Pain and the Other Voices In My Head

natalieThis thoughtful post was written by Natalie Barrales-Hall, a member of our 2015-2016 Yoga Teacher Training (YTT).  Natalie has worked as a community and youth worker, and in February she began teaching Queer & Trans Yoga at Queen Street Yoga. Natalie strives to facilitate safer spaces for students who may not see themselves represented in mainstream yoga spaces or those who may be questioning whether yoga is really for them. Her approach is gentle and permissive, and she invites students to consider a practice of gratitude and self-compassion.

Whether emotional, physical or traumatic, I’ve been thinking a lot about pain. Maybe that is because of the injuries and losses I experienced during the course of the training program (don’t worry, it wasn’t the yoga asanas!), or maybe it’s informed by my work and holding space for people who are hurting, or maybe it’s simply because pain is an inevitable part of being human. Whatever the reason, I’ve been thinking about it and in all my thinking, I’ve started to wonder about the stories we are told and tell ourselves about pain – pain as the cause of loss and disconnection, pain as a source of growth and healing, and what pain says about us and how we show up in the world.

In early 2015, I was struggling to understand and manage increasingly severe knee pain which had, for all intents and purposes, come from “nowhere”. In my efforts to alleviate the pain and restore full range of movement, I was encouraged to pursue further testing to rule out any underlying injury. Thus ensued a 4-month long process which concluded with a visit to an orthopedic clinic, where upon reviewing my MRI, I was reminded of one of the first stories I can remember being told about pain: this is your fault. As the weeks passed, I would be offered many more stories by practitioners who suggested that the pain could be the result of a meniscal tear, pelvic alignment and related biomechanical concerns or energy stagnation.   Continue reading

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Why I’m Afraid to Become a Yoga Teacher

Tomasz Stasiuk - Do not fear failure

Photo by Tomasz Stasiuk

Our next Yoga Teacher Training Program begins in September 2015. Maybe you are thinking of applying, but some fears or insecurities are nipping at your heels. In this post, Marta (one of our 2014 Yoga Teacher Trainees, who recently graduated from our program) shares about the fear and anxiety that can come along with pursuing something that you love. 

Fear.  It happens to all of us.  I’m not talking about the kind of fear that makes you leap out of bed in the middle of the night and run to the bathroom so the monsters don’t catch you and gobble you up (so far so good on that one).  I’m talking about the fear of not being awesome.

I love yoga.  I love doing yoga, reading about yoga, watching yoga, talking about yoga… you get the drift.  Yoga has enriched my life in ways that I never imagined possible.  It has given me tools to help manage my anxiety and depression.  It has taught me how to practice happiness.  It has challenged me to take a close look at what I think, how I speak, how I behave, and it is still doing so every day.  It has taught me how to breathe.

Continue reading