4.30am - The alarm starts to sound. A little reluctantly I climb out of the warm cocoon of my bed and find my torch. It’s still dark outside and I have to get ready for the morning yoga class. Birds are singing and the toads are still rustling, but everything is calm. I look towards the sky as I walk toward the bathroom for my morning shower. The stars are absolutely amazing this morning.
5.00am - Walking into the yoga hall everyone is laying down on their mats peacefully, meditating before the class. My fellow Yoga Teacher Trainees (YTTs) sit at the front, starting at 5am on the dot and leading us through the morning sequence which by now is our second nature. A combination of vinyasa flows including surya namaskar A and B, some seated and lying postures - it’s always a gently invigorating way to start the day. We end with ten minutes of kirtan, sitting in a circle as Nick plays guitar and we sing the Maha mantra, finishing at 6am as the sun comes up.
6.15am - After hearing the piercing meeting cry of ‘Hariiiiiibolllll!’ I grab my cuppa and make my way to the reception area to gather with the other YTTs and volunteers. The daily morning meeting takes place, with a few announcements about the day’s schedule. I make my way to the yoga hall with the YTT group where we sit for ten minutes doing meditation and pranayam, preparing for a class on the eight limbs of yoga, led by Mal. After a brief discussion on the history of yoga we dive into the eight limbs of the ashtanga system, analysing each one and its use today.
8.15am - Breakfast time! I put on a scarf and leisurely wander up to the temple with the other YTTs, taking in the gorgeous green vistas and docile cows plodding along the meadows. We grab our plates and cutlery and take a seat on the dining room floor, Indian style. Our meal is portioned out by a number of friendly servers, and we receive not only the delicious brekkie staple of fruits and porridge but also pancakes (every Tuesday is pancake day, take note!) and kitchari - heaven!
9.15am - Back at the yoga hall, YTT Ana leads us through the guru invocation beautifully, before Lila introduces us to adjustments, giving thorough instructions and demonstrations for a few different asanas. During the class, we pair up several times to practice the adjustments on each other and get some hands on experience. Learning how to adjust in supta matsyendrasana is my highlight, having someone gently help twist my spine that extra few centimetres feels sublime! The class finishes at 12.15pm and we have a short break to replenish our tea supplies.
12.30pm - Kirtan at the yoga hall. The YTTs, retreat guests and volunteers alike are gathered in a large circle around the room, Lila, Mal and a handful of musicians sitting in the centre. Lila leads a chant in call-and-response format, the words (some in sanskrit, some in English) projected on the wall behind her.
1.00pm - Lila’s class on the ayurvedic diet begins. Using a powerpoint presentation, she walks us through the three types of food which exist in ayurveda, and how to best look after our body and mind. Students are passionately taking notes and asking questions.
2.00pm - Lunch time! My favourite meal of the day. Everyone meets in the Krishna Village kitchen and forms a queue, singing joyfully. On today’s menu: eggplant roll with sweet potato cream, penne with lentils and carrots, fresh raw salad (with red cabbage, lettuce, and tomatoes) and rice with a bechamel sauce made from capers, olives and basil. De-licious!
2.30pm - After eating, laughing and lounging on the grass, a group of us drive five minutes to massage rocks, a beautiful spot to cool off in the summer heat. After an hour of relaxing, it’s time to head back and get back to studying, meeting our training groups in the yoga hall and planning some sequencing for our next afternoon classes.
5.00pm - Evening yoga with Mal begins. A slow but strong vinyasa class, we are all mentally (or literally) taking notes on alignments queues, sequencing and all of the little extras which make a yoga class great. After 90 sweaty minutes, we relax in a well-earned savasana, tired and content.
7.00pm - There’s the option of dinner up at the temple but by now I’m so tired that I’m content with a small salad, which I make in the village kitchen using fresh veggies from the garden. I read a few pages of the Bhagavad Gita for our upcoming philosophy assessment over a cup of peppermint tea. Some other YTTs are taking part in a group meditation in the yoga hall, and another group sits in the kitchen in a small jamming session with guitars and drums.
9.00pm - I can barely keep my eyes open and make my way back to my dorm, ready for a good night’s rest, grateful for the opportunity to be able to devote so much time to my passion. Aside from the crickets and the frogs. the whole Village is silent and it doesn't take long before I drift off to dreamland.