It's Tuesday night which means I have just completed Day 3 of Week 3. It's been a while since my last blog so I will try and summarize what this past week has been like.
Asanas have been slowing down to add more time for theory (philosophy and now anatomy and psychology), sequencing and learning both English and Sanskrit names of all the asanas. Our catalogue has well over 100 poses so there is a lot to learn and remember. We still start our day off with an hour of pranayama breathing but our am asana practice with George has been cut out to give us more time to work with Karen, our anatomy teacher who just arrived today. Karen is amazing and I'm really looking forward to learning more from her over the next few days while she is here from us. She is Malaysian living in New Zealand and has been practicing yoga for 10 years and teaching for 7. She has a strong background in Ashtanga yoga in which she practices 6 times a week as well as teaches along with a few other styles of yoga. She also has a psychology degree so Kosta has asked her to share a bit of the whole psychology side of yoga with us as well. Today was our first day working with her and we mostly talked about posture and how everyone is different and no body should be treated the same. She have us a brief introduction on how to read a persons posture and what problems they may have to deal with based on how their posture is. She has a very different approach to yoga asana then what Kosta and the whole Vikasa style of yoga has taught us so far. Kosta is all about holding postures for a very long time and building strength especially focusing on the core. Karen seems to be more about flow and listening to your body and going to where you feel your body should be without holding poses for too long, it's a much softer approach and seems to be more like what I'm used to. I can see the positives to both approaches and if anything, I think learning the whole Vikasa style and blending it in with what I've also taught will help me figure out my style of yoga in which I would like to teach. I can see the benefits in holding poses for long durations but can also see the negative effects it can have on your body if not done properly. It's all about knowing your body and your limits. I think it's important to push your limit to an extend in order to deepens your practice but that doesn't always mean holding poses for 5 - 10 minutes. I am trying to keep an open mind and just consume as much information as possible to take with me as I begin to develop my own style. I'm looking forward to working on creating my own sequences as well as using some of the Vikasa sequences when I start teaching. The more and more I learn, there more excited I get about wanting to teach and develop my own style and find my yoga. I'm hoping Karen will be able to lead us in an asana class before we leave because I have a feeling I would really enjoy her class. A number of us have talked about how we feel about Karen and how different her and Kosta's views are and how refreshing it is to have someone on the total opposite end of the spectrum. The rest of the week will continue with the same schedule of pranayama and anatomy from 8am-1030am, Breakfast and a short break until noon, more anatomy with Karen until probably close to 3pm then evening practice with Kosta at 430 or 5pm before dinner at 730pm.
I finally made it to the beach for sunrise practice with George. I know I mentioned in my previous blog that I wa trying to go and I finally dragged myself out of be at 515am to make it to the beach for 6am practice last week. I guess lately he's been choosing one f the students in the group that comes out in the mornings to lead a mini class each day. Being my first time I didn't think he'd pick me to teach but he did. It was actually a really good experience. There were only 6 of us so it made for a very supportive and stress free environment for my first teaching experience during training. I basically just did a couple vinyasa flows to warm up and a standard warrior sequence before doing a bit of core work and twists on the ground. I was a bit nervous because I was just making it up as I went along but it seemed to go quite well. Teaching felt very natural and I really enjoyed my little 15 minute introduction to teaching yoga. I'm looking forward to having some more time to practice while I am here and will hopefully make it to the beach at least once more before we are done here. I got a lot of positive feedback from the group and George which was really nice to hear and really helped build up my confidence. Almost everyone commented on how soothing my voice sounded and how easy it was to follow my instructions and they liked the cues I gave to help them properly align themselves in certain poses.
