On June 17th 2017, a timid 30 year old women gets on an Air India flight to Delhi, India to complete her 200 hour yoga teacher training certificate in Rishikesh.
Nervous as anything, she finds her seat, to notice a non-English speaking Indian woman sitting in it. She tells herself to trust and let it go, and squishes herself between the lady and a large Indian man. The lady then attempts to gesture to use the nervous woman’s phone to call her son, and quite rudely points to her phone and speaks in Indian, as the nervous woman is attempting to record her temporary voicemail messages while overseas. 12 hours of this,… ‘Great’, she thinks. Just breath! The host then comes and asks her if the man’s wife could swap seats with her… ‘Is it an aisle seat?’ she requests. ‘Yes’ the host replies. After settling into her third seat she thinks, ’Time to open my ‘Rise, Woman, Rise’ book (thanks for the tip Teegs!), that will give me the courage I need’, as she is handed a traditional ghee and dairy overloaded Indian meal (the plant-based meal request must have been lost in the musical chairs)… A bag of fruit should suffice for lunch and dinner right!?
This was one of the many situations on my trip to India, where I needed to practise trust, flow, gratitude and compassion. I think they are great themes (plus a few others), to attempt to sum up what was an incredible, life changing, yet challenging 4.5 weeks of my life.
So, grab yourself a cuppa and let’s do this…
Going into this experience, I knew it would change me, and while I had no real expectations, I kind of had a vision of what the 4 weeks may look like… Lot’s of yoga, physical and mental strength, lots of learning and forming beautiful friendships. The means by which it happened were very much different… Click here for my blog: A day in the life at a yoga school in Rishikesh India to get the detailed low down/more pictures.
In particular, the day of arrival, was full of such nerves and meeting new people, but after our first day together (and loving getting into a strict yoga practise), we all saw that we were in the same boat, and the nerves settled, even when being interviewed by the Rishikesh new station for International Yoga Day that was happening that week!
Now that day was an experience and a half – tears of gratitude streaming down my face as I thought WOW I am in India, doing Yoga, by the Ganges, On International Yoga Day!
But after the nerves settled in week 1… The stomach was then stirred up… I came down with gastro (vomiting) from, what I think was a combination of the drinking water, food and being in a totally new country. My body was thinking ‘what have you done to me!? Freezing cold to humid, hot conditions’. I don’t think it matters how healthy you are… If the different bugs, microbes and reduced hygiene practises are too much for you, you will get sick… once, or twice, or thee times (or consistently). I stopped drinking the water (which destroyed my Brita water filter in 2 weeks (they usually last 3 months!), and started to feel better, so then I got a bit excited, and went back to the water…
Gastro bout 2 (the other end this time) and a cold (not at the same time thankfully). Even though I was unwell for 24 hours, I was still so excited, I loved our 4 hours of yoga a day and learning all about the philosophy and anatomy. My body was detoxing (hence the cold), and I had already experienced such amazing health benefits in just over a week – improved eyesight (yes – glasses be gone pretty much), reduced monthly cramping/PMS and no knots in my neck/shoulders. I had definitely made the right decision, and found another of my callings!
Previous students from the school, had said that week 2 was the hardest, and we all thought, what are they talking about!? We are fine… Then it happened…
GET ME OUT OF HERE! Gastro (again), skin rashes, PMS, missing home, heat, as well as the pressure of assessments and teaching classes, had sent everyone a bit crazy.
I even attempted to change my flights home to the day after finishing, and not doing any travel after. In the end the flights were too expensive to change. It was not so much the pressure of the course, it was fantastic, it was the incredibly different conditions from home, missing those I love and the challenges of the physical issues. Even so, your mind and even in a way, your body, still wanted to go to classes which made it frustrating (but I only missed 3 yoga sessions the whole time, so yes you can do yoga with gastro, haha). But then the most incredible, life changing week began…
We kicked the second last weekend off with a talent show, which was just what the Dr ordered, to see the many and varied talents of our incredible new family (yep, you get to know these people so quickly and deeply that they feel like family) – teaching the macarena, poetry, self-defense, impersonations, making bracelets, partner meditations and massage plus so much more (including my Indian style bliss balls).
While we all thought that the talent show had changed the mood, we were not prepared for the intense feelings that the next day, and week would bring. 12 of us headed out for tapas and tea at a river side cafe, and then made our way for dinner with Lena, to meet her boyfriend who is Indian. She was telling us about this amazing organic cafe and kitchen, and I must admit, I was skeptical. But after the 45 minute walk, I realised it was TOTALLY WORTH IT… So much delicious smoothies, smoothie bowls, bliss balls, salads… whole foods, plant based foods, OMG.
And such immense gratitude at him paying for everyone’s meal! So. Much. Gratitude!
How could I possibly leave these amazing people in a week?!
For more photos and my raw, vulnerable thoughts and feelings, head to my day by day diary entries on my blog post here: Daily Diary – Yoga Teacher Training in India.
So this brings me to the final and the most life altering experience, teaching our yoga class and being taught by our fellow yoga family (other students). It lit me up to teach my class on the Thursday night…
But what really got the tears, love and gratitude flowing was this class… the final restorative class conducted by the beautiful Mackenzie and Laure…
In feedback, Kaitlin started crying, then I could not contain myself, the class was perfect to finish 4 weeks of yoga. Soft, gentle, releasing, comforting, loving, trusting. 4 weeks of ups and downs were able to flow out of my body in this trusting, safe place. Arriving 4 weeks ago, I was scared about even doing a yoga pose in front of everyone, let alone teaching it… And let alone crying in front of everyone! How would I get through graduation tomorrow and saying bye to everyone? I had dinner then went back to my room, to digest the past 4 weeks and to pack.
I pumped the tunes on my phone and ‘One Day’ by Matisyahu came on… That started the waterworks… Again! For the whole night I cried, no I sobbed, Sobbing tears of utter joy, utter aliveness!
I had never felt this alive in my life…
Music that had been on my phone for years, that I was so sick of, was so powerful, it was giving me goosebumps.
It was the first time in my life that I couldn’t sleep, because I was too excited and high on life…
It was the first time in my life that I had really been high on life, not because of alcohol!
It was the first time in my life that I reflected on how far I had come and what my current life looked like.
I was alive.
I was here.
I was present.
I was feeling.
Joy. Gratitude. Love. Laughter. ALIVENESS!
I got through graduation the next day, and felt a little numb, I think I had expressed all of my emotions the night before. It was still an amazing experience and we had a lot of fun, we went back to our fav cafe for lunch, hired saris and got all girly for the first time in 4 weeks.
After our goodbyes on the Sunday, The rest of the trip is history… Rest and recovery in Delhi after a long and confronting 8 hour (300km) trip into Delhi…. more on that in my Day by day account of my experience in India blog.
I cannot really put into words how transformative this experience was, but I hope this has given you some idea.
So thank you for investing the time to share in my experiences, that have made me a richer, more loving, grateful, trusting, alive human being, to better serve you all!
Are you thinking about heading to India to do your Yoga Teacher Training/doing your teacher training in general?
Read my blog here: A day in the life at a yoga school in Rishikesh, India. And coming soon: What you need to know about attending yoga teacher training in Rishikesh, India.
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