Spring Equinox – Rebirth, Rekindle, Rejoice

Trinity News

Spring Equinox 2014

Rebirth, Rekindle, Rejoice

spring equinoxWith the Spring Equinox, it is with great pride and pleasure that I bring my thoughts words and intentions forward into a newsletter address to my former students, friends and associates. This is the 10-year anniversary of the skiing injury that changed my life profoundly.

It is also the year I am midwifing the rebirth of Trinity Yoga School, as a revised and renewed 200-hour YTT, a 40-hour Adaptive Practitioner Program, and an exciting new 300-hour A.R.T. specialized YTT upgrade.

It is taken me a considerable amount of thought and deliberation over how to go about rebirthing myself and Trinity Yoga, or even if I ought too.

At the end of the day and the depth of my meditation, I understand that I must share the gifts and resources that have been offered to me, with others.

It is from that auspicious place –the seed of intention and creation- that I invite and welcome you all to rekindle your acquaintance and association with me and the new form of Trinity Yoga.

From our new website Trinity Yoga & The ART of Living Well with Yoga:

After Mary-Jo’s skiing accident in 2004 it was uncertain where and what would happen with Trinity yoga. Although Mary-Jo taught for two years post injury it was clear that traveling and teaching so much was taking a toll on her traumatically injured body, and she retired in 2006. In 2008 some of the new facilitators went on to form Gayatri yoga and Trinity yoga was put to rest temporarily. From 2006 until 2012 Mary-Jo was on a rehabilitation and healing sabbatical. Still working closely with her teacher Rod Stryker as well as other well-known healers Mary-Jo put Yoga and her constitution to the test.

From similar beginnings and impulses as when Trinity Yoga was first established back in 2001 Mary-Jo felt the need and the importance to share what she had learned and how yoga and the healing science of Ayurveda dissolved ’illness and impossible’ from injury. Now in 2014 Trinity Yoga will rebirth itself into a 500 hour school with a comprehensive new 300 hour program specializing in the A.R.T. of living well with yoga concept.

This concept, born out of Mary-Jo’s 10 years of disability, defines ART as Adaptive, Restorative and Therapeutic. This program is a 300-hour specialized training for yoga teachers who have accomplished their 200-hour certification. There also is a 40-hour continuing Ed course for healthcare professionals, caregivers, family and therapist’s, who work with the physically challenged and special, needs population in some capacity.

Look at our new site www.trinityyoga.net and tell us what you think.

spring equinoxIn this rebirth we hope to rekindle the flames of passion, purpose and presence and share the gifts and benefits of yoga with every-body. On that note, I’m honored to announce the appointment of the following people in this rebirth of Trinity Yoga. In our faculty you will notice some familiar faces such as Mara Branscombe, Brenda Cartier, Keisha Clancy, Sophie Ann Dufrense, me-Mary-Jo Fetterly, Laurie Madison, Danielle Schroeder and Pamela Joy Sunshine, and we welcome Jane Bigmore, Mariah Yudit Moser and Madhuri Phillips.

I rejoice in the blessing the gifts of these very talented people who have come forward to rekindle Trinity Yoga, I welcome you to rejoice and celebrate with us as I am thrilled to announce a 10 year reunion of the Trinity yoga family. This reunion of our alumni and friends and family will take place at the first ever – Kootenay Spirit Festival – coming next fall September 12-14th in Nelson BC. Sharon Thompson who many of you are familiar with as ‘logistics queen’ will be organizing a special reunion celebration, along with festival organizers. You can find out more soon on their site www.kootenayspiritfestival.ca.

spring equinoxWe have also rekindled the popular 200-hour certification and I am delighted to announce that Sophie A. Dufrense will be heading up these trainings. We will be offering our first Level one April 17-21 in Calgary at Leela Eco Spa & Studio. There are a couple spots left if you or someone you know may be interested. Please check out our new website www.trinityyoga.net for other events. The beauty of this is the promise of rebirth and the potency developed each time we surrender to the change that is inevitable. In closing I invite your thoughts and comments and leave you with the same from Sophie:

Thankfully, spring is a time not only of melt & warming in Nature, but also a time of strong energetic shifts within ourselves. It seems to be the best time of year to begin. I feel quite fortunate myself to be in the middle of a new beginning, as a facilitator for Trinity Yoga’s teacher training program with Mary-Jo. I was once a budding young yogi, looking for more and it was around this very time of year that I found Trinity. I had an office job back then and for many reasons, I felt dissatisfied with my situation. I had been practicing yoga for many years and it was becoming more & more present in my daily life. Something deeper than the poses resonated for me and I knew I wanted to know more.

