Sunday, August 30, 2015

Catching up with Yoga Teacher Training Grad Danni

yoga teacher training indonesia

We recently caught up with Danni Hayward, March 2015 Gili Meno 200 hour yoga teacher training graduate. Danni resides in Perth, Western Australia. She dabbled in yoga for many years, but she admits she used to be the person to roll up her mat and sneak out of class when it was time for savasana. "Then something happened a few years ago. Yoga became less about the stretching and more about the way it made me feel emotionally and mentally." Danni began to find that yoga provided calm and balance, helping her deal with the anxiety and panic attacks that used to plague her. "I have transformed my life immensely over the past couple of years. I am much more interested in taking care of myself and being connected with my body, mind and spirit. Yoga has been a really important part of that.

Upon returning home from her yoga teacher training in Indonesia, she started her own mobile yoga business called Bendable not Breakable. Danni offers public classes as well as private sessions. "I am getting so much out of sharing yoga with others. I plan on ramping my yoga in the park when spring hits! I hope to meet more of you along the way and especially connect with any West Aussie based Zuna Yoga graduates."

Danni confided something else you might never have guessed if you saw her practicing and teaching: "I am hopelessly uncoordinated and never participated in any team sports growing up. The one and only trophy I ever received was for the school speech competition."

Hats off to Danni for moving past her obstacles and continuing fearlessly on her journey. We're continually inspired by our students, and success stories like this are one of things we love most about what we do.

5 things I learned at Yoga Teacher Training

by Sammy Garrett, 200 hour Zuna Yoga teacher training graduate

I’ve been so busy living, breathing and sharing the beautiful message of yoga that I felt it was time to stop, take a moment and appreciate what I have learned. It has been six months since I set foot on the beautiful Indonesian island of Gili Meno, and wow - a lot has happened since then. Upon reflection, I realized how my month there transformed not only my practice, but also my life. Here are the top five life changing lessons the Zuna Yoga 200 hour yoga teacher training taught me:

1. There is more in you. Just when you think you’ve had enough, there is always a little more to give. I learned to never ever ever underestimate the power of my being. The body, mind and spirit are miraculous forces capable of achieving great things. Ever look back in wonderment of how you did something so completely amazing? That’s how I felt looking back over the 200 hours of training with Zuna Yoga. 5:30am starts for three weeks, who would’ve thought it possible! With aching bodies and challenged minds, Zuna Yogis learn the ability to dig deep and pull through any emotional and spiritual roadblocks, allowing you to thrive. 

2. Sharing is caring. Before coming to the yoga teacher training, much of the group's practices were personal, practicing at home alone behind closed doors. During the training, I discovered the benefit in sharing my practice with others. Just as a problem shared is a problem halved, a joy shared is doubled - and what better joy than yoga. Practicing with a group of keen yoga teacher training students provided more depth to my practice. We had the opportunity to discuss personal challenges and improvements and share in each other’s experiences. Teaching to small groups and to the whole class opened me up to the delight of sharing. The act of giving and receiving feedback was extremely valuable when starting out teaching. Best of all, it was a real honor to see my teaching bringing joy to others. 

3. Breath is the key. During the yoga teacher training I learned to use my breath to measure myself in each asana, knowing exactly when I had pushed too far and when I needed to ease off. The discovery of breath awareness was not limited to the mat. I also learned to expand this into daily activities and to observe others during teaching. The connection between our bodily systems continues to amaze me. What an intelligent machine! Realizing how the breath is so interconnected with not just the physical but also the emotional and mental attributes of each individual has helped me immensely. 

4. Trust. In myself, in my body, in my capabilities. Through the teachings of Zuna Yoga, Everett and Katherine encouraged me to listen closely to my body, and focus on looking inward, rather than outwardly comparing to others. This required trust, acceptance and self-love. The yoga teacher training provided clarity around my strengths and weaknesses - both on and off the mat. It is often hard to see through the fog of competitiveness and comparisons which follow us in all areas of life, and yoga is no exception. The biggest learning I took home from my 200 hour yoga teacher training is that your practice is yours alone. It must be entirely individualized to you and your body. Once accepting this, it is easy to surrender, and trust in yourself completely. 

5. Have fun! No need to be serious and hard on yourself. Your practice will unfold organically if you hold the right intention. Each day during the training we had a two hour lunch break to adventure, explore and socialize. I made some great bonds with other participants, and as the course went on, we had a lot of laughs, both in and out of the classroom. I keep this fun and laughter going by practicing with friends, hanging out in an aerial silk, or taking my practice to the beach or the wilderness. Keep yoga alive. Do whatever it takes to bring joy to your practice. Combining yoga with other things I love (such as nature) is a total win-win. That’s why I chose the location of Gili Meno for my yoga teacher training. What could be more fun than yoga on a tropical island with 21 other liked minded people?

