Reflections on an intensive yoga teacher training
Every time I am there it is a deep, unexpected and unpredictable journey further into an unknown world.
This time I was deepening my understanding of Himalayan Hatha Yoga, Yogi's style of yoga developed after over 40 years of his own practice and learnings with a number of yoga masters.
As Yogi said during the course, "There is no destination in yoga, it is a journey". The more I practice, the more I learn about myself, the more I perceive and understand my physical, mental, emotional and energetic body, reality, my truth and the more these things transform.
A great part of the course was in practising being a student in every respect. As Yogi said, "Don't let the teachings of your past stop you from growing".
Through his style he encouraged us to continue to be a student, look for the lessons, your limitations and use them to transform, to change for the better.
Every moment of every day offers us an opportunity to learn and to grow if we can be present to it and can be aware of ourselves in the moment.
Everyone in the course was faced at sometime by personal challenges - like the fear of standing up in front of peers and teaching yoga to them for the first time, the challenge of hours of physical practice a day, unexpected illness, foreign food, information overload, giving honest feedback ... and receiving it gracefully.
Yoga is a practice in which we can continue to learn and to practise being present in every moment, becoming more and more aware of our physical body, our thoughts, our emotions and our energy.
By listening to the mind-talk while you are on the mat - "I can't do another round of chaturangas, I'm too weak", "I hate chair pose why does he make us hold it for so long? I'll just pull out of it, he won't see me..." - we can examine what is beneath these thoughts. Beliefs around physical and mental weakness? Self-doubt? Anger? Frustration? Disappointment? Where do these come from and what do I do with them? Are they all a part of me? Can I let them go? Where else in my life do they limit me?
These things that come up on the mat are all a part of our mental construct of who we believe we are. Perhaps they are a protection mechanism adopted from childhood or perhaps they are something we acquired in our DNA. But in fact they are just that, mental structures that can be broken down and let go of (overtime). Once broken, we can be freer, we can be more honest with our selves, less fearful and more loving towards ourselves and others.
Becoming a witness to these planes of our existence (physical, mental, emotional, energetic) makes it possible for us see who we are, to see our limits and to choose how we want to be.
Until we become conscious of these we remain unconscious to our patterns and conditioning that bind us in cages preventing us from living our truth, from being truthful to each other and from loving each other and ourselves without fear.
Yoga is not just the asanas, it can be put into practise at any moment in our lives. Yoga is so simple, but so hard to practise!
See you on the mat xx