Last month we let you in on our exciting expansion plans, and we wanted to keep you in the loop with a little taster of one of the new fantastic features that will soon be found at TPYC (besides the showers of course!): We are installing Infrared heaters!
We had the pleasure of testing an Infrared heating panel at the studio on a cold winters day, were very impressed, and extremely reluctant to hand it back over. Now we can’t wait to share the lovely warmth with you that only this technology – and the sun – can provide. And yes, that is exactly what it feels like: the sensation you may have sought last week by finding a wind still corner for that glowing gentle warmth on your skin!
What is Infrared heat and how does it work?
We are installing ceiling panels that emit infrared waves. These panels give off a radiant warmth by converting light directly to heat, warming nearby objects (so your body) rather than raising the air temperature. This will help keep the ujjayi breath going and the prana flowing, while you can enjoy a much more homogenous warmth throughout your practice – whether you are standing, sitting or lying on your mat.
And there is more good news: warming objects as opposed to air means that the heat generated by the Infrared panels is retained much longer in the room. Consequently, using this type of warmth requires less energy and lowers our carbon footprint.
What are the health benefits of practicing Power Yoga in Infrared heat?
There is a long list of positive health effects of Infrared heat on the body. First of all, Infrared heat is perfectly safe. It is a type of energy that is contained in sunlight and is easily absorbed by our bodies. In hospitals, for example, it is used to keep premature babies warm.
Infrared heat increases circulation and body temperature, warming your body from the inside out. It is absorbed much more deeply into your muscular and skeletal systems, the fascia and your organs. So deep down, your molecules will begin to dance and vibrate, and toxins, fat and impurities from your cells will be expelled into your blood stream to then be released as sweat. And guess what? Sweat produced under infrared heat has found to contain 20% more toxins compared to only 3% in sweat produced in more traditional forms of heat.
- Improving and expediting healing processes
Infrared helps to release enzymes, and together with the expansion of capillaries and increased blood flow from the warmth, this increases the elimination of damaged tissues.
- Eliminating stiffness, joint and muscle pain
The deep tissue warmth that is created alongside the increased blood flow helps loosen stiff limbs. As it also aids in healing processes as mentioned above, it is great for (preventing and treating) sore muscles and joints. It can also relieve chronic pain caused by arthritis, for example.
- Improve skin regeneration and elasticity
Infrared heat stimulates the production of collagen, new cell tissues, and rapidly increases skin regeneration, improving skin tone, texture, and elasticity.
- Strengthening the immune system
Infrared heat stimulates your immune system because of the way it warms your body from the inside rather than from the outside. Strengthening your immune system will help fight off bacteria and viruses in your system.
- Suitable of yogis and yoginis with respiratory issues
Because the air itself does not get hot with infrared heat, it is suitable for people with respiratory issues who find it uncomfortable or even risky to go in a heated yoga class. Infrared has also proven to alleviate respiratory problems.
- Fighting cellulite
Because Infrared waves are absorbed so deeply by the cells of the body, it helps breaking down cellulite into a water soluble substance that can be eliminated through sweating.
So, are you intrigued? The panels will be in place early June – let us know how you find them!
The info above is based on the following sources:
Therapeutic Heat and Cold, Fourth Edition, Editors Justus F. Lehmann, MD, Williams, and Wilkin, 1990
Electrotherapy Explained: Principles and Practice, Third Edition, by John Low, FCSP, DipTP, SRP and Ann Reed, MCSP, DipTP, SRP (Woburn, MA; Butterworth-Hainemann, 2001)
Sauna as a Valuable Clinical Tool for Cardiovascular, Autoimmune, Toxicant induced and other Chronic Health Problems by Walter J. Crinnion (Altern Med Rev 2011;16(3):215-225)
In its simplest form, the word Isvarapradnidhana is a combination of the words Isvara, meaning Lord, God, Supreme Being or Life Force, and Pranidhana, meaning attention or surrender to, faith in, or reunion with. In many forms of Yoga, Isvarapranidhana is considered the final observance or niyama.
