It has been just a little over a month since I returned from my training in Montreal. On one hand it feels as if it was almost a life time ago and on the other hand it feels as if it was just yesterday. The adjustment back into my daily routine and life has been a bit more difficult than I expected. I missed my family dearly and I am extremely happy to be home however with each day that passes I feel the magic from training slowly slipping away. Even though we spent our month of training in a major city, it felt as if we were all encased in an euphoric bubble. Wishing to be back in that bubble takes away from the growth which we experienced and knowing that that moment could never be recaptured again is what makes it so special. Keeping up with my daily practice has helped me to remain connected. Along with remaining in contact with my other sangha members through our Facebook page.
It was my intention to try and capture my favourite moments of training in my journal but I also thought it would be a great idea to share some of them here in a top ten favourite things about yoga teacher training list. To be honest there is no particular order. All of these things could very well rank #1 but for the sake of creating order I will list them one through ten. Hopefully this will give a glimpse of this incredible experience.
10. Training in Montreal, Quebec:
When I initially started scouting out dates and locations for training I was a little disappointed that they did not have a training in Toronto. However now I understand why they keep their training in locations where the majority of their teachers are not located. Being away from home allowed me to dedicate my time to training and bond with my sangha in a way that probably would not be possible if I was in Toronto. Not to mention being in Montreal in the fall was absolutely beautiful. I enjoyed the food, the culture, the sites and the people. I even developed a new found love for French.
My first time hearing about the AirBnB website was from a fellow yogi who had done her teacher training in Montreal. She suggested the site to find affordable accommodations for my month there. The site was very easy to maneuver and offered a wide variety options and price ranges. It did not take me long to find a really nice place which I called home for 30 days. Our host was amazing and was always available when we needed him.
8. Opening Circle:
On day one of our training we all met in what would be our lecture space during our training. The space was located on St Laurent Blvd. just a few blocks from Moksha Yoga Montreal. Everyone showed up very excited and eager to begin our time together. The day was full with learning the names of our 56 sangha members and sharing what brought us to teacher training. I knew I was going to be nervous since public speaking is not my forte. I was amazed at how much we all had in common even though we all came from different walks of life and how easy it was to share with these total strangers all gathered for a united cause.
7. Silent Mornings:
During orientation on day one the faculty explained the contract they expected us to adhere to. One of the provisions was that we all had to practice mauna which in Sanskrit translates to the observance of silence. So every morning we observed silence from the moment we woke until the end of our first asana practice, which generally meant a duration of approximately 3 hours. At first it sounded impossible but surprisingly I looked forward to the personal challenge and welcomed the opportunity to quiet the unnecessary chatter. Each morning there were new sounds I heard that I never realized existed. I had a new appreciation for the sounds that constantly surrounds us but we overlook or better yet talk over.
I am a suburbanite and always have been. I could not imagine not having a vehicle to get around until teacher's training. I will admit it was challenging and took a bit for my body to get use to the daily journey back and forth from our lecture space and studio to the apartment I rented. However it slowly became a welcomed change. I realized how many opportunities I missed to interact with people and nature by getting in my car. If you ever feel overwhelmed or losing touch with what's really important in your life, take a nature walk.
5. All Things Food:
This is why I say any of these could be number one on the list. Even though I am listing this at five, believe me food was definitely a high point. I must admit it was a bit easier for me than others in my group. I had already been a vegetarian for two years prior to my training so when our contract suggested we remove meat and poultry from our diet, it didn't phase me which was fortunate because Montreal has AMAZING food! I was very impressed to find vegetarian and vegan options on every block, not to mention the BEST vegetarian poutine I have ever tasted.
4. Morning Meditation:
Prior to training I had been developing my meditation practice with online group meditations, so I was very pleased when our faculty told us we would meditate prior to our morning asana. Each day brought more ease is sitting with my thoughts, my aches and my sangha. Such a powerful way to start day.
3. Group Asana Practice:
One of the valuable lessons I will take from training is how important the breath is during practice. Some of my favourite teachers focus on the breath and while I appreciated their breath cues during class I didn't realize how powerful it can be until my training. Some of our most inspiring and mind blowing classes were facilitated with an incredible unified breath of 56 yogis. Hearing my neighbour's breath helped to carry me through the postures even though it was day 7 of 7 consecutive days of yoga, 3 times daily.
2. AHA! Moments:
There were so many moments where I was speechless by what I was learning, hearing our experiencing. These moments always seemed to present themselves at just the right time. They were lessons within lessons that reverberated throughout the body. There are no words to explain this one. I believe this is something that happens when you are exactly where you are supposed to be experiencing exactly what you need.
I had to leave the home I own and my well paid corporate job to realize that I was not living as if I was free. Even though I had material things I still felt trapped in what I thought was expected of me. Training helped me realize that yes one does need money to buy the necessities in life and even to pursue their dreams, such as training. However it is up to each of us to decide what is necessary for our lives and not society. We are the ones that can make it as simple or as complex as we want it. My freedom came in accepting that I can scale my life back at any time and my world will not fall apart. Strive for those dreams, shake things up. You really are the artist creating the life you want.. Jai!