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The Diary of a Yogi in Training

September 30, 2018

Did you ever love something so much that you wish you could do it for a living? Wishing that all the passion and knowledge you have for a hobby or activity, could be passed on to other people?

Taking the step out of to do this with a tight work schedule is not easy. Nonetheless, this is what Camilla Amalie has decided to do!

1 month leave from work and 200 hours of yoga in Koh Samui that should result in a yoga teacher training certificate in the bag, when heading back to Singapore.

Follow Camilla’s journey, as she embarks the training in Thailand here at Orgayana – all of September.

Prologue

Hello hello, My name is Camilla Amalie and I am from Denmark. I have lived in Asia for almost 8 years and I now live in Singapore. I fell in love with yoga 5 years ago when I started in a small Indian yoga studio in Shanghai. The Indian yogis in the small studio managed to give me the full yoga experience where I felt in perfect balance. After moving to Hong Kong, yoga became more of a fitness training and a nice break from the fast paced big city life. In Singapore I have tried many different yoga studios, and now I feel that doing yoga has become more about core muscle training and stretching. Since I left in Shanghai I haven’t been able to find the full experience, and the balance of yoga and mindfulness. Maybe it’s me and my lifestyle that has changed over the years. I do think a lot about the future, and sometimes I forget to live in the present. But I want to have the full yoga experience again where my body feels sore from working out, I am completely relaxed with a deepened breath, and where I feel present and aware. This is what I hope to accomplish with my teacher training.

 

I do not know if I will find all the answers, but I am ready to take the next step in my yoga journey, expand my practice and embrace a yoga lifestyle….

Namaste!

xx

Camilla Amalie

Date of departure

Packing for a month of yoga is the best! What’s in my suitcase has never been this simple, casual and comfortable before! I’m leaving home with very mixed emotions. I am going to miss our beautiful home in Singapore and my little crazy dog named Ludwig who follows me everywhere I go. He even participates when I am practicing yoga at home where he is jumping on my tummy when I’m am doing “Savasana” and pulling my hair when I in my “Downward facing dog”. He makes me laugh so much. But this time he unfortunately can’t come!

After arriving at the retreat I was shown to my room with the most amazing ocean view. I already love this place!

The view from my room.

I feel so lucky to be here, and I can’t wait to meet everyone and for my first day of yoga teacher training (YTT) tomorrow.

WEEK 1

Day 1, Monday

I didn’t sleep very well as I was so excited about my first day of practice.

Our first day started with a 2.5 hour morning practice. I was quite surprised and happy that I could do most of the poses… so far so good!

After the morning class we had brunch – the most incredible and healthy meal I have had in a long time. In the afternoon we had an introduction session of both teachers and students, followed by a 2 hour Yin class. Then dinner time, another amazing healthy organic meal. Everyone is extremely kind and nice. People come from all over the world with the same goal, to improve their own yoga practice!

The amazing brunch buffet at LIFE cafe!

I decided to end my first day joining a few class mates for a “Singing balls session” which is meant to make you sleep better. It was an amazing experience and I can highly recommend this to anyone in need to improve their sleep. It works!

“Preparing for the Singing balls session”

Tomorrow I will start my day thinking of 3-5 things that I’m grateful for.

Day 2, Tuesday

Today’s 2.5 hour morning practice started at 7am. During our break I decided to go to the beach for a swim. The beach is a 15-20min walk away from the school and even though it is a hot walk, it is all worth it!

The “Silver beach”.

The class started with a lot information about the definition of yoga and the different perspectives on yoga. For me the main goal of yoga is stillness of the mind, and this is what I want to achieve!

Then we did an alignment session, which gives a lot of useful information on poses from the Sun Solitation and Alignment of Downward facing dog. The teacher walked around and corrected us making sure our alignment looked right. I learned so much from this, things that I wish I had known earlier. Anyway, that’s one of the reasons that I’m here – To learn. What’s really cool is that I will be able to pass on this to others.

I have a lot to work on, I took these photos to follow my progress on Alignment, flexibility and strength.

 

Oh… and we got our study materials today. As in 4 books! Back to school!