In the ancient texts that teach us how to follow the path of Yoga nothing has been included gratuitously – every asana, sutra, concept, and practice serves a purpose to aid the individual in their growth. What is the purpose of surrender to the Life Force or Isvarapranidhana and how can we attempt such a huge act?
Even the most hardened of atheists will admit to at some point in their lives finding themselves rendered powerless by something they perceive life to have either thrown at them or blessed them with. Whether in a moment of pure joy, such as the birth of a child, an offer of a new job after months of unemployment, a promotion, a financial windfall, or the realisation of having found love with a soul mate; or in a moment of tragedy, such as the loss of a loved one, the devastating effects of a horrible accident, the breakdown of a marriage, or the loss of custody of children, or some other event that leaves us asking, “How did this happen to me?”.
So often our response to these events comes from a place of survival, a place of ego. Overwhelming feelings of joy or loss can leave us speechless, breathless and tearful. With an inability to know how to deal with these huge feelings, our ego, or who we have decided we are and thus what we believe in, which in turn informs us how to act, rises up to do its very best to deal with the feelings that we perceive will consume us in that moment. Our ego is in fact doing what it thinks will serve us best in that instance based on the sense we have made of the world around us and our past experiences. However, so often, the sense we have made of the world is incorrect and our past experiences have misinformed us, and we find ourselves responding to events like the ones mentioned above with arrogance, procrastination, greed, fear, anger, jealousy, dishonesty, impatience or one of the many other principles of action.
You will have often heard the term ‘ego’ branded about by yoga teachers. What is an ego and should we be trying to rid ourselves of our ego? The ego is the part of the mind that mediates between the conscious and the unconscious and is responsible for reality testing and a sense of personal identity. For instance, you will probably be able to relate to a situation that in one instance has left you feeling excited, that at another moment fills you with anxiety and apprehension. This phenomenon is due to the back story your mind has imposed on the situation changing, not the facts of the situation themselves.
The ego is not just an overly high opinion of oneself, or even an overly low opinion of oneself; it is simply that we have an opinion of our self at all. Rather than just an awareness of being, we place a judgement of good or bad, right or wrong, just or fair, safe or dangerous, on everything we do and feel, and from these judgements, the idea is that we are able to guide ourselves into the best course of action, thus making the ego vital for survival. We wouldn’t be able to cross a road safely without our egos making sense of the dangers a busy road presents. However, frequently, with the misinformation from past events, our egos are acting from a place of confusion, resulting in consequences from our actions that cause yet more events that require immediate attention. It becomes an unwelcome domino effect. The most obvious example of this is the holding of one’s breath when faced with something frightening or unexpected. The most helpful response would be to breathe even more deeply than normal but next time you find yourself caught unaware by something, take a minute to notice what happens to your breathing.
The purpose of surrendering to the idea that we are powerless and that there is a Life Force far more powerful than us, guiding the flow of life and the unfolding of events, gives our egos just enough comfort to not employ its best coping mechanisms, which are so often misguided, and we allow a space for a miracle to happen – a change in our perception and thus our behaviour that always benefits us. So surrendering, ironically, appears to mean winning.
Choosing to surrender is not as easy as it sounds. Conscious thought makes up just a tiny part of our decision making process, if any at all – the rest is informed by our unconscious. In a fascinating study done by the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, brain scans of the frontopolar cortex revealed that our decisions are made seconds before we become aware of them. If this is the case, it begs the question, how do we willingly surrender? And one of the answers is: Yoga.
