Bali in 09

Style: Teacher Training
Teachers: Mark Laham, Louise Sattler, Todd Lavictoire
Studio: Greco

Today is my last with my group of yoga teachers-in-training. My trip to Bali unfortunately overlaps the last weekend of the 80-hour teacher training segment. I feel like I've grown with these students and three teachers. I've been influenced by their insights and shared contemplation, their humor and confidence. Goodbyes are always hard. My experience with Mark, Louise and Todd has been amazing. These teachers come from three completely different angles, three totally unique perspectives on yoga, but all three visions come together cohesively and create a superb learning experience. Until our paths cross again I wish those amazing people the best life has to offer. I'm incredibly grateful for the in-depth training I've received. The attention to detail has been exceptional and I couldn't have asked for more. I have no doubt that their training program will only improve over time.

My bitter-sweet last day began with various pranayama techniques. Breathing is said to be the single most important aspect of yoga and that point is reiterated over and over again. We started with Kapalabhati breathing. Also known as skull shining or the breath of fire, Kapalabhati is a technique used specifically for cleansing. This style is deliberately fast and focused on the abdomen. The breath is short, rapid and strong, working to eliminate carbon dioxide gas. Intake of fresh oxygen enriches the blood and renews the body tissues. On top of that, the constant up and down movements of the diaphragm stimulates the stomach, liver and pancreas. The next technique we learned is called Bhastrika breathing, or the bellows breath. Referring to it as "yoga-coffee", Todd explained how this breath wakes up and energizes the body, supersaturating it with oxygen. Caution should be used when experimenting with Bhastrika. Forced breathing can induce relaxation and revitalization, but could induce dizziness, drowsiness and loss of consciousness if practiced improperly or in excess. It's essentially a controlled hyperventilation. After an initial head rush and slight side-stitch, a sparkling clarity arose, focused on my face and head. As I settled into deep breathing with a mantra I felt anchored to the moment. The final technique we worked on is known as Nadi Shodhana or Anulom Vilom. Described as a balancing breath, this technique is the alternate nostril breathing first introduced to me at the Sivananda Ashram. The lingering effects of this practice are serenity, a calm, an entrance to a quiet void. After the breathing patterns I feel myself secure and attached to the present, utterly grounded. Later with Louise we studied the anatomy and dynamics of breathing, providing a western view of the ancient techniques. This perspective complimented and extended her teachings from yesterday when we looked deeper into the human anatomy. We explored in detail the hips, knees, ankles and feet in yoga. I have to admit, anatomy slightly freaks me out. As much as it intrigues me, I find it kind of shocking to see the blatant mechanics of the body. It really is a machine. Studying the way the joints and ligaments function and interact, the way the skeletal structures come together and the precarious placement of the bones, I can't help but realize the intricacy of our bodies. It's fragile yet magnificent, brittle but capable of such astounding physical feats. To wrap things up, we studied different techniques of Thai massage. Working with partners, we practiced making adjustments and alignments. According to Louise, the study of Thai massage is important, if not essential to becoming a quality yoga teacher. It teaches how to touch people, to make posture modifications as safely as possible.

The last day of my training couldn't have come to a better end. Taking our yoga mats out to a nearby park, we practiced Yin outside under the comforting rays of the sun. The ecstasy of outdoor yoga is hard to describe and probably harder to understand by the uninitiated. Today was a stark contrast with the solitude of Friday's sunrise yoga. With tulips in full bloom, a steady stream of pedestrians flowed by as we practiced on the grass. The subtle elements of voyeurism soon disappeared as I was overcome by the simple pleasure of the wind on my skin. I'm ready.


Jonathon A. said...

Wow!It's very interesting!!Yes that's so much true that yoga removes your body strains....I have been doing it for quite a long time and did find yoga helpful in many ways.Thanks!!yoga teacher training bali

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