I have been practicing Yoga since 2007. (http://astridamalia.blogspot.com/2008/12/yoga-breath-of-my-life.html)
After awhile, some people asked me if I was interested to join Yoga Teacher Training. That time, I was not sure if I had the teaching sense in me.
In 2012, after I attended Bali Spirit Festival 2012, I started to search for Yoga Teacher Training nearby. I didn't know why I did that, but there was a call from the inside of me to do that. And I felt like the Universe had prepared everything for me to do the journey that changed my perspective on life. It started from the people I knew when I attended the Bali Spirit Festival who became the people who helped me on the rest of my journey. Then when I searched the Yoga Teacher Training, there were many schools that offered that. After I made some selections, there were only three schools in my list. I dropped the first one because I didn't know the teacher. I dropped the second one too as it was too expensive for me and the time of the training was not right as I had to attend my best friend's wedding. The only thing that was left in my list was Cat Kabira's Yoga Energetics Teacher Training. But the time was ticking as I was about to register to the training three weeks before the training started. I knew it was a bit too late, but then I thought maybe I could try. When I contacted Cat Kabira via Facebook, surprisingly I could still register. Woho! And that was the start of the interesting journey in my life.
Before I flied to Bali from Jakarta, I was confused about the place to live in Ubud during the training. But a friend that I met when I attended the Bali Spirit Festival offered me to stay at his place. Thank you, my dear best friend. So, I flied to Bali a week before the training started to get used to live in Ubud.
At the opening ceremony of the Yoga Energetics Teacher Training, Cat Kabira as the leading instructor in the training welcomed the students and introduced the other teachers, like Kari Jacobsen and Lindsey Wise. The number of the students was 22 people, and I was the only Indonesian person in the training. Yeah, Indonesia, you had a representative there!
The training was held from 13th of May to 18th of June 2012. Five weeks, from Monday to Saturday, from 6 AM to 6 PM. Very intensive! The training was intensive as it had to meet the standard of 200 hours Yoga Teacher Training from Yoga Alliance in the United States of America.
The curriculum of the training might be the same with the other yoga teacher training, like Yoga Philosophy, Pranayama, Meditation, Yin Yoga, Yoga Asanas, Prenatal Yoga, Kids Yoga, Yoga Nidra, etc. But in my own perspective, the experience and the journey in this training were amazing! It was a magical experience that happened to the 22 yoga students that came from every corner of the world!
Every morning, Cat Kabira led the Morning Yoga Asanas. She taught her students to concentrate more on our core as the center of our emotion. Usually, people think with their brain and their heart. For Cat, it is not enough to think with brain and heart. Cat said that we have to include our core in every aspects of our decision making process. Whatever the brain and the heart think, if our core doesn't feel comfortable, then we don't have to do whatever plan we want to do. I really could feel this method of “back to core” decision making process at the Fire Walking Ceremony.
I had asked Cat and Kari about this ceremony since the first day of the training. With smile, both of them said that I didn't have to do it if I felt so afraid of it. And at the day when this Fire Walking Ceremony really came, what happened was magic! The ceremony was led by Cat Kabira and Dan Glynn. The ceremony was divided into four stages. We began the ceremony by praying that the ceremony would go smoothly, setting the fire on the woods and the coconut and singing some happy songs.
At the first stage, we learned to calm down our ticklish feeling when someone tickled our feet with chopsticks. At this stage, I could not help myself for not laughing when the other students put the chopsticks on my feet. Yeah, I am so ticklish, what can I do?
At the second stage, we learned to defeat our fear by bending a construction steel that was placed at our throat. So, two students placed the steel at their throat that had been protected by a piece of paper and walk towards each other to bend the steel until they could hold each other bodies. I wasn't afraid of this, but I felt a little bit hurt on my throat. And I did it for two times!
At the third stage, we walked on broken glasses from bottles. At this stage, the fear started to come to my mind. But as the others students could walk on the glass, then I asked myself to forget about the fear and started to walk. When I walked on the glasses, amazingly I felt so good! It felt like having reflexology treatment. And I did that for many times!