You will probably have experienced at some stage in your practice the fight of your upper body as you attempt to fold into Paschimottanasana, seated forward bend, or the unwillingness of your groin to release into Eka Pada Rajakapotasana, half pigeon pose, and have heard the teacher encouraging you to surrender to gravity and ‘let go’. You may also have found that through concentration on a mantra such as Isvarapranidhana, you have diverted your attention from the intensity of the stretch for just long enough, that suddenly you find your chest has indeed reached your knees, or your forehead has reached the floor and you are in a position that you have never found yourself in before or had dreamed possible. The physical surrender you have benignly tricked your body into with the tactic of diverting your attention elsewhere, has allowed for remarkable things to happen.
Yoga asks us to take this concept a step further into the mental and spiritual planes with dhyana, or meditation, and karma yoga, or selfless action. Perhaps if we were to divert our attention from our own thoughts, plans and designs for just long enough, we might find ourselves in a position we have never been in before or ever dreamed possible? So whether your current back story is that life has broken your heart, or that you have been blessed beyond imagination, why not allow life to unfold without the interruptions of the ego’s coping mechanisms by joining us on the mat at The Power Yoga Company, to test out the theory – remarkable things are waiting for you on every level.
Research has shown that our metabolism levels can increase by as much as 800% when we exercise and push ourselves as we do in our Power Yoga practice. This increase of activity manifests mainly in the rejuvenating increase of the flow of our primary life giving substance, oxygen, throughout each and every one of our cells. Allowing our cells to all breathe properly and exchange oxygen between them is one of the most fundamental aspects of maintaining our health without which they would simply die off and take us with them. You have a lot of them to take care of as well, when you consider that you can fit 10,000 of these little bad-boys onto the head of a pin! And so you have one of the major reasons as to why Power Yoga is viewed as such a natural and positive activity for the human body – the heavy emphasis on long deep breaths whilst you go about your practice, gently feeds life back into each and every one of these little bricks that make up your existence.
What your exercise needs to work in synchronicity alongside it are the substances and materials that allow your body to rebuild and renovate after exercise. And what are these substances and materials I hear you ask? I think you already know the answer… yes, you are right of course – our diets and the management of our nutrition levels.
In case you hadn’t been aware of this before, your body produces waste, and lots of it. In the same way your car produces all sorts of toxic products through its exhaust pipe as a by product of the explosion of the ignited petrol and oxygen, each and every one of your cells produces waste as it produces energy from glucose, fat and oxygen. And, subsequently, you’re going to be producing up to 800% more waste when you use up to 800% more fuel during your practice.
Before you all start to develop sweaty brows at this revelation of these increased levels of waste after a workout or practice, fear not, as your body is extremely good at managing your cell waste. In fact, it’s been doing it throughout your life so far and will continue to do it to the best of its ability – no dustbin men style union strikes to worry about here, I’m sure you’ll be pleased to know!
And how does it achieve this? By using fluids derived directly from our water stores, the waste gets flushed from your cells, into your blood, where chemical components filter it through your kidneys and then excrete it through your bladder. Gas components are excreted through your lungs. Beautiful isn’t it?
There are two really powerful principles that you can incorporate into your life to assist your body in your practice.
Principle number 1 – Ensure adequate hydration from water both before and after your practice to support this function
Principle number 2 – Ensure adequate levels of vitamin C as part of your daily diet to fight inflammation… and increase your intake if exercising
The waste we excrete from our bodies causes irritation and inflammation to the surrounding tissues whilst it is on its journey to its respective exit points. Inflammation is at the root cause of all contracted illnesses. The good news, however, is that vitamin C is inflammation’s number one enemy.
Vitamin C is one of the most powerful substances for supporting the human body in battling this inflammation.
Vitamin C, like your B vitamins, is water soluble, which means it cannot be stored in your body. This is why it is so important to ensure a daily intake of vitamin C to support your health. This is especially important when you are exercising because of the increased levels of waste and potential inflammation this then causes.
So how can you ensure sufficient vitamin C intake? The range of different foods that provide the highest levels are the following: broccoli, spinach, cabbage, blackcurrants, strawberries, kiwi fruits, oranges and blueberries are some of the more readily available choices.
