Some of you may know that one of my intentions for 2016 was to start yoga teacher training. I had been meaning to take my yoga practice to the next level for a while, and I believe that teaching yoga could be good for when I’m a hospitalera (volunteer) on the Camino.
Sometime last year, I watched the YOGAWOMAN documentary and was totally inspired. I was in awe of the women featured in the film who made a difference in communities all around the world. I was particularly impressed by a group that went to Kenya to teach young women how to teach yoga.
(Watch YOGAWOMAN trailer.)
I started looking for a studio where I would feel comfortable investing my time and money for yoga teacher training, and I had almost committed to a yoga studio in Oakland. Then, last October, I stumbled upon a wonderful class at the Moksha Festival held at International House, my workplace. I noticed that the teacher had a great vibe and called out appreciation for the beautiful Spanish architecture surrounding us in the auditorium.
After class I found out that the teacher was Saraswati Clere, the producer and director of YOGAWOMAN! If that wasn’t enough, she owns a yoga studio just a few blocks away that offers a 200-hour yoga teacher training. I completely changed my plans, made a deposit, and now, nine months after the festival, I am getting immersed in yoga once a month. Talk about harmonic convergence!
And so this past weekend, I attended my second series of Yoga Immersion classes at the Yogakula studio in Berkeley. The 100-hour Immersion constitutes the first half of the official Yoga Alliance certification; I’ll continue with the second half later this year. Right now we’re focusing on a combination of asanas (yoga poses), history of yoga, anatomy of movement, fine-tuning of poses, experience sharing, and meditation. We studied the first few Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali (196 Indian threads of wisdom) and the Eight Limbs of Yoga (guidelines on how to live a meaningful and purposeful life.) Below are a few photos.
What I Love About Yoga
One of the group exercises we did with a partner was to tell each other what we love about yoga. We only had two minutes to talk, so my thoughts were fast and random. Here’s what I recall saying:
- I love how yoga breathing instantly gets my mind to focus on the present.
- It’s hard for me to sit still and meditate for a long time, but with yoga, which I consider moving meditation, I can easily get to that state of stillness after the practice.
- When I’m deep in focus on my breath and movement, I get “in the zone” and almost feel like I’m floating through the asanas.
- After a good yoga session, I feel like every muscle in my body has been massaged.
- No matter how stressed I am, yoga has the power to calm my mind.
- When at the end of a session I rest in Savasana, I feel like I am melting into the earth.
- When I finish and go about my daily life, the calm stays with me, especially if I continue with the deep Ujjayi breathing.
- I feel that every cell in my body has been hydrated and rejuvenated and is plump with oxygen and vitality. I feel juicy!
- When I look in the mirror after practice, I can see that the whites of my eyes are clearer.
- I’m in a state of equanimity, for when I practice yoga, I do not need anything else.
I feel bummed when I hear that people dismiss yoga because they had one bad experience in a class or because they think they cannot do it. I urge those people to give yoga another try or just watch the YOGAWOMAN documentary. It may inspire you, too.
Now, it wouldn’t be a Training Tuesday post without something for the Camino tribe! Here’s a seven-minute video of a hipster couple doing standing yoga poses. This short and sweet flow hits all the body parts that get sore when backpacking, such as the back, neck, shoulders, hips, thighs, and calves. You don’t need a mat to do these poses, and you can even keep your shoes on. Familiarize yourself with some of these basic poses and do them on the Camino to help prevent injuries.
See you on the trail!
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I want to share my passion for yoga with the world, so I’ll be scouting out the best festivals and upcoming yoga events in the SF Bay Area. I’ll also include a variety of:
- yoga poses for hiking
- favorite yoga videos
- occasional smoothie recipes
- mindful practices for stress relief
- hiking and yoga club events
- interesting tidbits I learn about in yoga teacher training
This is intended for newbies and experienced yogis alike. Life is a journey and yoga makes it more blissful. Join the tribe! Subscribe now.