(This write-up is a part of a series about my experiences during the extensive Yoga Teachers Training course I pursued at The Yoga Institute, Mumbai.)
1:45 p.m., 1st May 2015.
Only 1 hour left for the orientation class and I’m still packing my bag. I left around 2:00 p.m. from my home which is hardly 40 mins away from The Yoga Institute, where I’m going to spend next three months.
I reached Borivali station at 2:10 p.m., saw the indicator, and learned that the next train which will take me to my destination, is going to arrive at 2:16 p.m. I was pensive, sweaty and dehydrated. The hot and humid summer of Mumbai took a toll.
I reached the institute panting at the nick of time.
I saw Bhavana sitting at the front of the main hall among other students. She instructed me that orientation will start in few mins in room B4. I greeted her, went to the office, and got the keys to my locker for the allotted room.
I found out, to my dismay, the locker is useless, the lock does not work. I just stacked my bags in one of the bed which one of my roommates pointed out. I reminded myself to deal with this locker issue later.
3 p.m., Orientation
I enter a room full of new and fresh faces, approx 25 students sitting in a circle; I notice most of them are not natives. I heard few utter ‘hi’ and ‘hello’.
Bhavana was taking the orientation, she handed me the 3-months-teacher-training orientation manual. After all the students were seated. She asked us to join our hands and condition ourselves for a minute, we followed the instructions and soon there was a lull in the room.
She then asked us to introduce ourselves, only our names.
Actually, the other participants knew each other because they underwent the 7 days health camp which is a pre-requisite for the teacher training course, since I have done the camp twice before, I requested them to allow me to skip it.
She soon settled in with the role of a teacher and introduced us the great history and legacy of the institute. She informed us that this is the world’s oldest organised yoga center. She started the orientation by introducing the founder of the institute, Shri Yogendraji.
She informed us that the yoga that we are going to learn is Hata Yoga modified by Shri Yogendraji to suit the householder’s lifestyle, he had simplified the practices.
His guru Paramhamsa Madhavdasji initiated Shri Yogendraji. Madhavdasji was the follower of Shri Krishna. She introduced Dr. Jayadeva Yogendra who was the son of Shri Yogendraji. “He was a great yogi”, she said. She asked us not to judge him by his current physical condition.
One of the participant asked, “Why he is in such a condition when he is a great yogi?” she gracefully replied, “Do not judge the book by its cover, all his mental faculties are very sharp, he is still very intelligent”.
When the participant probed further about his physical condition, Bhavana gave an amazing reply, “We cannot understand a great Yogi like him because he does not identify himself with his body”.
I was amazed by her response and was wondering about what a man Doctor Sahaab must be.
She took great pride while mentioning, “this institute works 365 days, no matter what”, she then shared a rather grim story of Patanjali, son of Dr. Sahaab, that how the institute was still conducting all the courses even when Patanjali died in a freak accident. There was silence in the room.
The silence broke when one of the student asked, “What does ‘Sahaaab’ mean?” others followed, “What does Namaste mean?” “Why do we do conditioning?” “Will we learn tantra?” “Why do we have to get up at 5:20am?”
Bhavana handled each of the questions gracefully and gave apt responses. She did an amazing job. She lead the group, and answered all the questions effectively.
Orientation stretched till 5:30pm and people were getting restless and hungry. Someone even asked, “When will we get tea?”
After the orientation session we rushed to the kitchen hall and had herbal tea and some light snacks. We had the rest of the evening to ourselves.
(For Day 2 write-up click here: Yoga Teacher Training: Day 2)