I just returned from my teacher training program (TTP) class and I am feeling high as a kite. I had a friend and colleague from my last training program tell me that TTP was the gateway drug. That once you participate in one of these programs, you just can’t stop. It becomes an addiction and before the first program is over you’re already researching other programs, workshops, and conferences that you can sink your teeth into. How right she is! Before I could even finish my first training program (a 200 hours, 5-month, Hatha Yoga training), I had already attended the Orientation/Introduction of a second program! This one, a 3-year, well over 500 hours, Iyengar Yoga training program, that prepares one to go before a panel of assessors in hopes of obtaining certification. Actually, you have to pass two assessments in a no-less-than two year period to become officially certified. The first assessment simply gives you teacher-in-training status. This is no joke – this is a serious commitment!
So what is it about yoga that is so drug-like? Why do I float out of class, with a silly grin on my face, drunk on sanskrit, with strange wooden props bulging from my tote bag? I guess it’s a bit of everything. I’ve always loved school (I know, super nerdy) and I’m fascinated with learning. Yoga has it all – science, history, mythology, spirituality, philosophy, anatomy, language, you name it! There’s a common thread in yoga, that comes up in other experiences in life, that touches us deeply and fills us with joy. If you’ve ever made art, you’ve probably felt it there too, or played a musical instrument, or lost yourself in cooking an exquisite meal. I used to do wheelthrowing, making clay pots on a potter’s wheel, and I often thought about the connection between that process and yoga. I could spend two hours on the wheel, sculpting and refining a bowl or a jar, and lose all sense of space and time. I would look up from my work to see that two hours had gone by and I would be amazed, because it felt like only an instant had passed. I was completely lost in my work, lost in that spinning clay, and the concentration it took not to bobble the piece, breathing slow deep breaths, never taking my eyes off of the clay. It’s the same feeling I get when I’m practicing yoga. Mr. Iyengar calls it meditation in action. That intense concentration that brings you into the present moment, when everything else slips away, and your mind is calm and quiet! THAT’S the drug, that’s the feeling that we come back for time and time again. Sure, the feeling is elusive and some days we don’t even get a glimpse of it. But once you’ve tasted the elixir, you can’t forget it. It’s in your veins!
My whole intention was to talk about my fabulous class tonight, but somehow I got sidetracked. Oh well, I guess writing about asana modifications would have turned out to be a boring post anyway. Maybe tomorrow I’ll figure out how to make it a worthy subject. Night-night.