My Yoga Teacher Training Retreat: Part 4

4:45am – I consider not showering and drifting back into my deep sleep to the point where I actually jump back into bed, but then I quickly decide that this is a bad idea and make my way outdoors into the freezing cold to the shower blocks that are located at the end of the building.

I still can’t pluck up enough courage in this cold to wash my hair!

This morning’s 5:30 practice we had Nikola, one of our other teachers and what happened in this class, for me, was absolutely incredible.

But why?

It’s so hard for me to describe so I’ll give it my best shot.

It felt like I was home. It was exactly what my body (and mind) needed. We did one exercise where we put our hands onto our bellies and you breathe into the belly letting it expand as far as you can on the inhale, then exhale drawing in just below your navel towards your spine. What happened next surprised no-one more than me.

Stream after stream of tears started falling down my cheeks. They really don’t give you any warning.

A natural reaction that most of us have as adults is to try to stop crying immediately as we’ve been conditioned to think that our tears make us weak and that we should just toughen up and get over it.

When in reality that is the worst thing we can do as our tears are a powerful healing mechanism. There, in that moment I just let them flow as I rode with every wave of emotion that came up letting each one take over and without judgement, just observation. It would appear I hold a lot of emotions in my stomach. It’s almost like I had a knot there and then all of sudden it was untangled and I felt this instant relief of lightness and calm.

Calm crying? Don’t worry it sounds crazy to me too.

So the next three-four postures were done with the becomingly common sound of my tears hitting my mat.

IMAG3304We did lots of pranayama at the beginning and the end and we were asked to observe the differences in our breathe. And for the first time in a long time I could breathe though both nostrils with ease! This might not sound like a lot to those of you that don’t practice pranayama, but for me it was incredible. I finally got to experience what all the yogis are talking about in terms of feeling more centered.

I was really at ease after the whole practice and it bought into perspective the one thing that has been drilled into us from day our first day of this yoga teacher training course.

Sthira and sukha – having strength in the pose but ease in the body. You can say this as many times as you want but when you put in the practice you can truly experience prana movingly freely through your body, which is something that I cannot find the words to describe.

Breakfast I stand in the Oliver Twist line, walk up to the counter with my bowl and they slop in rice porridge and something that they call fruit puree. RICE AGAIN. I mean really? For breakfast?

I much prefer the polenta porridge we had yesterday (and that’s saying something). I take my “breakfast”, sit down next to my friend Vincci and we get the giggles over the food, it’s Mauna so we can’t speak to each other. I take one mouthful and decide to instead grab a bowl of the tangy greek yogurt they have put out, sprinkle something that looks like fiber on top and force myself to eat that.

Once Mauna is finished Vincci explained to me that the reason they serve us such heavy starchy food is to help keep us grounded. As we are spending so much time meditating and ‘away’ from our bodies these sorts of heavy foods keep us grounded. Well, when you put it like that, yep it’s working!

I went to make my way to go to the morning chanting but I run into Laura on the way – she came up to me wide armed and gave me a cuddle and a kiss on the forehead and asked how I was today and if I’d slept better last night. I spoke to her about the sensations I had in our session and we went on to have a chuckle at how crazy this place is.

Laughter is the best medicine.

Karma yoga today I was alone for most of it, I swept, filled the water jugs in all the yoga rooms. One of the resident yogis asked me to help her move a few things. She was very lovely and asked me how I was going and I was completely honest with her and told her how I’d felt tired and unnerved but have now begun to feel like myself, when she asked why I thought I’d felt this way?

I’ve put it down to being out of my routine and she responded to that saying “That’s normal the body loves routine but the mind craves change”.

So no possum poo and a lovely insight for me today.

Over lunch my roomie mentioned sleep talking and it reminded me of a dream I had last night. I felt like I was woken up by a woman’s voice.  There wasn’t just one, there were two, I felt the presence of elderly women and that I was safe. When I heard them I opened my eyes and no one was there but when I lay back down I could hear them so clearly it was if they were standing just outside the dorm door. Like they were joking amongst themselves but trying to tell me something.

I legitimately ended up putting it down to people walking past and drifted back off to sleep.

My big teaching assessment is this afternoon and I am remaining optimistic 🙂

Lisa gave me a bud of lavender to smell while practicing to help keep my nerves at bay and I thought this was super sweet, just like her.

Afternoon tea we had oranges. OMG it’s honestly like it’s the first time I’ve ever eaten an orange in my life, they were seriously so juicy delicious that Lisa, Vincci and I just stood by the bowl devouring them like animals.

Till I noticed an old school juicer – HEAVEN! I sat in the sun with my freshly squeezed juice and had some more laughs with the girls.

And I am ready for my assessment – BRING IT ON.

Hi, I am Sarah Keenan, a Yoga Australia certified level 1 hatha yoga teacher. I completed my Teacher Training Diploma with Nikola Ellis, Joan Miller, Mysan Sidbo & Mark O’Brien at Qi Health & Yoga in 2014.
I am also a qualified infant massage instructor and a Sydney city corporate receptionist.

imag2657_1Life can be challenging, so here in my Yoga blog I write about my successes, struggles and how yoga along with all the wonderful influences I am surrounded with help me to over come them.

My spare time is made up of going to the beach, a lot 🙂 Living in Australia I am lucky enough to have access to the most beautiful beaches in the world. I also love hiking, meditating, getting lost in a good book, oh and of course lots of Yoga!

Catch more of Sarah’s personal blog at Innercitiyogi

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