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I’m now at week 28 of my pregnancy — there’s 12 weeks left. Dutchboy woke up realizing that yesterday and started freaking out because it’s so little time, and we don’t know how to change a diaper and wrap a baby in a blanket. Panic time!

We had another sonogram this morning. We got confirmation that it’s a girl (last time, the technician said it was “probably” a girl), and she’s growing wonderfully. She won’t be a very big baby (with me being 5 feet tall — or short! — and weighing about 105 pounds before I got pregnant, I should hope so!), but she’ll be in the average. Everything’s great, and I’m happy. And of course now she’s jumping up and down in my belly, making me feel like there’s an almost-continuous earthquake.

Last week without Dutchboy was nothing like I expected. I ended up spending one night in the hospital for pregnancy-related problems (I was having the problems, not the baby). I will spare you the wonderful details, but I will say that I am fine and, although I prefer to do things as naturally as possible, I’m thankful they have almost harmless drugs for the kind of problem I had.  So after the hospital stay, I spent a lot of time at my parents’, who took care of me.

Then came back home because the city was supposed to come here to turn off the water in the building from the outside (our shower has been broken for over 3 weeks now and they need the water to be turned off and they can’t do it from inside because the tap is too old). The city came, twice, but wasn’t able to turn it off, so they’re supposed to come back this week-end and dig around the tap-thingie… In short, we still don’t have a shower, I have to be at home as much as possible because we don’t know when they’ll come, and that sucks.

Also had a meeting with a lady who sells cloth diapers. She explained me everything and showed me all the different kinds of diapers available. I’ll definitely do the washable diaper thing. It’s so worth it. So much cheaper than disposable diapers, so much better for the environment, and so simple nowadays. We’re far from the diapers our grand-mothers used on our parents! Now it can be as fast and as easy as a disposable diaper. The only downside is the laundry, but with a baby, you’re gonna do a lot of laundry anyways, right? And then again, we have machines for that, we don’t do it by hand anymore!

In yoga-related news (yes, there are some!), I subbed an anti-stress class last Thursday night. I was afraid I’d be nervous like at the first class I taught in May, or like at my teacher training exam. But I wasn’t. 10 minutes before the beginning of class, I only had two students (a mother and her teenage daughter). I was a bit worried that no one else would show up. But at the last minute, 8 more people came. The class went really, really well. For the first time, I was able to give the “extra” instructions that I always wanted to give but was always too nervous to think of. For instance, in Supta Padangusthasana, I would mention the action of the leg on the floor, and the leg that’s raised, and how the breath should be, but that was it. I never remembered to mention to bring the attention to the hip of the leg that’s raised to make sure it’s level with the other one, or to mention where the toes of the raised foot pointed, or smaller details like that. So I was really satisfied with this class. At the end, people complimented me on my soothing voice, and were asking if I had been teaching for long, and saying that I was good, etc. I tried to remember what Nicole always says: take 50% of the compliments and 50% of the critics. But I was very happy and flattered. I hope I’ll get to sub a few more classes over the summer. Good practice, before I get too big and give birth and can’t repeat the experience for at least a couple of weeks (if not months).

My mom is coming to help paint the baby’s room this afternoon. She’s so sweet, I don’t know what I’d do without her. Also, I’m looking forward to her being here, because there’s a huge spider in a top corner of the bathroom and I know she’ll get rid of it for me. That’s what moms are for!!!

Oh, wait… I’ll be a mom in just 12 weeks… Does that mean I have to learn to get rid of spiders too? Even the really big ones???

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I just dropped Dutchboy at the airport; he’s going to rock’n’roll-land until next Thursday. I thought I would use those days alone to spend some time with my best friend and my sister, but it turns out that my best friend is also leaving on vacation, and my sister has no time for me this week-end. Hm. I’m having breakfast and seeing a movie with a friend on Monday (national holiday here), but that’s about as far as it goes for social activities in the next few days. Guess it’ll be the occasion to read (I just started the whole Anne Rice Vampire Chronicles series — I enjoyed those books so much when I was in high school!), maybe go to the Jean Talon market, and go visit the Body Worlds exhibit on my own (I was waiting for my sister, but since you literally have to make an appointment with her these days…).

