Why are you doing a Yoga Teacher Training?

On the 2nd of May this year, I started my Yoga Teacher Training with Byron Yoga, in Melbourne, Australia. “Why are you doing a Yoga Teacher Training?” the leading teacher asked us before the course started.8f845ca773a96e9006d3a2268c4f44ae

Whenever I am asked this question, it’s hard for me to put into words the answer because I know I have to give a logic rational answer. My body has the answer. When I ask my body why, it replies with a warm light fluffy feeling in the chest, with enthusiasm jumping through my veins, something that feels like love. But I cannot tell that to other people around me if I want to appear as a reasonable person, can I?

So, today, my attempt to explain my reasons for doing a yoga teacher training starts with a little personal story.

I was in Copenhagen, it was a sad cold spring and I was going for a yoga class in a high school sports hall. It was the first class after a 2-3 week absence. The class was in Danish, and was conducted, as usual, by the sweetest humble lady with curly hair and stretchy pants in her mid-70s. Although I understood about 10-12 words in Danish from her entire 90 minutes class instruction, I loved her presence, so I used to go to her classes every Tuesday and Thursday. When she saw me coming back to the yoga mat that day, she said to me in a broken English sprinkled with some Danish words: fe275518cfa820b2d023d870463ab157

“I noticed your absence, Adriana…I know you are sad, I am praying for you to get well.”

Her empathy was beyond words. Her words touched me deeply. I never told her that two weeks before I had left Denmark to fly away back home to Romania for a sudden death in my family. But somehow she felt the loss in me, somehow she knew what that loss meant for me.

That’s why I am doing this Yoga Teacher Training, because I want to be like her. I would love to teach yoga one day and shed some light, touch a heart, bring some moral support to the learners around me, the way she brought light to me that day. I want to pay forward her heartwarming intervention. I hope my teaching on or off the mat will make a difference to a person one day, the way she made a difference in my life with her words and her kindness…

Oh, yeah, and if I can wear stretchy pants and stay healthy like her while I grow old, that would be another lovely outcome of this course!

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Short story: Nightmare to therapy

“It is a pitch black night. I am alone in my boat floating in Hamburg harbor. That’s not how I imagined to spend my 60th anniversary. I was hoping to dance under the moon with my poor husband and cheer a glass of red wine with my daughter before dinner. But corpses don’t dance…May his soul rest in peace! And my daughter found an excuse not to show up for my anniversary dinner.

I still have the moon though. Somewhere in the cabin, I know I left my good old salsa sandals that I used to wear for the dance evenings with my husband, at Eimsὕttel gatherings. I take the stairs to go and pick them up to perform what is left from my anniversary moon dance.

One foot step on the wooden staircase and the entire boat starts creaking, under the weight of an unseen being. The creaks become louder within seconds, then they turn into hellish screams. I cover my ears. I remain petrified for a few seconds. Something like a wild hurricane dismantles the deck, smashing it into pieces. The screams, the hurricane, they are coming to get me! I rush through the stairs…I collapse. There are no stairs. There is only a slippery greenish-rotten slide, full of formicating worms and mud. I lie down on the slide. My body feels heavy and depressed like a forgotten corpse in a coffin. I put my hands on my chest and slide to the cabin where I hope to find shelter. But there is no shelter. The sliding tunnel leads me towards the open mouth of the hurricane-beast. I can see the beast devouring my husband. He is wearing his blood-red pajamas. The beast is implacable. I am the prey.”34fdc72cf6f3c1b30d150330d377c9fe

The therapist gently touched the forehead of the 60 year old woman.

“Gretel, your husband had died wearing those red pajamas, hadn’t he?”

“Yes, he had, Sigmund” sighed the woman. Her wrinkled face is pale and frightened, still wearing the marks of yesterday’s nightmare.

“Gretel, I believe that much psychopathology, including this dream you were telling me about, results from a person’s repression of sexuality. This is where we need to work on, starting this session.”

Just before finishing his sentence, the young therapist starts to unbutton his shirt, revealing a perfectly shaped abdomen. Then, with skilful striper movement, he pulls down his pants, takes them off and give them a good sexy spin around his head. But Gretel eyes are not there to see Sigmund’s show. She is lying down on the couch, in the therapy office, trapped in her dreadful vision of the hurricane-beast, with her eyes closed.

