Updated: Sep 24, 2019
I'm a yoga teacher y'all!
And boy was it an experience! I spent the entire month of August in Mysore, India learning the ins and outs of each posture, improving my own practice, and diving into yoga philosophy and anatomy. Much of the West knows Yoga for its physical practice but we have a difficult time truly adopting and understanding the Yogic Lifestyle. Am I like a guru now? Of course not. But I'm one step closer to understanding and bettering myself and others through yoga. With the daily practice of yoga, notably the the physical asana practice, I dive into myself and grow to understand my thoughts, strengths, and weaknesses.
It's believed that the lessons we learn with our bodies translates across our lives. Like if I can't balance on one leg in tree pose how am I supposed to understand balance in my day to day life? If I can't breath deeply in uncomfortable poses like Marychyasana D, how am I supposed to breathe comfortably in other life situations? As physical beings we hold on to and even value physical things more than those things we cannot see. So if we use the physical world and master it, maybe we can master those things beyond what we see.
This is Marichyasana D by the way, see my amazing yogi friend @Camilleupsidedown on the far right: One leg is folded in half lotus, with the foot placed at the top of the opposite leg's thigh. Then you twist the upper body towards the other leg and reach the arm around and back to make a bind with the other arm...yeah.. I know. Apparently its not so bad considering Camille's smile and the fact that Marichi was a guy that used to meditate in this position for extended periods of time to reach oneness with the universe. #asanagoals
How exactly did I end up in India?
I remember taking yoga in college for the credit then forgetting about it, not fulling understanding its importance or benefits. Years later, I'm in DC after my 6 month Euro-Asia trip and I notice a new studio called Yoga Heights that opened down the street from one of my workplaces. I had a good feeling about the studio and they had a $39 three week unlimited special so I couldn't pass it up (note: most studios have great intro passes for first time students, google a studio near you and goooooo!). I had also developed a weird muscle pain/strain on my left side and felt that I needed something to strengthen and stretch my body, so Yoga seemed like just the thing.
This is where it all began.
I started taking classes everyday and noticed the benefits almost immediately. I was becoming stronger, more flexible and more aware of my body. Every teacher at Yoga Heights had their own style, where some focused more so on the philosophical and others on the anatomy. Both views allowed me to sink deeper into my practice and ask more questions about this age-old practice and the possibilities of my body and my life. I was inspired by the postures and the subtle yet profound words my teachers would utter in class, unsuspecting of the effect it was having on my mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health.
"I gotta get to India and get certified."
I told my self one day after practicing. I wanted to go to the birth country of the movement practice, learn a more classical view of the asanas and be immersed in the practice away from my day to day life. Honestly, I didn't know where I would go and how I would even get there but I just kept proclaiming it to myself, the sky or anyone who would listen on a weekly, monthly or even annual basis. Finally, at the end of last year I started re-evaluating those things I was intending to do and set a time frame: Summer of 2019. A friend of mine recommended Samyak Yoga, so I researched the program and was impressed by the reviews and the website. It was well organized and clear and the awesome pictures of the ashram drew me in.
Next thing you know I'm waking up at at 5:45am for a 6:30a yoga class every morning, eating maddd curry (don't get me started on Chipati's), and being called out to do the asanas like those below:
But like why did you do it and was it worth it?
I believe that anything that contributes to your personal development, adds a new skill to your toolkit and/or provides a new experience is worth it. All of these things happen to be apart of my YTT (Yoga Teacher Training) in India. There are tons of yoga programs out there that cost thousands of dollars just in Europe and that's just the tuition cost itself. At Samyak, the cost included the tuition, accommodation and food (three meals a day and tea/coffee on deck). It didn't even really feel like school. It was like a retreat with yogi's from all over the world with a wide range of experience in Yoga. From as little to a few months to a decade of experience, we all made the conscience decision to come together and learn more about this movement tradition that somehow found us on our life journey. Honestly, many yogi's at YTT weren't even sure if they wanted to teach, they just wanted to learn more and that is okay too.
I do plan to teach yoga in Brussels soon, blog more about my experience and overall not let this knowledge go to waste! A HUGE Thanks to my teachers at Samyak and my class of graduates for your energy, time and yogi-love. For those who are reading, if you are considering YYT, I definitely recommend it. It will be an unforgettable experience. This section of my VAF site will dive more into my practice and my discoveries within the physical practice. I hope you'll keep up with me here to learn more.
Thanks for reading,
And remember to always have faith, keep a vision and make art in everything that you do.