These are just five of many take aways from a magical time spent learning on Gili Meno. Yoga continues to be a source of new lessons and inspiration for me, every time I practice and teach. 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Fear Of The Unknown

by Katie-Alan Calhoun, September 2015 200 hour Bali yoga teacher training student

Abhinivesa, the fourth and final limb of Avidya (ignorance), stands for fear. This particular fear is the fear of the unknown or the fear of what has not yet happened. Everyone at some point in their life has dealt with the crippling effects of fear in some way, shape, or form. It blossoms deep down inside us when we lack certainty in ourselves or our surroundings.

I found the Zuna Yoga teacher training program at a very critical point in my life - my "quarter-life crisis". Unlike the mid-life crisis, where you are coming to terms with the decisions you have made, the quarter-life crisis is the point in which you attempt to make the conscious decisions that will last. As in, what do I want to do? What is my life's purpose? Where do I want to be? Who do I want to be with? Yoga has taught me maybe the most valuable lesson to help with this crossroad, and that is to move with the ebb and flow of life. When we practice yoga, we're striving for physical flexibility - but it's equally if not more important to be mentally flexible. Always remember to move with the twists turns of life, and breathe.

Not knowing what lies ahead can be daunting, but it is also a beautiful gift. By being open minded and making decisions based on love instead of fear, life's wonderful possibilities are presented to you in abundance.

When considering the idea of teaching yoga, I initially had my doubts. It took me about two years to get past the "I don't know enough to share with my students what they need" or "What if I'm not good enough?"

By finally deciding to choose love over fear, I applied to Zuna Yoga and booked a flight to Bali. I will be training in their 200 hour program for three weeks in Ubud and am certain it will be filled with exactly that: love. Traveling to a different country alone is scary. Taking a leap into a new chapter of my life is frightening. But not taking an opportunity to reaching my full potential because of fear is downright terrifying.

If there are three things that have helped me overcome fear, these are it:

1. Have a strong connection with your inner child or adolescence. This is your state of relentless joy and sense of adventure. Do what brings you true happiness.

2. Swim with the current and not against it. When you resist change or refuse to go with the flow, you are depleting a powerful source of energy. We're talking potential illness and disease here people. Just remember: relax. Every little thing is gonna be alright.

3. Leap! Do what scares you the most. Those particular things end up being my favorite, and they may be yours as well. To think I would have never discovered those parts of myself because of fear is heartbreaking.

You are always changing, you are always learning. Don't let the fear of the unknown dictate your destiny.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

This is it!

by Vanessa Vitali, September 500 hour Bali yoga teacher training student

We all go through life dreaming. We wish, hope and want that “someday” we will see these dreams become our reality. What if that someday was today? For me, today is the day I will embark on adventure.

I was that spirit that got caught in the thought of “someday”. Bali has always been calling me since I first learned of the outside world. Yoga was prevalent in my life since as far back as I can remember. When I decided last year that I wanted to teach yoga i did some research and came across the Zuna Yoga 500 hour Yoga Teacher Training in Bali, Indonesia. I was ecstatic! The price of the school was a little out of reach for me at the time, but I continued to look into it. I knew that this would be an amazing experience and when I saw the solid red letters, “SOLD OUT” I was instantly envious of their travels. I was only a waitress. Almost a whole year went by as my desire for travel grew. The only travel I have done outside the US was backpacking Mexico city and staying in a nice house on the beach of Sayulita.) I saved as much money as I could, if it was a twenty or higher i stashed it, knowing I would make it back tomorrow. Twenties turned into hundreds which turned into thousands and before i knew it, I was getting by and had the money for the deposit on the early bird 500 hour training. I applied and thought long and hard about what I was doing. Two months overseas? Alone? What about my relationship, my dogs, my house, my….everything. Can I really just uproot life to soul search? Why not?

After talking with my partner, I put the deposit down. This is it! My dream of “someday” finally has a day!! I had close to a year to pay the other half of tuition, find a house to rent and learn as much as I can. I am a student of Holistic Nutrition Therapy and I will complete my masters in early 2017. I was able to take a leave of absence from school for a max of four months, which I set aside for this beautiful trip. When I set the date, I was excited to tell my friends and family and in sharing my reality I inspired others to follow their dream.  It is such an amazing feeling to spark that magic in others when they too believe they can do anything they wish. I started to invite people to come with me, offering a house share. My parents and my partner took the bait.

My mom went to elementary school in Ecuador and traveled a lot growing up. When she researched Bali she got very excited about the chance to travel again and she used a bonus from work to get her and my dad here on the island for a week and a half. They have been getting their passport together and finding amazing things to do on the island and are very excited to share this experience with me.

My partner loves to travel around the world and in fact has been to most of it! He always inspires me and lights the travel spark in me that I never want to escape. We turned this 500 hour training into a backpacking trip. We are backpacking around Thailand and Cambodia then landing in Indonesia, where he is dropping me off for the teacher training