First off, happy Guru Purnima (Guru Full Moon)! Today’s the day in the Indian tradition to acknowledge and celebrate your Guru. As if you needed a certain day, you may take it upon yourself to show your teacher(s) your appreciation. Jai Guru.
And so it is with gratitude and reverence that I relate to you the journey through yoga training week two: teaching practicum #1, first mentor meeting, and the subtle body Chinese water torture! (I can explain…)
On Wednesday we had our second welcome circle “hi, my name is…” and our first opportunity to get up in front of everyone to teach a standing pose in a round robin meets improv meets spelling bee style. No pressure! Honestly it wasn’t that bad, and because it was the first round we only got general constructive feedback like speak in clear concise sentences, be sure to look to see if the students get it, and BREATHE. Fair enough. Rumor has it next week we’ll have some more personal nitpicking.
This week also brought the first mentor meeting, and the THIRD welcome circle, though just a fractioned version this time, so I’ve got a pretty good handle on about 28% of the names. For me, the apprentice/mentor part of the training holds the most excitement and biggest potential to get to the yoga nitty gritty. Also, as I soon found out, the most homework! But if you consider a daily home practice of asana and pranayama unbearable chores then you probably don’t want to be dropping a few G’s for yoga teacher training. If there was sweet spot in the center of this big 300-hr flower surely the mentoring would be that nectar.
On to the weekend of subtle bodiliciousness. If I thought 4 hours of straight asana practice was tough, boy was I in for a treat! How about 4 and 5 hours straight of chanting, meditation, pranayama and subtle body discussion! Day 1 started with the subtlety of a broken record as we got to move a bit in our own asana practice to the sound of “Om Nama Shivaya” on repeat. This is chanting on par with “99 bottles of beer on the wall” times 100, and in a creepy culty ritualistic way. This is what my brain was chattering about as the first few rounds started to spark that itchy is this some kind of brainwashing? is Indiana Jones going to fly through the window and save my heart from beating out of the chest? Besides the fact that I kept singing The Prodigy song (brats of the 90s you know what I’m talking about), by the 3,000th round (probably) my mind then started to wonder about the quality and quantity of these incessant recorded chanters: are they really singing over and over…and over? Or maybe they just recorded a few and the sound engineer spliced them together in the editing room? Oh they’re growing quiet, are they petered out? Nope!
Finally by the 5,000th chant or so my body started to warm up and realized oh, hi! you’re doing yoga, and there I was in my practice. At that point in the rhythm it could’ve been AC/DC chanting “Hells Bells” from the speakers and I wouldn’t have been swayed. Lesson learned. With that done, it was on to yoga nidra. woohoo! You can fall asleep, though technically you’re not supposed to our teacher says. I did.
Next up, meditation! With the accompaniment of recorded Om-ing to the likeness of “Row Row Row Your Boat”, it was vibration city in there, and by the time we were done my ears were ringing. But at least we’d opened the pretty pink roses our teacher had brought with her. (fun fact: turns out rose oil has the highest frequency of vibration on the planet, or something like that). Following our practice came discussion on what IS meditation? Why should we meditate? And the teachings of Patanjali. If there was a theme song to this weekend it definitely had to be The Beatles “There’s a Place”.
The rest of Day 1 through Day 2 was focused on prana, koshas, nadis, vayus, chakras and kundalini. Right. Other words for subtle include abstruse, abstract, enigmatic and profound. Needless to say, it was a heady weekend, but our teacher was so full of fascinating stories and digestible knowledge we all stayed firmly planted in our muladara chakra.
Lessons and ruminations Week 2:
- We should all have a meditation practice. *chanting music not necessary*
- Intermittent snacking is vital to sanity.
- Kundalini is a giant “roto-rooter”.
- Every place that requires sitting for prolonged periods of time should be equipped with yoga props.
We did a little exercise to get in touch with our Manamaya kosha I thought I’d share all the #yogadorks. It’s a handy “panchakarma of the mind” in the Tantric tradition via Sally Kempton to help with the layer of juicy stuff like judgment, ego, and samskara.
Here’s what you do:
- Step 1: Think of a situation that’s been giving you stress.
- Step 2: Write down these statements and fill in the blanks on why: “I’m angry___”, “I’m sad___”, “I’m scared___”, “I’m guilty___”
- Step 3: Write down these statements and fill in the blanks about the same situation: “I’m grateful___”, “I’m secure___”, “I’m proud___”
The idea is to essentially cleanse your mind of the negative thoughts before meditating on a positive and clearer solution. Still need help? Ask yourself, “What am I being unreasonable about in this situation? What would be a reasonable approach to it?”
My reasonable advice after that? Forgive yourself and do what makes you happy. Ice cream sundae sounds appropriate.
YD yoga school updates should come pretty regularly on Sundays, at the wrap of each week. Disclosure: Training is with YogaWorks, NYC (I am not being paid to say that, Paula Lynch rocks).