In 2014 winter, I quitted my banking job in Hong Kong and opened to all possibilities. I did google search with keywords ‘Yoga teacher training’, ‘Asia’, ‘Pacific’ (I liked summer) and found out one of the highest qualifications of yoga teacher training course at that time. It was a Certificate IV in Byron Bay. I didn’t know what Byron Bay was about but I decided to go. In the first day, I was amazed by no traffic lights in town. It solely relies on roundabout to manage traffic, cars and pedestrians. In the entire 7 weeks, I couldn’t imagine how much I changed.
I become vegetarian/ pescatarian
My 7 weeks training course only served vegetarian meals. I thought I would be hungry all the time then. Surprisingly, I feel energised. I met an amazing vegetarian chef wongyogafood and discovered benefits, flavours, subtle flavours and international gourmet food of plant-based diet. The first question was ‘Will I get enough nutrition?' I basically eat what my family eats in my whole life and don't think about alternative diet too much. Not until I had this offer, I learned to eat a rainbow. Find Nutrition Australia for more details. We had Mexican Tacos, Malaysian Laksa, Japanese sushi and many more. It’s amazing. I felt my tongue has been more sensitive to taste the subtle flavours of food. After 7 weeks, I thought it’s great that I could eat meat again. However, I found out my digestive system had been changed gradually. My stomach was bloated after eating my first teriyaki chicken sushi roll after 7 weeks.
I then read more about plant-based diet articles/books. We spend lots of energy to pass the nutrient and waste from the mouth to anus. Our ancestors only ate meat whenever they hunted an animal successfully. They occasionally had meat so our bodies didn’t adapt to eat lots of meat.
Deep release and relaxation
I had never done so much yoga in a day. Everyday we woke up at 5am for 6am class, either teaching as a trainee or participating classes so other classmates practiced their teaching skills. After breakfast, we learned how to teach every pose, how to organise sequences and apply basic anatomy. After lunch, we learned different styles of yoga, Hatha, Yin, prenatal, yoga for special needs, chair yoga for seniors and kids yoga. After dinner, it was self-study for online test and teaching. From 5am to 9pm, it’s all about yoga! In the first week, some classmates could not bear and quitted the course. I stayed in but I threw up after a week. Not sure if I had a deep detox by non-stop yoga practice and vegetarian food. A few other classmates started having different sorts of symptoms, dizziness, headache, etc. I didn’t take any medication. After a couple of hours, I was ok and started practicing yoga again.
Apart from throwing up, I cried. During some of the sessions I couldn’t stop crying. What’s going on? I realised as we age, we accumulated not only stress but also grief and frustration beyond control. I felt restless. I thought when I reached to the point I felt released and liberating, I cried.
I didn’t expect the yoga teacher training made a U turn in my life. It’s not just about the beginning of mastering a craft as a Yoga Teacher. However, this is a great way for me to connect to inner self, people and nature. I am conscious about how I spend my time and energy, setting boundaries for myself. What is important? What isn’t? It really helps direct my mind to what truly matters.
Have you brought into tears in yoga class? Do you feel emotional in some yoga poses?
Rachel is the founder of VAI YOGA and an occupational therapist. Her yoga teaching focuses on blending two powerful healings, yoga and occupational therapy solutions, to help people face practical aspects of life.