Many of us know through experience or through hearing the rumours that Ashtanga Yoga is a strong practice, both physically and mentally. The practice (when adhered to properly) requires intense dedication from its students which is one of the reasons this practice can be so incredible transforming.
When I first began to practice I didn't adhere to all these 'rules' such as practicing 6 days per week, taking rest when I was menstruating, respecting the full and new moon as rest days. But after a year or so they seemed to make sense and I naturally wanted to respect and follow this tradition in its tried and tested form.
When I explain to friends, family (and sometimes students) the reasons why we take rest on new and full moon I am often met with a rolling of the eyes, like what I am saying has no substance. And maybe it does appear that way, but I can say in honesty that since I have started respecting the moon cycles my whole body seems more in sync with the natural cycles of the planet and universe. Taking rest on the moon isn't just a requirement, by the time the moon day comes along, I can actually feel it in my body.
Here is a good description from the Jois Ashtanga Yoga Centres
"It has always been the tradition in Ashtanga Yoga to rest from asana practice on new and full moon days (tithis). When asked why we shouldn’t practice on these days, Guruji was fond of saying, “Two ‘plantets’ [grahas] one place, very dangerous.” What is meant by this is that on these days, the sun and the moon are in a line relative to the position of the earth. Consequently, their gravitational forces are all combined, and thus the effect of the ‘plantets’ more pronounced. One definitive effect of this is that the ocean’s tides are higher and lower on these days. When āsana practice is done daily, rest days are important for regeneration; and the extra biweekly ‘moon day’ comes as a welcomed respite."
So we are now respecting the rest days in our Ashtanga Yoga program here at Yoga Village. All other classes will take place as usual, but Ashtanga Yoga Mysore Style, Intro to Ashtanga Yoga and Ashtanga Led Classes will not take place on the following days.
Moon Days 2015
Enrolments are now open for the 2015 Yoga Village Teacher Training Scholarship Program.
Wishing you the very best of luck, Yogis. Much love, Cora
In 2015 I have resolved to be 100% authentic in all my decisions and actions. Over the last few years I have made professional and personal decisions based on fear which I can has held me back from my true calling. Towards the end of last year I began taking actions that were based around facing my fears, and following my heart and have seen so many positive changes in all areas of my life. Everything just feels easier when I trust my instincts rather than trusting other peoples expectations and experiences.
I hope you have settled in to 2015 and have a positive outlook for the year ahead.
I hope to see you on the mat soon.
PS - Here is a photo of me just after receiving my Level 2 authorisation - proud as punch outside the Ashtanga Institute
Yoga Teacher Training FAQ
1. Am I good enough to become a yoga teacher?
Of course! Your worth is inherent in the fact that your on the planet right now. You don't need to be 'better' or 'different' in order to become a great teacher. Some of the most inspiring teachers don't comply to the yoga teacher stereotype, and do things their own way.Teaching yoga isn't about obtaining an idealized version of perfection, its about knowledge, experience, communication and compassion for yourself and your students.
2. Do I need to be able to do a headstand/handstand/full wheel etc. to become a yoga teacher?
Nope - absolutely not.
There are 8 limbs of yoga, of which, asana ( physical postures ) are only one. In most teacher trainings, there is a big focus on asana, as this is mainly what we teach in group classes. However, there is no requirement for the teacher to be able to perform every asana perfectly. We all have our own strengths and weakness, and over time we work to balance those out. However, when you enter a training your ability, or inability to practice a certain pose will have little bearing on weather or not you become a great teacher.
For example, I've been working on handstand for the last few years, and I can't free balance in the middle of the room...yet. Hand standing doesn't come easily to me, so I have had to work very hard at finding strength and alignment upside down. I've taken workshops, read countless books, articles, watched videos, worked with a teacher one-on-one.
Now even though I can't perform the asana perfectly, I feel damn well equipped to teach it, because I have been studying it so diligently. Perhaps even more so, than a teacher that could handstand easily from the beginning.
Get my point?
3. I'm not sure if I want to actually teach yoga, but I want to deepen my practice. Is a teacher training right for me?
This is honestly one of the most common questions I have been asked about teacher training, and I think the answer is unique to the individual. However, before I get into detail - I think it's wise to consider weather or not your story of 'not wanting to teach' is a scapegoat for a fear of putting yourself out there, or not being good enough. If that's the case, face your fear, and do it anyway.
In the Yoga Village Training, you have 2 bonus coaching sessions with me, and we can work through this together.
4. What if I have a fear of public speaking, can I still become a great yoga teacher?
If you just genuinely don't have an interest in teaching, but want to deepen your practice, a teacher training is definitely one way to do that. You will explore topics like philosophy, anatomy, meditation and pranayama, that don't get much air time in a group class. As long as you don't mind learning teaching specific skills, like hands on assists, and communication - then go for it. You can always change your mind, and teach at a later date.
If you're interested in the upcoming Yoga Village Teacher Training, you can get in touch with Cora at firstname.lastname@example.org
I am writing to you from Mysore, India where I on my annual study trip at The Ashtanga Institute. I find this trip so beneficial. not only do I have the chance to study with one of the most amazing teachers in the world but it also gives me a chance to reflect on myself and what this practice means to me on a deeper level.
I spend so much time on my own here. I live on my own, eat most meals on my own, make all decisions on my own, find my own house, scooter etc. In this place I need to be completely confident in myself in order to get things done. So often things go wrong - in fact, in india I am almost guaranteed that things won’t go to plan! I need to trust that everything that is meant to be happening is happening and be confident and relaxed with that.
The same applies in the practice. Always in my first week I feel a lack of confidence in my practice. I always worry that my teacher will not think I am good enough, that other people in the room might be better than me, and then of course, I feel fear when my teacher gives me new poses that I cannot do them. I start to question myself.
Of course, these thoughts are just a reflection of how I see myself. How we all see ourselves. We all have fears. Someone in the room must be looking at my practice and having the same doubts about their own.
The only thing we have to remember is that everything that is meant to be happening, on and off the mat is meant to be happening and will, in some way, strengthen our confidence.
Until next time...
Peace, Love & Yoga