Hey again team!
So we haven’t fallen off the planet, though we may as well have. I’m currently sitting in my cabin at Belongil Fields in Byron, trying to figure out how to word what I’m about to say. I’ll start with the easy stuff.
We flew up to Gold Coast last Sunday and cabbed it to our beautiful guest house in Byron Bay. It was so easy, the place was beautiful, and we marched into town with great anticipation and wandered around a bit to check out the scene, though it was a Queensland long weekend, so the town was a bit nuts.
Basically, it’s a few main streets with lots of what my brother would call “hippie shops” – fair trade coffee places, vegan bakeries, and lots of incense and tie-dye. (Oh yes, I’m coming home with tie-dye.) At the end of Jonson street is the main beach – so lovely. Lots of sunbathers and families with naked children frolicking. There’s also a frighteningly high incidence of attractive surfer dudes. Plenty to look at.
We’re staying at Belongil Fields right now, which is a campground about a 15-minute walk from the town centre. It’s quiet and green, and we’re in sort of camp cabins. There are 18 of us in the course, and everyone’s pretty wonderful. Jannine and I seriously lucked out – our roommates, Ronai and Kate, are definitely in the top 5 coolest students, and we laugh A LOT.
When I have more time and I’m not exhausted, I’ll explain our program a bit more in-depth, but here’s the basic run-down. I wake up at 5:30 or so, huddle in bed with a cup of tea for a few minutes, and then we have a 90-minute yoga class (we have a yoga space out here at the campground) at 6am. We eat breakfast at 7:45, and have a 90-minute lecture/session/class at 9am, another one at 11am, we eat lunch at 12:30, and have a siesta til 2. At 2 we have another 90-minute session, then another one at 4, and then dinner at 5:30. THEN, sometimes we have a session from 7-8 in the evening, we go to bed, and start it all again the next morning!
Kim can attest to this – I am NOT a morning person. But here, I am. It works. I actually LOVE it. The teachers are so wonderful that I’m always excited to be there. We’re doing a few hours of physical yoga (asana) practice every day, in the morning yoga class and then in sessions where we learn about the postures and practice teaching them to each other. Our bodies are working hard.
We also sit and meditate for significant periods every day, which is getting more and more enjoyable. We have an incredible meditation instructor named Stephan – he’s originally a German psychologist, but he’s been living in Australia for 30 years, has hair down to his waist, and speaks light-heartedly with a charming German-Australian accent.
We’re also practicing pranayama – the act of sitting and breathing in different ways. This sounds bizarre if you don’t know what I’m talking about, but it’s super energizing and definitely helps with meditation practice. (Jannine and I will be able to teach it, too! So get ready…)
I’m so blissed out here. I’m learning SO much. We sit on the floor all day, practice yoga, and talk about it. The days are long, but we’re joyful and the food (all vegetarian, yes, and “Sattvic”, if you’re interested in Googling it!) is to die for.
The coolest part about this program is that we’re actually going to be doing SO muich actual teaching to the public before we graduate. Our first class (taught as a group) is tomorrow, and then we’re teaching at least twice a week until the end of the program. Definite experiential learning!
I’m beyond tired right now – another long day, and I’ve caught a bit of a cold – you know, when groups of people merge and aren’t used to each other’s germs, these things happen. I’m trying to kill it with kindness, haha. But I’ll update again soon with more specifics on people, places, and photos.
Missing you! (And J sends her love.)