Yin Yang Yoga Teacher Training (January 2011)

In January 2011 I had the opportunity to participate at a Yin Yang Yoga Teacher Training in Thailand. At that time I published a few articles about the training on the Blog of the Yogaplace Salzburg (where I gained later my first teaching experiences). As a start for forthcoming articles about yoga, find here my report from that time, brought to light again.

14.1.2011 – Live from the Yoga Teacher Training

Since almost a week I am now in Koh Samui Thailand at a Yoga Teacher Training from Simon Low. More precisely a Yin & Yang Training. This is a training which incorporates dynamic and flowing movements (Vinyasa or Yang) on one side and a more silent practice with long held asanas (Yin) on the other side. You can find more information about the training here.

The first five days are over and I feel physically and mentally wonderful kneaded – which does not prevent me from taking a massage on my day off – but I wander from the subject.

We have five intensive course days at a time and then a day off, which enables to finish a training of 200h in a bit more than three weeks. It is a complete immersion in yoga: every day in the morning over two hours of practice, with loads of references towards teaching. This is followed by three sessions of two hours each around the topics yoga philosophy, teaching practice and anatomy. The evening is filled with reading, repetitions and lots of discussions.

Philosophical discussions about secular spirituality alternate with detailed explanations about the motion range of the spine or the question how to teach downward facing dog exactly – just to name an example.

Soon more to come. Watch out!

 

16.01.2011 – Dragon Dance and more!

Yang yoga is the dynamic active practice, where muscular strength plays an important role. Beautiful flows are part of the game here. For Simon Low, our teacher, yoga is not about mastering even more sophisticated asanas or to bretzel yourself perfectly. Rather he thinks, that the constant refinement of asanas (yoga postures) and the adding of new aspects represents an advanced practice. Also in India there are famous  teachers, who told their students, they would not need more than 40 asanas.

For me – a very interesting approach and I really learn a lot about the single asanas – sometimes overwhelmingly.

But back to Yang Yoga.  To acquire a taste of it -here  the dragon dance, beautiful….

 

22.1 – Half time

How time flies, I just started and now it’s already half time in the teacher training. The good is that the fog starts to lift. It is really like this: when you spend at the beginning enough time for the basics, everything falls into place nicely later.

In the last week I not only learned how to draw little yoga matchstick men (well, I still have to practice this), – in yogaphilosophy , next to the Yogasutras we were introduced to the the Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads.

We collected first impressions from the subtle but strong impact of Yin Yoga. We heard a lot about fascia in this context – which are all somehow interconnected and change all the time and reflect therefore our living conditions. Yin Yoga is less about the muscles and more about the connective tissues – addressed via asanas, which are longer held. Find more about this in a small video – in case you search for more arguments to bring yoga closer to your surroundings.

 

 

Beside that I am looking forward to new flows, I will bring back and a quite interesting shoulder sequence. We discussed lots of asanas in detail and “deconstructed” them, while thinking in the same time about the sequencing of a yoga lessen. The home work for this week was a lesson “yoga for skiers” – unbelievable, when you think, that the training takes place in Thailand and the course is lead  by a British. Anyway this is an interesting one and at least for the forthcoming winter, we can offer something in this direction.

To finish for today a reference to the toilet asana. No this is not a specific asana, but the one where you always want to go to the toilet. You know that one?

6.2. – the end is the beginning

And then it was suddenly over. The second half time of the training passed at least in double speed, compared to the first.

On one side the topics were even more multifaceted – although the yoga philosophy was only in the first half part of the training. Most of my 28 co-trainees were not sad about that. But I found it really nice to be confronted each morning after the asanas with two hours of philosophy and lots of Sanskrit terms. During the written assessment I will summarize the Bhagavad Gita in a fit of chutzpah with ” A man or women has to do, what a man or a women has to do” – but I wander from the subject again.

Instead of philosophy during the second part of the training we had the opportunity to deal with concrete questions of lesson planning and with the detailed analysis of single asanas. For known asanas this went quite well but with the (for me) new yin asanas (who need an impressive amount of props like cushions, blankets, towels, blocks etc. etc.) it was really a challenge -especially as I had one of the most elaborate yin asanas as part of the assessment. ..

Next to the planning of a concrete lesson we also had to find our personal definition of yoga, and therefore think about our personal approach to yoga and to discuss the attributes of good and not so good yoga lessons and teachers.

On my day off I leave the resort and the yogabubble and take a long walk at the beach. Just shortly I realise there is a world outside the yogabubble, but a few hours later I am going to a cafe to review my anatomy and to rethink the process of the last weeks.

And in the last week the place is rocking. We teach ourselves – 29 trainees teach 29 asanas, recapitulate the lessons and then there is a written and a teaching assessment.

