I know I already posted a picture for my first day of yoga teacher training, but I also wanted to provide some text.
So, I hadn’t checked my email yesterday, but apparently my yoga teacher sent out a lovely welcome email that also indicated that he had changed the start time today to 9am, rather than 8am. Which explains why he was not yet in yoga clothes when I arrived for 8am, and he said, “Well, you’re quite early!” So I spent the first hour of my yoga teacher training day on my mat in the empty studio, reading one of our textbooks – the Perennial Psychology of the Bhagavad Gita by Swami Rama, who is apparently (now) one of my yoga ancestors, as I’m learning in his lineage (Himalayan Masters).
Once other folks arrived, we started the day with the usual Saturday, hour and forty five minute public yoga class. The theme of it was calm, introspection, and a lot of forward bends (that physically encourages introspection). It was quite good, and refreshing after the hectic lead up to my time off. (I’m technically on weekend, and my actual leave starts Monday). Then we sat down as the class of four and began.
We started with introductions, and then we had a bit of a free ranging discussion about yoga. It was quite close to lunch so we didn’t start going through the course notes until after that. But it was learning just the same.
I spent lunch up at my yoga teacher’s apartment, above the studio, eating my chickpea wrap at his dinner table, while he made himself stir-fried kale with pine nuts and turmeric, and reheated a slice of quiche. My classmate Shining Dancer came up, and then Strong Artist. We chatted a bit and Strong Artist and I connected on art. She’s an artist too, and she just did her first show where she actually sold six of her pieces. She’s interested in seeing my work, so I shyly said I could take some pictures on my iTouch and show them to her. I’ll have to do that tomorrow, because I ran out of time today.
The afternoon was spent in discussion – what yoga is, the history, the attitudes towards yoga, and the benefits of it. Did you know that the physical practice of yoga that we know today has only been around since about the time of India’s independence from Britain? Actual mentions of physical yoga practice, or asana, occurs only twice in the Yoga Sutras (I think I’m remembering that correctly). Yoga used to be almost entirely centred around meditation, breath-work and working to better connect the body, mind and spirit. One of the goals of yoga is to have better spiritual discernment – to better make decisions and make the unconscious “gut-decisions” more conscious.
It was towards the end of the afternoon, when we were doing a second practice to loosen us up after an entire day sitting on the mat (in various positions because sitting all day on a meditation pillow – the picture below – is actually kind of uncomfortable), that it finally clicked that I was learning to be a yoga teacher. He was leading us through a “beginner’s” class and explaining why we would set up certain poses in certain ways. I’m really doing it!
I thanked him as I left tonight and told him I was very excited about the course. He was glad to hear that.
Now off to bed, because I did sort of fall asleep during relaxation pose… ;)
* – I replaced the actual names with descriptive names for my classmates because I realized I didn’t ask their permission to blog publicly about them. (edit – April 29th)