Day 3, Wednesday

Same schedule as day 2 except we ended the day with Yin instead of Alignment. I’m starting to enjoy my early mornings. I have never been a morning person. I’m the person that will put my alarm on snooze as many times as I can. And I have always started my day with coffee. Those days are gone! We have our first meal at 9.30-10am after our morning practice! But the organic coffee with fresh coconut milk is worth waiting for!

My favourite at brunch is the Chia coconut meal, and I add a lot of grains. Yummy!!

After brunch I went to study the first chapters of book 1, quietly by the ocean. After reading a bit I practiced a few poses where I feel I need to improve. Especially my hamstrings are very tight, and that comes from having a normal office work life. Sitting down all day is so bad for your body, thats just not what we are made to do.

In the group dynamics class I was way out of my comfort zone.  We had to partner up with a fellow student and stare the person in the eyes for 5min (but it felt like at least 10). The only thing I could think of was; don’t start laughing!! It was intense. Then we had to take turns explaining to the other person why we decided to come to YTT, and the other person had to quietly sit and listen without commenting! There was a lot of emotions going through the room.

Yin was deeeeep stretching, and I felt so good after class.

Day 4, Thursday 

Felt so good and energised after today’s morning practice. It was such a beautiful and quiet morning. The sunrise over the ocean takes my breath away and gives me so much energy! During our midday break I decided to go for a healing massage and a swim in the ocean.

During the afternoon lessons we learned about nutrition, healthy diet and lifestyle. Everything Orgayana stands for! 😉

I have learned that vitamins that are important are: seaweed! Its now on my shopping list!

Then we had another Alignment class, which for now is my favourite class. I learn so much about my body and what I’m capable of doing when I do it right!

The students in the class seem to be getting more comfortable and people are not so shy anymore. It’s like we all have come out of our little shell. At dinner we all sit at a long table and discuss the day and we get to know each other better. Meeting people from all over the world is what I love about living in Singapore.

Meet my classmates 🙂

Day 5, Friday

I enjoy waking up in the early morning, washing my face, seeing the sunrise and going for my yoga practice. At the group dynamics class we talked about trust, what does trust mean to us. Trusting ourselves, trusting the future will bring us good, trusting others and so on. I always believe that things happen for a reason, and I bring my trust in this. I also believe that trust is something that needs to come from inside, if you do not trust yourself then you will have a difficult time trusting others.

In the afternoon class the subject was Sequence. I very much enjoyed this class and learned so much. The importance to work on all parts of the body when creating a sequence, and to be mindful about the level of the class or the person the sequence is being created for.

Yoga is complex and there are so many aspects to think about. Yoga gives me more than I ever dreamed of.

Thinking back to all the hours I have spent in yoga studios around Asia, it seems as if I have still just barely scratched the surface.

Looking around the cafe during dinner, it crossed my mind how comfortable everyone now is here. It looks like everyone feels at home and comfortable with one another. I love how we come as we are, and there is no focus on the material things in life. No makeup, no fancy clothes or anything like that. The focus is about feeling good, living healthy, and having fun!

Day 6, Saturday

The morning practice was a self practice. It was much harder than any other practice I’ve ever done. When in a pose I had to think about a number of things including breathing right, counting the seconds, my movement, my alignment and what the next pose should be. All these things I had to think about naturally made me stay even longer in the pose which resulted in me making use of all the energy I had left in my body! However, I felt so good after and very happy that I could do it!

After brunch I went for a swim in the ocean. I love how I’m becoming more aware of my movements, even just going on for a swim. How my legs and arms naturally moves in water.

Today in class we talked about “becoming aware of our feelings” and how to “respond to our feelings”. I can relate to this in some ways. I give myself 100% always, and I expect others to do the same! So when I do not feel someone is giving themselves back to me then I feel it is disrespectful and I get upset. I would never show this or tell anyone, I would just think it, feel it, and then let it go. However, I realize that this may not be the right way of responding to these feelings, and that maybe I should say something and deal with the response I will get when saying something! Emotions and feelings will stay in your body if we do not release them. People that suffer from stress and have been so for many years without doing anything about it can risk being sick for years. I have parts of my body where I feel extreme pain when I stretch and I have for a long time thought I simply couldn’t go deeper. Working a lot on these parts, stretching everyday for a week now and letting myself deal with the pain to go deeper makes me very emotional. Sometimes I feel like laughing and sometimes I feel like crying. It’s amazing what your body is telling you and how your mind is connected to all parts of your body.

