Four intensive weeks are behind me. I have participated the Yoga Teacher Intensive Training Course of Yoga Vidya in the Ashram Bad Meinberg, where you can become a Yoga Teacher within only 4 weeks. And it was extremely intensive. On all levels. It was very exhausting, but nevertheless wonderful and relaxing. Never before I have learned so much: about philosophy, about human interaction, about myself. Of course we also practiced a lot of yoga. But yoga is so much more than just taking postures.
I would like to invite you to join me on my yoga path a little bit. Therefore I have written a few lines of my experiences, feelings and thoughts every day…
Ready to take off(line)
Day 1 : Sunday, 9. August 2020
I woke up punctually at 6 o’clock and got up. Unfortunately I did not finish everthing anyway, I did not even have breakfast. My Instagram story – for which I always need an eternity – had a bug and I had to do it twice. So I can hold on to a point that I want to work on the next four weeks: My perfectionism…
On the drive to the station then the next adrenaline shock. I travel with my ticket from May this year. In May the first part of my training was originally planned. Unfortunately it fell victim to Corona Pandemic. But I was lucky to be able to rebook and so now 4 weeks of intensive yoga teacher training await me. I can make up my already booked train ride until October. So it fits. I thought it would. But after a short check of the departure times and train number I had to realize that my first connection is fully booked. And I don’t have a seat. Damn!
But the universe is (as always) well-disposed to me. The friendly lady at the information desk of German railroad explains to me that this is not a problem and that I can still take a ride. At this point I would also like to say that I do not understand why so many people are dissatisfied with the German railroad. Within the last two years I went to all my training seminars more often and was almost always on time and treated very friendly by competent railroad employees.
So I spent a comfortable time on the train, resisting the impulse to lose myself in Instagram (which I usually did during a train ride). The whole trip was accompanied by the sounds of Kaunis Kuolematon, a Finnish band with the name that means “beautiful immortality”. How fitting. Perfect to get into the mood for the coming weeks!
Get ready to meet God
On the way to the Yoga Vidya Center in Bad Meinberg, I noticed a huge advertising poster of a Christian community at the roadside. “Get ready to meet God!” it denounced.
Everything seemed to match today. After all, it corresponds to the yoga philosophy of finding one’s innermost self, Atman. And this innermost self, so to speak the soul, should become one with God, the universe, Allah or whoever else exists. Or whatever you want to call it. In yoga this all-embracing is called Brahman.
Since I have read the book “The Mists of Avalon”, I share the opinion that all gods are one god anyway. So I am curious to see who will become my manifestation of this.
Also Swami Sivananda the founder of the yoga culture of Yoga Vidya has always underlined the unity of all religions. That is why I really like the yoga philosophy under which everyone can believe in his own God.
Personally, I am more into the Nordic culture. I can relate that to my taste in music. Besides, the gods simply look best there. And do have mead!
Arrived at the Ashram, I first participated in the arrival yoga class. During this time the air became more and more humid and the sky darkened. A thunderstorm came up. It thundered and rumbled. Should the God I meet, who is “my” manifestation, really be of Nordic nature?
In the evening there was the welcome of the yoga students including a solemn ceremony. A ritual in which points of Chandana, a sandalwood paste, and Kumkum, a red powder made from turmeric or saffron, are put on the forehead. It is a ritual to pay homage to teachers, gods and fellow students by bowing several times. So beautiful! That made really happy.
While I was being introduced, there was a heavy thunderstorm again. Thor sent his greetings. My tendency seems to lead to the North indeed…
Day 2 : Monday, 10. August 2020
„Gott weiß, ich will ein Engel sein“Rammstein (one way or another…)
Within the framework of Karma Yoga (Yoga of action, selfless service), every student is allowed to do voluntary service. I had great luck. I am privileged to be an angel – at least once in my life. A “door angel”. My task is to tick off the names of the eager yoga students on an attendance list. There is a 100% attendance obligation here.
Insight and Devotion
As an angel you sometimes levitate already in distant worlds. This is especially good for meditation when you are in such a spiritual mood.
Unfortunately I did not have this tonight. There is always meditation twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. Now in the evening I was in a more active mood and not so meditative. That is why I had some difficulties to get involved in the evening mantra meditation.
In mantra meditation one recites a mantra in one’s thought to calm the mind. In this guided meditation this was connected with another word that you could choose by yourself. I chose the word insight. Like every human being I have a few problem areas in my life. Many of them I would have liked to finish. So I tried to meditate on the insight of how I can accomplish this. But without success.
I thought so. Because like so often here (although I have not been here that long) something has happened afterwards. I “stumbled” over words, pictures and hints, which finally led me to insight in some areas. And also the text about true devotion that I read afterwards made me very thoughtful.
My conclusion so far: Here you learn not only to teach yoga, but first and foremost to question yourself. And that is exactly what I need right now.
Day 3 : Tuesday, 11. August 2020
Sleep of the Yogi
It probably does not exist at all. There is an asana, which is called sleeping position of the yogi and is obviously only meant for extremely advanced students.
But when the yogis sleep, I really wonder. Swami Sivananda, one of the yoga masters of the 20th century, is said to have meditated 16 hours a day, in addition to all the other many things he did in his life.
