Addicted to thinking…is this a thing??

I’m thinking too much.  I’m thinking right now actually.  I’d like it to stop but it won’t.  The best I can do right now is channel my energy in writing a blog about thinking and hope that I find respite from that voice in my head.

We can all relate to the small self, the ego, the voice that is sometimes with you and sometimes not.  In Yoga Philosophy, it is ahamkāra, in modern day speak it is your subconscious.  Let’s call it the ego. It is the voice that tells you if you are happy or sad, hungry or thirsty, challenged or bored, tired or energetic, in love or not.  There are times in the day when the ego is with you, and there are times when it leaves you alone.  When your Yoga Teacher tells you to ‘be present,’ it means you need to transcend the ego.

In an ideal world, we would all be far more present than we actually are.  We are faced with distractions and stimuli that set the ego off on a tangent in an instant.  So much so, the ego is with us far more than it needs to be.  We do not need to think all the time.  We need to live in the present moment.  Enjoy where we are, what we are doing and who we are with.  But we don’t.  We are too busy thinking about the past and the future, the big things and little things, what makes us happy and what makes us sad.

The consequence of this is that we then believe that we are our thoughts.  If one experiences success, one thinks themselves as successful. If one experiences sadness, one deems themselves as a sad person.  A break-up can lead to a ‘pity party.’  This is a misconception and a product of existing in your subconscious with your ego.  On a bad day, you do not want to be there!!!

I seem to be thinking all the time.  I’m thinking about next summer, next year, my career, new curriculum, yoga, yoga venues, my finances, my relationship status, my family, my friends, handstands, surf, good things, bad things……just always thinking.  And there are times when I feel positive about my thoughts and times when I really don’t.

Recently, someone really hurt me.  The ego went bonkers.  For weeks, the ego bothered my about how I was feeling.  It bothered me at a time when I would have really appreciated being left alone to concentrate on stuff that mattered.  My ego pestered me every morning when I woke up, every minute when I was by myself and every night when I was trying to sleep.  My ego hated him for upsetting me, my ego wanted to phone him and give hell, my ego was frustrated that he’d made a mess.  A second ego, hated this ego and wanted to let go of the negativity. My emotional ego just misses him and is waiting for him to sort his shit out.  My most rational ego knows that my true self doesn’t want any of this, my true self wants inner peace and to stop thinking about it, what will be will be.

We are not our thoughts. Our thoughts are the most superficial level of what happens upstairs in the ‘brain department.’  We are more than this.  In recent weeks, my ego revelled in the emotion of being hurt.  My ego took over and so it was easy to think that I was my ego, I was that voice of doom in my head, a victim in the complications of compromise.  But that is not me.

The true definition of yoga is to transcend the ego.  The ultimate aim is to exist beyond the subconscious.  Sometimes, we need that voice to guide us in the right direction. We need to develop an awareness of knowing when the ego is behaving rationally or emotionally.  Our aim should be to live consciously rather than within the subconscious.   To be fair, my ego knew that it needed to take steps to get away from the negativity of it all.  I’m definitely working in it.  Well, I think I am.

An addiction is something that you do beyond your control that you would like to stop.  It is just like smoking or drinking wine every night after work.  That’s how I feel about thinking right now.  I feel like it is an addiction, a vice.  It’s too much and I want to stop.  I could write at length about the strategies that I am using right now.  But they are text book strategies and nothing new or revolutionary.  My ego definitely knows better than to bother me when I am on my yoga mat which can only be a positive thing.  And I can say this:  in writing this blog, I didn’t think once, I was existing consciously and the ego was at rest.  Job done, for now anyway.

I hope this resonates and I am not alone here!!  Comments welcome.

