Yoga is all around you. Really ?

During the philosophy class, one notion disturbed me (and continues to do so): samsara. First, in a negative way and later, in a positive, too. Most important, it made me remember how I met yoga.

Bad first contact

First, the explanation about samsara made me think back to painful events that I experienced but with a new point of view. Which is normally positive.
But in my case, the pain reappeared. At this precise moment, I would like to scream and cry. I couldn’t breath properly. I just focused on holding back my tears until the end of the class. The pain was so strong, that it was even physical.
I understood the concept (well, I think), but by applying it to these events, I could not accept the result.

Samsara brings you to yoga

During a next philosophy class, it was said that samsara brings you to yoga. View my previous contact with this notion, I was quite skeptical. But little by little, memories came back to me. And I was surprised to see that maybe it wasn’t so far from the truth.

When yoga arrived in my life

Where I come from and when I was a child, yoga was considered as a New Age idea spread by hippies. There was only one teacher in my area. Her daughter was one of my friend. So, I heard a little about yoga. During this same period, I attend at school to a yoga discovery class with my mother’s friend. I remembered asking my parents to continue to take some lessons. For different reasons, it was not possible.

Few years later, I discovered a passion for Asia and Buddhism. At the time, I even told my parents that I was going to convert. Yes, I know what you think, but I was only 13 years old! I think it was more to show a rebel spirit. In my family, we lived a kind of war of religions. If spirituality has always interested me, my parents did not practice at all.

However, I kept my interest for Asia and its “traditions”. This passion stays until it was time to choose what I would like to study at the university. My first choice was to study Sinology. Inside sinology, you should choose 2 languages and one of my choice was sanskrit and hindi.

Finally, I could not study Sinology. The only university to give these courses was in the German-speaking part of my country and I wasn’t fluent enough.

Yoga is gone

I must say that I have never been sporty. My sport teachers at school did not like me and this feeling was fully shared.
When I arrived at the university, many activities were offered and among them, yoga. Of course, it was my first choice. But I couldn’t attend to the course because of my schedule.
After that, yoga has completely disappeared from my life. I traveled to Central America where the mood was more salsa than yoga.

Yoga reappeared

Seven years ago, yoga reappeared in my life. I remembered really well how I decided to go to my first course. At the time, I worked in a theater, which means that my schedule (again!) was completely irregular. My work days often started at 8:30 am and sometimes ended at 2 am.
It took me months to find a yoga center that gave classes that were compatible/flexible with my life and at a fair price.

I think back to my first course… I arrived completely stressed with the desire to leave because I had this horrible feeling of school and sports classes. But after, the course, I knew: Yoga has reappeared for good. An EVIDENCE.
Since that day, I practice several times a week and in recent years, almost every day. It became an automatism, a bit like washing my teeth.

What a journey! I don’t know if it’s my samsara but I cannot deny that yoga was often around me. Until following the yoga teacher training right now!

Teaching: maybe yes, maybe not

This is the current BIG question. When I think of this whole way, I imagine that maybe teaching yoga is for me. But the minute after, I think of all those bad yoga teachers. I do not want to be a bad yoga teacher. They are numerous enough. Ooops…
When I announced to some of my friends that I was going to do the YTT, most of them told me that it was so me. I was really surprised of those reactions. By the way, I’m not sure I really understand what it means “it’s so me”…

Honestly, a week away from completing the training, I don’t know.
I think I refuse to admit that I would like (I dream for a long time?) to be a yoga teacher because I do not feel up to it. Yoga is important to me and I wish I could share it in the right way. On the other hand, if I do not become a teacher, I wonder how to continue my practice after the YTT.

Anyway. We’ll see… Until then, we must study a little and still pass the exams.

Ashtanga Yoga beyond the preconceived ideas

Between all the types of yoga, which one is your favorite ? Have you ever wondered?

Well, I asked myself.
Hatha, the classical ? The one I practiced the most.
Restorative yoga ? Too boring for me.
Hot yoga ? Never tried before arriving in Singapore. Yes, because in Singapore, you just need to switch off the AC and you have your hot yoga, right ? Moreover, it’s better for the earth…
Naked yoga ? Well… I prefer to self-censor.
Stand Up Paddle Yoga ? Challenging and perfect for water lovers like me.
Wine/beer yoga ? I am european, I can understand. For the fun.
Pet yoga ? Personal version : What the f*** ? Official and polite version : Sorry, not interested.
Ashtanga ?

