18 April 2017

Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training in India

I had been wanting to do a prenatal yoga teacher training for a while, but had trouble finding one that would fit my schedule. And then - found this one at Kaivalyadhama Ashram in Lonavla, also known as Gandhi's ashram. But it wasn't really his ashram; it was just the ashram where his teacher was, and some actually say that Gandhi's ideas were his teachers. But a true guru shows the light within - and thus, Gandhi was merely shown the ideas he had in him all along. But, alas, I digress.

There were only eight women in my program, which meant for lots of time for all of us to ask questions, speak our mind, share, and get to know each other. I have heard of teacher trainings with 100, 200, more people in a yoga teacher training program. In my YTT200, we had five. I found that perfect. Everyone gets to share, grow, connect, explore.

In the program, there were five Indian women, a Russian woman living in Bahrain, a Romanian woman, and me. We all had our own styles, our own ideas, our own energy. The teacher was VERY theoretical - perhaps too theoretical. She was a yoga therapist, so came from quite a different background, but we all learned a ton.

Days were intense, as they typically are in these sorts of programs. 6:45 we began with a little chanting, meditation. We'd move into lecture or practice, depending on the day. There were guest speakers: Ayurveda doctors, Indian OB/GYNs, naturopaths, meditation instructors, chanting experts. It was nice to get the flavor of India...even though our teacher had lived in the US for 30 years.

There was also a yoga college at the ashram. The students seemed very focused, but at night, in there rooms, you'd hear them giggling as they chatted on their phones, hanging laundry washed in buckets on rickety rusty drying racks ready to soak up any sunlight that would hit them come daytime. There were also lots of people there for different courses. And some just came for "the rest." They would see Ayurveda doctors and practice yoga and eat the sattvic food.

Speaking of...I don't like sattvic food. I find far too often that it completely lacks flavor, food tends to be overcooked. I know, I know, some people love it and say it's great for you...but I was sad. The food in India was wonderful. My WhatsApp messages to Ash were full of complaints of the food.

Ashram life isn't for me. I'm more of a "study yoga on the beach in Goa." I don't want to party and drink and etc in Goa, but I like being around different things, like beach and bikinis. I was told by my classmates that I was "pushing" things by wearing leggings and tank tops. They didn't know that I really just wanted to wear my short shorts and sports bras because it was approximately 1000 degrees every single day.

One night, we all went to visit a local temple. It was amazing because my classmates were Hindu and taught me all about who each god/goddess was, why we were given certain Prasad, what the priests were saying...It kind of gave so much more meaning to everything. Pretty incredible.

After getting soaked with holy water, buying extra batches of the cookies they gave with Prasad, we went to the temple for dinner. For 100 rupees (about $1.30), we feasted like yogi queens. Everything was incredible, full of flavor, spices, even spiciness. I was in heaven.

Our final morning, we did a hike. It was beautiful and always special to be in India. There was a lovely view at the top, and then, we went to the cave where Guruji himself meditated. A lovely energy.

The last day was a typical ceremony of yoga in India: flowers, certificates, photographs, sweets. There was crying. The assistant was super sweet and told me, "You must come back! You must! You must! You are most welcome here in India!" We did a bit of crying and a lot of hugging.

And then we all went to the market. There was a flurrying in helping classmates arrange train tickets. I bought samosas for us to eat on the street. We bought random things: stainless steel plates and pitches and statues of Ganesha and armfuls of glass bangles and sweets we couldn't pronounce and grapes that tasted like nothing we ever had before. The chaos of the streets was a shock after being in the ashram for a week - and I loved it!

And then we went back to the ashram for one final dinner. I was so relieved to be leaving the next day, and eating delicious food w Ash. We all hugged each other and swore we would stay in touch...and for now, I must finish my final paper on Fertility Yoga.

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