Learning About Yoga
by guest writer Chastity Garcia
The rooster crows signaling the start of yet another beautiful morning in Bali. Today our 8 a.m. morning practice includes each of us to turn in a simple surya namaskar A and B sequence as well as lead the rest of the group through it. A bit shaky at first, like anything is for the first time, but by the 45th chaturanga vinyasa flow we begin to “find our voice” and with repetition, inevitably, a new sense of confidence develops. Breakfast is served around 10 a.m. which includes fresh cut pineapple, papaya, and watermelon along with coconut water, Balinese coffee and tea- as if that’s not enough, a delicious banana crepe with coconut shaving comes and oh yes, I’m officially in heaven- completely satisfied with the food so graciously being served to us everyday saying “sook samah” meaning thank you in Balinese. My heart is filled with gratitude and humbleness.
Then, back to the open-aired yoga shala overlooking the tiered rice paddy fields of Ubud we go. Now it’s study time! Our first day learning the anatomy of Yoga which I have been honored to present. Today, we focus on the skeletal system and connective tissue. From the spine to the hips, joints, and types of connective tissue we go through the basics-quizzing each other the whole way through. The girls are quick learners, as half of them are already yoga teachers, two of which are school teachers, and the rest seem to pick it up rather easily. What a relief for me, hoping that the analogies and acronyms I am giving along with the demonstrations are actually helping them to retain the basic structure, movement, and physiology of our complex human body. It felt amazing to be able to teach my peers what in my opinion is of high importance as great yoga teachers. Next, we break for lunch which is always and forever my favorite time of the day.
Following that exquisite experience of yet another incredible meal, we set time in the afternoon for studying Sanskrit- an ancient Indo-Aryan language, used in Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism religions. From animals, to numbers, body parts and of course, asanas, we are expected to be comfortable and fluent with. Our teacher trainer, Ali, so graciously patient with us, corrects our mispronunciations and refines our efforts to speak Sanskrit. Next is dinner time:
Ah, the luxury of not having to cook for ourselves everyday! Even though I thoroughly enjoy time in the kitchen preparing healthy meals, I could definitely get used to this!!
A yummy dessert caps off our evening and glorious day full of practice, studying, great food and wonderful company- a true blessing! We are dismissed with a homework assignment and off to bed, goodnight and Namaste!