Saturday, October 19, 2013

Ashram Thoughts and Pics

More from Yoga Teacher Training in Northern Thailand 

A lot has happened the past few days and I will get into more detail about that later. I am still processing much of it so premature to make any kind of editorial or personal comment at this point. First I want to show a few more pictures I took around the Ashram and explain a little about each. The days at the Ashram are very long and intensive so most of the last few posts didn't include much or any explanation.

Sunrise From the Mountain Top
Two days a week, we do a silent meditation walk for morning Satsang rather than sitting in the dark Ashram hall, nice as it is. Sitting cross-legged on the floor for so many hours is hard on the body, so the walks are a wonderful change. Besides, everywhere you go is beautiful, unique and amazing.

Chanting on the Villa Roof
The Clan Elder who actually owns the Ashram, adjoining resort and all the land around graciously invited the whole class to hike up to her personal home (villa) at the very top of the mountain and take in the sunrise from the roof. So all 80 or so of us hiked the long steep road in the predawn hours and plunked down on her roof. She is pretty tiny and and elderly, but also extremely spry and personable. She made the hike up right beside us and at the same pace. I think she's a pretty amazing person and she seems to do a lot for the people in her charge.

Javier, Alex and I (Olivier behind the camera)

Doing a headstand (Sirsasana) on the roof.
Lilly Pads in the Pond. 
Really everywhere you looked up there was incredible. The atmospheric perspective lent it all a surreal quality, like it was painted that way just to demonstrate the effect. My poor photo skills with an iPhone just can't do it justice.


So despite some really great experiences and friends from all over the world. I have decided to discontinue my yoga teacher training for the time being and have left the Ashram. This was a very hard decision for me as I have quite a bit invested in it at this point. I have learned to do yoga poses (asanas) that I could only dream of before coming here, but overall, I found the experience with this particular organization not to be what I was expecting, looking for, or comfortable with. My decision was not based on the long hours or physical aspects at all, but rather on a strong discomfort with their philosophy, what they were selling and how they were selling it. Four hours asana and teaching practice per day out of 17+ total hours was not a good ratio in my opinion. I am not sure at this point whether.

I can say that all the people there that spoke English (from many countries around the world) all felt pretty much exactly the same way I do. I also know that someone else made the same decision I did for the same reasons and also left today. I'm sure it's the right place for many many people, but not for me and I am comfortable with this decision. I will look elsewhere and continue my training at another time and place. Unfortunate, but that is life. I do have a tremendous sense of gratitude for all the wonderful people I have met and become friends with as well as the staff there, despite my overall experience and decision to leave. So now on to my next location and adventure.

Stay tuned for more soon...