Emily and I arrived at Satchidananda Ashram Yogaville last two Sundays ago, both feeling under the weather. I came down with strep throat two days before leaving for the journey and was very worried that I would get Emily sick and compromise the beginning of our Teacher Training. However, I put my faith in the healing properties of Yogaville, which proved to be highly effective. Before no time I was back on my feet and feeling better than ever.
We set up our campsite after orientation on the first day, putting up the tent on a wooden platform in the woods, tying a 20 foot string between two trees above the tent, draping a 20x30 foot tarp over it and staking down the corners. We laid down our little rug and covered our big foam mattress pad with sheets, tapestries, comforters and quilts to prepare for the cold and strung battery-powered Christmas lights on the inside. After stringing up some miniature prayer flags, we had a new home.
The teacher training program began the morning after we arrived, waking up at 5:30 am, meditating from 6:00 to 6:30 am, doing Integral Hatha Yoga from 6:40 to 8:20 am, eating delicious vegetarian breakfast then having a class until the daily noon meditation from 12:00 to 12:30 pm at the serene LOTUS shrine, followed by another delicious vegetarian lunch buffet in silence while a Swami, or monk, reads excerpts from Sri Swami Satchidananda's writings. We get a nice break after lunch each day and then pick back up for more classes ranging from Hatha Yoga Theory, Anatomy & Physiology, discussing the Yoga Sutras, to presentations from monks and teachers about Meditation, Karma Yoga, Health & Diet, Pranayama Breath Control, etc. The night begins with a vegetarian dinner followed by either another class or group exercise or a free evening for reading, studying, socializing and relaxing. The food is so fresh, wholesome, delicious and nutritious. There is a large salad bar with raw ingredients and a hot bar with different entrees every day. Every Thursday is optional fasting day where we are provided with the Master Cleanse Lemon Juice.
I feel a large transformation occurring within. This experience is establishing a regular yoga practice in my life that I wish to embrace and continue upon graduation from the teacher training program. There are 10 trainees in total including myself and 6 support staff. Everyone in my group is warm and loving and it has been a pleasure to meet lots of new people. The other people in this community are just as open and caring, and I will write more again soon about the Yogaville Sangha. Sangha is the sanksrit word for Community, which I will elaborate on this weekend in my next post. What I did not know before I came here was that Yogaville is not just an Ashram, it is a town of about 285 people. One side of the road is the Ashram with public buildings, halls for yoga, and dormitories and guesthouses for people coming through, and on the other side of the road is private houses. Check back again soon when I add photographs that I have taken so far and more details about all the things I have been learning thus far. Hari Om!