Two weeks ago my heart craved and feared what I would find when I came to India to do my Yoga Teacher Training. Nevertheless, I proudly packed my suitcase and traveled alone to a country that is more than 5 miles away from my home and of which I know very little. And now that the first week has come and gone, I couldn’t be happier for taking this step!
As promised I am here to leave you with a quick review on my first week of YTT in India.
Palolem, Goa, India
When looking for a YTT in India I first considered Rishikesh as the majority of people looking for a Yoga Teacher Training in India. It was the obvious choice. The world capital of Yoga, near the Himalayas. I even considered going to Macleod Ganj and try to meet the Dalai Lama! Yes. This crossed my mind!
But to get there flights were so expensive that I had to change my plans. And the truth is that I wanted to have a YTT where I could contact with various types of Yoga in order to realize with which I would identify more. So I chose Goa and a Multi-style YTT that covers Hatha, Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Yin, Acro and Aerial Yoga. Some of those I had never tried before. So I think I made the right choice. Although it doesn’t go deeper into a specific type of yoga, for a first YTT I think that is the ideal situation.
Besides the Yoga Teacher Training, Palolem as the advantage to be near some beautiful white sand beaches with warm water (maybe too warm I would say) for one to relax in the few free times available, which is a bonus.
I will not be extending myself too much on this one, because I am a little bit tired but I want to give you a short review of what I have learned in this first week so you know what to expect.
First Week Review
So, on the first day, we had an introduction ceremony, where we had to talk a little bit about ourselves and our expectations. We had to wear white clothes. We met the management and teachers, and it was a nice evening.
I am staying in a room with other 5 women from different countries and we all got along so well from the first day. I was worried about feeling alone but that never happened. So if that is also your fear, forget about it. You will bond immediately because every each one of us is in the same situation and on the same path. Maybe in different levels, but on the same track.
The other thing I was fearing was that I wasn’t flexible enough, strong enough…That everyone would be doing handstands and I would be struggling to touch my feet. Wrong again. Most of the students are on a beginner or intermediate level. They all struggle with something and they all are good at something. Just like me. Just like you and just like everyone in the world. So here you go: if the only thing that is stopping you is the fact that you think you are not prepared for a YTT because you can’t do some circus poses or hard asanas, you are totally wrong. Go and apply NOW!
And all of us are “normal” people. So if you have weight or race or height issues, forget about them also. In my course, there are short, tall, skinny, chubby, black, white, local, etc. students. From all over the world. From all backgrounds. But curiously…just one man. It seems that yoga has become a women’s’ thing.
What I have realized:
- A Yoga Teacher Training is not a vacation.
- It is physically and mentally demanding. Everyone can do it but you have to be aware that you will get to the end of most days sored, tired and with not much more to do than to sleep. Some meditation sessions are hard to handle because your body will hurt since we are not used to be in a sitting position, with back straight, on the floor, for a long time.
- You will have to get up early in the morning. But don’t stress about it. You will rapidly get used to this.
- Keep an open mind. Some of the things you will hear and learn here may seem strange to a western person. But keep your ears open and absorb the wisdom of the eastern world. After you leave you can take your own conclusions of what seems right or wrong to you. But while you are here don’t reject any idea. Absorb it. Let it sink in. You will deal with that later. For example, today a voluntarily drank cow pee. Yes…cow pee! So you will never know what could happen! But I will later share with you the reason behind this!
- Don’t stress out about the little things just because you feel tired. Accept things. Let them come, let them go. Enjoy the time you have here. Respect your space and the others’ space. Be you and let others be who they are.
- Respect others costumes and traditions. This is really important. Your YTT School will give you a list of “rules” you must follow, like, don’t point your feet to your teachers, don’t enter the shala or a room with your shoes on, don’t smoke, don’t drink, etc. Accept this. Respect it. Even if you don’t understand the reason behind it. You are in another country. Be aware of this. Things might be really different from what you are used to.
- Study but don’t stress about it. Practice but know your limits and don’t go beyond them. Listen to your body. In time you will get there. It will come when you are ready. Just continue your practice without judgment and without comparing your practice with others practice. Compare your practice with your practice. Everyday. Is my practice better than it was yesterday? This is the goal. Do your own thing. Be your own self!
- If you start feeling unmotivated and discouraged remember yourself what a great step it was to pack your backpack and go to the other side of the world. Be proud. Realize what a great opportunity this is and don’t waste it. You might regret it later.
- And most importantly, always remember yourself that yoga is a way of life that goes beyond the asanas. There so much more to learn. There’s so much more to do. Practice your asanas. Focus on evolving. But don’t forget that you can still be a real yogi even if you could only meditate and breath! Trust in yourself. Believe in yourself. Love yourself!
See you again next week!
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