Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Class is In Session

Bali yoga teacher training
Exuberant yogis
by Meg Coughlan, Bali yoga teacher training student
I've just completed Day 3 of my 200 hour yoga teacher training in Bali. Woo! It's hard to describe how happy I am and how lucky I feel to be here in this magical place, studying yoga with 23 other amazing people from all across the world. I am rooming with two wonderfully fun girls: Simi from Switzerland and Bianca from the Netherlands. It's so impressive that they're learning all this material in a foreign language. Helping them translate and spell certain words has been really entertaining, and we've been getting a good laugh out of it.
Our teacher, Everett, has been teaching us how to breathe. Sounds silly, right? You'd be surprised to learn that most of us don't actually know how to properly breathe fully into our lungs. So what? Well, our breath defines us. Really, it does! What happens when someone makes you really angry? Your breath becomes shallow. You huff and puff, causing your blood pressure to rise and your stress levels to increase. But if I told you to BREATHE, what would happen? You would take deep breaths, inevitably leading you to calm down. As Everett would say, our breath is the gateway to the mind. Yoga begins with the breath. Without it, we cease to exist. Take note of your breath the next time you're stuck in heavy traffic, you're late for a meeting, or someone cuts you off getting on the subway. Breathe. Breathe deeply! You'll be surprised what it will do for you. That is yoga.

Bali yoga teacher training
View from my veranda
The mornings here are beautiful. We rise at 5:15 am. It's still dark, but you can hear the birds chirping and the cicadas dancing. We are silent. No communication of any form is allowed until after breakfast. I sit with a cup of coffee by the pool, looking out over the darkness of the rice fields, up to the brightly shining moon. It's almost the solar eclipse. I wonder how many people are gazing at this incredible moon at the same moment I am. I walk to the yoga shala for 6:00 am practice. I'm a sponge trying to soak up as much as I can. I am here in this moment and it feels right. We end our 2.5 hour practice with meditation. The jungle is to the left of me and the sounds of the animals waking up is intriguing, but I let go of those sounds to focus on the sounds within me, the song of my own body. We bring our hands into anjali mudra, bow our heads, namaste. Class has ended but we remain silent. Breakfast is silent but the warmth of the sun and the sweetness of this papaya are all I need right now. Yum yum yum. At 9:30 am I head back to the yoga shala for our yogic philosophy lecture. The silence is broken and our day has begun. How often do you get the chance to be silent with yourself? No talking, no eye contact, no cell phone, no music, no journaling, nothing but time with you and just you. Try it. It's hard. But what you get out of it is more rewarding than you might imagine. Namaste

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