Tomorrow is a resting day!

Namaste!

xx

WEEK 2

Day 8, Monday

I felt amazing when I woke up this morning. Well rested and ready for a new week. The morning practice was fun, a lot of jokes and laughter in the room!

I had a bit too much coffee for brunch, so when the “Dynamics” class started I felt restless. We did an exercise where we had the opportunity to shake out whatever emotions we had in the body. My classmates did very well, but I just couldn’t focus and I just didn’t feel anything except anxiety from the caffeine. So my advice is, avoid  coffee when practicing yoga;-)

Will try to replace coffee with an smoothie (new favourite is the avocado and passion fruit from Sweet Sisters Cafe).

Later in the day I learned about fastening, and how good it can be for your body if you do it right! We were told that when you fast for a minimum 6-10 days, the body will start to break down the bad cells. How cool is that? Fastening means only drinking water! I’m trying to think when would be a good time to give this a try. It would have to be during a holiday or something since you can’t be working while fastening since it makes you feel extremely tired.

Day 9, Tuesday

It was raining heavily when I woke up which made me feel a bit off. The morning practice was hard today, but the teacher made some great jokes that just made my start of the day much better.

After brunch I did my homework and met with some of my yogi mates to practice “sun salutation”. We had a lot of fun with it, but is was more difficult than I had imagined. Remembering to mindfully breathe, do movements and alignment while making sure the yogi follows along… wow that’s a lot to do and remember in one movement!! I had a hard time with my right and left, I did the total opposite of what I was saying, so my yogimate naturally got a bit confused.

Im just going to do a sequence with no right or left leg, or arms poses… and Ill be fine! 😉

 

During class we did an exercise about judging yourself and others. It was a great challenge and again we had to partner up randomly and look into the other person eyes and just listen without responding. I enjoyed it, and I find that it’s a great way to both meet new people and also to remember not to judge anyone including myself. Do I judge myself, yes! I do this when I feel I could do better or when I feel I’m not being present enough when I am with other people. Am I judging others, yes! When I feel that people do not take care of themselves, when they don’t have a vision or a passion in their life. I hope the awareness of this will make me stop judging myself and others!

Day 10, Wednesday 

I can’t believe it’s already day 10. I feel the time is going way too fast. It’s hard to believe how I’m going to be able to teach yoga in just 2 1/2 weeks. (Hopefully) 🙂

The next few days our schedule is turned around a bit. We have breathing and meditation in the early morning followed by Anatomy class, and then a short brunch break. I was tired during today’s morning class and I was getting a headache. The headache I know comes from not having my morning coffee. It’s so bad that I’m addicted to coffee in the morning. The days when we had practice in the morning I didn’t feel the need for coffee as much. Amazing how the body and mind works!

The Anatomy class was very interesting and I learned how our muscles work in different directions, and how we are in control of them and therefore should be mindful with ourselves.

I have had pain in my lower back for years, and sometimes it even gets worse after yoga which is not normal. I asked the teacher about this, and since she normally works as a chiropractor I was hoping she could give me an answer. She asked me to lie down and do a back bend. She checked my spine and said my lower back was not curving but the flexibility was there. The reason why I feel pain is because my lower back muscles are in constant use, and they were hard as a rock. So I did the Cobra pose and I was only bending my lower back and my upper back was straight. To improve my lower back muscles she told me I needed to use my upper back muscles more. I needed to engage my core, lift and straighten my back. After doing it a few times I got it!

Back to school!!

Before dinner I had my “one on one” with one of the teachers. She’s amazing and she’s such a giving person. I was hoping I could learn more about meditation and how to become better to focus and to be more present. She gave me so many tools to work with, I can’t wait to get started!

