20th -27th March
The ayurvedic detox is over and the ghee is officially in the rear view mirror. Overall I thought it was a good experience and it did open up my mind to the world of Ayurveda. I had no idea that it is an actual profession here in India, you must study for 5 years to become an Ayurvedic doctor. It offers an alternative to western medicine and, from my basic understanding, takes a more holistic approach towards medicine. I would try Ayurveda again but probably at a different camp, one a bit less expensive and with more individual treatment.
On Tuesday I flew from Trivandrum to Bangalore. After a 4 hour car journey from the airport, I arrived at AyurYoga Eco Ashram late into the night naturally went straight to bed.
The ashram itself is located 1 hour away from the home of Ashtanga Yoga- Mysore. Here, they are very conscious of the environment and try to be as self sufficient and sustainable as possible. I’ve always wanted to live green so it’s cool to experience eco living. There are about 25 other fellow yogis staying here and almost as many nationalities. I’ve been here for over a week now and absolutely love it. Below are pictures of my new home for the next month.
For the first two weeks I’ll be on the beginner treat and then I be doing a more intensive programme for the final 2 weeks. For beginners like me, here is what my day looks like:
5:30am Wake up Bell
9–10:30am Breakfast & Chill
10:30am — 12pm Yoga Philosophy (like a lecture)
12–1pm Private Coaching
1–2pm: Fruit which is usually papaya, pineapple and watermelon
7–8:30pm Dinner & Chill
9 — Crawl into bed and have the best dreams
(Rest day on Tuesday and no talking from 10am-10pm)
Neti is the practice of cleansing the airways, specifically the nostrils. Saline, warm water is fed through one nostril and comes out of the other. It physically moves any mucus build up, out and away from the airway channels. The practice is very easy, just make sure you don’t breath in through the nose whilst the water is flowing or physics will make you hurt.
In total we do around 5 hours of Yoga and Meditation everyday and 1.5 hours of philosophy classes. Initially I thought waking up before sunrise would be super hard but after a couple of days, I seem to have adjusted better than expected. The Yoga is pretty special here. The quality of teaching is exceptional. Everything from the instructors’ vocal delivery, their knowledge, unwavering enthusiasm and attention to detail is of superior standard. Even when they sing the mantras, it’s like hearing a genuine singer who you know has a passion for the higher cause. The Yoga sessions usually begin with some Pranayama (Kapalbathi) to settle the mind. Around 10 Sun Salutations (facing the sun of course) will shortly follow to warm up the body. After these, there will be some core work such as leg lifts & rotations, boat pose etc. Then the instructor will usually direct us to do various poses. Besides from Sun Salutations, there are no sequences which mean you can really focus on each individual pose and look forward to a 10 second rest between the poses. Throughout the week the classes get progressively harder and often at times you’ll do preparatory poses for more difficult poses later on. For example, you wouldn’t be asked to do a headstand immediately instead you’ll be asked to do dolphin pose to make the arms stronger and then once feel ready you can choose to do the handstand. Towards the end of class we usually have around 10–15 minutes of relaxation or as I call it KAY (Kip after Yoga). My favourite part of the class, obvs.
The Yoga Philosophy are DEEP. A man called Swami Prabhod teaches them. Topics include, what is meditation? How to drop I? How to leave space and time? FYI, he does not talk about religion. He comes across as knowledgeable and charismatic. His English is excellent too and I believe he has received a Masters in English. At times the talks can be a bit repetitive and lack clarity however I think it’s because he doesn’t plan the classes he just freestyles with vague overall structure. Very occasionally he’ll drop you a little nugget of information that will make you re-think your perceptions on something. Overall, I did like these classes however I wanted a little more information to bridge the connection with Yoga.
On Sunday evening, I experienced my first chanting session. Before the session, I was a bit pessimistic about it as I’m not really into chanting. I thought I’d just go and check it out and if I don’t like it, leave. Before the chants there is of course, silence. Vinod who teaches the advanced Yoga Teacher Training course (and is supposed to be a Yoga G) breaks the silence with deep hum, filling the room with warm vibrations. I got goose bumps immediately and my head was all tingly. After this, I was sold. Along with the chanting are various instruments such as drums and tambourines. This adds another tribal dimension to the experience. I think, after not having listened to much music for the week, I forgot the affect it had. Especially in what seemed like a live, interactive gig. It was a very nice way to end the week indeed.
There seems to be a chain of eventful moments following me. Here is no different. It’s Thursday morning at 6am and I’m ready to do some meditation. I rock up to the hall and pick up a yoga mat from the back of the room. I unroll half the mat and place cushions on the half roll and take a seat. Next, I meditate for 30 minutes and actually have a very focused session. After meditation, I like to lie down and stretch as the lower back can hurt a little. So, I unroll the rest of the mat behind me. In doing so, I see a flattened mouse eject from the inside of the roll. At this moment, I’m like WTF just happened. About 10 seconds later, it dawned on me that I may have crushed this poor mouse to death and then meditated whilst sitting on it. I was at the back of the class so no one sees what happened, only me. To make matters worse, I couldn’t discuss the incident with anyone as it was during silence hours. The situation was just too much for me so I had to Brexit from the crime scene. One of my fellow yogis, Jacob, mops up and takes the mouse outside. After silence is broken, we’re allowed to talk and one my class mates brings up the dead mouse. Of course they have no idea of the full story and so I enlighten them. Expecting maybe a bit of consolation, my story is met with hysterics. Looking back, I guess it was a little funny. I mean who can say that they had a deep meditative experience whilst sitting on a dead mouse. Jacob also tells me that, near the mouse there were parts of the Yoga mat crumbling off and that the mouse probably got poisoned by the crumbs. In my head, this is the official cause of death of course.
Yoga Hours- 26 hours
Selfisio — 2 hours
Biggest Win- Maintaining crow pose with a decent level of control.
Yoga Class Rating- Viraht Kohli
I dedicate this installment to flat mouse, RIP matey.