For those of you open to some of the less obvious choices and with a curious palette, consider wheat grass and barley grass, both of which contain extraordinarily high levels of vitamin C. Barley grass contains seven times more vitamin C than in oranges and wheat grass contains an almost comparable amount, not to mention higher than average levels of many other key nutrients.
Some of you may already be open to supplementation, and although I would always recommend having a strong source of vitamin C from natural dietary sources, vitamin C is one particular substance that is synthesized well in supplemental form and subsequently absorbed by the human digestive system reasonably successfully. Ascorbic acid is the most cost efficient form of vitamin C but taken in high doses is reported by some to have had an uncomfortable effect on their digestion, whereas magnesium ascorbate is the form of vitamin C which is a lot more comfortable on digestion but less cost effective. Powder form mixed with water is the ideal intake method. Try to refrain from the effervescent tablets you dissolve in water as, more often than not, they come with chemical sweeteners added which should carry health warnings of their own.
Although the current RDA level set for vitamin C intake by the UK Department of Health for adults is relatively low at 50mg, this is considered the minimum the body requires, as opposed to what is required if you’re seeking to achieve optimum health. This varies for everyone, and it is advisable to consult with a natural health care practitioner to identify a safe daily intake level of vitamin C to introduce to your lifestyle as part of your long-term health support if you do choose to include supplementation.
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A week of yoga, relaxation, healthy organically sourced vegetarian Indian food, and beautiful scenery
I can’t thank The Power Yoga Company enough for putting together such an amazing trip. This has been my first (and will definitely not be the last) retreat and I can’t find the words to describe the benefits and fun times we’ve all had.
With a group of 10, traveling from three different continents (UK, US and Australia), we all stayed together in the beautiful Lotus Yoga Retreat in eco-friendly bamboo huts in the tropical and unspoilt beach of Patnem in the south of Goa. Having strolled around the surrounding areas and beaches, Patnem beach was by far the best location to stay in – quiet, beautiful, a magnificent ocean view and palm trees along the beach. Local markets were within an easy reach and they were a cultural experience on their own: You could find anything, from Indian spices and jewellery to cushion covers and hammocks, as long as you are willing to bargain how many Rupees you want to spend.
Each morning started with a nutritious breakfast and a 2hour-long power yoga class, which was then followed by a buffet of organically-sourced-vegetarian-Indian food – simply DE-LI-CIOUS. After that, activities ranged from a stroll along our beach or beaches nearby, chilling in the sunbeds, swimming or indulging in one of the many treatments that Lotus Yoga had to offer (from Ayurveda to deep tissue massages). Then another hour and a half of yoga, followed by another delicious meal and either a night in the retreat having fun discussions with the group, a candlelight session with the sounds of the waves, or a night out to a local venue.
I was under the impression that my practice was O.K, but it seems that there were many things that I’ve been missing all along, such as correct breathing and alignment. Michael’s classes were not just simple power yoga classes, but a combination of yoga practice and workshops on alignment, balancing postures, breathing and meditation. From the one-to-one power yoga session I was able to build the knowledge of those workshops as well as fix few things; now with just few tweaks on my Warrior 1 and 2 as well as the way I go into flow I can now say that I’m starting to feel the benefits of every single posture!
And… 4hours of daily yoga practice? WOW! My flexibility has increased, I feel much stronger with a better physique and other benefits that I don’t even know how to describe – I returned back to my normal London work routine and my creativity and energy levels have been at its max; I even found myself stretching and using breathing techniques while working, in random intervals.
So now what? I’m craving for only healthy food, find myself stretching and breathing consciously while on the London underground and am increasing my visits to The Power Yoga Company studio. This retreat has been the best way for me to kick start 2013, and I’m definitely looking forward to hearing about the next one.
When an email pops into your inbox from The Power Yoga Company in Parsons Green telling you of their 30 day Yoga Challenge, What do you do?
