“The caterpillar has the heart of a butterfly! It is true that if we know within our hearts what we want to become, then we will become that…”
Good things happen in Daylesford. They always have. I have so many fond memories of spending weekends there with my Mum & Sister, celebrating my one year anniversary with Francis, Twilight Bathing for my 25th Birthday & more. Case in point, the second I arrived Friday afternoon, I witnessed a man propose to his girlfriend on Daylesford Lake. They were both so happy, crying & kissing. They asked me to take their first photo as an engaged couple & I felt so blessed to have been a part of their special moment!
My theory about Daylesford was truly cemented after the weekend I spent here taking my exams to become a registered Yoga Teacher. I began this wonderful journey 6 months ago on Valentine’s Day and as I said to my instructor on Saturday, ‘the person that entered this course is not the same person that left.’ I came in to the course with little confidence, a quiet voice & a fixed idea that I wanted to teach Hot Yoga because that is what I practice. By the end of the 6 months, I realised I would like to teach Hatha Yoga at a Community Centre & instruct classes to people of all shapes, sizes & ages. I will still practice Hot Yoga but I find it targets a certain niche of athletic, competitive types that feels quite exclusive. I want my students to feel equal, comfortable & included in all postures. I want to grow with my students & open up an exchange where we can learn from one another.
I didn’t expect to meet the amazing people I did. I didn’t expect to transform the way I did. I didn’t expect to excel at teaching as much as I did. It was only a few weekends ago that I was told I had a gift & a natural intimacy with my students. I believe when we discover a talent or a passion, it must be pursued with a full heart.
The exams took place at the Continental House in Hepburn Springs. A few years ago, the retreat was dilapidated & not particularly warm or inviting. When I arrived, it had been taken on by new owners Veronica & Steve who had completely modernized & transformed it into a luxury getaway. The rooms were lovely, spacious & featured heaters , comfortable beds plus our own bathrooms with walk in showers. The yoga studio overlooked the forest. The entire structure had a magical, enchanting feel to it.
Every morning, noon & night the dining table was decorated beautifully with candles covering every surface. The insanely talented chef was vegan & cooked the most delicious, nourishing meals. We consumed an abundance of organic root vegetables, drank elderflower cordial & on Saturday night, indulged in a Persian Love Cake!
The first night we arrived, we practiced teaching our set sequences and then Ambika (owner of The Yoga Social & our teacher) took us through an incredible asana practice. We ended the evening sitting by the fire & watching ‘Enlighten Up’ a fascinating yoga documentary I highly recommend checking out! The next morning was exam day! We woke up at 7am & gathered around an antique claw foot bathtub to practice Jala Neti which is a yogic technique to cleanse the sinuses. To perform this purification ritual, you need to fill the Neti Pot with water at room temperature & add a small spoon of fine sea salt. You insert the spout into one nostril, tilt your head to the side & allow the water to journey through that nostril and out the other. Once the water has filtered through, you can gently blow your nose to remove any excess. It sounds strange but our nasal passages felt much clearer for the rest of the day!
First up…the practical! We were divided into 2 groups of 7 and told which poses from our set sequences we needed to teach. I was blown away by the love & support we all gave one another before teaching. We created such a safe, nurturing space that it didn’t even feel like an exam! We were given a maximum time of 15 minutes and this included setting up in Tadasana & taking the class through one round of Sun Salutations. I was first up! I took my class through Sun Salutation A, then Twisting High Lunge, Pyramid, Half Splits & Low Lunge on the right & left side. Being the Astrology nut that I am, I weaved the theme of ‘Leo’ into my waves & asked my students to cultivate pride & generosity in their movements. When we had finished, we were given really constructive feedback from Jennifer Crescenzo (our other examiner & Yin teacher). After lunch, we had 3 hours to complete our written exams which consisted of both Yoga Philosophy & Anatomy. The exams were lengthy but they weren’t difficult & it was such a relief to put our pens down at the end of the day & know we had made it to the finish line. That evening, we took a Yin Class with Jennifer which was so healing for all of our tired bodies & minds. After dinner, we had our final lecture on how to market ourselves as Yoga Teachers & learnt about insurance, first aid & all the essentials needed to teach besides the certification. The next morning, while Ambika & Jennifer marked our exams, the lovely owners Steve & Veronica took us on an hour long nature walk through the forest & the gold mines. We filled our bottles with mineral rich water from the Springs & took lots of photos along the way!
When we returned, we huddled in the Yoga Studio to hear our results. Ambika stared at us before yelling ‘you all passed!’ We cheered & hugged. It was a surreal moment! We received our beautiful certificates emblazoned with the Om Symbol & took photos with our instructors. Many more group photos were taken but this is my favourite because it was a moment I will never forget for the rest of my life!
I have formed lifelong friendships with these beautiful people. I am absolutely honored to have spent the last 6 months with like-minded, spiritual, refreshing, talented & kind individuals. Each & every one of them has touched my heart & I cannot wait to attend their classes in the future!