Before begining the YTT, I didn’t have the opportunity to practice Ashtanga. Mainly, I practiced Hatha yoga or hatha with an unconscious mix of Ashtanga postures or maybe some unkown yoga made in the Western world.

The only things I heard about Ashtanga scared me and made me think it wasn’t for me. Between « it’s the most difficult type of yoga » or « you need to be sporty to practice Ashtanga » and, « Ashtanga yoga is so painful. It destroyed all of the joints », I preferred to stay far away this kind of yoga. For me Ashtanga was another and mysterious world for superior people I don’t belong to.

When I registered with the YTT, I didn’t pay attention that Ashtanga was on the menu. Better. For sure, I wouldn’t signed for the training.

Now, imagine my face when I opened the book at midnight, namely few hours before arriving for my first day of training. The half of the book was about Ashtanga Yoga.
Too bad but too late to change my mind.

Week after week, I discover ashtanga yoga and I can say I like it very much. So much, I sometimes completely forget what is a sun salutation in hatha.
Why ? I give you some reasons :

  • It gives me a lot of energy.
  • It puts a stop to my mind when I have too much thoughts. With Ashtanga I need to be fully focused on what I am doing. I cannot think to other things.
  • The repetition of the postures, always in the same order, gives a side of something ritual.
  • It is precise and rigorous. I like this.
  • I feel my body stronger.
  • There is a kind of « surpassing oneself », I appreciate a lot.

I don’t know if all these points are correct. It’s only what I personally feel during and after the ashtanga practice. I can just tell you : make your own experience.

In the recent weeks, I have learned so much. It’s quite difficult to choose only one thing that stands out. However, for the physical practice, without a doubt, it’s Ashtanga.

Just one millimeter

I felt this second week of the Yoga Teacher Training more focused on the body. With the alignment of the postures, the knowledge of the skeletal system, the joints functions and the muscles.

In parallel, my own body gave me a hard time between aches, limitations and on Friday, my right side completely blocked after a beginner mistake during a shoulder stand. Well done !

Outside of those considerations, this week was a constant wonder of what a human body is. How it is constituted, how it works, but especially how it can be improved, how we made it stronger or more flexible, and even sometimes, how to heal it through the practice of yoga.

I can only see it on my own body. I experience the improvement day after day. If I see my downward facing dog of the first day and the same asana after two weeks of practice, it’s not the same. Definitely.

I am really far from all those examples of contortionism that we see sometimes. It does not matter because I finally have the feeling of having reintegrated my own body. I catch myself thinking : “Hello stranger👋! Ooooh you’re finally back! I lost you little by little on the way because of what is called “life”. Nice to meet you again. Above all, stay and continue like this.”

Yes, I feel that I have reintegrated my own body. Day after day, practice after practice, millimeter after millimeter 📏. Luckily, the human body is resilient.

What amazed me most and what I remember from this second week is the precision of yoga. Moving your hand or foot a few millimeters, trying to stretch millimeter after millimeter, completely changes the effect of a posture. Until now, I was intellectually conscious of this, but I was just unable to feel the effects of such precision.

Just with one millimeter and despite the body aches, my appreciation for yoga is deeper. And for sure, I believe that the nature does things well.

What is the common point between a roller coaster and sweat?

How to feel old and young at the same time? Start your 200h of YTT!
I am feeling old when my body is painful during the physical postures and mostly, when I wake up in the morning.

On the other hand, I am feeling young or quite new in front of all this knowledge I have to learn. Like a child when he begins school, if I remember well.

Before coming the first day, I had a lot of uninteresting questions such as: will my level of English be enough? will my classmates like me? will my body be strong enough to tolerate a lot of training? did I take the right stuff with me? etc.

At the end of the day, I had more and more questions. But certainly the most important was asked by Sree: WHAT DO YOU NEED?
And the answer was… a blank. What I really need? Good question. However, this question seems simple, right?

Is the physical part the hardest during this training? Not sure. The philosophical part forces you to ask yourself and answer basic questions that you no longer pay attention to. Or that you avoid paying attention. 🤯

I guess this whole month will be an emotional and physical roller coaster. A roller coaster full of sweat💦. Yes, because yoga is sweating from your body AND sweating from your brain, too. After one week, I can tell I am ready for both: the roller coaster and the sweat.

Yoga is sweating from your body AND sweating from your brain.

Last weekend, my friends told me that something already changed. Maybe because I am just currently doing what I have been waiting for for years and what I need. There is no blank anymore. For at least 3 more weeks.