And then it’s all over. The goodbye ritual moves lots of us to tears, and we go away as group with the desire to stay in touch and to support each other in teaching, while the four principles of spirituality, which Simon read to us in the last round, resonate within in us…..

 

Flying a lot, saying goodbye and new shores

Looking back – Turkey under clouds

 

Sometimes I am not travelling slowly but really fast – almost in Warp drive. For example, the last few days. After more than five months in Turkey, I arrived on Saturday safe and sound in Vienna – by drizzling rain an just a few degrees above freezing.

The next day very early on a plane and jetted to Spain. There I am going to houasesiet from end of January for at least two months – a beautiful house with a large garden. A day later I was back in Vienna. And today straight to Salzburg – again only for two days.

… and forward. Spain I am coming (soon).

 

Now I am tired. Sitting in wet and cold Vienna and trying to handle all the impressions from the last days. I am already missing Turkey and try to find the energy for all the stuff I have to do.

The next month is a time of transition. I am going to dissolve my appartment in Salzburg (too expensive, as I am only using it for a few weeks per year), and in the same time built up a small base in Vienna, for a stopover between my trips to rest and for repacking.

With all this hustle and bustle I am happy to celebrate christmas with family and friends for the first time since quite some years – although the wet and cold weather is difficult for me. And here on this blog I am going to continue with reports from Turkey and elsewhere. Soon.

Winter at the Lycian coast

Big ships and wild light games – winter at the sea

 

Kış geldi – the winter has come. You can hear it everywhere. The last rain was really strong – and then the temperatures dropped again a few degrees.

Now make even the hardest start to use the ovens in everywhere in the small shops there are eletric heaters although I doubt about their effectiveness. Rubber boots are now an important utensil – minor floodings everywhere.

Even the forest cottage where I established myself, was affected. Suddenly there was a small stream flowing through the house – the young Auf once because a small stream flowed through – the young cat had to examine this with great amazement

It is often cold and windy – and I do not want to go out as much. But then when the sun breaks through a is a bit incredible light and cloud games and the distant view is breathtaking. The sea is wild with high waves and suddenly in all the bays there are large ships, who “park” here  to hide from  wind and weather.

Arykanda – a Lycian city in the mountais

“The residents of Arykanda must have been happy people”, it comes to my mind while I am standing in Arykanda high on the mountain in the old amphitheater and admire the view. I imagine how the spectators did not know around 2000 years ago, if they want to look at the spectacle or at the view – and at night the stars.

In general the remaining ruins of this Lycian city are not a sign of poverty. Town houses, a political and commercial Agora, spas, baths, a stadium etc. The residents of Arykanda should also have been extravagant, but it seems they were able to refill the city coffers with trading revenues.

P1020485 (Large)

There’s not much left and some can only be guessed, and yet – or perhaps for this reason – the place radiates its very own magic. The very picturesque ruins, surrounded by overgrown trees and bushes, on a sunny western slope at lofty heights just before Elmali where the houses nestle along the slope upward. The breathtaking views – best from the theater (see above).

 

P1020445 (Large)

Interesting which buildings are located at the top of the slope. Not only the previously mentioned amphitheater but also the shopping mile, twelve square scale businesses opening to a beautiful place with – of course – an amazing view. But why are these shops at the top?Isn’t it tedious to bring all the goods upon delivery all the way up. On the other hand, next to the shops, the Town Hall (the ancient Greeks said Bouleiterion) – is then also convenient for the business men, as they have a very short way to the meeting room, after having closed their shops.

P1020424 (Large)

We spend several hours there on a November day and stroll through time – nothing disturbs the peace, and I take pictures with joy and passion … when I suddenly see three soldiers in full gear and with guns on the seats of the theater . Shortly my heart slips into my boots and I take the camera aside. But probably they just want to make a short break and enjoy the view, as they are leaving just a few minutes later. Then there is again silence, and this unique atmosphere – which is going to stay with me for a while.

 

 

Tips

 

  • Plan enough time: Especially here it would be a pity just to tick off the attractions. The view and enchanted site invite you just to follow you nose and or to stay somewhere for a short break.
  • Time of the day: During the hot season (ie mid-June to mid-September), the midday should be avoided. Too hot and the photos will not be pretty. Best in the late afternoon to come and don’t forget to enjoy the evening light.
  • Equipment:a bit firmer shoes (eg trekking sandals) increase the fun factor while climbing and straying significantly. Water and something to snack as well.
  • I say it reluctantly, but Lycia is generally best reached by car . According to my information there are Dolmus from Kumluca and Finike(dolmus to Elmali). From the turnoff to Arykanda there are just a few hundred meters to the excavations. There’s also a guesthouse at this junction, which from the outside looks very charming.
  • And last but not least : The small waterfall almost directly on the street, a few meters after the junction to Arykanda. Here there are not only tons of great-tasting spring water (take your bottles!), but also a small Lokanta with delicious food, fresh grilled corn to take away, and a small bazar with the savory aplles from Elmali – Do not miss .