Ignore it…? Delete it…? Feel intrigued enough to read it but then decide it would be madness to attempt 30 days of Yoga just before Christmas…?!
Well, I did all of those things. I Ignored it for a few days…,deleted it…, then undeleted it…, then read it and said to myself “Forget it! There is no way you’re going to be able to find an hour a day, every day, to practice Yoga just before Christmas.”
But the very mention of the word ‘challenge’ was enough to have my ears pricked to attention. The competitive side of my psyche felt a rush of adrenaline and excitement at the thought of giving my body 30 consecutive days of Power Yoga practice. There was a little voice at the back of my mind saying…”Do it!…You can and will find the time.”
So I accepted the challenge and decided to dedicate myself to an hour of Power Yoga practice for 30 days, starting on the 25th of November and ending on Christmas Eve.
Originating in ancient India, the word ‘Yoga’ means ‘union’ between the mind, body and spirit. It involves the practice of physical postures and poses. As the name suggests, the ultimate aim of practicing Yoga is to create a balance between the body and the mind and to attain self-enlightenment. Setting an intention and offering your practice to someone other than yourself is the first step to finding that enlightenment.
Power Yoga is unbelievably effective in helping your body find the connection between the physical and mental aspects of our being. It helps you find strength, health and a level of fitness with the use of a number of exercises – some of which are physical, some are breathing and some are purely for meditation. In combination, these exercises engage each and every muscle, tendon, ligament, bone and organ as well as the mind, to give you the perfect union between body and mind. This ‘union’ allows you to come to know your being intimately and feel a deep sense of connection, strength and flexibility.
I couldn’t wait to get started. Just the thought of being able to give myself that ‘me time’ each day was intoxicating and filled me with a sense of accomplishment already.
“Just think of all the intentions I am going to be able to set…Think of the flexibility and strength my body will possess. It is going to be my way of closing the chapter on 2012…30 days to countdown 2012, to give thanks for all the highs and to let go of all the lows.”
And so the journey began…My body fought hard against me in the first initial week. Waking in pain, walking in pain, even sitting in pain; I lumbered my tired and sore body around my daily life, cursing myself for accepting such a challenge. But by the second week my muscles, bones, tendons and ligaments decided to catch up; started behaving like good school children and the pain started to subside. I began to feel strength in my arms and core. However, as I began to engage this strength, something happened that I did not expect.
By the start of the second week I had become an emotional wreck! Each class left me feeling emotionally drained. As my mind started to unravel what felt like every emotion my body had ever been holding onto for the last 28 years of my life. My joints, literally felt as if they were slowly starting to ooze and release any number of emotions out onto the mat in front of me as I twisted into almost incomprehensible positions. By the time I found myself in Shavasana at the end of the 60 minute class, tears would stream into my ears as I lay planted to the ground feeling heavy and confronted!
By week three, I had finally found my rhythm. Poses that had once eluded me were now becoming easier and I felt empowered having my feet planted on the mat. New energy was flowing through me and I was beginning to notice changes in my physical body too. Emotionally, I wasn’t stuck in the past anymore, I was now looking towards the future and using my practice as a way of communicating with my inner self. Moments of utter clarity were becoming a regular part of my practice and it was these moments of clarity and introspection that kept me coming back for more each day and gave me the motivation to push through to the final week.
As life became more hectic and the chaos of Christmas buzzed through the streets of London, I found myself not becoming flustered with it, but having a deep sense of calm within me. The hour of Power Yoga I gave myself each day had become my sanctuary and I still looked forward to seeing the familiar site of the studio, the lit candles and soft aroma of essential oils. Bliss!
Now, with the challenge complete, I am happy to report Power Yoga has now become a regular part of daily life. I have been able to acknowledge the emotions my body had been holding onto and released them with acceptance. Both my mind and body feel stronger than ever. I feel more connected to my body than any other time in my life and for the first time feel as if I understand it intimately. What a journey!
