The first week of my yoga teacher training at Yoga Vidya is over and I was able to learn a lot – a lot about yoga and a lot about myself. Also the second week honored the name of the training and was very intensive.
Week 2, day 1: Saturday, 15. August 2020
Sweat & Tears
Sweat and tears run down here en masse. Sweat, because some asanas (postures) are really exhausting. Especially if you hold them for several minutes – which is the goal in Hatha Yoga.
Yoga opens. Not only on a physical level, but especially on a psychological one. Various thoughts, repressed problems and even traumas can come to light. The energy starts flowing and it brings a lot of things with it. Also some tears. Many things may and can be dissolved. It is nice to know that everyone here feels the same way and that you can cry without hesitation.
Even better is that this education is not only the ability to give yoga classes, but a way to find yourself, to clarify and work through many things in and with yourself. Yoga has a holistic effect: body and mind become more relaxed and we find peace within ourselves.
Week 2, day 2: Sunday, 16. August 2020
Karma – selfless Acting
Karma. The law of cause and effect. This is taught and lived here in detail. One of the six yoga paths is to put oneself selflessly at the service of others. That is why there is also the Karma Yoga practice here, which got me my job as door angel.
But also the theory including the theory of reincarnation is handled in detail. And I have incredible insights! Amazing! I recognize my karma, which I have to work through. So many signs, “coincidences” and circumstances in my life always lead me back to different topics.
I am curious if I will succeed in clearing up my karma from my former life (called Prārabdha Karma). In any case, I will do my best to make my karma from this life (Āgāmi Karma), which flows into my big karma account (Sanchita Karma), as positive as possible. Therefore I am still working on my devotion. So completely humble I can say that I am on a good way, but still have a big piece in front of me.
Week 2, day 3: Monday, 17. August 2020
Sadhana – physical & spiritual Development
I can do the handstand! At least I can keep it free for a short time, starting with my legs leaning against the wall. What a wonderful feeling!
The handstand is not difficult at all, if you know what to look after. And then it is only a matter of practice. Like so many things in life. In everyday life we are much too fast, too impulsive, too hectic. You should approach things slowly, visualize them and become aware of them. Because then you can do everything. Even such challenging things as the handstand.
But first we should create the basics. So practice exercises for strengthening. In the physical as well as in the spiritual.
As a preparatory exercise for the handstand and to strengthen the arm and shoulder muscles, Shishumarasana is very well suited.
To strengthen our mind, constant Sadhana, which means spiritual discipline, is necessary. Besides Asanas (physical exercises) and Pranayama (breathing exercises), meditation is of course very well qualified for this. But actually every effort to develop the mind strengthens it. I have been using my daily entries in my diary for several years.
In the morning and in the evening I note things like what I am grateful for or what I did good for someone that day. Always following the same pattern. This creates routine and so I can observe my further development. Or reveal my problem areas and work on them.
Week 2, day 4: Tuesday, 18. August 2020
“Serenity” was my affirmation in the attribute meditation last night. A type of mediation that helps to develop desired qualities.
Obviously I still have to practice a bit. Today I had my first test of teaching. A yoga lesson for the intermediate level based on the Yoga Vidya basic series. After lunch, there was no sign of serenity left. Although it worked out quite well until then, I was still very excited. Probably for no reason, because I prepared myself so perfectly contrary to the resolution I made last week. I really still have to work on my perfectionism…
Fortunately, the serenity has returned. But unfortunately only after the breathing exercises and the sun salutation. Anyway, it worked out great and I passed. My students even gave me very good feedback. Teaching makes me really happy, grateful and satisfied. You are allowed to give so much. I am looking forward to doing it regularly. And I am convinced that then the serenity will come – and stay – all by itself.
Week 2, day 5: Wednesday, 19. August 2020
Today the topic “Mantra” was on the schedule. A mantra is a special melody with a text in Sanskrit that is repeated over and over again. It has the purpose to free the mind by keeping it busy. Sounds paradoxical in the first moment. But after I have tried it, I can say – it works wonderfully. Silently repeating a mantra during the mediation helps to calm the mind and to let the other thoughts go more easily.
