Saturday, September 13, 2014

Student guest blog: Teaching Time!

by Guest Blogger, Samantha Smith (September 2014 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training)

It has been quite some time since I have had to speak in front of that many people, let alone attempt to teach/lead them through a set of skills that I myself am still learning. I now remember what my fear of public speaking does to me. My throat was tight and my breath was short and my stomach was in knots. Thank goodness I had some relaxing essential oils from a fellow trainee to help calm my nerves as I waited for my turn to lead the class!
Samantha takes the lead
It was hard to get started, to be confident and trust in my choice of words, and to be vulnerable. I am not sure I fully got there, but it definitely got easier the longer I spoke. Teaching yoga is like speaking a foreign language right now, so much thought must be put into just how to say something to ensure the outcome of the instructions leads them into the position you had intended. 
When leading students into Savasana and after guiding the first few rounds of meditation, I also found it quite difficult to let the silence be. The empty space feels like forever and a million thoughts of what the class might be thinking were running though my head. When I wasn't participating myself, it was hard to remember what a comforting and personal experience these moments are, and the need for the silence to find them. 

In the yoga bubble
Week two of the 200 hour yoga teacher training is flying by, and I have been trying not to think about how soon this experience will come to an end, three weeks seemed like a long time leading up to the trip and now seems like not nearly enough. I have loved my time here in Bali so far (well maybe except for those spent in Chaturanga - but the massages help). There have been challenging times; days I was sick, my body hurt, refusing to do what I was asking it to do, and practice seemed never ending. However, even in those tough times I wouldn’t change a thing. As we have learned, it is through suffering we grow, and each hard time has taught me something. I have learned so much already; but my teachers here have so much to offer and there is still a lifetime's worth of things left to learn. I wish I could stay in this Bali yoga bubble a little longer. For now I am doing my best to live in the present, to take in every moment, every sight, smell and opportunity to learn, and to make the most of the second half of the training and my time here in Bali. 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Student guest blog: Breaking through limitations

by Guest Author, Kellie Jean Snyder (September 2014 200 hour Yoga Teacher Trainee)

The first week of the Zuna Yoga teacher training has been more than I ever imagined. It's amazing how many of my fellow students have come here because they're chasing their fears. We've talked a lot in class about how pursuing a life of yoga takes courage. I think that so many of us have realized exactly what that means to us personally this past week.

We all came here with our physical and mental limits, and those limits have been blown open over these past few days.  When I came to Ubud, I knew I liked fast yoga: one breath, one movement. Anything longer, and my brain would immediately quit. I had never forced myself to stay in the pose and feel the sensations of my body. One day in class, we really held poses for a long time, and I felt my mental ability expand immediately. It felt so liberating to be in the pose feeling stronger and stronger instead of letting my mind convince me I needed to get out. This was the moment I realized that I was I charge of my mind. Learning that I had the ability to quiet my mind in times of strain is something I will carry with me on and off the mat. Self transformation isn't something that happens overnight, but when we can measure our success by breaking through one mental boundary at a time, it's easy to notice things happening. 

I'm excited to see how my practice and my views on life and myself will grow over these next few weeks. It's hard to imagine we're almost half way through. It's going to go by so quickly, but I'm excited to take what I learn here and apply it to my daily life at home. After all, that's the true yoga. Taking it with us where ever we go, not just in the tropical bliss of Bali.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Student guest blog: In the Flow

by Guest Blogger, Samantha Smith (September 2014 200 hour Yoga Teacher Trainee)

This is my first trip to Bali and, having traveled for 32 hours to get here, the drive from the airport to Ubud was a bit overwhelming. Everything was new. The streets are full of people and motorbikes, there are so many different shops and activities taking place; the wood slabs, carvings, colors, and smells of all the different foods and incense. It is all so different than what I have been used to, and so beautiful. I felt as though I was only able to take in such a small percentage of what was in front of me on that first drive in.

One of the most fascinating things for me was the traffic, the flow that everyone seemed to be in. Everyone working together, making time and space for one another. On that first ride there was a young man on his motorbike in front of us, driving very slowly, talking on his cell phone, weaving a bit through the street. It was something that would have caused so much anger and frustration to the drivers behind him where I am from. But my driver’s reaction was much different. He passed when he had the chance, no rush. He looked at the driver’s face and started smiling. He then looked at me and said, “He looks very happy, he must be talking to his girlfriend, he is very happy.” This instantly made me smile too. I was taken aback by what had just happened, and it made me reevaluate the way in which I had been looking at this situation in particular for so long. Something so small that might have started my day off ‘wrong’ not only didn’t disturb the driver, it made him happy.

Day one of practice at the Zuna Yoga 200 hour teacher training was an amazing experience. Morning practice flew by. When we had finished the asana practice and started our meditation, I was thinking there was still an hour and a half left before breakfast. I was shocked to find out we had already used the entire two hours and forty-five minutes! This was the longest I had ever practiced in one sitting and I was very surprised how out of my own head, and unworried about the future I was. It is something I have struggled to do as successfully since - especially since noticing the clock in the room. I was worried about the early start times coming into the training, but love that we start our practice when it is still dark, move through sunrise and finish after the sun has risen. It is so awakening and refreshing. 

Rudra’s lectures are very engaging. I look forward to them everyday. It is not only the subjects, which I have a lot of interest in, but the way in which he presents the information with such passion, bringing fun and personal experience to them.  These first few days have made me very excited for the rest of the training and what is to come. Lectures in the afternoon are very informative, there is a lot of anatomy to learn, but the interactive method of teaching makes it more fun and the amount of information seem less intimidating. It doesn’t hurt either that my fellow trainees are some of the nicest and most interesting people I have met, everyone open and willing to help one another. 

Thus far, Bali has exceeded my expectations. If I had any doubts before, I am reassured now that my decision to come here was a good one. 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Student Guest Blog: Adaptation

by Guest Author, Claire Buckley (September/October 2014 500 hour Yoga Teacher Trainee)

We are on Day Three of the 200 hour Zuna Yoga teacher training in Ubud, Bali. There is an all-pervading sense of adaptation: to the schedule - the early starts, the regular class time to break time patterns, the homework, the practice style; but also to each other - 30 new, interesting, inspiring individuals to have the pleasure to get to know and of course our teachers, Everett, Katherine and Anna. 

These three are a class act. Everett is a fountain of knowledge based on years of teaching experience, questioning, study and self practisc. Like a cat in front of a saucer of cream, I find myself wanting to lap up every last drop of what he is teaching me. I'm writing his way of expressing something down in my notebook and thinking that this way to explain it just encapsulates it so neatly. There is humor, drama and presence in his voice and teaching delivery. In brief, we've covered the history, the Vedas and the Gunas plus many types of poses and breathing techniques in detail, already by day three.

Katherine is also a dynamic teacher. We are always up on our feet one minute, sitting next, then up again. Not once have I felt like I need to take a nap in class like my time at university!! We are working our way through a good foundation of anatomy and she relates things back to yoga poses and what we may sometimes see in a class. 

There is also much appreciation in our class for the teaching assistant, Anna. As with Everett and Katherine, she is super supportive, engaged, and also challenging, by keeping us on our toes, and providing great assists in class. 

I am struggling with the intensity and lack of time for myself to just digest this all. I've been reaching my room at the end of the day and just crashing, the other night with my calves and feet still over the side of the bed!!