by Tahereh Sariban
Anyone who has done a yoga teacher training – with or without the intention to teach – knows how special the experience is. I came off my teacher training in Bali wishing I could recommend it to all the people close to me. In addition, the place where you train and the people you train with become special forever.
The first space I will remember is our practice room and that familiar feeling attached to it; a structure, wooden floor and the imprint of thousands of hours spent here by other yogis. They say yoga is about unity. That it is about asana. About letting go. That it is about breath. That you may discover yourself. That yoga teacher training is a transformational experience. All this is true. And there is more yet: in the very act of signing up for teacher training, I was already sensing that there is a unity beyond.
The next space I remember is a space of heat. And the Bali heat can get pretty intense. The body doesn’t stop sweating. The muscles are constantly strained to catch the fleeting breeze that will feel like a thousand cool showers on a hot summer day. Lululemon becomes clingy. The breeze doesn’t come, and the heat intensifies. I found myself dreaming of nakedness, of tearing off my clothes and lying on the wooden floor, limbs wide, to bring some sort of separation between the body and the hot, humid air. And we spoke of the Yamas and the Niyamas, those contracts we come to embrace, through yoga, with ourselves and the world surrounding us. Day after day after day, we spoke of truth and non-stealing and self-study. As if children again, we started making sense of ourselves as adults. As people struggling to love and be loved, to value and be valued, to achieve and seek greatness in all the small things. As children, we are told not to put our hand in the fire because it burns, but we still do it, just to make sure. By the time we reach adulthood, we have burned ourselves so many times, we have forgotten about the fire entirely, and that it burns. The Yamas and Niyamas had a soothing effect. They spoke to every one of us on a profound, difficult, simple, far-reaching level. The heat started subsiding. We read and the heat subsided.
Daily asana practice at 6:15am was a very special space inside the day. Or maybe it isn’t day yet at that time, more of a moment in time, beautifully existing just for us to be in it. They say that if you wake up early and take the time to smell the flowers, your world changes. It’s true. The world at 6am amazes. It is bigger than us. It is on its own autopilot of softness and awakening. It does not require our intervention, nor does it shun us away from it. It is. And in being just what it is, it reminds us of the mantra “tread lightly”. We are mere visitors; graceful guests leave no trace, save perhaps a thank you note etched on a banana leaf. For me, this is the space and time of yoga: omnipresent, eternal and unforced.