110315 Kripalu Yoga Teacher Training; Seven Stars Yoga

Three times yoga: a session this morning running through this evening’s class; teaching this evening; then to Petersfield for a new evening class. The evening class was a new style of yoga to me, called Seven Stars Yoga. They are influenced by Chinese qi gong as well as Indian yoga, and we practised two routines, an hour in total. It was a good way to use and circulate much of the energy I get after teaching. And to be taught is always a treat. I’ll be going again. Unfortunately good venues are hard to find and the Petersfield Community Centre was a bit grubby, with icky bits on the floor. The music from the dance class next door didn’t bother me and the class itself was fun.

A friend asked why I chose Kripalu to train at. I said:

I looked around extensively over many months when I was looking for a course. I knew I wanted a month-long rather than over a couple of years on weekends. I wanted the immersive experience. So this narrowed it down. In my researching Kripalu kept coming up and so I asked around my yoga friends and while none had direct experience, they had all heard good things. The only thing putting me off Kripalu at that stage was the hugeness (and ugliness) of the building, and it was quite pricey. I was impressed at the website and curriculum and attracted by them saying it is not so much an intellectual course, and that there aren’t too many exams. So a kind of negative attraction in that sense, but I don’t like memorizing and theorizing. Then I saw they did scholarships and applied, and was granted 40% off, so that kind of sealed the deal. But mainly it was the feeling it out and the good vibes from the site. Their apparent professionalism, the fact that they were once an ashram and that they had a long history of YTT courses also counted.

I was not disappointed. There was a strong sense that while they were routed in traditions (particularly chanting) they were progressive. The course was beyond anything I expected. Way beyond yoga-yoga into experiential sessions, dance, and what they call meditation in motion. I would definitely recommend it. The days are long, but not as long as some YTTs. Importantly it felt like a really safe training ground, and they structure the weeks very well, lengthening each practice teach each week. And you only have to teach those to five people. The food is very good. And there’s a sauna and hot bath, which I used every evening. You get two yoga classes a day plus a whole bunch of posture workshops. Damn, I need to say something negative, but I can’t… Of course, you have to take in a lot of the ‘real self’ ‘true self’ yoga talk, but I kind of accepted where they were coming from. I went for the cheapest option, the dorm. The girls had sometimes twenty in a room, but we were only five. Sound.

I’d really love to do it all over again, a course like that.

Something is changing for me in yoga after all these years. I am no longer subtly afraid of it, nor am I as afraid of teaching. Which is a very big deal.

Steps stepped: 4705

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Kripalu Yoga Journal – YTT – Day Three

28 October

Wanted to speak, didn’t. It will come.

Sadhana = Personal practice

The Five Vayus:

Apana – Gravity
Prana – Brighten
Samana – Micro
Udana – Movement
Vyana – Total Connection

(Another yogic map) Science is now giving validity to these ancient maps.

Grief is often held in the clavicles.

Ujjayi breathing. Ocean sounding breath. The home breath. It can be contagious!

Afternoon: Tempeh tired. Chatted instead of resting. Very nervous in tiredness.

My new yoga mat arrived – the Prana Revolution!

Pratapana = Warm ups. Building the sacred fire, warming the body, releasing synovial fluid in the joints.

Settling down today. Less mind-blowing and less nervous.

Almost spoke on the mic in the morning session. They are encouraging us all to speak.

Posture clinic this morning and afternoon. And we got to have a go at teaching! To a couple of people. A good, positive experience. I was enthusiastic and into it. I’m really liking this and will do more when I’ve spoken a little. The serious side is fading and I’m more humorous.

Tomorrow is the classic fourth day yoga crunch. No, fourth day is usually fine, but the fifth day I don’t want to feel, and cease practice. Feels VERY different this time. Supportive. Possible. Only three days in.

This evening I danced! It was great. Non-threatening and no one judging. Free! Then we watched a video about Mr Kripalu. Interesting guy. Desai, not so much.

Great to be sharing the dorm with these guys. Talking about the day, laughing, talking seriously about religion. They would all dig Krishnamurti so much.

I may teach, I may not. In the deepest of my nerves I won’t. And yet it doesn’t matter if I do or don’t, it’s the depth of possibility, the freedom that matters.

This is a great, truly great course and it’s what we make of it and it makes of us.

Kripalu Yoga Journal – Goals of Teachers, “Self-observation with love”

Continuation of my journal and memories of the Kripalu Yoga Teacher Training. Monday 26th – first full day.

We start at 0630 with morning yoga. A little more vigorous than the gentle sessions I took before the course started. Lovely stretches, releasing my neck from the travelling, work, NYC. Sunlight pouring through the high windows of the Main Hall.

Goals of Teachers:

– Strengthen, inspire, inform personal practice
– Experience the unlimited power of yoga
– Hold space of sacred sanctuary and safety
– Opening the learning process, inquiry, mystery
– Recognise and understanding Self
– Instil, awaken knowledge of the Kripalu toolbag
– To transmit yoga, including the yamas and niyamas
– To become the best teacher I can be

We wrote down why we were here, and then stuck it up on a wall. It stayed there the whole course (almost!). I wrote:

– Find my voice
– Uncover buried feeling, release, heal
– Open and discover – what?
– Learn to relax more fully
– Learn how to share yoga
– Strengthen constitution – body and all systems
– Balance and grounding
– Enjoy four weeks out of the office!

What is Kripalu Yoga?

– “Self-observation with love” – Mr Kripalu
– A non-dogmatic approach that’s difficult to brand
– The Inquiry of Yoga
– Learning how to learn

It’s OK to be nervous, I am supported.
Speak in ‘I’ statements, first person

Afternoon:

This is going to be the strangest, newest, exploringest, unusual-situationist month ever. After 24 hours I am just realising what I might have let myself in for. Very good first session with Devarshi this afternoon. Long sequences each side and a very long integrating savasana.

Lots of experimental sessions in small groups and sharing with the mic with the whole group. I haven’t yet, but fully participating in our Full Moon group. Meeting some great people and getting used to the idea of communicating. I feel I need a few words with Devarshi and Mega [the course leaders] to check in with them. This evening… off!

….

I’ve rarely bee so consistently on edge, and never in such unpredictable circumstances. And yet at the same time, in the same day, experiencing deep relaxation. This evening’s session blew me away. Came to after relaxation convinced everyone had left the room. Full on class. Devarshi is a little mischievous.

An assistant teacher said they’d be a time when we each go on the stage and speak. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck! For once I can’t control this. I want to face it, even to crumble. If not with this group then with who? And I won’t crumble, or I will. Who knows?

Sat in the sun at breakfast and lunch. By supper, Shaun, Nathan and I were spaced out, wondering what we’d gotten into.

Alarm set for 0545.