Sunday, 25 January 2015

Yoga Teacher Training Week Three

Once again this week has absolutely flown by. I guess that's what happens when you're doing something you love with people who make life so beautiful... It's also what happens when you have a lot to laugh about, and boy have we had a lot to laugh about this week!

The highlight has to have been in pranayama (breathing techniques) class when our teacher Upendra - possibly the most authentic and happy yogi I have ever met - described one of the techniques with an accompanying instruction to "contract the anus" illustrated by a hand action bringing all his fingertips together in a crab-like action...apparently it's meant to awaken your kundalini energy (yogi speak for an electric-like current running up your spine), but whatever it's meant to do I couldn't take it seriously as every time the phrase "contract the anus" was used in sync with the hand action we all giggled like a group of fourteen-year-old girls in a sex education class! We had also all assumed that the hand action was some sort of yoga mudra, as these are often used in pranayama, so we were all "contracting the anus" whilst copying the hand action. It wasn't until half way through the class that we realised the hand action wasn't actually at all necessary, and Upendra was only showing us his illustration of an anus contracting...(I apologise if you're reading this over a civilised cup of tea on a Sunday morning!). It was quite possibly the strangest lesson I've experienced thus far...

Or so I thought until we had Upendra for another class where he was to teach us his own version of yoga postures. This lesson began with a hardcore dance tune blasting through the speakers and thus the most surreal 15 minutes of a "yoga" warm-up began... The same tune was played three times in a row (one can only assume that it's his favourite, or he only has one on his iPod), and we literally just jumped around, kicked our feet in the air, and wriggled on the floor for a good 15 minutes. I haven't laughed that much in a really long time, I even cried I was laughing so hard! It was absolutely ridiculous and we all loved every moment. After all that jumping around we were well and truly warm, and we did settle down into some sort of relaxed slow hatha yoga flow and some yoga nidra (essentially lying on the floor for guided meditation). It was the strangest mix of insanity and relaxation. Once again we had experienced another special class by Upendra that left us all feeling totally bemused but in a state of pure joy...

And that's what I think he really wants to teach us: life can be silly, life should be fun, and that laughing is the best kind of medicine. He takes the yogic life seriously; he meditates constantly, he shares his knowledge, he promotes a peaceful way of living, he practices the physical postures, but most of all he walks round with a massive smile on his face spreading happiness and love. Really it's about experiencing the world like a child, but living in it like an adult. We could all do with an Upendra in our lives to see a wonderful example of just how this can be achieved.

Another phrase that he constantly reminds us of is that "everything is Om". When I first heard it I didn't think much of it, in fact I just thought it was a yoga cliche that was thrown around all too often. But actually it's quite a good way of looking at the world, no matter what your world view or religion may be. It basically just means that everything is oneness. We are all one. The world is one. And everything tiny thing that happens has a knock on affect on something else, and that affects the next thing, and so on. It's the ripple effect. It encourages you to think about each action and every word with consideration of how it might affect others, and if everyone was more aware of this oneness I really believe the world would be a better place.

Aside from all of Upendra's life lessons, this week the more physical side of the course - our morning Ashtanga yoga practice - has been interesting. You'd think that by week three I'd be feeling super strong and flexible, but actually this week I've found myself stiffening up quite a bit. Ashtanga is a strong yoga practice, it constantly requires you to actively stretch in the poses - meaning that you must contract certain muscle groups in order to stretch and strengthen at the same time. It can be a very frustrating practice - you will go through phases where you feel like you haven't made much progress, and annoyingly for me that's how I've been feeling this week. Apparently that's fairly normal, and apparently the hard work put in now will pay off in the future, you just need to keep working at it to receive the rewards. I think this is true for most things in life, and it's one of the reasons I love yoga so much: the lessons you learn on the mat will make you stronger and more resilient for life off of the mat. Our teacher used a lovely phrase in one of our morning practices this week, encouraging us to work on our roots and we will achieve our wings, both in yoga and in our real lives. So whether you practice yoga or not I want to encourage you to put the hard yards in now, it won't be easy and there will be times when you want to quit, but persist and breath (breathing is the most important!) and you will make it through, and you will grow your wings.

So to summarise the three lessons I've learnt this week that I wanted to share with you all:

1. Never forget your inner child
2. Everything is Om
3. Work on your roots and your wings will grow

Oh yeah, and don't forget to "contract the anus" if you want to get that kundalini energy flowing...!

The coming week is my last week of Yoga Teacher Training, I really can't quite believe how quickly it's gone, but I am so excited to be an official yoga teacher in just 5 days time! And as before, I can't seem to upload photos onto my blog as I'm using my iPad, so if you want to see photos please follow my Instgram: lucyvictoriajackson

If you have any questions about yoga, the course, or just life in general please do drop me a message :)


Love Lucy x

No comments:

Post a Comment