Massage Intensive in Nicaragua

http://www.inanitah.com/learning/events/massage-therapy-intensive/

Come join me this Summer at Inanitah in Nicaragua this Summer!IMG_2232

Dive into the ancient art of healing touch through Inanitah’s 1-month Massage Therapy Intensive. During this course, you will learn how to offer a full body therapeutic massage by blending a variety of healing modalities such as basic Swedish massage, Deep tissue, stretching and joint mobilization and energy work.

This course is inspired by the basic requirements for The Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (MBLEX exam) and the National Board of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB) (the national board of massage certification for the United States)*. The course will include important and massage related aspects of Anatomy and Physiology. You will learn compassionate communication skills to determine your client’s needs. You will also learn to take care of your own physical and energetic needs while giving massage.

The one-month massage course at Inanitah is a unique opportunity to live in a Spiritual community while learning a marketable skill set. Daily meditations and yoga practice, as well as weekly sharing circles in the Inanitah community, offer you the space to explore your spiritual path and enhances the awareness you bring into your massage practice.

Topics covered include:

  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Swedish Massage Techniques
  • Basic Deep Tissue and Myofascial Release
  • Stretching
  • Energy Work
  • Self Care
  • Ethics and Professionalism
  • Business Practices

You will come out of this course with a foundation to begin practicing massage.

http://www.inanitah.com/learning/events/massage-therapy-intensive/

*USA residents will still require a formal, 500+ hour massage program in order to receive licensure in the USA.

About the Facilitator

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Mandy Kiley

Growing up in the Baltimore, MD area, Mandy’s east coast flare for life is a dynamic additive to her massage practice. Her ability to be direct, yet empathetic to your massage and spiritual needs make for an unstoppable aid in your quest for body, mind, and spirit well being. Mandy has not only been a Massage Therapist since 2002, a massage instructor since 2004, and a spiritual counselor for the last 6 years; but her unstoppable curiosity for full being wellness has carried her forward. To learn more about Mandy, visit her at www.streampointmassage.com.

Good Bye Jungle Yoga and Inanitah

Time to return home

My time at Inanitah has come to a close. Time to break down my tent, pack up my back pack, eat my final coconut, say my goodbyes to my new friends and ride, for one last time, with my ole buddy Miguel.

Good Bye Inanitah

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Good bye fellow Yogis

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Good bye Reggae Yoga Friday

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Good bye Friday night dance and music fun.

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Time to Head Home.

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Good Bye

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I came to Inanitah to learn to teach Yoga. However, what I really learned was a deeper sense of myself. With no distractions and no place to escape every night, I got the wonderful (and sometimes painful) opportunity to go deeper inside myself. I was allowed the space to discover what I truly wanted and to let go of those things that no longer served me. I am truly grateful to Randal and Ushma for this space. To my fellow Yoga students who were also my teachers. To Gaia and Paul for showing me how to truly love and coexist with the earth. To Jan for showing me how to eat and prepare real foods. Thank you to all who followed me on this Journey, those who supported me from afar.

Welcome Home

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Monkeys, Snakes and Spiders, Oh My

 

I have had some interesting encounters with some Jungle animals.

 

Monkeys

It was so hot and humid, that, as a way to cool off, I would usually shower at nighttime, right before bed. I would hike up to the shower area, disrobe and turn off my head lamp – to try to distract mosquito’s and other biting bugs from attacking me after washing off the bug repellent.

 

About day 4 or 5, I was taking my nightly shower. I was not yet 100% comfortable with my nighttime surroundings. I was in the process of rinsing off, when I heard a scrounging noise behind me. To put it nicely, I was petrified. I had the light of some stars, but the sound was behind me and I was afraid to turn around (of course, if there was some scary creature behind me, I’m sure it wouldn’t care whether I was facing it or had my back to it. I would have been a lovely dinner regardless). I slowly reached over to grab my headlamp, turned it on only to see a monkey staring at me. And this little bugger had my soap. Apparently, the Monkey decided that he needed my soap more than me, because he took off with it. But he didn’t go far, because I could hear him in the trees, I have no doubt he was laughing at me. So, somewhere, there is a very clean monkey family. Thanks to my soap.

 

Snakes:

Around the 2nd/3rd week, one of my fellow yogi’s (whose campsite was near to mine) let me know that he had seen a snake around my site. Apparently, this is a “good sign.” I, however, was not to crazy about the idea of a snake prowling my campsite. I did not see the snake for the next 2 days. I almost always slept on my back or side while in Nicaragua, but one night I must have flipped over onto my belly. Upon awakening this particular morning, while lying on my belly, I heard a rustle at my head. As I lifted my head up, I found my self nose to nose with a snake. I froze. Literally. It took me a second to realize that I actually had a layer of Mesh in between the snake and me. This allowed me to slowly relax and actually admire this amazing creature in front of me. After a few moments, it slithered off. We shared our moment. And I never saw him again.

