JoJournal: Sivananda ATTC Part 1

It’s just the beginning . . .

Five days into the advanced teacher training program here in Neyyar Dam, India, and my body is in a mild state of shock.  Prior to this I’d been spending about eight hours at my computer, applying for jobs, working away at my other two websites and building a new online resume,  faffing the rest of the day away eating lunches of dosa rather slowly or strolling along my Goan paradise, Agonda.  Honestly, I must’ve practiced asana about three hours a week – nothing compared to the hardcore training sessions in Varanasi!

Navasana: Boat Pose at sunset

So, in a much as I was mentally ready for this course, especially the Sanskrit classes, I wasn’t exactly physically prepared for the challenge!  We’re holding postures for ten minutes at a time, practicing scorpion with no wall, all the while getting valuable teaching tips from Sivananda’s most esteemed asana teacher, a direct disciple and friend of Swami Vishnudevananda, Prahlad.

The ashram on the lake.

It feels so strange to be challenged in an asana class again – for one, I’ve been living in such isolated places the last two years, I haven’t really had an opportunity to participate in big group sessions like this.  The only teacher I’ve known recently is Rauji at Om Shanti Yoga Niketan – and he always pushes me so hard (usually in a one-on-one scenario), when I do a video or practice a Sivananda class later, they’re pretty easy in comparison.  Whew, I really let my asana practice slip these last few weeks . . .

Thankfully the pranayam in the morning (5am to 6am, baby!) revs me up and prepares me for the long day to follow. Me and the 80 other teachers (from Iran, Japan, South American countries and England, mostly) are constantly running between pranayam, satsang, asana, anatomy, lunch, Sanskrit/Raja Yoga, the main philosophy lecture, karma yoga, asana, dinner and satsang!  Despite the funky shoulder and the wobbly legs, I’ve got a big Hawaiian smile on my face.  I’m finally doing the ATTC – yes!

Vishvamitrasana, pose named for the great sage of tapas (austerities) - and major inspiration for self discipline!

The last few years I really felt like I had take two steps backward to move one step forward and now I’m finding my stride.  The thought crossed my mind when we went on a silent meditation walk to the lake.  The path twists and turns and at one point goes straight up a massive incline – and it’s at this point where I feel like the endorphins have kicked in and I’m flying up that thing like there’s a big box of Godiva on the top!

It seemed to me this walking meditation was a perfect analogy to certain situations in life – if you can step up your game when the terrain gets toughest to handle, the difficulties really don’t seem so intense, and the rush you feel at the end is like no other.  Of course, I thought of this potential plan of mine to move to New York, start my own yoga organization, contribute to my community, go back to school and somehow make it in a city known to either eat you up alive or give you a big ole bite of itself.  If ever yogi power were needed . . .

I sure know how to make friends in my new home-state! Me flipping the bird to Wall Street last September. A preview of the occupation to come!

So it’s a challenge not to be using my time here planning for and visualizing the future, especially since I’m only 80% sure of what I’m doing next.  With all these other students, the energy is pretty full power – factor in all the yoga vacationers (100?) and a new wave of old Sivananda teachers here for a reunion and you’ve got yourself a full-fledged yoga party.  Mmmm . . . at this point, I’m kinda missing my happy little family of 29 in the Madurai TTC . . .

A happy wee family of huggin' yogis ;o)

But you “adapt, adjust, accommodate,” as the Sivananda song goes . . . the Sanskrit classes are fun, the surroundings a lot like my tropical paradise home, and the food . . . oh, the food!  The best part so far: I’ve met up with three people I know through previous yoga events, totally by surprise.  Chloe from a yoga vacation at this very ashram, Teeny from my TTC, and Maxin Louis from a Health Camp in Bombay.  Maybe I do feel at home in Neyyar Dam, lions barking in the distance, jack fruit hanging from ancient trees above . . .

I’ll stop the babbling here.  Internet is iffy and I have a dinner of chickpea curry, coconut rice and bananas to gobble down 🙂

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6 thoughts on “JoJournal: Sivananda ATTC Part 1”

  1. Love! Sounds like you are having an amazing time doing exactly what you planned – good for you! Someday I hope to be able to hold a pose for ten minutes! Enjoy your quest – sending you love and good thoughts –

  2. Hi, I finally found your blog again. I had seen you other blogs on your travels and enjoyed reading them and then I got back on to something that I have to do to keep paying the bills. Its nice to see you are still writing. I will try and be more regular in following your blog :).

    1. Hi Sriram, thanks for checking back in. I definitely keep up the writing, just out of pure love at the moment, though moving toward making writing more of a professional endeavor as well. If you want regular updates, I have an email sign up button just to the right there, otherwise, hope to see you back soon. Om!

      1. Hey, I am getting your updates by mail. I found three of your blogs and was just wondering which one you update more regularly. I left comments on all three. I have been reading you posts here. Its interesting and a lot of thought has gone into them.

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