Friday, December 23, 2011

Yandara Yoga Institute ~ Review Part One

I recently had the great pleasure and honour to attend Yandara Yoga in Todos Santos, Baja Mexico for their 16-day training.  Where do I begin to explain how wonderful my experience was?  I suppose I should start … from the start!  We arrived just before dinner, and had a brief orientation before choosing our new homes ~ good-sized tents that were placed mindfully around the property.  They had a firm single bed, a little nightstand, and a small lamp.  It was a lovely little haven to return to each night.  We had a quick dinner, vegetarian and absolutely delicious.  Then it was time for Satsang … All the instructors were there:  Craig, Allison, Sarasvati, Shane Christopher, Kate, Amber and Shawna.  They gave us a brief orientation and all introduced themselves.  Then it was time for kirtan!  We sang mantra and kirtan, and I was fully in my element.  The band Jaya will come nearly every night to lead the group in kirtan ~ this I am so incredibly excited about.


One thing I loved about being at Yandara for those 16 days was the mindful living.  They run on solar power, so every time I turned on that little lamp, I felt a connection to the sun and a deep welling of gratitude.  They have composting toilets, so all paper waste goes into a garbage bin.  I found myself just noticing how much paper we were using.  We all got to choose a karma yoga task ~ Susie and I chose boiling hot water for tea before class.  Karma yoga is meant to be performed by devoting the actions to someone in need, or to the group, or to the Universal Divine.  One performs a job very well when it is done in the name of someone else.  Each movement becomes mindful … meaningful. 


After that first day, everything truly is a blur.  The program is structured very carefully so that students can learn as much as possible, and no moment is wasted.  The first week, for me, was all about personal growth.  Our instructors, Sarasvati, Kate and Shane Christopher got us diving into all things yoga immediately.  I remember how tough Kate’s first asana class was, but how it completely took my headache away, and how much lighter I felt after we were done.  Shane Christopher seemed to have a mission to help us to shed the layers that were no longer serving us with meditation and movement.  And Sarasvati was so fully present with an unconditional loving, embracing and compassionate energy.  She truly is amazing.  The three of them together were a powerhouse of information, with deep personal experience to draw on.  I could feel the wisdom in the room.  I will go more into detail with all of this later, of course!


It definitely took a few days for everyone to get settled into the routine.  The schedule was packed every day:

6:30am – 9:00am Pranayama or Asana & Meditation

Every other day we had Discourse (philosophy) with Shane Christopher – which I loved!

9 – 9:30am Breakfast in Silence

9:30 – 12:30 Asana Breakdown (including Assists)

12:30 – 2:00pm Lunch

2:00- 4:00pm Teaching Practice

4:15 – 6:00pm  Asana Class / Satya Circle  (alternating)

6:00 – 7:30pm Dinner

7:30 – 9:15pm Satsang


I will get more into the details of my experience over the next few weeks ~ I have so much to share about this once in a lifetime opportunity!


Sending you love ~ Nicole