Intensive Reflections

mouth_of_sauronI’ve been holed up at a yoga intensive for the past seven days. There are four days of the intensive left to go, and I will say this: it hasn’t been easy.


I will admit that things were stacked against me from the start, and I wasn’t really looking forward to the course. The PhD stress, my daughter leaving home whilst I’m away (I’m not likely to see her until April 2009), my husband and I having been apart quite a lot in the past six weeks, all impacted to ensure that I simply wasn’t ‘in’ to the whole idea of doing an intensive teacher training. I am doing this to fulfil the registration requirements and to permit me access to yoga therapy training – as that is where I wish to go.

The other issue is that I’ve done two lots of asana training over the past ten years, and the first two and a half days were spent teaching a series of postures that I was unreceptive to.  I was bored. Indeed, Body Balance’s training is more physically dynamic and more intense on an intellectual level. The only light during first few days was the philosophy, anatomy and physiology lectures, along with the food and company of my fellow participants.

And sleep. I expected on the first night in a strange place, I wouldn’t sleep. What I didn’t expect was still to be experiencing sleeping difficulties on the sixth night. But I am not alone. Most of those on the course have been plagued with sleep issues. There is some strange energy that simply won’t allow us to sleep. As sleep (or rather, the lack of) is a major depression trigger for me, I am particularly sensitive to this. I have no shame in admitting that I have resorted to sleeping tablets several times.

The emotions: oh boy, could I tell a story there.

I hate that we weren’t told about the post-dinner lectures. Massive resentment. That made me want to go home on the first day. The days go from 6am until 8.30pm. There is almost no free time. No time for study, either. We aren’t told what we’re doing from one day to the next, and sometimes, we receive multiple messages from different instructors – which equals confusion. Others find the lack of knowing ahead of time what we’re doing infuriating, and for me, there is a strong hint of disorganisation on behalf of the yoga school. I’m not sure whether this is all some kind of method of breaking down the ego, or just disorganisation.

Whilst sleeping, resentment to post-dinner practices and the lack of study time are my bugbears, others here are having all kinds of massive personal and spiritual crises. This course is really bringing up the shit. Which would be good if it was being handled in an empathetic manner- or even noticed by the staff. But it isn’t on any significant level (with two notable exceptions). The staff are aloof and (with two notable exceptions) completely non-sympathetic. Of all the things I have mentioned above, this is the most disappointing. Indeed, there are several of them who seem to be far too good for us mere ‘trainee students’ – and won’t answer questions outside of their allotted lecture times. And if you mention a posture that they haven’t heard of (I mentioned mermaid posture – commonly used in Iyengar classes) there is eye rolling and and: ‘oh, what is that?’ as you’ve suggested they eat a piece of road kill that’s been baking in forty degree heat for three days.

But my fellow participants are wonderful. I love them all. They are an awesome and supportive bunch of people from an amazing and diverse number of lifepaths. I wouldn’t be here still if it wasn’t for them.

To be honest, this course has really stressed me. I feel like I’m a high powered executive and an inner city courier at the same time: rush here, rush there, eat, get a timetable change dropped on you, rush again, rush some more, and then off to bed, where you can’t sleep because your nervous system is so charged.

Maybe I’ll feel better in a week, and I can comfort myself that everything worthwhile is hard work. But I’ve also learned a valuable lesson: check the details carefully. Had I know the pace was so frenetic, I would never have come to this yoga training.


3 thoughts on “Intensive Reflections

  1. Wow. Sounds… weird? I mean, the intense stuff coming out… that sounds like normal yoga retreat stuff. But the disorganisation and the unsympathetic staff sounds… terrible. Terribly annoying too.

    At least the fellow students are great and the one or two staff… pity about the rest! And you are getting to the next level of your accreditation, which is good.

    I think perhaps you’re right on some level… there is this theory in some schools about breaking down the ego via creating chaos. I wonder if that’s what they’re really on about? Luckily my school doesn’t subscribe to that theory.

    I mean, you sounded like you were under a lot of stress before you went on this retreat? Perhaps, interestingly, this experience is reflecting your stress levels?

    Hope you make it through the last few days okay… then give it some time to settle, see what else is different.

  2. Hmmm…that sound like it sucks.
    I’m with Svasti (yeah, we agree occasionally) that maybe it’s all intentional, though I wouldn’t go for that kind of thing…or maybe it’s just crappily put together by people more into yoga dogma than compassion….

    I hope things improve.

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