Seven Things You Hear From Isha Hatha Yogis
#1: “I Just Landed Here!”
My coming here was not much of a determined effort at all…
Before signing up for the teacher training, I was planning to apply for a university seat in Chiropractic in Norway. On the last day to submit the online application, I filled it in. But before I pressed the “Submit” button, I started rethinking it – somewhere, yoga was lurking in my mind. In the previous two months, I had done a lot of research to find a suitable Yoga Teacher Training School, but nothing I found was appealing enough for me.
Now, with the cursor hovering over the “Submit” button, I did one last search on the web. This time, I stumbled across the Isha Hatha Yoga School website. Something just hit me so hard about this course that I decided to drop the whole idea of Chiropractic and applied for the Isha course instantly, though I knew nothing about Isha or Sadhguru.
After applying, I started to watch Sadhguru on YouTube, and the more I listened to him, the more I was convinced that I made the right choice. Then, something even stranger started to happen to me. As I watched Sadhguru on YouTube regularly, I realized that many of my negative influences just dropped. Two days before I was to fly out to India, I was invited to a party where people would be drinking and using substances, but my desire for such indulgences had just fallen away. I had found a different high!
I am now so happy about my decision. It couldn’t have been any other way. Doing anything else would have been so wrong.
#2 “Suddenly I realized… the context of my life and living has changed!”
I expected to become more flexible but not this overwhelming rollercoaster ride…
I came, jetlagged and disoriented, on the very day the program began. Then the training kept going on and on, non-stop for five months. I had no idea what was happening to me, what I was learning, what I was dropping, nothing – emotions came and went, thoughts came and went. I laughed, I cried, I enjoyed, I struggled, I fussed, I was overwhelmed… and five months were over. And suddenly, I realized I was actually a different person now. The context of my life and living has changed completely.
#3: “Practices are within me, I can do them without a thought – it’s strange but true!”
I knew there was going to be a lot of learning, but who would have thought it would be this deep…
A few months into the training while doing an activity outside the ashram, I accidently injured my spine and was advised to take rest for a minimum of four weeks. The news was a blow! I had given so much of myself to the process and now it felt like a broken dream. I was disheartened. It pained me deeply that I couldn't practice, but strangely there was something in the ashram space which kept me going. I was overwhelmed with all the support from friends, the teachers, the doctors and the volunteers. They really saw me through the process and in the end the training happened for me.
Though I couldn't practice, it was surprising to me how the intricacies of teaching were instilled despite what I was going through. Just being in this atmosphere, watching how the teachers spoke to us, somehow we picked up on how to teach, and more importantly how to be.
This was not something to be learnt but to be experienced.
#4: “I understand it is not just about the length of telomeres or flexibility”
Sure there's a lot of bending and twisting, but that’s not all…
Initially, I was a bit confused about the fluctuations in my flexibility, but it all settled when a student from the previous batch told us about this incident that happened in his class:
"One student couldn’t bend enough to touch the floor after years of practicing various forms of Hatha Yoga. Then one day in a class with Sadhguru, realizing her frustration, Sadhguru asked her to come in front and get into the posture. Miraculously, she went all the way down without any further instruction from Sadhguru. This is when all of us understood that it’s not about flexibility. There are many layers to our physicality.”
Slowly, what was happening to me on the physical level became a very minor part, as something tremendous started to happen within me. Every time I did my practices, I became ecstatic. Actually, I stopped thinking about flexibility at all. Anyway, in the end, my body became sturdier and stronger, and agility and strength improved considerably.
#5: “It may look absurd for a logical mind, but it’s just so nice to be this way.”
Learning to feel and not just think…
I always had a very strong body and hard muscles for a woman. Now, I see my body has changed in a way that was needed for life to flow within me – not the way I thought my body should have been. Life has opened up for me in a very graceful way, and the way I now carry my body is so different. I feel so joyful. We, the hatha yoga teacher trainees, laugh all day like children without any reason. For a logical mind, it may look absurd, but it’s just so nice to be this way. How to feel wasn’t the way I was brought up; I only thought about life. Now I feel life is just wonderful; I am able to feel the aliveness. I want to take this to as many people as possible, though I feel I may never be able to repay what I received from this place.
#6: “I thought I knew what joy was, but that was before I tasted the banana salad.”
Who knew the Divine hid in salads!
I used to eat meat – a lot of meat – and homemade, tasty, good food. I was worried I would become weak if I ate only vegetarian, and not even eggs, for five months. I had seen other vegetarian people in my country who were pale and weak. I wasn’t even sure if I would find the vegetarian food so tasty either. However, I fell in love with the food in the ashram, and actually in the first month my problem was with eating too much food. At the end of five months, my weight was pretty much the same as before I came to the program.
After going through one of the Isha Yoga programs, my practices became very blissful. Once, after the end of the evening practice session, when I opened my eyes, I thought my eyes had been closed only for a few minutes, but actually 40 minutes had passed. Without thinking any further about it, I rushed to the dining as I got worried about missing the night session. But when I sat there, I realized I wasn’t hungry at all, and as soon as I had put the first bite of salad in my mouth, I started to cry. Don’t know why, but I felt so bad for the salad! Later, I found my emotions for the salad so funny, but at that time I felt such a connection that the salad became alive for me, and I couldn’t eat it without feeling for it in a big way.
#7: “Tears simply pour out.”
And finally I can’t explain any of it at all…
This whole process has made me very receptive to life around me. During the course, whenever I heard Sadhguru, I would have tears in my eyes. Anything I touched, felt or saw afterwards, I could feel it much more than I ever did in my life before. After coming out of the Suryakund, I could feel the Sun. If I touched the plant, it felt so very different, I could actually feel the life in it. I would just sit on the ground and feel the earth, and tears of joy would pour out.
On the last day, I was feeling very joyous as I got the Hatha Yoga Teacher certificate from two of the teachers. But when my eyes met the third teacher’s, I just couldn’t control tears pouring out of my eyes.
“We teach Hatha Yoga as a transformative process. The transformation will not only be on the level of your body but in the way you are.” - Sadhguru
Editor's Note: Learn more about the Isha Hatha Yoga School here.