Welcome back! Last week I gave you some insight into my first day in yoga teacher training. This week, I hope to tell you a little bit about Day 2. I have to say, this was a very special day in my mind and I might not really be able to convey everything that happened.
I really do believe that some of the conversations on this day formed the beginnings of our true bond as a group. As such, I will be holding some things back. Again, some of these things are deeply personal, and I would never want to tell someone else’s story. That’s not what we’re here for. I will do my best to tell you about the day from my perspective while maintaining the integrity of the trust and openness being established in our group.
We spent the morning of Day 2 of our yoga teacher training doing a chakra workshop with Michael Garber. This is probably one of the biggest areas of this training that will be hard to describe for anyone who wasn’t there, but I’ll do my best. Michael took us through an introduction to subtle energy. Subtle energy includes things like chakras, meridians, chi, auras, etc. Our primary focus for the morning, though, was the chakras.
Michael took us through each chakra and explained it in thorough detail. We talked about the location of each chakra in the body, the associated colors, and the correlated bodily organs and glands for each chakra. We talked about things that can have a negative impact on those chakras as well as ways to restore the balance. His presentation was really incredible and made a lot of connections between all of the different chakras and how they work together to function as an energy system. If you have interest in learning about it, I highly recommend you take a peek at his YouTube channel. His full presentations are available there where you can view them on your own time and at your own pace.
Michael also took us through a few guided meditations. These were really enjoyable. He did one in particular where we focused our breathing cyclically a number of different ways that I found to be particularly energizing and helpful. Again, it’s a bit hard to convey. For me, there was a real feeling of lightness and freshness both mentally and emotionally after this particular meditation. The breathing and visualizations he used resonated with me personally. This meditation something I hope to use again and again in my own life practice.
This workshop led to some really great discussion amongst our group. We talked about some personal experiences during this time. The topic of religion and spirituality can so often times be fraught, but it was a respectful and enlightening discussion. We were able to be open and listen to individual experiences. It truly created some space to learn more about where each of us was coming from.
Yoga and the Spine
After lunch, it was time to dive into more concrete anatomy. Our focus for the afternoon was the spine and the respiratory system. We spend a good deal of time talking about the basic structure and functions of the spine. After a basic discussion of anatomy, we related it to the practice and teaching of yoga. Taking the yogic principles of sthira (rigidity or firmness) and sukha (easiness), we then applied them to the spine and breathing. The human spine contains both qualities, and both functions are responsible for the incredible capabilities we have for movement.
During the final portion of Day 2 of our yoga teacher training, we did some group and partner activities. Our first activity was to break into a small group to create our “yoga bodies”. We traced a member of the group on paper to get our outline. We then filled it in with the concepts we had learned over the weekend. As luck would have it, two members of our group were able to collaborate to draw a really fantastic representation of the spine. We added in our chakras and our diaphragm to complete the picture of the concepts we’d learned over the weekend.
Our second activity was to pair with a partner and really study the other person as they stood. As I remarked to my partner, we’re often taught “not to stare” at other people, but this activity allowed the space to really appreciate the mechanics of the human form. We looked at details I would never have expected to focus on. For example, we looked to see how the ear canal lined up with the shoulders and ankles. We also looked at subtle things, like whether one arm was being held more to the front of the body. We remarked upon our observations to one another as we went.
It was a really interesting activity. It helped to note how everyone is different and no one has perfect anatomy or posture. Keeping that in mind, yoga poses are not things that everyone can or should do precisely the same way. Rather, the end shape of the pose will be as different as the individuals doing it. That, in a nutshell, is one of the things I love most about the practice of yoga.
Now It’s Time to Say Goodbye
We wrapped up our first weekend of yoga teacher training with another short yoga session. This session was focused on our chakras, and we spent some time in one or two poses for each chakra. It was a nice way to tie the day together. Which, I’m sure, was the plan!
With that, we sang our closing song and said goodbye to one another until next time. We meet again for our second weekend in a few short weeks. I’m looking forward to learning more and spending more time with these wonderful women.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my first weekend of yoga teacher training. Please be sure to be on the lookout for more in this series as I continue through my journey over the coming year. Thanks for reading!