My Favorite Yoga Workshop
Last Saturday I went to a workshop/class at The Equinox on Avery Street. It was taught by one of my biggest inspirations Omgal, Rebecca Pacheco. She’s a Boston based yoga teacher. While it was the first time I was every able to attend a class of hers I follow her religiously on Instagram and her blog and LOVE her book. (Do Your Om Thing: Bending yoga Tradition to Fit Your Modern Life)
I loved the book. Sophie (Casey's family dog) and I
enjoying "Do Your Om Thing" and tea one morning
I think her book is the main reason I love her work as a yogi and teacher. She divides her book into four different section Yoga: Ancient & Modern, The Body, The Mind, The Spirit. She goes over the chakras, the koshers, meditation, love, spirituality and much more. It's a great way to get some insight into Ancient yoga tradition in relation with modern yoga tradition.
Overall she helps apply yoga philosophy to the modern yogi and the modern yoga practice. I think this is a hard thing for every yogi to do. I’ve learned about ayruveda, yoga philosophy, Sanskrit, The Yoga Sutras and so much more in my teacher training but I still don’t feel like I know enough. I have pursued other paths of learning by buying books and attending workshops post teacher training in hopes to absorb as much information as possible. Do Your Om thing was one book that put some aspects of the yoga world into perspective to me. (more to come on that)
Back to the workshop/class. First of all Equinox was BEAUTIFUL. I almost took a job at a different Equinox a year or two back and I don’t remember the facility being nearly as fancy and just plain gorgeous. As a fitness enthusiast and self proclaimed gym junkie I was walking around the cardio and weight lifting floor in awe. There were rows and rows of cardio equipment, endless mirrors, endless weights and even more machines. Don’t even get my started on the locker rooms…. Nicer than my house. Absurd. A small part of me wanted to waste all of the (very little) money I have on a membership and the other part of me was thinking how unnecessary all this was for me at the moment. The yoga studio was beautiful as well with a its own floor! And great lighting.
Now the class, the class was great. Rebecca created a “Love letter” to all of us and included all of her favorite poses and many of her frequent students favorite poses. We did triangle (my new favorite) and pigeon pose (my always favorite) so I was happyJ We also did some partner work which was so fun. We split up into Tom and Gisele (obviously, oh boston). I didn’t go with anyone I knew so I made a new friend which was awesome! The first partner work was practicing handstands (ahhhh what? But also YAY what I’ve been trying to work on).
Here’s the breakdown of how we practice it:
One partner (Gisele) gets into downward facing dog, maybe shorten your dog a little, Send your right leg high to to sky, keeping your hips squared to the floor.
Partner two (Tom) hold Gisele’s shin in both hands and stand at the side of their DownDog.
Gisele, press your shin as much as you can into Tom’s hands. AS you do this your left leg will begin to lift off the floor and all the way up overhead
Tom: As the left leg lifts,guide the right leg up as well (not using your strength, let Giselle use all her strength) and run around behind your partner and grab onto their ankles or heels.
Giselle: Continue to push into Tom’s hand and push your hands into the mat.
There you are! In a handstand, you did most of the work with the help of a guiding hand and some emotional support!
Partner work number two was Chair pose using each other’s back to lean against. The hardest part was to be able to sit up straight with your backs flat against each other. I tried to do this one in traditional chair pose with my big toes together and thighs hugging in but I wasn’t able to keep my back straight up. A few other people had their feet out at hips distance apart like in a normal squat position. I want to try it with a friend again to see if that is easier.
I took it everywhere. Some early AM bike ride & inspiration
After some partner work we continued we a flow with all the best poses and and lovely savasana with our legs up at the wall. Afterwards, we went through a meditation that was amazing. She read it from her book so I am happy to share it with you here:
The supreme prayer of my heart.... is not to be rich, famous, powerful, or too good, but to be radiant. I desire to be radiate health, calm, courage, cheerfulness, and good will. I wish to live without hate, whim, jealousy, envy or fear. I wish to be simple, honest, frank, natural, clean in mind and clean in body, unaffected, ready to say I do not know if so it be, to meet all men and women on an absolute equality, to face any obstacle and meet every difficulty unabashed and unafraid. I wish others to live their lives, too, up to their fullest and best. To that end, I pray that I may never meddle, interfere, dictate, give advice that is not wanted, or assist when my services are not needed. If I can help people, I will do it, by giving them a chance to help themselves: and if I can uplift or inspire, let it by by example, rather than by injunction and dictation. That is to say, I desire to be radiant, to radiate life.
After a short break for some wine and appetizers, Rebecca began to talk about her book. She read an excerpt from her chapter on love about her hubby. Her chapter opened with one of my favorite quotes “ In the End only three things matter: how well we have lived, how well we have loved and how well we have learned to let go. " - Jack Kornfield
She also went through a few breathing exercises that are easy to adapt to daily life. We went through Nidra Shodhana (alternate nostril breathing-- to balance and create clarity) and breath of joy (SO fun-- to energize & uplift).
Unfortunately, I had to run out early to head somewhere with friends but I did have a change to say hi to Rebecca and introduce myself. I fangirling so hard… a little embarrassing but she was so nice.
Oh and at the beginning of class she had us right an intention on a flashcard. During our savasana she collected the intentions and then redistributed them. She said we were going to get what we needed back and this is what I received. Definitely what I needed.
Overall, this was an amazing workshop all around. It was fun but informative, challenging but enjoyable. I’m hoping she has another one same time soon. Thanks Rebecca!
Try out some of the partner exercises I mentioned here or some of the breathing exercises! Let me know if you have any questions.
For Real though, I took it everywhere and apparently took pictures of it everywhere.