The first thing I discovered was that, hey, standing at the front of a studio and spouting instructions (put your left leg here, your right leg there etc.) is harder than it looks. I developed a new respect for every yoga teacher I’ve ever met, even the ones I thought were slight rubbish at the time! You really need to know your stuff to guide people safely through a yoga session. I had people holding their breath for so long – it’s easy to forget to remind people to breathe! – some of them were lucky to get off the mat alive.
I’m going to be honest – I thought yoga was something you did on a yoga mat. Logical assumption, right? Wrong! It’s a philosophy, with a long and complex history, full of myths, legends and learning, with inextricable links to a host of other disciplines (who knew?) Please excuse my ignorance but I genuinely thought it was all about thinking nice thoughts whilst trying to make your head touch the floor in a forward bend. I’m glad it’s not – more to learn and enjoy and all that – but I was definitely not the smartest guy in the room on the first day.
You’ll know from our post on how to sleep well that I’m not a natural early riser. I can do it at a push but I really struggle. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that every day during training we would be rising at 5.45am! It would have been too embarrassing to have a teenage-type hissy fit and stay in bed so I just went with the flow – and, much to my amazement, not only got used to it but started to enjoy it.
As well as practicing the asanas (that is the stuff you do on the mat), we had lessons in anatomy and physiology, meditation, teaching techniques and philosophy, history and ethics. All of this as applied learning, packed in to 10-hour days. Hence the 5.45am start, I guess.
Yoga instructor Jason Crandell puts it well when he says you’re ‘studying yourself when you’re studying yoga’. I definitely learned more about myself in the first 10 days of training (eek, still another 100 classroom hours to come in April) than I have in long time. I’m not sure if it was the yoga practice and the learning that went with it, or the fact of committing to new learning, or living with 9 new people and having no phone or internet for the duration* or the combination of all of these things. I do know that life feels pretty om-tastic at the moment, in a way that it didn’t before I went away. What I mean is that nothing has changed except me (let’s hope that’s a good thing).
either as someone who goes to classes or as a yoga instructor yourself?