After months of excitement there was a lot of nerves leading up to my 200 hour yoga teacher training at Suryalila Retreat Centre in Spain. Two things stand out for me at the end of this week. 1. Just how much learning can occur in the space of just 5 days and 2. They weren't kidding when they called it an intensive.
Suryalila is a beautiful set of traditional white buildings in the middle of the arid Spanish countryside but the space itself is spectacular. The Om Dome especially, where we meditate and practice first thing in the morning, is inspiring. The days are long, with breakfast coming after our half hour meditation and two hour practice, with classes until 7pm, and lots of homework. Getting our heads and tongues around Sanskrit is proving quite a challenge! The food is all vegetarian and tastes as good as it looks.
I'd say the past couple of days had been a bit of a turning point for me. Before that, I felt I was a little along for the ride, witnessing, enjoying it but not especially LOVING it. But Philosophy classes have started to become more alive as we discuss the yamas (the ethics of yoga) and I felt I actually meditated this morning! Instead of being caught in my own thoughts, it felt more effortless to let them go. Time kind of gets lost during meditation and you open to your eyes to be guided through one of Vidya's energetic, playful, creative and challenging classes. This week I've played with compass pose, grasshopper, flying splits, scorpion handstand, side crow… sometimes within the space of one class!
The cliché is that yoga 'comes alive off the mat' and that's why I signed up for this training in the first place, but I feel here I really starting to experience that transformation (the start of a very long journey) and be inspired in a way that hasn't happened for a long time. Yoga is a way of life. It's been a long time now since I left the academic world. It feels good to embrace that hungry-to-learn, creative and expressive side of me again.
One of the most challenging parts (apart from the Sanskrit!) has been trying to teach for the first time. It felt, and still feels, a bit impossible to figure out how to tell someone what to do with their bodies and yet with a little practice I can start to see how it will become possible. And it's really energised me! This week I'll have to teach a full ten minute flow… watch this space to see how that goes!