Word of the week: Exhausted.
I have a confession to make… I had a coffee this week. To be honest, I actually had two coffees. One on Tuesday and one on Wednesday. That’s not very yogic, is it? By now, some of us - if not all - look like walking ghosts. With not much sleep this week, all of us have accumulated some impressive looking dark bags under our eyes.
The last week has been intense, constantly working under pressure to prove that we are competent yoga teachers. As trainees we are teaching two yoga classes per day at the Krishna Village at the moment, which means that when one class is done, we don’t have much time to relax or celebrate as we have to prepare for the next one. With alignments, benefits, contraindications and transitional explanations for each pose there’s a lot to remember and think about. In the midst of this all, we also have to remember the Sanskrit name of the pose and guide our students through their breath. Phew! That’s a lot to remember! Luckily for us, the more we practice the better we become, and here at Krishna Village we do get a lot of practice.
One of the retreat guests, who did her yoga teacher training through a different school, came up to me after a class to give me a hug (perks of the job!) and told me how lucky we are to practice on actual students, not just each other. Here at Krishna Village we started teaching after 2-3 weeks when we were deemed ready to be let loose on the other guests. That really gives us a solid base of teaching experience compared to a lot of other yoga schools.
Getting down with the Gita
This week we also had our Bhagavad Gita assessment where we each got assigned a chapter of the Gita to present and explain to the rest of the class. This assessment triggered some resentment for some of the students, as religious/philosophical books tend to do, however it led to an amazing and interesting discussion among us and we learnt a lot from each other. The fact that we had to summarise a chapter each was also a great idea as we explained that chapter using our own words, making the lingo easier to understand. With the addition of our own thoughts and interpretation, the assessment ended up being way more fun and interesting than we initially thought it would be, and we have a thorough understanding of this important yogi text.
Yoga with a twist
I have to give kudos to our fabulous teachers Lila and Mal, as they seem to know at what point during this teacher training course the trainees need a boost. Tuesday this week we had a partner and laughter yoga session which was so freeing and energising! We also had a Kirtan Vinyasa Yoga class on Thursday which was a an amazing experience. As an old dancer I absolutely love moving to music, so to combine the two - singing and yoga - was a match made in heaven for me. We were slowly and consciously moving to the beat of our own voices chanting mantras while Mal was playing flute and guitar. You could really feel the energy flowing in the room.
Later that afternoon, three of my co-students - Marie, Ella and Nick - were teaching their second afternoon class (we are teaching three afternoon classes per group) and my chest almost exploded with gratitude. It was a perfect class. Perfect in every way a class can be. The energy they created, their intonation, their description of the poses, their theme of the class (which was water). And to top it all off, they started singing and playing guitar while the rest of us were lying in savasana. My heart was filled with so much love and gratitude for this experience, for lying here on the floor at Krishna Village among all these beautiful souls I’ve just met, that it felt as if it would explode. Tears were running down my cheeks. Tears of joy, gratitude and love. So much love.
All you need is love
I was so proud of my co-students that night. They did incredibly well. During this course we shed a lot of layers and get rid of emotional baggage. Yes, it’s essentially a yoga teacher training course, but trust me when I say this: Chances are that you are going to cry and go through some emotional stuff you thought you had already processed. The Krishna Village is a place of healing and reconnection with the self. That healing and connection can sometimes be painful but when you come out on the other end, like my co-students did that night opening their hearts singing a self-written song, it’s just beautiful.
Walking out of the yoga hall that night I was on a natural high. I was buzzing. What a place! What an experience! What a journey! Again, like I do every night, I looked up to the stars and thanked the universe and myself for finding my way here. For following my gut feeling. This is one of the best decisions I’ve made for myself. HURRAY FOR BEING ALIVE!
On Friday the same week, we had woodfired pizza night, a delicious treat after a full-on week with studying and teaching. We were lucky enough to have Sri and Joakin, the Global Party People, on a visit. They cranked their DJ gear up and played some amazing tunes that got everyone dancing around the campfire. As a 20-something I am so happy (and a bit surprised, but in a very positive way) to see the amount of people getting their groove on without being intoxicated. In today’s society many of us don’t think we can dance for hours or have deep conversations without any nasty chemicals in our bodies. Many of us perceive alcohol and drugs as social glue, but I’m here to say that it ain’t!
And Krishna Village is a perfect place to experience that. With sore feet and sweat dripping down my neck from all the dancing I looked around the campfire and saw massive smiles and awesome dance moves everywhere. The stars were shining bright above us, and again I could not help myself from tearing up. This place is absolutely incredible, but even more so are the people. I wiped my eyes and continued dancing with my beloved fellow YTTs, amazing human beings who I didn’t even know 6 weeks ago, but who are now some of my closest friends.