Monthly Archives: September 2012

Day 12 to 14 – Change is the only constant

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It’s day 14 today and we are into our third week of the course already! I am amazed at how fast time flies, how a lot of people have difficulties distinguishing from one day to another (it must be the island and the gorgeous surroundings that lulls you into a state of presence – always in the now that you kind of forget what was happening before that) and the progress that I am observing both within myself and with the other YITs in their own practice.

For starters, I am constantly waking up to achy hamstrings but I can now reach just a little further than I used to be able to in a standing or sitting forward bend. I may be slightly more flexible than I was when I first arrived. My wrists are whinging from all the downward dogs and arm balancing we have been doing, but I believe they are growing stronger too. I imagine tiny strings of muscles growing all around my wrists so that I am more supported in all the poses that requires me to be on my hands. My core muscles still shake in a boat pose, and they require most work of anything else, but I believe I can hold it there just a tad bit longer than before.

I did my unassisted plough in front of Kosta after evening practice today, about 13 days ago I was gripping hard on both of his shins going into the pose. Today I accidentally uttered an ‘oh shit’ when I momentarily lost my balance and he said ‘no, no shit here’ in his Russian kinda humor and continued to watch me complete the pose. Kirsten helped me into my headstand today, as I am slowly working with him, George and Kosta to confidently get into it on my own. I love the way each of these difficult poses takes away just one more of my fears and make me feel that much more – well fearless.

Change, while not always something to be celebrated for, almost always does everybody good. Even when we don’t feel like it while in the process.

I am also falling in love with this island a little more each day. On our second day off yesterday, a bunch of us found ourselves on Lamai side of the island. We did a bit of street shopping, saw a rock that looked like a penis (and subsequently became a ‘nature’s attraction’ according to the sign they put up for tourists there), drove up the mountain side and found Magic Garden and Ta Nim waterfall, had amazing authentic Thai food for lunch (finally!) and got acquainted with one of Maude’s friends who owns a charming cafe called Lolamui that makes the most amazeballs pumpkin custard and coconut cake.

Graduation day will come by sooner than I’ll realise, and the one change I am not looking forward to is the bunch of us separating and going on our own ways after this. But that too will be a change which I am confident that will result in many great outcomes as each of us incorporate this experience into our own lives and hopefully spread a little bit more happiness into the world

With the gorgeous YITs on our off day in search of the Magic Garden on top of the mountain

Grandpa Rock – Spot the penis

Day 11 – Sound of Music

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Before starting on this one month yoga teacher’s training certification (TTC), I had no idea what to expect. Coming into day 11, I realised TTC’s can be very challenging. It is hard. But it is not something I am complaining about though, if in fact, this is one of the most hardest things I have ever attempted AND enjoy it thoroughly.

A lot of my fellow YITs have trouble recalling the day and date and sometime the time of a given day. Like we each remember that we had some bananas in coconut milk for desserts, but for the life of us can’t recall the night that it was served for dinner. It is as if time has been meshed into one single occurring event, present moment melting into the next present moment. Eckhart Tolle must have been on to something, because being in the here and now truly does allow you to savor every single conversation, every single encounter.

My day here starts early at 6am. Sometimes it’s 5.20 am when I join the early group for practice down at the beach.

Practice led by fellow YIT on the beach at sunrise – photo courtesy of George Anthony

On days I don’t go down to the beach, I sit in quiet corners around Vikasa before morning practice begins at 8am until 10.30am. Then it’s brunch. Theory class starts at 12 and goes on to 2pm. Evening practice begins at 4.30 and runs until 7pm. Dinner is served at 7.30pm before I return to my hut and it’s lights out by 10.30pm.

It’s eat yoga, drink yoga, breathe yoga, sleep yoga. Yoga as  a lifestyle rather than just the typical yoga as a once/twice a week asana practice that I am used to before.

In the last 11 days I have learnt what it means to see beyond the physical, to go past my fears, to challenge learned limitations, to be vulnerable by sharing deeply personal stories and viewpoints with people whom I have just met. Today, I rediscovered the art of listening. Not listening to someone in a conversation, but listening to what is going on around me. To nature and the subtle sounds that it makes which too often go unnoticed because we are always too busy entertaining our own thoughts.

It had been raining for the best part of today, and all through the evening practice. When we finally got into our Savasanas, I worried for a second how we were all going to climb up that 108 stairs for dinner in this rain. Then I realised rather than worrying about that (because we will HAVE to eat at some point!) I decided to focus on what I can hear at that moment instead. And you know what? I counted almost 10 different distinct sounds – the sound of the crashing waves, rain pelting onto the nearby swimming pool, frogs and toads croaking and crickets singing….

The kind of sound that someone might buy off a CD to help them meditate. And I have it streaming on live (on nature podcast! haha). So yes, practice has been hard and challenging, inversions are scary, boat poses shake the muscles in me that I don’t even know I have. But to be in the moment and listening to all the melodious cacophony around me, on top of all these other things that I have come to understand about myself and others makes it all absolutely worth it.

 

Day 10 – “It’s the laughter that keeps us coming back for more”

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It’s Day 10 in Koh Samui. I have discovered some spots around the Vikasa ground which I have come to call my own in the early stillness of the morning. There is a section which overlooks the rocks and the sea, a quiet little corner where I can sit, and enjoy the morning sun and the sound of crashing waves. This is one of the many things which I have come to appreciate about my teacher’s training course on Vikasa’s ground. The quiet corners which allows time for self reflection.

Of course there are things which I do wish I could change too about my experience here. Like how I wish my bamboo hut was either somewhat sound proof (quite impossible I know, but wishful thinking for now won’t hurt), that the mozzies and bugs will find food elsewhere instead from my blood, and that I can sleep in beyond 6am because that is when the restaurant from the next door resort starts operating and playing Backstreet Boys song as my alarm wake up call.

Charming on my first day maybe. Not so charming when every muscle in my body aches and wanting just a tiny bit more rest for recuperation.

With that said, I see this as a tiny glitch in the grand scheme of things and the unfolding experience I am having right now. And more than anything else, and I keep talking about this in almost every entry so far, are the amaaaazing people that are on this journey with me right now.

Clinton taught me Shanti Kicks this morning, as a preparatory exercise into a handstand. And let me tell you, there ain’t no shanti in those kicks. But they were good, and I can foresee, with practice it will eventually get me into a handstand. Tee cracked up when some of us were taking photos in the shala before theory class started at noon. Amanda and I ventured out of Vikasa for a short walk and discovered ‘The Rabbit Room” just 2 mins walk away from homebase. I ran into Tee on the way down to my hut before evening practice, and he asked “How was the Rabbit Hole?” which totally cracked me up.

Diggin’ to desserts – Vikasa style (photo courtesy of Tone Lise)

At dinner, Maude surprised us with raw papaya thai salad and some really amazeballs desserts. I had my first coconut cake, with REAL coconut flesh as fillings in between the layers. It was one of the craziest, most amazing cake I have ever tasted in my life. I don’t know which did it for us, but Tee brought up the camera incident and that got us laughing and continued with all these other funny things we have been observing so far.

Chandra had headed out for dinner with a couple of others but she knew I needed some warm shower tonight since it’s ‘wash my hair’ day. She left her room door unlocked so I could go in even after she’s left. Back in my hut and typing this up, I have come to realise, the reason that I keep raving about other YITs on this course is that each of them has shown kindness (whether it’s directly to me, or to one another) without any underlying agendas. It made me think of the word ‘genuine’ and what I have been experiencing and observing so far has been just that. Kindness without any other reason but to be kind to one another. And the experience of this in itself is truly a gift.