• Alex Robshaw

I need to be okay about being alive ॐ Part 4 ॐ Understanding my Yoga

Dernière mise à jour : 12 août 2021

The number One thing to be said about my first yoga teacher training is that I was working in a bar at the time. The trainings were held as intensive weekends, from Friday evenings to Sunday afternoons. So when you add that to a bar job, where the only times you're actually making money is on Friday and Saturday nights, it makes for a rather impossible schedule to work out, right?

It was insane. I'd get ready to go to work before the Friday evening class, attend it, then go and grab some dinner quickly before starting my shift at the bar. I'd work until 3:30am, grab the night bus and get to my apartment by 4:30am.

I was very grateful for the teacher training instructor to be comprehensive of my situation and allow me to miss the early morning practices which would start between 6:30am and 7am, so I could get at least 4 to 5hrs of sleep in me before joining the group for the rest of the day at around 10am everytime.

After a day's training, I'd go home and try to sleep for a couple of hours before getting ready to work at the club on Saturday night, and go through the same routine again until Sunday afternoon, where I'd come home and crash in my tiny bed, asleep by 7:30pm.

What got me through this is, of course, caffeine, but also my will to live a life in respect and alignment with what's in my heart. It's that fire that gave me the strength to power through it all, and my passion for yoga. When you love what you're doing, everything's easier to deal with. And then, of course, there were a few times where I could afford missing one night at the bar, and a few times where I was able to join the YTT group later in the day -and then there was that one time I actually slept at the bar because I couldn't skip the morning practice. I sure was grateful for the shower at the yoga studio that time!

It was an absolutely erratic madness of a ride, and it of course affected my body's ability to perform, but also my mood. When your organism is that tired, there's very little left inside to handle whatever hardships can come your way. Needless to say I wasn't my strongest during the weekend trainings, and that really made me feel like I was bad at yoga -and not only that, but it really made me question whether I had made the right choice, because I didn't feel like I was in my element at all.

The training was very much founded in a yang energy, which of course, is essential, and very popular -and despite my struggles, I sure did benefit from experiencing a training from this perspective.

But it wasn't me, and it wasn't my yoga.

I have this particular Kapha quality of needing a lot of time to get my body in the poses, when I do yoga. Clearlight Gerald's way of teaching is alignment-based, and being her student for so long had me develop a slow-paced practice, which I enjoyed quite a lot, as my yoga practice always meant a time-out of my erratic lifestyle. The training and diverse classes I got to take at the studio I was training at, however, made me discover a completely different approach to yoga. Here were classes that were must faster, and much more about performance. I learned about peak-pose sequencing, and the hierarchal perspective to asanas. These notions are of great value, of course. It was definitely cool to discover and explore new poses; challenging myself is what makes me evolve! It's also very important to warm-up the body and make sure it's ready to get itself into shapes and forms that might be more complex or take a fair share of strength to hold up. The last thing you wanna do is injure yourself from forcing your body into an asana too abruptly. Mindfulness is key, when it comes to yoga.

So I challenged myself, and saw my asana practice evolve -but it didn't happen during the training. It happened, in fact, once the pandemic hit. There was no way for me to have enough time and strength during my training, nor the classes themselves, to apply the theory I was learning during the asanas workshops. But once we were confined in our homes , and I had time and space to practice yoga, I was free to dive into my newly acquired knowledge of asanas and apply it to my practice.

We're currently on the asanas module, in my Kundalini yoga teacher training. We've been presented the asanas as a wheel, where all the poses are equal. Warming up the body is necessary, still, but the purpose of their practice is not to get to a peak in an asana practice. The goal is to experience the benefits of the kriyas, as we can in that moment. There is less of a necessity to need to be able to get into one asana so as to be able to get into another. It's a different challenge.

During my first training, we had a yin yoga workshop. I fell in love with the practice, and actually recently completed an official certification in it. Yin yoga is about slowing down, diving inside, and allowing ourselves to achieve nothing, above all -if only inner balance.

(Yin yoga actually give the body the opportunity to achieve quite a lot, in its stillness and openness. The key though, is to stay still in the poses, for as long as the body feels comfortable to do it.)

In her classes, Clearlight Gerald always reminds us that "there isn't anything there that's not already here".

There isn't anything in bakasana that isn't in phalakasana. There isn't anything in phalakasana that isn't in dandasana. Let go of the idea of achieving anything -if only inner balance.

Now that's my yoga.

It's important for me to share yoga in a way that allows for people to actually get the opportunity to experience its benefits for themselves, and achieve the inner balance it can provide. I also aspire to be the teacher I would want to have, which means developing an approach to teaching yoga that carries forth the values of patience, stillness, slowness, ease, accessibility and balance.

And in Kundalini yoga, I have found my home.

Because Kundalini yoga isn't about achieving anything other than inner balance and peace -with ourselves, and this thing called Life.

I need to be okay about being alive, and that's why I do yoga, and that's why I'm here, now.

#kundaliniyoga #yogamontréal #mtlyogateacher #mtlyoga #kundaliniyogamontreal #clearlightgerald

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