Life can be surprising and spontaneous if you let it. There are times we set out to do something, thinking we are doing it for one reason, and suddenly it evolves into something completely different. Have you ever had that happen?
Aside from the amazingness of traveling to Asia and immersing myself in a completely different culture, the decision to come to Koh Phangan was more to just be a student again for a little while. To really deepen my practice and dive even deeper into my lineage, seeing what more I could bring back. Taking the next level of Chakra Yoga with my yoga teacher had been on my mind for many years and somehow this was the time.
And I must say as I approach the half-way point on my trip, it has been wonderful to revisit David after all these years. I’ve had questions, and I’ve been curious as to how all the practices he first offered progress. In just two weeks, my questions were satisfied and my deeper practice was established and since coming here I’ve been following the recommendations and practicing the tapas, mudras, kriyas, pranayama, and mantras on a daily basis. It is a real privilege to have a dedicated period of time to truly apply oneself fully to the practice and have the opportunity to observe the effects. And practicing in the jungle with nature’s symphony all around adds to the experience.
It is interesting however, to realize that of course there is the teaching at the level of the practice, but simultaneously there is always a teaching at the level of life itself. When I arrived at the Pyramid, there were 16 people and two teacher trainers besides David. Out of the group however, only 2 of us were here for the next level. The other 14 were here to experience Chakra Yoga teacher training for the first time. The way David set it up was that he would teach the beginner course at times, and the advanced course at 5am, 11am, and 4pm. For the first couple of weeks Emily and I would also attend some of the beginner courses as it was so nice to hear David going over the concepts we knew so well. It was early in the second week however, that life began to prompt change that was perhaps better suited to my skills and experience.
I started noticing some of the things that the Yogaheart Teacher Training offers were not part of the curriculum. The Yogaheart YTT prides itself on being well rounded in all categories and not top-heavy in any particular field. We have courses in Yoga Anatomy that led even one nurse who has graduated from the program to say that in all of her years of nursing, she never understood the body better on a personal level. So somehow the topic came up, and in addition to my practice here, I started teaching anatomy as a collaboration project between CYTT and YYTT.
It’s funny because although I came here to just be a student for a while, as soon as I started teaching, a joy overwhelmed me, and I am reminded that this path is a deep calling. Not only did I light up, but so did the trainees. You could see that the joy was reflecting itself back and forth, and everyone was looking forward to potentially one of the driest subjects, anatomy.
When I was doing my research and building the Yogaheart School, the comment I kept hearing and have heard over the years from Yoga Teachers about their training has been, “It was a great program, but when I graduated, I didn’t feel ready to teach.” This is something I wanted to address when designing the YYTT. I told David, that along with the Yoga Anatomy, I also had classes prepared on Teaching Methodology if he would like to include these in his schedule, I could share. David is very focused on helping students become yogis, and if he had it his way, we’d all be going to practice in a cave in the Himalayas for a few decades to get the true experience. I love this about this lineage, and I also know that most of the students will be going back to Europe and North America and teaching there, so teaching methodology might help. David agreed and before I knew it, I was teaching 3 or 4 classes a week as well as leading some of the Yoga classes too. Funny enough, I’ve been able to balance this all nicely with my commitment to the advanced practices that have been offered. It’s like having your cake and eating it too, for I have the opportunity to watch my own development while simultaneously watching the group of young eager yoga enthusiasts go through the teachings for the first time. I can’t help but be vividly reminded of how powerful and transformational the science of Chakra Yoga really is! Fifteen years ago, it changed my life forever and it is a privilege to witness this happening to others right before my very eyes.
You would think that the evolving story stops there… but it doesn’t! You should see what is happening right now as other schools of yoga on the island are now contacting me asking me to teach while I’m here. I must say, this school of life is truly surprising and wonderful… I’ll write a little more about that in my next blog.
Take care my friends. Trust the flow… it knows.