Third day of my 3 months long Ashtanga Yoga Teacher Training Course at Tattva Yogashala in Rishikesh with Kamal Singh and Sunil Sharma and I have the impression to have already been here working/studying for weeks!
First 2 days have been pretty intense, the schedule is pretty intense… it sees us on the mat from 6.30 am to 9.00 pm, with only 1.30h break for brunch and 1.30h break for dinner. The program includes about 2 hours asana practice to start the day with, followed by about 2 hours kriyas and pranayama. At noon time, we start again with a 1h workshop, 1h yoga nidra, 2h yoga philosophy and between 2 and 3 hours of Adjustment session. And we get homeworks as well!!
In just 2 days, I’ve been doing so many new and different things far beyond whatever expectation I might have had. I’ve been pretty traditional in my ashtanga practice up to now (yeah, though I took a 2 years TTC in Anusara Yoga), I mean the way Ashtanga Yoga is thought in Mysore, where you actually mainly do a self-practice and no pranayama, kriyas, yoga nidra or other yogic techniques are taught. So you can imagine myself freaking out when yesterday morning I was given all the necessary for Jala Neti (water cleansing) and Sutra Netri (cleansing with a thread) to be performed just before the asana practice!!! (Not so bad in the end with the support of the teachers!!). And that was followed by learning Yogic Breathing, Kapalabhati, deep Uddhyana Bandhas, Nauli, Vastrika, Sheetali pranayama, etc… as well as chants linked to Chakra energy circles.
And I won’t touch here the amazing experience of Yoga Nidra, with lot in common with Vipassana meditation in the way Sunil teaches it.
As to asana class, the level of students is rather different, from beginners to more advanced practitioners, and Kamal has made all of us start from the basics… you would than imagine that to be less work, but… well… that’s not! Starting with more than 20 sun salutations (both A and B) on the very first day was definetely a sign of what was coming next. Kamal is really amazing when leading the class and extremely generous when teaching adjustments, covering all possible situations a teacher can face when students go into a posture; on the other side, he expects us to work very hard on every single aspect of the yoga practice and to be 100% here and now. And this is giving a new light to what might be called ‘basics’.
So, my feelings and impressions after 2 days are: ‘I’m the right place, this is exactly what I was looking for though what I found is far above whichever expectation I might have had’. That’s the first time I have the feeling of plunging myself fully in ‘yoga’, though I’m well aware Yoga is a lot wider than tools and techniques, but that was my vivid feeling last night during the meditation session hold in the night on the banks of the sacred Ganges.
Here a few pictures from this morning Pooja to kick off the AYTTC: