I am officially a yoga teacher…I am needing to say these words over and over to myself, because this has been a dream for so long that I can hardly believe that this month has passed by and the goal has been met. The feelings I have towards the certification extend far further than what my expectations were. I came here to enhance my practise and to learn to teach the physical practise of yoga and boy, have I learnt that the lessons far supercede just the physcial Asanas (which I now know is the correct terminology). And even more than learning about Yoga, yoga has taught me a huge amount about myself.
You come to your mat everyday (a couple of times a day) and you face yourself. You face challenges on your mat that you are faced with on the outside world. And it is only once you are equipped with some amazing breathing techniques and others that you really learn that everything is within your power to change. And that has been the most valuable lesson I have learnt this month. It has been told to me over and over again throughout my life, but never have I experienced it so strongly as I have this month. Things have come up for me time and time again that are like mirrors into my life outside of my yoga mat. I am not saying that I have solved the mysteries of life, but I do really feel better equipped to handle the nuances that might come my way.
But putting the feelings and philosophies aside for a moment, the people, the lectures, the deepening of our practices have all been equally rewarding. Finding such a collection of people from such different walks of life and bringing them into a Shala in the Middle of Thailand is really an interesting experience within itself. Never mind the massive emotional journey we are each individually going through. But somehow, this melting pot of cultures worked wonderfully, and the different natures of people, the quirkiness and their accents, bought some really interesting flavour and laughs into the month. With english not being the first language of most of my peers, I was amazed at how well they did learning and teaching in their second language. If someone had asked me to try to do this in Afrikaans, I would have fainted on the spot.
But learn we did. And teach we did more. With so many opportunities presented to us to practise our teaching, I felt so confident when it came to the final practical. The days were filled with fascinating lectures on conscious eating, yoga philosophy, anatomy for yoga, yoga methodolgy, meditation, breathing exercises and chanting. It really was packed to the point of bursting with stimulating, challenging and exciting content.
By the time my final practicum came, I really wanted to teach. I really enjoyed the experience. I loved constructing the class, I loved preparing the readings and then practising it alone and with other friends. I loved eventually sharing the class with the students and then getting the constructive feedback after. I felt so proud of myself after the class. And this is not a feeling I am always familiar with.
The relaxing times, in between class, were spent reading around the beautiful pool, sipping on coconuts, getting spoilt with thai massages, and indulging in afternoon naps. Tough life.
My one gripe was the mosquitoes. I feel like every mosquito in Thailand was summoned by the Head of Mosquitoville to head to my bedroom and target my fresh South African blood. I leave this resort resembling something like a well used dart board. But this is a minor complaint.
It was such a wonderful treat for us for two of the mornings to get whisked off in these great Thai taxis on two outings. The first was to a beautiful temple down our road, where they have a massive sleeping Gold Bhudda on display. I don’t know the size, but I’d have a guess that it is a 25m swimming pool in length and possibly about 4metres in height. But those sort of guestimations have never been my forte. Just trust me when I say it is massive. We were given permission by the monks to do our Pranayama practise in one of the temples which had the most beautiful acoustics. So the sounds of the practise really reverberated through the dome shaped room. It was very beautiful.
And the second adventure was my absolute favourite. The Thai taxi dropped us off at the Chang Mai Grand Canyon. A beautiful quarry with crystal clear water. As we arrived, we were told we could do the “cliff” jump into the water. And so a couple of us found ourselves, with our toes dangled over the edge, peering into the water far below us. And from there, we debated and discussed jumping for a very long time, before “bravely” launching ourselves off the cliff, plummeting into the crystal clear water below us. It was such fun. And it’s at times like those, that I really test how far my smile can really stretch- it feels like it does a 360 around my head 🙂
I feel like we were really blessed with some really amazing instructors and assistants. It has been such a treat to be taught by such passionate and supportive people and I really do reccomend this school, Tribe Yoga, to others. It has been a truly wonderful experience for me. We have been challenged, encouraged to share, encouraged to push ourselves a little harder but then also be compassionate with ourselves. All great lessons to learn!
Our graduation was very beautiful. All of us gathered together in the shala for one more time, completing a two hour silent practise and then culminating in the final ceremony. We got to share what the experience had meant to us, which I found the most beautiful time of sharing. Everyone had gone through major moments of challenge, joy and finally contentment. What a great experience for us all to have gone through.
The time has come to an end and I really could do two more months in exactly the same manner with exactly the same people. I have absolutely loved this journey and feel so alive. I love teaching and I really feel like I have found something that resonates with me and I cannot wait to spread my love for what I have learned to some willing students…
… And to continue to learn myself, the journey has just begun!