The sun will come out, tomorrow….Yoga before the sea and the big blue sky

Yesterday morning dawned rainy and grey.  Around these parts, precipitation is a present, a gift.  The chill in the air was invigorating, and the light reflecting on the wet cobblestones a portend of danger, for they are slippery when wet.
Sophie and Laurence and I warmed up with a white tea before class, then ventured upstairs to el Cielo, which means “Heaven” in Spanish, for yoga class.
There was a chill in the room, so we doubled up the yoga mats, and distributed nice, warm, hot pink wool blankets.   When we reached the floor phase of the practice, I noticed that the chill was starting to bite.  Feeling protective of my students, I hoped and prayed for some warming rays.
As we began to practice dvipada-pitâm (“the two-legged table pose”), the sun burst through!  Suddenly our little greenhouse of a room warmed up!  Joy!  We finished the sequence with Dolphins and headstand prep…energies were moved, smiles dawned upon faces and yet again, yoga worked its magic.
Thanks to everyone who came to class, it is a honour and privilege to be allowed to teach even a little bit of this ancient system.  Thanks to all the yogis and sages who kept this oral tradition alive for us to employ now, in 2018.  Thanks to my teachers, Claude and Carmen, for dedicating your lives to teaching teachers.  Namasté.

Authenticity in teaching yoga: Why it took me so long to teach.

authentically ok
authentically ok

The first time I ever practised yoga was in January, 1999.  That is 19 years ago.  How time flies.  I knew from the very first class that I wanted to teach yoga, that it was my path.  So, why did it take me so long to start teaching?  One word:  Authenticity.
I had for the longest time the feeling of being an imposter.  Imposter syndrome is the persistent feeling that you are a fraud.  In the five types that are listed there, I would say I am a Natural Genius and a Rugged Individualist.  Oh, with a bit of Perfectionist thrown in, for good measure.  It’s a high bar I have set for myself.
In yoga, the stakes are high.  You are not playing with people.  You are doing serious work.  And lest we forget, you can only teach what you know, so the most serious work you are actually doing is on yourself.
It is not easy to start off with the Yamas and Niyamas, the codes of ethics that underpin all serious yoga practice.  Non-harming, purity, self-study, contention…it is a long list, and very hard to adhere to 100% of the time.  Add that to six-days-a-week practice, and an evolving practice at that, not stagnating, bringing new things to the mat.  Phew.
It is easy to fall into the idea that you are never good enough to teach yoga.  Or rather, for me it is.  Evidently, for others it is not so difficult.  There are plenty of people out there who, a year after discovering yogâsana are on a 200-hr course and then teaching a few months later.  This is not a criticism of such people, it is a reflection on my inner process, my evolution.
I could not allow myself to do such a thing.  Maybe it is simple enough to say that my baggage was too heavy, my inner world too murky, my compass skewed.  Who was I to teach anyone how to live happily?
And yet, slowly, progressively, I oriented myself, I shed my baggage, I shone my light.  The interesting thing was discovering that we don’t have to be 100% perfect and clean.  But, we need to love our own flaws, our own pain.  When you learn to love your pain, you become whole and when you are whole you can hold space for your students to learn to love themselves, in their entirety.  When I got that,  I started to teach in earnest.  Now, it is my passion, my absolute passion!
A lot of marketing in the holistic world centres on authenticity.  How can we tell the real from the false.  I dunno, I don’t have a simple answer.  I think it’s intuition, I think it’s a feeling.  All I can say is that I think I am authentically ok now, I think I am.  I hope I am cos goddarn I am not going back to that place where I was before!   So, if you feel like checking out my classes, meeting me to ask about how I teach, having a conversation, you’re already here on the blog.  Take the next step and get in touch.
Love, Rachel

Schedule/horarios 2018

Hello beautiful people!  here is a quick resumé of the classes that I am offering as of January, 2018:

  • Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday mornings at 9:30AM 
  • Martes, Miércoles, Jueves, Viernes por la mañana a las 9:30AM:

GOA Altea, Carretera del Albir, 17, Altea (03590).

  • Tuesday and Friday afternoons at 4:00PM
  • Martes y Viernes por la tarde a las 4:00PM

Alfaz Paradise, Calle Badia, 50, el Albir, (03581).  

Bhastrika, or bellows yogic breathing for healing from a cold

Even yogis get sick.  Yep, you read it here:  the end of the year is upon us and with it, the cold and dark months of the northern winter.  Now, admittedly here in Altea, the winters are not as rough as those of my native Canada.  But, the rhythm of life is just as hectic, if not more given the general disorganisation of the Iberian culture.  So, I have just spent a week on the sofa, sick as sick thing.  I thought I would share with you a pranayama technique called Bhastrika or bellows breathing.  It is a useful technique for clearing excess cold and damp from the body by nourishing the fire element.  So, watch the video and give it a try.  Any questions or doubts, leave a comment and I will get back to you.

