It’s 6.52am and I’m on my mat. I glance at the clock as I close my eyes, bring my hands to prayer in front of my chest, ready to silently recite the opening invocation to myself. Day 9 of Module 1 of the Yoga Teacher Training at Meadowlark. My body hurts. My ankles ache. My knees are creaky. My hamstrings, sensitive. The first 3 days of practice were great, hard, but I felt so energised for them. I’m not used to such early starts, especially on my mat! I thought I had a relatively good level of stamina, and I’d been practicing Ashtanga for some time, almost 2 years, with stints of weekly immersions here and there. But, with a full day of study, interaction with fellow students and teaching practice on top, it’s pretty well, full on. In the best way possible. I’m having the time of my life. I absolutely don’t want the course to end.
Yesterday was a busy day. We focused mainly on adjusting each other in Prasarita Padottanasana C. An intense posture; strong on the hamstrings & ankles, the lower back, the shoulders and arms. It can get tiring quite quickly. And when someone is learning to adjust you, finding the correct stance, foot placement and *doing* the physical adjustments, it gets very strenuous to maintain the posture. My ankles felt like they were on fire. We also looked into adjusting Uttitah & Parivrtta Trikonasana and Uttitah Hasta Padangustasana. Using the wall for the purpose of alignment, it was so odd to see how restricted we’d become when trying to remain in the linear plane, alongside the wall, when taking these postures. Trying to keep the hips & shoulder connected to the wall, when they naturally want to deviate, as our bodies aren’t used to being in a certain position. Thus far through the training, I’ve realised the reason we ache, is because we’re somewhat ‘resetting’ the body into postures correctly, by re-aligning and stretching, whereby achieving healing and positive results in the long-run.
We chant daily, for about an hour. It flies by. The vibrations from the chanting, the sound of the others’ chanting, it’s quite magical. ‘Om’; it’s the sound of the universe, of everything, of the divine. It really has quite a beautiful impact on the physical as well as the subtle human body; the brain, the lungs, the heart. It fills us with a sense of community, a belonging to something greater, something worthwhile and deeply meaningful. Needless to say there were tears, of utter joy, bliss and also realisation. Our group connected, on a level with which I hadn’t connected with ‘ordinary’ people in a group setting before. We were all there for the same reason, but different reasons brought us together. Every day, I got to spend time with this wonderful group of intelligent, big hearted and beautiful individuals. We chant to Shiva, to Saraswathi, Ganesha, the divine. The chants all have catchy rhythm, easily learned and intoxicating. Most I knew to an extent before, as I regularly attend chanting at Meadowlark, and they resonated with me even more now.
We had a brief (too short!) a session on the Bhagavad Gita (The Lord’s Song) (which discusses human morals when faced with a dilemma and our nature in this situation as played out by the protagonist). It’s very philosophical, full of wisdom. Much like the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, which we had touched on daily and discussed several times. (It’s the companion to the the physical yoga that we do and full of invaluable information. It is where we turn when Asana gets tough, or a situation arises which we can’t quite deal with, or make sense of.) A handbook for life in many ways. My notepad is getting fuller with notes. My manual is getting highlighted to within an inch of it’s life and the margins of my textbooks scribbled with pencil & doubling in size with all the post-it notes.
Teaching practice: this is something I never thought I would do. Actual teaching practice. On other, living human beings. They listen to my words as I speak and do the postures as I instruct. It’s fascinating and I absolutely love it. It’s tricky, but we have to try to be ‘newbies’ so that people can practice their cues for explaining where to step, which hand to put where, where to look, what to engage and how long to breathe in a posture for.
When I get home, I briefly flick through my notes and spend hours looking stuff up online, reading more about topics Karen has briefly touched on that day, which I desperately want to find out more about. The yoga schools of the world, teachers, lineages, retreats, more books, Sanskrit teachers, Anatomy workshops, deities, the Maha Bharata… I’m so lucky to live in Edinburgh, and to be a part of Meadowlark’s community; there is so much on offer to feed my curiosity and keep me passionate.
I’m excited to see what the future holds. I have never felt more alive and this is only just the beginning.
Practice practice, all is coming. x