Attracted to the practice, inspired by the Asana/poses (and all of the physical and mental strength that goes in), and allured to become a practitioner that did Yoga (in all its forms) justice, I took the leap of faith and signed up for the 200 hrs Yoga Teacher Training programme. Coming through the door with no expectations what so ever, I found myself extremely humbled after the first weekend. I thought I knew myself and what my body was capable of. I thought I was some what athletic because I ran and exercised regularly. Literally after 20 minutes, I had reality hit my hard in the face and put me in my place. Then I was reminded, the reason why I enrolled into this programme because it was going to be a challenge. And I guess I got what a wanted, A CHALLENGE. With the impact of reality still lingering, I was inspired to adopt this mantra :
“Let yourself be a beginner at something”.
In this case, my something was Yoga. And I say it with pride, that when I first started this 200 hr YTT programme, I was/am A BEGINNER. I am okay with that and I am comfortable with it. By the first weekend, I already learnt not one of the following factors can be independent of each other in order to be a 100% in my practice.
STAMINA │ STRENGTH │ FLEXIBILITY
I practice Yoga with the intention to ① endure and hold my Asana that much longer in order to train my stamina and strength.
I practice Yoga with intention to ② conscientiously bring attention to my Ujjayi breathing throughout the entire practice, expanding the breath into the rib cage. For without constant breathing, the practice is in vein and flexibility would not be enhanced.
Last but not least, I practice Yoga with the intention to ③ get into every asana perfectly– with correct alignment. Should the alignment of an Asana be incorrect, it would only lead to (direct or indirect) injury and the true benefits of the pose would not be reaped. Each Asana must be so precise in order to be able to attain its benefits – be it to gain stamina, strength and/or flexibility. It is very easy to neglect breath or forget alignment, especially when going through the motion of numerous Surya Namaskara. But I know if I persistently and constantly set these intentions during my practice, it would be drilled into my brain and hopefully one day become muscle memory.
I was aware the I am relatively flexible. But that is hardly one foot in the door. I have heaps to work on in the stamina and strength department. Also, strength in one particular area of the body (i.e arms or core) is not enough, overall strength is necessary. As teacher Erica says and something I will religiously abide by:
10 Chaturangas and 1 minute plank for the rest of my life!
I feel I have already come a long way, but I still have a veryyyyy looooooonnnnnnnnnnggggggg way more. And I truly believe, Yoga is one of those practices that enforces the importance of life long learning. I am really excited for what the future holds, and to celebrate every break through (big or small) because they are all evidence of hard work being paid off!
This is just my Asana encounter, the philosophy of Yoga is a whole different ball game altogether. And Asana’s are just 1/8 of the Yoga umbrella. This is me, at 1/3 of 200hrs (and counting), signing off.
PRACTICE ! PRACTICE ! PRACTICE !
For there are NO shortcuts !
Peace and Love,
Beginner at Perfection