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Yoga Teacher Training – Days 8-9

by on February 11, 2013

(combined entry since Saturdays are half-days)

Day 8 (a short Saturday session) started with one of the fiercest teachers at the institute – Jaya Mahenkar, a giant bindi-ed lady (I’ll try to get a picture soon) with a commanding voice who conducts Mumbai Police trainings when she’s not teaching regular classes.

Mumbai Police Yoga Training

Mumbai Police Yoga Training

Oh, we also got some insight as to the topics to be tested on our exam. Yes, we have to take a test to receive our yoga teacher certification! The topics include duty, faith, pranayama, asana, relaxation, and yoga (as a philosophical concept). I also learned that we may be provided access to local school to teach asana to the students!

My favorite quote from her session: “While a moment is sufficient to understand life, a lifetime is not.” What do you think?

Day 9 started again with Ms. Mahenkar teaching us the basics of pranayama. I liked her definition: prana = bioenergy, and yama = control. Therefore, pranayama enables us to control our bioenergy (or biomagnetic fields, etc.). Also learned some rules regarding who can and cannot perform pranayama. The cannots include the usual subjects: pregnant ladies, seniors, cardiac patients, and children under 12 years of age.

Also affirmed a longstanding issue I have with yoga and spirituality in general – the requirement of a guru. I firmly believe that your body is your best guru and, with the right kind of attention to one’s body and mind, one can figure out their own version of spirituality / practices. Although since these techniques can be powerful, it’s best to ensure that the person teaching you knows what they are talking about.

We also covered several types of pranayamas, most of which I have experienced before, and yet had different names as assigned by the lord and commander himself (Sri Yogendraji, the founder of the institute). In fact, these pranayamas are named “Yogendra Pranayama 1” and so on. Again, leads me to believe that the requirement of a “guru” may simply be a desire for the name to last beyond the grave, i.e. an egotistical / paternalistic tendency.

Ideal time for performing these is 4 AM, just like my advanced yoga textbook states.

Then reinforced some asanas, including Talasana, Konasana, Utkatasana (performed a bit differently here: we squat all the way down to our haunches), Trikonasana (again quite different than in the west), parbatasana, shalabasana (lizard pose), and dhanuranasa (bow pose). We definitely broke a sweat.

Another lecture on the benefits of niyamas, and going into excruciating detail on the shatkarmas. Won’t go into detail here, but read up on Vamana Dhouti if you want a taste (no pun intended!).

Finally another session on lesson planning by none other than Asha Sharma. We got a homework assignment to create our own lesson plan! Stay tuned, and please comment if you have any thoughts on what I’ve written.

One Comment
  1. I love your notion of the best guru being the one inside. I suspect all sorts of reasons for folks to disagree with you — but then again, these will not be the ones you teach. Really happy to be reading about your studies. Keep it up!

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