At the final stage, that was about time to walk on the fire. At this stage, I felt so afraid and planned to run away from the ceremony. My brain kept telling me that the fire was hot and I should not walk on it. I also kept asking the other students who bravely walked on the fire on how they could do it. The others students told me that I would be ready when I was ready and that I had to listen to my core. So this was the real training for me to listen to my core. So I waited until my core was ready and started to gather my will to walk on the fire. When I finally walked on fire, I felt like I had conquered the fear in me. And I did it for so many times. I felt like getting addicted to it!
The lesson I can learn from this is that if I can be peacefully calmed and relax, I can concentrate myself to turn the impossible to be a possible one. No matter what the brain and the heart say that it is impossible for me to do it, but if my core is calm and relax, then it is always possible for me to do it!
Thank you, Dan and Cat, for building strength and confidence to my core!
Cat Kabira also taught us to respect the nature, especially on the New Moon and Full Moon. That's why the training also held New Moon Ceremony and Full Moon Ceremony. Based on the research, 80% of human body consists of water. And we know the effect of moon to the water in the sea and the ocean. Based on this facts, there's a believe to honor the New Moon and Full Moon and how they can affect our body and our feelings. At the New Moon Ceremony, we burned a candle and set our intention by writing it and made a mark on the candle for every intention we set. At the Full Moon Ceremony, we went to a villa in Gianyar that has spring at the bottom of the area. We walked down to the spring from the villa and washed our body with the water from the spring.
We learned about Anatomy from James Newman. It was a hard subject as I was not familiar with the name of the body parts, but it was a useful subject as I learned a lot about some injuries that might happen to the human body. If I can detect the injuries and weaknesses at someone's body, then I can suggest the proper yoga pose for my student and give a proper adjustment to my student. The amazing part was that James found some weaknesses in my body and suggested some adjustment to my yoga poses to cover that weaknesses. And it worked! In the past, I learned the wrong way about headstand and James told me the correct trick on it. And guess what? Yes, I finally could do headstand perfectly for the very first time. Happy!
Thank you, James, for adjusting my yoga poses and trained me to work on my weaknesses.
We learned about Acro Yoga from Bex Tyrer and Carlos Romero. Acro Yoga is about doing yoga with a partner or even more than one partner. I have written about Acro Yoga at my previous story in: Bali Spirit Festival 2011 - 2012
In this class, I challenged my own fear to be the base. With my small feet, I was not confident enough to lift someone with my feet. But after several Acro Yoga classes, I finally could lift someone, even for some minutes. I could feel that the guides from Bex and Carlos and the supports from the other students really built the confidence in me. After all, Acro Yoga is about partnership and working together with the community. I love the philosophy!
Thank you, Bex and Carlos, for teaching the sense of togetherness and the motivation to spread the love and compassion to others.
We learned about Yin Yoga and Yoga Nidra from Kari Jacobsen. Yin Yoga targets the body's deep layers of connective tissue through a sequence of passive held-floor postures. For me, Yin Yoga is like having an acupuncture treatment in the body without needles.
Yoga Nidra is an exploration and refinement of moving through different level of consciousness. For me, Yoga Nidra is like traveling without moving.
In my own opinion, both of Yin Yoga and Yoga Nidra have the ability to slow down the busy traffic in the body and give the sense of peace in our body. After practicing Yoga Nidra and Yin Yoga, I fell asleep so tightly.
Thank you, Kari, for the softness you taught on the yoga poses. The softer we practice, the stronger we become!
We learned about Kids Yoga and Prenatal Yoga from Lindsey Wise. Kids Yoga is about introducing the yoga poses to the kids in a fun way. We used songs, cards and games in this Kids Yoga.
Prenatal Yoga is prepared exclusively for the pregnant women who still want to practice yoga.
Thank you, Lindsey, for sharing the beautiful lessons.
The training also taught us on how to teach a yoga class. Of course! My first experience to teach a regular yoga class in the training was disaster! That time, I could not say anything as my voice was stuck in my throat. I didn't know what to say until Cat Kabira asked me to say “Utkatasana”. Oh my God! This experience made me learn that teaching a yoga class is the hardest part to do. We really need our own charisma to make the students do what we say, our strong memory to remember all the yoga sequences, our own willing to share our knowledge endlessly and our own loud voice to let the students hear our voice.
