Learning to Swim!

So ‘why are we here’ is something that we have been exploring in our YTT and we have all been looking inward to identify our personal qualities. This has been an experience that has been both emotional and enlightening for me. I have for many years spent time looking inward to try and understand why I experience the feelings that I have and also why my life has taken me on the path that I have walked to date. My samsaras and samskaras – the impressions from my past and from my current life – have influenced me, but the question is whether I choose to repeat past negative behaviour going forward or whether I choose to live my life free of the previous stresses and strains I have experienced. To live in the present is in some way impossible as everything is moving and changing constantly so that as soon as we are in the present this moment in time is already the past. It seems to me that the question is how we deal with the ever-changing cycle of life. ‘Living in the present’ to me means living in what I would call the ‘flow of life’. Riding the waves rather than being concerned we will drown. If we are weak swimmers, we are always worried that a big wave will come and knock us over or cover us in water so that we cannot breathe, but the stronger we get at swimming the more confident we are that we can swim through or stay above the waves. If we grow further in confidence and master the art of balancing well, we may even learn to surf and use the waves for enjoyment. Yoga teaches us that we can be contented and balanced through the ups and downs of everyday life. By focusing on ourselves and our wellbeing and by practicing self-care we can be available to give to others around us. We have a duty to nature and also to those family members and friends who are sadly no longer with us to live our lives to the full in the most positive way we can. This brings me to a quote that has so far resonated with me very deeply during my YTT: “It’s not how long we live, but how alive we are before we die – Master Sree, 11-9-19”. On that note I think I’ll get on with learning to surf!

Did I find Tirisula or did it find me?

So this week I have completed my first week of yoga teacher training at Tirisula and there have been many thoughts and feelings in the last days, and indeed last months since I first considered and subsequently chose to do this course. 

To start – why Tirisula?  Well it is close to where I live, the cost was good, I knew someone who had already done the course some years earlier and there was an internet article that noted ‘this is the place to get serious about yoga’.  Though these practical facts pointed in what seemed to be the right direction, I also know myself well enough to know that if I hadn’t had a good feeling about Tirisula – been sure in fact – that I would not have gone down this path.  I made sure I did classes with Master Sree and James  and the energy felt very comfortable to me.  I can’t say my core felt quite as comfortable the mornings after those classes though! 

I did a lot of research on which school in Singapore to study at. There were many that did not do the 4 week intensive training which I required because of my current lifestyle which requires me to travel regularly back to the UK.  I looked at reviews of all studios and found good reviews and, as with any online search, a few reviews that were not so good, but as I looked at all these studios I kept coming back to Tirisula.  The fact that it was one stop on MRT was of course wonderful for me but I knew it was not a justifiable reason for choosing Tirisula.  When my friend said that she had studied here but also studied at another more commercial school that in some ways suited better, this perhaps could have been something that dissuaded me from joining.  The timing fitted in with my schedule… but was this really a good reason?  In fact there was another studio that also fitted in with my schedule.  I was searching and searching for reasons for and against each school and Tirisula kept coming up. 

I then started looking into the practicalities of teaching in the UK after having studied in Singapore and was brought to the attention of Yoga Alliance US.  Internet articles pushed that in order to teach I should be considering  a Yoga Alliance US registered school.  Tirisula was aligned to World Yoga Alliance and not Yoga Alliance US and I was not sure why this was – I knew it had been previously when my friend studied here.  Looking at linked studios to WYA, there did not seem so many studios, particularly in the UK, that were associated with them….. but I could not escape the feeling that there seemed something more authentic about WYA and Tirisula.  My online investigation brought me to Yoga Alliance Professionals – this is the UK body for yoga.  I started reading some things about Yoga Alliance US that led me to believe that Yoga Alliance Professionals had higher standards than the US based organisation but it too talked about the necessity of studying with a preferred school.  Their website gave the option to contact them with the details of the school where you wish to study and that they would assess the course and let you know that if you studied there whether you would be able to register with them.  This was essential for me as I was hoping to use yoga practice in my future career in the UK.  Yoga Alliance Professionals came back very quickly to say that Tirisula’s YTT was approved by them.  So decision made… Tirisula it was. 

It was not as if I did not look at every single angle as to whether I should study here.  What happened in the end was that the first place that I had found, that was near me, that without my knowledge happened to be the place that one of only two friends I have in Singapore studied, that suited my lifestyle and my future career, was Tirisula. 

The lifestyle I have of regularly returning to the UK is because I have an elderly dog who cannot travel to Singapore.  She is a rescue dog that has been with me for over 12 years.  She has over these years changed my life in more ways than anyone could imagine.  It is said that you do not find a dog, a dog finds you.  She definitely found me.  Now I ask myself the same question about Tirisula.  Did I find Tirisula or did Tirisula find me?  What I know for sure is that yoga has certainly truly found me and like my dog has changed my life and I look forward to seeing where it take me next!