YTT – a journey of self-discovery and growth

It’s hard to describe all that I’ve learnt and experienced in the past 4 weeks of my 200hr YTT with Tirisula Yoga. There’s just too much to share in one blog post, so I thought I’d share an excerpt of my journal entry from last week:

I’m about to embark on my 4th & final week of my 200hr YTT, what?!! Time really flies and I wish I had more time. I’ve really loved seeing Master Sree and my classmates almost every single day. We spend our mornings getting our minds blown by Sree and his truth bombs, have interesting discussions and support one another while we attempt crazy poses! I say attempt because sometimes we get it, other times we (try not to) flop on our faces. But we cheer each other on regardless and it is never a failure because with each attempt we learn a little more, and we grow.

The practice of yoga is not confined to our mat – it is a way of life. We practice yoga by choosing how we live and act every day, and to continuously “sharpen our axe” as Sree said. It’s not about pure physical strength or effort, but having clarity and focus. For me, the biggest lesson and struggle thus far is citta vritti nirodhah – removal of thoughts from our mind.

In our physical practice, this means removing any anxious thoughts, fear or frustration. Only when we achieve this, can we truly be focused and present to hold the asanas and reap the full benefits. It’s easy for me to lose sight of this when attempting challenging poses. Each time I fall, I would get increasingly frustrated in my mind. Master Sree always catches me in that state and would make me stop for a moment. “Stop thinking. Breathe, and clear your mind. Then you do.”  The first time he said that I had no idea if it was going to help me get into the pose. But he’s the master, so I listened, stopped what I was doing and just breathed. Immediately, there was a shift in my mental state. With a focused and calm mind, I managed to do the posture with control. It felt amazing!

Some days, it’s easy for me to be fully focused and present in the moment. It’s difficult to describe the feeling – you’re fully immersed, there is this sense of self-confidence, of believing in yourself but also being okay when you are unable to do certain poses. But on many days, I find myself comparing and beating myself up for not being able to “do as well as the others”. I still struggle to quiet my mind and stay in that mental state, even when I’m alone. But I’m learning that it’s okay, and I just have to pause, breathe, believe in myself and try again. With enough practice, I will get better at it.

So while I’ve gotten physically stronger, the real training for me has really been a mental one. There’s still so much for me to learn and I’ve a long way to go. I guess that’s why I still feel like a baby. Thought I would finish the course feeling less like a child, but really it’s shown me how me how much more I have to learn and how much more I can be.

I’m grateful for this opportunity, for the people I’ve met and for the lessons learnt. The course may have ended but the learning doesn’t stop here. I will miss this daily routine but I am also excited to see where our yoga journeys will take us!

Yoga is not about touching your toes, but what you learn on the way down.