Once again, I'm just about to take off from my beloved Shanghai. It's time for another break from the big city and it's time to get my Yoga Teaching Certificate! If someone would have told me this one year ago I wouldn't have believed them. I still don't quite believe it but tomorrow it becomes reality when I land in Indonesia to get straight into intense Ashtanga Yoga Practice at the Kura Kura Yoga Retreat in south of Bali.
Reflections: Dreaming Big vs. Doing Small
As the date of my yoga training have gotten closer, I've started reflecting upon my journey with yoga and the journey with my self. How I through the last some 5-10 years have come to realize that I have control over my life and my choices. I've gone from just "dreaming big" to actually "doing small". Leon has a quote on our mirror that explains this in a very rational way (men are so rational, right)
- shape your decisions (what do you want to focus on and to achieve)
- shape your actions (what's the small and big steps you need to take towards this achievement)
- shape your life (small daily actions becomes big changes in your life)
See, I'd once daydream about my "next life" as a passionate yogi and becoming a yoga teacher. Or daydream about that in this life yoga would suddenly just happen to me in some magical way (Indian guru would fall down from the sky and take me under his wing to an ashram, kind of way). At some point I realized I should stop dreaming and start deciding. So I decided I'd no longer do sporadic yoga here and there as I'd done the last 2 years, I decided to commit more to my yoga practice. This was over 1.5 years ago and though not always easy for me, I've practiced even a little every day and increased my level a lot.
My Yoga Practice and The Yoga Jungle - Hatha, Vinyasa & Ashtanga
Since I started being committed to yoga and understanding some of the differences in the jungle of yoga classes, I've practiced various types of yoga. Mainly "flow" (Vinyasa) classes which are characterized by a faster pace without transitions or breaks between yoga poses.
I've also spent time with Hatha yoga, a more slow type of yoga often with breaks between poses and the best type of yoga for beginner's who wants to grasp the art of combining postures (asanas) and breath control (pranayama). Main thing with both Hatha and Vinyasa classes is that teachers put together their own sequences and the whole class will be following the "flow" designed by the instructor. For this reason, I often had the feeling I couldn't improve certain poses or at least track my improvement: every class was different poses and/or combination of poses.
6 months ago I had my first experience with Ashtanga yoga and the Indian Mysore tradition when I did a project with Red Door Yoga in Shanghai. Simply put, Ashtanga yoga is a systematic approach to yoga, which depicts series of poses followed and repeated at every practice. It is also a vinyasa type of yoga with great importance of the alignment of breath and movement.
Besides being a city in South of India, Mysore is a is a style of teaching these yoga series that differs from traditional teaching style in that every student follow their own pace and level. The instructor helps and adjusts each student individually and when you start your practice, the instructor will only teach you a new pose when you've completely grasped the one before. It's the most physical and mental demanding type of yoga I've tried and I absolutely love it.
As I've been traveling a lot the last 6 months, I've mostly been practicing the Ashtanga yoga's primary series on my own and on-the-go. I've used youtube a lot and my favorite youtube guru is John Scott. Check out his practice video here and learn more about the Ashtanga Primary Series (note he's been practicing more than 25 years and is amazing!). The primary series consist of 75 poses and is the 1st of 3 series in total.
Indian Yoga Traditions in the Heart of Indonesia
I'm doing my teacher training in Bali with Samyak Yoga - an international yoga school based in India but leading teacher courses in both Mysore (India), Bali, Paris and Cambodia. I'm super excited to do my training with a school from the traditional Indian tradition and at the same time be able to go back to Indonesia (if you've seen my recent Indonesia posts you'll know I absolutely love Indo). India is still a far-away & unfamiliar place to me but maybe one day I'll go there and realize it's truly a ZEN haven... Until then I can't wait to go back Indonesia - Leon will be surfing around the coasts of Indonesia's islands meanwhile so I won't be far from him as well, which is always a very good thing!
Now it's time to pack up and get to Pudong Airport, follow my yoga journey here on the blog and wish me luck - I'm about just as nervous as excited for this amazing education for body & mind I've decided to commit to!