Before I started the 200 hour yoga and meditation course at Parimukti, I wasn't sure whether I could really be a teacher afterwards. 200 hours: it doesn't really sound like much...
We started teaching each other and drop-in students fairly soon; in week two we already had to teach a full hour. As opposed to other courses where students have only taught for about 15 minutes by the time they graduate, our four person group in effect enjoyed one-on-one teachings by our four teachers.
Asanas are the physical exercise which most people think yoga is, whereas it is only an aspect of the yoga philosophy. After four weeks of six days a week doing asanas for two hours in the morning (before breakfast! My stomach and blood sugar level hated me fiercely before adapting to it begrudgingly, albeit welcoming the new coffee free diet with open arms) and two hours in the afternoon, I felt tired yet energised, flexible yet strong and super balanced. However, as Guruji Manjeet, our philosophy teacher quoted Krishnamurti: 'If you think you are really Zen, try living with your parents for a while'. So I'm realistic about my sense of enlightenment ;-)
292 mantras and Ohms, 156 rounds of sun salutations, many teaching exercises, loads of hours of anatomy, alignment and philosophy and four hours of teachings from His Holiness the Dalai Lama later, we all aced the final exams, which consisted of an extensive theory exam, a practical meditation leading exam and giving a full lesson of asanas.
So now I'm a Yoga Alliance certified yoga teacher, what's next?
The first thing needed to be mentioned is that I will always remain a student; you're never done learning about yoga and life.
J and I travelled a week through Himachal Pradesh, India before proceeding to Indonesia for a month. As my body was really tired, there wasn't much yoga going on in that week. But as it rested more, it was asking for some exercise and stretching. So once in Bali I started practising again. Oh how the body grew inflexible again in that short period of time of uncomfortable nightly bus and plane rides! But, as it has the amazing ability to remember what it once was knew, and with a little bit of patience (yes I learned patience mom and dad!!) my body was quickly back to its old flexibility and strength, even going stronger than before! All of a sudden I was able to do asanas I wasn't able to do before... well done Body, well done.
As I write this, I am overlooking luscious rice fields with groups of ducks happily foraging in them, with a Golden Retriever I found along the way lying next to me. This morning we visited Ubud's Cat Cafe, the home of twelve "secondhand" fluffernutters. And everywhere I go, stray dogs come wagging their tails at me for a cuddle and a whiff of Sies Loving (see blog Midnight dog whispering). When I read that our next stop, the tropical island of Gili Air, doesn't have any stray dogs I keep on thinking: so what am I going to do there?! It's clear I need to spread the Yogic harmony with the same purpose in mind as I believe my general purpose in life is: Make life better for as many (non-human) animals as I can, and in turn get as many furry cuddles back for the maximum Zen-effect.
There are several (exciting) ways of doing this and I'm now using my time in Indonesia to think things through. I will keep you updated...