3,000 Down Dogs

This weekend I completed my first two days of Yoga Teacher Training at Upward Dog Yoga.

Let me start at the beginning. I took my first yoga class probably somewhere around 2004 (thanks, Karen!), and while I liked it enough, it felt pretty new-agey, the sort of thing I was maybe supposed to laugh at like self-help books and saxophone music.

I spent some time out west, and heard a lot more about this “yoga” thing. It stopped seeming weird but being the couch-potato that I am, it seemed inconceivable that I could do something so active on any sort of regular schedule. Then when I was job-hunting around 2006, I ended up working reception at a yoga studio for the summer.  Still, I felt like an outsider. It was a struggle for me to get to a class (even though they were free!), and when I did, I felt like I was the worst person in the room, out of shape and un-coordinated. Sure, I’d walk out of a class with a yoga high, but I would go into class on a low, when I went at all. Yoga fell off the map for me for a while, and then when I started experimenting with raw food, I signed myself up for a 3 month unlimited membership at Santosha. And all of a sudden the yoga world opened its arms to me and gave me a big big hug. I suddenly got it. Yoga makes life better. I started feeling more flexible, I was going to advanced classes, and not caring if I was off-balance or couldn’t “bind.” I got out of my head and into my body, and I loved it.

The problem, as always, was that I couldn’t reconcile my yoga self with my party-girl self. I couldn’t very well make a 9:30am Saturday class if I’d stayed out at a bar until 4am the night before. Party-girl kept winning that battle, and Yogasarah pouted quietly in the corner.

Two things happened this past winter. One was that I signed up for a one-month unlimited Moksha yoga pass, and I actually went at least 3 times a week (thanks, Sam!). I could feel the detoxifying effects. If I ate something bad (pizza, poutine, a chocolate croissant), or did something I shouldn’t (drink/smoke too much), I would wake up in the middle of the night bathed in sweat (tmi?). My body started to get pretty direct with me. My body liked yoga and really disliked bad stuff.

I had also joined a new gym around that time, and I actually felt like I was getting a bit stronger. I could keep up with the instructor, I was actually excited to go to classes, I found I could get out of bed easier in the morning – and trust me I am NOT a morning person – and I had more energy at night. I also had an influx of money (thanks, Public Service Union), and almost without thinking about it I signed up for Yoga Teacher Training.

Of course, a lot of thought did go into it. I wanted an extended program, not a 3 week, or even 3 month deal. I wanted something that I could see myself progress over. There are a lot of bad habits that I need to fix, and that’s not going to happen over night. There was also no way I could do it every weekend. I know me, and that would be a recipe for burn-out. Sometimes it can take me half a day to clean the bathroom, if I didn’t have a free weekend every now and then, my life would fall apart. I wanted a studio that would focus on all aspects of yoga, philosophy and history as well as the asanas (physical). Upward Dog met my criteria and my first class was on Saturday. So far, I’ve already met some nice people, and my mind has been sort of blown by how much more there is to yoga than I thought. I also love how yoga connects to food. I’m going to learn all about “ahimsa” or non-violence, and how that relates to a vegetarian or vegan diet. 

Right now my biggest take away from the weekend is that we already know everything there is to know, it’s just that we forget that we know it. Learning is remembering. It is already inside us.

Yep, I feel like a new-age hippy-dippy. But the amazing thing is, I don’t care. And that, I believe, is step one of any transformation.

YTT over-view:

I am excited for: Meeting people with like-minds; finding some discipline in my life; seeing the world differently.

I am scared that: I will lose interest and drop out half-way through.

I am conscious that: I have a feeling that The Husband is worried that I will change and not love him anymore. I’m trying to explain to him that a happier me = a happier him. He will also be my teaching guinea pig. I have a feeling that scares the sh*t outta him.

My body feels: Sore arms! I did maybe 3,000 downward dogs.

I am eating: Really lightly. Banana w/peanut butter for breakfast; herbal tea; veggie/rice stir-fry and Mary’s crackers and hummus for lunch; raspberries and an apple for afternoon snack, and I’m thinking some sort of quinoa/beans/salad for dinner.

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About Sarah Tombler

I live in Ottawa, Canada with my husband and our twins. I work for the Public Service, and I have been a vegetarian for 18 years. Over the years, I have started to understand that what we eat effects us, through mood, weight and positive thoughts. I am working towards cutting most animal products from my diet, in an attempt to live a life of compassion, and to do what I can to help this small planet of ours. I also love letting people know that the secret to happiness may be as simple as what we put in our bodies. View all posts by Sarah Tombler

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