Packing and leaving everything behind is something that many of us have experienced, but doing that so you can meet an Indian guru – now that is something unusual.
Seattle yogi, Tillie Bennett described some of her more advanced yoga experiences at first through Forrest Yoga “as a poetry.” Every class she took she felt like the instructor was “speaking a language to her soul that made her body flow” with coherence.
After only one week of Forest Yoga practice, at the Kula Studio in the Ballard neighborhood, Bennett realized that this was the path she wanted to take in life and she was determined to learn. Through a family member Bennett found out about the Indian guru Shanmukha Anantha Natha, who has been teaching for over 40 years. The school, named Shri Kali Ashram, is in India where Natha teaches Tantra, a meditation focused practice. The training does not teach practitioners how to compete but how to work together and accept one another.
Bennett was drawn to this philosophy and knew that this was where she wanted to be and learn while gaining a deeper understanding of the practice of yoga and life. She left Seattle earlier this year to travel to India and study under Natha for five weeks.
The teaching yoga philosophy of the program is that “yoga is a science, not a sport or a game,” and that “yoga by its nature never teaches competition. Competition means that one is always comparing and contrasting to external measures.” (shrikali.org)
The yoga teacher training took place in the Indian village Galgibaga, by the beach. The yoga teaching training program offers different hours of completion in order to become a certified instructor and part of the Yoga Alliance worldwide. The training teaches a variety of wisdoms, from the Tantra yoga practice itself, to how to balance your day-to-day life activities, how to listen to your body and mind, as well as how to learn to accept who you are without judgment.
Trantra’s students mornings start by Ayurvedic (walking massage) at 8:30 a.m., and right after they do Asanas. The first meal of the day is about 11 a.m. and they have nutritious fruits and vegetable, such as fresh papaya and curd homemade yogurt – good for probiotics. Lunch is at 1 p.m., soon after breakfast to give them enough time to digest the food before their afternoon practice. Late in the day the students have a lecture about the physics of their body in addition to how to read, sing and write Sanskrit, the philosophical language of Hinduism.
On the other side of the training:
“I never though I was strong enough,” Bennett said but her longing to learn and teach yoga, from the Kula studio in Ballard through the Pacific Ocean to India, helped her to achieve inner peace, to gain courage and to stop worrying. In her practice today Bennett “visualizes exhaling her frustrations through her breath,” and she feels lighter. “I could see them leaving my body.”
[Bennett in Seattle after her training in India]
“I am no longer bothered about any preconceived notions and I just feel relaxed.”
Bennett was able to transform herself and her vision of the world through her journey. She learned to let go.
“I am not competing with myself anymore, I don’t hear negative thoughts in my mind,’’ and this, she said, has been amazing gift.
1. How often do you practice/teach? – Bennett practices about six times per week and teaches private and group sessions daily
2. What is your favorite yoga-clothing brand? “Athleta, it is comfortable and it allows me to move. I like it, but I definitely don’t need it.”
3. What is your favorite pose and why? – “Forearm Balance Pose is my favorite because it is an inversion in a way – you see the world from different perspective. It feels like things that I hold it my body or emotions that are suck somewhere are flowing.”
4. Where would you like to see the Seattle Yoga community in five years? “There is a revolution going on, I can see more people seeking a spiritual awakening, and much more people are doing it – Seattle is a city of open minds and hearts.”
5. If you have one advice for people who do not have the time to attend yoga practices very often what would you tell them? – “Find time to breathe, just try to relax for a second. Do not manipulate your breath in any way. Try not to be involved with anything, just be a human.”
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