Day 11, Thursday

Morning Pranayama practice was followed by Anatomy class where we focused on knees. How we help yogis with poses if they have knee problems. It’s a very common place to have pain, and it’s because we do not have good alignment in our daily life. We sit in a chair all day long, when we stand up we don’t use our muscles correctly, and finally we don’t warm up well before exercise or practice. A lot of people tend to hyper extend their knees when they stand up. I don’t do this but I have a tendency to round my back which is really bad too. We need to improve our engagement of our muscles!

All the theory makes me feel like the mornings last forever! I miss the morning Hatha practice when I use my body to start off the day. It’s a surprise to me, but starting the day using my body is now the new best way for me to start my day feeling amazing, feeling grounded and present!

After brunch, we focused on hips. Opening up our hips. Did you know that when you are in your lotus pose you bend from your hips and not only your knees? I had no idea!

The afternoon practice was so hard, we did a lot of push ups and core poses. It was so hard that the entire class including myself started laughing out loud. It was the kind of laugh where your muscles start hurting even more and your eyes are in tears! I love to laugh like that. It’s the best feeling and it was magical for my mood for the rest of the day.

I’m so lucky for the people that I have met here; Dani from Mexico, Sarah from Israel, Sam from Paris (but she has lived here on Koh Samui for the last 5 years), Jennifer and Jovan from the US, Yayha from Thailand etc etc! Everyone is so unique and kind! We eat together, cry and laugh (a lot) together…

I miss home a lot, I miss my little crazy Ludwig, my man and my Singapore friends! Its crazy how fast the time flies, before I know it I’ll be back home…

Day 12, Friday

At today’s Anatomy class we focused on shoulders. And how to open shoulders, improve shoulder flexibility. The shoulder plays a big role when you want to go deeper in many of the yoga poses!

Practice was very refreshing, we had a female teacher today. I enjoyed her class a lot, the music was such a mood booster and there was more flow in the sequences. I’m dreaming of doing a similar teaching technique one day! Being able to give yogies that feeling of stillness and groundedness after a class…

Day 13, Saturday

The morning meditation was done with focus on love for yourself. It was a fantastic way to start the day! Thinking back on my childhood and feeling so lucky to be born where I was born and to have a loving family. Despite meditating for an hour every morning, I still haven’t experienced that deep meditation everyone talks about where you see colors and feel great. However, I am sure it will come sooner or later….

Today was the last day of Anatomy. We had an assessment where we had to split up in groups and describe a few poses focusing on how to correct a person in the pose based on individual limitations. We had to show how small adjustments in the right places can make the person go deeper into the pose without feeling pain. We all did well and I’m so happy I can now check that off my list. I’m for sure never going to study to become a chiropractor!

The afternoon practice turned out to be a 3 hour practice – the longest practice so far! During the practice we did a lot of turning, twisting, lifting and pranayama.

Tomorrow is a day off and my man is here. Woop woop! We plan to rent a scooter and see more of the island! There is a night market on Lamai beach that I would like to check out too!

Namaste!

xx

WEEK 3

Day 15, Monday 

Today started with a 2 hour Yin class. Finally! I missed Yin! I can recommend Yin in the morning if you feel a bit stressed from the day before or if you just wish to start of your day slowly and balanced. Remember to warm up your body before as it is much harder to do the deep stretch when the body just woke up.

After brunch we had group dynamics where we talked about the Yellow Chakra which is the so called stomach Chakra. This chakra represents the “will power”, the “ego”, the “confidence”, the “creativity and motivation” in you. We were asked to write down what we would like to leave behind when we go back to our lives and what we plan bring with us? Let’s start with the positive thoughts that came to my mind; I would like to bring back my new “discipline in yoga”, especially the morning yoga. My open mindedness and my awareness! I would like to only surround myself with people that brings out the best in me.

What do I not want in my life? I do not want to worry about the future. I do not want to stress about anything! I do not want to plan or control everything I do! I do not want to do something I do not want to do. It sounds so simple but it’s really not. Bringing awareness into this I hope I can be better at taking a moment to think before I rush myself into something.

