Being a mother, wife and high school teacher, it seemed that an intensive residential course to study for my 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Certification during the summer holidays was the best way to fit it into my schedule. Choosing to do it in India was treating myself to a dream. The whole experience became more than just getting certified or improving my practice. It made me understand what yoga really was and how much I really needed it.
The Association of Yoga and Mediation (AYM) in Rishikesh is located up a hill at the edge of town. Surrounded by mountains, I cannot think of a more peaceful place to practice. The fresh mountain breezes and views gave us new strength each day. The three yoga halls have huge windows to appreciate the environment, but being away from the bustle of town, the only noise came from cows and birds.
Rooms were basic but comfortable with hot water and the choice of A/C. Three Indian ayurvedic vegetarian meals were provided each day giving us the groundwork for a healthy lifestyle.
The day started early with gentle meditation practice, followed by daily Ashtanga Vinyasa which built up our strength and familiarity with the poses. The joy on the face of our teacher, Manesha, as she welcomed us with “Namaste” was quickly reflected on our own faces. After theory and practical classes about philosophy, pranayama, kriyas and anatomy, the highlight of our day was the Hatha Yoga class with AYM director Yogi Chetan Mahesh. With his knowledge, humor and patience we learned and practiced correct alignment, adjustments and assists.
Yogi Mahesh is an inspiration as a teacher and a Yogi. He is a model of calm and contentment. He gave us the skills and confidence to follow our own yoga paths. Now 28 days later, I am ready to create my own path as I return to my life with new enthusiasm and understanding of what yoga can be.