes.  Friends along the way have pointed me in the right direction.  Their voices were my guru or my guide, sending me ever further along the path toward yoga.

[Just so you know, this post contains affiliate links, meaning if you click through and purchase something I will receive a commission. I wouldn’t recommend it if I didn’t love it!]


Katia Yoga blog: asana, meditation, yoga theory, yoga philosophy, looking within, and so much more. Join me!

Welcome to Katia Yoga: Mindfulness. Yoga. Wellness. Health. Blog. Shop.

Hi there!  I’m Katia and I’m a yogi.  learning some new yoga techniquesI started practicing asana over 10 years ago.  I loved moving my body through the different shapes and felt better after yoga classes, but it wasn’t quite whole.  More recently, I’ve been learning about the other 7 limbs of yoga and about other yoga-related concepts.  It’s amazing how the other aspects make yoga a more complete lifestyle and make me more whole as a yogi and person.

I wanted to learn even more and share my fun so I joined a Yoga Teacher Training course in July 2016.  From there, I taught yoga in Nicaragua and Myanmar, but there was too much to squeeze into each hour-long class.  So I created this yoga blog to share the things I learn about yoga and being a yogi along the way.  I hope you’ll join me for the journey.

I blog about the deeper side of yoga and how to make yoga a real part of everyday life for yogis who want to deepen their practice and expand their knowledge through body, mind and soul.  These yogis want to keep growing, learning and becoming more and more their own wonderful selves.