I’m writing this from a beautiful beach resort in Sanur where I’ve come to recoup after my 5 week stint doing my Yoga Teacher Training in Bali. Unfortunately, a couple of days ago I drank a dodgy watermelon juice and have been suffering ever since, the details of which I will kindly spare you. It’s a bit of a shame as I booked this resort due to its amazing beachside yoga shala, and I’d planned to spend my last few days taking lots of classes and having a mini retreat. Fingers crossed I’ll feel up to up to it tomorrow, but for now I’ll just have to put up with lounging by the pool… it’s a hard life.
On a more serious note, one of the things the course taught me was that your body is exactly where it needs to be. Of course, I don’t think I was meant to be poisoned by a tropical fruit, but I do think my body is in serious need of rest and this is what it took for me to give it some. Jess claims that I am the world’s worst relaxer, I find it nearly impossible to stay put for more than an hour on holiday, so perhaps I needed a total wipeout to get me just to chill out and recover from what’s been a crazy 5 weeks. There’s also lots I need to reflect on, so it’s nice to get the cogs whirling before I get back to normal life.
I’ve enjoyed having the time to mull over my experiences whilst sipping from a coconut; here are my reflections on my yoga teacher training course with Frog Lotus Yoga:
1) Yoga is so much more than the physical practise. During the course we spent a substantial amount of time learning about Patanjali’s eight-limbed path, in which he outlines the eight steps needed to reach enlightenment. Included in these are the yamas and niyamas, which are guidelines by which to live your life, a little like the Ten Commandments: amongst them, non-harming, non-coveting, truthfulness and contentment are the ones that particularly resonated with me and that I’ll be trying to address a little more in my everyday life. Easier said than done, but worth a try.
2) Yoga isn’t about being flexible! It really doesn’t matter how far you can go in a pose, nothing amazing will happen if you have flexible hamstrings or can wrap your leg around your head (really, I’ve tried.) The only thing that will happen is injury and disgruntlement. Over the last month, I’ve learnt to love my hamstrings in all their tightened glory. After all, they’ve carried me through hundreds of running miles and helped me to pass my marathon finish lines, something I never thought I could do. So all hail the hammies!
3) Practise makes perfect! The only way to improve is to practise, practise and practise some more. I’ve learnt to do so many new poses, most of which I’d never attempted before. I didn’t get them on the first attempt, but after a bit of perseverance I cracked them pretty quickly. I had the strength to do them all, but thought I couldn’t because I’d never properly tried and had given up after the first failed attempt. So if there is a pose you want to master, just practise every day and you’ll be surprised at how quickly you improve.
4) Yoga is a life long journey. Although I’m now a yoga teacher I am by no means an expert. I feel like I’m at the very beginning of a very long journey and that if I practised and studied every day for the rest of my life there would still be more to learn. Hmmm….
5) Yoga is for everybody. I believe that anyone can do yoga, regardless of age, size, flexibility or injury. It’s not just for the long limbed, Lulu Lemon wearing folk of California or the yummy mummies of Clapham. Even if the physical aspect is a challenge, practices like meditation are just as much part of yoga, so just find what suits you and get cracking.
6) Yoga should be fun, playful and make you laugh at least once a class. This usually happens to me in happy baby, that oh so attractive, ladylike posture…
7) Being a good yoga teacher isn’t about having all the moves. I think it’s about helping your students to achieve their best, giving them confidence and helping them to develop at their own pace. No one wants to see you doing a one-handed handstand, not that I could do this even if I wanted too. Child’s pose on the other hand, well I could rock that one for hours…
8) Finally, I’ve learnt that yoga is a gift and has the ability to change your life if you let it. So find a class, roll out your mat and don’t forget to breathe!
I’ve had an amazing time in Bali and feel incredibly blessed to have had this experience.