My YTT journey

The only physical preparation I have done before joining YTT was walking to the shop to buy myself a yoga mat. On the first day of training, the new mat smell revealed that I had never unrolled it before. I admire all the girls in the course who started a regular sports practice from a young age, be it gymnastics, dance or yoga. I was not born naturally flexible and have never developped a passion for sports as a kid. I have been raised to focus on my studies and there was little time left for a physical practice. After unversity, I started working around the world and never allowed myself the time to train. As I turned 30, I decided it was time to change that and to start doing things I never thought were possible before: I started salsa dancing ; hiking: I climbed Semeru, Rinjani and Kinabalu ; passed my advanced diving certificate and started to practice yoga once or twice a week.

I did not know what to expect when I signed up for the course, but was viewing it as a challenge to change my lifestyle, and get back in shape, push myself and learn something new. I also wanted to improve my alignements, after a few years of yoga classes, mostly repeating the same postures and not a lot of interraction with the teachers/other students, I knew there was a lot of room for improvements but was not quite sure where to start.

The first week was very tough and I wondered what I had got into and if I would simply be able to make it. After a few rounds of sun salutations, I could not catch my breathe and had to pause multiple times. During the following weekdays i forced myself to wake up at least an hour earlier every morning and practice on my own. On the second morning of training at home, my body told me it was too much sudden change: I had to run to the bathroom half way through the training to vomit. This encouraged me to re-think my diet, adapt my eating/drinking habits, be more conscious of my lifestyle and sleep. Once I also understood when to inhale and when to exhale, things started falling into place nicely and I was suddenly able to hold asanas longer. I learnt to shift more weight to my feet so I didn’t feel so much pressure on my arms/shoulders. 

Very early on, I learnt about various new muscles I had never heard of before, how to activate them, and how to use them to maintain stability in the asanas. Very rapidly new muscles started growing in my body and my strength improved. At the end of the first week, I managed to do headstand, it was a very encouraging success and it motivated me to train even more. I am still feeling intimidated by arm balancing poses (Bakasana, Tittibhasana…) and ended up with my body full of bruises after trying them. But I have learnt the preparation steps and sequence of poses to achieve them and I am confident I will be able to reach the final poses soon with regular training. Other aspects will take more time to develop: flexibility, back bending, hip opening… but I learnt how to structure a training plan and vary the sequences depending on the focus of the class.

Introducing some basic breathing exercises and rejuvenation steps to my morning routine made me more conscious of my breath and helped me to withstand a flow practice. Breathing techniques, Pranayama and meditation are just a few of the themes that drew my curiousity and that I will start exploring as I feel they could have huge benefits on my life on and off the mat. More than the physical practice, this course turned out to also trigger a deep reflection on life, guiding principles, and made me aware of a lot of behaviours/patterns I have not reflected on before. It also happened at a time of profound changes in my personnal life and i have been overwhelmed by the reach and variety of the information and the diversity of choices that are actually available.

I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to Master Paalu and Master Wei Ling for guiding me through the start of my yoga journey, as well as to the other YTT participants, who shared their knowledge, laughs and positive energy with me during the last 2 months. This course exceeded my expectations and I know this is only the start. I am looking forward to deepen my practice of all the aspects I have been introduced to in those 200 hours together and hope to inspire others around me to live a more healthy life.

Marie, YTT200 (Sep’17-Weekend)