Weeks 1 and 2 I was tired, but still excited. At that time my classmates and I were still in the thrill of it so to speak. We are overloaded with information, but we just keep making it happen. Then last Sunday hit and we were faced with another week of the same and it became too much. For a while I just zoned out. Well as much as I possibly could in this situation and I was not alone. Last week was the first time I heard talk of wanting to go home or folks who could go home for the weekend (which is one day for us) saying they didn't want to come back. Of course they were going to come back, but it's a feeling.
I understood. I didn't so much want to leave, but I was missing my friends. I was missing familiarity and the people who just get you without having to say a word. People who aren't asking you if you're OK all the time. Yes I'm OK! Now leave me alone. LOL! In week three you get to the point where you are tired of crying. I'm so happy that my crying here has been minimal, but for some others it was a daily process. I'm not saying that one way of being is better than another, but think back to what I said at the top. I think if I had been crying every day I would be under the bed right now. Crying is good. It's necessary, but it let's be honest; it can be exhausting.
There is so much to process here and folks have been going through it. I am included in that "folks," but the transformations and realizations here are deep. If you think you are just gonna come here and learn some cool poses you are sorely mistaken. Month long YTT is a pressure cooker and during week three some people did indeed pop, but all for the better.
During week 3 the winds of change were blowing. Sandy was just one of the storms that passed over. As I mentioned in my earlier blog, we lost Joe, we lost power and we damn near lost our minds, but I suppose it's all part of the process. I'm starting to think I like the pressure cooker. Hmm... What's that all about? I'm not sure exactly where to begin when talking about last week. A lot of it seems like a blur, so I'll just tune in to yesterday, which was our day of silence.
I have been doing the silent meditation retreat thing for quite some time. I went on my first silent retreat around 2004. I remember it being a rough time in my life, when I learned about a People of Color (POC) silent retreat that was happening in Garrison, NY at the Garrison institute. My friend Gayle told me about it. I immediately went home that day, bookmarked the site for the retreat on my computer to make sure I would be there the next time it came around. So much sprouted out of that trip. I met some of the women who would then become my circle sisters at Casa Atabex Ache and I also found the silence is so much more than golden, it's a God/dess send. Since then I have been on a couple more silent retreats and have began to meditate regularly. I was looking forward to the silence, but for some of my other classmates, the thought of silence was terrifying. No texting, no email and no talking. What was going to happen? I am an empath so I was feeling some of the anxiety in the room. It was thick.
Our teachers treated our day of silence like a retreat. So our morning Sadhana (yoga practice) was something called Inward Diving, which is basically some really deep pranayama or breath work. The class was led by a man named Micah and it was incredible. He had us doing a lot of deep breathing in various styles including Dirga (three part breath), kapalabhati (breath of fire, while alternating nostrils) and some other things that I can't remember the name of that were new to me. Talk about feeling the energy. Usually I don't like to do so much pranayama in the morning because it's challenging to get into it, but I was all into this and loving it. I later found out I wasn't alone.
After breakfast we did an OSHO meditation. I had done this before so I was ready, but many other people had not so it was a lot. If you are not sure who OSHO is, just give him a google and you can get all this info. Anyway, this meditation consists of 15 minutes of shaking, 15 minutes of dancing, 15 minutes of seated or standing mediation and 15 minutes of shavasana. If you are not ready for this, it can be life altering. This mediation reminds me of the emotional release work I did a Casa. One of the things we would ask women to do when they felt something coming up was to shake and then at the end of the emotional release we would have the women dance. Shaking is usually the most challenging part of the meditation. We don't usually move our bodies like that or when we do it's because something really terrifying has happened. So the first part of this meditation can be very intense for some. Then after 15 minutes you move to the dancing. My teacher was playing something really tribal so I just went in. It was great! That part always seems to go fast because I'm all in it. Then we did the 15 minutes mediation. We could either do it standing or sitting so I chose standing. I was dripping with sweat, but it didn't bother me a bit. Then we laid down for shavasana. I have been fighting off a cough for the last week as well. It has been getting me up from shavasana at least once or twice a day. I was hoping to make it through this one, but I did cough a couple of times. Then I was able to settle in. After that I was beat. I went to lunch and then took a nap to get ready for the end of the day.
When we returned for the last half of the day, we spent the first hour outside doing any sort of mediation that we wanted. Some people went to the lake, others to the labyrinth and my group went to Swami Kripalu's meditation garden. I have to say there that here is a strange bust of the Swami in the mediation garden, which I wasn't expecting to see. Although it was his garden I didn't really expect to see him there. LOL! Anyway, it was a nice space and has a great view of the lake from there. So I spoke to my ancestors for a while and then we returned to the center. For our final activity of the day we had to hold bridge pose...for a while. The exercise was about finding our edge and edges were surely found. But what I realized is that I'm always living life on the edge, which can be good when it comes to taking risks and leaps of faith. I don't ever want to be rid of that in my spirit, but I would like life to be a little less on the edge in some aspects of my life. So that's what I got out of it. I know how to go to the edge, but maybe a little stability would be good. Very good. I'm not coming back from here and looking for a full-time desk job or anything like that, but I am going to work to shape my life to be the way I want it and have all aspects of my life working for me. It can be a challenge to be yourself and really step into your authenticity, but I'm going to keep stepping. I've gotten this far, I know I can make it even brighter.
The last thing we had to do before breaking silence was find someone near us, look them in their eyes very close up and then give them a hug...for 6 minutes. Now, coming from the artsy, hugging and kissing community that I come from, this was no big deal, but for some it was life altering. The woman I hugged broke down afterward because she was so scared of the eye contact and the hug because she didn't think that she was lovable and she could feel that I really loved her when I hugged her and in that moment she realized that she really deserved to be loved. POW!!! It was deep for sure. I know I have had some hard days, weeks, months even, but I have never felt unloved or not lovable. Did I say it was deep? Well, it was deep. It made me even more thankful for my life and the people in it.
Then about 5pm we broke silence and some of my classmates spoke about their experience. Besides the one mentioned above, others had found a new sense of self or at least realized it in the silence. I had a few revelations myself, but that is one of the reasons why I came here. Another thing I realized is that Music is my Yoga. Don't worry, I'm still going to teach, but yoga is more than just postures. Yoga is really the breath and I'm breathing when I'm making music.
Week three is done and tomorrow begins my last week here. As much as I'm ready to go home, I'm gonna miss this place and these people. In some ways they have become my family. We are the only ones who will understand what happened here. Yes there have been other Yoga Teacher Training classes before us and there are many to come, but I know that no two groups are alike. I'm so glad I went through this process with these people.
OK, I'm signing off. I had studying to do, but there is also an acro-yoga workshop going on. What to do? Thank you so much again for all your support.