I haven’t done any yoga this week. I had a tragic encounter with a gigantic millipede (mortal for the millipede, very traumatic for myself) last week-end, and now I’m just scared of unrolling my mat on the floor and lying down on it. Seriously! But I’ll have to unroll it this week: Nicole asked me today if I would be available to sub for the anti-stress yoga class next Thursday night! Yay! So I’ll have to prepare for it and make sure I have the practice in my body.

Sciatica’s still doing good. It’s still there, but acupuncture’s definitely doing its miracle. I had two appointments this week, but I’ll only have one next week… hopefully a bit of yoga and swimming will help it stay under control until then.

Time for the last episodes of the first season of The Practice, I think!

This week-end marked the last week-end of our teacher training. I am now a certified yoga teacher, recognized by the Yoga Alliance (gotta send them my form and my payment)!

My last week-end was truly special. As you know (if you’ve been reading this blog!), the past few months have been difficult physically, and I haven’t been able to practice much. Last Friday afternoon, I had a first appointment with THE specialist of pregnancy acupuncture, who treatment me for my sciatica and other pregnancy-related problems. And then I had the best week-end ever in months! I was even more pain-free than after my new special sciatica yoga practice.

It was a good thing because, over the course of the week-end, I was going to attend 3 yoga classes (so that all the students could do their evaluation — regular students of the studio came in, but everyone in the training participated to all classes as well). Friday night, my practice was very solid. Same thing on Saturday morning (I did everything I didn’t teach).

On Sunday morning, but for reason, I felt very emotional. Hormones, last day of training, fatigue (we went out to an Indian restaurant the night before to celebrate and came home late… for yogis!), or a combination of all these things? I don’t know, but I was on the edge of tears. We did a wonderful meditation during which we visualized ourselves at 5 years old, ourselves at 15 years old, ourselves at 20 years old, and so, standing in line with ourselves right now and congratulating us, cheering for us. It was very powerful and a few tears came up.

Then the students started coming in to the reception area, so we opened the doors and turned on the music. It was Krishna Das. Krishnas Das always has this power of making me feel energized, strong. I did a few stretches on my mat, preparing for class. For the first time since I got pregnant, I think, just doing this, I felt “like before.” Like before putting my head lower than my stomach made me feel like I was going to throw up a little bit, like before my left started hurting so much that sometimes I could hardly do Uttanasana without shaking. It was just me, the real Julie, on my mat, with all the energy and the security I usually feel when I’m on it. I felt so good, I felt like I’d arrived.

It was amazing to feel like this on the last morning of my training, and I’m very grateful for it. I now have another option than communications/advertising when I go back to work after my maternity leave. And I know that this other option is the one that allows me to be the real me. My teacher already told me not to forget them whenever I would be ready to start teaching. And I am making plans to give private and corporate classes as well. A baby coming up, and eventually, a new career. I feel like it’s a brand new life beginning, a life in which I can have pretty much everything I really want and need (which isn’t that much). Sunday morning just showed me how very simple and good it was.

I went to a second acupuncture appointment yesterday, and I still feel amazingly good. I went to swim 20 laps this afternoon. It’s not that much (500 meters), but it had been almost a year since I last went swimming, and I was beat when I came out. It felt good though. Almost no pain in my leg, and I was a bit freed from the weight of the belly (and those boobs!) while I was underwater.

Tomorrow, I’m going to my second gestational diabetes test. Last week’s was inconclusive. Hopefully everything will be ok. Then, if the weather allows, I might go to the park for a yoga practice. A regular one, not one for sciatica. I’ve been feeling so strong these past few days, I’m dreaming of a sun saluation with jump backs, or Sirsasana. Of course, it’s not gonna happen : the belly won’t allow it. I’m not even able to walk back to the front of my mat from Adho Mukha Svanasana in one step — the belly gets in the way. I tried doing Sirsasana the other day. I’m not used to the additional weight, I can’t balance. But it doesn’t matter. I know yoga those sun salutations and Sirsasana will always be there for me, whenever I’m ready to reunite with them.

