And just like that, I am back home and have become a yoga instructor. Okay, so it wasn’t just like that. In fact, the very opposite. In a good way.
My 200 hour yoga teacher training with Inner Yoga Training meant that we spent 22 nights at the gorgeous Azadi Retreat, beautiful lush greenness everywhere, daily yoga practice (hello morning pranayama, meditation, and vinyasa, hello evening Yin), and classes filled with lots of information. We also ate like queens and soaked up all that Bali’s cozy and warm wet season has to offer whilst disconnecting from our lives back home, just for a little bit.
There is no denying that a yoga teacher training is hard work. We don’t spend all day floating around after a slow-flow yin yoga class with flowers in our hair sipping on Chai lattes. We started our days early at 6 am with Pranayama and Meditation, then a 90-minute Vinyasa class (secretly my favorite time of the day). Once breakfast is out of the way, the rest of the day is spent in class learning theory in the open-sided yoga shala with ricefield views, learning a lot. Yogic philosophy, Traditional Chinese Medicine, anatomy, asanas, how to teach yoga, business, ethics, and more. I am not sure that most people realize how much information and knowledge is required to become a certified yoga instructor. It’s not all peace love and Nasi Goreng. But what makes this all a lot more manageable, is the beautiful and serene surroundings we are in, the gorgeous staff we are accommodated by, the amazing food we are indulging in, and of course the knowledge and insight we were gaining!
So firstly, let me talk about the food. Holy moly guacamole. The chef at Azadi Retreat was nothing but near perfection. The meals were presented in a beautiful way and tasted absolutely delicious. Breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack, and dinner which was also always followed by a dessert. Tasty, filling, and more importantly, nourishing. As a non-vegetarian, it was interesting to see the dishes that could be prepared without meat and actually enjoy them. My body took a few days to get used to the vegetarian diet but that’s all part of any change we make in our lives during a yoga teacher training. The group I can confidently say, and I am sure they won’t mind me saying, were big food lovers like myself. We were eager to try dishes we had not heard of and were always happy to have seconds when the dish was beyond delicious.
Azadi Retreat was peaceful, serene, and everything you want for a yoga teacher training in Bali. Views of Mt. Agung and Mt. Batur when the clouds were hiding. Green everywhere, clean rooms, an open-sided yoga shala with views, an open lounge, and a clear blue pool we jumped in most days after lunch. Whether you were walking to the yoga shala at 6 am, walking to breakfast, or wherever you needed to be, it was just tranquil. I would smile most days, just because I appreciated this time in my life. The gecko that resided in my room didn’t show his face until my final night (he must have known and wanted to say bye). The noise he made; I ended up having conversations with him. That’s what a Bali yoga teacher training does to you, I think. You learn to live amongst nature and not care so much that an ant is crawling on you or if you have a gecko as a roommate (which is good luck by the way!), That’s just life in the rice fields.
People have been asking me if my life has been transformed, and it’s something that most yoga schools promise on their websites. Look, I am one of the most grounded people I know. I am realistic and pragmatic and I rarely get scammed. I am way too cautious and sceptical about that. I believe that big changes and transformations take time so yes, my life is transforming. I have done more yoga than ever since I have been home. I have bought yoga books and read daily about the philosophy and different aspects that come under the yoga topic. I am focussing a lot on the ‘moral codes’, Yama and Niyama, where one practices, non-violence, truthfulness, non-greed, and other moral codes. After receiving my 200 hour yoga teacher certification in 2023, I have curiosity and the desire to learn more. What comes from that, only time will tell. I am excited to see where my practice takes me, might even apply for my 300-hour yoga teacher training next!
Ricci Mishel Sauler