Meeting Mary-Jo was very serendipitous. I was immediately inspired by her wisdom and courage. Within days of that first meeting, I was freed from the corporate world and began my journey as a teacher trainee. It seems like so long ago. My daughter was so little – only 2 – when I started training to teach. I guess I was a lot younger too! Ever since then, I’ve taught and learned and grown into myself with more & more gratitude & joy. I feel so blessed. Spring reminds me every year of the blossoming potential within each of us, what a great gift it is to cultivate & activate this divine energy.

Join me in the pure atmosphere of gratitude for life.


Upcoming Events

POWER PASSION & PURPOSE

Friday, April 11, 2014 at 5pm-7pm

INNER EVOLUTION, Vancouver, BC
16 Ave & 3263 Heather Street

  • A mini-workshop with Mary-Jo Fetterly (ERT-500).
  • Experience the powerful tools and techniques of TANTRA to unleash your PASSION & PURPOSE.
  • Price: $33

LEVEL ONE YTT

April 17 to April 21, 2014 at 8am-8pm

LEELA ECO SPA & STUDIO, Calgary, AB
849 1 Avenue NE

  • A fabulous entry level course for teachers-to-be, yoga students looking to deepen and enhance their practice, and those seeking personal development through yoga.
  • A fabulous 5-day intensive based on the ‘Quantum Learning’ method.

Adaptive Yoga Workshop

Sunday, May 18, 2014 at 12-4 pm

INNER EVOLUTION, Vancouver, BC
16 Ave & 3263 Heather Street

  • A fantastic workshop focused on adaptive yoga techniques.
  • Price: $50
Please follow and like us:

When to start teaching?

Are you thinking of becoming a teacher? Perhaps you’ve registered for a yoga teacher training program; you’re currently training, or you’ve recently graduated. Now the question is swimming in your brain – am I ready to teach?

I myself wondered: am I prepared for the responsibility of guiding a yoga practice? Do I have enough wisdom to impart?

These questions kept me stuck for a while. I was waiting for the conditions to be perfect, my knowledge to be vast, my personal practice to be advanced.

I soon discovered that teaching was the ultimate learning tool. I’d study and spend an exorbitant amount of time creating class plans – only to discover that – like life – classes were full of surprises.

On a technical note – I spaced my three levels (60 hours/each) out over 1.5 years. After Level One & Two I dabbled in some teaching. I taught yoga in the park (by donation) and graciously accepted subbing offers when they arose.

I know teachers-in-training that jump right into teaching after Level One. A lot has to do with ones confidence and willingness to take risks.

When I say “risk” I do not mean this in an injurious way. If you are considering teaching prior to completing your certification – please be aware of potential health hazards (i.e. contraindications).

Yoga injuries are becoming more prevalent and because of this – many studios require yoga teachers to have insurance.

Apprenticing with a senior teacher is a wonderful way to gain hands-on experience. Once you have learned physical modifications of asanas it is great to have the opportunity to practice them.

Many teacher are more than happy to have an assistant. Be sure to clarify what both of your expectations are.

So are you ready to teach? The key is to teach what you know to be true from your own practice. Have confidence in your ability and be humble before your students – they will become your teachers.

Please follow and like us:

Balancing Personal Practice & Teaching

Balancing your personal practise and teaching several classes a week can be a challenging task. I definitely feel that a shorter more consistent practise is more beneficial in the end then a longer one only once a week.

Also keep in mind that you can incorporate yoga, even yoga asana, into different aspects of your daily routine. For example when you are out walking simple arm stretches or even lunges can be done, or choosing to sit on the floor in butterfly or another hip opener can be great.

