As of November 22nd, I have a certificate that says I am a certified Yoga Teacher. Though now, more than ever, I think of myself as a student rather than a teacher.
And I can’t believe it’s over! The four weeks flew by, yet was one of the most deliberate and thoughtful periods of my life. I took pages of notes every day. I ate dahl and passion fruit and drank turmeric tea. I learned about anatomy and physiology, and the physical relationship between our material body and our spiritual body. I studied the Yoga Sutras and the Bhagavad Gita. Learned the benefits and limitations of asanas. Didn’t eat a morsel of processed food. Was amazed at the persistence of giant snails as they emerged onto our sidewalks at twilight. Got caught up in the stars. Felt vibrant, calm, and focused.
The only way to accurately understand this yoga teacher training program would be to go do it (I recommend it, of course!), but I realize that’s not quite an option — so I’ve decided to jot down one note from each day of training, which may at least hint at what the experience was like. Enjoy! I certainly did. My life is better for it, and I cannot wait to see how this knowledge comes to life for me, and for those around me.
Day 1 – “Sattva = purity. Therefore, a yogic lifestyle is a pure lifestyle.”
Day 2 – “The first step in the Four Pillars of Yoga is Ahar, or nutrition. This is not only food, but can be air, water, the people around you. Everything you take in is nutrition or not nutrition.”
Day 3 – “The search for truth is not to be completed through intellectualization only. Must be intuited. It’s impossible to conceive. Yoga develops all of the disciplines to slow the mind and understand yourself. By understanding and knowing yourself, you know everything. Yoga is the tool.”
Day 4 – “Each time you practice a little bit of tapah (restraint, training the senses), you are burning the weakness and negativity out of your system. Which small attachments can you get rid of this month?”
Day 5 – On Sutra 2.29 (The eight steps of Yoga, or Ashtanga Yoga.) “The goal of physical postures, asanas, is to strengthen your mental and emotional body.”
Day 6 – “Better to go see Cirque du Soleil than to go to a yoga conference with instructors showing off poses.”
Day 7 – “We are not earthly beings looking for a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having an earthly experience.”
Day 8 – “Through karma yoga, or action, we gain knowledge. So every action we make is of great importance and will leave a mark on our personality, which will determine our character. So, any good work in front of you – DO IT.”
Day 9 – “Ignorance is the root of all mental afflictions. Ignorance is wrong knowledge – it is moving away from your own human nature. Taking something that is impermanent to be permanent – your body, your relationships, for example. Taking the unreal to be real. Allowing society to tell you what is real and what is right – this is ignorance.”
Day 10 – “Need to mix beans with rice, starch or carbs in order to get 100% of the amino acids from beans!!”
Day 11 – On the Bhagavad Gita. “Krishna says to Arjuna, ‘Nothing that exists will never not exist. Those who are not distressed by this — they indeed are worthy of immortality.”
Day 12 – “Parenting is an important determinant of altruism. Children of altruistic parents are nurturant, supportive, and altruistic.”
Day 13 – “If I get angry, it is *I* who will suffer.”
Day 14 – “Asana is defined as ‘a steady pose, with comfort.’ The most ancient asanas are therefore sitting poses. You will see that to sit without discomfort – the back, the abdomen, the neck has to be strong. So Hatha Yogis developed the techniques to make the body healthy and strong – as a preparatory course of training for the highest state of meditation – or Raja Yoga.”
Day 15 – “Steps of teaching asanas: Name of the asana in Sanskrit and English. 1 or 2 benefits of the pose. Review limitations. Demonstrate. Breathing. Ask students to do the asana and observe. Correction and feedback.”
Day 16 – Our thought of the day: “To change skins and evolve into new cycles, I feel one has to learn to discard. If one changes internally, one should not continue to live with the same objects. They reflect one’s mind and the psyche of yesterday. I throw away what has no dynamic living use.” ~Anais Nin
Day 17 – “Let food be your medicine.”
Day 18 – “All prana has vibration. Your thoughts have an energy, a vibration. So you are always sharing energy, absorbing energy.”
Day 19 – “You can tell a big lie by telling a lot of small truths.”
Day 20 – “Kriya Yoga is meant for those with strong willpower. Don’t remain helpless. Use your own strength to remove weaknesses from your system.”
Day 21 – “Any mind can concentrate, but yogis need a particular state of mind through life, a habitual state of mind.”
Day 22 – On Anitya Bhavana, the Law of Impermanence: “There is no loss if you look at it closely. The profit is the capacity you gain to predict a new adventure — to change, to grow — anytime, anywhere.”
Day 23 – “We have to understand how blessed we are to have found Yoga. Yogis were the first to correlate physical education with health, hygiene, therapy, ethics, mediation, and higher purposes of life. The aim of physiological soundness is pure radiant health, conducive to immunity against disease and the promotion of longevity.”
Day 24 – Studying the words of Swami Vivekananda: “Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life — think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success; that is the way great spiritual giants are produced.”
So it was a life changing experience. I was so blessed to spend this time with our teachers, Jeenal and Daniel, and with twenty other students who brought light and vigor and enthusiasm to each day. Thank you to all of you, and I cannot wait to see where our paths may lead! Namaste.