26th March — 1st April
The beginner retreat has finished and I’m now halfway through my stay here at the AyurYoga ashram. Throughout the week, the intensity of Yoga has gradually increased. We experimented with more difficult sun salutations, increased the speed at which the sun salutations were completed and also tried some of the more advanced inversions.
Unfortunately, my time with all 7 of my beginner classmates has also end as they embark on a new chapter beyond the walls of the ashram. Many of my classmates have equipped themselves with newly learnt poses, ones they couldn’t do before the course. Last week we’d see each other struggling, failing and falling in our weakest poses. This week was another story, we were holding and even flourishing in those same poses. There were also some quality moments during class, from the impromptu farts in happy baby to the guys laughing at our non-existent flexibility. Perhaps the best moment was when one of my classmates (we’ll call him Bob for anonymity) was in a seated squat pose. Bob was located at the front of the class, directly in front of our Yoga teacher, Sri Devi. FYI, Sri Devi is a very pure, innocent teacher who smiles all the time. Bob was really getting into this pose and unknowingly ripped his yoga pants. Unfortunately Bob wasn’t wearing any underwear so his schlong popped out directly in front of Sri Devi. Sri Devi noticed and then broke out with uncontrollable laughter. Poor Sri Devi, she’ll never be able to teach seated squat pose in the same way again.
Tuesday was my first and only rest day of the week. Me and a couple of other Yogis left the ashram to check out Namdroling Monastery in Bylkakuppe. The monastery is the largest Tibetan community in South India and home to almost 5,000 monks and nuns. Within the monastery was a small café where the monks and nuns could eat and wifi. After all the healthy eating at the ashram I couldn’t resist a oreo milkshake. Unfortunately, it was served at room temperature- my inner fat kid definitely wanted a refund!
Left: Budda Amitayas, Center: Siddhartha Budda, Right: Padasamabhava
Young Monks chanting while drinking coke?
Walked in here and they were jamming out to Despacito- legends!
We also visited the Mysore Palace and Market. As you can imagine, the ashram is basic and very same same. I forgot just how basic the sights, smells and sounds are at the ashram, until I arrived at the market. It was truly a sensory delight. The pictures speak for themselves!
On Friday I woke up with an irritating groin pain. Since the start of the retreat, I’ve tried hard in all the sessions and I think it finally caught up with me. I decided to listen to my body and took it easy on any groin-intensive poses. On the Sunday morning class, we did some single-leg rotations whilst lying down and my groin was cracking all over the place. It felt like good cracking so I just kept on rotating and eventually there was no more cracking. In the evening, my groin pain was virtually non-existent and I was trying to figure out what had happened. I came to the conclusion that I probably did some sort of groinopractor adjustments and any bubbles of tension in my groin were now gone.
Last week we had some deep philosophical talks with Swamiji. This week we received talks from the resident Ayurveda Doctor and new Yoga teacher called Unni. The Doctor talked about the basic principles of Ayurveda such as eating, diagnosis of illnesses and the ultimate goal of Ayurveda which is to balance out different types of energies within the body. Last week, I wanted more theory on Yoga and this week I got exactly that. Unni gave us a really comprehensive talk on Yoga including the meaning of the word (unity of body, mind soul), it’s origins, what different poses focus on and peripheral topics connected to Yoga. After the talk, the daily routine and the class sequence made a lot more sense. It seems every little detail here has been meticulously thought out to get the most out of our practice. It got me thinking about how radically different the ashram life is compared to where I was only a couple of months ago. Old inputs have been switched for new and improved inputs. Waking up before sunrise, eating an organic diet, daily Yoga & Meditation practice, minimal internet time, no TV, no smoking and sleeping early. With new inputs come new outputs. There is certainly some kind of rewiring going on, I can’t pinpoint what exactly but I can certainly feel it on an experiential level.
Yoga & Meditation- 32 hours
Selfisio- 1.5 hours
Biggest win- Learning to breath deeply within poses. It sounds easy but it’s very easy to put up a fight when in difficult poses.