I have also found that going to a class myself at least once a week can be very inspiring. Choose a teacher that you can learn from and stick with a schedule, giving yourself this time to rejuvenate.

Lastly fitting in your own personal practise may mean you need to shift something in your life around and make some new choices. Often getting up early, even when this is difficult, can provide the extra hour needed to get in a daily practise without distractions.

Please follow and like us:

Teaching from Truth

What do we do if asked to teach a style of yoga that is not our preferred practice?I recently moved to a small town and, despite concern that I would not find work, was offered a teaching position at a beautiful studio. I was offered All-Levels Ashtanga classes and it is expected that I will guide the traditional Primary Series. Although I respect the tradition of Ashtanga Vinyasa, it is not my regular practice, which is better described as Hatha Flow or Vinyasa Flow.

In these classes there are many beginners as well as many experienced students. This initially presented some challenges: I felt that within the Primary Series there lacked time to explain alignment, I felt the structure of the sequence restricted my creativity, and felt torn between the tradition of Ashtanga and my own lessons in biomechanics and alignment. Some students expressed desire for an uninterrupted flow (the traditional series) yet I witnessed a lot of frightening alignment, bound to lead to injuries. Other students told me that the practice was too fast. If I veered away from the Series, adding a new posture or taking more time with explanation, some of the more experienced students would continue on with the Series, disregarding my instruction.

I felt conflicted. I began to feel that I was not teaching with satya, truthfulness. For one thing I did not feel completely qualified to teach the Primary Series. Furthermore, I did not feel I was teaching from my heart or passing on the lessons from my teachers that had truly resonated with me. So what to do?

There are several things that keep me teaching these classes and exploring new ways of handling the situation. My love of yoga, all yoga, is paramount. Despite the differences in style and classification I believe that all yoga intends to lead us toward self-realization. Desikachar puts it well in The Heart of Yoga when he states, If we follow one direction in yoga as far as we can go, then it will lead us along all paths of yoga.? I am grateful to be teaching and had faith that there was a way, a compromise, a particular truth to be found. It took some time and diligence to find it.

I began attending the Ashtanga Mysore practice every morning in order to better understand the traditional practice. The teacher (who has now moved away) was well versed and offered a lot of insight and guidance. At the same time I maintained my own practice, which is influenced strongly by Iyengar and Anusara Yoga. This again presented some conflict, as there are strong differences in alignment principles and approaches to various asana. However, I felt if I was teaching Ashtanga classes I must understand the practice as best I could. From there I could make my own decision in how to instruct the postures.

I also spoke to various teachers and was given some valuable advice. Whether speaking to traditional Ashtanga, Anusara or Trinity teachers the underlying theme was this: as teachers we need to remain true to what we know and believe. We cannot please everyone in every class. There are students who will appreciate my classes and those who will seek teachers who speak to them. In trying to please everyone or change my teaching to that which I think is expected I will lose my integrity as a teacher. I will not seem authentic and my confidence will falter. It is valuable to explore what it means to stand in truth.

I believe that I came to this place in my teaching career for a reason. I was given this challenge to work with in order to make me a better teacher. It took some time but I feel I have found a way to work within the Ashtanga practice. I have come to understand and appreciate the practice more and I feel confident to take it where I want. I often explain at the beginning of class that I will guide students through the Primary Series but may stray away from time to time in order to incorporate new postures or greater understanding of alignment. If students have come to class specifically to follow the traditional sequence I welcome them to do so, to go where they are called. However, I encourage them to be aware of why they make that decision, as it is important to understand our reasons for doing things. And most importantly I encourage them to remain anchored to their practice by breath. If I teach something differently than the traditional Ashtanga approach I explain why I do so. For example, although the traditional counter posture for backbends is forward bends I suggest a twist in between which is gentler and less dramatic for the spine (thanks Trinity!). In standing in my truth I attract respect. I find that most students appreciate the lessons in alignment, the new postures and the creativity. And if they chose not to attend my classes, I wish them well on their yoga journey.

