Lila Vinyasa 40 Hour Teacher Training, Blue Bamboo, Ottawa ON, April 6-13th, 2014
Module 1 of 300 Hour Teacher Training, Thailand, May 3-24th, 2014
200 Hour Teacher Training with Carolyn Anne Budgell in Thailand, June 2-27th 2014
Semperviva Lila Vinyasa 40 Hour Teacher Training, Vancouver BC, July 23-30th, 2014
Module 2 of 300 Hour Teacher Training, Baja, November 8-17th, 2014
This is one of my favorite chants of ALL time:
Om tryambakam yajamahe
sugandhim pusti vardhanam
mrtyor mukshiya mamritat
Om. We worship and adore you, O three-eyed one, O Shiva. You are sweet gladness, the fragrance of life, who nourishes us, restores our health, and causes us to thrive. As, in due time, the stem of the cucumber weakens, and the gourd is freed from the vine, so free us from attachment and death, and do not withhold immortality.
Here’s a word by word translation of the Mahamrityunjay Mantra:
tri-ambaka-m “the three-eyed-one”
yaja-mahe “we praise”
sugandhi-m “the fragrant”
pusti-vardhana-m “the prosperity-increaser”
urvaruka-m “disease, attachment, obstacles in life, and resulting depression”
bandhanat “from attachment Stem (of the gourd); but more generally, unhealthy attachment”
mrtyor “from death”
mukshiya “may you liberate”
amritat realization of immortality
There are very few mantras that stand on par with Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra (also known as Mahamrityunjay Mantra, Rudra Mantra, Tryambakam Mantra or Maha Sanjivini Mantra). This mantra is said to have the power to remove all sufferings, ward off all evils, remove diseases and bestow the aspirant with health and energy. And it is said that when this mantra is it chanted with great devotion and serious contemplation it is said that the knowledge of this birth and death cycle is revealed to the aspirant. And thus it helps in overcoming the fear of death.
The literal translation of this name means Great Death-conquering Mantra. This mantra is from the Vedas. It is written in the Yajur Veda (3-60). This mantra worships a three-eyed deity commonly identified with Lord Shiva. It is also called Tryambakam Mantra or Mrita-Sanjivini mantra or Rudra Mantra. The reason for it being named Tryambakam Mantra is self explanatory because it worships a three-eyed deity. Similary, since the mantra observes Shiva in His fiery aspect of Rudra, it is also called Rudra Mantra.
The name Mrita-Sanjivini mantra has a story behind it. It is said that Sage Sukracharya accepted a challenge of Lord Indra and took up a rigorous penance of hanging upside down from a tree with his face being fanned with fumes of a fire direcly beneath his hanging body. And after Sukracharya did this for Vimsottari dasa period (twenty years), Lord Shiva appeared before him and give him this Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra to restore his physical condition. Hence the name Maha Sanjivini Mantra.
The Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra can be chanted by anybody. It is important one understands the meaning of this mantra word for word before chanting it. That’s because by knowing the meaning, the aspirant can easily contemplate on the aspect of birth and death cycle.
Source: 9Dozen’s Blog
This is an article posted on Practise Wellness:
Modern Yogis – Clara Roberts-Oss
By Krys Hansen
I may be a yoga teacher but there are days when I just want to follow someone’s else’s lead for my yoga practice… Which is why I love online yoga studios such as My Yoga Online, and Be More Yogic.
It was using My Yoga Online that I discovered Clara’s classes and I just fell in love with the strong and playful sequencing. Her classes are challenging, and the transitions are often creative. It wasn’t too long before her classes were the only ones I had saved to my watch list. I am so excited to be featuring her as a Modern Yogi as I believe her playful and yet spiritual approach to the practice is the perfect approach in our society.
How long have you practiced yoga, and how did you start?
I studied dance in school but didn’t appreciate the competitive nature of the dance community. I’ve always felt that dance was my way of communing with the Divine. A good friend found the Jivamukti Yoga studio in NYC and thought I would love it, which I did. It was all the aspects of dance that I loved minus the competition. That was 13 years ago.
Share three lessons yoga has taught you.
Just three? The practice has taught me so much!
Be kind to yourself. Let go of judgements because it doesn’t serve or make it any easier.
Less is more. This has been a big one for me. On a physical level, learning to move from my energetic body versus my physical body has been transformational. Exert less energy and all of a sudden you’re more grounded, feel less fatigued and the practice is much more meditative. Off the mat, when you exert less you are able to observe more. You’re able to step back and see the bigger picture easier–so that means being less reactive and more responsive. It’s been a game changer! Mind you, it’s always a work in progress.
Stay inspired. Do things on/off the mat that truly uplift you because guess what? It’s all yoga. All things can give you a deeper connection to the yourself and Self, if your intention is clear. I used to think it was just what happened when I was on my mat but not anymore.
How often do you practise?
Asana? Four times a week depending upon how much I’m teaching. If I have a full schedule (16-20 classes a week) then I practice asana less, to conserve energy. I do more pranayama and meditation to even it out. I try to do something daily to connect to myself and Self.
Do you meditate?
Yup! One of my favorite things to do. Gets me grounded and clear.
What do you find most challenging about yoga or meditation?
Making the time when I’m traveling. It’s harder to maintain the routine when you’re in transit.
Your favourite yoga pose and why.
Ooooh, this changes every 3-6 months. Right now, it would be halasana/ plough. It’s been great for taking my awareness inside. My back body has also been asking for a lot more opening lately.
Name one book that changed your perspective.
