Ma girls and ma house
So this is actually day 5 of the 200 hours Ashtanga yoga teacher training at Orion Healing Centre on the island of Koh Phangan. It started on Wednesday so we had 3 full days before Saturday’s rest. There is 10 of us which in my opinion is the perfect amount. Not too many, not too few. Different ages and nationalities. Very cool! Most of the girls (only girls, no surprise there) stay at the centre or close-by but I have my own house in Ban Nai Suaan, which is about 15 minutes’ drive away. In a way, it would be nicer to stay on the premises because then you get to know your fellow yoginis better and it would be very convenient just in general (I hate early mornings…). But I have Chase. And I like my house, which is obviously also much cheaper than the dwellings on the site.
We have 2 lovely teachers, Coco and Ewa. Coco is a beautiful and compassionate yogini who is in charge of teaching us Ashtanga and yoga philosophy. You can read more about Coco and her shala in Mexico here. Ewa is a disciplined yogini who yet has a humorous touch in her lessons. She is the assistant teacher but who also has a deep knowledge on human anatomy and, therefore, teaches us (yoga) anatomy. Here is the link to her Facebook page. Couldn’t be more happier with these two teachers.
The morning practice is from 7-9, including Ganesha mantra chanting and sama vritti (breathing exercise) drill in addition to the physical part, ie. asana practice. Then we have a breakfast break for a few hours and asana clinic starts at 11am. In my opinion, these clinics have been very useful. For once there is plenty of time to go through each posture, examining it and making notes on how you should do it and how it affects different parts of your body.
From day 2 we have also been teaching the asanas to fellow course mates. This is super good and useful because I think everyone is a bit nervous about teaching. On day 3 it was already so much easier! Anyway, the atmosphere is very supportive but also playful and humorous. We can joke around if something doesn’t go accordingly straight away (and quite often it doesn’t) so the clinics are nothing too serious or daunting. Actually, I think I’ve had a lot of fun during these clinics with my group. Great girls, the whole lot!
We also have Kirtan, devotional chanting on 2 afternoons and Swami Pujan teaching us Hindu philosophy on 1-2 nights per week. Doesn’t leave much free time, but it is also good that the course is very intensive so you can immerse yourself in yoga and its philosophy. Saturdays are free, thank heavens. I actually did not know this when I enrolled to this course. I was soooooo relieved to hear this. I guess you should spend it on studying and absorbing all this new information. But I will go dancing next Friday. Nothing can stop me. Have missed my “shake ur bootey” moments. Do I need to say, I love dancing. I really do. Quite often people agree on that, hehe.
I have managed to get up 6.10am every morning at this yoga teacher training so far. To be honest, I’m a bit surprised that it has been relatively painless. I am nocturnal. Really. I always find excuses so I don’t need to go to bed. Quite often I also get an energy rush late at night and want to do something. Obviously now I have needed to force myself to bed a bit earlier. Then again, my body has been quite tired so rest has been welcome. So far I have managed to go through the exercises without the feeling “can’t do this anymore, my arms are spaghetti”. I have a hunch, though, that this day is just around the corner. Oh well, we’ll see. On the other hand, I am feeling quite energetic despite the continuous and hard work on the mat.
Only Ashtanga and nothing else during yoga teacher training?
For me, no. Though for many, I’m sure this is the case. In a lot of places you wouldn’t even be “allowed” to go out, or perhaps more precisely, you’d be expected to dedicate yourself to yoga completely, during the whole course.
I indeed went out last night, just for one hour though, because my friend was spinning the records and I hadn’t seen him for a very long time. I felt so energetic on the dance floor despite drinking just copious amounts of water. I realised that I miss aerobic exercises a bit as well. I love for example running and long bike rides but I think I need to leave those for now, until this course finishes. Otherwise, it’s just too much. Surprisingly, none of my injuries have bugged me so far. I have broken bones and fractures in my feet and my wrists are not super good. I’m pretty sure that everything has gone smoothly thanks to Ewa’s, and Coco’s knowledge of yoga anatomy, alignment and how to make asanas correctly.