     

    And here’s a little slideshow. with some more pictures Enjoy!

     

     

Pomegranate time

 

Finally - the pomegranates are ripe

Greetings from the Lycian coast in Turkey.

Since I’ve been here in April for the first time this year (In total I’ve been in Turkey now for over four months) I look forward to the pomegranates. In spring, I admired the white flowers, and over the summer I could observe as the fruit slowly increased in size and color. Now they are finally ready and can be seen everywhere. On the trees, the markets or from the small traveling grocers. In many places, there is now the first fresh juice that is so intense that it’s clearly better to mix it with water or orange juice. And the almost black syrupy pomegranate vinegar is cooked all over. This fruit and its products have a taste and color explosion – a sheer delight.

 

And in the event that I ever find out how these little seeds can be brought out of the shell in a timesaving way, I am going to play around with it – maybe a pomegranate or orange marmalade or this great Persian meat dish with walnuts and pomegranate – yummie

Kerala "God's own country" or the Indian Switzerland

Is this still India, I ask myself sometimes. The streets clean, almost no cows or pigs, stray dogs not to mention. The landscape green, tropical , only sporadic shanties, mostly there are  pretty houses – many with painted porches and quite colorful. And women on the streets everywhere.

 

In den Backwaters von Kerala

 

Yes, Kerala is different. It is marketed as “God’s own country” by the tourism industry. The “Indian Switzerland”, I think during a busride along the  green hills past the colorful houses. At  least they have in common  the cleanliness, the beautiful scenery and wealth.

Many social indicators such as fertility, health care, literacy rate, etc. correspond to tthoses ​​of developed countries – and even if the economic development can’t keep up, it is obvious that Kerala is richer than other States in India. All people with whom I speak here, think that the good  education system is the main cause. Educaion has been very important in pre-colonial times  – even for lower castes and women. In 1859, the first school for girls in India was founded.

 

End of school in Munnar

 

The high education rate and the connections to the Arab World (grown over centuries)also lead many Keralan people migrate to places  where there are better career and money opportunities. It is, as so often in such migration movements – on the one hand a brain-drain , on the other hand, many big private houses testify that much money “returns” from the Arab region to Kerala . The money of the migrants from Kerala into other countries, represents a fifth of the Keralan national product and is therefore the most important economic factor.

Kerala is also blessed by nature, you can not say it differently. The tropical climate and the many regions at mid-height allow the cultivation of tea, coffee, cardamom, vanilla, pepper and many other spices. Vasco da Gama arrived here is, when he had finally found the sea route to India and it was not the pure spirit of adventure that has driven him, but tangible economic interests – the spice trade was an important factor.

 

Tea plantaton in Kumily

Before Vasco da Gama, many others have found their way across the sea to the south-eastern coast of the continent. There is evidence of a Jewish community before the birth of Christ, and also of St. Thomas is said to have been in Kerala and thus the foundation for early Christian communities has been set. The region has been in exchanges with diverse cultures since centuries, which is certainly not a disadvantage for the development. And the proportion of Muslim and Christian population is much higher than in other states.

 

Indian tourists in Munnar - Making photos and beeng photographed is very important

Kerala is also an important tourist destination. Although it is one of the smaller states, it stands at the statistics at the top of the list. In addition to the existing natural natural resources this success is probably due to massive marketing from the 1980s on as “God’s own country”. Numerous Eco-tourism initiatives try to contribute to  a positive development of society and the environmentand have also received several international prizes. The tourism  critical organization Equations in contrast, shows the negative aspects of tourism in Kerala.

 

Che Guevara Busstation in Eddakad

One question is how important the communist governments were, which have been elected in a democratic way several times since 1957? I do not dare to estimate it. The land reforms of the 1960s and 70s, which has decreased large estate properties significantly were certainly important. Our boat guide on a trip in the backwaters states as well that here are all unionized, organized in village committees and that strikes seem to be very common. The Communist Party is certainly omnipresent, whether through banners, posters, demonstrations, or Che Guevara images in the bus stations.

Also in Kerala people are begging, I see shabby huts with no setup or homeless people. All this, however, in a much lesser extent than in other regions and people are remarkably friendly and helpful – which is probably not a bad indicator.

