…or in English, Yoga Begins Now
It’s been four sweat-induced weeks since I anxiously walked into the beautiful bamboo structure that is Power of Now Oasis in Sanur, Bali. I’ve got roots here now. Yoga roots! And, I hope to visit again soon. I had the privilege of studying yoga with Jolie Manza, an inspirational, knowledgable, and passionate instructor who I will forever be grateful for. I studied with 13 others from around the globe including my dear Olga from Moscow and Bella from London who have left their mark on me and have given me much love and support. I truly enjoyed the company of the entire group. I am also grateful for my partner in crime, Adrian, who sticks by my side, goes with the flow and is a rock of support for me. He became a regular at the yoga studio and won over the hearts of all the girls. :)
Okay, I’m not going to beat around the bush (literally…just keep reading), the month was physically challenging. I’ve been practicing the physical side of yoga (asana) off and on for years, but was never serious or dedicated to practicing every day until now. I was sore and pushed it a bit too hard, which resulted in a strain in an area where the sun don’t shine. Hello to my very first acupuncture experience. Yep! A total stranger sticking needles in…you guessed it…an area where the sun don’t shine. Ahhhhh! I continued to practice, but backed off of certain postures and let myself heal. Almost there!
Aside from the physical aspect, there were times when I felt like my brain was going to explode, but I loved it and soaked everything in like a thirsty sponge. We focused on the eight limbs of yoga. The physical practice of yoga was the only area I had previously tapped into prior to this course, so I was eager to learn. Basically, the eight limbs are guidelines and practices for moral and ethical conduct. They focus on self-discipline and help us to acknowledge the spiritual aspects of our nature. As a famous yogi, B.K.S. Iyengar, once said, “Without the yamas and niyamas, asana is mere acrobatics.” Yamas and niyamas are the first two limbs and consist of external ethical standards and internal self-discipline.
We read and discussed the Yoga Sutras, which is a heady, philosophical text that’s basically a guide for how to not suck at life. I will practice every day. We worked on pranayama (breath) techniques, practiced calming the monkey mind through meditation. We spent time breaking down each and every posture to learn about proper alignment, risk areas, modifications, variations and the ancient Sanskrit language names. The month was non-stop and it flew by. There were a couple hours here and there reserved for playtime. When you’re at a yoga studio in Bali on the Indian Ocean, playtime consists of a bunch of yogis surfing and sailing on the studio’s 52-foot sailboat. Score!
The last week of the course we had to create a class sequence and teach a class at the studio as well as complete a 3-hour written exam. And, now I’m a certified yoga instructor! I have a solid foundation to start from, but much more to discover. This is just the beginning of a lifetime of learning. I look forward to sharing the practice and seeing what comes of this.
“Change is not something that we should fear. Rather, it is something that we should welcome. For without change, nothing in this world would ever grow or blossom, and no one in this world would ever move forward to become the person they’re meant to be.” -B.K.S. Iyengar