Well, I have finally arrived at Konalani Shambhava Ashram in Kona, HI! I shared a cab with a nice young man, who goes by the name of JP. We are greeted by Satyam and Abhaya, who give us cool wash cloths to wipe off any stickiness from the trip. Then we are presented with leis and freshly squeezed mango juice. Yum!
I will be staying in a tent cabin and at this very moment, I am ready to pass out for a while. There are two semi-outdoor bathrooms for each of us staying in the tents. Since JP is male and I am female, we are in separate tents and he chooses the bathroom at the far end. Our showers are outdoors underneath beautiful bamboo trees.
Satyam has given us the best instructions to keep the geckos and bugs out of our tents and bathrooms as much as possible. The first time I see a gecko, I scream. But I get used to them soon after. The main reason to keep them out of our tents is that they like to poop everywhere. Gross.
There are six of us taking the teacher training. 5 women and 1 man. So far, I think it is a good group. I have always thought of the number 6 as lucky.
Our home for the next 3 weeks is lovely and the view is awesome. We are located in what is known as “The Mango Belt”, and when there is a soft rain, the sweet fragrance is pleasing to the nasal senses. We all get to know each other at the dinner table, sharing about our lives, careers, and goals.
I don’t know if it is the humidity or the pain killers making me nod off. Staying alert during orientation was quite difficult. We must be on the mat at 5:30 am and coffee is ready at 5, so I plan to get up super early to have a cup.
Our schedule is as follows:
5:30 AM Warm up and practice teaching.
6:30 AM Meditation and Chanting in the Shrine
(skirts required for women, slacks for men).
7:00 AM Breakfast
7:30 AM Seva (Selfless Service)
8:00 AM Break
8:30 AM Yoga workshop and lecture
12:30 PM Lunch
2:00 PM Meditation/Chanting
2:30 PM Yoga Workshop
5:00 PM Dinner
Morning begins at 5AM. Note to self: Make it 4:30 AM…
It’s 5:00 am and I am still in my tent, fidgeting in the dark, trying to find my flashlight app when I hear “Good morning, Mija!” I had inadvertently dialed my mother’s phone. “I am so sorry mom,” I say, “I can’t see. I love you.” Then I hang up and find my way to the bathroom.
I wash my face, take meds, brush teeth, change clothes. (I will later sleep in the clothes I will start my day in and have my bag packed to save more time…) Grab a quick cup of coffee before entering the Yoga deck at 5:25 AM for our personal practice.
The coffee is a welcome joy to my senses. Gazing at the ocean view below us, I couldn’t imagine a better setting for the next three weeks. What a gift! What a life!
My personal practice consists of a much modified Sun Salute then a Yin Yoga practice. At this point, I realize I should have taken the pain meds. Because they made me dizzy, I thought I didn’t need them anymore. More likely, it just means I need less. I make a mental note to take a half dose at breakfast and see if that works. It does. Why does pain have to be so high maintenance?
After personal practice, we are given a presentation on feedback and suggestions. It is called a “Wish and a Star”. Starting with a wish, which is a suggestion and finished with a star for the positive points. I understand the concept, though, toward the end of our training, some have become accustomed to doing the “Star” first, followed by a “But…” Somehow this disappoints me. Still, a small issue, overruled by the many positive experiences we will share.
We then move on to meditation. Today, learning something new: We don’t just “arrive” at our meditation. We move into it, slowly coming into stillness. Satyam is teaching this and uses a “bobble head” analogy that is quite fun to do. We then move into a small 3-count breath in, 3-count breath out walking meditation in a circle.
Breakfast at 7AM with more coffee! I am enjoying the vegetarian cuisine so far. We had oatmeal with bananas and nuts, Greek yogurt with honey, and mango lassi. Our meals are eaten at the patio table facing the ocean. No phones allowed as we are expected to commune with one another during mealtime. I love this! Today, we get an hour to ourselves and I will be drinking more coffee!
Abhaya gives us a class on anatomy and we take pictures to view our postures. I can see why I might be experiencing back pain.
It is so humbling to have limitations. I had worked so hard with strength training since February and was hoping I could get tips on some complicated poses. For now, I am just grateful for the ability to attend this training.
Time for ego to step aside and let Spirit take over. Nothing short of amazing that this is not too difficult a feat. Even when some of the other ladies go into headstands and splits, I feel content that I CAN bring SOMETHING to the mat.
This recovering addict/alcoholic had never imagined herself here in Hawaii, studying to become a Yoga Teacher. In addition, having the finances to do this very thing, was beyond my wildest dreams. Now is as good a time as ever to be grateful and enjoy the sunset.
Stay Blissful My Friends – E