Teacher Training Student Diary
Vikasa Teacher Training Apr/May 2017
The best idea was flying in from Australia a day ahead of the training to have a chance too settle in. It allowed me to also take in a 7am Meditation class followed by a 2 hour Complete yoga practice, a swim down the beach and a massage to get the cobwebs of travel out. It felt great to be back at Vikasa having only been here 8 months ago on a week long retreat with my studio back home in Melbourne.
All day a steady stream of people were arriving. It was hard to know if they were also on the YTT or just guests. A little bit of anxiety set in as I took in the number of people scheduled to also attend the YTT. I’m not shy but it takes me a while to warm up normally. Mikey made us all feel right at home, making sure he had a chance to say hello and answer any questions. Most of those already in the resort mingled throughout the day and naturally broke the ice. Later that evening the Vikasa teachers all welcomed us to the training and gave us an overview of the things to come. I recall looking at all the news faces and all of us looking a bit like deer in spotlights. Not sure what was about to come, both frightened and excited at same time.
I woke early on day 1 to watch the sunrise over Vikasa. The sun crept up so bright, with colors of orange, yellow and pink then turned a brilliant white. It took my breath away. A spiritual sign I took as being on my right path. I vowed to wake at 6am every day and make the pilgrimage down to the waters edge to witness this daily beauty and journal my gratitude.
Kosta started us off with a 2 hour class. It was at this point that I felt every muscle screaming at me. I possibly might have over done it the morning prior. It was rewarding to finally start the training and scary at the same time. Would my body hold up? Only time will tell. By the end of day 1 we knew everyone’s names and had assumed our favourite spots in the Sala. By the end of day 2, I watched as people (like me) kept assuming the same places in the Sala to practice in. I’m not superstitious but liked the security of staying in the same place each session, comfort when there is no comfort.
Day 3 was a great day understanding what Yoga is and where it came from. Our connection to the universe and it’s connection to us. This training for me has always been about awakening my consciousness. A desire to know what life is about, where I have come from and where I’m going. It started as a little tickle a year ago and has continued to obsess me ever since. The practice of Yoga is a ritual for me, but the deeper understanding of the path to enlightenment is my passion. How to achieve this is through the practice of Yoga. Perhaps it was these sessions that stirred something deep inside me, for in the afternoons Yin class, all the emotions that they warned us would bubble up, came flowing out of me. it surprised me so much, tears that would not stop streaming down my face. A great sadness that I could not understand or explain. What was it? I don’t know, but it went just as fast as the next position began and left me pondering on the experience well into the evening. What more will come up over the next 3 and a half weeks?
Reaching the end of the week was a relief, physically, mentally and emotionally. I continued to have moments each day where tears would come up during practice and it really helped having Alicia there to support us emotionally during this journey. We learnt about the nutritional aspects of Yoga and lifestyle habits all assisting the body to reach a higher state of consciousness. Vikasa is set up so thoughtfully to help cater for everyone to practice the Yoga way, with the food, the classes and the location.
After a day off to relax, personally I thought I would be better physically to come back to the mat. However, I felt at my all time lowest. I literally felt like giving up. The pain all over was intense and every asana felt like I was back to the very beginning again. The voices in my head were relentless and I felt like I was getting beaten down. Like the previous week my appetite ceased and I felt like I had to force myself to eat. Alicia picked up that something was not right and spent 30mins talking me through the emotions. It made a huge difference and by the afternoon practice my energy was back and had a appetite for dinner. It’s really interesting watching the rollercoaster of emotions throughout this process and not judging them or analysing them, but observing them.
Anatomy started on Wednesday of week 2, which changed the schedule up a bit from the previous 8 days. I kind of missed my morning practice too be honest as I am a morning person, but moving it to the night time gave me a chance to see how this affects my body. It was an intense schedule of classes this week with little chance to rest in the day. We started with a brief meditation before 5 hours of Anatomy classes before an evening flow class for 2 hours. It was allot of sitting and studying. The end of week 2 culminated in 2hour self practice class. This week I felt allot more balanced emotionally. The theory and less intense practice allowed me to have some well deserved rest emotionally and physically.
On our off day we headed off to see the Mummified Monk who meditated so much he left his body undercomposed. I had a chance to pray with him and give an offering before heading off to see some amazing waterfalls. There is so much to see and do here in Koh Samui, it really is great. The staff at Vikasa can organize these tours for you which makes your day off less stressful.
Week 3 was warned could be when people start to experience huge shifts emotionally as the practice becomes stronger and harder. Perhaps because I had such an emotional shift in week one, the week was not as emotionally challenging as I had expected. The highlights have to be the chanting from our Yoga Philosophy teacher – Ram. He is so knowledgeable and has everyone on the edge of their mats each session. No-one wants to even get up to go to the toilet in case they miss something. This has been so rewarding, hearing all the ancient wisdom handed down thousands and thousands of years. It’s so complex and layered that I’m sure this is just scratching the surface, making me more eager to keep learning about this great practice – Yoga.
The first round of 1 on 1 training started this week too, and for some including me, this was very confronting and nerve wracking. However, I surprised myself when I managed to remember a whole 1 hour asana practice and taught it to someone without looking at notes or stumbling. The test will come next week when this is to a group.
Jason, one of our fabulous teachers, offered a optional Yoga cleanse activity called Shania Prakshalana where by you drink several litters of salt water in order to purify the bowels. The process took about 3 hours and half of the class decided to undertake the challenge. The results last for weeks and this can be done several times a year. I would recommend trying it.
Final assessment was upon us before we knew it. A whole month was near it’s completion and i felt like it had only just begun. I felt underprepared for leaving the safety of Vikasa, yet knew that we all have to leave some-time and spread this sacred practice. The tests where easy really to complete and we had several days to hand this work in. We all had the chance to teach a group of class members through our 1 hour Yoga class for final assessment. It was nerve wracking! I have 6 friendly faces starring at me, moving to my instructions and 2 teachers watching and listening to everything you say. I surprised myself though and had some great feedback at the end to take away and work on. Overall I passed and became a Yoga teacher over night. It was a feeling of great accomplishment and one which I will cherish for ever.
The best was yet to come. A graduation party on the Red Barron. A Chinese boat which toured us around the island and a chance to let our hair down and congratulate everyone’s success. We all were presented with our certificates and those game jumped off the boat from a great height. Another opportunity to face our fears.
The time came all too soon to leave and we bid farewell to one another with tears streaming down our faces and promises to stay in contact. I wish I had more time to stay and bask in the moment, but home was waiting, so was my daughter and husband who missed me terribly.
Fast forward 1 month. A month has passed and it feels still surreal. When I came home I had committed to maintaining a strong self practice, however I had not anticipated just how hard this was to accomplish in winter. The temperature was 5 degrees and I hardly saw the sun. I felt depressed and alone and guilty for not practicing as I had hoped. It took me 2 weeks to recover from the fact I was not at Vikasa having someone cook for me, make my bed, teach me hours and hours of yoga. Not to mention missing the warmth of the sun and beach. I longed for 2 hour practices and the agony of 2 min Chatarunga’s Kosta tortured us with. The practice back home felt rushed, incomplete and lacked connection. I realized that I still have what I learnt deep down and all I had to do was create that space again for myself.
I resolved to now search for a Yoga space to create the style of Yoga that speaks to my soul, a chance to teach others the path to enlightenment and enable me to have compete inner alchemy. I cannot wait to come back to Vikasa and continue my journey for there is so much more to learn. I will cherish this moment for the rest of my life.
About the Author:
Carly Gallagher – Naturpath and Yoga teacher