One of the best things that happened this year was definitely heading to Canggu, Bali for my 200 hour yoga teacher training. From getting my leave approved to researching and booking the training, everything roughly took about 5 months.
After researching a few yoga teacher trainings, I decided on the 200 hour Unified Yoga Teacher Training by Peak Beings Yoga. Firstly, it was in Canggu (my favourite place in Bali! You can read my ultimate guide to Canggu here) and secondly, it fitted my leave period of November perfectly. I also liked the idea of a unified yoga teacher training as it incorporates different styles and forms of yoga. As a relative beginner to yoga (I’ve only been doing it consistently for about a year or so), I like to be exposed to the different styles and deepening my understanding of yoga in general.
The training took place in Cosmos Oasis Shala 2 in Canggu. It is in a less touristy stretch in my opinion, as there are more locals staying in the area and less shops (as compared to Batu Bolong, the main stretch). Food options were decent, some of my favourites include La Pan Nam Warung and Rise and Shine Cafe. Give Cafe is lovely too, but slightly further away.
A ride on a scooter takes about 5-7 minutes to get to Batu Bolong so it’s pretty accessible too. However, do note that if you can’t/don’t want to rent and ride your own scooter, you can try getting a gojek or grab bike. One way is usually IDR 9000, and I mostly am able to get drivers easily. However, I got stopped twice by the local taxi mafia on a Saturday, so just be careful.
I booked a single occupancy room in Cosmos Oasis Shala 2, which was a relatively small room. It had a private toilet with a shower and a table for work. The bed was above the work area and is accessible via a pretty narrow metal ladder (one of the struggles I had every morning was to climb down!). I like that the mattress was a good size and I managed to ask for another pillow for a better night’s sleep. The room is air-conditioned and it comes with a fan too. There is also a dog (named Pinky!) who loves to hang around the area.
Schedule and Programme
As the training took place over a span of 21 days, the schedule was pretty packed. Everyday, we had morning practice from 6.30am to 8.30am. After, an afternoon session will commence at 10am and last till 1.30pm (this is usually a lecture/practice teaching). Lastly, there’d be an evening session, starting at either 4.30pm or 5pm, depending on the day. Saturday’s schedule is slightly different but also includes 3 sessions. We got an off day on Sunday, so only a morning session at 6.30am was planned.
When I booked the YTT, I had certain expectations. I expected to learn more about the 8 limbs of yoga, what yoga is really about, the spiritual aspects of yoga (such as the Chakras and Doshas) and how to do the postures correctly. In the short span of 21 days, I do think that about 70% of my expectations were met.
There were lectures on the 8 limbs of yoga and the meaning of yoga (which ultimately, is subjective to every single person). The chakras and dosas were touched on too, but not as in-depth as I hoped it would be. The biggest thing that I had to come to terms with was that there really is no exact way to do the various postures. As someone who mostly grew up in a black and white society where things were either right or wrong, this concept took a while for me to grasp. What do you mean there isn’t a right way to do yoga? But I got it, eventually.
Everyone’s body is different. Everyone’s bones are different. This affects the way we should do the postures. I guess I’ve never really thought about that before, like how the various bone lengths and shape could change the way one did a pose. My half way lift is different from someone’s else’s. Even if we look like we’re doing the exact same posture, we definitely do not feel it in the same place in our bodies.
A large focus of the training was on awareness of the body. Am I aware of the energy flowing in the body when I do a certain pose? Do I feel it in the muscles that I am supposed to be stretching? Does it hurt? Is it due to compression (bone on bone) or muscle tension?
This was kind of an epiphany for me. I’ve never really thought of yoga this way. In my head, it was the postures and the right way to do them. The legs must be a certain way and the arms in a certain angle… What a change to see the postures as a guideline to achieve a certain stretch in the body, rather than rules to contort my body into. It was quite a revelation. Is it just me?
It should have hit me much earlier. I think back about how I taught makeup and how often I would say that makeup has no rules and the various products should be applied in a way that suits your bone structure and your preference. If there isn’t any black and white in the makeup world, why should there be on in the yoga realm?
Since the proper alignment for the postures are subjective, there was quite a bit of focus on giving universal cues to help teach the postures. I enjoyed practice teaching, where I had a partner and had to give physical assists while explaining the cues. I also much prefer hands on activity than just sitting down in a lecture!
Not going to lie, the first week was pretty tough for me. I felt myself struggling to keep up. My body wasn’t used to waking up early and then doing 2 hours of yoga every single morning. I think I did more yoga in these 3 weeks than I did for 2018! I started to dread morning practices and I started to feel incompetent as I compared myself to others. My confidence was also affected when I could not do a pose that others could.
Then slowly, I realised that despite that, I have still come a long way. I started to notice my progress. I mean, one of my 27 before 27 goals was to do tree pose! In the training, tree pose were one of the easier poses to do and I felt that I did it with ease on most days. Sure, Warrior 3 is difficult for me and I struggle immensely, but I realised that I am slowly improving.
I learnt that we’re all on different timelines and paths. There isn’t any reason to compare. I’m here on my own journey and I am sure that my objective for joining the YTT is different from others. The subjectivity of the posture alignments also made me feel more comfortable when attempting certain positions. I slowly learnt to recognise the areas I’m stretching and how to be more aware of the energy flow in my body (this is especially so when we do right and left comparisons!)
Yoga teacher training was definitely a rollercoaster and milestone. It made me stronger and more confident in myself. One morning sessions, we had to do 108 sun salutations. I never thought I would be able to do it, but I did. That was definitely something to remember. My past self of 2018 would have never imagined myself to spend a month in Bali and becoming a certified yoga teacher, but here I am now.
This was truly a wonderful experience and one of the best times of my life. The group was amazing and I made amazing friendships. Troy was also a really clear and engaging teacher and I’ve learnt a lot from him. While I joined the training without the goal of wanting to teach, I can’t wait to go out and start something now.
I hope this post helped or inspired you in some way. Take care!