Hmmm… again a tough one. There have been so many. What I’m rereading right now and LOVING is Paths to God by Ram Das. It’s his lectures on the Gita at the Naropa Centre. A ton of gems in there.
The other book that comes to mind is, Tantric Quest by Daniel Odier. I found this to be the most comprehensive book on Tantra. After reading it, I was able to go back to the other books on Tantra and have a better grasp of them.
Best piece of advice?
Stay open, let go of preconceived notions of yourself, what the practice is suppose to be about and life, in general. The surprises and the ‘ah has’ come when you let go of expectations. The hard part, it’s easier said then done.
During my vinyasa trainings, people have asked me for advice. I thought I would share it with you too
A few things to chew on as a new vinyasa yoga teacher….
1)Keep it simple.
Keep everything you do while you teach as simple as possible, your sequence, your language, your music. You are learning a new language, learn the nouns, verbs and such before you jump into conversational yoga. You will appear more confident with your students and they are more likely to trust you.
Speak even slower than you think you should. New teachers are excited about sharing what they’ve learned and that excitement tends to make them nervous and that nervousness tends to speed up the cuing, the breathing and soon enough people are moving so quickly there’s no way they can be breathing with integration. Breathe with your students, speak painfully slow—usually that makes you speak normally, versus very quickly. Schylar Grant offered using a metronome at home to practice speaking slowly. Carolyn Budgell recommends recording your voice and listening to it. I recommend taping your foot quietly or using the beats in the song to give you a sense of timing. The important thing is, be conscious of your speaking speed, it is a large part of what creates the Bhavana (mood) of the class.
2) Have patience and compassion towards yourself.
The first few years are hard. You are going to make mistakes and people are going to give you attitude. Try not to be hard on yourself or your students. Learn from your mistakes and trust in the process and know that it gets easier.
3) Get off your mat as soon as possible.
As a new teacher, it’s fine to practice the sequence with your students but ween yourself off the mat as soon as possible. You are more useful to your students if you’re watching them. This is why I encourage new teachers to have simple sequences, so that they don’t need to be doing it with the class in order to remember it. Elaborate sequences may seem cool but does it ultimately serve the students if their teachers are paying more attention to remembering the sequence than watching them?
4)Own the space.
Be loving yet hold your ground. This is your classroom, be confident in the choices you make with lighting, temperature, music. This one was especially hard for me to learn. I started teaching very young. Older women liked to give me hard time by complaining about the music, the temperature and talking in class. They were some of my greatest teachers. They taught me how to stand my ground, believe in my choices as a teacher or change them if need be. Which leads me to…
5)Your students can be your greatest teachers.
Observe who triggers you in class. They are usually either echoing something about yourself that you don’t like or are not proud of. For me, those women where echoing my own feelings of self worth. Who was I to teach people? What did I have to offer? Observe what arises with those students and silently thank them for the lesson. Try and stay compassionate towards them and yourself while in the room. Then work with the triggers by meditating or talking to a therapist/friend about it.
6)Develop a consistent home practice.
This is going to feed you, especially during times of stagnation in your teaching. Your home practice is not a time when you’re developing your class sequences, I like to think of it as my upkeep. I do the poses and pranayama that my body really needs for the day. It doesn’t look like a vinyasa practice, it’s more therapeutic. It changes daily depending upon what I need and how I’m doing.
7)If you do nothing else in your own time, MEDITATE.
This was a game changer for me. I was initiated into a few years back into Neelakantha Meditation practice and had to pledge to sit 20 min every day for a year and it hooked me. This will feed you as a human and a teacher on many levels. You will be able to access compassion, strength and remain grounded in most situations. Please start today! Start by sitting for just 10 min daily and begin to increase it when you feel ready.
8)Practice the sequence in your own body prior to teaching it.
You should know how the sequence feels before you share it. If you make it up on the spot, you are more likely to forget it. I tell new teachers to teach the same sequence for a week or two so that they can focus on watching their students instead of remembering the sequence.
9)Practice different styles of Yoga
There is so much to be learned from different lineages of Yoga. It’s important to experience other ways of moving and to remember what it’s like being new at something. I find it helps me understand my students more. Two of my most influential teachers, Shiva Rea and Constantine Darling, incorporate different lineages into their teaching, giving me as the practitioner, a richer experience.
10)Create a Teacher’s Practice.
This was another game changer for me. When I moved to Vancouver eight years ago, I was invited to a teacher’s practice. I had never seen that before. We sat around in a circle and co-taught (round robin style). We picked a peak pose and created the flow together. It was an informal space where we asked each other questions, gave each other feedback on our asanas and execution. I grew as a teacher like I never had prior. It also builds a stronger kula/community amongst teachers which fed our student kula exponentially. Invite any and all teachers, no matter what style or what studio they’re from, there is always something to learn.
11)Don’t stop being a student.
Take other people’s classes. Attend teacher trainings. Continue to learn. We are students first and foremost. I look at teaching as a way of sharing things that excite me. Continue to feed yourself so you can continue to share.
and my last one for today….
12)Don’t take yourself too seriously.
As my father says so beautifully, We are all bozos on this bus. I try to think of myself as a facilitator. I am here to facilitate my students journey into themselves. I try and create a space that is safe for them to explore their inner landscapes. Teaching is not about me, it’s about them. It’s an important one to remember. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how cool your sequence is, whether a ton of people told you how great you are or if your playlist worked. Instead ask yourself, did people leave feeling more connected to themselves, more quiet, more introspective? To me that’s the sign of a good class. And if it didn’t happen, so be it. I’ll try again next time.