At the afternoon class we learned about meditation and how it affects life in a very positive way! Apparently it’s not easy to begin with, but once you get into a good rythm and do it in the morning and the evening, you will start to feel the difference.

Don’t try to hard, your mind is like the sky; sometimes it’s clear and sunny, other days it’s cloudy, other days it’s stormy and rainy. Let it be what it is and don’t try to change it!

We had a cosy night in the cafe with a private guitar play by our yogi-mate Joel. I love the atmosphere here!

Day 16, Tuesday 

The alignment and adjustment workshop was very useful. There is a lot of things to consider when adjusting yogies. For example, you need to think about what the purpose is of the pose, who needs more help than others etc. Another thing I have to remind myself of is to start the practice asking if anyone do not wish to be adjusted as I could get in trouble if someone would not wish for me to adjust them…

The afternoon started with Yoga philosophy and the question: what is yoga? To me Yoga is harmony within, it is the connection of mind, body and soul. This ismy interpretation! It was said that if you manage to live and breathe yoga you will find happiness. The spiritual journey is happiness! This takes me back to my belief that you are responsible for your own happiness!

 

We have a Indian teacher for this and I’m so excited to see what I can learn from him! Today we learned about how to eat as a yogi, eat green and fresh. Avoid any kind of meet, even fish ….(not sure if I can do that though). Apparently your energy is based on what you eat, and a vegetarian diet is easier to digest, so being a vegetarian is giving yourself more energy. I bet you have tried to feel sleepy and heavy after a meal. Not eating healthy combined with overeating takes out all the energy in you!

Practice was so hard. Chaturanga is killing me. But I can now almost to the “Crow pose” and the “wide leg seated pose” reaching my toes… yaaahhh

Day 17, Wednesday 

Morning practice was the best! There was very good energy in the room, and we got to sweat a lot and I loved the music and the sequence.

In the afternoon we learned about Metta meditation. It’s a meditation technique that was new to me, but I like how it made me focus on love for myself, my soulmate, my family and others.

At yoga philosophy we talked about energies and what can influence our energy in good and bad ways like diet, chatting, habits, emotions and thinking. When we overdo these how does it effect us?

Sometimes we talk for our own ego, and we forget to listen. If we don’t listen, will we realize the real problems in our lives? Think about it next time you meet a friend for example, just listen without talking back. Just be in the moment and when the person stops talking then feel what you feel and if you feel that you can give something useful back to the person only then start talking…

Day 18, Thursday 

We started the day on the mat with inversion workshop. What a start of the day!! I’m fine with headstand but handstand has always been hard for me. Today I almost made it up (with help from my yogimate Joel.) In the middle of class we had a little visitor, a snake. Oh yes! It was sliding around the ceiling. We finally managed to get it out of the room alive. Hope it stays out!

I had a great talk with one of the teachers about my personal development in all of this. How to continue this new amazing lifestyle when I get back. We talked about what I can do to avoid coming back and getting into my old bad habits, not taking fully care of myself. Un-attaching myself from material things! Not stressing about things that in the end really don’t matter?! The best advise I got was to wait 2 minutes before I react or before I answer when I am upset about something. Another good advise was to be better at listening instead of talking and remembering that it’s okay to say “let me get back to you” instead of jumping too quickly into something I deep down actually don’t want to do. Final advise I got was to keep remembering that’s it’s okay not to have plans all the time and just learn to live in the moment instead of in the future or in the past!

I was exhausted during the afternoon practice. I completed it but the only thing I could think of was survival and my bed. My body is screaming for a rest!

Tomorrow morning we are teaching our self-made 1 hour sequence to one of our yogi mates. I’m so nervous and excited at the same time!

Day 19, Friday 

Dani and I paired for the one on one 1 hour yoga teaching. Dani went first. She did so well. Her plan is to go to Bali and teach yoga in a few weeks! Then it was my turn, and I was terrified. I made my sequence very personal doing mostly my favourite poses, and a good mix of strength and stretching. I made her sweat and I made her feel good. After the practice she gave me a big hug and she even had tears in her eyes. It felt so amazing and unbelievable that my teaching could make another person feel this way!

