Yoga Teacher Training-Episode 3

Here we go, I will give you my insights about episode 3 of my yoga teacher training. No, episode 3 didn’t take place at the beach, but I wanted to feature an image that I love, with a mood that I love, in a place that I love, for something that I love doing. Yoga.

Day 1: Episode 3 (have you read about episode 1 and 2 yet?) started on Friday afternoon, kicked off with a 90 minute yoga practice. We obviously didn’t know what peak pose we were working towards, but all we knew pretty soonish is that it’s going to be hard. We did lots of hamstring and hip flexor stretches, so suddenly it became clear. Peak pose = Hanumanasana (Splits). Whilst I’m aware of the all the benefits this pose has on offer, I’m simply not there yet, I’m still coping with the steps before, and I’m afraid I cannot see any benefits as yet. Now, I must say that my hips and my groins have been feeling quite stiff for the last months, so anything hip opening related is quite hard work for me at the moment. However, I’m confident that with the yoga teacher training, the right stretches and support through my osteopath, I will be able to ‘heal’ this part of my body and eventually, it will losen up.

After the sweaty asana practice, we had a break and did some revision of last week’s poses. We repeated the Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II) and Adho Mukha Svanasana (downward facing dog) assists plus added on the assists for Trikonasana and Parsvokanasana. Loads of input, but endlessly valuable. I’m so grateful for all I’m experiencing during my teacher training, physically, mentally and emotionally.

Day 2: I’m getting up at 7.30am, so that I have sufficient time for a good breakfast, since this day starts with theory instead of yoga practice, so I might as well have a big bowl of porridge. We read about inversions, such as handstand, headstand and forearm stand, so that in the afternoon we are ‘ready’ to go into our inversion practice. I must admit that I’ve been super excited about this part of the YTT. I have of course done these poses before, but I have never really learned it in that much detail, so I was curious to find out more about my body, my physical reactions as well as my feelings afterwards.

I always thought that I’m quite tight in my sternal and shoulders, and that I’m not able to open this body part properly during the inversion training. However, it turned out I did pretty well. I was beyond excited, trust me, to find out that I’m actually capable to do these asanas. And again, we talk about limiting beliefs. Limiting thoughts. Limiting emotions. I’m glad that generally speaking I like trying new things. The same in this case. After the warm up, I was keen to know, keen to try everything. And I absolutely loved the inversion training. It is challenging, yes. But it’s majorly fun and exciting. It is literally a change of perspective. And honestly speaking, we should all have a change of perspective way more often.

Take down your limiting beliefs. Embrace change instead.

After this challenging and exciting day, I’m heading home, feeling exhausted, yet so happy and grateful. And ready for a hot bath. Sleeping at 10pm. Fabulous!

Day 3: The training commenced at 9am. Since I went to bed early, I felt really good when the alarm went off. Plus I have a new morning routine that I’m looking forward to, because it means I can relax in bed for another 15 minutes. I do some stretches directly in bed, like child’s pose (Balasana), stretches for my hip flexor and cat-cow pose. It is nice and I can only recommend you a similar morning routine, especially when you feel stiff when waking up and also when you are struggling to get out of bed. Find something that excites you and puts you in a positive mood in the morning. A couple of months ago for example I danced for 5 minutes to feel refreshed and bright. I switched on my favourite song on Spotify and off I went, ahem danced. Just as a suggestion, it does help me, so it might help you, too. Back to the YTT. We started with a 90 minute practice again focusing on warming up our lower back, shoulders and chest, so that we can go deeper into more inversions and also backbends. Glad we focused on a different body part, since I could really feel my hamstrings and my hip flexor from the Friday session, phew.

The second part of the session consisted of corrections, assists and some theory by working through our script. We then went into groups of 4 people to do practice-teach of Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (shoulder bridge) and Salamba Sarvangasana (shoulder stand). We learned some techniques on how to teach these poses to a beginner class, for example by using the wall, and tools such as blankets to really support the shoulders. Most of us in the group said that they have never learned it like this before, so it was indeed helpful and very valuable to look into these poses in more detail. Thank you, Nella!

We finished the weekend with a beautifully relaxing Savasana and a strengthening meditation speaking to ourselves:

I trust myself and life that all I need to know is already within me.

On this note, trust yourself. Love yourself. Be yourself.

Yours, Nina

Yoga Teacher Training-Episode 2

As promised, I will be reporting about my experiences during my yoga teacher training in Munich. Yesterday, we completed our second weekend after we’ve had one weekend off. And that was necessary I believe, as it was quite a lot of information to digest and I also wanted to use the ‘break’ to gradually practice yoga with the lessons learned. And there were already loads, which I’m so happy about and grateful for.

