Ascent of Mount Tirisula

It is day 2 of the 200 hr Yoga Teacher Training Course and I limp in the dark 6.55am air towards the door that opens to at least 20 steps up at Tirisula Yoga.

My knee is tender, the kneecap swollen and shooting pains reward every bend or step. Yesterday’s induction confirmed one thing for Paalu; that we are in need of conditioning. So, he has planned a Bootcamp morning for us, with the kind of drills that make Tabata training look like a warmup stretch. I perform abysmally for about 20 minutes before the “Hisma” (as I later identify it) seeps in to my subconscious, it conquers my limbs and my resolve and after a painful landing out of a failed headstand attempt, my chin wobbles and my throat tightens. A flush of shame colours my cheeks – I actually feel like crying! Not because I can’t get into headstand (I never have before), or because my knee is throbbing painfully, but because I’m actually so angry with myself for failing to match my resolve with action. Self doubt follows, was my resolve not as strong as I thought?
I sit on my mat, a collapsed heap of defeat and shame and glance up at Paalu commanding instructions. He casts his eyes momentarily at me, not a flicker of change in his voice or expression. Completely nonchalant, he walks past still in dialogue.
And then everything crystallises. I get up, I turn around and face the wall. I unscrew my face, I forgive myself and with one last push, I squeeze my lower abdomen and push my legs, closed tightly together, upright and find the wall behind me.
My Asteya found me at last. Ok, so my first headstand was lousy, my legs were slanting to one side and I was pretty much on my forehead. But it’s a start, my start. My intention overcame my doubt and physical pain.
My resolve is not broken, but it is challenged . Tomorrow there shall be more challenges and they will be just as hard to overcome.
But I’m already making mental progress even with my physical limitations and I am grateful that Paalu’s eyes flickered without further reaction. That momentary acknowledgement was a call to wake up, man up and take ownership of my practice.
All the best lessons are the ones unspoken.

Sarah Yong
YTTC 200hr