In the afternoon we talked about receiving and giving love to one another. What are you best at, receiving or giving?

Then we talked about Pranayama; breathing techniques. Energy and control of your breath both in meditation but also in your daily life. If you get stressed about something or if you feel anxiety then take 10 deep and slow breaths. This will make you feel better and it will balance you. Longer and fewer breaths equals a longer life! A turtle takes approx 5-6 breaths a minute which is one of the reasons they live a longer life than many other animals.

At the afternoon practice I felt like my body was telling me to stop. All my joints where hurting! I almost couldn’t walk to my room. Week 3 has been the hardest so far!

Day 20, Saturday 

This morning we did 2.5 hour self practice. It was good as I could take my own time and take the breaks I needed to be able to complete. I don’t want to hurt myself by pushing myself too hard. It’s most important to listen to your body!

Tomorrow, Sunday is day off and my man is visiting from Singapore! We are going to drive a bit around the island, see some temples and then we will go and give some love to the dogs at the dog rescue centre.

Next week will be the exams, and next weekend we will hopefully all graduate! I will sum up on everything when I get back home.

Wish me luck!! 🙂

Namaste!

xx

WEEK 4

The last week was intense as there was so much I still wanted to do and still wanted to feel. I decided not to focus on what I felt I was missing and instead focused on being in the present and take in every last experience. I reminded myself to enjoy every moment with all the beautiful people at YTT, the mornings with the sunrise by the ocean, the food and the practice.

In the last week we had our written exam, and we had both morning and afternoon exam practice for 3 days. Each of us had to teach a class for our final exam. My exam was on Tuesday afternoon. I was extremely nervous, but at the same time I felt prepared. I did my own program for a beginner class with options suitable for higher levels too, and the practice was including Flow and Vinyasa. I wanted to make the practice personal and I selected what I felt had been my best experiences from all the different classes, teachers and studios that I have been to around the world.

I enjoyed every moment of the class, and I could see the smiles on people’s faces which made me feel so good about what I was doing. The feedback was very positive, and most importantly they said they hoped I will really start teaching yoga. They also said that I looked comfortable teaching like it was something I had done before. I can’t explain how happy I felt. My intention with the YTT was not to teach, it was a personal development journey in my yoga practice. However, I enjoyed teaching so much that I am considering to teach in the future!

Thursday and Friday was the last practice with each teacher, and I enjoyed every minute of each last class with the different teachers and gave myself much more than I thought I could. This unfortunately resulted in a slightly injured shoulder. I was recommended a Rolfing massage, and it was the most painful but at the same time best massage I have ever had. The Rolfing masseuse told me that the reason of my injury was that when I had been tired I had been overcompensating on my stronger right side. Now I need to focus on making my left side stronger to balance my body strength. I felt like I learned so much about my body alignment the past weeks, but this reminded me that it really is a continuous journey….

Saturday was the day of graduation where we went on a beautiful boat and had our graduation ceremony! I looked around at all the happy faces of my new yoga family. I now have new friends all over the world, and I know that I will see many of them again!

I am so excited to go home, to see my family, to be with my dog, and to sleep in my own bed. I feel so extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to complete this YTT. I have had to do things that were completely out of my comfort zone, I have had to open up and deal with my emotions in new ways and to let go. I have learned how to meditate, and how much meditation and yoga can change your life, give clarity and find harmony in body, mind and soul. Yoga helps me feel stronger and healthier! I have learned that I am responsible for how I decide to live my life. Living in the present and being aware of yourself and your surroundings is a choice you make. I like my new yoga lifestyle, and I intend to continue my yoga journey.

Thanks to everyone at Vikasa Koh Samui, the kind staff, the teachers and all the people I have meet!

Thank you for following my journey!

If you have any questions on yoga, my journey, or if you would like to book a yoga lesson either for yourself or for a group, please feel free to contact me on: cawis.wildfang@gmail.com

Namaste!

xx

Camilla Amalie

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