And So We Begin
Arrived safely and getting into the groove of my life for the next five months. I don’t anticipate there will be many blog posts, I am now in Sadhana and outside distractions should be limited. Still can’t quite believe I am here, doing this, but am even more grateful for this opportunity than I was before I arrived.
This Ashram is like nothing I have experienced before, the sensory delights, the tranquility, the ease, an energy that I wish was everywhere on this planet. Imagine being surrounded by people who all respect one another, never raise their voices, never appear anxious, irritated or stressed and have a greeting and smile for everyone they pass. The standard greeting is to bring your hands together in prayer pose and say Namaskar as you look at the person or place your left hand over your heart and smile.
The program start date was planned to coincide with a weekend celebration for the first full moon after the summer solstice, guru-purnima. Friday and Saturday we were with another 3000 people to celebrate with Sadhguru himself where he hosted an event called Lap of the Master. An opportunity for us to rocket charge our spiritual growth, there may have been a room full of people, but he was talking only to me, as per his request when we started the program. There are such varied reactions when you attend a session with Sadhguru, but it is best to not be distracted by others and to allow yourself to soak deep into your own experience.
I have to say, the man likes to tell a joke and he knows how to throw a party. We were fortunate enough to get 2 parties with front row seats and dancing room.
On the Saturday evening, we met by Adiyogi at 22:45 to enjoy the full moon, all 3000 of us. The Isha music was playing when Sadhguru arrived, then started the mantra for the rivers of India, the music continued and Sadhguru started dancing, the energy was rising and before too long many people were dancing, it was like being at a massive rave with no alcohol or drugs, everyone inebriated with the ecstasy of life.
The Sunday we participated in the Rally for Rivers campaign and had another evening session with Sadhguru, Guru Purnima Live event. There were 10, 000 people at this event. I’m still in awe when I think that many people were there, all fed delicious food, no excessive noise, nobody behaving inappropriately, relaxed security and police. It was an amazing experience, hard to describe.
Weekend celebrations are over and it is time to start our program
We started our journey all a little apprehensive, a group of 176 potential yogis and yoginis. All looking at one another, unsure what lay ahead, only knowing we were all right where we needed to be.
All nationalities with an even split of Indian and the rest and as many men as women , none of us knowing quite what to expect. After a great beginning, the group began to relax a little more, but were anxious to get started. Monday was an easier day where we started later after our previous late nights. Tuesday we started getting into more of a routine.
Days of the week will be of little meaning while here for the next 140 days, weekdays and weekends will meld into one another. We have a neem and a turmeric ball washed down with a little honey in tepid water to fire up our system. We start our official day at 5:30am, but if we want to do our personal practice before this we need to rise earlier in the morning. Some people are up and at it just after 3am, not me, not yet anyway, trying to pace myself. You cannot be late to class, must be seated by 5:28am.
We do morning practices from 5:35 until after 9 then stop for brunch and are back in our big room Adiyogi alayam at 11:30am
for instruction, video, any activity we can do with a belly full of food, there must always be four hours between main meals and practice. We stop at 1:30 for light refreshments and have a break until 4pm when we meet up again until after 6pm and evening meal is served 7 or 7:45pm.
We have one more class at 8:30pm for an hour before we close for the day. No energy for much other activity. As we get further into the course we will have studying to do during our break times, but for now we are encouraged to visit the temples.
Initially the communication could drive some people crazy and I think it is deliberately designed that way to teach us how to live in the moment. You do not know what to expect for tomorrow, you are told when you need to meet up for the next session you have and announcements are provided as required.
The yoga is given in a different style and there is something very special about doing yoga in this energetic space. As a teacher you sit at the front of the class and provide instructions, there is then a demonstration of the posture, you do it once, there is then a demo on common corrections and you do the posture again normally a couple more times. There are teachers who watch you and if individual corrections are required these are provided.
I’ve stopped wearing shoes most of the time, you have to take your shoes off to go into many of the temples and then you need to remember where you put them on the racks or find where they have been moved to if you did not put them on the racks. It is great going about in your bare feet.
I love the food, all vegetarian and delicious.
There are two options, spicy and non-spicy. I go to the spicy line, initially they looked at me and showed me where non-spicy was, but they have figured out this white girl likes spicy and it is not hot spicy, more spicy spicy.
All food is mainly vegan, but there is a little dairy from the Indian cows. Interesting fact for you, the milk of our Western cows contain an enzyme that sticks to the colon. This enzyme is used as an adhesive in the textile industry. The milk of the country cows of India do not have this enzyme, but the milk production is much less.
We eat cross-legged on the floor with our hands. I like to touch my food, but it takes a little time to get used to eating this way when the food is sloppy, we were even given a lesson on how to eat. You predominantly use the right hand for eating.
Everything is done for a reason and relates to the energy. There is an energetic reason for eating with your right hand, it does not relate to a dirty hand versus a clean hand.
Oh and I shaved all my hair off, seems to be a bit of a trend here, we now have a baldy group. I needed a haircut and have always been curious about being a baldy and thought what the hell, why not, it has five months to grow back.
Keep up the curiosity in your life!
Until next time.