YTT: week 2
Week two is ending today and I can’t believe next week will be the final one of this yoga teacher training. I feel like I’m just at the beginning of this journey and I want to learn more and more. Although I think I also need some time to process all the food for thoughts we’ve been fed with, and get some time to reflect and experience it too. Week 2 has been different from week one. We now know each other way better and we’re also quite settled in our routine: wake up at 6am, asana practice from 6:30am to 8:30am, pranayama and meditation from 9am to 10am, breakfast, then the rest of the classes. It’s quite heartbreaking to think that very soon, we won’t see each other every day anymore. But hey, we’ve also learned that attachment is fine as long as we are able to let go :)
Our bodies have started showing some signs of fatigue and our ego is being challenged. A few people are suffering from back, neck, foot or in my case shoulder injuries, and we’ve all experienced some muscle soreness at some point. Despite that, everybody is showing up on their mat, applying the modifications we’ve learned in order to keep practicing. I’m also having a massage today which I’m really excited about. Another thing I’ve noticed is how the vegetarian diet is affecting my body. The food at Sampoorna is really tasty, it’s amazing. I mean, you need to like your vegetables that’s for sure. And despite the high quantity of fibre we intake everyday, I’ve noticed that I’ve never felt tired from digestion, I haven’t felt heavy after a meal and my otherwise very sensitive digestive system has never been happier (and trust me, this was at the top of my worries list before coming to India). On the weekends we eat outside the yoga center and we usually treat ourselves with a glass of wine or two, some cheese nans and meat. It’s the second weekend I’m doing this and I can immediately tell the difference in the quality of my sleep. I’m not sure I’m ready to give up wine dairy and meat yet when I’m back in London but it’s definitely something I’m gonna think about now that I’ve experienced how better it makes me feel not to have any.
Since the beginning of the week we’ve had Mysore classes, which means that our ashtanga classes were not led by a teacher. Our teacher and the karma yogis here gave us some help with adjusting the postures. It’s incredible how a good adjustment can change everything and can help you go deeper into a posture, where you never thought you could go. The other day Martin helped me with Utthita Hasta Padangustasana and I suddenly realised all the space I still had available in my body. Of course I’m unable to get there on my own at the minute, but it’s a great objective to work toward. Equally the other day I almost got my chin on the floor - pancake style - in Upavista konasana. This posture is always gonna be a special one for me as 4 years ago I couldn’t even sit tall with a 90 degree angle. My hamstrings were so tight! I wasn’t doing yoga at the time but I was attending fitness classes everyday and therefore stretching afterward, with no more expectation than just avoiding soreness. One day I realised that not only could I sit straight but I could even fold forward to the point where my elbows came down to the floor. I remember thinking “OMG! Stretching does make a difference! I’m not cursed with a stiff body!”. So the other day when I managed to handle someone literally folding me in two with their own body weight I just smiled and took a few very deep breaths.
The anatomy classes start becoming quite tricky. We’re covering the main muscles in the whole body and trust me, there are many. We’ve only got from the feet to the abs and my brain is sinking into the information overload. If you’re reading this because you’re thinking about doing a yoga teacher training, I highly recommend you come with either a book or an anatomy app as the black and white prints you’ll be provided with won’t help you visualise clearly the shape, location, origin and insertion of the different muscles. Despite the trickiness, I love anatomy. Everything makes so much sense once you know how it’s wired. Philosophy as well start getting deeper and deeper and the difficulty lies in remembering all the sanskrit words for each limb and value. I feel a bit behind in philosophy as I didn’t make the effort to remember the names yet, but I did pay a lot of attention to the explanation of each limb. I’m quite relying on my usually good memory to catch up quickly here.
Finally, we’ve started teaching 20min flows. I think the teaching classes are the ones where everyone has seen the most improvement in only a week time. We started with a 5min flow, then 15 and now 20. After each class we teach, we get feedback from the students we taught, which is really helpful as it’s difficult to gauge how your cues and timing are perceived when you don’t go through the flow yourself. I’ve had some difficulties finding the right timing and my second class wasn’t great at all: I waited too long in postures (fun fact: 5 breaths is actually quicker when you don’t do the flow) and my cues were a bit too hesitant, which is confusing for students who need to be able to anticipate slightly in order to really enjoy the flow. I took those feedback onboard and apparently my third attempt was already way better! I really enjoy teaching. I find it empowering and I love the idea that I’m helping people finding release and awareness. I know how much yoga can have an impact in people’s life given the impact it’s had in mine, and thinking that I could help other people finding some nuggets of peace really makes me feel like I’m doing something helpful and impactful. For next week I have to come up with another 20min flow, then my exam will happen on Wednesday afternoon. I’m the first person of my group and I’m not sure how I feel about this…