Two weeks down, 4 more to go!

Training week two is behind me. I continue learning and enjoying so much. The memories of home comforts linger in the back of my mind but I’m making the best of my morning buckets and I’ve even started to include showers (they’re surprisingly satisfying when you’ve been using the bucket for 3 weeks).

My luxurious washroom

Mornings are starting to feel early but I’m savoring my early meditations. Before India, I had never tried meditating in the morning. I am in love with the calmness of the wee hours before the hustle and excitement of the yoga practice. I have never had more beautiful meditations than I do here in the morning. I hope to explore this morning schedule upon my return.

I could totally have the exact morning routine by recording the alarming morning bell on my phone, meditating in my living room, and following a Akhanda yoga class on YouTube (check the link to Vishva-ji’s YouTube class here)!

This week we had a guest teacher, Swami Yogananda, come lead our morning practice. He was 107 year old and spoke little English. Amazingly enough he got around quite easily and was able to utter words like “relax”, “right foot”, left hand”, and “squeeze rectum”. Don’t ask me how that last one made its way into the practice. I reckon after a certain age, practicing continence becomes crucial. It was certainly a strange asana practice without any breath work or meditation… But a whole lotta laughing!

Swami Yogananda and I after class

I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but let me tell you again – Yoga is so much more than postures and stretching. Of course we’ve been learning many asana (posture) variations and assists. We’ve reviewed pranayama (breathing techniques) that I’ve know for a while now and hope to start including more of in my teaching. I’ve also learned quite a few meditation techniques. This is knowledge I was sorely lacking. Then there’s the Kriyas… Stop reading if you’re squeamish. Satkriyas or satkarma are a series of cleansing techniques developed to purify the respiratory system, the digestive/excretory system and the eyes. These ancient yogis were into some twisted stuff. I know why they were practicing these techniques but I still don’t understand how they really work, and more importantly if they really do what they are said to do (next thesis research?!?). Modern medicine seems to be on board with one Kriya – Jal Neti, or often commonly known as Neti pot. This is when you place a saline solution in a teapot looking thing (made specifically for this technique and can be found at yoga studios, health food stores, and many pharmacies) and place the spout of the pot in one nostril and comes out the other. It is meant to clear the sinuses by removing the mucus. It’s said to be helpful for seasonal allergies and people prone to sinus infections. I love it. I’ve been practicing this technique for 9 years – especially when I have a cold, sinus infection, or springtime when nature is aggressing my nose. I know modern medicine is on board because I see little contraptions in stores made specifically for shooting saline up your nose to clear the gunk. If you’re interest in learning this technique, let me know and I will happily teach you in private. What I will not teach you is any of the other Kriyas. Things like flossing your nostril with a cotton string, swallowing a cloth to remove mucus, or drinking saline water to bring it back up. I’ve tried them – my success and enjoyment of them are still absent. One of my teachers said to me “I’m sure this is how you felt when you started with Jal neti, next time might be better”. I guess we’ll see how I fare next Saturday at what Vishva-ji likes to call “big party”. Remind me not to invite him to my birthday parties…

Speaking of parties! We have huge ragers here – phenomenal kirtan singing and dance parties. Thursday we went to Ramana’s Garden to support the orphanage with a kirtan fundraiser. I forget the name of the group but one of them was a gifted instrumentalist. My friends and I had a great night!

Since I went on a shopping spree with Melanie yesterday, I have some catching up to do. Now to spend the last few hours of my day off catching up on some reading and homework.

The view from Melanie and my shopping day tea break at the Beatles café

Shanti (peace) out.