Here in the Ashram you can get the mantra sanctification. This means that you choose a mantra and in a solemn ceremony you are initiated into the mantra. In return you commit yourself to meditate with the mantra for at least 20 minutes every day in silent mediation.
In the first moment I thought that I would not be able to do it in time anyway and for this reason I decided to leave it all. But the more I thought about it, the more I liked having my “own” mantra. Because then during meditation you have something to hold on to.
The mantra in which you are initiated, you can choose for yourself. Each mantra is associated with a god or the female aspect of the divinity. And thus to the qualities within us. To find your own mantra, you should feel addressed by the sound of the mantra. You should be able to identify with it visually and the meaning should correspond to your own nature.
Of course, the Kālī mantra came into my head immediately. Unfortunately, in the explanations it says “This mantra is only suitable for a small minority”. So I had to seriously consider whether I wanted to step out of line (again). As an alternative I considered a Krishna mantra. After all, I still carry the text I got at the yoga fair in my wallet. The text on it is dedicated to Krishna. Here it says in the explanations “…especially suitable for people who enjoy life.” That would fit very well.
Fortunately, the mantra sanctification takes place every week during the training. So I had two more weeks to think about it. And there was plenty of opportunity for that, because we meditated twice a day.
Week 2, day 6: Thursday, 20. August 2020
Kriyas – cleaning Exercises
“I am small, my heart is pure…”German prayer
Not only the heart should be pure here, but also the body. That is why we have dealt with the Kriyas, the cleansing exercises, today. The cleansing exercises help to purify the body by stimulating and supporting the body’s excretory system. Do you already have bad thoughts? So did I. But it was not so bad.
Because everyone could try everything, but did not have to. There are different types of cleaning exercises. Starting with the harmless staring at a candle flame to cleanse the eyes, to the somewhat demanding sucking in and then pressing out water with an intestinal tube inserted into the anus. However, this was not offered. But we were allowed to do a lot with our nose and stomach.
The first exercise was a nasal shower. I had actually never done this before, but now I am an enthusiastic fan of it. It is a very pleasant feeling to let the salt water flow through your nose.
More difficult was the nose cleaning with a string, in our case with a thin rubber tube. Unfortunately I did not manage to pull the piece out of my mouth again. Actually, the rubber tube should be inserted into the nose and come out of the mouth.
Another exercise is to swallow a gauze bandage soaked in salt water. Despite all my efforts I did not get a “bite” down.
I dropped out completely at the stomach cleaning with salt water. You drink about two liters of salt water and spit it out in a high arc. Since I am generally not a fan of vomiting (who is?) I did not even try this. But those who actually did it were very enthusiastic and said it felt very different from vomiting. Be that as it may. It was quite funny to watch and listen. There was even a bit of a festival feeling…
Week 2, day 7: Friday, 21. August 2020
The intensive yoga teacher training here lasts four weeks. There are many different ways to divide the training. Either four weeks in a row, twice two weeks or four times one week – just to name the less complicated ones. Flexibility is a top priority here. Not only in the physical practice of the asanas.
The intensive training deserves its name, because it is really very intensive. Since I knew this intuitively, my original plan was to come twice for two weeks. I had booked the first two weeks for May. However, due to corona circumstances, no training could take place in May and everything was cancelled. Without further ado I changed my booking to four weeks in a row. What a luck! The pandemic not only has disadvantages – sometimes it can also be a blessing.
So today was the end of the second week of training. A good half of us 80 students went home, only to come back sometime later and do week three and four. Some tears were shed and it was a real pity that such dear people had to leave us.
After my first planning I would have chosen this version, too. And I am so happy and grateful that it has not turned out this way. Because I would not have wanted to go home. I was totally in flow. It was all so incredibly interesting and every day I was able to gain so many new insights. Awesome!
Even up to now I was grateful every day that I found my way here. But today I was a little more thankful and above all very happy that I was allowed to stay.
That is the end of the second part of my intensive yoga teacher training. If you want to know how to continue – STAY TUNED!
Next week there will be the third part. Until then: Namasté
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