Thoughts from Rishikesh, India Part 2

“The ultimate yogi vacation” is truly the best way to describe the YogaFit Intensive in Rishikesh, India. Rishikesh itself is simply magical, set at the foothills of the Himilayas and separated by crystal clear waters of the Ganga.  The Sattva Centre where we stayed was like rustic elegance.  Clean and quiet and the perfect place to practice yoga.

Each day began at 6am with one hour of meditation. The mornings were cold, about 12C just before sunrise and we would meet in the yoga room all bundled up and wrapped in blankets. Warming ourselves with 3min. of breath of fire and then focusing on our breath while waiting for the birds to wake up and begin singing.  From there we would be greeted with warm chai tea and some time for ourselves in reflection. To meet back about 8am for our yoga practice.

Yoga practice itself was intense, powerful and graceful all at the same time. Led by Anand, our fearless guru and leader for the week, the majority of our class was based on kriya’s which are cleansing practices. I have been practicing yoga poses for over ten years, I was shocked at how continuously sore from practice I really was. My calves were screaming for days after one of our last classes, and I loved every moment of it.

To be challenged in ways that I haven’t in years was both physically and mentally grueling, exhausting and required! As a teacher and trainer of YogaFit, I live and breathe the YogaFit Essence in my classes and my own practice – especially ‘listen to our bodies.’ Kriya practice in itself is meant to push the boundaries, a cleansing practice to move past our physical bodies and find a true release, balancing and opening each chakra.  This played itself out in moves like jumping for 7min. straight, or pushing up into half handstands for 5min. Almost like the equivalent of a marathon runner trying to push passed the wall mid-way through a race. Staying present mentally was almost easy as our muscles yelled at us, yet continuing to stay in the movement and work through the physical burn was the real challenge. At the same time, this is how many of our beginners feel in their bodies when they first come to class. To be reminded myself of my own physical limitations and how difficult it is to both listen to what my body was saying and yet keep going was the real mental challenge and at the same time the real reward.

As I come back to Toronto and my teaching schedule I feel renewed and at peace. Filled back up and ready to share my experiences. I’ve already noticed how my teaching has changed, how my connection to my students has deepened, and I can’t wait to go back for more!

Namaste, Lisa xo

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