You may have come across the number 108 in more ways than just our 108 Sun Salutations event earlier this year to mark the change in season in line with a long established tradition performed by yogis and yoginis all around the world. The number 108 is considered sacred in many Eastern religions and traditions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism and is also found in yoga and dharma based practices. So, what’s in a number? Why is the number 108 so special? And why do we need to take time to acknowledge change whether it is in the greater environment around us or in our own lives?
In the Vedic age, the era in which the most ancient Hindu scriptures were composed, renowned mathematicians regarded 108 as the number of the wholeness of existence with the 1 standing for God or higher Truth, 0 for emptiness or completeness in spiritual practice, and 8 standing for infinity or eternity, representing the ultimate reality of the universe. The number 108 is connected to much more:
- In Hinduism, there are 108 early Upanishads that make up the theoretical basis for the religion and it is also said that there are 108 Hindu deities. Some say that each of these deities has 108 names.
- The Sanskrit alphabet has 54 letters, each with a masculine and feminine form called shiva and shakti respectively, making a total of 108 letters.
- Krishna, another name for Vishnu, the preserver god, was said to have had 108 gopis or maid servants.
- In Kriya Yoga, a system consisting of a number of levels of Pranayama (breathing exercises) based on techniques that are intended to rapidly accelerate spiritual development, the maximum number of repetitions allowed to be practiced in one sitting is 108.
- The heart chakra contains 108 of the 72000 nadis or energy channels in the body. The mala beads, or prayer beads, used to count mantra repetition in meditation and chanting, number 108.
- Shiva Rea who started the ‘Global Mala Project’, an organisation that aims to unite the global yoga community from every continent in the world through collective practices based upon the sacred cycle of 108, shares her thoughts on this tradition and creating a chain of human mala beads here.
…and so we could go on (scroll down to the bottom of the blog to read more!). This leaves us no doubt, the number 108 has something special about it!
As Autumn bids us farewell taking with her the laced leaves from the trees that clothe her and Winter makes herself known to us with her icy breath at our nostrils, we invite you to mark the change of seasons and our environment and whatever change is occurring in your personal lives, in whatever way is sacred to you. Perhaps you will embark on your own 108 sun salutations? Perhaps you are already participating in our 30 day pre-Christmas challenge? Or perhaps you will choose simply to take 108 minutes in nature to observe Winter’s arrival? Sometimes we resist change due to a fear of the unknown – we would rather hang on to the old, despite the fact it may not being serving us any longer, for fear of what change may look like. The ancient texts that have given us Yoga as we know it today, ask us to trust the Universe, the Universe within and the Universe that makes up the greater whole and to remember that we all make up a human mala chain – every bead serves a purpose in the whole.
For now we leave you with some more interesting facts and trivia about the number 108 and invite you to share with us any that particularly resonate with you or let us know of any others that you may know of:
- The angle formed by two adjacent lines in a pentagon equals 108 degrees.
- 108 is a Harshad number, which is an integer divisible by the sum of its digits (Harshad is from Sanskrit, and means “great joy”).
- The pre-historic monument Stonehenge is about 108 feet in diameter.
- In Homer’s Odyssey, there were 108 suitors coveting Penelope, the wife of Odysseus.
- There are said to be 108 earthly desires in mortals.
- The first manned space flight lasted 108 minutes, and was on April 12, 1961 by Yuri Gagarin, a Soviet cosmonaut.
- There are said to be 108 human delusions or forms of ignorance.
- The chakras are the intersections of energy lines, and there are said to be a total of 108 energy lines converging to form the heart chakra. One of them, sushumna leads to the crown chakra, and is said to be the path to Self-realization.
- If one is able to be so calm in meditation as to have only 108 breaths in a day, enlightenment will come.
- According to yogic tradition, there are 108 pithas or sacred sites throughout India.
