Ten days in and I’m still alive and kicking (just!) The first week of the course is nearly finished, so here’s a little update of what I’ve been doing. Unfortunately, I’ve not yet reached enlightenment or learnt to wrap my legs around my head, but I’m working on it…
When I arrived in a Bali I was lucky enough to be shown around by my blogging friend Helen, who has been living at Padang Padang beach for two years. We spent a great couple of days relaxing by the pool, visiting beaches, eating delicious food and watching the surfing. It was such a lovely induction to the island and helped to calm my fears about the trip and the course. I also had two firsts: riding on a moped (sorry mum) and drinking out of a coconut, both of which I was a little over-excited about. Helen also took me to a yoga class that overlooked the ocean, possibly the most scenic yoga I’ve ever done!
Following my time there I made my way to Ubud to start my yoga teacher training course. The course is being held at Ananda Cottages, which is made up of villas nestled in amongst the paddy fields and has a beautiful yoga shala to practice in. Just outside of the town, it’s in a great location, with the noise of croaking frogs and lizards providing a constant sound track ( very peaceful but a little distracting during morning meditation!)
Apart from a quick jaunt to town and some excursions to various massage parlours, I haven’t had much time to explore yet, but hopefully I’ll have the opportunity over the next couple of weeks. I’ve tried to keep a diary of what I’ve been up to each day, as some of you wanted to know what the course would involve, but it’s been a little haphazard. It has definitely had its ups and downs so far, and I’ve discovered that YTT is definitely not like a retreat (!) but I’m enjoying the challenge and learning a lot.
Today was spent settling in and meeting some of the other trainees. I have a lovely room mate from Chicago and our villa is right next to the pool with beautiful views over the paddy fields- score! On the first night’s dinner we met lots of other trainees from all over the world. I was relieved to discover that there wasn’t one ‘type’ of trainee but instead people of all ages and from all walks of life. My worries were further put to ease on hearing many others commenting, ‘I hope I’m not the worst in the class!’ After a delicious dinner I headed back to my room, had a bath and set my alarm for an alarming 6.20am!
First of all. I must just say, THE FOOD HERE IS AMAZING! Every meal is a vegetarian feast and I have been gorging myself on some of the best food I’ve ever tasted- portion control has gone well and truly out of the window. I think I might return home like a little, round miniature Buddha with serious post holiday food blues! Anyway, back to the yoga…
Today was the first proper day of our training, which began with 30 minutes of guided meditation followed by a two hour (very hot and sweaty) vinyasa flow yoga practise. Morning practise was followed by breakfast and then orientation, where we were told a little more about the course. In the afternoon we began to learn about yoga philosophy and posture alignment which was really interesting. We finished the day with another yoga class led by Edna, one of the assistants: she was so full of energy and led us through a very vigorous practise which was what we needed after sitting hunched on the floor for 5 hours!
The yoga was great but dare I say it… Dinner was probably the highlight of the day. How could it not be with a huge bowl of homemade guacamole on offer?
I’ve reached the third day and things are still going well. Unfortunately, no yoga miracles have taken place and I still can’t do crow, glide effortlessly into the splits or read fluent Sanskrit, alas, but I have managed to learn a few other things. Today we started learning how to teach and adjust some standing poses, focusing on the alignment of each posture. We practised on partners, which made it much less intimidating than doing it in front of the class, and by the end of the session everyone was feeling quite confident. At the moment it seems quite overwhelming, but I just have to keep reminding myself of when I did my school teacher training and remembering that what seemed impossible at first soon became second nature. This point seems very far off at the moment, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed.
Oh I forgot to mention that today was my birthday! To be honest I kept forgetting about it myself so it wasn’t very momentous, but there are certainly worse places I could have been to welcome in 27!
This morning’s practise focused on hip opening and involved some quite advanced poses. Although I enjoyed the class, I found I was being quite self-critical, comparing myself to some of the super bendies in the class, which I need to stop doing. We had our first afternoon off so I headed into Ubud to escape the yoga compound and pottered around some of the shops. It was a bit too hectic for me (being in my new meditative head, you see) so I might have to go and visit again, without getting lost this time. In the evening we went to watch some traditional Balinese dancing which was pretty cool! Lots of homework to do and then bed!
This morning I had to face my nemesis – back bending. Back bending and me do not get on well and today I had two hours of It! I hate the sensation of falling backwards and the constriction this sometimes places on the throat, so by the time we got to fish pose I wasn’t feeling very zen! Despite this, it was still a good class and I learnt a lot about the alignment in some of the postures.
We had a great teaching session in which we learnt to teach some more standing poses. However, everyone was feeling quite emotional today as the excitement of starting the course had passed, and the realisation of how intense and demanding the course is going to be had kicked in. There is so much to learn and the pace is quite fast so we are all studying at every spare moment. However, I am remaining positive and just trying to take each day as it comes!
In the evening I squeezed in a Balinese massage, which ironed out all my aches and pains nicely and made me feel a little better.
DAYS SIX AND SEVEN
I’ve really enjoyed the last couple of days, especially learning to teach the postures, which I’m more confident at doing than I thought I would be. We also had our first anatomy class which was led by a great teacher and was very engaging. It’s good to be learning some straight- forward facts, as up until now it has all been Sanskrit or yoga philosophy and history, which can be a little heavy going at times!
I think the key to survival is taking each day as it comes, not being too hard on myself and having daily massages! I’m hoping that my confidence will grow in the next week and that I might have some new yoga wisdom to impart to you! But for now I’ll just have to say, Namaste!
Ps. Apologies for the lack of photos, the wifi here is truly awful!