This past week has been so full, I hardly know where to begin. We had a packed schedule of classes, learning advanced asana poses and experiencing advanced pranayama (breathing) practices. We had one study day to prepare for the exam that was 3 1/2 hours of test time, 4 hours including instructions and prayers.
The test was very challenging, and the study day was even more challenging for me. I haven't taken that long of a written exam in many years. My hand and wrist ached after writing non-stop, except for a 30 second stretch break. I was one of the last to complete my exam and needed all of the time, as I filled page after page with answers - no multiple choice nor matching. There was no guesswork involved. Either you knew the answers, or you didn't.
We were challenged to learn more than 100 sanskrit terms, a sanskrit prayer, the complete step by step descriptions of sequences to 5 yoga classes, the functions and descriptions of anatomical body systems and so much more. The amount of information we learned about yoga in a month was voluminous.
While studying for the exam, the realization came by early evening, that I would not know all the answers on the test. There were some specific things we were told would be on the exam, and yet, with the number of sanskrit words that I needed to learn, I knew that I couldn't fit some of the words and their spelling into my brain.
Words like tanumanasa and pararthabhavana don't really have any easy correlation to English, and there were many of these words that were equally difficult for this Western brain American to learn.
I knew the sanskrit posture names, benefits, all of the class sequences and descriptions, the prayer and about 85 or 90 of the sanskrit words, but the last ones just were not making it into my head, no matter how hard I tried. I kept mixing them up and confusing myself more.
My brain actually felt like it hurt, but that of course was more from the stress I was putting on myself, trying to know everything, than from my brain actually physically being in pain.
At dinner, I was advised to just relax for the hour after dinner and then go to our nightly satsang and get a good night's rest. I didn't listen and studied for the hour after dinner, trying to somehow force a few more words into my brain bank. It didn't really work.
I did go to sleep about 11pm and slept on and off. In my past days as a student, I would have forced myself to stay awake with coffee, trying to cram in as much information as possible instead of sleeping.
The morning of the exam, I woke at 4:30. I got up and showered and got ready for our morning satsang. Instead of studying more, I consciously didn't. Enough was enough:)
I realized full well that there were answers I would get wrong or leave blank, and that was ok.
This would not have been ok with me in the past.
For me, this acceptance, even though I stubbornly struggled much of the day before, was a big deal.
It's not that I got perfect scores on every test in my life, but I believed I could get a perfect score, going into every test.
This time, I knew that I would not get a perfect score, and that was ok. I had learned as much as I could in the allotted amount of time, and somehow, I also knew I would pass.
I knew I had been to every class, paid attention, did all the homework and soaked in much over the month. I had grown and strengthened my practice and experienced a few life revelations. It was an amazing experience that I'd highly recommend!
That morning, I went to satsang early, which was very unusual for me.
I did some breathing exercises, then decided to focus on my meditation and chanting and leave the rest in God's hands.
Yes, I passed the exam, and there was a wonderful graduation ceremony for us!
With my completion of the course and passing the exam, I will have the Yoga Alliance 200 hour certification, so that I can teach yoga anywhere. It was a great accomplishment for me, and very special to have occurred in the month of my 62nd birthday.
I am so grateful for the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat and my karma yoga supervisor, Rukmini, who helped to make the TTC in November a reality!
I am very excited to begin the next part of my journey as a yoga teacher!
Sending You Love from the Bahamas,🌞
Thank you for taking this journey with me!
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