I’d highly recommend this article by Ekhart Tolle:
https://upliftconnect.com/eckhart-tolle-how-to-rise-above-thoughts/

Upcoming dates for 2019
5th January:  200 hrs YTTC in Vinyasa Flow and Ashtanga Yoga, Nicaragua
3rd February:  300 hrs YTTC in Vinyasa Flow, Ashtanga Yoga and Yin, Goa
5th March:  300 hrs YTTC in Vinyasa Flow, Ashtanga Yoga and Yin, Goa
4th April: 300 hrs YTTC in Vinyasa Flow, Ashtanga Yoga and Yin, Goa
8th June: 200 hrs YTTC in Vinyasa Flow and Ashtanga Yoga, Nicaragua
November: 200 hrs YTTC in Vinyasa Flow and Ashtanga Yoga, Nicaragua

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Setting an Intention for 2019….Better Relationship(s)

How easy is it to set an intention for your practice?  Find strength and flexibility; develop appreciation; be present; find inner peace; don’t categorise yourself, love everyone.  An intention is different from a goal.  A goal is achieved or it isn’t.  An intention has the aim of improvement.  My intention:  I need to be better at the relationship stuff……

I love Ashtanga Yoga and everything related to it.  It equates to my daily life, personality and my pitta dosha.  I love structure, operations, discipline, knowing what comes next, familiarity, challenge, longevity, sustainability, labels.  Ultimately, Ashtanga Yoga has always suited me as I like everything to be ‘just so.’  Anyone close to me will know me and my ‘just so-ness’ and how difficult I can be with spontaneity and not knowing what comes next or deviating from the plan; my need for control, the desire to manage.  Right or wrong, no in-between.  We’re long term or we’re nothing.  My way, or the highway, jog on!!!

I don’t need or want to be like this anymore.

When I started practicing Vinyasa Flow, it was challenging but it was what I needed.  I had set the intention of losing frame and structure, the need for familiarity, the need to know what comes next, the labels.  I have developed a keen sense of awareness as to what I need to do to my body to get into postures that had never featured in my Ashtanga Yoga practice, postures and shapes that had no names or labels.  I was out of my comfort zone.

Just as I have let go of that set sequence of postures, I am doing my best to let go of routine and structure.  I try to be more spontaneous, I eat lunch late and skip breakfast, I work when I choose to and rest when I feel like it.  I try to live life intuitively rather than to schedule.  Sometimes, I practice in the afternoon, there’s a thing.  It doesn’t matter to me if I am working or not; teaching or practicing; vegie, vegan or eating fish/meat.  Julia Gavin Yoga or Kranti Yoga; Nicaragua or Goa; east or west.  There are less labels for sure.  That’s pretty yogi, right?  So why do I need to put a label on my relationship status or the person I am with.  Why do I still need to do that?

I am still miles away from being where I want to be.  I have made significant progress with spontaneity but I am still far from the free spirit that I would like to be, contrary to being perceived as the freest of spirits.  I think it’s affecting my relationships.

A beautiful, yet far from perfect, relationship has just come to an end (for now!)  I am living with the regret that I tried to label and define it, we both did.  We both tried to put labels and boundaries on each other that weren’t necessary, ironically against the ethos of what we both believe in.  I looked too far into the future instead of enjoying the here and now.  He put labels on it that weren’t agreeable to me and I tried to do the same to him.  Fundamentally, we wanted the same things out of it: no commitment to a ‘regular’ relationship, being in the moment, having time together when it suited us both, enjoying that unquestionable chemistry.  Had we not have had those conversations about commitment, the future and trying to define ‘us,’ I believe that we could have continued, even from opposite sides of the globe, knowing that it was never going to be forever.  It was not like I was going to move in with him…I’m a free spirit, I live out of a bag and I don’t do winters.

What happened to my intention in this area of my life?  Why did we try to label each other?  It was what it was yet we made it so difficult.  We ended it pretty poorly.

So, it’s possibly done and all I can do is learn, let go and move on.  I don’t aspire to have a relationship that is fuelled by future plans and labels, but that is how it seemed.  I just want to flow in the company of someone who ignites a special chemistry and see what it flows into.  Maybe 2019 will provide the opportunity and maybe it won’t.  It won’t matter as I will not label it as ‘mattering.’

