Life is good at Tala Lodge! We are working a lot, but not at the boat so I dug up some nice videos about the work we have done in the machine room and the saloon (United Kingdom English) or salon (United States of America English). The salon of the boat (or yacht in United Kingdom English) is like a sort of living room of a house. It’s called a salon on bigger boats, on smaller boats it’s a cabin. I speak and write more American English, so it’s our boat and salon party.
I like this part from Wikipedia: A salon is a gathering of people held by a host. These gatherings often consciously followed Horace’s definition of the aims of poetry, “either to please or to educate” (Latin: aut delectare aut prodesse). After this French use of the word, it was also used as a name for a living room on boats and trains. When it ended up in America in the 1800s, they used the word for a public house or bar. I think our salon will be somewhere in between a French educational poetry party and a Western-inspired saloon with the cowboys and wanted criminals. Now it’s more a black painted steel surface in a nice shape.
Yesterday, I recieved the certificate from my yoga teacher in Costa Rica: I am officially a yoga teacher! I am so gratefull for all the knowledge I have gained through my teachers, the time the students let me practice, and foremost, I am very, very thankful for Peter, who gave me the time and supported me the whole way so I could focus completely on this life changing training.
There are several things from the past month that really stick with me. Before I started the training, I studied the theory on my own and it was quite difficult to understand the bigger picture. With the philosophy and anatomy classes, everything fell into place. It felt like the theory supported me in the course my life is going now. I remember someone said to me after the first weeks that it was visible that I enjoyed it a lot and that I was on the right track. Understanding the whole concept of yoga also created a strong motivation for the dedication to my own practice, feeling more confident with teaching and coping with obstacles in life.
Another thing is how much I enjoyed assisting during Mysore and the progress I witnessed from the students over the weeks. Before the training I wasn’t completely comfortable in giving hands-on adjustments. I used to say that I became a pharmacist so I could help people, but I didn’t have to touch them. I don’t really like it when people invade my personal space and I actually appreciated the covid-distance, and maybe I projected that feeling on other people. Still, I am not very comfortable with hands-on adjustments when done to me, although they can be very helpfull, and this makes me very conscious of how other people might feel. I learned that when you have new students, you always ask if they are comfortable with this. I think this is very important. It gives the student ownership of their personal space and whether they allow you to adjust or not, I see this as a very important part of the teacher-student relationship. I compare it to a relationship of a doctor (or a pharmacist) and their patient. In the Netherlands, health care professionals promise to act according to the oath of Hippocrates: ‘In the oath, the physician pledges to prescribe only beneficial treatments, according to his abilities and judgment; to refrain from causing harm or hurt; and to live an exemplary personal and professional life.’ As to the yoga teacher, I see the ‘treatment’ as the practice together with the provided cues or adjustments. To do the ‘treatment’ right, I think it is of the most importance that the teacher is completely focused on the student and aware of how the student feels, moves and responds, the teacher must know the best way to help in a certain posture by knowing how the body works in general and where the boundaries of the movements are for the student. This awareness during the hands-on adjustments or teaching in general, feels for me like I am supporting the student with their physical and spiritual growth.
With the certificate I am officially a yoga teacher and I can register at Yoga Alliance. I was very happy to learn that they have a Code of Conduct. Something comparable to the oath of Hippocrates but more specified to modern times and the practice of yoga. It says the teacher should behave professional and conscientious. The teacher has to live up to commitments that are made, ensuring that the practices and behavior are conform to the representation of the teacher. Also, to carry out the principles of being a yoga teacher and live according to the eight-limbed path, specifically the yamas (a moral code) and the niyamas (personal discipline). Although it is not easy to do this continuously, most of the time it does come naturally, I feel that as a yoga teacher it is important to live by it as much as possible and hold myself accountable for the example make. I can start right away, because tomorrow at 6 am I give my first private lesson! Looking very much forward to it.