I wanted to join the yoga teacher training 200 hours, but after a while and mostly due to a back injury, I had decided not to do it… That’s how my yoga teacher had offered me to come to the ashram on a “yoga vacation” mode. Basically you’re immersed with the yoga teacher training students and follow the classes you want. Although, as soon as I stepped in the ashram, I felt that unconscious obligation to do exactly as if I were on the training.
I have been staying at the ashram since 2 weeks almost now. Practicing yoga 6 hours a day… And also attending philosophy and anatomy classes, as well as doing some karma yoga, attending fire puja (fire ceremony) and satsang (teacher talks)… It is really inspiring and mostly challenging and even… triggering… It’s very intense, on the body of course and also mentally and emotionally.
I only wanted to go there to practice some yoga and heal from a back injury and spend some time with myself, in the nature and a very positive environment. Which is the case really. Although, having the possibility to be with the yoga teacher training, kind of brought some “guilt” such as “I should be doing this or that because everybody else is doing it” and “I committed to something when I first stepped in the ashram”.
When I actually, only committed to healing myself.
So clearly, the “I should” and”everybody else” are good indicators that I kind of let myself get caught up in the group pressure or even in unconscious expectations from myself or from my teacher. Where the pressure comes from is not really important, the most important part being to realize it and take action.
That’s what I did, a week after the beginning of the training. It’s Monday morning, our “day off” and before getting on a rickshaw that will take us to Rishikesh for the day, we still have a short yoga practice and a cleansing yogic practice (Kryias), that is part of the ayurvedic way to cleanse and purify the body. I have already done a lot of cleansing during my ayurvedic retreat and I’m pretty familiar with intense methods and I’ve tried a few (you can read my experience of the ayurvedic retreat here). We have been already doing the jala neti (nose cleansing with salt water) and tongue scraping methods every morning. These methods are fine and I’ve been doing them happily.
But what was expected of us that day was another level. I had already heard of it and I was kind of curious but we’d only been informed that we would have to go through these methods the day before, with very little information. So it was difficult to prepare mentally to “Sutra Neti” that consists in introducing a string in the nostrils to clean the nasal cavity. NO thank you! And then, the best part… “Vomiting”, by drinking several glasses of salt water. It should just come out naturally and if it does not you are welcome to use your fingers. Again… NO thank you!
So when we started the yoga practice that morning, I could not focus, too apprehensive of what was coming next. I then decided, to stop practicing and meditate instead. I could really feel that this practice was not right for me. So when everybody gathered outside to start this cleansing practice, I was more and more sure that I would not do it. But I felt so much guilt, not doing what the group was doing and maybe deceiving my teacher. And then, after I heard one of my co-yogi say, “I don’t want to do it but it will look bad if I don’t” it clicked!
I AM MY OWN MASTER
I know what is good for me or not. What I can or want to accept or not. I felt like I was in high school again, not daring to tell the teacher no, having to do like everybody else, or worse, being the victim of someone forcing me to do something I don’t want to do. I could see some faces that really did not want to do it and everybody did it though. The problem was also that we never really had an way out of this that had been offered to us. So, it hit me… NO! I am saying NO! I am saying NO to something that feels really wrong to me.
And as I say NO to this, I am saying YES to me!
I walked away, back to my room while they were all torturing themselves (I won’t describe the sounds, but that’s pretty much how it felt). And as I walked away I felt so empowered, so light, so strong, so happy!
I am actually grateful for the group, for my teacher for that situation and for allowing me to say YES to me! It’s a great lesson and I will do my best to do that more often!