So, as I flow into 2019, regarding relationship stuff, my mantra is this:
What will be will be and it doesn’t matter what it is called and how long it is going to last.  It doesn’t matter whether we are friends or more than friends.  Just accept who is close and appreciate what they bring for however long that may be, at whatever distance.

Love and light to everyone out there, I hope this resonates with some you and I am not alone here!!  Yes, I have opted for an alternative lifestyle and there are pros and cons, in general it is great but I need to stick to my intention, aim for improvement, especially where relationships are concerned.

Have a great year and I hope paths cross soon.
Julia xxx

Upcoming dates for 2019
5th January:  200 hrs YTTC in Vinyasa Flow and Ashtanga Yoga, Nicaragua
3rd February:  300 hrs YTTC in Vinyasa Flow, Ashtanga Yoga and Yin, Goa
5th March:  300 hrs YTTC in Vinyasa Flow, Ashtanga Yoga and Yin, Goa
4th April: 300 hrs YTTC in Vinyasa Flow, Ashtanga Yoga and Yin, Goa
8th June: 200 hrs YTTC in Vinyasa Flow and Ashtanga Yoga, Nicaragua
November: 200 hrs YTTC in Vinyasa Flow and Ashtanga Yoga, Nicaragua

BOOK NOW

Vinyasa Flow YTTC in Nicaragua

Namaste Peeps,

So, I have just touched down in a very chilly Liverpool for a few weeks after 7 weeks of working on the 300 hr Vinyasa Flow YTTC teaching Yoga Philosophy and Vinyasa Flow at Kranti Yoga, Goa.  My next stop is Nicaragua where I will teach 200 hrs YTTC in Vinyasa Flow in January.  While I am always sad to leave Goa, I am super excited to return to Los Clavos Surf Camp as their resident Vinaysa Flow Yoga Teacher over Christmas and New Year in Nicaragua.

You can check out my 200 hr YTTC Vinyasa Flow Curriculum on my website. If you are looking to teach yoga in a studio near you, rather than Nicaragua, the YTTC is packed with Vinyasa Flow Teaching Methodology in order for you to design and deliver your own class.  I spent a heap of time researching Vinyasa Flow, not just in Goa and Nicaragua but in UK city studios.  The YTTC has been designed so that students will leave having delivered their very own class of Vinyasa Flow.  On completion of the YTTC in Vinyasa Flow some students will be ready to apply for Yoga Teacher jobs, others will be ready to practice on friends and family upon leaving Nicaragua.  Either way, it is a great opportunity to develop a practice in Vinyasa Flow and get your YTTC certification in Nicaragua.  There is obviously surf too!!!

200 hrs YTTC in Vinyasa Flow, 5th to 26th January 2019

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Flip Flops for Hiking Boots

When my French colleagues, Claire and Romain, asked me to host a yoga and hiking retreat in the mountains of the French Alps, I jumped at the chance.  I already host yoga retreats for them over in Central America at Los Clavos Surf Camp.  And, while I love the beach enough to spend 8 months of the year in flip flops, a mountain yoga retreat with heaps of hiking in the French Alps is a whole new concept for me.

The mountain chalet boasts incredible views of the surrounding French Alps.  It is an ideal space for a yoga retreat for those of us who love the great outdoors and hiking.  I know it’s going to be a sensory overload: the view of the French Alps during yoga, the smell of the countryside when we are out hiking, the taste of breakfast croissants and good wine in the evening (yes, it’s going to be very French.)

The morning yoga practice will look out over the French Alps and will be an energising Vinyasa Flow Class. During the day, we will go hiking in the French Alps, maybe do some yoga in our hiking boots, enjoy a picnic lunch before returning to the chalet for yoga to restore after the hiking. Evenings will be spent in the chalet with a 3 course dinner accompanied by French wine of course!  I am also really excited to check out nearby Annecy and Annecy Lake.  Between all the hiking and yoga, we’ll go for lunch and have a look around this popular little spot in the French Alps.

