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Yoga Teacher Training – Day 7

by on February 8, 2013

It has been a week, and we keep getting deeper!

We started with a concentration game, followed by a discussion on how harnessing one’s energy towards a single-minded goal can reap rewards. For instance, concentration brings success, which brings happiness, which brings motivation to succeed more. Impediments to concentration are environment, health, intention (do you really want to perform this task?), lack of knowledge, ego. We performed a simple concentration exercise using the eyes to focus on a moving object (tip of a finger held in front of us) that I have done countless times before, yet didn’t know it was improving my concentration! After another discussion on the “present moment”, a good question was asked on how being in the present could actually hinder concentration, with the answer being that everyone’s “moment” is different, and just because you can hear your friends playing outside doesn’t mean you don’t have to do your homework.

Then came another lecture from the Queen Bee on Dharma, or duty. They seem to emphasize these basic principles here. What is our hierarchy of duties (myself, loved ones, job, community/nation/humanity). Being someone that is actively immersed in all of these, I raised my hand and asked why the hierarchy, or rather, how to juggle them simultaneously. Got the answer I wanted: being mindful of all of these enables us to perform the most appropriate duty for the situation at hand. In other words, experience the moment, and accordingly perform your duty. Seemed (to me) like a good explanation for the “moment” question in the previous paragraph.

Finally did some surya namaskars (youtube)! I was the demo student for this exercise, and flawlessly executed a basic sun A for everyone to follow. Really, I was just happy to be flowing again, and I never thought I’d say this, having been over-flowed in the USA where I really craved static poses!

Then came our first lecture on Patanjali, and the historical context and content of the Sutras. We spent an hour talking about the first two sutras, which makes sense considering volumes have been written on these. You can read here and here my own analysis from a couple of years ago. Today we went into a little more detail on what “chitta” actually is (not just mind, but the totality of your personality, including your energy, senses, and soul).

A more detailed lecture followed on the impacts of Niyamas, and variations on each niyama. For instance, there are two types of saucha (cleanliness): external (dhouti, nauli, neti, etc.) and internal (elimination of ego, lust, anger, greed, obsession, and malice). Santosha teaches how to be content with what you have while continuing to achieve more. Tapas is literally the heat of transformation, the heat that burns away impurities, or the sacrifice of what you don’t need to get what you want. The analogy is provided here of the goldsmith that smelts his ore to burn away impurities leaving behind pure gold. Swaydhyay is a fun concept on self-awareness, and Ishwar Paridhan is god-awareness, something we haven’t gotten into yet.

Learned some new supine asanas with variations, and that was it!

Oh and I stayed back after normal hours to attend an evening asana practice that blew me away. For all the simple poses, etc. we’ve been studying in our 1-month training, this practice was geared towards everybody, and had several advanced poses taught by one of those instructors that believes everyone can do everything. Housewives in traditional garb were being instructed in complex binds (grasp elbows behind thighs) in Garudasana! I was a bit worried about injury potential, but for me, this class definitely stoked my fires and left me feeling well worked out, and hungry.

That’s all, see you tomorrow!

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