Namaste and Hello!
So this blog post is a little out of date as I went for my yoga teacher training in March but I’ve been travelling and digesting everything since then.
I just thought I’d write a blog post about what it’s actually like to go and do a yoga teacher training course. I remember spending ages scanning the internet, talking to people and generally looking to the universe to tell me if I should go on it or not. It took about a year of the universe constantly sending me signals, each stronger than the one before until I finally gave in and submitted to it. Eventually no matter how much you read about it you’ll be scared and unsure like I was. I couldn’t touch my toes (and still can’t) and I was worried that I wasn’t ‘good enough’ to go on such a training course… I was worried I wouldn’t fit in or I would spend a month feeling embarrassed. I even tried to talk myself out of going a week before my flight and thought I should get a ‘real’ job instead. I was so wrong!! Luckily I had the support of a special few and they encouraged me to go (literally pushed me onto the plane!).
I went on a 200 hour intensive Ashtanga- Vinyasa training programme in India. Now they don’t joke when they call it an intensive programme… a lot of people thought I was there on a retreat and enjoying the seaside and sun but trust me it was far from that. I was up from 5.30 each morning to get ready before our first class. We had two hours of Ashtanga yoga in the morning (a style of yoga I hadn’t practised much before I went). I remember the first Ashtanga class, walking up to the hilltop yoga shala, rolling out my mat and being nervous of what was to come. Luckily we had the most amazing, loving, beautiful Ashtanga teacher who took us through the full practise. After the two hours were up I burst out crying, I couldn’t believe how tired I was after just 2 hours on the first day. At that moment I made the most amazing two friends- two beautiful souls who then went on to support me through the next month.
Your fellow yoga students become your family, you eat, sleep, sweat, cry and laugh with them. All of the efforts you usually put in in your day to day life go out of the window, you have no time to do your hair, or co-ordinate what you’re wearing or even care that your clothes are soaked through with sweat. BUT that’s the amazing thing because no one cares… you can be yourself. Truly be yourself, let your guards down and open yourself up to all the new experiences.
The first two weeks were tough, my body was tired from 5 hours of yoga a day plus mentally exhausted from learning all the anatomy and philosophy. But I was eager to learn more. I know I was tired but I had such a great group of people around me… they inspired me. Each and every person showed up on their mat each day and tried, we all gave it a go, laughed if we fell out of it or asked questions if we didn’t understand. We supported and carried each other through it.
Eventually, I got so tired and wasn’t seeing immediate improvements (I thought it would be like magic… suddenly one morning I could just pop into a handstand… I was impatient and this was a lesson I had to learn!). I would be lying if I said I didn’t consider leaving and going home but I’m glad I didn’t (again my husband didn’t let me and I’m so happy he didn’t… he could see the bigger picture). Finally I pushed through this hurdle and started seeing small improvements to my practise, really small things but I started to feel different too. Now this is where my second lesson comes in… I let that get to my head and I stopped listening to my body, I pushed and pushed until my old knee injury came back.
Now this injury came in my third week and it meant I couldn’t do any physical practise for three days. This is where I really learnt what yoga meant…. Yoga is more than just the physical practise. It’s a way of life, a way of thinking and a stepping stone towards meditation. Yoga is about becoming one with your breath and body and having this injury was a blessing in disguise as it allowed me to focus on these other aspects. I learnt so much about my body, about people’s anatomy and how different we all are. How different my body is and certain things meant I will never be able to get into poses (asanas) that other people just slip into. I learnt to be ok with this and accept my body with all it’s limitations and love it all the same. I learnt about self-love and caring for yourself during my third week… It was a tough lesson but one I really needed.
Onto the final week; exams, studying, busy minds. This week had come around sooner than expected. I only just felt like I had settled into the groove of things and was learning so much… I didn’t want it to be the last week… I didn’t want the lessons to stop. The last week was beautiful, we got to practise each others flows and express our individuality in what we did. We prepped for the exams and had our last group Ashtanga class. I cried again! This time not because I was scared or because I was tired but because I was so proud of how far I’d come, how much I’d learnt and because I didn’t want to leave that shala or leave the amazing souls I had met.
Graduation came around so quickly and we all graduated with flying colours. I left soon after the course had finished and went travelling. I tried digesting everything I had learnt on the course but my self practise suffered with all the travelling. Now I’m home and back on my mat and couldn’t be happier. Everything I learnt over the month in India now makes sense, now I can apply it to real life, now I understand what the universe is telling me.
I will always hold onto what my yoga friend told me “you be you” – be the person you want to be, don’t worry about what others think or even what your mind thinks. Trust that you are exactly where you should be and trust in the process. Learn to ‘let go‘ of old problems, worries or fears… these things no longer serve you and there’s so much out there left to explore so open yourself up to these new opportunities.
So if you’re new to yoga and worried you’re not flexible enough for it, don’t worry I’ll roll out my mat next to you and struggle to touch my toes too. I’ve learnt to be ok with that and enjoy the process. Yoga is a stepping stone, it’s a moving meditation that aims to deepen your connection, it aims to get your body ready to sit and meditate.
If you’re thinking of going on a yoga course yourself then I highly encourage you to go. Forget your worries, your fears or any other concerns you have. People always told me it would be a life changing experience and I didn’t really understand that until I put it all into practise when I got home. Run in with open arms and accept all the challenges thrown at you… it’s the only way to grow and learn more about yourself.
For anyone looking for a yoga teacher, get in touch! I can’t promise I’ll be anything like the yoga teachers you see on youtube but I will share everything I’ve learnt with you. Check out my instagram page or contact me through the website and we can talk about what you’re looking for.
For everyone else, I wish you a perfect evening and a beautiful weekend. May the sun shine down on each and everyone of us! Smiling is your birthright and don’t let anyone take that away from you.
P.s. I had some of the yummiest vegan food whilst out there! I miss it so much!