The second experience on teaching Yin Yoga Class was a bit better than that. I could not forget how silly I was! I brought a note so I didn't forget my cues and set timers just to make sure I was on time. Silly but useful for me!
The third experience on teaching Kids Yoga was fun! So some kids from the orphanage were invited to our class. As the yoga teachers, we needed to introduce them about yoga. The kids were so cute and funny and I had the joy to tease them. I teased them, I ran to them, and I chased them. It was amazing to know that the kids played along with my games. They were so happily teased me too! Yeay! The kids were enthusiast to follow the Yoga Kids poses. The most touching moment was when they sang three songs to thank us for teaching them Kids Yoga. The kids choose me as the first person to listen to their songs. I was so touched! I didn't know that I could leave deep impression into their minds. Dear kids, I love you too!
And the best teaching experience was at the Final Assignment to teach a regular yoga class. At this final assignment, as I didn't want to repeat the same mistakes at the previous teaching class, I practiced my own yoga sequences very hard. I even asked my friends to correct my sequences and to listen to my voice and my timings. There were some feedback that made my sequences better. But even after I practiced the sequences very hard, I was still worried if I would not teach very well. One day before the final assignment came, I let go my worries with a mind that I have practiced my best. So at the D-Day, what happened was amazing. Finally, I could teach smoothly! I was so calm and relax, and my voice was better, even louder! Very loud! That time, I was still nervous, but I turned my nervous feeling into some jokes that made other students laugh. And when it was the time for the teachers (Cat Kabira, Kari Jacobsen and Lindsey Wise) to give some feedback on my class, I felt like being a brand new person. Yes, I still received some feedback, of course I was not that perfect, but they said that I made a great progress and I was great. I was so touched by the compliments from my teachers. I hope they knew that I did my best not just for me, but for them too. I was honored to learn yoga from them!
I also received some great words from the other students to picture my personality at the class. Their words are: unique, motivating, firm, playful, great volume and clear voice, wonderful adjustment, creative poses, focused, great energy, powerful, encouraging, a great blend of hard and soft, dominating, lighthearted and loving way, and great ways to make complicated poses to be easy. I was just happy that they enjoy my class and that my personality made them laugh and smile. So, fun and joy are in my soul. Another happy moments!
We also learned about CranioSacral Therapy from James Newman and Cat Kabira. CranioSacral Therapy is a subtle and profound healing form which assist the body's natural capacity for self-repair. There's no channelling or putting in of energy, as CranioSacral Therapy works with the energy already present. So, as a therapist, my job is to facilitate the receiver of the therapy to heal themselves. At the beginning, I didn't get it. I didn't know what to do in the class. But as I kept practicing to increase the sensitivity of my hands and my heart to listen, I started to understand about this therapy. It was really a nice experience to “hear the energy” of the receiver and be accepted by the body just to check on it.
Thank you, James and Cat, for increasing the ability and the gift in me through the CranioSacral Therapy.
There were also other subjects in the training, like Kirtan Yoga by Edo and Jo, Singing Bowl by Awahoshi Kavan, Channelling by Jana Johnson and Yoga Philosophy by Emil Wendel. Thank you, Edo, Jo, Awahoshi, Jana and Emil, for sharing your knowledge.
Update: I feel so sad to know that Jo has passed away in October 2015 from the stomach cancer she suffered. May you rest in peace, Jo. Amen.
And.... After five weeks of the training, it was the time for us to graduate. And I know that it was not about the certificate that matters. The most important thing is that all of the students were born again with brand new souls and new knowledge.
I would like to thank Cat Kabira as the head of the training and the rest of the teachers (Kari Jacobsen, Lindsey Wise, James Newman, Bex Tyrer, Carlos Romero, Dan Glynn, Jana, Emil Wendel, etc) for the lessons and the advices you shared. All of you are the rockstars in a big rock band! You rock my world! Thank you very much for everything. From the bottom of my heart, I love you all.