 

Spiders:

When I was setting up my campsite, I noticed some pretty substantial holes in the ground. I wasn’t quite sure what they were, and didn’t want to find out. Sometime in the first few days, I found out. I had just finished my nighttime shower. Since I am pretty paranoid about bugs, I made sure to shine my light around my campsite. In my direct path, (between my tent, and me) a spider, about the size of my palm, was chilling out. There was no way that I was going to get into my tent with a spider between the tent and me. I started looking around for sticks to see if I could gently prod it away. As I started looking around, the spider began to walk to his hole in the ground and began to climb in. I took a deep breath and got into my tent and prayed that the spider didn’t know how to unzip tents.

Every night after that, I saw the spider. I decided to make peace the spider and see him as a friend. I would not touch his hole in the ground and respect his home, so long as he would eat as many mosquitos and other bugs as possible. Seemed to me that we made a great team.

 

Lizards:

Did I mention that lizard that took up residence under my tent? Every morning, as soon as I would start moving around, they would scamper away.

 

 

 

Jungle Yoga

 

I’ve just started my final week of my 4-week yoga teacher training. Some of you have asked exactly what style I’m learning and what the differences are in the various styles of Yoga.

What exactly is Yoga? You have probably heard one of the following terms: Hatha, Vinyasa, Astanga, Bikram, etc. You probably associate Yoga with a series of postures that force your body to stretch. However, traditional Yoga is a spiritual practice. It is a means to allow you find your “center” a place of balance that will allow you to deepen the connection with yourself which will bring you closer to your higher self, purpose, or God (depending on your own spiritual practice).

Jungle Yoga is a traditional Tantric style yoga that is a breath-based practice. The focus is on letting the breath guide your practice, not your postures guiding you. Instead of just learning every posture and how to teach them, we incorporate an hour of chanting mantras, multiple meditations through the day, and Tantric Yoga philosophy classes.

Yoga doesn’t just mean stretching and movement. It incorporates 5 classical elements:

Jnana Yoga – Knowledge. Such as Reading and learning, being taught. Learning from teachers.

Hatha Yoga – The physical movement, Breathing, and cleansing exercise.

Nada Yoga – Sound Vibration – Reciting Mantras

Bhakti Yoga – Devotion – Committing yourself to something, like a higher purpose

Karma Yoga – Making every act that your do be an act of connecting and expression of harmony

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These 5 elements combined compromise yoga. You might be thinking “this sounds more like a spiritual practice that an exercise class.” Truth is, it is. However, do not fear and think that you must be Hindu or Buddhist or that your Yoga teacher is going to convert you into believing something that you don’t want to. Whatever your spiritual faith is, will fit into each one of these categories. We all learn from someone else and read our spiritual book. We move daily and we Breathe. We each recite our own type of Mantra, whether it’s in Sanskrit or in the form of Bible Verses. We also commit ourselves to a higher purpose in our own personal acts of devotion to the One that you pray or bow to. And you cannot deny Karma Yoga: for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Karma happens. No matter how you look at it. Just smile at someone. Chances are, they might smile back or their eyes will light up. That’s instant karma.

And now the word “Tantra.” NO, Tantra does not mean sex. Tantra means, “to weave.” The goal of Tantra Yoga is to find that intersecting point between two objects and then find the stillness in that moment. For example, where exactly does the ocean meet the shore? Where do your arms meet your shoulders? Tantra seeks to find that middle space and expand it. This is why Breath is so important. Jungle Yoga is seeing to find that tantric space where the Breath and the Posture meet and then expand that intersection to discover the stillness. It’s in the stillness that our muscles and joints and our mind can begin to relax. Instead of forcing the muscles to relax, we try to find the stillness and passively allow the muscles to relax with each breath.

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If you are seeing a very “Power” type of Yoga, then looking into Ashtanga, Vinyasya or Bikram might be a good choice for you. If you are a beginner or someone who desires to cultivate a more breath based practice that helps your mind to relax and your lungs to expand, then maybe Jungle yoga is a better option for you. Know that all types of Hatha (movement) Yoga are good. You just need to find that one that is right for you.

Yoga is NOT Stretching. What?!?!

Ive now completed two full weeks of Jungle Yoga. Our days are pretty busy. The following is our basic schedule:

5:00-6:15am Meditation

6:30-7:30 Puja (ritual: chanting and more meditation)

7:45-9:45am Asana (Yoga)

10:15-12:15 Lecture

12:30 Lunch

1:30-3:30 Lecture

4:00-6:00pm Asana

6:30 Dinner

2-3 nights of the week we have an evening ceremony from 8-10

Sat is our only day off.

