This post is a direct continuation of My Yoga Teacher Training Experience in Bali Part I
By the 4th day of my yoga teacher training I had learned ALL the exact names of the postures and benefits of those postures in the long obligatory prayer from the Baha’i Writings, as they were all the basic yoga postures with tremendous healing benefits.
As I was raising my arms mid motion on that fourth morning during the Long Obligatory Prayer, from standing (Tadasana Mountain Pose) to my hands raised to the sky (Utthita Hasta In Tadasana, extended mountain pose), I realized exactly what I was doing, and how the physicality of the yoga postures had a DIRECT link to the physical postures in the Long Obligatory Prayer in the Baha’i Writings - and the magnitude of this understanding dawned on me like a massive wave.
With my arms still raised up to the sky, I continued with the prayer with tears running down my face, being so very grateful that I didn't have to wait so long into my training to have ALL my questions and desires answered, for being given insight into the wisdom of these postures that I have been questioning and seeking as well as being obedient to. Asking for forgiveness for ever feeling ashamed of doing these postures and the level of ignorance I had prior to not knowing, PHEW, thank God that’s over!
The amount of imagery this came later by recalling other faiths, like Muslims, they have 5 obligatory prayers in a day, and each of them have postures, how much yoga do all Muslims do without even knowing it? After my training when I began teaching yoga in the Singapore Botanical Gardens, in my first paid yoga class ever, I posed with my client who was muslim, with all the corresponding physical postures that were in the Muslim AND Baha'i Obligatory prayers and described their yoga postures names in an instagram post!
For the rest that day, I had the torture of having to keep this information to myself because of the stupid silent Thursday day thing we were doing! Yet, it was also a bounty, savoring the information that I wanted to know so badly all to my self for a brief period of time. It wasn't until the end of the night, that I got to shared it with the other yoga trainees at the dinner table. I don't know if they knew how huge of a revelation it was for me to discover this.
The rest of the training, didn't even matter to me what was to come or go.
All the questions that I had were answered already. All the anxiety and doubts were swept away. I no longer took the training with a wearied eye, but continued learning with total acceptance and it went by like a breeze.
I took the time to have deep conversations with my teacher, many of which had to do about faith. In fact my worries about yoga tripping up my faith probably had the exact opposite effect of loving my faith even more, and having the systematic spiritual discipline of yoga to make it even stronger. This seemed to not be the common path.
I soon learned that really people do a yoga teacher training to get a change of perspective, they do a yoga teacher training because they have had enough of a particular faith or religious based tradition. My teacher was not expecting to hear this response from me.
It was the only time that I had observed that he wasn't listening to me, that he wasn't in the present moment to actually hear the words coming out out my mouth.
It was one of funniest things that happened to be honest, because as I am speaking saying that I'm a Baha'i etc, and how much I love my faith, he interjects me by saying "Yeah, I know, and now you need a change your perspective, that’s why your here." I was like ummm..... no~ I love my faith, and but yoga..." again interjects "yoga has changed your mind."
After a couple more back and forth’s like this, I decided to be fully present to WHAT was happening before my eyes, and it fully dawned on me that perhaps no one has ever come to a yoga teacher training being ever more so deepened in their own faith-based traditions? At least not someone who has passed by my teachers previous yoga teacher trainings.
He looked at me so strangely the way I talked about how much in love I am with my faith, as if I was a total, alien.
What was clear, was that, we had in our minds very different ideas about what religions was and stood for, that it could not be possible with his current frame of reference to understand what I was experiencing in religion, and indeed, a connection could not be found.
After a while, he did understand what I was saying, and had his eyes wide open, processing what I was saying, as if it were an entirely new thing he experienced.
It was, however, incredibly enlightening for me to be able to see how differently people can view spirituality, both those that agree, as well as disagree on faith and religion - and how it doesn’t quite matter whether or not you have grown up in a faith or not, or entirely devoid of it, that in the end, it is our experiences that shape our perceptions, which are likewise constantly evolving and changing. And if we are constantly striving to be independent investigators of truth, that is where the light truly can be found - and that, in itself, is life’s journey.