I had the recent fortune of traveling to Sydney to spend a week immersed in Vinyasa yoga training, through the lens of Power Living creator Duncan Peak and his senior teachers.  Starting my early yoga practice at age 12 while doing Tumbling and Acrobatics.  I would continue to do all my handstands and backflips and salutes to suns and variations throughout my teenage years.  By my twenties I had discovered Ashtanga Vinyasa… a yoga style that made my heart sing which blended my love of acrobatics and balance, with this new mysterious Yogic system of health and harmony.  Up until then I had struggled with depression, anxiety, panic attacks and at one point agoraphobia which saw me spend 6 months inside, where I barely walked out of my parents front door.   To look back now at that time I realise just how powerful the mind can be and just how scary, when you no longer have control over it.

So this new system of body control and breath control which would eventually lead into greater mind control seemed like the system to explore.

20 years later here I was in Sydney, amidst the warmth, the beach (the exclusivity & seclusion of Shark Beach in Vaucluse) doing a 60 hour intensive training in Vinyasa Yoga.

Vinyasa and specifically Power Yoga, are a modern day off shoot of Pattabhi Jois original ‘Ashtanga Vinyasa’ style.  And from what I have seen in the way the modern world of Yoga has progressed in Melbourne, students don’t want to do just the one style of Hatha Yoga anymore (Hatha being the word used to describe the physical postural component of Patanjali’s 8 limbs of yoga, more on that in another post), nor do they want to do the same postural practice each time they arrive on the matt.  All the boutique studios that have popped up in the past 10 years have a full timetable of different styles.  Students are now able to pick and choose from a menu of slow flow, power flow, yin, yin-yang, hatha, yoga therapy and more, with one monthly membership, and do it all under the one roof, with multiple styles in one day.

As a teacher now for over 7 years, the first 3 years I stuck with teaching the one style ‘Hatha’ (in the commercial world Hatha is used as a generic yoga class term for a class that can include Asana (postures), Pranayama (breathing), Meditation and Relaxation (yoga nidra) and incorporate flow, longer held postures and more).  It felt comfortable to find my feet this way, but during this initiation into teaching I threw myself into more challenging teaching jobs, at the Melbourne Juvenile Detention centre, halfway homes, drug and alcohol clinics and random gym positions.  Each class taught me more and more.  And it spurred my interest & want of more knowledge to study other different body systems, ‘Stretch Therapy’ & Massage (which lead me into becoming qualified as a Remedial Therapist, then Myotherapist) and this drove me deeper into brain research, the science of yoga, iRest (yoga nidra), Yin Yoga and other styles that could help me distill this wisdom into easy to digest sound-bytes for what was to eventually become my main area of yoga teaching, in private ‘Drug and Alchol Rehab’ programmes and withdrawal clinics for teenagers and adults.

Now, with full-time Myotherapy study almost complete, here I was ready to re-enter and teach more classes to the public … well almost.   A little nagging voice was knocking about in my brain saying ‘Vinyasa, Vinyasa… learn Vinyasa’…  What I failed to mention earlier was 20 years prior when I started to do Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga that same voice spoke up ‘THIS is what I must teach… THIS STYLE’… back then however, with the mental/emotional turmoil I was experiencing along with no formal guaranteed program towards accreditation to become an Ashtanga Yoga Teacher, (Pattabhi Jois wanted his potential teaching students to spend approx. 3 months in India every year over a minimum of 4 visits but even then with the commitment and discipline nothing was guaranteed), my formal academic mind & Ego wanted a Yoga teaching diploma NOW.

Looking back in hindsight & as fate would have it, moving into a teacher training of a general Hatha style that focussed just as much on the Yoga-Nidra & Pranayama components of Patanjalis 8 limbs as it did the Hatha postural component, I was giving my nervous system and wellbeing the much needed nurturing, re-patterning and resetting it required, in the comforts of my own ‘city.’ After years of being on high alert and fight & flight I was leading myself back to health and balance.  The Hatha style I trained in helped me to instill a thrice daily Yoga-Nidra practice, alongside the daily Hatha & meditation classes which allowed for better recovery from my overall ‘system failure and meltdown’ at age 20.

And as much as I loved and still have the total adoration for Ashtanga Vinyasa (similar to a persons first true love, always holding the flame for them, you always hold a special place in your heart towards your first teacher, your first yoga style.)  I now figured Vinyasa/ Power Vinyasa would be the closest style to Ashtanga I could train in, that would be the most financially (& soulfully) beneficial for me as a Yoga teacher wanting to re-enter the commercial yoga studio land as a fully rounded Yoga teacher able to teach a breadth of styles.

As you the reader can now realise, my journey to this moment of sitting in the Pavillion at Shark Beach in November 2016 (less than a month away from Graduating Myotherapy with exams still to study for), awaiting Day 1 of Vinyasa training… was just as much about deepening my Yoga knowledge as it was about coming full circle in my Yoga training, studying the elusive Vinyasa style and following that inner voice that had called years before.

And for those numerology peeps out there… I started Yoga Teacher training in 2008 (a 1 year)… and did the Vinyasa training in 2016 (a 9 year, the end of a cycle)… it couldn’t have been more sweeter!!!

 (Part 2 of “Advanced Vinyasa Teacher Training…there and back again” will be posted soon.)