A group of six of us spent our last Monday off in and around Kerala. (More in a separate post.)
Then it was nonstop after that. Tuesday was my second time teaching my group but this time I had to demonstrate all levels of each asana: beginner, intermediate and advanced. This made time management a bit more challenging and I had to reduce the total number of postures in the sequence to make sure we finished in 90 minutes. The class went well and I got some great feedback including I seemed to have found my "yoga voice" and ideal flow and energy for the class.
The only change I needed to make at the end during yoga nidra when I was walking circles around the students, who were trying to simultaneously relax and follow my perpetually moving voice - two things that kind of counteract each other. I just have to remember to relax a bit more myself at the end and just sit comfortably in one spot.
I liked most of the morning classes that week except for the reverse day when we started with my favorite inversions and back bends and ended with standing/balancing asanas, instead of the usual sequence. This was intentional so that we would feel more grounded at the end with the blood and energy pumping towards our feet instead of towards our heads.
I also asked our main teacher, Vinod, to give me a mantra that I could use for future meditation and self-encouragement. Only a true guru can create a secret, individualized mantra for a student but Vinod agreed to help me pick an existing one. Only after some lengthy, insightful discussions about several other topics. He really seems to like to help/council students when they take the initiative to ask for it.
So I'm the end I did pick a mantra but I'm still keeping it to and for myself.
My First Reike
Fellow teacher-in-training, Amanda from Canada is a. Level 2 Reike practitioner so I asked if I could have a reading. She obliged. I didn't have to do much - just lay there with closed eyes and an open mind.
I tried to clear out all my thoughts. We were outside so I felt the soft breeze and the warmth of the sun on my skin and heard the birds chirping in all directions. The session lasted 10-15 minutes.
I felt tingly in some places at different times: hands, feet, tummy, head. Not sure if this was intangible energy concentration or just my body sensing her physical proximity to mine. (Kept this to myself until after she told me what she felt.) Was only touched when her hands were briefly around my ankles.
Afterwards she said that she felt blockage in my solar plexus, which corresponds with my Manipura chakra. Which relates to my core and my digestive system - which coincidentally both suck at doing what they're supposed to do. (However I feel like I've made significant progress in both areas during my time here at the ashram.)
Also that this blockage was probably preventing energy from making it all the way to my hands/feet in the extremities. Makes sense I guess.
The most active areas were from the waist up - especially in the temple area. She said she could feel energy easily flowing back and forth there. This corresponds with how overactive I feel that my mind is and how I rated myself on chakra activity during our lesson yesterday. I definitely feel most active in my Anahata, Vishuddi and Anja chakras and feel I have untapped potential in my Sahasrara. And I love all the asanas that correspond to these chakras.
Amanda asked me to let her know how I slept that night. So here goes. That night I had some pretty incredible sleep. It's the first night that I have gotten up to go to the toilet. Actually, I don't think I woke up at all until my alarm went off. (I don't remember the last time I slept thru an entire night uninterrupted.) I also tend to toss and turn and get tangled up in my sheets like a long-sleeved shirt in a washing machine. But I woke up comfortably and more or less in the same position i was in when I fell asleep.
I had vivid dreams about doing yoga at the ashram. Every other night, my dreams have been a non sensual mashup of past, present and future. (For example, last week I dreamed that people from my last two places of employment were offering me freelance jobs but I couldn't do both and had to choose between the two.) this makes me think that my energy and awareness is more focused on the present, as it should be.
Maybe I was just really tired from the accumulation of the physical, mental and emotional expenditure these past three weeks. Or maybe this was more than a coincidence and there's something legit to this Reike stuff.
Saturday night we had a second talent show, during which I recorded my slightly remixed stand up routine (due to popular demand) from the first show. It wasn't the unexpected, uproarious laughter from the first round, but still an overall success I guess. (Warning: Might not be as funny to outsiders. You kinda had to be there to get all the references.)
I'm also super excited that I was able to finish the new logo and logo variations for the ashram. It was great to get back on my computer and use Creative Suite again since I've been pretty much neglecting both of them for the past several months. I don't wanna get rusty!
The closing ceremony was on Monday but I had to leave a day early on Sunday because the time allotted by my stupid 30-day tourist e-visa was up. So they moved the traditional last day 108 Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskara) challenge to Sunday so I could participate. Yay.
Seriously though, it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. If fact, I was definitely sweater but no more tired than I am after our normal morning classes featuring a variety of asanas.
So I got my RYS Yoga Alliance-certified teaching certificate at the end of Krish's class that day. Then I had to rush to export and transfer all the logo files then pack before my taxi came to pick me up at 4 PM. It was pouring rain as I headed up the now muddy path struggling to balance my rucksack, backpack, purse and umbrella and keep everything (including myself) as dry as possible. My driver was there waiting and helped me load everything into the rather small car and then I sprinted to the dining hall to return my cabin keys before heading off into the wet abyss towards Bangalore. After a quick cup of Chai and one last toilet pit stop, I sloshed into the car and we were on our way.
Supposedly under ideal conditions, it takes about 4 hours to get from the Ashram to the Bangalore Airport. But today was far from that. (Today's trip took over 6 hours one way.) The rains came down forcefully like we were driving through a perpetual car wash.
We finally made it to the airport 6 hours later just after 10:30 PM. I had an hour and a half to check my bag and clear customs before the stroke of midnight when my backpack turned back into a pumpkin, my passport into a butterfly and my Birkenstocks turned back into the cows from which they came. Either that or midnight was when my visa expired and I could end up detained and/or barred from any future entry to India.
I made it through with a few minutes to spare and binged on a vegetarian combo meal (really wasn't sure exactly what I was eating - except for the chocolate cake) since I had been food-deprived for almost 9 hours. I boarded my flight and we took off relatively on time: 1:05 AM. (Such weird and inconvenient flight times here.) then I was off to Singapore followed by my final destination, Bali!
Staying at the ashram for a month was an incredible and unforgettable experience but the real challenge is going to be perpetuating the principles and lifestyles that were so easy to maintain in isolation and with dedicated teachers. Once we're all scattered off on our own separate paths, it's up to us to keep the spirit of AyurYoga alive and hopefully help it flourish.