I’m in the process of reading my first text book. It’s called The Complete Yoga Book by James Hewitt. Upon first glance and a quick thumb through I thought it would bore me to tears. It’s mostly all text with some very cheesy illustrations sprinkled throughout. At the rate I normally read books (extremely slowly) I thought it would take me a year to get through this first book. I just couldn’t stop thinking that I’ll never learn yoga through a black and white, mostly just words and no pictures text book. But I reluctantly stuck my nose in the book and got busy.
Here I am two weeks later loving the darn book. I’m on page 266—probably more pages than I ever read in a two week stretch— and I’m completely fascinated. I have been doing yoga as nothing more than an exercise for over 7 years. I like the challenge of the physical exertion and just about all I know of yoga is the different poses. I was very naive to think that teacher training was all about memorizing the different postures. There is so much more to yoga and I’m so excited to dive in and soak it all up.
My text book is divided into three sections and it only took me three minutes to figure out that this is what yoga is really about: Beathing, Posture, and Meditation. I have a pretty good grip on the postures part, but I really know nothing about the breathing and the meditation. I still have a hard time believing that I could read nearly a hundred pages about something as simple as breathing and be fascinated by it all. Non-yogis probably think we are all nuts. After all, what can be so complicated about the simple act of breathing? They have no idea . . .
One of the most interesting parts of this first part of the book was the exploration of the extraordinary feats that very experienced yogis can perform. Now, when I say “experienced yogis” I mean Buddhist monks that dedicate their lives to meditation. But still, the fact that humans can put their bodies into such a relaxed state that they can be buried alive for several hours, or even days, is positively amazing. It proves that the power of any human being’s mind is limitless.
Another extraordinary feat that particularly interested me is Tumo, engendering body heat at will. By combining advanced breath control, concentration, and imagination naked or skimpily-clad yogis can sit immobile and meditate for hours on exposed mountain tops in sub-zero temperatures. I can barely stand to be more than 6 feet away from our wood stove in CT without complaining that I’m freezing. Some good breath control and meditation can do me a world of good.
I’m now in the middle of reading about all the different postures. This is probably my least favorite part of the book. As a graphic designer, I’m a very visual person and I’m having a hard time reading every little nuance of each pose. I would much rather WATCH it than read about it, but none-the-less I’m very much enjoying stage one of my remote yoga teacher training.