I really hope that some of my amazing yoga students from far and wide will retreat with me to this incredible location in the French Alps.  Come and share this opportunity, if only to see me out of beach yoga attire….hello hiking boots.

You can check out more details on the following page:
www.juliagavinyoga.com/yoga-hiking-meditation

Upcoming dates for Julia Gavin Yoga:

13thOctober – 200 hr YTTC:  Sayulita, Mexico
5thJanuary – 200 hr YTTC:  Los Clavos Surf Camp, Northern Nicarauga
3rdFebruary – 300 hr YTTC: Kranti Yoga, Goa, India

Vinyasa Flow in Nicaragua!!

I’m back in Nicaragua and just taking a moment to reflect on my practice and what I am currently teaching.  For several years, I have been addicted to the practice of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga.  When I say addicted, I mean that in a healthy way……I’m not going to break out in a cold sweat if I don’t get to practice for whatever reason while I am here in Nicaragua.  However, during my time in Nicaragua, I have recently developed a huge appreciation for Vinyasa Flow and how I can achieve more postures in working without the restrictions of a set sequence.  Anyone that knows me will understand that Vinyasa Flow is beyond my ‘pitta’ comfort zone.  It is a surprise to me that I have embraced it.  I have been practice and teaching Vinysa Flow both in India and Nicaragua and I am loving it.

When I was invited back to Kranti Yoga, midst my time in Nicaragua, to develop and launch a Vinyasa Flow curriculum, I jumped at the chance.  I had been working on my Vinyasa Flow classes and curriculum for a year, during my time at Los Clavos Surf Camp in Nicaragua.  The opportunity gave me chance to really think about the pedagogy of how to sequence a successful Vinyasa Flow Class, and in turn, teach the teachers how to teach it.

When you prepare a Vinyasa Flow Class, consider the integrity of each and every pose included in your sequence, familiarity of your peak posture is crucial.  Being able to share your experience of how you achieved the posture is what makes a good Vinysasa Flow Class, whether you are in Nicaragua or any other country, it doesn’t matter.  A good Vinyasa Flow teacher will share the tiniest of details in order that you get the most out of your practice.  And so, after years of Ashtanga Yoga, I am in a great position to share those details with you.  I understand every inch of each of the postures that I teach and I am looking forward to sharing this in sunny Nicaragua in the future.

 Join me soon Nicaragua to share my Vinyasa Flow practice.

Click here for course details.

9thJune: 200 hrs YTTC Ashtanga and Restorative Yoga
4th August: 200 hrs YTTC in Vinyasa Flow
27thOctober:  200 hrs YTTC in Vinyasa Flow

3 months of Vinyasa Flow at Kranti Yoga….

I was born to teach and I love teaching Vinyasa Flow. At Kranti Yoga, I have never allowed my teaching to become stagnant and have always done my best to stay at the forefront of yoga teaching using contemporary ideas and pedagogy.  I make it my duty to plan every yoga class with a fresh and modern approach.

As Curriculum Co-Ordinator, it has been an honour to be invited back to Kranti Yoga to further develop its long standing curricula and develop a team of teachers to deliver.  I returned to Kranti Yoga to launch a brand new 300 hr YTTC curriculum along with a Yin Yoga Immersion Course.  Having remained an Ashtanga Yoga Teacher Training School, it was a necessary move to bring Vinyasa Flow and Yin Yoga to the forefront of our teachings. With 100% dedication to the practice, it has been fun to bring postures such as the Eka Pada Koundinyasanas, Vasthistasana, Dighasana and Skandasana into the mix with integrity and detail.

It has been a year in the planning but the 300 hr YTTC in Vinyasa Flow and Adjustments, has been running successfully now at Kranti Yoga for that last 3 months.  Not only do students develop an advanced practice of Vinyasa Flow, they also teach their own 90 minute class.  The curriculum also has a huge focus on the integrated body, bringing awareness to dealing with the body in totality with unity.  It has been an important part of my development to teach in this area and I am delighted with the positive reaction to the new Vinyasa Flow material. Kranti Yoga is taking bookings already for the coming season for this course.

