Fostering Fearlessness @ Niroga

To be purposeful.  To have an intention, sometimes we have to take stock of our:

  • motivations
  • strengths
  • areas of growth (the facilitator said – this used to be called “weaknesses”)
  • fears

We went from wall-to-wall, first posting what popped up for us; then revisiting to read what others wrote.  Insightful.


There was one more – a wall of “FEARS” but the word FEARS was buried by our blue post-its so … skipped the wall of fears after facing them.  We want to be fearless after facing our fears in real life as well.

Making up a module – Yoga for Youth – Return from Japan

A long pause here – returned from Japan Friday and immediately next day, Saturday, I was attending Niroga’s advance yoga studies.  Yes, I am still on that 800 hours Yoga Therapy Certification training journey and what a journey it’s been – winding and … by choice, loooong.  My Yoga Therapist cohort size was 20-something but it’s a bit of a surprise that now the cohort size has grown to over 40 … I really hope Niroga will resume the yoga training after the current focus on bringing Dynamic Mindfulness (the practice) and Transformative Life Skills (“TLS”) curriculum to schools across America.

This module I was making up this weekend was “Yoga for Youth”. I had missed a couple of modules Year 2 of the program, as my mother collapsed, suffering a stroke last year.  I had to fly back to Japan to see her in ICU to witness her recover enough to finally leaving the hospital and then to see her through a rehabilitation sessions with several PTs.  I have a great deal of respect to physical therapists and occupational therapists to say the least as she regained most of her motor functions.  Now she has 3 PT sessions a week and nearly back to the new normal.  Thanks to early detection, attention and care, while some damage to her brain will never be restored, doctors have shared the amazing nature of human brain.  Brain can rewire to compensate for the lost dead brain cells and function – with appropriate training, given the sufficient time to heal. Yes, it’s just as we learned in Niroga’s yoga therapy module – Power of Neuroplasticity !  Never give up you guys !

What I love about Japanese culture is their respect for the elderly and with that, how their healthcare system do not give up on the seniors –  they will keep plugging away until you see improvement.  My mother had a remarkable recovery and improvement in her mobility – and thus, I am grateful to their healthcare system that spurred her progress and healing possible.

During all this family emergency, I missed two and a half modules:  (1) ironically – Yoga for Aging; (2) Yoga for Youth (this one); (3) Yoga for Addiction. Luckily, here I am.  I am back.  I get to show up  – thank goodness.

So truth be told – I had little interest in teaching yoga to youth, but this program has made me re-think to reconsider that possibility.  I am just open but what one of the presenters said was memorable:  If teaching this special population depletes you, then it’s not for you.

On first day, we had two guest speakers – a 16 year old teenager girl in regular public high school and a 18 year old teenager girl in youth detention center – calling in – to hold a Q & A on their experience with yoga.  While it was not a surprise to hear from the mouth of a 16 year old how much she hated yoga and tried to avoid having to be in class by even considering not coming to school to get out of it, she admits now in hindsight that yoga had helped her and now she loves yoga.  So the question was – when did such a breakthrough happen?  Her answer:  when I actually followed through on all instructions instead of doing them halfheartedly.  Instead of not really participating, kinda going through the motions but not really doing them to really doing them.  So once she actually tried going all out, doing all 100%, then afterwards she felt really good.  It felt GOOD.  Anyone who has tried any yoga class, we’ve all felt this.  It’s no miracle.

Question:  What was your image or your understanding of Yoga before you started it?  And what did the word Yoga mean to you before ?

Answer:  I thought yoga was something adults did to deal with stress. I was not interested. But …( ! )

I always wanted to be Buddhist ( ! ? ) so I realized that you can’t just meditate and become Buddhist – there are steps and yoga helps. ( ! )


*** what?  wanted to be Buddhist?  Why???? ***********

that is the question I should have asked – why would a 16 year old young lady with presumably mainstream American life make such a startling (to me) statement?

Especially, having just returned from Shinto/Buddhist country, I was very curious with this 16 year old’s statement.  As the weekend intensive wore on, answers to that nagging question (I should have asked her then and there), I think became more and more apparent.