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Monthly Archives: June 2011

Yoga in the Park

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Join Octopus Garden on Sundays from 10:30am to 11:30am for yoga classes in Dufferin Grove Park. We are pleased to be able to offer this for free to the community, and we would love to see you there!

The classes will be held each week near the middle of the park, to the west of the central playground. They will run until August 28th and will feature a different Octopus Garden teacher each week. Please bring your own mat.

Ask the OG Team…

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You asked: How do I take care of my yoga mat?

We asked the current Yoga Teacher Trainees in our Effective Teaching: 300 hour Advanced Teacher Training course and they came up with some great suggestions.

Spray Bottle Method: Mix 10 drops of Tea tree oil into a spray bottle of water. If your mat is lightly soiled or needs a freshen up, spray the mat or a damp cloth and wipe it down.  Dry with a clean terry cloth towel. Tea Tree oil has natural disinfecting properties that work wonders. You can add a couple drops of your favorite essential oil if you don’t like the smell of Tea Tree. (At  Octopus Garden we use the Tea Tree Oil solution in our studio spray bottles.)

Bath Tub Method: For mats that require a deeper clean, wash your mat in a tub of cool water with a mild, biodegradable detergent, like laundry soap or dish soap.  Use only a small amount of soap because any residue may cause your mat to become slippery when it gets wet from perspiration. A good trick is to roll your mat up tight with a towel and step on the roll to soak up water or soap residue. Then hang it outside to dry on a sunny day.

Laundry Machine Method: Wash your mat with a load of towels or a couple other mats, in a front loader machine only, as your mat will knock a top loader machine out of balance. You can then put your mat in the dryer on low heat but remember to watch it so it doesn’t melt. A cool cycle works best to get out the initial moisture and then hang dry to finish. It is important to note that not all mats can be washed in this way. Please consult the manufacture’s instructions before you proceed!

What do I do with a new mat that seems slippery?: It is not uncommon to unwrap your new mat and find it a bit slippery. You can try to soften it by washing it or spraying it after every use with the Tea Tree solution. The best way to get past this is to practice as much as you can on it, 10 to 15 times to help reduce the initial slipperiness. Practice…Practice.

Thanks Teacher Trainees for this great advice. And whenever it seems as if your mat needs some freshening up take it home and give it a clean. Your mat will thank you for it!


To teach, do not be a teacher.

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To teach, do not be a teacher.

As the path of Teacher training unfolds in front of me I came across this quote a friend sent me from Ken McLeod, Buddhist meditation teacher, writer and scholar on teaching.

To teach, do not be a teacher. A walker appears only when a person starts to walk: a teacher appears only when two people interact in a certain way. There is no ‘teacher’ as such, but when conditions are right, teaching (and learning) take place. The same, of course, is true for ‘student’. To see oneself as a teacher is to create an imbalance in the world.

A person may sit in a room and talk about the most profound understandings and insights but there is no teaching (let alone a teacher) if there is no one else present (or no one is listening).

One has only what one experiences. As time passes and one accumulates more and more experience, there is a greater and greater tendency to see the person in front of you in terms of that experience. Assumptions and projections proliferate, and the results are both inevitable and predictable.

In each encounter, put aside everything you think you know. It won’t go away: it will be there if and when you need it. But in forgetting about it, you create the conditions for seeing ‘the direction of the present’ and what is to unfold in each moment.

When people thank and praise you, what they say has nothing to do with you. This is just their way of expressing joy in their own experience. Remember this, too, when people blame or criticize you.

Rest deeply in your own experience: you will know, through your body and feelings, whether you responded to the direction of the present, or fell into projection and reaction.

Consider carefully the question “Why do I teach?” In the end, it must, in some way, be part of your path – that is, when you teach, you wake up in some way.

The Octopus Garden Teacher Training and Yoga Education program is a comprehensive 1000-hour curriculum divided into three segments: 200-hours, 300-hours, and 500-hours. Begin with the fundamentals of self-practice, expand your teaching skills in the second segment, and advance towards a yoga therapy specialization in the final component. This program is the most extensive and rigorous teacher training of its kind in Canada and exceeds the highest standards of the Yoga Alliance.

Want more information? We invite you to join us for an informal question and discussion period with Scott, Pat, and program alumni. Upcoming information sessions are scheduled for Saturday, June 18 at 1-2pm and Tuesday, July 19 at 7-8pm.

Stay tuned… next weeks postings will be letters from our teacher trainees about the program.

Thank you David Good and Ken McLeod.