In between, we have “Karma Yoga” (things that we help out with): Gardening, Picking food from the garden, Kitchen cleanup, etc.

Yoga Is not stretching. What?!?! 

So, what exactly is Jungle Yoga? Jungle Yoga is a breath-based practice in which the Breath guides the postures, not the other way around. It is a form of Hatha Yoga with some roots in Tantric Yoga.

You can go weeks without food, but you cannot go a few minutes without breathing. When we exert ourselves, frequently, the breath is the first thing that gets sacrificed. Think about yourself for a moment. How many times have you gotten stressed and someone has told you “Hey, take a deep breath.” Or, have you been working out and had a partner have to remind you to breathe? It happens frequently. In time of physical, emotional and mental stress, we tend to hold our breath. The same is true in Yoga. So often, you try to go deeper into a posture because you want to “look like the person next to you” and you stop breathing/hold your breath. Does this sound familiar? I do this all the time.

In Jungle Yoga, instead of focusing first on Asana’s (yoga postures), the focus is on breathing. We learn the simplest version of each yoga pose and learn how to breathe properly within that posture. Then each day, we have progressively worked closer and closer to the full postures, again, with the focus being on breathing.

We are being taught to not sacrifice the breath for the posture. The idea is to leave your ego at the door. It doesn’t matter how deep you can go into the pose, but rather, actually the performing the posture correctly and breathing evenly. Many people appear to be able to do these amazing poses, but they are actually doing them incorrectly, and many are not breathing properly.

So, if you are seeking a very fast paced, Ashtanga, Vinyasa or Bikram style of Yoga, then Jungle Yoga may not be the choice for you. However, for me it is. I desire Balance and Stability within the body. And that starts first with breathing. That is what I hope to bring to all of you. Breath. Then Stability. Then Balance within the Body. Well, thats the goal.

 

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Jungle Thanksgiving

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On thanksgiving, most Americans were at home cooking turkey dinner. I may not be home, but I had an event that reminded me to be thankful for water.

On my one and only break from Yoga class, I went to my tent to grab a few things. I noticed a wet spot next to my tent. I asked someone to take a look. Apparently, one of the main water pipes runs under my camping spot and had sprung a leak. Instead of taking a tiny nap, my break was spent moving my tent, digging down to the pipe, helping to repair it, and re put up my tent. I was initially really frustrated, until I realized that I have access to running water. Pipes break. But we still have water. And, I happened to catch it before it flooded my tent. And, we happened to fix it before it became a big problem. Once it was fixed, I ran down the hill to fill up my water bottle. It was at that moment where I stopped, and gave thanks that we even have access to fresh spring water.

There are so many things that we take for granted. We turn on the faucet and water comes out. We think food comes from the grocery store and that our trash and waste disappears when the trash man takes it. Being here at Inanitah has reminded me of how much excess and waste I have in my life and how much goes in to actually growing, picking and preparing food. We do not have a trash pick up here, so I am constantly reminded of what can be composted and what will just take up space and then how to maybe be creative and use the plastic that we cant just send to a recycling plant. It also has made me even more mindful to reduce my consumption of non-compostable items.

All of the people here go to our “plastic graveyard” to grab an empty plastic water bottle (that was inevitable brought here from the city). We use those as our “Plastic waste can.” Having to look at that bottle everyday and see how quickly it fills up is a constant reminder of how much waste can be generated without even thinking.

My goal is to be more conscious and aware of my daily consumption. I am not going be able to completely get rid of non-biodegradable items, but I do my best to make more conscious decisions to reduce my consumption of them. And, I think that being mindful and conscious is the entire point. Shop at a local farmers market and to be grateful for those who farmed and cultivated those foods. And, when the hot water runs from the faucet, to not just be grateful for heated water, but also for the ease of access to that water that most of us have.

Happy Thanksgiving. Give Thanks Daily, not just on Thanksgiving.

Rain in the Jungle

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I am very blessed to have the opportunity to study Yoga here in Nicaragua. Every building is open to the outside. There are no windows, and minimal walls. I get to stare at the volcano Mt Concepción during all of my training, and watch the sunset as finish our evening Asana’s. It is such a beautiful way to end a long day. My yoga teacher times our class so that we end just as the sun begins to set. We all sit together and watch the sun sink down and then give thanks.

