It was a month I will never forget! While listening to the eerie and beautiful sounds of traditional India music being played before us, and looking around for the last time at many of my new yogi friends, I was overwhelmed with emotions. My time at Rishikesh Yog Peeth had changed me forever.
I Taught a Class
Our first task, before receiving our all-important Yoga Teacher Training Certification was to teach a asana class to our peers. Being one of only a couple beginning yoga students in the course, I was terrified to teach to a room full of intermediate and advanced students. Fortunately, I was paired up with another more experienced student, Fernanda, and together we would teach a 90-minute class. We decided to split it down the middle. I would teach the first half and she would teach the last half. We practiced hard and when the time came we felt well prepared. I took the class through “Oms”, breathing and warm up. Then we did a few rounds of Sun Salutation before Fernanda took over. She took them through a nice standing sequence and then into stretching, cool down and a little meditation. We did well and our fellow students seemed to enjoy it. We were so relieved!
Next was graduation. It was a somewhat formal affair with most of the female participants dressed in beautiful Sarees. The room was full of the most vibrant colors and my beloved classmates looked stunning! Some of the Indian students brought their families in to share the big event. There was so much joyful energy in the room that night that I’ll never forget it.
The first part of the ceremony was a Puja. A Puja is a Hindu ceremony that offers gifts to the gods and shows devotion. The guests receive a tika/bindi between their eyes that represents the third eye chakra. The sixth chakra (third eye), according to Hindu beliefs, provides focus and spiritual insight. Participants also received a prayer string bracelet that is wrapped ceremoniously around the right wrist. It was a beautiful and touching Puja.
Next we were entertained by traditional Indian music. The musicians sat on the floor and played drums and violin. The violins are played upside down with the neck pointed towards the ground. The vocalist was simply amazing. His eerie, but extraordinary sound, kind of reminded me of a whale’s song and left me longing for more.
Finally, it was time to receive our long anticipated yoga instructor certificate. All of our cherished instructors took the stage and one by one our names were called. As is common in Indian ceremonies, we were honored with a large necklace of marigolds before handing us our new certificate. As I bowed my head in respect to each instructor, I was overwhelmed with tears. I had done it!! I Had stuck it out and graduated! All those 6:00 AM mornings and 2 ½ hour yoga classes had paid off. I lost 10 pounds and have never felt healthier or happier!
After the ceremony, we all mingled and gave each other big congratulatory hugs. We took photos and exchanged contact information before heading out on the town to celebrate. I already miss my yogi family.