Adventures of a Yogi-in-Training

Adventures of a Yogi-in-Training
By Sacha Bala Kavitanienke and sacha

I walk through the garden gate at Yogabliss, met by swirling incense and a smiling Nienke. She asks me to pick out a pretty purple daisy to secure behind my left ear, presses a turquoise bindi onto my forehead in the place of my third eye, and burns dried sage for smudging. I wrap myself in the cleansing smoke before slipping off my boots and stepping barefoot into the studio. Jai Bhagwan.

A circle of cushions surround an alter, where eight pink roses are arranged with several mementos from our nine months together. I settle onto a cushion with excitement, anticipation, joy and sadness. It’s graduation day. Emotions scatter through me like tumbleweed. I let them. This is my yoga.

White washed days of winter mark the start of my YTT experience as our group of eight assembles to study asana, pranayama, yoga philosophy and meditation. At our first retreat I am wrapped in the gentle arms of silence and rattled by my loud life I make friends with the quiet. In between weekends, evenings are peppered with Kirtan, movie nights, yoga classes and stacks of yellow-highlighted yoga books. I choose a mantra and repeat it daily. This is my yoga.

Spring is in no hurry. Icy winds send shivers up my spine as I dash from my car into the studio but when a complaint tickles my throat chakra I’m reminded it’s okay to slow down. I practice 27 poses, lay emotions on the page with a set of oil pastels and study yamas and niyamas. Spring doesn’t have to arrive on my schedule. I tuck windblown hair under my orange hat and breath in acceptance. This is my yoga.

Summer joins the party with a solstice celebration in park and I watch as we wriggle out of our comfort zone and push past our boundaries. We design and teach yoga classes, finishing each one with a circle of appreciation for the teacher, who sits cross-legged in its sacred center. I struggle with which words to offer. I want each of these women to see what I see. Bravery. Beauty. Boldness. Brilliance. I speak my truth. This is my yoga.

Copper-caramel colours of Autumn paint the landscape and the time has come for a road trip. We pile into two vehicles and drive to Kripalu Yoga & Health Center in Massachusetts where mist spills off mountains and trees drip leaves into puddles of gold. At this oasis I enter a rain soaked labyrinth, take a word walk and dance to drums. I laugh often. This is my yoga.

Now on graduation day, our beloved group gathers once more, the same but different. We have shared heartbreak and hugs, meals and stories, challenges and successes. But most importantly we have built a community of love. Namaste.

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