I was asked to write a short essay from my teacher Aris Kapetanakis for the reasons that I would like to be a Yoga Teacher – as it was a prerequisite for him in order to take the responsibility of train me to become a teacher.
When I first heard it, I felt numbed -even though I hope nobody showed it-, I thought “why is not enough the fact that I want to teach”?
Then after one or two days the whole thing became clearer inside me. I just had to go through my everyday life as an individual and as a Yoga student to realize the importance of my teacher.
Over one and a half year November 2012 I had my first experience with Asthanga Yoga inPorta Pandana (Ashtanga yoga Athens). I remember distinctively the sad, exhausted, stressed person I was when “entering” the class. At the end of the practice I came out feeling incredible energy, peaceful, “clean” and, imagine that, I could say sort of happy. Total transformation. I was so grateful for the time I spent in this class with this knowledgeable and tough teacher.
Since then every time I finished my practice I was sensing more intense all the feelings that I had in my first practice. Unfortunately, as it usually happens, everyday life and its problems, made me quit the one thing that made me feel good.
However, I was fortune enough after some “random” events, to start again the practice with the same charismatic teacher. This time I wasn’t so physically exhausted but surely mentally and psychically worn out.
Since then the inside out transformation is chanting. During the practice I feel an inconceivable power that liberates my mind, my soul and my body. Every time is more elevating. Each moment is unique. I feel my body change, it gets more flexible, stronger by the day and my energy is higher. As if there is an internal fire that keeps growing.
Nevertheless, there are times that we stretch our bodies in such levels and the physical pain is so intense hours after the practice. Even this though is a challenge not a restrain. And I have seen our teacher practicing this motto. He is also saying (and I fully embrace) that you live with what you have and you work with that.
There are times that during the practice there is peacefulness in my mind. It helps me relax and to face stressful situation easier than I used to.
It is remarkable how I have learned, through my teacher’s instructions, to focus my energy on the things I want, to love myself, to handle my anger, to respond positively in a drawback, to get into a difficult asana.
I can see that a lot of work is needed to be done and I am willing to try. At least now I can recognize my feelings, the reasons behind them.
There are also these times that after the practice you feel an unconditional love for all the people around you. A very overwhelming feeling of being all as one.
As you can see, having the above thoughts and feelings I wondered whether is the Asthanga Yoga practice responsible for all this transformation in me, or is the energy transfer and the chemistry between the teacher and the student that made my life heading in a better direction.
I came up to the conclusion that these two are combined, a yoga teacher cannot exist without yoga and yoga cannot work for you if you are not letting your teacher cross the threshold in your soul.
I can understand that teaching Yoga is really difficult in physical and spiritual terms. It is not a simple job like any other. It requires a lot of effort and devotion to its goals, as you become the doctor of the soul and body of the people.
I really want to share with the others all my experiences, together with the knowledge I have gained by my own teacher to whom I am grateful.