ROMY YOGA IMMERSION WEEK ONE
AMBER LOVE 11-JULY-2017 My work is supported by the generous backers at Patreon.com/amberunmasked and they also get first access to what’s happening with my books and podcast.
Getting back to my regular life after eight days at the yoga immersionRomy Yoga Immersion Teacher Training is an awkward transition. We were doing the vinyasa flows (what the fitness industry thinks of as “yoga”) for 3-5 hours every day. No, I couldn’t keep up. I crapped out often, sometimes for hours on my mat. One day in unstoppable tears.
SPECIAL GUESTS & ACCOMMODATIONS:
We had great guests to spoil us. Hareesh Wallis lectured and answered questions for us almost every day on yoga history, world religions, philosophy, and the myths of Tantra (tantrik) yoga. Apparently all these years, what I thought was Hatha yoga is actually Tantra and not related to the original hardcore Hatha at all. Listening to Hareesh chant and play the harmonium, and chant with him, was by far one of the coolest things I’ve ever done.
Then Dalien of 13Hands performed a late night sound bath with multiple resonating instruments called hang drums (sort of like steel drums) mixed with gongs and chimes and a couple guitars.
I thought I’d be starved all week because I’m used to going places and not having any food options due to being vegetarian and allergic to so much. Chef Wendy of Shankara Vegan cooked brunch and dinner for us every day and sometimes made us the most decadent gluten-free vegan desserts. I think I actually gained a pound and a half. Chef Wendy is also a yoga teacher in PA.
If you’re curious and somewhat local, Mt. Eden is a retreat center with the primary mission of being a healing spot. It’s almost 200 acres along a winding road in Warren County, New Jersey. Every night there were deer in the fields as I drove away; we usually saw the wild turkeys every afternoon. Once, at dinner, we were even visited by a black bear who got scared when we tried to take pictures. The little pond was filled with so many frogs that it could get quite loud. There are also vultures who live in half of a barn not used by people. One flew from a window and landed on a branch to check us out.
PHYSICAL & MENTAL STAMINA (#SPOONIE):
People were kind about my skin and pain issues. No one ever asked what was wrong. We still had to do a lot of activities outdoors, but I slathered myself in sunscreen and bug sprays (which didn’t help at all) and carried my parasol. The group may not have understood how challenging it is for me, but they were really sweet.
I definitely need more sleep though. I would get up around 5am with the cats to spend some time with them and take short walks with each. Then I wouldn’t see them again until 9:30 or 10pm. The days were so long. When I got home on our last day which was over by noon, I slept for four hours! The next day I took two naps!
As far as my pain level, it was pretty bad. It never reached “take me to the ER” level, but I had quite a bit of shit going on. I did my best to stick with my daily medication which is twice a day, but one day I couldn’t take it anymore and took some rather old Percocet that was in my wallet (probably didn’t have much active ingredient left in it). I have to be open about that because I end up harboring feelings about people who practice yoga and are lean, pretzel people who won’t eat sugar or caffeine and always talk about how the “fitness of yoga” cures them from all ailments (*coughhealthythinpeopledieyoungtoo*). To be honest, I was so thrilled to see other people crying from emotions and drinking lots of coffee. I was thinking, “Hey! They’re normal!”
There’s so much talk that “Yoga is for every Body” so I’m out to be that — a conscious body that can participate in whatever way that means for me. So what if I can’t do three hours of power vinyasas in one class? If I can do 20-45 minutes that’s pretty good. It’s 20-45 minutes not keeping up with anyone else and doing all the modifications because it’s either that way or not doing it at all.
I thought I’d have loads of time to journal. Hahahahaha. Nope! I have maybe three pages written. I love to document details because I’m not so great with my memory. I need documents and photos for everything. That was also pretty hard to manage because we had no wifi and I’m not kidding that my Verizon service would go from 4G to 3G to 1x as I moved around a room. I didn’t get too many photos and what I did manage is pretty blurry. I had also hoped to have a friend snap pictures of me doing asanas (poses) but we simply never had time.
I think I have to say that my favorite parts were getting more in-depth about the non-physical parts of all different types of yoga. Years ago, one of my instructors told us about karma yoga and we did a few things for community service like food drives. Since then it struck a chord with me. After all we discussed in the Romy Yoga Immersion, I’m even more pumped to work on that in ways I feel I can. Since adopting Gus, I’ve been sharing a lot of posts for pets up for adoption. I try to have fun with them like the one day I chose pets that shared the same names as my friends. I’ve done other theme posts too. Getting orphaned pets homes, sharing links to GoFundMe pages for pet/human care and the arts, and sharing news from places like environmental groups are a few ways I can use my social media presence to do some good.
We also dabbled with a sort of roleplay. Instead of being “just any character” we had to channel other parts of our personalities that come out in particular situations. Think “work/office self,” “party self,” “high school self,” or “tough guy.” By far the funniest was Dog Trainer Jen leading us in asanas that dogs would do. I got to be Wonder Woman and whip the Justice League into some warrior poses.
Now I get to panic about assignments, observations, and test teaches!