Sigmund goes on top of Gretel. He gently removes her wig, touches her double chin, and kisses her face wrinkles. Then he penetrates her.

We are all beyond time

Source of this article: sonjaappel.wordpress.com

 

“We usually know time from changes in nature. We observe that the earth circles around the sun, and we call it “a year”. Then we have the seasons that can be such a subtle reminder that time flies. The earth turns around its axis and we call it “one day”. To get more precise with the time measurements, we invented hours, minutes, seconds, as subdivisions of the day. 72f40e54db2ec1b2def8baaae7cf00c5

But there are particular moments in life when we know time from changes in people. If for some reason, the earth lost contact with the sun and our nature-related time units would become meaningless, then I imagine we would be able to measure time by looking at the changes in people around us.

These particular moments when we get the time awareness by looking at the changes in people, are the moments of return, return to our childhood land. You see “years” in the white hair of a primary school colleague who used to have crow-black hair; or in the news that the neighboring house is now empty since the neighbor is no longer alive; you see “seasons” in the big belly of a pregnant friend who you haven’t met for a long time; you see all the days, hours, minutes, and seconds that you have been away from home when you hug your dad and feel the weakness of his growing-old body.

In these moments of return, in order to cope with all these changes in people, I become in the daily life as “yogi” as I am on the mat. I salute the Indian logic as serene as I salute the sun in a Sun Salutation: what is not real in the beginning or at the end, is not real in the middle either. You know time was not real prior to the Big Bang when all the matter was condensed in one spot. There was no observer to acknowledge time then! And you know time will cease as well fifteen billion years from now when the universe will come to its end. Then too, no human mind will be there to observe the end of time. As we know from Einstein’s relativity, time is depended on the observer: no observer to witness it, no time. Therefore, according to the Indian logic, time is not real, it does not exist. Time did not exist at the beginning, will not exist in the end, therefore it cannot be real in the middle either. It is a construct. Time is the child of our minds.

That’s why, beyond an open heart, I would say yogis have another super-power: to dissolve time. Once you dissolve your mind on the mat, time will also vanish with it. At least for a while until your mind returns.

This summer, returning to my hometown, I have tried to see the people I love beyond all their transformations, beyond the passage of time: Geo, the pregnant woman, she will always be my friend although her body and status are changing; my love for my neighbor is still there in my heart although she is not there in her house anymore; my dad will always remain the person who gave me life and taught me the good, the bad and the ugly in this life, regardless the wrinkles, weight loss or illnesses.

My friend, my neighbor, my dad, your dad, the crow-black haired colleague, you, me, we are all so real while time is not. Let’s enjoy the seasons changing, keep an eye on the watch to be punctual, make the best thing out of our time. But always remember: we are all beyond time.”

article by Sonja Appel, Sushumna Yoga, republished entirely here

a peep into Lorne bushwalk, Victoria

An Australian would probably see in these photos a nice relaxing bushwalk in the beautiful land of Lorne‬, ‪‎Victoria‬, on the Great Ocean Road. All through the walk I could only see here the home of dangerous animals, insects or flies ready to attack me. Minds cannot see things as they are. We look at nature through cultural lenses.

The story of a yoga mat: 3 HOME

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Photo source: etsy.com

We have just arrived home when I noticed she was already preparing my departure. She stuffed some candies and two bars of chocolate in the long empty space inside my roll. With fast precise movements, she wrapped me in two different types of thick brown paper. With all these arrangements, really I looked like a fat brown cow which has put aside in a fake stomach some sweets she cannot eat on the spot anymore. Then, she put on me a candy pink striped cover. 

And off I went.

When I woke up, after being shaken like a shake and squeezed like a lemon, I was in a place where women wore heaps of stuff compared to the yoga studios where I used to live. Most of them had this peculiar idea to cover even their faces with some thin clothes, leaving outside the biggest and the most beautiful mysterious eyes I have seen in my whole life.

