Whilst sitting here in my little apartment, at my desk/kitchen eating my 2 minute noodles, it’s only just occurred to me how comfortable I am beginning to get here. When I first arrived and walked into my room (after about 35 hours in transit) I had a near panic attack and spent the night crying to Owen on Skype about how uncomfortable i was. Now, walking into my room after a 13 hour day is such a relief. I’m thrilled to be here where I can finally rest. Just a thought…
In comparison to every other day since arriving, today has by far been my best. My balance is improving (and therefore my concentration), my strength and flexibility is improving and my overall confidence/acceptance in my own abilities is vastly improving. Kakasana was still difficult for me tonight however i am slowly slowly getting there. My focus and awareness is almost there. I did, however, sit more comfortably in Padmasana (lotus) for sometime. I find this too is a very difficult posture, however during anatomy class I challenged myself to keep working through it. The pain in my ankles and knees have also begun to lessen. My thighs were still on fire, but it seems my body is slowly beginning to open up which is exciting.
Throughout the day I have been jotting down notes in my study diary to remind me to write about here. When you’re sitting for hours on end, or holding a posture and feel like your about to die or collapse, you can sometimes find your mind wanders to other places to try and take the attention away from the current state. Not ideal, I know - but in some cases its a survival technique. I’m sure you know what i mean.
So, back to the thoughts and little things which caught my attention today. Well, for one, I think my teacher is a phenomenal, powerful man. He has this wonderful smile and honest humour which makes you feel like you are in safe hands. I feel I really need this right now being so far away from home and putting myself through yoga teacher training bootcamp. Having a friendly face is always nice when you’re alone in the world. But in saying that, he has this intense gaze and very serious approach when taking us through an asana class or technique class. This keeps everyone in absolute silence, not daring to make a sound. I think I mentioned this in an earlier post, but it amazes me how he can command such respect from everyone the moment he enters the room. I love it.
During our technique class, our teacher made a comment which I thought was really significant. As we are learning the most fundamental movements, for example how to hold your leg in the air (destroys me), he explained that in the real world, students are impatient. They want to be able to do the full asana at once, so they never learn how to properly move into and hold the asana. Because of this, people never truly experience the benefits of yoga practice - but still expect the benefits. They never reached the beautiful mountain peak, or if they do, they missed out on seeing all the beautiful animals and trees and plants on the way up as they rushed passed them. It may sound silly, but this is so true. Life has become too fast. People need to slow down and actually listen to their bodies. Feel, don’t force. Huge difference between the two. Another important point is the breath. People forget to breathe whilst doing their asanas, however breath is a sign of the presence of the mind. When we are struggling in a posture, it’s amazing how the body eases into the posture once you start noticing the breath. I really need to work on this as my mind can drift often, but it is certainly improving since being in this environment. Simple concepts, but powerful and important ones.
I attended an additional class today with Needa, my teachers assistant, who was offering some additional assistance for people who would like to improve their teaching skills. We talked about different ways of overcoming fears, language barriers and concerns re chanting to a class. This too comes down to awareness of self, being confident in your knowledge and be very aware of our class. Needa mentioned a really good point about not taking on board the emotions or anxieties of any of the class members. This, among many other tips, I certainly found helpful. To further improve confidence with being in front of a class, I will sit next to my teacher tomorrow morning (looking out at the rest of the students) during a technique class. This should be interesting. I guess it’s that whole idea of graded exposure. It’s wonderful our teacher is happy to offer us the opportunity to sit with him - that he is not so particular that he would not allow others to share that most important space. I’m excited!
Well, there are many more things I could harp on about here but it’s getting late and I need at least a couple of hours sleep before my nightmare 4am alarm goes off again. Today I feel quite drained - I think it’s all catching up on me, so sleep is a must.
And i shall do it all again tomorrow.