To say the first forty hours of yoga teacher training was a challenge is something of an understatement. Ill and underprepared, despite an energizing walk home after the fourth and final day, watching in awe as the sun set over North Bondi, I got home, crawled into bed and cried. My body ached, my brain was fried and the self-doubt I felt at the thought of ever qualifying as a teacher was enormous. Despite this, however, as queen of procrastination – a feat I had honed to perfection while studying for my degree in English literature – rather than spending the three weeks before our next lot of training swotting up on limbs, ligaments and sequence cues, I stored the text books away at the bottom of my drawers and opted to read Crime & Punishment instead.
Suffice to say that before I knew it the next four days of training had arrived, and while I had been practising yoga religiously, I had devoted little – if any – time to the theory behind it. Thankfully, however, the never-ending repetition that took place over the next four days, as thirty of us recited the human anatomy, bone by bone, ligament by ligament, tendon by tendon, miracle of miracles; it finally started to settle.
As well as the ninety minute practises that we began each day with – which are lead with such passion and energy it’s impossible not to be inspired – for me, the highlight of the past four days was studying the Bhagavad Gita; an ancient Indian text that became an important work of Hindu tradition in terms of both literature and philosophy. While others on the course have the kind of memories that register the human anatomy in its entirety with complete ease, leaving me green with envy, one of my biggest loves is literature; so to have a lecture based around this was a much-needed welcome relief; and the kind I will happily study in my spare time.
There’s no denying that the days are long, hard and challenging; cracks begin to show, pressure mounts, self-doubt creeps in, and many tears are spilt. Finishing with a partner practice to prepare us for what will no doubt be a transformative experience in Bali was an emotional end for many, but certainly one that solidified and grew bonds within the group. While anxious and apprehensive at what will undoubtedly be one of the most challenging weeks of our lives, of one thing I’m certain: our newly-formed friendships will help see us through.