Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Week One of Bali Yoga Teacher Training

by Bianca Hoogland, 200 hour Bali yoga teacher training student

One week has passed already! Time flies, especially when you’re having fun -  and that is definitely what is happening here.

My journey to Zuna Yoga began several months ago. Back at home in the Netherlands, I kept checking out their website, and every time got butterflies in my belly: excitement, enthusiasm. I read about a yoga teacher training that is not only about teaching, but is also journey to the center of my soul, to the divinity within me. I'm even getting goosebumps while I’m writing this.

The training started on the 5th of March, which was my birthday! I woke up in Ubud, the sun was shining, I had Nasi Goreng for breakfast and smelled incense everywhere. What a blessing to have my birthday here! I arrived at Azadi Retreat and one by one, the faces came into focus, the beautiful faces of the other students I had already "met" on Facebook. Now we were finally meeting in person. It was a beautiful warm welcome with lots of hugs. That afternoon, we met with our teachers for the opening circle and afterwards enjoyed dinner. They surprised me with a birthday cake and singing, such a nice start for this journey.

Waking up in this beautiful place is every morning such a blessing. There is silence and no communication allowed until after breakfast. This makes me really go inward, to a process of thinking and observing: observing what's going on inside, what my minds tries to tell me, absorbing the environment, the sky turning from dark to blue and purple, the moon rising above the palm trees and the shining stars. 

Then: the yoga practice in the shala next to the jungle. Hearing the animals waking up while moving, breathing, connecting to the sounds around me. I am here, present. Surrender to this yoga teacher training, to the teachers and assistants. Learning how to breathe again, from deep down in my body, my pelvis. Where all my strength is, connecting to my inner strength. 

And then the first savasana. It is so magical, I don’t know how I can describe it properly. I felt grounded, at peace after the beautiful yoga practice, and my energy was starting to stir. Sensations running through my body, so alive even though I am laying down. Is this awareness in my body or my mind? I don’t really know yet what is happening, and that is a good lesson. I don’t have to know. I can let it happen and surrender. Now I understand the magic of savasana and I've fallen in love with it. 

The days are full of lecture about the roots of yoga, Samkhya philosophy, and anatomy.  In the afternoon we have posture workshops. Everything is in English, which is not my native language, and I feel pretty proud to be learning so much. And Sanskrit! My soul is enjoying this, absorbing all this information like a sponge.

We end the day with meditation, and when we flutter the eyes open, we see the evening sky: pink, purple, blue with the setting sun, looking absolutely amazing. It makes me realize how beautiful the earth is and how often I forget about that. Rushing and running through my life, is it now time to step back. To really be here, turn my phone off for these 3 weeks and enjoy the beautiful life around me. The nature, the smells, the sounds, the Bali warmth on my skin -  and not least, the 23 beautiful souls I am sharing this journey with. I share a \ room with two supergirls from Switzerland and New York. It’s amazing how quickly we are connected and sharing everything. I'm so grateful for them. 

After one week, in a word, I feel good. I feel happy, softer, warm, fulfilled, loving, calm and at peace. I feel at peace in the silent mornings, I feel happy after a big laugh, I feel warm to share with and hug my fellow yogis and I'm loving when we express how much we appreciate each other.

I'm going to bed each night with gratitude, feeling fulfilled. I'm having lots of dreams and I wake up in the middle of the night, feeling energy rising in my spine like fire, contractions in my body. Energy is moving, shifting. What was a bit overwhelming in the beginning now feels good. The journey has begun! The journey to Smarana: self - remembrance. Remembering who I am, reconnecting with the divinity within me. The whole universe is within me and within you. 

Namasté!


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