Yoga Teacher Training Week Three: The final stretch

The week has gone by fast, and I’m sure it will continue exponentially until we’re done at the end of next week. As of today we’ve learned all of the asanas required, and have started teaching in some of the classes. Yikes. It’s getting real, folks. And really busy. There’s a ton to study for and do for our final exams, making exit travel plans, and money adventures due to the decision by the Prime Minister here to suddenly make the 500 and 1000 rupee notes extinct. But that’s for a future post when school’s done.

For now, we’re just enjoying this opportunity, and taking the time to make connections that will spread around the globe. 

And studying our asanas off.

So just a few pics this week. Just wanted to let you all know I’m still alive.

Even monkeys want to hear Sushant ji teach yoga philosophy
Having a well-earned chai after doing over 25 sun salutations!
On the other side of the chai group table
“Are you serious? He really stole your banana?”

And for a look at our daily experience (although we walk across at night instead), here’s a trip across the Laxshman bridge in Rishikesh.

Yoga Teacher Training Week Two, or, Monkey Mayhem

At the start of training I was a little self-conscious about being a beginner. That’s now gone. I’ve thrown the self consciousness into the Ganga-ji and embraced my beginner status. As a result, I’m learning more, and feel more motivated. And I’m also more likely to stay within the limits of this body and protect it from injuries. I’m still pushing myself, but am now more likely to say no when the body needs some slack.

We get a few hours of self study time in the middle of the day, and along with studying, we’ve been entertained by the resident monkeys. We’ve been warned not to feed them, but I think they’re quite used to humans and have lost their fear. This past week we were studying on our courtyard when the troupe arrived and started raiding the garbage can. It was all fun and games until they started coming towards us. My friend ran and a baby grabbed at her before she got away. Another came for me and I fended it off with a chair until they ran off. They’re not quite as cute as they used to be. 

The other highlight of the week was a trip to Vashistha cave. According to Hindu philosophy, Vashistha was the son of Brahman and one of the great Seven Sages. The cave is where he meditated, and is a short 25km away. So nearly 60 of us piled into jeeps and rode out to the cave. In smaller groups, we took turns meditating in the cave, and then we all went for an extended dip in the ice cold but clean Ganga. It was great to do here where the water is tuquoise and lovely, but I fear I don’t have the dedication to repeat today’s adventure farther downstream in Varanasi. Here it made for a lovely day, and a great outing with fellow classmates.

Yoga Teacher Training Week One, or, getting my asana kicked in Rishikesh

If I’ve got one, it’s sore.

For the past week I’ve been in a 200 hour yoga teacher training course. It’s a very rounded mix of training in not only Hatha and Ashtanga asanas, or poses, but also the philosophy behind yoga, as well as breathing and meditation.

I knew coming into this that as a relative yoga newbie and as someone a bit older than most other students, that I’d have some work cut out for me. But the environment has been really supportive, and the only pressure I’ve had to get the poses perfectly (vs what this body is able to do) has come from my own delusions. 

Still, there’s a lot to keep up with: lots of reading about Indian philosophy, Sanskrit pose names and chanting to memorize, and of course, the physical aspects of the yoga as well. We’re up at 5 each morning, and finish the day around 9pm. Apart from some midday study time, there’s not much time to do anything else. We get one day off a week (Sunday), which will be mostly filled with study and practice.

Yet I’m really enjoying it. It’s challenging and at times painful, but feels worthwhile. The instructors are great, and my fellow students are a joy to be around. It turns out I’m not the only newbie, nor the only non-twenty something in the class. And we’re all feeling the crunch of both memorization and challenging our bodies.

So if I live through the next week, I’ll tell you all about it.