It is still dark as, one-by-one, figures slip quietly into the yoga shala to find their place for morning sadhana. The air is sultry and the scent of incense and the sound of temple prayers from the nearby village awaken the senses. Stillness settles and possibility begins to stir as the sweet and melancholy sound of the harmonium signals the start of another day of Radiant Living.
I am participating in Radiantly Alive’s 1-month vinyasa teacher training intensive in Ubud, Bali, along with 34 other yogis from all corners of the planet. We all have personal reasons to be here; intentions and aspirations that will motivate us through a month of tough love, technical learning, self-exploration and unlimited opportunity and will enable us to explore the possibility of joy and transformation through living and teaching yoga.
The dramatic, lush setting at Anahata resort in a river valley high above Ubud is just one of the many details that make this residential training so very fine. Daniel Aaron, course director, along with his superhero team and hand-picked faculty have fine-tuned every detail of the curriculum over the years in order that the experience is challenging and cherishing in equal measure. Our diet for the month is 100% raw vegan and we sample a noble harvest of daily delights that nourish the body and senses, (the yoga course runs concurrent with a raw chef training). Silent, juice-fast days are integral and a 7-day cleanse is an optional extra.
Each week presents a fresh emphasis with world-class instructors as varied as Simon Borg-Olivier and his poetic presentation of Synergy Yoga, Edward Clarke and his creative, topsy-turvy world of Tripsichore, and Kino Macgregor, who leads us with grace, humour and formidable strength through the Ashtanga Primary series. Additionally, superb teachers manage an impossible feat in presenting their vast knowledge of anatomy, philosophy and NLP in the allocated time. Daniel is the thread that connects each bead of this mala of experiences in an inspiring, committed and humble manner.
The training is intense. Do not be fooled into thinking this is a holiday yoga retreat. Full participation is required and the pressure is kept on with personal and group projects designed to take one past the zone of “comfort” and discover a new edge and greater depth of experience. That being said, the space is held in a warm and professional manner that encourages one to jump right in, safe in the knowledge that there is loving support from the RA team and fellow students and freedom on the other side of the leap of faith.
At 300 hours participation this course transcends requirements of a Yoga Alliance foundation teacher training. As with all worthwhile things, the more you put in, the more you get out. Facilitators and students alike have chosen this place and time to share in a transformative experience of life, yoga and each other that is enriching, empowering and about as good as it can get.
For more information visit www.radiantlyalive.com
Nicki Friedlein guides vinyasa flow yoga practices at Lotus Studio in Knysna. She completed her initial teacher training in 2007 and plans to keep learning at every opportunity. www.lotusstudio.co.za | firstname.lastname@example.org
Photographs courtesy of Heather Bonker: www.heatherbonker.com