1. It will change your outlook on life.
You realise, first and foremost, how connected to are to every other being, how to live compassionately and how every action you take in your lifetime has its impact on everything and everyone else. You realise that you can live simply, with non attachment, and that your happiness can only come from within.
2. You will fall in love.
It’s inevitable. Whether it be your fellow students, your teacher(s), the shala, the practice, you will fall in love during your 200 hour TTC. An intense meditation, pranayama and asana practice cracks open the heart and breaks down your defenses, letting light in. Such close bonds are formed with your fellow students as you go through this process together that you can’t believe it’s possible you met only a month ago. These yogi loves become your cheerleaders and biggest support as you continue on your yogic journey post TTC. Although leaving them at the end of the month feels like a hole in the heart, thankfully, like any true love, the connection is always there. Serendipitously you’ll find yourselves in the same place at the same time once again, and it’ll be like you never parted. This ultimately becomes a lesson in the points mentioned above.
3. You will cry at least once, if not many, times.
An adverse effect to point 2, we have to let go of what no longer serves to make space for light to enter. So it’s also inevitable that you, or your fellow students, will breakdown at least once during the course. Many students are experiencing a huge shift-change in their lives, whether they are aware of this or not, when they embark on a 200hr TTC. During the month, intentions that have been long in the making come to fruition. This may be painful, but you’re in the best place mentally, physically and spiritually to face it, so allow it.
4. You may sustain an injury, but your reaction to it will be one of compassion.
Let’s not beat about the bush. Two asana classes a day, 6 days a week. Plus posture clinic, alignment classes, adjustment classes, sitting in sukhasana for hours on end... Your modern, chair-bound body will, at first, scream at you. In the early days, meditation will be tough as the spine naturally slouches, and you're constantly readjusted into straightness by a patient teacher. You may feel physically tired, the shoulders may give out, an old hamstring injury may raise its head, but you’ll discover a new found understanding and patience for your body and its needs. You accept your current physical state, knowing that nothing is permanent; everything is in flux in this constantly changing world. So you heal, mindfully, and therefore quickly.
5. You won't want to leave.
An adverse effect to all the above. You just won’t want to leave. You’re part of an international yogic family you can’t imagine being without. You've become so immersed in learning that you've almost forgotten about life at home. You may not realise it at the time, as you pack your bags with a heavy heart, but this will be your first lesson in non-attachment and a reminder that you can always find your ultimate happiness and contentment within.
6. When you do leave, and you must, you find that you've cultivated an unwavering dedication to your practice.
You wake effortlessly at 6am for meditation and asana practice before work, you notice your greater capacity for concentration and patience, and how you face both good and bad situations with equanimity and acceptance. Only then, back in the ‘real world’, does it become apparent how much you've grown and the beauty of yogic practices reveal themselves. The challenge now is to sustain this. Practice practice practice.
7. Then you realise that this is just the beginning.
Humbleness. No matter how many years you've been ‘doing yoga’, and whether you go on to teach or not, on completing a 200hr TTC you realise how much of a beginner you are, all over again. How much there still is to learn, both on and off the mat. That this is just the tip of the iceberg, and what you have here is a lifelong path of discovery ahead of you. And that has to be the best part.