- Some say there are 108 feelings, with 36 related to the past, 36 related to the present, and 36 related to the future.
- The sacred River Ganga spans a longitude of 12 degrees and a latitude of 9 degrees (12×9=108).
- In astrology, there are 12 houses and 9 planets (12×9=108).
- The diameter of the Sun is 108 times the diameter of the Earth. The distance from the Sun to the Earth is 108 times the diameter of the Sun.
- The average distance of the Moon from the Earth is 108 times the diameter of the Moon.
- In astrology, the metal silver is said to represent the moon. The atomic weight of silver is 108u.
- The 1 of 108, and the 8 of 108, when added together equals 9, which is the number of the numerical scale, i.e. 1, 2, 3 … 10, etc., where 0 is not a number.
- In Islam the number 108 is used to refer to God.
- In the Jain religion, 108 are the combined virtues of five categories of holy ones, including 12, 8, 36, 25, and 27 virtues respectively.
- The Sikh tradition has a mala of 108 knots tied in a string of wool, rather than beads.
- Buddhists ring a bell 108 times to celebrate a new year.
- There are 108 forms of dance in the Indian traditions.
- An official Major League Baseball ball has 108 stitches.
- There are 108 cards in a deck of UNO cards.
- The number 108 London bus goes from Lewisham to Stratford.
In many ways, I am an unlikely yoga teacher. I have no background in dance, martial arts, or acrobatics. I started out with quite stiff hamstrings, with which I still work today. On top of that, as a Type-A personality, I’ve always had a hard time “letting go,” and the aspects of the practice that necessitate this release were hard for me. I definitely have days where yoga feels like a super-human challenge, both physically and mentally, but finding ease in my practice and learning to just let go on the mat has been an incredibly liberating experience.
I took my first yoga class in 2005, and for three years, I practiced Sivananda yoga. I discovered the Power Yoga Company when I went to a class with a friend who was curious to try it out. I was immediately turned on by the physically dynamic and vigorous practice, and I became a self-confessed yoga addict.
As I became more committed to a regular yoga practice, I realised what a positive impact it was having on my life. I am an archaeologist, so I spend long periods of time doing fieldwork for my research; I noticed when I was out of the country for 10 weeks last year how much I missed my regular yoga practice. When I couldn’t stop talking about yoga with my friends and family, I decided that it was probably time for me to find an outlet for sharing yoga with others.
The month-long course was an absolute joy for me, and even though I was physically pushed to my limits, I woke up every day wanting to get back on the mat and learn more. Our daily sessions with Stewart were my favourite part. Each afternoon, we would spend several hours with him, breaking down a pose or a sequence, discussing alignment, learning physical adjustments, and practicing teaching each other. Stewart is a wealth of wisdom about yoga, and I feel fortunate to have learned so much from such a knowledgeable and generous teacher.
I also loved our coursework in anatomy. Learning how our bodies function during the yoga practice was fascinating for me. A solid understanding of human anatomy is absolutely essential if you are going to be a safe and effective teacher, and learning more about our bodies also helped me to deepen my own practice.
I think the hardest part of the course for me was the first 3-4 days. Although I had been practicing yoga every day for several months to try to get into good physical condition for the training, I was very sore the first week. It was a bit of a trial-by-fire, but everyone bonded over our aching bodies and we helped each other get through. Luckily, the soreness subsided after the first week, and the challenge became as much about mental stamina as it was about physical endurance.
Now that the course is finished, I am delighted to be teaching at the Power Yoga Company—come check out my class on Saturday mornings! Of course, I am also continuing my regular yoga practice, and when I’m not on the mat, I am still pursuing my archaeological research.
The teacher training program is one of the best things I have ever done. The month-long course is physically, mentally, and emotionally demanding, and you need to be fully committed to reap the benefits of the program. That said, if you love yoga, it’s an incredible opportunity to immerse yourself in the practice and learn more.