Now on to the fun stuff. As most of you who have been keeping up with my blog know that we only get Saturdays off which are meant for a day of relaxation. I say that because I should be spending the day relaxing and preparing for the next week but like last week I managed to have a full day of doing with very little relaxation. I started my Saturday morning with a smoothie while mapping out a route of all the attractions we wanted to see on our motorbikes that day with a couple of my fellow teachers in training. Once we all agreed on where we wanted to go and which route we were going to take we hit the road on our bikes and headed to a little French bakery one of the boys had found. Since it was Saturday and we had a day off from all things yoga and Vikasa I decided to allow myself a cheat day in terms of our diet. Breakfast consisted of two small croissants and a chocolate croissant twist in which I shared with one of the girls. It was delicious and felt good to eat something that wasn't fruit, salad and yogurt and muesli for breakfast (the typical Vikasa breakfast). After fuelling up on French pastries we headed to the Lamia temple down the road. The temple wasn't anything too special but the walls were painted with what was said to portray the story of Buddha. I took some pictures but this was my first temple experience ever and I wasn't to excited about what I saw and was hoping for a better temple experience. After our short visit at the temple we got back on our bikes to continue along our path to find a waterfall and The Magic Garden, in which we'd been hearing so much about. Along the way one of the guys noticed a beautiful temple and decided to stop and asked if we wanted to check it out. This was the temple experience I was looking for. The temple was built out of terracotta and was absolutely beautiful with so much detail. We spent a decent amount of time just taking it all in and snapping photos and walking around the site. We then got back on our bikes for a long trek up the mountain towards the Magic Garden. We didn't realize how far it was but I was more then happy to keep driving up this gorgeous mountain on our mountain bikes. We were basically riding through the jungle. Giant lush green trees everywhere and I will never forget that feeling I had cruising on this motorbike up that mountain. I felt so hardcore and so happy to be in Thailand doing what I was doing in that exact moment. It was a gorgeous ride and when we saw signs for a viewpoint near the top with a little restaurant and pool we knew we needed to stop so we could take some pictures. I'm so glad we made this stop because the view was to die for. Those of you that know me well know how much I love the mountains and the feelings I get from being surrounded by and or on top of them. These were smaller mountains then what I'm used to out west but they were just as beautiful and gave me that same feeling of comfort and home. To think I was in Thailand, standing at the top of a mountain overlooking these beautiful lush palm trees and rolling hills was so surreal. There was an infinity pool where we decided to have a little photo shoot of ourselves practicing various yoga asanas. There was a couple lounging by the pool watching us take these photos who probably thought we were crazy. Little did they know, we were in Thailand learning to teach yoga and needed to jump on this photo opt. The pictures turned out great but they still do not give do any justice to the amazing view that we were able to witness with the human eye. It's amazing how much detail the human eye can pick up and the lack of justice a photo can give to such gorgeous views like that. After our little photo shoot and dozens of view photos later we decided to grab a quick drink in the restaurant before heading up to the Magic Garden. I got a mango shake which is just mango blended up with ice. Fruit shakes are very popular in Thailand and they are so yummy. I usually ask for mine without sugar to stick to the Vikasa diet which is fine because the fruit is always so fresh and sweet from its natural sugars. That's one thing I know I will miss when I go back to Canada; fresh tropical fruit and COCONUTS!!!!! I have become addicted to drinking fresh coconut water, the cans and packaged coconut water we can get a home just doesn't even come close to how tasty the juice from a fresh coconut is. After our drinks we finally made it to the Magic Garden which wasn't so magical. It was basically a small concrete area in the jungle with concrete Buddha and animal sculptures. It wasn't what I expected and a bit of a let down for us all but the trip getting there made it all worth it to me. We then started heading down a bit to where the waterfall was. There were two waterfalls in this area but we decided just to check out the bigger one, Waterfall 2. It was about a 1km hike up a hill then through the jungle on a bamboo bridge and then a bit of a climb to get a good view of the falls. The water was nice and cool ad refreshing and it was fun climbing up the rocks to get some good pictures. We hung out at the falls for a bit until our stomachs started crying out for food. We decided on stopping at The Spa (a local spa/detox clinic which I think I may of talked about in my previous post) for lunch. The Spa's menu is quite large and full of delicious menu items in which I've been dying to try. I've been to The Spa quite a few times on our break to get a fresh coconut or smoothie to get me through the day in between breakfast and dinner. I ordered some fresh Vietnamese spring rolls and a papaya salad. The food was amazing a nice change from our regular Vikasa fixings while still staying within the diet. After lunch we headed back to Vikasa to quickly shower before heading to Chewang to get a Thai Massage. My massage was much needed and I felt great after. I could really get used to these cheap Thai massages, they are amazing. After our one hour massages we still had about 2 hours until dinner. I would of been okay with going back home to relax before dinner but they boys wanted to walk around the main strip and do some shopping until it was time to head back for dinner. I was pretty exhausted from my long day out and about but was glad I spent my day the way I did. It was loads of fun and nice to have some time away from Vikasa and explore more of the island. I definitely payed for this day of adventure these past couple of days though. I just felt tired and drained both physically and mentally and had two really off days. Today I've been starting to feel better and back to my usual self. I think I was suffering from a bit of Post Saturday Depression. A reason why I decided to leave Waterloo and travel was because life was becoming very routine and I wanted to get away from that. Since I've gotten here I've followed more of a routine then ever before. Having the day off on Saturday and free to do whatever I wanted have me a taste for what life will be like after training when I am free to do as I please once I start my backpacking part of my journey. Don't get me wrong, I am glad that I am doing this training and having an amazing time and just growing and learning so much but at the same time I am looking forward to being free to just do as I please.
I have a feeling this next week and a half will just blow by and I will be done training in no time. But for now, it's time to get some rest and get ready for the next day.