That's it, after hours of studying anatomy, reviewing philosophy, memorizing over 50 unpronounceable Sanskrit words, rehearsing speaking out loud the YogaVida sequence without mumbling, practicing adjustments - time had come to complete our final exams and week 4 was over before we knew it. Just like that. All these crazy faces on the picture are now official Vinyasa Yoga Teachers.
As you can see, too much yoga in your system may lead to unpredictable behaviors.... Why? Because it is meant to the shared! Whatever the reasons that may lead you to dive into a YTT are, even if it was "just" to deepen your own practice, you tacitly agree to take on the responsibility to spread the yogic word. You just do. Whether you understands it or not, Abhyasa, consistent practice, will change the way you look at the world, you are in the world and the way you live your life.
So, as much as it might take a little bit of time to adjust to our new schedule: no more 12-hour-long days at the studio (that includes overtime - necessary, not optional), no more homework, no more familiar sleepy faces for the 8am practice and so much free-time on our hands, we all realized what an amazing journey last month's been, and most importantly, that the closing of a chapter is always, always, always the opening of a bright brand new one. To new beginnings!
The theme of this third week of Yoga Teacher Training was SIMPLICITY.
As human beings, we tend to make things way more complicated than they need to be. And as yoga students, most of my fellow yogis and I seemed to be going that road this week, as we continued practice teaching and adjusting each other. Why? Because we are still in the left brain phase of integrating everything we've been taught in the last 3 weeks (and God knows it's a lot), rather than feeling our way through everything like our right brain would us love to, if we only let it...
The thread came back around when we discussed the qualities of a good yoga teacher: Integrity, Authenticity, Humility, Alignment, Practice, Humanity, Readiness and.... Simplicity (mind you, flexibility did not come up). When teaching, it's key to come from a place of connection for the students to relate to their teacher, rather than separate. Intention is everything. Teachers shouldn't come across as preachy but as genuine and true to him/herself, reminding the students how much yoga goes beyond our yoga mats and how we can all apply it throughout our every day life.
Finally, on a hot, construction-site loud kinda-afternoon, we were reminded how much a yogi has to learn how to DEAL, no matter how good or bad, peaceful or chaotic, planned or unexpected the situation is, a yogi has to keep it simple and deal with whatever life hands him with. Hence these powerful quotes that I recently came across. On that note, you know what to do!
That's it, I am half way through YTT already, another week that flew by...
Week 1 was about setting up solid foundations, making sure we could all differentiate our humerus was from our femur, as well as planting the seeds of yogic philosophy, so that we could start from the right foot, so to speak...
Week 2 was all about breaking down asanas, drill the YogaVida sequence into our head and starting practice teach. And guess what, it was not easy. The body started giving out and, of course, the mind too. Major resistance on my end, when it came to teaching in front of everybody: fear of public speaking and public mess-up, especially if I feel that I don't master my topic. So, I started feeling major push back from my left brain realizing memorizing the full sequence would require a lot of work... My left brain is lazy and always start putting up a fight with me when it is time to get work, even for the sake of something I am as passionate about as I am about yoga. Sure enough, as the week went by, I started understanding that it was not so much about memorizing the words as much as experiencing the practice in my own body and speaking it out loud over and over again. Practice makes perfect could not be more true and my synchronistic inspirational sources (aka. Facebook and yahoo) were all about that lately. Check out the 2 videos that landed my way last week, right on time...
Just Do It (even if you suck) by Emily Fletcher
The gift of Failure by Kute Blackson
I knew I had signed up for an intensive program and, well, last week was just that ~ Intense. From daily practices of yoga, hours sitting on floor for our human body anatomy (fascinating invention) and yogic philosophy (metaphysics meets psychology) classes, lengthy homework to make sure we digest the wisdom as we go along, long hours at night and weekend observing classes (to get a sense of the different personalities and style so we can find our own voice as a teacher) and adjusting our fellow students (for our eyes to understand what the body is saying and for our hands learn to become "adjustment fairies"). Did I mention the 5 hours of Karma Yoga, selfless service, we have to squeeze in by the end of the program too?
While absolutely loving it, my brain had to juggle with all this new notions to grasp but the key lesson had nothing to do with Gluteus Maximus or Yoga Sutras, but rather with finding balance and ease within the chaos going on in my mind: "Oh my G, how am I going to accomplish all that in less than a month?!?". The beauty of yoga is that it comes with the tools to face whatever life throws at you in the form, among others, of yamas and niyamas, universal principals aspiring yogis should live by. The 2 main ones I tried to practice last week were Tapas - Discipline, or remembering that the fruits from this experience would be equal to the efforts put in, so now is the time to stop worrying and step it up a notch; as well as Santosha - Contentment, as I noticed my self-criticism coming up every time I couldn't do or didn't know something: "It is your second YTT after all", did my monkey-mind keep reminding me... "Yes it is", I would hear myself say, "but Yoga is deep beyond measure and one remains a student forever, You included. Thanks for sharing Monkey mind, moving on, I have a sequence to rehearse..."