Athayoganushasanam is a sanskrit word which means yoga begins with discipline. It is the first sutra from Pantajalis yoga sutras and is a perfect theme to wrap up this series of posts and discuss my 4th and final week of yoga teacher training in Rishikesh, India. This final week of YTT definitely involved a lot of self discipline. By now the rigorous daily schedule had become second nature. Only a week of this continued schedule and the passing of the written and practical exam stood in the way of passing the course and becoming a certified yoga teacher. However one important lesson that was emphasized in our philosophy class was the idea of not becoming attached to the result. Yes we were all there to obtain our certification but we need not think, worry, or overemphasize that. Just be in the moment of each class and lesson and put 100% into the action of the present moment.
In one of our final meditation classes we were introduced to the So Hum mantra. It translates to "I am that" and it works by silently focusing on the breath. With each inhalation you silently say So and which exhalation you silently say Hum. I really enjoy this form of meditation because it allows me to focus internally and gives my wandering mind something to do as I develop my focus. I know that it will be an important part of my meditation practice.
At the start of the teacher training we were asked to write down our intention and what we hoped to gain from the course. I wrote that I wanted to gain the confidence and knowledge to teach a full yoga class. What I liked about the course is that we began to develop these skills very early on. In just a months time I went from barely being able to stumble through a mantra when randomly called on to lead the class through the beginning of class mantras and OMs, to finally teaching a full 1 hour long vinyasa flow class with mantra, pranayama, and meditative relaxation.
Now this isn't to say that teaching the class was easy. It was definitely challenging. I spent hours preparing and rehearsing my sequence using all of the tools and techniques I had learned during the month long training. However I was a lot more skilled and confident in the teaching then I would have ever been without the course. Now as I move forward as both a yoga teacher and a yoga student I must remember to stay focused and disciplined in my own personal development. Overall what I have come to realize is that the ending of the course is really a beginning. A 200 hour yoga teaching course only gives a surface level overview or foundation into yoga. It is important to continue to process of learning, practicing, and studying.