Yoga in Goa
People practise yoga for their own reasons and there are many. At the start of a yoga course or retreat, the teacher normally asks you what your reasons are – what you hope to gain, what would make a difference to you in your life.
For some people the aim is ‘the truth’, ‘enlightenment’, for some people the aim is ‘a nice butt’. For most the motivation is a mix of reasons somewhere between those two extremes and the reasons are ever-changing, ever-growing. But in a whole world of yoga, it can be easy to lose yourself to what other people are selling, rather than staying true to what you want out of your practice.
Yoga for me has never been about sculpting my body (although of course I would graciously accept a butt lift as a side effect of my practice, let’s not be churlish here) but at times I have lost focus as to what yoga really means to me and why I am doing it at all.
Deconstructing a downward dog – teacher training with Surinder Singh
Looking for Surinder’s contact details? Now he can be found at www.swastiyoga.com
Missed part 1 or 2? read them here:
Yoga teacher training with Surinder Singh – Part 1: Rishikesh
Yoga teacher training with Surinder Singh – Part 2: Opening ceremony
We began each day at 6am. Sleepily entering the yoga hall, unrolling our mats and slowly stretching awake – or stealing a few more moments sleep under a blanket in a pretend shavasana.
Surinder would enter, prepare and pray as we came to sit, ready to begin the class. The morning class was for our own practice. It was one of my favourite times of day, knowing you wouldn’t be called upon to demonstrate a pose or to have the magic of the silence broken with a lengthy discussion on the finer points of a pose. It was a time to go deeper into the practice and learn alignment from the inside out.
It was 2 hours of yoga and pranayama, challenging but not exhausting. We’d work through a few rounds of sun salutations, going quite slowly, holding poses long enough for Surinder to check our alignment and give individual adjustments. He’d achieve this task at miracle speed, his experience and sharp eye meaning he could quickly hone in on what we most needed.
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’.
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…]