And while the Yin Immersion program was rolling out, it became evident that there was an increased demand for a 300 hr Yin Yoga Course. With some extra research and planning, drawing from the existing knowledge from within the team, Kranti Yoga is delighted to offer 300 hr YTTC in Yin Yoga and Vinyasa Flow.  This course brings together the passivity of Yin Yoga with the dynamism of Vinyasa Flow and as a team, we are looking forward to the launch in October this year.

So it has been a busy 3 months for me but I am delighted to announce these courses at Kranti Yoga for the new season:

300 hrs in Vinyasa Flow and Adjustments
300 hrs in Yin Yoga and Vinyasa Flow
500 hrs in Ashtanga Yoga and Vinyasa Flow
100 hrs Yin Yoga Immersion

 The new season will start 30thSeptember.  See you at Kranti Yoga Beach Resort very soon.  Europe, here I come.

Or join me, 9thJune, in Nicaragua for 100, 200 or 300 hrs YTTC with surf.

 

Yoga Teacher Training, remote Northern Nicaragua….

Many thanks to Katrin from Atlanta for this blog post about her Yoga Teacher Training with me in January…….

“Going to a surf camp for Yoga Teacher Training in northern Nicaragua is no small feat. The flight from Atlanta to Managua, Nicaragua’s capital, is a less than 3 hours. The real journey begins when you get on your way from the airport in Managua to the remote surf camp location in the north of the country. I arrived in the small hours of the morning, I hadn’t been able to see this beautiful country by day but even when the sun is down you can feel the vibe of this central American country and its Latin/Spanish influence.

It’s a 3 hours drive from the airport to the surf camp. The road turned from asphalt to paving stones and eventually to a dirt road. I have been to this part of Nicaragua before and so knew what to expect.  The last 2-3 km of the journey were long , the road was pretty bumpy after the last rain season. Finally, I arrived at the gates of Los Clavos Surf Camp. Last time, I was here for a Yoga Retreat with Julia. This time, I was here for my 200 hours Yoga Teacher Training Course in Ashtanga and Restorative Yoga.

The next morning, I woke up to the sound of the waves crashing into shore and the light of the rising sun. There is something magical about starting your day when nature does. The camp is so pretty, with its 4 cabañas set back from the ocean with stunning views of the Pacific and magnificent sunsets.

And in the light of day, I explored my surroundings on the way to nearby surf beach, Nahualapa Bay. The remoteness of the camp means that it is situated far from civilisation and in a rural area. Some of the nearby houses of the local people are small, some look to be just simple structures of driftwood or whatever building material they could get their hands on, maybe a palm leave roof. Most of everyday life happens outdoors. Depending on the time of day, you will see the residents going about their day washing laundry in a large sink outside; run with water from a nearby well, herding their cattle or just hanging out in their hammocks because if it is too hot to do any hard labor. Compared to modern standards, these people are undoubtedly poor. Most of them live a very simple life, the cattle and pigs are probably their most valuable possessions. However, they seem so content and happy with what they have. Each person you pass greets you with a friendly “Hola” or “Buenos dias.” They always have a smile on their faces and are always friendly to the tourists visiting Nicaragua.

At the conclusion of Yoga Teacher Training and on my way back to the airport in Nicaragua, I reflected on the experience of the last few weeks. What does it really take to be happy? Nicaragua and Yoga Teacher Training have taught me it doesn’t take much and it certainly doesn’t take a lot of worldly possessions. Having a roof over my head, food in my belly and something that feeds my soul, i.e. yoga or some salsa music, is all it takes for me.”

Thanks for you reflection Katrin.  We hope to see you again soon at Los Clavos Surf Camp!!

19th May & 9th June:  200 hours in Ashtanga and Restorative Yoga
9th June:  300 hours in Ashtanga Yoga and the Integrated Body