Soon I found out my owner was a little man. He was so little that when I was rolled, standing in a vertical position, we must have had pretty much the same height. The little man looked very much like all the others big men I had seen before: his default face expression included a frown coming on top of sparking intelligent eyes, his body was strong but out of shape while his head seemed an over-developed muscle that never sleeps.

The little man didn’t unroll me on the floor. He did not jump on top of me for a sun salutation or for a hands stand. He sneaked into the core of my roll, took out the candies and the chocolate, leaving me empty inside, shameful and unwanted. In his room there were hundreds of books – which, he considered, deserved more attention than a humble yoga mat. Come on, little man, I am an Eco Friendly Yoga mat! I was born to prevent yogis’ hands and feet from slippering during the postures practice. I wasn’t meant to remain a dusty unemployed dude! Throw away that book and open me, read yourself while “yoging” on top of me instead!

Full moon, first quarter, waxing crescent, new moon, third quarter-moon…time was passing by and I was standing on the initial spot where I landed ever since the sweets were removed from the fake stomach of the fat brown cow coming from Sweden. In my view, to waste entirely one’s potential is the most dreadful destiny…which seemed to be my destiny too. 

The story of a yoga mat: 2 SWEDEN

One day, all my Eco-Friendly yoga-friends and I were deported to another far-far-away land by a massive boat, leaving behind us an empty mat-ernity.

Then, I took the plane with some of my very close friends. We got even closer and even squishier in there.  It must have been a low cost, really. They didn’t serve us any snacks although it must have been more than a 12 hour-flight. Plus, they didn’t serve us any light either. That complete darkness made us still and cold.

Source of the picture: incredible-pictures.com

Source of the picture: incredible-pictures.com

Although they say you need to be optimist and focus on the light at the end of the tunnel, when we reached the destination, I realized there wasn’t any real light waiting for us at the end of the tunnel. When we landed it was as dark as in a milky chocolate bar…but all the people outside were as active as people are during the day time.

My Eco-Friendly friends found out it was actually day light. Apparently, we were in Sweden where daylight is sometimes like night light. Anyway, many dark nights and days I have seen in a Swedish warehouse before finally being transported to a cosy Yoga studio.

People who were coming to that studio were beautiful and sometimes it was interesting to stare at their fit bodies and blonde hair while practicing yoga; most of the time it was cold in there, so my used-mat-companions were never complaining about hard work in fighting with users’ sweat and ensure their stability.

Unfortunately, I had no job, I was un-used. I was brand new, tall, green, and I firmly believe the size of the Yoga mat matters. All day long, all I had to do was to sit on a shelf with Yoga mats and receive petting, plus compliments from tall hot blonde ladies who were interested in buying a new Eco-Friendly Yoga mat. That’s not quite the life mission one would like to be born for, is it? But it was something special that kept me excited every day.

Till one day, when I left the yoga studio, taken away by a yogi girl.

The story of a yoga mat: 1. INTRO

I was born somewhere in a far-far-away land. I can still remember the small yellow hands which grabbed me from the production line and took me to a cold dark office for being issued a birth certificate.

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I felt unique and important looking at my newly acquired birth certificate: “Eco-Friendly. Made in China” was stacked on the back of my right ear, like I was the pretties and smartest kid in the neighborhood.

The first steps I made, getting out of that cold dark office, were pretty fancy cat-walk-type of steps. I truly believed that being eco-friendly is a cool expensive stuff that will break the heart of many young blonde fitness ladies looking for an Eco-Friendly exotic dude.

My uniqueness lasted for about 5 minutes. When I was taken to the rest of them, children of the production line, to the warehouse, I understood there was nothing distinguish about me…in the end, with slight differences in color or size, we were all the same. We were all Eco-Friendly Yoga mats. All made in China.

The only thing to be proud of was maybe our grand-grand-parents, Rugs-Of-Deer and Tiger-Skin, who were the main support for the daily yoga practice of ancient yogis. Nothing else to be proud of.

Our parents were modern Yoga mats, made of rubber, workers in Yoga studios or private households. Just like our parents, we were born to prevent yogis’ hands and feet from slippering during the postures practice. That’s not quite the life mission one would like to be born for, isn’t it?

Nothing special to make me excited about my existence.