I’m not sure what happened to this last week! Time has definitely started to fly. Looking back over the past six days I am left wondering what actually happened. They are a blur of overwhelming information, concentration, and emotions.The first two of my classmates had their teaching practicums today. On the schedule the class was to be split, with both teaching different classes simultaneously. The rain last night made our outside teaching location a puddle, so we all got to do their classes, back to back. I’m glad I got to witness both, as they both showcased their quirky personalities. A favorite quote from one was “We’re going to do Surya Namaskar. It might sound like it, but I’m not making it up. That’s it’s actual name!” The other dedicated a pose to the lizard that hangs out in the tree outside. Even with a few trip-ups on the actual asanas, both knocked it out of the park! I ended up with the lucky slot of ‘last’ for my teaching practicum. While it would be nice to get it done, if the next three days are anything like the last three weeks, it will come soon enough! 

The famous Lizard-ji from the tree outside the yoga hall.

I sit here in this rainy Wednesday afternoon watching the tea steam out of my insulated water bottle. The rain has stopped a hiking adventure to the Peace Pagoda, a Pokhara classic, with lovely views of the mountain. Today one can’t even see that there is a lake much less any mountains, so we decided that we’ll hope for Sunday for that adventure. 

Not the most picturesque, but this is where I can pick up wifi and sit at the same time.

Instead I made a trip to the post office and had some tea with a friendly shopkeeper. This is one thing I have found in Nepal – if you are open to opportunities, the locals love to sit and chat with you. This one tried to convince me not to buy the jewelry in his shop, but to save my money (I’m fine with that, as I had no intention to anyways). It was a funny conversation. It is nice to have these interactions with locals when so often one has to walk past shopkeepers and fruit sellers saying “no thanks, no thanks, not today (or ever)” to their advances. 

A highlight of this afternoon was accompanying a few classmates to a donation-based singing bowl meditation. In a small room with eight of us, we lay down on comfy mats with little pillows, covered by a sheet. The meditation guide put a lightly scented pillow over our eyes and played a series of bowls. We each got one of the larger ones on our stomachs, and the sensation of the vibrations traveling through our bodies was really cool. He played all different pitches of bowls, sometimes a single bowl and sometimes a discordant mixture. I would find my mind wandering, and then he’d play one that would reverberate through my whole body, almost making my skin crawl, but more pleasant. It was a short ‘teaser’ to what you could get if you sign up for a massage/meditation package (which are still very affordable and quite tempting) but a really nice way to spend 45 minutes. 

A hasty picture of the singing bowls.

On Sunday we walked to the Shiva temple. Shiva is the Hindu god who creates, protects, and transforms – a pretty big deal. Here we left our shoes outside by the gate and spent quite a while wandering around, taking in the intricate carvings and buildings and the peaceful atmosphere. When all of our class and Prana-ji arrived we were able to go into the center of the temple for some Om chanting and mantras. It was actually more of a temple within a temple- a newer building built around a tiny, older building. With all of us inside, the positive vibrations filled up the whole space! Afterwards people were lighthearted and filled with positive energy, taking pictures and enjoying the beauty around us. 

I got a picture with Prana-ji! It was his idea, but I am clearly VERY excited.

Classes have continued, and the sheer quantity of information is a bit overwhelming at times, despite my solid attempt to do the pre-course reading. I find myself getting some lyrics from Colors of the Wind from Disney’s Pocahontas (‘you’ll learn things you never knew you never knew’) stuck in my head. I am understanding now what they meant when they said that this 200 hour certification is just a basic foundation for practicing yoga, and gives you enough of an idea that you can share what you know with others. However, what you know is little, compared to the vastness that is yoga!

Anatomy class with Rich Logan. He is very engaging and teaches techniques for self myofascial release. Two of my classmates are demonstrating this (strap around the head and feet up in the air). It is nice that this is an acceptable way to take in the (mostly unrelated) lesson!

One things that will be very helpful is that I have gained some tools to jog my thoughts out of the anxious spirals that they sometimes fall into. These will come in handy when living in the city, working with children, and not knowing what the future will hold. Not only this, but the techniques are simple to practice (though will take at least lifetime to perfect). Luckily you don’t need to be an expert to gain the benefits. 

Mornings have seemed (but not actually changed) like they get earlier and earlier despite my bedtimes steadily progressing earlier too. I have definitely gotten stronger in the poses both physically and mentally. I feel like perhaps my flexibility has improved (that’s what I keep telling myself) but I can’t tell because my muscles are real stiff – overall my range of motion has decreased for the time being.  

Nifty leaf origami made by a classmate on a study break.

I wouldn’t trade this experience for any 200 hour teacher training back home, as I have gotten to meet such extraordinary people in a great place- I definitely feel like I am in the right place at the right time.  I look forward to taking the basics that I have learned and incorporating them in a more normal routine – when my body and nervous system can truly adapt.   Until then, I’m going to continue to do my best to make it through the final week injury and sickness free! Namaste friends!