I’d like to talk about the training a little bit. Advanced Teacher Training doesn’t only mean to practice advanced yoga asanas. It also means, to attain the ancient knowledge coming from the scriptures that will take your practice to a deeper level and to do the practices which you should do only by the observance of the teacher. Advanced TTC is an experience which will definitely take the person forward from the point where s/he already is.
The training is difficult both physically and mentally. You have modifications about everything in your life which creates a grid. You have to get out of it, get out of your comfort zone, you have to push your limits to connect with your true self. You have to discover what really inside is. To make this possible, this training is difficult in every sense.
In physical aspect, first of all asana practice is tough. You start the class with what Cetin Cetintas calls “Real Surya Namaskar” which is basically starting the class with a drop back followed by asanas like koundinyasana, raja kapotasana, scorpion, mayurasana and so on… You have 3 hours of intense asana class every day. Besides that, in the middle of the program you do the 3 days fast; you can only drink water, you are not allowed to talk but you continue the asana practice.
Mentally, you don’t have a lot of personal time which may irritate some people. We are so used to do what we want and when we want, we can easily get irritated following a very intense program, doing something all the time.
Also the living conditions also challenge the student mentally. It may be too cold or too hot for you, you don’t have the comfort you have at home, you may find the food different and so on…Besides you are living with a group of people; you have a roommate, so you don’t get to have your “space” when you want to. You don’t get to rest when you want to. You have homework, you have group assignments.
There are many more aspects. When you combine all, you really have a program that pushes you all the time. But not push you just to push you. In contrary, to push you in the most necessary way to able you to see everything; your thoughts, your actions, everything you think it’s “you”…
Why does it take place in an ashram?
There are many reasons for this. First of all, the living conditions in an ashram let the person disconnect with the attachments to the material world which makes it easier for the person to turn on the inside. It allows the person to get out of her/his comfort zone by offering a simple life. As a result of all these, the person faces himself and also can concentrate only on his practice without all the distractive factors from the outside. Besides, ashrams/monasteries are places where spiritual practices take place continuously, therefore energetically they are the most appropriate places for spiritual practice.
For instance; the weather was really cold when we were in the training and there were no heating available in the ashram. This may look like a minor detail but when you face tough situations, you start to see some sides of you, you don’t even know that they exist. This situation may wear you out, weaken you mentally or may make you angry. See, all these are part of the practice too; to be able to observe yourself, to face what is coming from inside of you and to overcome the situation by being able to use the knowledge you have. The weather being cold first affected everyone but in time due to their practice, they all managed to go beyond it.
I will continue to talk about the training in the next article…