Preparing for the fire ceremony
Missed part 1? read it here:
Yoga teacher training with Surinder Singh – Part 1: Rishikesh
We were sitting on our mats in the yoga hall, a little apprehensive, not knowing what was going to happen.
We needed to get used to this whole not knowing thing. The schedule was a mythical document for the first few days and we discovered what was going to be happening right before it happened. I think in part this was to help wean our Western minds off the obsessive need to know / schedule / plan / control what was going to be happening in every moment… but it was also probably partly because Surinder himself didn’t know yet.
I looked round the spartan room at the people I’d be spending the next month with. I was feeling a bit nervous, listening to conversations breaking out here and there, expectation in the air. [continue reading…]
Yoga by the Ganges, Rishikesh
Booking yoga teacher training with Surinder Singh was the first challenge.
I was aware that organisation and email communication were not his strong points. Although he is an ex-engineer, when it comes to planning and organisation, he is more cave yogi than yogipreneur.
Booking yoga teacher training is no small thing and I was anxious to make sure I had a place. Over the course of a couple of weeks I bombarded him to no avail.
It turned out he’d been away teaching in Russia and couldn’t respond until he was back in India. His response to my request to study with him was a simple: ‘You’re most welcome ji’.
The 10 day rollercoaster
“One of you went for a cigarette just after arriving,” the man scanned the room for the culprit, his accusatory gaze following his pointing finger.
“What will a person like that ever be able to achieve?” Not a lot, his dismissive hand gesture answered.
“You are not here to enjoy yourselves with nicotine and whatnot!” He declared with incredulity at such a ridiculous notion. “You are not here for holiday camp he-he-ha-ha time! You are here to perform an operation.”
Surinder Singh’s yoga class in peak season
I first found my way into Surinder Singh’s class in 2012 at the Rajdeep Hotel in Rishikesh, India. Somehow I had ended up at the front of the class and he was directly in front of me as we started the sun salutations.
Lifting my arms up over my head on the inhale, I was aware of him smiling at me. His eyes were kind with a cheeky twinkle of amusement. I wasn’t sure what was so funny at the time but I can guess that my eyes were wide with a ‘I probably shouldn’t be here’ expression.
It was a tough first class. Really tough. I still had CFS fatigue. I was weak. My arms shook in downward facing dog. My heart thumped throughout the sun salutations. I struggled to balance. I struggled to breathe. Sweat was on free flow and I was surrounded by sickeningly proficient yogis, victoriously flowing through their practice. [continue reading…]
My first experience with Iyengar yoga was in a restorative class in Kathmandu. The city, with its constant rush and swirl of activity, calls for a restorative class from time to time.
The teacher instructed us to move into child’s pose, balasana. It was a moment of complete relaxation, a chance to let my shoulders roll blissfully forward, stretching out my back and neck from any of the tension that had built up there. My stomach was gently compressed and I could feel the breath in my back in a gentle releasing massage. I could have slept quite happily there, rolling peacefully in the waves of my breath. I moved further into the sensation, my mind slowly waking up to my body. [continue reading…]