Teacher training homework of the month: celebrate for at least a whole month!!

Well, I did it! I broke the ice, I taught my first class, and I’m glad it’s over!

I was nervous on Sunday morning, but not as much as I expected. As people came in and I was able to greet them at the door, the nervousness slowly left me. It’s usually a full group (about 28 students), but only 9 people showed up. It was Mother’s Day, after all. I was glad anyone showed up at all, I was afraid I’d end up having to go back home! Seriously!

Everything went very well. I think teaching a class from beginning to end — rather than teaching a part of someone else’s class — is actually easier. It’s your group, you’re the one warming them up and bringing them where you want them to go… I actually enjoyed it and I was able to be myself much more than any other time I was in front of a class before.

I think I was able to keep my theme alive all throughout the class. Thankfully, the day before the class, I was walking on the street and smelled — before I was able to see — the first lilacs of the year. I loooooove lilacs. They smell so amazing, they’re one of the earliest flowers to come out in the spring and their appearance just makes me feel wonderful every year. The theme of the class was the breath — how we spend winter with our lungs shut, trying to keep the cold from coming in, and how at spring time we can finally let the warm air fill our lungs… Throughout the class, I invited the students to smell the lilacs and, when came the time to do Vrksasana, do be lilac trees. I think it worked well!

My class ran a bit short, though. After one hour, all I had left was Savasana — and it’s a 90-minute class! Oops! I inserted a few twists on the floor, and a long Savasana (it was about 15 minutes — which is actually what they always teach us: for each 30 minutes of a class, 5 should be Savasana), and another very short meditation at the end, and it ended up being ok.

I was on a high when the class ended. Of course, I did notice that some poses didn’t work too well, that some people ended up in weird positions — including a 8-year old boy who was there with his mom. But I didn’t want to adjust people too much — we’re taught that you shouldn’t assist before you’re experienced enough with teaching. But overall, I thought it went very well.

But then I was sweeping the floor when all the students had left, and my teacher came to tell me she was proud of me for breaking the ice. Then she said that we could talk about the things that I didn’t do right for a long time — and she started naming a few. That’s fine. I agreed with a lot of things she said. But I was a bit hurt because, besides saying she was generally proud of me and that I had potential, she didn’t mention one thing positive specifically — just the negative. Yes, I made some mistakes, but I think I also did or said some things that were really good as well. I would have liked for her to recognize those as well.

But that’s me: always having a hard time with criticism. At least, a lady said she really liked the class and registered for 15 more at the end, and a young man who was there for the first time said I was a really good teacher, that I had a very soft voice and that it was a fantastic experience and that he would be back. Another woman said I was very pretty with my belly. Made me feel good!

Of course, I know no one should teach yoga to feel good about themselves. And as my teacher says (not the one who was there on Sunday, another one), you should take 50% of the compliments, and 50% of the critics. That’s what I’m trying to do. But it was nice to hear good comments like this, from people for whom this was their first experience.

Now I need to write my 2nd teacher’s training essay, and study for this week-end’s exam (a kind of oral presentation: I’m talking about adjustments, restorative poses, and doing a press review of the articles we read throughout the year).

Audrey’s been moving a lot since yesterday. I’m starting to feel her move when I put my hands on my belly. Dutchboy will be able to feel her really soon (he wants to wait until she kicks hard enough for him to really feel her). It’s so exciting!

9:30 — I’m teaching my very first class, from beginning to end!

The good news is… in less than 12 hours, it’s already all gonna be over! Haha! I’m gonna be in such a horrible, grumpy mood tomorrow morning. Stagefright.

I hope *some* people show up, despite it being Mother’s Day… Anyways, have a little thought for me!

I’m teaching my very first, complete, yoga class next Sunday.

