My arrival at Evia Silence retreat center wasn’t quite how I had imagined… I missed my flight and landed a day later than everyone else. Terrified that this might be a bad omen for the three and a half weeks to come, I stumbled into an alignment class as quietly as possible. Martin, the co-founder of Alpha Yoga School, was leading the lesson and greeted me warmly as I crept in. My fear and embarrassment immediately began to fade.
What happened over the next few weeks already feels like a blur. I simply couldn’t have hoped for a better experience. The teaching, the people, the food, the glorious view we would get every morning as we practiced ashtanga in the shala, all of it was just divine.
I booked a place on the Alpha Yoga September 2020 teacher training at the end of June, uncertain as to whether it would even happen due to COVID. Much like many others there, I came primarily because I wanted to expand my yoga practice and gain the tools necessary to teach, but also because I really needed to escape the stress and horror of the past few months.
The 200-hour teacher training schedule was intense, both mentally and physically. After an hour of meditation and breathwork, known as “pranayama”, shortly followed by two hours either of Ashtanga or Vinyasa practice, we would finally sit down for a delicious Greek breakfast facing the coastline. The day would then be followed by philosophy and anatomy lectures, alignment workshops which helped us finetune our asanas and teaching methodology, where we were given the invaluable opportunity of teaching fellow students.
The classes, workshops and lectures helped me to gain a much more in depth understanding of yoga. What had been a great way to keep myself in good physical and mental health blossomed into a much more self-reflective practice that allows me to be inquisitive and question my preconditioned expectations and limiting beliefs. Blending yogic philosophy and anatomy with technical knowledge from alignment classes made every self-practice more meaningful. Thanks to Joanna’s expertise and warmth, I now feel confident enough to teach a class and have a qualification to show for it! But above all, Alpha Yoga School taught me that the best teachers are those that never stop being students, and it is with this intention at heart that I hope to keep advancing as a yoga student as well as a yoga teacher.
At our closing ceremony the night before departure, we were given the opportunity to share anything we wanted. What came up time and time again as we went around the circle, was how soothing this experience had been for all of us. After a disastrous few months of global crisis, the teacher training in Evia gave us all an opportunity to slow down and find our inner strength. It helped us to heal from the collective grief and trauma that COVID has swept over all corners of the world and I would strongly recommend it to everyone.
Thanks again Joanna and Martin!