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Yoga Teacher Training – Day 18

by on February 24, 2013

Exam fever appears to be in the air. Our teachers are providing very specific definitions for key terms, and instructing us to write them down. Today’s definitions started with yoga itself, and were dictated by the impeccable Mr. Prabhakar. According to the householder-targeted yoga institute, an easily-understood definition of yoga is a traditional science that teaches us to live in the best way possible. In other words, yoga is excellence in action. We use yoga to improve our skill level (in any act), which leads to perfection in the act, which leads to excellence in life, which is yoga! I’m a fan of the more philosophical definitions, but I’ve also been known to coin a few definitions of my own.

We also finally talked about how important it is to be comfortable in an asana. I’ve always believed that asana is a combination of stira and sukha, and today’s definition of asana was any steady and comfortable pose. Since many asana are not easy, even this definition can be adjusted to apply to the student seeking perfection: an asana is a pose which leads to comfort. In other words, practicing asana will bring us to a state of comfort wherever we find ourselves.

Speaking of asana, we were warned of specific poses that should not be taught (according to the yoga institute, of course). These include mayurasana (for potentially injuring one’s intestines), ugrasana (which is called “difficult pose” and can damage ligaments), and sirsana (which can cause a series of problems such as nosebleeds, earaches, and even brain hemorrhages . Of course it can be argued (and it was) that these asana can also have the opposite effect, i.e.to benefit these organs. Prabhakar clarified that these were merely suggestions, that anyone could continue practicing these if they were already doing so with awareness, and proceeded to provide some examples of students who practiced these asana for years with no ill effects, and issues arose suddenly and later in life. Bottom line: find a balance.

We then elaborated on vihar, or yogic recreation. Basically, it should be properly scheduled (daily if possible), non-competitive, and should benefit others if possible. It was emphasized that this is not something you do in your spare time – it should have space in your schedule just like any other necessary activity like work or sleep. This is something I’ve always said: every day should have a balance of work and play. I guess it goes with my career choice of being an independent agent (of counsel) at a law firm, where working from home or any other country implies that weekends mean nothing, and I get to space out my days/weeks however I like.

And right now, I’m loving it!

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