Please follow and like us:

Teaching the last part of the session

In answer to a question: As far as tips go perhaps you may want to consider the following; or use them to inspire more of your own knowing.

– If the group of you who are teaching the class have a theme or an intention, that will help to give it continuity even though there are different teachers. You also need to be clear on a general overall style (i.e.. hatha – beginner; vinyasa – flow; anusara; etc…) and level of the class.

– With the above considerations you have 20 minutes at the end of the class – an 80 minute class if there are 4 of you teaching. This would mean the students have likely done lots of warm-ups, sun-salutes, standing poses, and hopefully by then at least one peak pose. If the person teaching before you takes them to the peak pose depending on what it is, you could play off of that opening (hips, shoulders, back extensions, etc….) and add another dimension or move right into counter-poses and their cooling down sequence. There are many options to include here depending of course, on what they have done previously.

– You mentioned wanting to do pranayama with them and being perhaps a little nervous about that. One of the simplest and effective ways to teach and do is to incorporate it with movement such as is the case when doing mudra (vinyasa). I would suggest sama vriti – equal breathing, with some deep long holds in forward bends. You could have them end with a small sitting practice of sama vriti (pranayama) to seal it in.Every aspect of a yoga class is important in a different way, however I believe that the beginning and the end have the most lasting impact on students as these elements set the tone and leave them with their lasting impressions. Desikachar is a wonderful teacher and inspiration and many of his vinyasa variations would be a great way to wind down a class. Depending on the style of class, your focus/feeling or bahva and what the person before you is teaching you may want to remain seated for your segment or start standing and then move to the floor and provide a relaxing, cooling portion for the class. Generally I finish with students enjoying some gentle floor work such as a variation of Upavistha Konasana incorporating side bending flowing up and down with the breath. Or other hip openers such as Pigeon, Janu A or Baddha Konasana. Forward folds are also great for closing, however whatever you do will depend greatly on the overall focus of the class.
In terms of Pranayama I find Nadi Shodana or alternate nostril breathing is very calming and a nice way to close before final relaxation. During Savasana there are many beautiful poems or readings you could choose from such as Rumi or excerpts from books like ‘Meditations From the Mat’.

Please follow and like us:

Teaching the last part of the session

In answer to a question: As far as tips go perhaps you may want to consider the following; or use them to inspire more of your own knowing.

– If the group of you who are teaching the class have a theme or an intention, that will help to give it continuity even though there are different teachers. You also need to be clear on a general overall style (i.e.. hatha – beginner; vinyasa – flow; anusara; etc…) and level of the class.

– With the above considerations you have 20 minutes at the end of the class – an 80 minute class if there are 4 of you teaching. This would mean the students have likely done lots of warm-ups, sun-salutes, standing poses, and hopefully by then at least one peak pose. If the person teaching before you takes them to the peak pose depending on what it is, you could play off of that opening (hips, shoulders, back extensions, etc….) and add another dimension or move right into counter-poses and their cooling down sequence. There are many options to include here depending of course, on what they have done previously.

– You mentioned wanting to do pranayama with them and being perhaps a little nervous about that. One of the simplest and effective ways to teach and do is to incorporate it with movement such as is the case when doing mudra (vinyasa). I would suggest sama vriti – equal breathing, with some deep long holds in forward bends. You could have them end with a small sitting practice of sama vriti (pranayama) to seal it in.Every aspect of a yoga class is important in a different way, however I believe that the beginning and the end have the most lasting impact on students as these elements set the tone and leave them with their lasting impressions. Desikachar is a wonderful teacher and inspiration and many of his vinyasa variations would be a great way to wind down a class. Depending on the style of class, your focus/feeling or bahva and what the person before you is teaching you may want to remain seated for your segment or start standing and then move to the floor and provide a relaxing, cooling portion for the class. Generally I finish with students enjoying some gentle floor work such as a variation of Upavistha Konasana incorporating side bending flowing up and down with the breath. Or other hip openers such as Pigeon, Janu A or Baddha Konasana. Forward folds are also great for closing, however whatever you do will depend greatly on the overall focus of the class.
In terms of Pranayama I find Nadi Shodana or alternate nostril breathing is very calming and a nice way to close before final relaxation. During Savasana there are many beautiful poems or readings you could choose from such as Rumi or excerpts from books like ‘Meditations From the Mat’.

