Tomorrow night marks the last Monday night class of my 9-month long Yoga Teacher Training (200-Hour) program.
Yesterday, was our last mandatory Mysore practice. The last time I have to be in the yoga studio on a weekend at 7:30am.
In some ways it has been a long and onerous journey.
Reading all the books we’ve used. Anatomy, philosophy, teaching, Ashtanga, Sanskrit – we’ve covered a little of each. It’s the first time I’ve really had to study anything and be tested on it, in over 30 years. Not to mention the hours of lectures, Powerpoint presentations, and various homework assignments.
Then there’s the (asana) practice. Pretty much every morning, of every weekend, since last September, I’ve been in the yoga studio between 7 and 7:30am to learn. To practice.
Rightly or wrongly, I was accepted into the program only 4 months into my yoga journey. Many programs require you to be practising yoga for at least 2 years as a prerequisite. However, Qatar is a transient community with people coming and going regularly so teachers are sometimes in short supply. Secondly, my teacher said students need all kinds of teachers. I think in my case she was referring to someone who can relate “oh-so-well” to others who are just starting. There have been many times during classes or workshops where our teachers have talked about having a ‘beginner’s mind’ with our students. I have that all right. I am that.
But now I can also speak about what I believe yoga is (and what it is not). I can explain various types of ways to practice pranayama. The differences between Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Bikram, Anusara, Iyengar, Hatha or many many other types of yoga. I can tell you where the all-important psoas muscle is. Or what abduction vs. adduction, or extension vs. flexion is, and break down poses accordingly (well, some of the time I can get it all right).
I have also memorized the Ashtanga Primary Series as far as my teacher will permit me to go in it. I find myself knowing the names of poses in Sanskrit but often cannot recall the English version. I try my best now to do headstands, handstands and even had myself into lotus position recently – once. Poses I thought I would never attempt, way back in September.
Mostly I have learned
…… what there is to know about yoga, particularly if I want to teach it to others, will be a life-long journey of mine.
I have learned that I need to be aware of my breath, my practice, my body, my mind. It may bring me joy, comfort, peace. Or every opposite to each of those feelings. That each is just a moment in time and if I let it, each will teach me something about myself.
Learning and then attempting to move my body into difficult postures is not easy. Learning terms used in anatomy or the foreign sounds of Sanskrit is not easy.
Nor is it easy to watch and listen and sit with whatever’s happening during my practice.
Nor is living this every-day life.
But I’m sticking with it. All of it.