Day 1 – The magic number is 108

Standard

108 breaths for Kapalabhati Pranayama. 108 steps from my hut to the dining area (don’t ask me why I was counting) and typically there are 108 rounds of Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutations .. but this is day 1 of the Teacher’s Training Certification at Vikasa Yoga in Koh Samui, Thailand and perhaps that is too early for us to be doing today.

Still, no muscles were spared today from being stretched and pulled until every one of them (if they could talk) start to whinge and whine in pain and fatigue.

2 rounds of asana practice today which began in the morning at 8am with some pranayama (breathing) sequences. Words like Kapalabhati and alternate breathing were familiar to me but things started to get extremely challenging when we moved into bandhas. So this was what I had been seeing on Kosta’s youtube all these while! A breathing method which requires you to first exhale all off the air and create a ‘vacuum’ in your diaphragm/stomach area and engaging all the involuntary muscles in that area so that it will eventually look like your stomach is doing a very visible looking roller coaster.

Practice was challenging and theory class which followed after brunch was a bigger eye opener as everyone offered their reasons and intentions of being here and what got them into yoga in the first place. It is amazing, how we come from very diverse places (North America, Europe, Asia, Australia..) yet the reasons that brought us all here this month is almost similar to one another. And what is even more amazeballs is that these people seem to share the same head as I do when it comes to things like yoga, intentions, nutrition, and our worldview. In other words, I find it most refreshing to be able to talk about these things without being met with glazed eyes or a big question mark across the other person’s face.

My home in Koh Samui is made of bamboo – I hope Mother Nature gives me some brownie points for forgoing the aircon rooms!

I am typing this from inside my bamboo hut. And i can’t seem to say that enough. Bamboo hut! I had never imagined ever staying in a hut, much less one that is built from bamboo and leaves. It’s raining really heavily now, and I get a draft coming through the gaps between the bamboo flooring. I have a mosquito net hung over my bed and a modern bathroom made of concrete attached to its back. Survivor looking from the outside, completely functional from the inside.

Still, having no doors for the bathroom is still something I am trying to get used to.

The evening class with Kosta were equally as challenging, not having enough time to recover from the ache of this morning’s practice, it was a combination of strength building sequences and some balance sequences towards the end. I lost count of the times I had to break out of the pose, and return to child’s pose so I could soothe my screaming muscles. Sweat dripping, I turned to look at my fellow classmate, and he had a pool already forming on his own mat. Kosta mentioned that by Friday we will be beat (I thought, well its Day 1, and I feel already that!). I can’t imagine what 5 days of accumulated aches and relentless stretching would feel like. I guess I’ll just have to find out. And I hope all these pain will amount to strength and balance. It better be!

An achievement for me tonight was to get back into the plough pose again. This time with much more instructions behind it, learning that in order to overcome my fear of inverted positions, is to just keep practicing. Ah fear, is such a hard thing to get over sometimes.

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