Costa Rica Pt 2. Five months on.

By Laila Datoo

My Yoga Journey Part 2 - Reflections on my TTC 5 months on.

Back into the yoga scene in London and my Teacher training in the lush jungle of Costa Rica feels a million miles away. And yet every time I step on my mat something from my Jivani teachings comes back. Which tells me it was a very good course. So after these few months, and reintegration into “real life” and starting to teach, what did I learn and how am I putting it to use? (and how do you know what TTC to pick? This is maybe a whole post in itself!)

Picking a TTC is easier if you know what you are looking for. In all truth I didn’t- I knew what I didn’t want after some previous negative experiences. Everyone told me “when the student is ready the teacher will appear” which I didn’t really believe. And then Emma Warmington popped into my inbox with a wee hello. Clearly the universe thought I was ready.

So what can you consider to help your decision making?

Make a list of the things that are important to you – budget, length, immersion abroad in a short timeframe (usually 30 days) or fitting it around your home life over several months or a year, yoga style and any key areas you want to develop (anatomy, shamanism, chakras – it’s all out there!) I would definitely recommend talking to people to get experience and recommendations but then remember that it’s all based on personal opinion and what each individual needs at that time. Speak to the teacher too- a great teacher will take the time to talk to you and get a feel for you too. And then go with your gut.

So why Jivani?

1.     The location was a draw although I hadn’t thought of Costa Rica until it presented itself to me. In the end it was the most magical of choices- lush green jungle, an eco lodge with a great pool, laid back vibe, awesome owners and onsite team and a beautiful country I hadn’t experienced before.

2.     The teachings and the ethos of Jivani and Emma were the main reason I chose this course. I was very interested in the yoga style she taught- the lineage of Mark Whitwell and “the Heart of Yoga” – for its compassion and ethos that yoga is tailored to the individual not the other way around. The mindfulness, NVC and leadership elements also drew me in as this fit really well with my corporate work and is something I have embedded into my work now I’m back in London.

3.     Anatomy - in my previous post I wrote about the eye-opening sessions we had on Paul Grilley’s anatomy theory and the flexibility of the body, this stayed with me and has really affected my practice and where I am confident to push myself and work with my limits. With regular practice I can feel my practice changing and my body going deeper - but I am also much more accepting of poses that I can’t go into fully because It’s just not for me!

It has also really influenced my teaching as I can understand my students better.

4.     Breath based movement & the yoga flow-  I must admit I was worried after doing the Jivani course on how I would bring this back with me to London where yoga is all about the pose and the headstand…would this slower more breath based practice work? I have been teaching for a month now at my workplace and it turns out my students love it. They appreciate having a space where they can move in a way that feels good to them – where we don’t spend the class jumping around yet they leave feeling challenged but zen. I haven’t spent too much time on breath techniques yet as many are new to yoga and I want to ease them in, but they have really enjoyed the meditations, awareness of breath and using breath to encourage movement.

5.     My spirit family - The greatest gift Jivani gave me was the global family I now have. Both the teachers and the students were amazing and this is because each one was handpicked by Emma to join a unique journey. I still marvel that even after 5 months I still feel totally connected to my group- someone can post something online or send me a message and completely understand what’s going on with me despite being on the other side of the world. Isn’t that magical! Was it because we spent a month living together in shared accommodation in intense circumstances? Maybe! I believe it’s because we were brought together by Emma wizardry to take this journey as a family and connect on many different levels.

6.     Confidence - the number of people who must do a TTC and say “I don’t plan to teach – it’s more for my own development” and then after the month have an awakening…! That was me. I wasn’t sure of my desire to teach and I am still not sure what place yoga teaching has in my life. I do know it will always be there in some form.

The confidence Jivani gave me in myself and my ability to share my knowledge and experience with others was life changing. It has changed the way I interact at work – I have the confidence now to speak in meetings I wouldn’t have before, to attend a crazy hardcore fitness class I would have been intimidated by and to sing in a kirtan with joy when I didn’t believe before I could even sing!

Jivani was a life changing experience for me and it was so much bigger than just the yoga. I use my yoga teachings constantly in my personal practice and my classes. The life lessons are what I carry with me in my daily London life and the memories will stay with me forever.