“Sixteen days that will last a lifetime.” –Ganga White
I did not exactly know what Ganga meant the night he spoke these words, but now I can say he was right. At points I joked with my peers, “sixteen days that feel like a lifetime;” however, I loved every minute of my training except the last ten when I had to teach. White Lotus has taught me simple adjustments and techniques that have changed my yoga practice forever, but the philosophical, historical, and meditative knowledge that was passed on gave me a whole new appreciation for yoga as well. Yoga is a way of life and is more than simply practicing on the mat.
Allowing some time to pass and reflect on my training has given me the chance to recognize what I truly gained. A subtle approach, effort with ease, to my practice and flow has made each day shine brightly. I cannot imagine starting my day without a Warrior II pose and patience has begun to solidify my headstand off the wall. My personal practice has blossomed from White Lotus. I bask in the knowledge gained, discovering new passions as I evolve. I do yoga because I enjoy it and it is nice to see more than just one path.
Work or play, I find myself in a yoga pose most every day. Whether it is intentional, on accident, or just second nature, it happens. Body awareness is one of the most astonishing accomplishments I have ever achieved and I know anyone else that has would agree. To be open, comfortable, and understand one’s own body is a wonderful feeling.
Thirty people from all walks of life lived and learned together for over two weeks to complete our yoga teacher certification. We were all nervous one way or another, yet we each created growth. Our schedule consisted of three meals a day and a lot of yoga. We only had a physical practice once a day, but yoga was talked about constantly. If we were not listening to a lecture or learning how to correctly align a student, we were discussing it amongst each other during our meals and before bed.
With all yoga aside, the relationships I cultivated will last a lifetime alone. The teachers, the workers, my peers, and the community we created will never be forgotten. I am amazed how open we became with one another and I enjoyed our time together. Everyone involved made this experience twice as special and I cannot thank each and every one of you enough. Thank you.
For those I have seen since the training, it was great hanging out. Colin, I would not have wanted to use a bacon press with anyone else. Lisa, you make delicious tacos and know how to throw a party. Alex, your Beatrice inspired dinner was excellent and your hospitality is superb.
Another extraordinary bonus to this experience was the food. Our precious chef Beatrice was in charge of all the cooking and made sure to only feed us the freshest and finest. Beatrice and her assistants worked vigorously all day to provide everybody with a healthy, organic, vegetarian diet. She somehow made us burgers and pizza, which I was so grateful to devour. Other times I was not sure what I was about to eat, but knew anything from this woman would be phenomenal.
I thought my experience at White Lotus could not be more in depth until I returned to volunteer a few days. I was behind the scenes and saw the magic that made this place so wonderful. Pulling up the driveway, I was not even sure if they needed any help. They were not sure if they needed any help. All I knew was that it was worth a shot asking.
That afternoon I was cleaning yoga mats, dusting bookshelves, and then before I knew it I was leaving five days later. The situation went day by day, so I kept working. I cleaned up, raked hiking trails, painted, and helped out wherever I could. Ganga then asked if I wanted to stay for the retreat that coming weekend and I was floored. To help out Ganga is one thing, but then be able to practice with another instructor and consume more of Beatrice’s cooking is just fantastic.
White Lotus is a peaceful sanctuary, casting a calming high (non-drug related) upon anyone who visits. My submergence in nature and being clipped from everyday society allowed my mind to focus, creating new awareness overall. To all my teachers, I am truly honored to have studied with White Lotus and look forward to the next time our paths cross. Namaste.
– Yurt 4, Baylor and Kasey, I cherished our time together and will always remember the many nights we fell asleep laughing hysterically.
– Ganja for joining us for many meals, even after we were discussing our terrible gas. I appreciate your open ear, wisdom, and approachable demeanor.
-Tracey for taking me in. I felt like a lost puppy you could not turn away. You are very sweet and your guidance through practice has strengthened my confidence overall.
-Sven for demoing poses incorrectly multiple times a day for two weeks just so we could learn. I enjoyed your attitude and contribution to each class, balancing the atmosphere overall. You are a skilled musician and your performance with Red Fish was awesome.
-Phil for taking care of the many things you do throughout White Lotus besides giving subtle, but pleasant adjustments. Being your apprentice, I learned the many duties that come with caring for the guests and the work you contribute. Also, thanks for being my mentor and pal.
-Rebekah for all your hard work organizing the retreat, World Cup enthusiasm, and just being so friendly.
-Beatrice for fueling the healthiest two weeks of my life.
-James Morrison for being so open, sharing the personal details of your life.
-To my fellow Couchsurfer, Green, for showing me the Funk Zone in Santa Barbara and keeping me up on the World Cup.
–OM Shanti, Shanti, Shanti