My Yoga Teacher Training Retreat: Part 1

Sarah Keenan's experience at the Qi teacher training.

I have spent the last week staying in a Yoga Ashram (which honestly felt like months). I am not going to call it a “Yoga Retreat” because that would imply that this was a holiday. Oh how I was shaken by the hard reality that it was anything but.

I have had a lot of people ask me “How was your trip?” since I’ve been back, and it’s kind of like my mind goes blank. Perhaps I haven’t had time to process it all since I have only been back a mere 24 hours. It’s almost like I’m not too sure…where to start from? What exactly to share? How to express it?

I kept a journal of my time at the Ashram (as any of my fellow yogis will tell you I had my head in my journal a lot!) and I would like to invite you to follow me along as I share this journey of self-discovery over my next few blogs.

I am going to try to stay as authentic to my journal as I can bare 🙂 and share my thoughts and loads of feelings of my time there. Please try to follow without judgement but rather enjoy this crazy journey of tears and laughter, highs and lows. And believe you me, it starts out quite differently to how it ends and no one is more surprised by this than me.


Day 1


It’s my first day here and all I can think about is that my back is aching, I’m pinning this on the fact that I’m so tense. The whole drive down here was big for me; in fact, this whole yoga journey up till this point has been huge for me as I am not used to doing anything on my own.

So being here with a group of girls I barely know is quite daunting and I am not allowing myself to latch onto any particular person as I really feel that this is a time for me to be alone and be OK with discovering ‘Sarah’ – whoever she is.

While I was packing for this trip my grandmother kept coming to my mind. When she passed away a year ago I chose to keep some of her coats (she was quite the fashionista my grandma) and I contemplating bringing one with me on this trip and at the last minute I ended up taking it out of my bag and I feel sad about that now. I’m not too sure why it’s been over the past few months that I have really been thinking about her again.

I also believe that it’s really good for me to be having a break from people in my life. I don’t miss anyone from home (yet). People spend so much time taking care of me that I often get concerned that one day I will be resented for it. I do try to make a conscious effort to do the same in return but I know that it’s nowhere near as much.

So, day one – I HATE it. I feel uncomfortable, I feel awkward and I feel sick. I hate that dinner was so rushed – you wait in line for your food (think ‘Oliver Twist’), sit down and the bell rings for clean up?  This just adds to my anxiety, especially when trying to consciously eat is something that I have really been focusing my attention on over the past few months.

I hate that this place already seems so regimented and  that I’m forced to be at certain places at different times of the day. I hate that people are already gravitating towards their clicks.

So we sat in a circle tonight (I see you smile fellow yoginis), we usually do this in classes however these particular ones will become a regular occurrence throughout my time at the ashram. If you are a regular reader of my blog you will know that I don’t really share in them, but I had to for the first time tonight and I hated that too. We were asked to set an intention for what we would like to get out of these next few days here.

I shared:

* Calmness – I wanted to work on becoming less anxious (which people were shocked to hear I later found out), and;
* Spending time on trying to reconnect with myself.

What was most surprising to me is that when I shared these things out loud with the group I felt light headed and dizzy. I didn’t quite know where to look and I desperately wanted to burst into tears but managed to hold it all together. But then a lot of my fellow yogis did cry while they read out their intentions as these were all things kept very close to the heart. Funnily enough there seemed to be a reoccurring theme of wanting to learn to reconnect with one’s self and develop more self-love – this just made me want to cry even more. Not from sadness but because as a whole I felt like I was a little bit of everyone’s insecurities.

What I desperately wanted to do was to go and sit in the bush by myself (we were surrounded by the Aussie bush land and I always feel so at home when I am bush walking), and cry.

I am sitting in bed after the first day here and am trying to finish reading a book that just seems to be taking me forever to accomplish, when one of my friends from school pops into my head. This is bizarre. It makes me smile when I think of the last time I saw him when him and his wife visited Australia last.
I must make the effort to send them a letter when I get home to see how they are.
Random thought 101.

Night Night – Now tomorrow, time to start to relax.

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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