As I rolled out of bed this morning, abdominal muscles aching, the thought crossed my mind: Was feeling like an old man at age 22 worth it?
Last Monday marked the beginning of yoga teacher training at 8L Yoga in Chico, California. It bears little resemblance to the format of most teacher-training programs, and instead returns to a core concept that seems to be slipping from today’s world of skilled individuals: that of the master-apprentice relationship.
Under the careful guidance of Brian Sweat, a man with lifelong dedication to skillful movement of the body, many yogis’ practices have tremendously improved. An athlete his whole life, Brian first became interested in yoga in 2007. Six years later, he opened 8L Yoga.
There, he leads us in a rocket sequence that accelerates throughout the week in both number of asanas and breath count. Monday and Wednesday are called Rocket I; Tuesdays and Thursdays Rocket II. Our Fridays, however, go up a notch: after a four-day long period of opening the body, on the fifth, we practice Rocket III, which is the culmination of Rocket Ashtanga. On Friday, it is not uncommon for us to go through over 100 asanas within an hour and a half. The result? A lit up central nervous system, a massive release of endorphins, and an overwhelming feeling of vibrancy. More often than not, the night’s practice concludes with Thai massage and chocolate. As you can imagine, everyone leaves feeling perceptibly better than when they arrived.
Since training began, my practices have doubled from five to ten practices a week. Before and after classes, there is focused training, such as leading individuals through Surya Namaskar As and Bs (Sun Salutations) and journaling the sequence of asanas in my notebook, seen below. It’s incredibly rewarding work, and I can’t think of anything more fulfilling than leading yoga practitioners in sequence that leaves them feeling as spectacular as we do at the end of a Rocket III.
So, as soon as the question wafted through my mind this morning, I instantly rebutted myself: Hell yeah it’s worth it.