Episode 2 started on Friday afternoon at 4pm and finished at 9pm. 5 hours of asanas practice, assists and breathing exercises. Whilst writing this, I’m realising how much I love doing what I’m doing at the moment and I really wish this feeling will last as long as possible. No, actually, you know what? I’m manifesting this for me, right here, right now.

Yoga is the way to come closer and closer to the real me.

Day 1: We started with a yoga practice on Friday. I was fine for the first 20 minutes, however, afterwards, my arms felt weak after we practiced the 20th downward facing dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana). I kept sinking into my shoulders and I didn’t stretch my arms properly. Phew, good thing is, I’m so conscious and mindful about these things, that I can directly correct myself. The bad thing is I was really fighting to hold the asana. And then we even practiced Chaturanga and upward facing dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana), but I somehow found my breath, strength and will power from within to flow through the sequence. And I really loved it.

The second part of day 1 consisted of breathing techniques and body scan methods. We went through them last time and our homework was to guide a small group through one of these 2 exercises. We went into groups of 5 and one person led through the meditation and breathing exercise. I started in our group, not because I’m a geek, but it actually enables me to really do it how I would do it, without the influence of the others and their ways of working. I decided to lead my participants through an active Savasana with the help of a body scan. I do love body scans, as we can all use a bit more feeling and mindfulness regarding our body, that walks us through life day in, day out.

Take good care of your body and yourself. It walks you through life, every single day.

I realised as well, how much we take our breathing for granted, but how do we know that there will be another breath in after we breathed out? I will leave this with you. Just think about it and treasure your body, your breath, everything that you are to the fullest. Be grateful for everything that is already there.

Don’t take your breath for granted.

We ended the exercise with feedback and discussed things like timing and pace, whether to address your students with “you” (Plural) or “you” (Singular) – yes in German there is a actually a difference. It’s complicated… We were recommended to speak in Singular in order to make people feel treated as an individual. Makes total sense!

Day 2: We started at 9am with a yoga practice with Nella. I set my alarm that morning for 7.25am, but you know that’s the thing it didn’t go off. So, I slept until almost 8am which was tight timing, considering that I always need breakfast. So, I tried multi-tasking, getting dressed and preparing my porridge plus packing my stuff out. Who created multi-tasking anyways? It is completely stressful and in the end things take even longer, or is it just me? No, I really want to go to single-tasking, it is less stressful, and focus is key, as we all know. Whilst I’m still struggling with this at times, I can feel my progress and my self-discipline is increasing. We revised asanas from the previous week and also learned assists on warrior 2 (Virabhadrasana 2). Really helpful and I can see how, if done properly, the assists have such a great impact on the posture in this asana. It’s fascinating how our bodies work and how they always try to compensate for body parts that are less stretched, for example. We also did other standing poses such as warrior 3 (Virabhadrsana 3). Haha, after practising this pose in the middle of the room and literally everyone letting the standing foot slip inside, we moved over to the wall to practice this pose, with more resistance. And again, I felt that my body always wanted to move away from the wall to compensate what my balance and strength wasn’t able to deliver.

After this pretty sweaty asana practice, we did a bit of theory in our script and started with sequencing. It seemed clear to me in which order you’d put various asanas, however I found it difficult once we added asanas that I’m not practicing as often, so I wasn’t too familiar with how you’d integrate them into a sequence. But hey, that is exactly why I’m doing the YTT, I want to learn as much as I can, as deeply as possible. We also got some homework on sequencing as well as categorising standing poses, so let’s see how this works out. So happy to be able to learn something that I love!

Day 3: We started at 9am again, but this time with our yoga philosophy teacher Ralph. The day commenced with some lovely breathing exercises that calmed us down and made us more grounded. The highlight for me was to breathe in when you go into a stretch with your body, instead of breathing out. Usually when doing a forward bend, we tend to breathe out automatically, however in order to widen the lower back area, it is great to breathe in. I felt different and lighter in a way. We practiced different ways of Pranayama and I indulged in Savasana before the break.

The second part of the day was yoga philosophy with focus on the ‘Yogasutra’. We work with Ralph’s translation and interpretation of Patanjalis’ Yogasutra and I keep thinking just how helpful it is to make this piece of yoga accessible for us through someone so experienced and wise. The core message for me so far is that we need to free ourselves from pain (dukha), that we need to become silent and still, that we must realise that we are nothing of what we believed we are in the first place and only by giving up this thought, we can be freed and free of pain. In school, I never liked subjects such as religion and history, but now I’m fully hooked to the topics we discuss during the YTT. Of course, I’ve chosen to do this, but I also find it fascinating to really understand the word Yoga, where it stems from and where it can take us, if we keep working on ourselves. And as I understand it, it can take us to Purusha, which is when the seer in us has become fully silent and peaceful.

Yours, Nina