Todays late afternoon Asana (Yoga) practice, brought a new element: rain. It started out so simple that most of us didn’t notice. Just this white noise in the background. Then it got a little heavier. Not only was the rain soothing, it brought with it a cool breeze that was very much welcome at the moment. We paused for just a moment to gather our belongings that were outside of the temple. Then proceeded back to practice.

The rain stopped just before we finished. The clouds parted and we received an amazing sunset.

 

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However, if I am going to be honest, I did experience some anxiety for a few moments. It’s the first rain we have had since I got here 7 days ago. My first thoughts were “Oh crap! I hope my tent works and my belongings aren’t soaked.” And then, I proceeded to think about this for the next 10 minutes (or the next few asanas/yoga poses).  Then I got frustrated at myself “Mandy, be present. Stop thinking about your tent, you cant do anything now.” But then, I’d think about my tent. And both thoughts would bounce back and forth until I finally sunk down into child’s pose and began to cry just a teeny bit.

I learned a valuable lesson. I am not perfect. I still worry about situations out of control. I’m going to experience moments of anxiety. Even during Yoga. But that’s ok. That’s exactly why I am practicing yoga. The more and more I do, the more I can let go and just BE. But it takes time, it takes years, a lifetime. And that’s OK.

It’s going to happen. Your mind is going to wander. You’re going to go through this grocery list of things you need to do. But that’s what your teacher is there for. To guide you back into the present. To leave that list outside the door. Because it will be there waiting for you when you get there. But for the time being, be present in Yoga. And if you stray, don’t beat yourself up. Just honor those thoughts and come back. Listen to the rain. Enjoy it.

Yoga begins

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Wow! Yoga training is officially here! And our days are fully packed. There are people from almost every continent here: Europe, Australia, South America, North America, and Canada. It’s a lovely mix of people.

The days start out beautiful. We awake before the sun rises to do morning meditations. And our days end at sunset, with a closing meditation. Well, almost end. A few nights of the week we have various ceremonies.

But let me tell you about Inanitah. The community in Isla de Ometepe that is hosting the Yoga Teacher Training.

It’s considered a Perma-Culture and Spiritual Community. We are as “off the grid” as you can imagine. There is only solar power, so we use very little light bulbs in the evening (everyone carries a head lamp every where they go). We use compost heating (although very little heat is used). All the structures are made of the local trees and dirt. Very simple. We even use a clay oven for cooking. We do have fresh spring water piped in from the volcano. Our toilets are holes in the ground. Yep.

Almost all of the food is grown at Inanitah. And the few things that aren’t (eggs) we exchange with the neighboring farms. Therefore, all the food we eat daily was picked during the day. And, we all eat together. (I feel I have been spoiled with the tropical fruits). Generally, dinner is around 6:30ish. Its dark by 5:45, by the time we are done eating, we all pitch in and clean up. Maybe sit around a chat, but generally head to bed (because we have to be up at 4:30am).

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Mostly volunteers run Inanitah: people from all over who come and stay for any length of time. They help cook, build, garden, cultivate, community outreach – whatever is asked of them. As a Yoga student, I am asked to volunteer a few times a week.

Amazingly, we have wi-fi (although not always reliable). Again, this is a community outreach program for the schools. We share the wi-fi with 23 other communities and the local schools. Inanitah pays extra so the schools don’t have to pay at all. But, I am grateful for having it. It allows me to periodically touch base with my loved ones. However, it is very challenging to upload photos. So, you will just have to wait and see.

More to come soon…

Zompopo Festival

Day 2 at Inaitah: Festival Day

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Today is day 2. Today is also the Zompopo Festival day. It’s a festival that honors the leaf cutter ants. Instead of explaining what it is, go check out this blog.

http://www.inanitah.com/blog/2010/11/28/zompopo-festival-2010/

But it was fun getting there and back. We took what is called a “Chicken Truck.” Its used to transport either bananas, chickens or people. Today, we were transporting both people and chickens! I discovered that our Hosts, Paul and Gaia, have given a micro loan to some of the local Nicaraguan workers at Inanitah. They are using these funds to start a chicken company. On the way to the festival, we watched these workers pay for their chickens, then on the way home, we picked up the chickens! Nothing like standing up in the back of a truck, holding on to rails surrounded by chickens. It was so exciting to see these workers beaming. All their hard work was paying off so they could launch their own chicken company. It was so rewarding.

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The Festival was a blast. I participated in the “March” and carried my branch in the air. We did this for about 3 hours: Dancing and singing and honoring the leaf cutter ants. What an intense experience.

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When we finally did get back, we had a 45 minute hike through the jungle in the dark (because we forgot to grab our head lamps). Talk about trusting the people leading us! What an experience. We had a quiet evening and went to sleep. Yoga starts tomorrow.