From our first 6am-8am yoga class to our yoga class today, I can notice the difference in my capabilities and also the insensitivity of the classes beckoning. It is great to be able to get back into a routine of doing yoga and having that feeling of satisfaction and achievement every day when I may be realise I can stretch that bit further, or master the triangle or even chant one of the mantras without my mantra page in front of me. That is a nice feeling. Our first day we had our first yoga class in the morning which set us up for the routine we would go on to follow for the next few weeks. We would sit on our branded ‘Rishikesh Yog Peeth’ Mats and in a ‘comfortable cross legged position’- a common phrase around here-, we would close our eyes, join our hands in prayer and chant ‘Om three times in between three deep breaths’. No words can describe the peacefulness of the group as a whole chanting this small word aloud, but It is a great feeling. ‘Om’ is the universal understanding that we are all searching for, and which yoga helps us to achieve. It is the peaceful world we want to live in free of stress, pain and worry and full of love, happiness and understanding of the universe. We chant this before and at the end of each class. It was in this class that we took out our Mantra pages, and began to chant the first Mantra ‘II Genesha Mantra II’ which is written in Sanskrit but translates as O mighty Ganesha of Large Body, curved trunk, with the brilliance of a million suns, please make all my work free of obstacles, always. I like this one! As the days went on we began to chant the next two of the ‘II Guru Mantra II’ following the lead of our teachers and their melodies. I really love the uniqueness of the Indian sound and the way we chant is so different to anything in the Western world which makes it so unique and beautiful. I go on for the rest of the first and second day chanting the ‘Ganesha Mantra’ in my head and even tried using it during meditation to help me concentrate.
After yoga, we have breakfast and then philosophy and anatomy/physiology with Roshan who brings about a new sense of learning within all of us in his style of teaching. Its always amazing to have a class with him and It always beings about conversations in the dining hall about the philosophies of life and enlightenment within ourselves, or anything we have talked about in class that day! Everything he says seems to make so much sense and I feel myself already becoming more open to understanding the universe and everything in between. We have a long break after lunch where we generally go out in our little tight nit group of ‘crazy girls’ to explore Rishikesh, get our usual Mango Lassi’s or just run some errands for that day. Today we plan to have a chat and a Lassi and after that who knows! I am enjoying every minute of it, even when I am in serious agony trying to bend and stretch and achieve Yoga Asanas (poses) I try to smile (as our teacher tells us to) and remind myself of my reasons for being here and the pride I will get at the end of this experience.
We also do a practice called Neti in the morning (depending on if it’s raining outside or not!), in which we use a plastic Neti pot filled with salt waterwhich we use to clear out the nasal passages. We did this only once so far because of the rain, as we do it outdoors at 5:45am, and It was easier than I imagined it to be and really made a difference. After our break from 1pm to 5:30pm, we come back, have a rest and then get ready for our evening yoga session. Both sessions are in a different building to Krishna Cottage, and both lectures are also in another different building which generally entails trudging through flooded alley ways and tonnes of cow dung. The usual! Our evening session so far has been a bit more intensive than our morning one which is more relaxed and involves Pranayama (specific breathing techniques), Asana (poses) and Chanting, wereas our evening one is more full on and involves alignment’s to our current poses (using our specific belt straps), various harder poses and a faster routine. Its all in our favour though and I just wish my muscles would hurry up and stop being so weak, so I can actually enjoy trying these moves out, although I did master the triangle yesterday to my surprise! Trying out handstands today was a bit of a challenge for me as I could never do handstands even as a child, so as an adult It will certainly take practice. We did this in pairs getting the other person to position themselves so they could hold you up, but no I had no coordination and so it took 3 people to get me upside down and in the right position- Laughing stock! I have to remember though that this is new for me and It’s been a while since Iv done any yoga, let alone this type of pose. I do have a tendency to have little faith and confidence in myself and I think that this course will aim to help me realise my bodies capabilities and my ability to achieve.
Everybody here at Krishna Cottage is so friendly and I have met so many people from all walks of life, with their own individual reasons for being here which Is great. It goes without saying that YES, I did meet an Irish person here, but to my surprise he is the only one in the whole school, and is doing the 300hr which means he is not in my class, leaving me to be the only Irish one around. Nice! Everyone here seems to be a similar type of people, which is probably what brought us all here. Firstly we all have a love for yoga, we are all open to learning about life, we are all open to meeting new people and at that, everyone seems very open minded and easy going, which I love. Even in a big group of 40+ people, It’s hard to feel like an outcast or anything of the sort because of the friendliness that oozes from everyone around here. Everyone swaps chairs and groups at meal times and places in the Yoga Hall, so you are always mingling with someone new which is great, but our little group cant stay away from each other and most of the time, we spent laughing and laughing which is the key to health and happiness. Some things that have made me laugh this week include one conversation we had about re incarnation and having a choice to come back as something different, to which Franziska said randomly in her German accent ‘Well you could either come back as a King, or you could come back as a …….*looks around philosophically *…. Mango Lassi. And regarding a not so nice Mango Lassi we were drinking, she then said ‘It tastes like how it smells on the street’ which had us in convulsions. A day doesn’t go by without laughing hysterically at something silly, (well so far) which I love, but that may be kept under wraps once the 7pm silence rule comes in this evening.
Philosophy is something I have never studied but something that I always thought would be an interesting topic, and boy am I glad I am learning in India and not only India but in Rishikesh Yog Peeth. Our teacher Roshan, as I mentioned before takes teaching to a whole new level and leaves you walking out of the class room with your minds blown and many more questions you want answered. He says that the key is to never accept what he says, nor decline what he says, that we need to be open to interpretation and have our own questions too. Some other quotes which I really loved were ‘Yoga is not what you think you are but who you really are’, Every time you point at someone, 3 fingers are pointing at yourself, ‘Universal understanding is fearless expression of yourself without any doubt’, If you are here with your questions, you are already here with your answers’. Some of the topics in class are very intense but seem to make a lot of sense, but at the same time, leaving me with more questions. It’s an incredible topic and is something that can be interpreted in so many way, but that is the joy of learning it., and what better place than spiritual Rishikesh.
Don’t get me wrong, there are days when I feel like I shouldn’t be here, that I am incapable of progressing or achieving, because that’s just always been my mind set, something I need to change and am working on. Some days are tougher than others, but it all falls back on my reasons for being here and what I will gain from progressing through this course. I think back and wonder if I hadn’t have went travelling for so long, I may have stuck with yoga and been pretty damn flexible at this time, but then again, life isn’t about what if’s, and I am here now so I am going to aim for achievement. Knowing my own body, I realise my abilities and capabilities and have noticed different changes in my flexibility, minor, but still there, still progressing, still on the road to achievement.
During the week, we have Sundays off and a half day on Saturdays which we will makes plans for. Maybe a bit of pampering, some massage, a trip to the Beatles Ashram and of course some Asana adjustments and practices so we are not out of sync on Monday morning. It’s a nice break from the week and during our week we have a change of teachers and routines for the first half of the week and then the second half which is also a great idea for us. Rishikesh has become something of a home to me and I feel very happy here at this moment in time, with the people I have met and with what I am learning and gaining from this journey. My life motto- Everything happens for a reason’ could not be more clear right now and I can’t help but think of how my path in life has magically brought me here to meet new friends, practice discipline and hopefully find out who I am as a person. I am content and happy with my life and my achievements at this point in my life and this journey can only better it, which I am going to let it do one hundred per cent.
On a final note – ‘To have choice, you need to have free will and 100% free will, is only present in the present moment’ – Roshan