Please follow and like us:

Sciatica

As stress get the centre stage these days the curious question of the body and mind comes in to play again and again. Often the holding or tightness that people experience in their body is not a physical symptom but a psychological one. A student may face a challenge much greater then solely having sciatic pain, however it is also a tricky situation of timing to know when is it the right opportunity to make the shifts needed to experience change. I understand your concern with encouraging her to stay with a Restorative practice even though she is craving a more vigorous flow style however you may want to consider the Bhava or feeling of the practice instead of the actual postures. If you use sequencing that allows for rest and integration as well as time for her warrior nature to shine through, in essence creating a Satvic or harmonious practice for her she may be more able to begin the journey towards transformation. By continually encouraging her to notice the difference between engagement and relaxation she may awaken to the concept that for a muscle, cell and psychological pattern to shift and truly experience peace and strength it needs to know and have felt the difference between the two.

Use the Bahva or intention of what yoga truly is, as stated in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, yoga is the mind which no longer identifies itself with it’s vacillating waves of perception and that all yoga asana are meant to be steady and comfortable. Or consider working with your student from the perspective of divine love and encouraging her to see herself as divine, without needing to fix or change anything simply allowing herself the space to become aware of her true potential.

Please follow and like us:

The 5 Physiological Principles and Yoga

Often as a teacher, I am asked by a student “how often should I practice my Yoga asana?” In my travels and interactions with other teachers, it is evident that it is a common question that is asked by students. Perhaps the most common response that I have heard teachers give is “practice as much as you feel you need” ie. listen to what your body is saying, or follow your common sense. Good advice. Did you ever wonder what was behind the “voices” and feelings of your body?Five Foundational Principles

In Exercise Physiology there are 5 foundational principles that are key to health and wellbeing as it pertains to exercise. You will see that they are as applicable to asana practice as they are to traditional forms of exercise.

Principle 1: Principle of Individual Differences

Because every body/mind is different, each person’s response to a Yoga asana practice will be different. The length of time between sessions will depend on what is going on for each individual yogini – how new they are to Yoga, their ability to connect brain and body, their level of fatigue, their level of stress, the amount of injury or scar tissue that exists in their body, and their age, are just a few factors. These factors will also influence the style of Yoga that a particular yogini is drawn to.
Principle 2: Principle of Overload

According to this principle, a yogini needs to apply a greater than normal stress on their body in order to adapt, change, strengthen. You can do this for yourself by increasing the length of time that you are in an asana, or increase the complexity of the asana that you are practicing. If you want to maintain the practice where it is at, then continue to practice your asanas as is.

Principle 3: Principle of Progression

This implies that there is an optimal level of overload for each of us. It is as important to rest and recover, as it is to increase the complexity or time in an asana. If a yogi increases the complexity of an asana or time in an asana too quickly there is a greater chance for injury and/or a reduced chance for improvement. When not following the principle of progression, it is possible to overtrain. You know that you are “overtraining” in your Yoga asana practice if you have the feeling of being washed out, tired, and dehydrated, have ongoing muscular pain, insomnia and an inability to relax.

Principle 4: Principle of Adaptation

According to this principle, the body adapts to the increased time or complexity of asana in a highly specific way. By repeating the asana practice over and over again the body adapts and the sequences, or individual asanas become easier to perform. Wasn’t it P. Jois who said, “Practice, practice, all is coming?” This principle explains why some beginning yogis are quite sore when starting a new Yoga program – no matter the Yoga style – and after doing it for a while, feel that there is much less muscle soreness associated with the program. As the yogi becomes comfortable with their Yoga practice, they will need to vary up the program to stay aligned with the Principle of Overload if they want to continue to improve their strength, flexibility, balance and stability.

A word of caution: As a teacher, be sure that that the new yogi is truly experiencing muscle soreness and not muscle pain. The two are quite different. If it is pain, then the student has gone “too far” and has gone into “overtraining” mode.

Please follow and like us:

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)