If you’re not marrying breath to movement, then it’s not yoga… Pattabhi Jois
This second YTT weekend was EPIC (disclaimer: I think I might say this every month). I’m home now, sipping a glass of wine, and my mind is buzzing with new information. Let me break this down.
But first, a thought on the community: I’m not sure where the magic comes from, is it the studio, the people, the yoga ? I don’t know. Every single person is wonderful. The YTT trainees, the mentors, the teachers, the staff, they’re all lovely. But also all the folks who attend the Ashtanga class on Sunday mornings. It’s quite wonderful. There is a grounding energy there, not solemn, not pretentious, but grounding. People here are genuine.
We started with some anatomy on Friday – and learned that some bones have unexpected names! Stephane, one of the osteopaths at Energie EnCorps, was great at breaking down the anatomy we need to understand as future yoga teachers and as yogis. It was also kind of humbling to realize all that we don’t know yet. There is so much to know. We talked about the shoulder for a solid 25 minutes, obviously, a very important part of the body in yoga.
Saturday and Sunday were dedicated to perfecting surya namaskara A and B (sun salutation A and B) and to fine-tuning the Ashtanga primary series from padangushtasana (hold the big toe posture) until parsvottanasana (intense side stretch). We had an amazing workshop with Melissa where we broke down the postures, really delving into the alignment, goal and modifications for each. Girl knows her stuff! We also had a Mysore class, during which Celeste, a YTT trainee from last year, adjusted me in ardha baddha padma pashimottanasana (bound half lotus forward bend) allowing me to get the feeling of (and into) the pose for the first time (thank you Celeste). Her adjustements and cues were spot on, which gave me hope that I will someday, also be able to do this.
We also worked in small groups and the mentors were amazing in these breakout sessions. Each of them the was wonderful this weekend, it felt like their contributions were priceless, and it was inspiring to see that they each have their strengths. Somehow, at the end of this weekend, I felt like I would find my niche too, my strengths, what will make me good at sharing yoga with others. I think that is a particular strength of this YTT, making unique teachers.
We learned more about the history and philosophy of yoga, intention setting and communicating with our future students. We played a game of ‘yoga-tag’, an inspiring back and forth where we each got to develop on a theme, a word, and how we could work these into intentions and messages about the yogic philosophy with people who may not be at all familiar with it. Helping others learn about all the limbs of yoga, not just the asana practice.
In the last part of the weekend, we (I) were pushed out of our comfort zone and we cued our first, very own sun salutations A and B. It was fun. It was kind of a mess, but we all laughed, learned, and there was no pressure, I felt safe. Safe space it such a funny concept and very ‘cliché’ but there, it’s true. I felt flushed and flustered but I did it, and I got helpful comments and feedback from my peers and my mentor.
We ended with a gentle restorative practice, just wonderful – a perfect circle.
Guys, gals… yoga is fun. Also, I think over the course of the weekend, I was in chaturanga dandasana about 500 times. My arms are going to be amazing.
I’ll end with this… The weekend was especially important to me. I didn’t tell anyone over the course of the weekend, but I am going through a very difficult personal situation at home. Something that before this weekend, I wasn’t sure I would get through. It was a conscious decision not to talk about it, as I feel I need distance from it to work through it, this is how I work.
This weekend gave me new strength and it reminded me of the strength that I have inside. I left Sunday afternoon feeling refueled. Knowing that no matter what happens, I can get through it. It didn’t take the sadness I’m feeling away but it reminded me that sometimes, in life, you have to surrender, to let go, of things that you can’t control, and see where the waves take you next. I’m scared, but I’m strong and well surrounded. Thank you to all my lovelies, without knowing it, you kinda saved me this weekend.
I could write so much more, but instead, I’ll end with another top 5.
1️⃣ First a-ha moment: finally ‘getting’ the footing in the standing postures (skis versus snowboard)
2️⃣ Most unexpected teaching tool: popcorn while we watched a great yoga documentary called the Breath of Gods
3️⃣ Favorite bone: the a** bone aka the (sits bones)
4️⃣ Favorite verb: ROTATER, conjugated in French– as in: ‘rotate ton pied pour te rendre en Virabhadrasana 1 (warrior 1) … thank you, Emma
5️⃣ Most important message learned: if you’re not marrying breath to movement, then it’s not yoga (as told by Pattabhi Jois in Breath of Gods)
Written by Nadine Dumas, a 200H Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga Teacher Trainee at Energie EnCorps
Nadine is the 2018 winner of Energie EnCorps YTT #WhyIamWorthIt Scholarship,who will be blogging on her Yoga Teacher Training experience over the course of the year. Follow her journey. Celebrate with her in her a-ha moments, relate to her struggles and learn how the philosophy of yoga can be brought into your own life. Thank you so much to Nadine for letting us all into your mind this year. Learn more about the Ashtanga Yoga Teacher Training and Mentorship programs at Energie Encorps West Island, an internationally recognized Yoga Alliance School, click here: https://bit.ly/2ASHwg5 Interested? Follow Nadine Dumas on instagram!