Yoga Teacher Training – Day 23
This is it! The last day of the 1-month TTC course at the Yoga Institute in Mumbai, India! Tomorrow, we have to give a written exam, and then get awarded our certificates. I’ve also set up a show with my new band (of sorts), including gypsy-jazz violinist Martin, and sultry jazz/classical singer Karin – we’ll be the first 1-month batch to put on a show in several years!
Anyway, we started the day with a simple concentration exercise: read a passage from one of our textbooks, and write it out in 2 minutes. We first performed this exercise as is, and then repeated it (with a different passage) after 1 minute in sukhasana. Everyone performed better the second time, with the moral of the story being that specific yoga asanas can increase our concentration powers.
Coincidentally (or not?), the passage I copied the 2nd time was a summary of yogic concentration! Here’s what I wrote: “Concentration is the essence of yoga. Anything that does not bring our mind to a state of concentration is not yoga. To improve concentration, one must first rid themselves of Kleshas. This can be done by practicing Yama and Niyama. Concentration can further be developed by performing specific asana and pranayama. Concentration cannot be achieved by simply sitting still with the eyes closed – yogic principles must be observed. People with sanskaric imprints (read: karmic baggage) may have trouble developing concentration.
It turned out that the topic of the day was the spine! We went into detail about the components of the spine, the main causes of back problems, and the ideal asanas for improving the strength and flexibility of the spine.
I asked the teacher why there was no emphasis on core strength, particularly the abdominal region, and she said that most of these asanas also strengthen the core. Yet, I haven’t heard from this institute must about the role of the abdominal muscles in maintaining proper alignment, something I’ve heard a lot about in my experiences in the west.
Martin, James, and I attempted to perform sutra neti today! Basically, we acquired some surgical tubing, sterilized it, inserted it into our nostril until it reached the throat, and pulled it out of the mouth. This is a powerful variation of the regular old jal neti we’re doing every day.
In hunting for the tubing, we ended up coming late to the next session, which was explaining the senses (Indriyas), and specifically, the human organs of sense (Gnanendriya) and action (Karmendriya), with a sanskrit focus that I’m going to abstain from typing out tonight
There was a further elaboration on the Bhavas, or attitudes in life that this institute takes very seriously. Basically, a bhava is an attitude of the subconscious mind that is based on patterns of though, and that results in patterns of actions. For instance, a person that typically lives in one or more of the negative bhavas (adharma, agyana, raaga, and unaishwarya) will have a negative outlook, complain a lot, be unhealthy, and will tend to create problems out of opportunities. Whereas, a person that practices one or more of the positive bhavas (dharma, gyana, vairagya, aishwarya) won’t complain, will have healing qualities, live a simple guilt-free life, and is a problem solver, i.e. converts problems into opportunities. We covered some rules for living with Bhavas, including the dharma or duty-minded bhava, which must involve living by a code of conduct (i.e. yama, niyama), maintaining a balanced state of mind, and a positive outlook on any situation.
Now, I’m going to review for tomorrow’s exam! Stay tuned for a final post evaluating the test, graduation, and my thoughts on this 1-month TTC program in general.