India trip

Reflections from India: Week 1

It's Wednesday night here in India, and today was my third day of training at the Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram in Chennai. In case you missed my news, I'm attending a 500 hour teacher training program, and this month is the first of three months I'll be spending in India over the next year and a half.

Everything is going well - I've gotten accustomed to walking back and forth from my apartment to KYM, I'm learning a lot, practicing a lot, sleeping well, and I've even made some new friends from around the world.

For me, attending this training at this particular institute is kind of mind-blowing. I'd even venture to call it surreal. Photography isn't allowed inside KYM, so I'll attempt to draw you a picture with my words.

This morning I arrived at class early. I was the first one to enter the room, so I had my pick of where to position myself for the day's lessons. I chose a spot in the very center of class, the middle of the second row.

The room is an irregular, but symmetrical shape. It's wider than it is deep. At the front of the room hangs a big framed photo of a smiling Krishnamacharya standing in samasthiti, his hands in anjali mudra. The photo is about 4 feet tall, 3 feet wide. And every day it's adorned with a garland of fresh flowers, like the frame is wearing a long necklace.

On the wall to the left is a similarly-sized photo of Krishnamacharya's son and student, TKV Desikachar, who recently passed away. KYM has been having tributes and events to honor Desikachar, who was the founder of KYM and who is very beloved.

The back wall is lined with windows that open outward and are covered with wooden rolling shades. The windows are typically open for ventilation. There are many small ceiling fans, and a couple of quiet wall AC units for the hotter months.

When the asana practice started at 7:30 this morning, I suddenly realized I was practicing directly in front of Krishnamacharya. I have such reverence for this man that even having his photo in the space makes it feel like he's really there.

The space feels really special. All the senior teachers studied directly with Krishnamacharya's son, Desikachar. The senior most teacher at the institute is a tall, thin man named Sridharan. SS for short. He wears traditional Indian clothes and rimless glasses and he studied directly with Krishnamacharya for 3 decades.

And he's our philosophy teacher. Every day, just before the start of his class, I reposition myself to be as close as possible so I can hear every word. Right now he's teaching us the Yoga Sutras, the most important text of yoga philosophy. He motions to the big photo at the front of the room when he quotes his teacher.

I feel really blessed to be able to attend this training. It took the help, coordination, and support of several people (including my kids!) to help me get here, and I'm really grateful for it.

I'll be soaking up all I can for the rest of the month and be ready to share it with you when I get back, in my classes and in our teacher training program that begins, coincidently, on Friday, January 27th, which is my last day of classes here in India.

If you'd like to keep up with my day-to-day stories, reflections, and observations, you can follow along on our Facebook page or  on our Instagram page. Here are the posts I've written in the last week:

I'd love to hear from you! Please post comments or questions wherever you're reading this (Facebook, website, etc.).


First Day of School

First day of school selfie! Today was the first day of my 500 hour training at KYM.

It seems like *everyone* in India wears flip flops, but I decided to risk looking like a dork and wear tennis shoes today. It's about a 1.5 km walk along dusty, dirty streets, and I get bug bites on my feet when I walk in flip flops, plus my feet get really dirty. I was very pleasantly surprised to see a man walking in front of me with tennis shoes. 😃

I got a little overconfident in my navigation skills and got slightly lost on my walk to school and ended up cutting it much closer than I would have liked. I opened the classroom door at 7:28 and realized the introduction had already started! I was horrified to be late on the first day, but mercifully no one seemed to mind.

It was a great day of instruction! After the intro, we had an asana practice, then breakfast (masala dosa wrapped in foil - for a second I thought it was breakfast tacos! - and a cup of fresh cut fruit). Then we had an hour each of Indian Culture, Yoga Philosophy (Yoga Sutras), Anatomy & Physiology, Chanting, Classical Asana Techniques, and Theory of Asana. There was a 2 hour lunch break in there somewhere.

In case you're wondering, yes, I was geeking out. All the teachers are excellent. Our Anatomy teacher is a medical doctor and our philosophy teacher studied directly under Krishnamacharya for 3 decades. That blows my mind.

A few of my classmates are yoga teachers but most are not. I counted 21 students in class. If I remember correctly, 2 are American, 2 are foreigners who live in the US, and the rest are from Europe, China, and India.

As soon as this high wears off from the excitement of the day I'm going to sit down and review my notes. I know we will have lots of assessments and exams and I want to make sure I'm understanding everything as we go so I don't get behind. Oh and I made some friends! 😍