Monthly Archives: September 2012

Day 4 – Sharing is caring

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After calling an early night yesterday, I woke up (albeit slightly later than I had initially planned!) early in the morning today to join the smaller group lead by George for an early morning practice by the beach at sunrise. The session was completely optional but I had wanted to see at least a few sunrises while I am here in the beautiful Samui.

There were about 8 of us and we walked down the hill to a beach 10 minutes away from Vikasa.

Sunrise at Koh Samui

Individual practice at sunrise

I love the colors from this last photo. The light from the sun rising and the deep blue from the ocean gives a nice contrast and silhouette to the poses.

Theory class was exceptionally great today (I think I am also running out of words to describe how great each practice and theory class has been so far). It’s only George today and for the next few days until Kosta returns from his trip in Russia. We were split into groups of 4 and discussed our experiences on what has contributed to the way we frame our perception of the world and how yoga came into our lives and/or fits into it. And I am surprised at how open and ready everyone is at sharing their most personal experiences. At the end, we realised it’s through these discussions and sharing of perceptions and viewpoints of the world do we really come to a greater understanding of what it means to be practicing those asanas, and to be putting our bodies through all that stretches, arm balances and funky poses. It was like the glue that brings everything together.

It seems every day I am forming relationships with each individual at a greater level. Today Clinton and I spoke in class about hanuman tattoos, what it means to be carrying symbols on your bodies for the rest of your life, and a piece of nugget offered by him as a reflection of myself. At dinner, a couple of us who were on the same table started discussing about the eagle pose and the conversation got lively. It’s only at the end I said “you know you love yoga so much when you actually continue to talk about in during dinner way after class has ended!” and that cracked Amanda up so bad. Haha.

Evening practice today made me realise I am surrounded by people who genuinely care about each others progress. While attempting another plough on my own before George arrived, Tee offered to help when he saw my feet hovering a few inches off the ground but never really touching it. So I positioned him where he could catch me if I accidentally roll off. Rodney helped from behind and kept saying words of encouragement. He even slide through a block and said “see, your feet is 4 inches off the ground, a bit more!”. And I got all these helpful feedback which I would not have known otherwise, like how my left hips are lower than my right – so NOW I know why I always have that sensation of toppling over to my left side.

I’ve been thinking I should be writing about life outside of Vikasa, about Lamai and Chaweng beaches and what I get up to in between breaks. You know in case you think all we do here is just asanas, pranayamas, deep philosophical conversations and more asanas. Maybe that would be a post for tomorrow 🙂

 

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Day 3 – Let thy food be thy medicine

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It’s day 3 of Vikasa’s Teacher’s Training Course and I guess the intensity must be catching up with some of us. At the 2 hour break we have in between theory and evening practice, a lot of my fellow yogi-in-training (I am going to refer to them as YITs) passed on trips to Chaweng or Lamai for a power nap instead. I on the other hand got a much needed massage on my shoulders and back at the massage place from across the street. A 60min shoulder and back massage comes up to 300 bhat. Some of the YITs were saying you could get something similar for 180 bhat in the Chaweng but I figured with the cab fare to and fro it would’ve worked out the same.

In theory class we discussed about food. So many things came out of it, from Sattvic diet, to organic food to raw diet and fasting. It was useful to have a lot of us contributing our own knowledge to the class and others to bring up very important and valid questions.

I went around Vikasa during breaks to try to snap as many photos as possible before the sun got up too high. And these are what I got:

View from the shala

Chilling out by the pool during breaks

 

The first 2 teachers from the TTC lineup – Kosta, owner of Vikasa and George

The view from the top point of Vikasa before morning practice begins

 

Day 2 – Love as an Illusion

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I am aching all over. I think everyone is. We talk about how intensive the classes are at the end of each class. But George and Kosta has been kind this morning, and I remembered reclining into a child’s pose so I could catch my breathe only once throughout the entire 2 1/2 class. And that is a achievement on its own!

In theory class we covered the layers of Maya and what each of the different layers mean. Maya in a nutshell means Illusion, and that our world is largely made up from these ‘illusion’ or rather perception of how we see and experience it. Somehow we floated from the concept of death (deep!) to love (even deeper!). Our discussion was lively, and incredibly engaging. One of my fellow yogi-in-training, Ryan, chipped in with his nugget of thoughts, about love being understood in two major ways. I can’t seem to find the words to articulate and justify his words, but they were profound and it hit me right at the spot which gave me an understanding and answered some of my questions that I had for years now.

Kosta shared his experience in which his own understanding (of Maya) made him realise that we are all put into this lifetime, and this reality to experience. That’s it. So whatever situation that we are given, whatever emotions that result from it, is for us to experience. Simple right? I don’t know why that thought never occur to me when things are really difficult. He also mentioned that words usually do not justify the personal experience that one has when certain understanding comes to them. I guess I’ll just have to try my best to justify my experience here through this blog!

Asana practice in the evening was equally as rewarding. I could feel my right wrist gaining a little bit more strength than yesterday, as I dropped down into numerous chaturangas and downward dogs. The ache runs all along my right arm, but I believe that is strength in the making 🙂 Iron wrists in the next 30 days? I sure hope so!

I explained to Kosta last night of the fear which I have going into and out of a plough. Yes, I can do it with guidance and a person standing above for me to grab in my moment of panic as my feet reaches for the floor beyond my neck. But on my own, I know my feet hovers less than 10cms off the floor yet I give up because it scares the living crap out of me to go beyond that. So today, Kosta gave us another plough at the end and was kind enough to keep an eye out on me. True enough, as I reach my feet up in the air, right leg bending over and beyond my head to the floor behind me, I freeze and stop. He came over, hovering just above me, calves to each side and told me to get into the full pose without holding on to him. And what did I do? At some point when my torso is high up in the air (I do apologise if you have NO idea what I’m trying to describe..), I panic and both hands literally gripped his calves. The kind of gripping that involves digging my nails into his legs, which I can’t imagine being pleasant in any way.

At the end of class, I approached George for another try as I was not satisfied with my earlier trials. I mean, if you do it enough times than it SHOULD come naturally. At least that is the philosophy I’m subscribing to now! George had a different method of getting into and out of it, as is expected with different teachers who each have their own styles. That is one thing I appreciate from having them both in the class is the dynamic essence they bring to the class that complements each others styles.

I am also beginning to notice the conversations and interactions that take place amongst fellow yogis-in-training. It is easy. Connection is effortless. Identifying with one another is seamless. And I am both amazed and in awe at the speed that everyone is connecting with each other. This morning I knocked on Chandra’s door for some hot water, since my Survivor style bamboo hut doesn’t have one so I could make some breakfast of oatmeals before morning class. Lenka, her neighbor across her room opened her door instead and I got my hot water off her as she was headed towards the pool for an early morning read. Chandra  on the other hand hails from the busy city of Jakarta, Indonesia and our conversations are funny as we try to translate for each other typical words in English to Bahasa Indonesia/Malaysia for our other classmates. What started from “how old are you?” conversation quickly turned into her sharing her experiences navigating through her romantic relationships until she got married in November last year. In a normal reality, it will probably take me 1 month of getting to know someone before they openly tell stories like that. Here, everything is sped up to 1 day 🙂

I must say though, if everything is an illusion, than certainly this experience now is one of the most beautiful.