Yoga as a way of life – a reality
I have been practicing yoga for on and off for three years to find a calm centre. The
Krishnamacharya school of yoga derived from TKV Desikachar as taught by my
Guru Ravishankar gave me that with Gentle yoga and Vedic chanting. The sessions
appealed to me as it allowed me to grow at my own pace and let my body heal and
kind of stay calm.
Having had a hip surgery and intense physiotherapy post the surgery, I almost felt a new lease on life when I found I could do Asanas. I lead an active life, walking everywhere while in the US , climbing trekking, and even zip lining and tree climbing.
When I signed up for the Teacher training course here at Asana Andiappan School of
Yoga, I was a little intimidated. The two motives for joining were to find out my
limits when it came to Hatha Yoga and to spend some fruitful time with my friend for
life from school days Sarayu.
In fact, I initially signed up for just 100 hours and with the encouragement of Ms.Gomathi extended it to the 200-hour course. Within the first three days, I realised that I enjoyed the classes immensely but the yoga therapy was more appealing. The fact that I myself am still grappling with chronic neck pain, stiff hamstrings and lower back pain that inhibits my attempts to work on extremely stretching pose made it more relevant to me.
Secondly, my goal to help middle-class women of menopausal age to get into light gentle yoga and some basic fitness would also be better served if I could also educate myself in therapeutic yoga and naturopathy, it would be of help.
The shift was the best decision under the circumstances. The one-on-one learning in
the small class, the invigorating morning Yoga, and all the other inputs made me enjoy
the best of all the gurus and their knowledge.
I have been impressed by the dedication, gentle firmness and expert guidance by all the teachers – Master Raja sir who inspires with his confidence in each of us in the class to reach a personal goal, Master Ezhili who emanates a calmness that gives us a grounding in aspects of yogic learning, the enthusiasm of Annandurai sir that is infectious, the calm and gentle & work to your comfort; approach of Rajadurai sir, the focus and commitment of
Dr.Gowri - as they took us all on a journey into a yogic way of life.
The diverse teachers for the therapy classes -Prakash sir with his practical approach,
Chamu madam with her down to earth approach, Priyanka with her empathetic style
of demonstration, and Dr. Gowri with her experience in combining yoga, naturopathy,
Siddha and other Ayurvedic approaches – ensured that we gained an insight into yoga
based therapy in a holistic manner.
The design of the course that included, theory, intense practice, fun activities and
practical committed teaching methods taught by faculty who were obviously
practicing what they preached made it a credible experience.
The flow and grace, sequence and pattern, warm-ups and preparatory poses and
movements, the ordering of asanas for the optimal benefits for us and our own
teaching training has slowly but surely drawn me and my classmates into the Guru's
vision of a Yogic existence.
The classes were an eclectic mix of theory and practice with real-life examples and
experiences playing a crucial part in creating the right learning environment. The
assignments while they appeared tough as they were outlined, made us introspect,
analyse and think independently on aspects of teaching Yoga.
They challenged us but strengthened our knowledge base and understanding. Int rue Guru-Sishya tradition, the young faculty were more like friends on this journey fellow travelers who lent us a helping hand when we faltered.
The group learning enhanced the learning, individual internalizing of the various
styles and methods of teaching Yoga to diverse groups of students, and gives a clear
picture of our future journeys
The group take away would be
? listen to everyone, each has a story to tell
? learn from others, everyone has a strength
? observe and learn even if you can't do
? be there for others, they will be there for you
? enjoy the activity, the learning and the knowledge will flow
? engage with everyone alone and together to draw energy
? friendship and camaraderie goes a long way in propping up your energy and
? life is too short to dwell on negatives
? send put positive and in turn positive reaches out to you
? be noble and the nobility in others will rise to meet yours
I must mention here that we were fortunate in our batch to have a wonderful mix of
young and old, each with a unique approach and goal but with open minded
acceptance of the mixed group and learning styles.
We bonded over groaning muscles, achieved postures, happy asanas, amazing food,
crazy jokes, languages, and lives sharing our experiences and expectations alike
I can say for sure that we have all become part of the AA family for life and friends
My personal takeaways from this course have been
? the healthy diet, healthy mind, healthy body is a basic requirement
? a lifestyle transformation to ensure that I stay focused and committed
? the sense of self-esteem that I can achieve “sthiram sukham asana”
? not to push my body until it is ready
? listen to your body and your inner voice
? try to practice the Ashtanga Yoga in small ways
? find your center, find your voice, find your comfort
? draw energy from the elements, the peers and the positive vibes around you
? stay tuned to the rhythms of the universe
? align with the harmony of nature and creation
? the confidence that I control my mind, my body, and my life
Today as we reach the goal of 200 hours and three weeks of learning to be teachers of
Yoga, we embrace not just practice and perfection in theory and practice of Yoga and
Asanas, Doshas, Kriyas, Pranayama but also the way of life that is filled with Santha,
Ahimsa, and Ananda.
Be it to help others in pain or emotional distress, or to guide young and old in their
Yoga journey we are confident today that we can bring an extra element to their lives.
As I embark on the next phase of my journey in Yoga, I feel inspired and secure in
the knowledge that I can make a difference in someone's life. Albeit in a small way.
If I can touch even one life in a positive way, I would say I am successful in
embracing Yoga as a way of life.
Thank you Guruji Andiappan's and all the staff of this School for a wonderful experience.
Uma Vangal Shivakumar, USA
UMA VANGAL SHIVAKUMAR, USA