 

Kerala “God’s own country” or the Indian Switzerland

Is this still India, I ask myself sometimes. The streets clean, almost no cows or pigs, stray dogs not to mention. The landscape green, tropical , only sporadic shanties, mostly there are  pretty houses – many with painted porches and quite colorful. And women on the streets everywhere.

 

In den Backwaters von Kerala

 

Yes, Kerala is different. It is marketed as “God’s own country” by the tourism industry. The “Indian Switzerland”, I think during a busride along the  green hills past the colorful houses. At  least they have in common  the cleanliness, the beautiful scenery and wealth.

Many social indicators such as fertility, health care, literacy rate, etc. correspond to tthoses ​​of developed countries – and even if the economic development can’t keep up, it is obvious that Kerala is richer than other States in India. All people with whom I speak here, think that the good  education system is the main cause. Educaion has been very important in pre-colonial times  – even for lower castes and women. In 1859, the first school for girls in India was founded.

 

End of school in Munnar

 

The high education rate and the connections to the Arab World (grown over centuries)also lead many Keralan people migrate to places  where there are better career and money opportunities. It is, as so often in such migration movements – on the one hand a brain-drain , on the other hand, many big private houses testify that much money “returns” from the Arab region to Kerala . The money of the migrants from Kerala into other countries, represents a fifth of the Keralan national product and is therefore the most important economic factor.

Kerala is also blessed by nature, you can not say it differently. The tropical climate and the many regions at mid-height allow the cultivation of tea, coffee, cardamom, vanilla, pepper and many other spices. Vasco da Gama arrived here is, when he had finally found the sea route to India and it was not the pure spirit of adventure that has driven him, but tangible economic interests – the spice trade was an important factor.

 

Tea plantaton in Kumily

Before Vasco da Gama, many others have found their way across the sea to the south-eastern coast of the continent. There is evidence of a Jewish community before the birth of Christ, and also of St. Thomas is said to have been in Kerala and thus the foundation for early Christian communities has been set. The region has been in exchanges with diverse cultures since centuries, which is certainly not a disadvantage for the development. And the proportion of Muslim and Christian population is much higher than in other states.

 

Indian tourists in Munnar - Making photos and beeng photographed is very important

Kerala is also an important tourist destination. Although it is one of the smaller states, it stands at the statistics at the top of the list. In addition to the existing natural natural resources this success is probably due to massive marketing from the 1980s on as “God’s own country”. Numerous Eco-tourism initiatives try to contribute to  a positive development of society and the environmentand have also received several international prizes. The tourism  critical organization Equations in contrast, shows the negative aspects of tourism in Kerala.

 

Che Guevara Busstation in Eddakad

One question is how important the communist governments were, which have been elected in a democratic way several times since 1957? I do not dare to estimate it. The land reforms of the 1960s and 70s, which has decreased large estate properties significantly were certainly important. Our boat guide on a trip in the backwaters states as well that here are all unionized, organized in village committees and that strikes seem to be very common. The Communist Party is certainly omnipresent, whether through banners, posters, demonstrations, or Che Guevara images in the bus stations.

Also in Kerala people are begging, I see shabby huts with no setup or homeless people. All this, however, in a much lesser extent than in other regions and people are remarkably friendly and helpful – which is probably not a bad indicator.

 

Bijapur – a first glimpse of the North

Ibrahim Rauza

In Hindu temples and a surfeit of stories, gods and images. Here in Bijapur – Islamic architecture,  the Agra of the South as some call it. The buildings impress with their overall concept and moods. The Golgumbaz has one of the largest free-standing domes in general and the Ibrahim Rauza is a beautifully designed mosque and a mausoleum . And while at Hindu sites there is just one temple next to the other, it seems that there are as many mausoleums as mosques in Bijapur which already gives a clear indication of the different burial rituals.

It seems to me – at least from the outside –  that religions can not be more different. And although religious clashes in India regularly maintain the world in suspense, I see far above all, that both religions live side by side very much alive.
Overall, I believe that Bijapur gave me a first impression of the north. It’s kind of the end of the south. This is also the conclusion of a french couple, with whom I had dinner in the absolutely uncozy  hotel restaurant one evening. The landscape is flat, the air suddenly very dry. On the road, all point to me, look at me angrily, follow me or bump into me. I neither speak Hindi nor the local language Kannada which is not appreciated.

Bijapur is also the city where I finally realize that it’s important  to me, to have  a pleasant place to sit (best outside). My hotel does have a garden, which opens only at 7:00 in the evening, and the hotel staff  wants to hinder me almost physically going there. It is in fact a “Beer Garden”, where men sit. And so I make use of the large gardens that surround the main attractions, for extended periods, reading and journal writing.

 After three days I leave Bijapur for the south . A more extended trip to the North (Rajasthan) is then scheduled for January. I’m now very curious about the contrast.