So today, I sat down (or well, got on my mat) to think about and create a good sequence for a class that takes places at 9 a.m. on a Sunday morning and that usually welcomes a lot of first timers, as well as regulars. It’s a karma yoga class, teachers do it for free and students give a donation of their choice — a lot of people therefore seize this opportunity to try out yoga, which is great!

So… I decided to go with a theme accessible to all — the theme of spring, breath and prana. All through the practice, I want to remind people to go back to their breath, make them realize that the breath is not only in the abdomen, but also and most importantly in the back. I want them to realize that the breath supports them and gives them more energy — prana. Since it’s spring and our bodies are less kapha than they have been in the past few months, I also included a few sun salutations A and strong standing poses. But I was careful not to put too many of them, as this has to be a class accessible to beginners as well.

Ok, enough talking, here’s my sequence:

1- Meditation/centering – with observation of the breath
2- Chant OM
3- Abdominal breathing – on the back, knees bent (hands on the belly, the ribs, and the clavicles)
4- Double Apanasana
5- Supta Padangustasana – open leg on the side
6- Balasana – knees wide apart
7- Bidalasana x3 and balancing bidalasana
8- Adho Mukha Svanasana – bent knees and “walking”
9- Tadasana
10- Sun salutation A x2 (knees on the floor in chaturanga dandasana, cobra for everyone)
11- Samastiti in transition
12- Virabhadrasana II
13- Parsvakonasana – with bloc under the hand
14- Sun salutation to go down to the floor (walk hands between the feet after Adho Mukha to get into…)
15- Dandasana
16- Janusirsasana
17- Parivrtta Marichyasana (with variation for pregnant women if any)
18- Sukhasana or half-padmasana – hold elbows between back and rest forehead on block in front)
19- Unfold legs and unroll spine to get into…
20- Savasana – since it’s Mother’s Day, dedicate the benefits of practice to all mothers
21- Chants OM + Shanti + thank you’s

I haven’t done the whole practice at a regular pace yet, so I don’t know if it’s too little or too much for a 90-minute class. I’ve done the sequence quickly to make sure it wasn’t too much on the same articulations all the time and to be sure it flowed well, but we’ve been in renovation works all week-end (upstairs neighbour’s water heater broke down and emptied itself last week-end, and part of our ceiling collapsed). There’s dust all over the place and a worker walking around the house, so it’s not a good time to do a home practice.  It should be done at the end of the day tomorrow. I’ll be able to try it once the place has been cleaned up (I hate this mess!).

So, regarding the practice, don’t hesitate to share your comments and suggestions if you have any! I’ve sent the sequence to my teachers and I’m waiting for their feedback.

On other news… Well the sciatica pain has been ever-present and almost unbearable in the past few days. I can’t stay in place, everything is uncomfortable, and standing up has never been so painful (hope it goes away for next Sunday!). Really not fun. Physical therapy appointment on Tuesday morning: I cannot wait.

Tomorrow, 20-week sonogram for Baby (or “Ba”, as we’ve been calling it since yesterday — we’re halfway, it’s half-baked, so it’s a “Ba”!). If Ba is cooperating, we’ll find out the sex tomorrow. However, Duchboy can’t come to the appointment with me because he started his new job last week, so I’ll have to ask the doctor to write it down and put it in an enveloppe so we can find out together at the end of the day. As with any appointment, I’m nervous beforehand. Can’t wait until it’s over and we know everything’s perfect. The little peanut has been moving so much in my belly in the last week or two, it’s so wonderful. I can’t wait for her (him?) to kick hard enough for Dutchboy to feel it.

Alright. It’s enough. Gotta turn off the computer. I’m not involved with the renovation works in any way, but just having someone around the house all day, and the mess it creates… Makes me tired. Obviously, taking a nap is impossible. Tonight, Dutchboy went to see The Killers, so I’ll enjoy the quiet evening alone at home and relax a bit.

More news tomorrow (don’t you want to know if it’s a boy or a girl???)!