Week four! This week went very quickly. I hope to go into more detail later, but for now I’ll just have a little ‘highlights’ list. It also appears that my phone won’t let me add captions to the pictures today for some reason, so you’ll just have to guess what is happening in each. The quick outline of the week is below:
We finished our course with a class trip and some sunrise yoga on Sarangkot (the same mountain we paraglided from). Again, it stormed for us during the afternoon and evening. The charged energy from the weather compounded with the comradeship of our group, resulting in a guitar singalong session in the afternoon, a long course wrap-up in the afternoon, and a crazy dance marathon (or, more like a sprint, as it was done by 9:00pm but very intense, like Bollywood Zumba). I was prepared for rain in the morning too, but it ended up being quite clear, and we had our last class together while watching the sun rise over Annapurna. I feel so lucky to have had this opportunity – for this short overnight, the whole class, and the people it had allowed me to connect with. More on this later.
Another whimsical moment of the week was a hail storm that brought everyone from a very engaging anatomy lesson (we were giving each other backrubs while exploring back muscles, shoulders mobility, and myofascial release tricks). The pounding on the roof drowned out our instructor’s voice, and everyone ran to the windows, giddy as children to check out the icy marbles falling from the sky. Eventually class did resume, everyone (thankfully) got a backrub.
The back rubs were nice, as they preceded our 2.5 hour full Ashtanga Primary Series yoga session. We have been doing parts of this sequence all month, learning the asanas (or their modifications) and doing strengthening calisthenics to try to prepare our bodies (and minds) for the full series. Traditionally the series is set to the pace of the breath and Asana follows asana in a set flow, and experienced folks can make it through the sequence a by faster than we could, but there isn’t a hurry. I lack the flexibility to completely do all the asanas without modification, but I felt strong and started feeling really good by the end. It was an early to bed day (we had already had Hatha and alignment classes that day). Lots of yoga! Needless to say, I was stiff the next day.
This week also contained everyone’s teaching practicums: it was so much fun to be taught by my classmates and see their personalities come through in their lessons. Giving and receiving feedback from them and our instructors created many teachable moments and also many laughs. I was the last person to teach my class (not ideal). I got an ‘it was ok’ from my instructor (and other comments), and plenty of positive and constructive feedback from everyone. It is so nice to be able to practice on friends who know just as much or more than you do.
Sunday Funday: hopefully I’ll go into more detail later about all the wonderfulness of this day. After my class, we had Sunday off. Some of us rented bicycles and went on an adventure toward the Tibetan refuge camp and a monastery. We cut through back ways and small neighborhoods. It was wonderful to get out of the touristy area and into a normal Nepali town. Colorful homes and school children with cheery Hellos greeted us. We only made a few wrong turns up steep hills (and then coming back down when we realized it)- these were extra fun with bikes rusted into one gear and a pedal that was stuck!
We made it to the base of a steep hill and climbed by foot up to a Buddhist Monastery. As soon as we walked through the colorful gate we were met by peacefulness, the fluttering of prayer flags, and gentle wind chimes. Only a few people were around: a couple of women, one monk, and some small boys who were training to be monks (but were still a little, wonderfully naughty).
We came back from Sarangkot late this morning, figured out accommodation for the night, and spent the rest of the day trying to prepare for and figure out logistics for our trekking adventures. The short version is that four of us will start together along part of the trek to Annapurna Base Camp, hike for a day or two to some hotsprings, and then two of us will turn around and hike out to the road while the others continue to the Base Camp.
We will then figure out transportation to Besishahar to begin the Annapurna Circuit, which should take us about two weeks. Lots of planning for an afternoon! It would be fun to do both treks in their entirety, but not really possible because of time limitations. Right now we are all packed up, ready to head off in the am! Well, my room is anyways.