Meditation Challenge: My first weekend of Yoga Teacher Training

This last weekend I began my yoga teacher training.  It is one weekend a month for 9 months. It was kinda fantastic.  I had forgotten just how lovely a group of women can be.  There are 15 of us and we range in age from 30 (how come I am always the youngest at these things?) to probably mid 60s.  There are mothers and teachers and engineers, but the important thing is that they are all very open-minded and loving.  This sounds so simple, but when you are apart of it, it is amazing.  Everyone is happy and excited about life and thrilled to be there to be deepening their yoga practice and learning to teach. The teachers are vivacious and lovely people also.  I was a bit afraid of them not being approachable as they seem to be important people.  Not at all, they were happy to chat and relax and just share stories too.

By the way, this teaching thing – super harder than I would have expected.  My teachers over the years just make it look so easy that I never really thought it was that hard.  I guess this just means that they are good and I am just beginning to grasp exactly how good they are.  This weekend we learned Tadasana (Mountain) and Uttananasna (standing forward bend).  These are basic yoga poses that one learns quit quickly and easily when you are learning yoga.  I can’t count the number of times that I have done each of them.  However, try leading someone through the poses and suddenly the words that seemed so easy on your teachers lips, aren’t there anymore.  But after stumbling through it a couple of times, it seemed to get a bit easier….if only I can remember to tell people to inhale and exhale!  One woman remarked, “My students are all dead! I forgot to tell them to breathe!”

A hefty part of the teacher training is classes in meditation.  I guess I logically knew that the physical practice of yoga was meant to prepare the yogi to meditate, but I haven’t really ever put the two together.  Meditation has always scared me just a bit.  I mean you are just supposed to sit and do nothing except attempt to still your mind for somewhere from 20 minutes to all day.  It is intimidating! I am a person that does things and I have an awfully hard time sitting still, which is all the more reason I should, but still….  We had a class each day on meditation and giving us the basic technique on how to set yourself, relax yourself and then just try to be.  The teacher, Sundari, challenged each of us to try to develop a daily meditation practice of anywhere from 20 minutes up to an hour if we could get ourselves to do it.  She said that it has completely changed her life for the better.  So I thought I would try, I have wanted to for years, but there were always excuses.  I thought I might blog about it from time to time just to keep myself honest!

So today I started.  I set my iPhone for 20 minutes and sat on a yoga block. (Your knees should be lower than your hips and my hips aren’t that flexible).  I am going to try to increase 5 minutes a week at least until I get to 30 minutes, then I will reevaluate.  My mind was rather scatterbrained.  I had a really hard time bringing it back to just being.  I tried to concentrate on my breathe and give myself the mantra of “om” on the inhale and “shanti” on the exhale.  I had mixed results.  I kept thinking about all the things around the house that needed to be done.  Then towards the end my leg fell asleep, which was very distracting, so I moved it a bit to wake it up.  The yoga block was a bit hard on my bum too.  I used meditation cushions this last weekend and I am thinking one might be a good investment.  Perhaps at some point my hips will be flexible enough that I can just sit on the floor.  However, until then I need some propping up!

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