When I was signing up for the yoga teacher training course I had certain expectations about what I want to gain from it and what challenges I might face. Now, since it has finished, I can honestly admit that it was way more difficult than I imagined but at the same time it was more rewarding than I could dream of. But lets start from the beginning!
While prepping for the trip to India I already knew that I wanted to do the course in Rishikesh, after all it’s a yoga capital of the world 🙂 That being said it is also overwhelming to choose the right school as for now there are around 200 of them just in Rishikesh. Since they all looked pretty much the same online I decided to go there directly and talk to different schools to get a better feeling. The moment I stepped in Yoganandham Ashram I knew that I found the right place. There were few reasons why I chose this school but the main one was the gut feeling, the warm welcome in the ashram made me feel at home instantly.
So the journey began, a very long and intense one! The course lasted 4 weeks and the first one was definitely the hardest, I think my body and brain were in shock, there was so much information to absorb and I’ve never done so much yoga in my life! The days were filled with different styles of yoga classes, stretching and alignment, we had theory on yoga philosophy, anatomy (it’s embarrassing to admit how little I knew about the human body!), there were lectures on ayurveda and of course daily meditation classes.
The first thing we’ve learned in the course is that yoga is not quite what we think it is in the west – a sequence of physical postures combined with the right concentration and mindful breathing. And even though the above is all true and it brings tremendous benefits to the body and mind, yoga is far more than that. It’s a spiritual, mental and physical self discipline designed to unify one’s conciousness with the universe. Sounds big, doesn’t it? I’m working on a blog post about it so stay tuned! That approach towards yoga slowly started to kick in, I could feel a gradual transfomation happening to me. I should probably give most of the credit for that to our philosophy teacher Gaurav, his super intense classes made us question the meaning of life, we felt as if someone has punched us in the face with the truth, the truth that we’re all afraid to hear. It wasn’t all that serious though, he balanced the intensity of the class with sarcastic jokes perfectly 🙂
The course was challenging on many levels but the hardest I had to deal with was letting go of my own expectations and stop trying to be so bloody perfect at everything! It’s ironic that we can be kind and compassionate towards others but when it comes to ourselves we can be so hard and demanding. Half way through the course I was trying to do a pretzel like pose (where you don’t know which way the limbs go) and I hurt my ankle. I was lucky enough to be able to walk but until the end of the course I couldn’t do anything that involved twisting ankles and even seating in a crossed leg position. You can only imagine how frustrating that was! Fortunately I’ve managed to let go of my ridiculous ambitions and get the bigger picture – first of all, I was there to learn how to become teacher, not how to do crazy fancy yoga postures (that would be just a fun bonus). I’ve realised that I have to be more kind to myself, to the body and mind. It was like a wake up call. Even though I finished the course with a not fully functioning ankle I managed to find some peace in it. I consider that itself a success, to be able to be content regardless of the external circumstances. The happiness and misery are already in us, it’s up to us what we choose.
So am I ready to become a yoga teacher? That’s a big statement! And the answer is propably no, at least not yet. It requires way more experience and this is something I really look forward to getting:) Yoga has infiltrated my whole body and soul, I don’t think it’s not going anywhere soon and I’m happy to share it with others 🙂
Few random photos from the course:
And here they are, our lovely teachers! Starting from the left:
• Gaurav the Destroyer, our philosophy teacher, he crashed our souls and then made us fly! • Kamal, also known as Mr Happy – our stretching class teacher (or rather torture class), he made us suffer with a smile on our faces 🙂
• AJ, Mr Flexi – our ashtanga teacher, he was indeed unbelievably flexible and also graceful 🙂 Evening ashtanga was a highlight of the day!
• Rishi – our super cool meditation teacher, such a funny little man!
• Manish – the last but not least, he was the brains of the whole operation, owner of the school.