We have just finished our Ashtanga Yoga Teacher Training course in Koh Samui and are now certified yoga teachers ! 🙂
We were lucky to find a great organization called All Yoga Thailand to study and learn about the practice and teaching technics of Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga. We have spent 3 weeks in Koh Samui in the Vikasa Yoga Hotel. The place was on top of a hill giving us every day an amazing sea view. It is a well designed hotel specialized in yoga retreats and yoga classes so everything was there to fulfill our yogi needs and make us have an incredible experience. We ate every day delicious vegetarian food. Our bungalow was right by the sea and the Shala (yoga space) right above the ocean. We could then hear the waves throughout the day while on the mat practicing and learning.
We wanted to take this yoga teacher training course to go deeper into our practice but we realized that we would discover much more by going on this 3 week journey. Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga does not only work on the physical part of the body but also on the emotional part.
Let’s start with a small background on Ashtanga Yoga and Ashtanga Vinyasa history
Ashtanga Yoga has old origin and has been developed by an Indian, Krisnamacharya – grand father of modern yoga. The postures in Ashtanga yoga had been translated from an ancient script called Yoga Korunta.
Ashtanga in Sanskrit, means 8 limbs. This 8 limbed system has been outlined by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutra in 300 B.C. The Ashtanga practice consists in applying 8 limbs which are the asanas (physical postures) along with Yama (ethical observations), Niyamas (self observation), Pranayama (regulation of the breath), Pratyahara (sens withdrawal), Dharana (concentration), Dhyana (meditation), and finally Samadhi (absorption into the Universal). The different stages mentioned can take a life time to achieve and need a consistent practice.
Later on, one of Krisnamacharya’s students, Pattabhi Jois, took the instruction over as the basis of his practice and teaching. He developed the Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga which focuses on asana (posture), pranayama (breath), and vinyasa. Vinyasa is the link of posture with 1 breath for 1 movement.
The traditional Ashtanga system consists of six series of postures which is always taught in a specific sequential order. First come the primary series, then intermediate series and advanced series (A, B, C and D. Beginner Students start with the primary series. Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga grew in popularity with the time in the western part of the world and is now practiced by thousand of students around the world.
We first met the 26 other yogi students on board with us. We felt right away that our group had a strong energy and that we would all get along. When we speak about energy, we think this is not something random but indeed attracts the same energy around us or connect with like-minded people.
Not only meeting great people, we were happy to join the All Yoga Thailand course as it gave us a very specific, complete and dynamic training combining the theory with the practice. We would start the course every day at 07:30am to go through the Ashtanga primary series. All asanas have been studied and have a specific role in the practice along with the breath. Having an order enables the body to adjust and balance the energy throughout the practice along with the breath, and bandhas.
We would then have 1 hour of teaching (presentation, specific topic ect) to finish the morning with a 2 hours yoga class given by one of our teacher. We worked with 3 experienced teachers that were here to help with the yoga classes, the adjustments and the flow of the training along with the 2 experienced yoga instructors and program directors, Annie and David. They would give us yoga classes as well as classes on anatomy, meditation, teaching technics and much more. We were also intoduced to other type of yoga that was incredibly good to expend our knowledge and practice such as Yin Yoga and Rocket Yoga.
In the afternoon we would have classes on Anatomy, philosophy as well as yoga practice with 1 hour break. We would usually finish at around 6:30 pm ! On Friday we would have a Friday Fun Day and would spend the afternoon by the beach. The schedule was quite intense at the beginning as our body had to adjust to the practice. Anyway, after a while, we found out that the practice of Ashtanga is powerful and beneficial for the physique, emotions, mental and intellect.
In term of physical benefits, it allows the body to:
– Release toxins
– Purify the blood
– Release stress, anxiety
– Burn diseases
– to feel more positive and happy
– Be lighter, stronger
– and much more benefits
In term of emotional benefits, we learnt that emotions could stay stuck in the body. With the practice of yoga, we could work on it and release them. The first week of the training we were dealing with many emotions coming out during the practice or after. In this situation it is very important to let it out and not retain tears or the emotions emerging. Most of our suffering is caused by emotions. These emotions can affect our life and health. An emotion is usually seen as re-living of a previously imprinted condition. Whenever we get emotional, we are in the past; whenever we are feeling, we are in the present. Yoga works on this emotional part and allows the body to remove layers of old conditioning.
Also, the practice of yoga allows the mind to calm down and be still. The mind is powerful and goes from past to future to back in the present. Ashtanga yoga or other forms of yoga allows us to be and observe the present. We were lucky to have had 2 hours of philosophy classe a day taught by a Swami, a disciple of Swami D. Saraswati. He is a master of the mind and gave us great insight tools to control it.
We wrote some of his comments below to allow you to be inspired by his great words ! 🙂
To conclude, we would recommend to any body to follow the yoga path as anybody can take on this journey that brings incredible benefits in life and in the body. We are very grateful to have been able to work with such amazing people for 3 weeks and we are more than ready now to teach yoga along the way ! 🙂
“Be sincere to yourself. We all should behave the same way alone or surrounded by others”
“To go deeper in meditation, we can use a mantra or word to help our mind to concentrate”
“The secret of life: while doing you should enjoy”
“Even if you fail 100 times, it doesn’t matter. Don’t listen to your mind that can say “give up” as you may succeed the 101th time. “
“To be, to think and do, we bring the change inside us and around us”
“Always remember that you are pure consciousness. We have unlimited power and no boundaries. We are powerful”
“Every year learn something new. It will build your personality”
“Also share whatever you have, share with others as you will become richer”
By Swamiji, a disciple of Swami D. Saraswati, master of the mind.