Evento: Crea lo extraordinario con lo sencillo

Hola a todas!  Os dejo aquí información sobre un evento en lo cuál voy a participar éste próximo sábado, 24 de junio, 2017.  Se llama “Crea la extraordinario con lo sencillo” y es un encuentro de mujeres.  Desde el paraje del Aitana Natural Guesthouse, cerca de Sella, en la provincia de Alicante, ofreceremos talleres de vaporizaciones vaginales y el uso del huevo yoni (Natalia de Ancos), acuarela y creatividad (Laura Serradilla), yoga y mantras (yo misma, Rachel Rose), además de comida rica, vegetariana y ecológica.
El coste del día entero son 50€, y el horario es de 11:00-21:00.  Si estás en Facebook, os dejo el enlace aquí:

A few links about yoga and breast cancer

I am out of town, so will just offer a brief Sunday update of a few links:
Happy reading!

Yoga teaches me.

I don’t teach yoga.  Yoga teaches me.
For the past few months, I have maintained mostly silence.  All the amazing and transformative experiences brought to me by constant practice, I have kept to myself.   I lost the impulse to share, to blog or post about my feelings or openings or closings or understandings.  It…just went.
I stopped caring about capturing yoga students.  I stopped caring about adding a fresh voice to the yoga blogosphere.  I stopped trying to be clever, new or insightful.  I guess that I went inside.  It felt good.  It feels good.  My inner voice is loudly private.  What bearing has my experience of yoga on yours?  Very little.
For this reason, out of the silence came this phrase:  I don’t teach yoga.  Yoga teaches me.
Say it to yourself.  Repeat it a few times.  Change the intonation.  You will see what I mean.
Yoga teaches me to be patient.
Yoga teaches me to listen.
Yoga teaches me the value of constancy and dedication.
Yoga teaches me that pain is a signal to stop.
Yoga teaches me to listen to my intuition, to stop when it says stop and to pay little heed to what others are doing.
Yoga teaches me that when people are ready, they will arrive.
Yoga teaches me that some people are never going to be ready for yoga, in this lifetime, or perhaps in the bit of a lifetime that you may know them.
Yoga teaches me to love those who don’t practice with equal intensity and without judgement.
Yoga teaches me that people’s bad behaviour is a sign of their inner suffering and they need compassion, not criticism.  But you don’t need to be their best friend, either.
Yoga teaches me that being alone and maintaining silence is often the only remedy.
Yoga teaches me to delay gratification.
Yoga teaches me to communicate clearly and non-violently, verbally and non-verbally.
Yoga teaches me to look within, assess clinically what I find, undo the knots and find out that I too have a lovely, gentle, kind, open, accepting soul.
Yoga teaches me that what I thought to be “me”, what I mistook for “who I am”, those things people call character, is all an illusion, an armour that I made while trying to protect myself.
Yoga teaches me to remember this armour for when I need it, but to shed it most of the time.
Yoga teaches me to relax.
Yoga teaches me to be, and in being, to do good, while remaining detached from the fruits of the actions.
I don’t teach yoga.  Yoga teaches me.

Fundación Dharma

Maha Lakshmi
Maha Lakshmi

He tenido el gran placer de conocer a Luis, el director de la ONG Fundación Dharma y Dharma Travel, ayer en el Festival de Yoga 21J.  Me parece que hacen unos trabajos muy dignos y importantes en la India, en Vrindavan, el pueblo nativo del Señor Krishna.  Organizan viajes a la India, y dan de comer a más de 4000 personas al día.  Tienen un temple en Monóvar, cerca de Elda, en la provincia de Alicante, España, donde enseñan el Bhakti Yoga, hacen ceremonias de fuego y honran los días festivos indúes.
El vínculo entre la religión indú y el yoga existe, claramente.  Sin embargo, no es necesario tener ningún creencia religiosa para poder prácticar el hatha yoga.   Pienso que cuando entramos en el Astanga Yoga – con todos los ocho miembros presentes en nuestra práctica, es ligeramente más difícil separar el yoga del induismo.
Quienes me conocen saben que el mantra es lo mío.  He hecho todo una sanación a través del mantra, sobre todo el Gayatri.  Pero, claro, cantar mantras sanscritos casi siempre significa nombrar dioses del pantheón Indico.  Los mantras bija son menos “religiosos” y se considera que actuan directamante sobre los nadis y los granthis del cuerpo físico (piensate en los meridianos y puntos de acupuntura de la madicina china).  Pero, el rítmo de los mantras sanscritos me llama más la atención.  O mejor dicho, me ayuda más a orientar la mente en una sola dirección durante un tiempo determinado.
Pero no soy indú.
Hay todo un discurso hoy en día sobre lo que se denomina “cultural appropriation”, en inglés.    Es el neo-colonialismo cultural.  No sé que pienso de eso.  Creo que el futuro de la humanidad reside en mezclar todas nuestras culturas para creer algo pan-humanista.   No quiero ofender a nadie cantando unos mantras a Krishna, lo veo inofensivo.