By Laila Datoo
When I do things, I don’t do them by halves. So at the start of 2016 I made a vision board. On it was a picture of a woman at the top of Kili (done) and a yogi twisted into a weirdly graceful pretzel shape (not done but I’m on the road to twisty goodness)
I decided this was the year to start the life long journey of yoga teaching by completing my yoga teacher training certificate and go on a journey of self-discovery, which has started in Central America. Panama was the first stop- this was the perfect soft landing for my round the world trip. 10 days with the “seniors” – aka my parents and aunt and uncle.
They out walked, out talked and out ate me on every occasion. They had more energy, more adventure and more laughs than I could keep up with. I hope I am nearly as energetic and sparkly as them when I am 70! They cared for me, fussed over me when I got sick, and leapt at my ideas of hikes to waterfalls and even encouraged me to do a few out there things like walking along the waterfront in panama city at 10pm (is it safe??) They are amazing and I was very blessed to have the opportunity to join them on their travels.
My journey has now led me to the Costa Rican jungle to do a teacher training with Jivani yoga. The circumstances leading me here are serendipitous. I hadn’t ever considered coming to Costa Rica (let along Central America) nor did I know Emma Warmington. Friends recommended her to me and I originally contacted her about her courses in Thailand. Then out of the blue, the opportunities to join her training in CR and to go to Panama with my parents fell into my lap. After speaking to Emma I knew it was simply meant to be. I hadn’t found Jivani yoga- Jivani found me.
So here I am. 2 weeks into what is wholeheartedly a life changing experience.
After a previous ttc experience I was expecting this to be draining, studious and pretty intense. It has been some of those things of course- living with 20 people in a jungle lodge for one month is intense!
It has also been so much more. 2 hours of yoga practice a day has slowly turned into 2 hours of self practice and daily self care of listening to what my body needs. In one of the first days here we watched some Anatomy talks and learn that our bodies are only capable of so much flexibility- at some points our joints compress where bones touch and it doesn’t matter how much we practice, we simply won’t go any further. I almost wept at this knowledge. I don’t have to be a needy pretzel like yogi! I can only do as much as my body can do- and that is ok! In another class we spoke at length about breath initiating movement – how our breath leads our movement and the asana is only there to support the breath and lead us to the ultimate of practises- breathwork and meditation. Again I felt over whelmed with emotion (I have cried a LOT on this course- probably as often as I eat)
It’s not all about the poses! Asana is not king!
And perhaps the most transformational, beautiful and simple of truths. Told to us by Emma, passed on to her by Mark Whitwell and to him from the master of yogis, Desikachar and Krishnamacharyar.
The truth is within us – we don’t need to seek outside ourselves for things- it is a given in us and we are enough as we are. Yoga or self discovery isn’t there to correct or improve us. It is there to support us to know ourselves better and so be the best we can be.
WOW. That would have saved me many a penny on all that therapy just with that knowledge right there!
It immediately lifted a weight of my own expectation. I am enough. I have everything I need in me.
And so the learning continues. Self practice, confidence of voice and public speaking. Positive communication. Every day we receive more gifts and more knowledge from Emma, Laurence, Gaston, Sophie, Nicole and the team. And every teaching is given like a blessing. With love, kindness and in an environment of support.
Oh yes – the environment, Physically it is magical. Lush green jungle. Eco lodge (El Sabanero). Wholesome delicious (vegetarian) food. Wonderful, warm, funny staff and the emotional environment has been just as warm.
The other students are all very special and each has a unique story – between us we represent many nationalities.
Case in point- a few days ago I showed up to morning meditation a little teary and emotional (who knows what set me off!) and Gaston our mindfulness teacher asked me if I was ok so I admitted rather ashamed that I read a trashy chick li the night before and it was some sappy love story that got me a bit nostalgic and emotional – and he said “give it space, let the emotion out” I LOVE IT! We are encouraged to feel. To share. To cry. and all in the knowledge that we are loved. And it will be ok.
And funnily enough just knowing that means the tears fall less often and the heart gets stronger. Because all this learning combined is teaching me strength. And breath. And that I have everything I need in me. So when we were told yesterday at practice that it wouldn’t be guided and we were to do our own self practice, something flowed from inside me. I breathed. I moved. And it all started to make sense.
I have a long way to go of course. The beginning has been so special for me though and I can’t wait to see what the next 2 weeks have in store!