According to our teacher, you can get a lot of energy from the yoga practice. But I still have to work on myself a lot. Unfortunately, I am not yet getting the sleep I need here. In the evening, the last class ends at 10 pm. And when I finally arrive in bed, I cannot fall asleep. Everything is so exciting and thrilling and still needs to be thought about.
Unfortunately the alarm clock rings again at 5:15 am. At 6 o’clock in the morning we start with Satsang, a kind of church service. And since I am a door angel, I have to be there 15 minutes earlier.
At noon there is a break, but I am a terrible nerd and use the time not for a nap, but for rework. Weakly I remember that on the day of my arrival I had made the resolution not to be so perfectionist here…
However: One thing I have already learned here is that you have to face your dark sides! Your supposed negative qualities. Although dark is only a matter of opinion. One side of pairs of opposites, one pole. Without darkness there is no light. And there is no light side without seeing the dark side and being able to accept it at best. I am curious what I will make of this and my perfectionism so far…
Day 4 : Wednesday, 12. August 2020
The Sound of Silence
Silence is the new speaking. At least for me. Because today was a day of moderate silence. That means that until 12 o’clock one should only speak during the classes. Also every morning until the first Om in Satsang, there should not be any talking.
Those who know me understand that silence is very, very difficult for me. I am more the communicative, extroverted type. So I greeted my room-mate with a happy “Good morning” on the very first day when I came out of the shared bathroom at 5.30 am. I will be forgiven for what was meant out of kindness and politeness. I pledge to do better.
So today silence until after lunch. Therefore I took my meal in the specially provided silence room.
And I must say: Silence is the new way of speaking for me. What a nice thing it is to have to say nothing. Just sitting there and eating. Enjoying the food, chewing attentively. Without any distracting conversations. Really meditative. You become an observer. An observer of the self, the food and the environment. I am slowly becoming a real yogi after all!
Day 5 : Thursday, 13. August 2020
The Voice of God
The voice of God definitely does not speak through me. At least not while singing. Although I got a compliment from my room-mate right at the beginning. And she must know, because she can sing divinely. This morning in Satsang she sang a wonderful mantra. With so much love and devotion – wonderful!
„I am the light of my soulfrom Kundalini Yoga
I am beautiful
I am bountiful
I am bliss
I am, I am“
She said to me the day before yesterday that I could sing along so well. Although for me not only the melody but also the pronunciation in Sanskrit is incredibly difficult. But probably it makes up for my motivation and passion. I think the universe does not put the greatest value on the correctness of pitch and pronunciation, rather on the positive energy that is put into singing. Even if I sing wrong, I always sing with love and dedication.
A lot of singing is done here. Several songs in the morning in Satsang. And a mantra at the beginning and end of a yoga or teaching session. In the Evening-Satsang several songs are warbled again. In addition, before the Satsang in the evening, at least three quarters of an hour of singing is spent praying for peace. For this purpose there is a special karma yoga group, which sings the appropriate mantra. Unfortunately, two of the three do not take their karma very seriously. The poor leftover one always had to start singing alone.
Since I still have not made any progress with my perfectionism removal work, I always arrive much too early for my door service every evening. Because I feel sorry for the involuntary soloist, I sing the peace mantra with her. But it is not really selfless of me. Because singing the mantra gives me so much back. Singing always the same lines meditatively, calms and centers me wonderfully. And it does sound a bit divine when we sing.
Which brings me to the second point I want to work on here. A little more humility would not be bad for me either. But also in this point I am probably still at the very beginning…
Day 6 : Friday, 14. August 2020
I am the black Goddess
At least that is what one of my classmates says.
Today is Friday and with this the first week of the yoga teacher training is finished. Those who have split the training into individual weeks will complete the first part today. We have to say goodbye to some of them and I am extremely happy that I am allowed to stay.
I really got along very well with many people who are leaving today. I especially liked one of them because we had such a good and above all very open conversation. About our lives, about our spirituality experiences. We talked much more openly than I can talk to some of my friends at home. Because I was understood. Really understood.
I must say goodbye to him today, unfortunately, and to the parting he says to me: “You are Kālī for me.”
At first I thought, ok, actually Kālī is not really positive. But only in a short moment. Because what I learned here is that positive and negative do not exist. Everything is only matter of opinion.
The Goddess Kālī
Kālī is one of the female aspects of the god Shiva, the god who stands for destruction but also for transformation.
Kālī is also called the black goddess. That fits perfectly. Because who would have thought it? Black is my favorite colour. The goddess Kālī stands for people who love confrontation, like to rub each other and then clear things up. She is the wild form of the goddess Parvati and is also worshipped as a divine mother. In the yoga.wiki you can read: “Kālī is one of the most mysterious goddesses, deep, terrifying and magnificent at the same time.”
Well, if that is not a very big compliment for me! So basically it also fits really well on my life as a whole – a wild mother. After all, I have three children, but I am not really adapted in the conventional sense.
Where I cannot quite keep up is in the confrontation, because actually I am more interested in harmony. But be that as it may. I feel honored. Because the divinities in yoga stand for the forces within us and in the universe. And Kālī seems to be really strong. I think I can still use that for the next three weeks…
And so ends the first part of my intensive yoga teacher training. If you want to know how to continue – STAY TUNED!
Next week you can read here the second part. Until then: Namasté
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