After quite a tumultuous first week, when my emotions and confidence levels seemed to be all over the place, I feel like it’s all begun to fall into place (phew!). I am absolutely loving our rigorous morning practise and meditation, becoming more confident in my teaching and delving deeper into yogic philosophy. I’m settled Into the routine and am still trying to take each day as it comes. I won’t lie, it’s completely exhausting and sometimes my body feels at breaking point (especially after my thousandth attempt at forearm stand!) but I’m learning so much and am just trying to soak it all up so that I know that I’ve made the best of the opportunity. Here’s a recount of the last few days in the compound:
Following our morning meditation, we did a two hour forward bending session which focused on the hamstrings, groin and hips. I absolutely loved it, as it stretched out all the areas that running has tightened and I realised that my hips and hamstrings are much more flexible than I thought they were. The practise gave me a huge confidence boost and has inspired me for the Yoga for Runners sessions that I’m hoping to set up when I get back…
In our next session we each had to teach a ten minute sun salutation flow that we had prepared. I really enjoyed this and it seemed to come relatively easily- I’m starting to think that I might be able to teach yoga after all! In our anatomy session we learnt about the different bones in the body and compression of the joints, all very interesting stuff and a refreshing change from studying Sanskrit. Having learnt about compression in the neck I now know why I despise fish pose quite so much !
Today I learnt that practise really does make perfect – the only way to improve is to practise, practise and practise again! We’ve all been told to choose three postures that we want to work on and improve by the end of the course. I’ve chosen forearm stand, handstand (sadly not the type you do as a child, which I’m pretty good at throwing myself into) and crane. I’ve practised the first two about a million times today and my body is already getting the hang of it so hopefully it won’t take too long. A few people on the course have mastered these already but when I asked them how they did it, it turns out that they just practised every night for about 6 months, which gives me hope! Hopefully it won’t take me this long as I’m nearly there, but it just shows that practise really does pay off! I should know this from my marathon training but oh well, I know what I’ll be doing every evening from now on!
Today was the day of exhaustion. It was the first day that my body has felt thoroughly cream-crackered – I spent the first half of our morning practise yawning and nearly passed out in Savasana. I could hardly keep my eyes open through anatomy and became quite delirious. However I still enjoyed the day and am enjoying challenging my body and expectations. In true Howitt style I ignored the fatigue and signed up for a hike the following morning, which left at 2am. Needless to say, I am little bleary eyed writing this!
Today was our only day off so I hiked Mount Batur which some others on the course. It required us to leave at ridiculous o’clock to climb a volcano in pitch darkness except for the help of my dimly lit torch. Yes, it started off as fun as it sounds. I endured a tough two hour climb to the top, during most of which I was wishing I was still curled up in bed, to watch the sunrise over Bali. However, once we got to the top and watched the sun come up (with a hot chocolate) it was definitely worth it and I even got a little teary eyed. We then hiked back down again and it was still only about 8.30am by the time we got back.
We stopped off at a coffee plantation and drank ‘catpoochinos’, which yes, are made our of coffee that has been pooed out by a cat, ground up and roasted. It is apparently the world’s most expensive coffee and a delicacy. I’m not sure if delicacy is the term I would use but it was definitely interesting.
Our last stop off was at a temple famous for its holy water. A very beautiful spot and a nice escape from the hustle and bustle of Ubud!
I’m halfway through the course now and on Monday have to teach a 75 minute lesson, which I’m trying not to worry about. As one of the teachers said, ‘It’s only yoga!’ and I’m definitely following this mantra.
I hope you’re all well and that the sun’s shining.