Only one week left until we are all (hopefully) qualified yoga instructors! It is completely bizarre.
This week, everyone started on a quite a low. People were tired from illnesses and seemed generally a bit unenthused and I was preparing myself for a long week. However, things really turned around after Monday and I cannot believe how fast this entire week has flown by. Everyone has completely relaxed around one another and the atmosphere has really upped its game. Classes have become more flowing as we practice what we have learned and everyone has had their first turn at teaching!
In addition, exam planning has officially begun – next week is exam time! We found out who we would be teaching alongside and on what day. I will be teaching on Friday morning (the last day) with Marjke. Our planning is going well and we have worked out which areas we will be taking throughout the sequence. I will be instructing warm up, the standing sequence and shavasana; so a good little mixture! Timing is the main issue, as you don’t want to add in too much but you don’t want people holding postures for 10 minutes at a time! Otherwise, I feel relatively confident that I can talk people into the poses after all our practice and that has really relaxed me.
Abhi started off our week as usual and we focussed on teaching cues and mantras in the mornings, whilst in the evenings he gave us very intense ashtanga flow classes! Abhi comes from a Brahman family and so has grown up sitting and singing mantras for around 7 hours at a time – he sings them beautifully. So to sit down with him and discuss meanings, rhythm and sounds was like having a miniature master class – although I definitely cannot call myself a natural, the pronunciation gets me every time on certain words! As usual we were put through our paces during asana practice but as we were given an ‘Abhi style class’ it reached a whole new level! The now well recognised exclamation of ‘DO SOMETHING!’ whenever we attempted to catch our breath greeted our ears on a regular basis! We were all absolutely dripping with sweat by the end of those two sessions but it was great to see how far we had all come with our strength and stamina!
Deepa followed Abhi and also split the sessions. In the mornings we practiced a flow class, perfecting postures and then in the evenings we were divided into groups and took turns teaching warm up, standing and sitting sequences. For Deepa’s last morning class, she instructed us that we could not open our eyes for the entire practice and instead should work in and focus entirely on our bodies. This was a surprisingly intense task. For just under two hours all of us worked through mantras, warm up, sun salutation, downward dog variations and a few gentle standing and sitting postures. It was a really interesting way of teaching and again something I would definitely use in the future. It is amazing how much you become aware of. I seemed to become hypersensitive to my alignment, breathing and posture and was then able to correct mistakes without even having to see it. Having said that, it was a relief to open my eyes at the end! 2 hours was a long time to focus on just my body and it takes a weird amount of concentration! I definitely have a long way to go if I want to try and meditate for that length of time!
Then finally, to finish our week, Jeet. Jeet has been cracking us up all of this week. I am going to miss hearing ‘Where you going babba?’ whenever he sees one of us drifting into the wrong alignment/position. Jeet is so relaxed and entertaining that we spent most of the classes laughing. During our first morning class Jeet had intended to lead us through the traditional Shivananda sequence but he got so distracted showing us the numerous ways in which to do a headstand that we never got round to the rest of the class! The following morning he took us through a ‘Jeet class’ and his sequencing is really great – challenging but really good fun. Shavasana we spent laughing hysterically because we all got a fit of the giggles when he did his typical ‘RE-llaaaaaaaaaaaaaxx’ and then he could not stop laughing either. Basically, our class finished with huge smiles on our faces which was a great way to end our final training week.
On Saturday evening, we ended with a group yoga session on the roof at sunset. All three teachers were there and all 55 students! It was such a fantastic way to finish our lessons – looking onto the mountains; breathing in ‘fresh’ air; and the sounds of honking horns and cows from the streets below! Rounded off with with numerous pictures and some cake, it tied up the week perfectly and readied us for exams next week.