‘It is not happiness if you cannot share it’
I want to share my experience in India this February 2019. This is kind of my diary trough the month. I have divided it in different chapters being this first post my experience during the first week.
During this month I have discovered and realized so many things and I had such priceless insights that I now want to share it. To get to those insights though I went through waves of anger, frustration, hostility, sadness, guilt, happiness, gratefulness, contentment, joy, bliss… sometimes all in the same day! I have learnt so much from everyone and I see now that I had to go through every piece of it to learn my lessons.
I went to Swami Krishnananda Yoga Vidyapeeth Ashram, in Mysore, India, to study a Yoga Teacher Training in Yoga Therapy with Dr. K. Ashutosh and Yogacharya Kadambari CP. This is a 28 days intensive course aimed on experiencing the yogic life style in order to be able to teach yoga as a therapy. For you to have an idea of the dynamic of this course, I will summarize the daily agenda below:
4:45 am: Wake up bell
5:00 – 6:00 am: Shatkarma
6:15 am: Herbal tea with fruits
7:00 – 10:00 am: Asana
10:30 am: Mitahara (yogic vegan diet)
11:00 – 12:00 pm: Karma Yoga
12:30 – 13:30 pm: Vyakhyana (Lecture)
1:30 pm: Herbal tea with fruits
2:00 – 3:00 pm: Vyakhyana (Lecture)
4:00 – 6:00 pm: Pranayama, Yoga Nidra, Yoga Chikitsa
6:30 pm: Mitahara (yogic vegan diet)
7:30 – 8:30 pm: Bhakti Yoga (Kirtan)
10:00 pm: Lights off
As part of the basic yogic life style we shared two dormitories, one with 25 females and the other one with 25 males.
You are also supposed to follow a code of conduct, being mauna (silence) an essential part of it, silence in the dormitory, dining area and the Shala.
Last night during the briefing session Dr. K. Ashutosh explained the importance of maintaining silence during the whole course. We will be working on us on a very deep level and through silence is easier to observe our thoughts patterns, our feelings, and work on them. Talking is like a leak, and you can lose all the hard work you have achieved until then with 5 minutes conversation. I have done silent retreats before and I know that he is totally right. I want to keep the silence and get the best out of this.
First day and everybody is talking! I cannot believe this. I don’t know how I am going to be able to maintain mauna when everybody else is talking while eating, in the dormitory, and between lectures and practices. Not even one day!!
I love Dr. Ashutosh’s words at the end of one of the lectures as he is trying to encourage people to maintain silence: ‘Have the courage to lose your identity!’ I will maintain mauna regardless how hard it is.
I notice there is a guy with an ‘I’m in silence’ lab. I thank God I am not the only one, otherwise it was going to be VERY hard. I feel resistance though to put a label on me. Why should I? Everyone should be in silence! I start telling people who come to talk to me that I am trying to keep the silence. I will try this way today and see what happens.
At around 3pm suddenly waves of emotions arose followed by tears over 30 minutes. I can feel something is releasing. I had this experience before during the Zen meditation retreats I attended last year. Something is releasing. Tears come and I don’t know where they are coming from. It feels good though. I have also been with a lot of mucus all day and I don’t have a cold. Something else is coming out. Oh my God, and this is only day 2!
This evening we do one hour of pranayama followed by a preparation for #Yoga Nidra. Still in the days to come, Dr. Ashutosh will prepare us for the practice of Yoga #Nidra (YN). This preparation activates a part in the brain which function is success. It does not distinguish though what is good or bad for you, but it just makes sure that what you believes in will happen. In YN you access that part of the brain and plant the seed. Part of the process is visualizing what you want to achieve. Today we didn’t get to that part yet. Nevertheless, after pranayama and this practice I fell absolutely amazing. I feel high, in peace, content. This is huge. The impact on all of us is obvious. More people join the silence during dinner.
I had a dream last night: I was dancing like crazy without embarrassment, no signal of being self-conscious. I was not alone, there were many people with me. We were all dancing together and I had a very deep feeling of freedom. I felt free of fear, free of judgment, free of fear of being judged. So happy. I wake up remembering the scene so clearly and the feelings so real and present that I wondered for the weeks to come what the meaning of this dream was. Until the last night at the ashram before the graduation when I literally lived the scene. It was incredible. I had dreamt at the beginning of the course with the last night of the course! This experience is one of those that I cannot even explain. Still so powerful and real.
The three hours of #asana practice every day are very challenging. But I feel strong though. I can do this.
I saw there are few more people joining the silence but most people don’t care really. It is a bit annoying if I am honest. I feel disappointed and angry.
My right nostril is being blocked from day 2 and I have waves of emotions arising during pranayama. Between two of the #pranayama sessions we do a relaxation. I am feeling so tired. And then I feel as if something/someone is behind me injecting me energy through my head. It is incredible. I can fell the energy filling me up: my head, neck, shoulders, back, arms, all the way to my toes. Wow. My tiredness dissipates.
Dr. Ashutosh is still preparing us for Yoga Nidra. He explains that if there is not a resolve, it is not yoga nidra. We need to make a resolve that isn’t selfish. Something that contributes to the wellness of existence. We have been blessed with what we have, existence has given us that and we cannot leave this world without giving it back. I feel completely blessed after this practice. More people join the silence during dinner.
Day 5 and 6
I start feeling the effects of the #Shatkarmas. We have been practising Jal neti and Sutra neti every morning and today we introduced Kunjal. I feel stronger today and lighter. I can feel the effect of kunjal in my asana practice, mainly in the twits and forward bends. I am also more emotional during the day and this can be caused by kunjal as it works on the heart chakra, releasing emotions.
Maintaining mauna (silence) is being unbearable though. Everybody is talking all the time apart from a few and the start of dinners. The feeling of isolation is overwhelming sometimes. Should I quit? The experience of getting to know all this people is going to be amazing too. But I want to do this. That is why I am here and it has been a long journey and a great effort for me to be here…. Eventually I go to talk to Dr. Ashutosh. I asked him his advice. How to deal with this situation? His advice gave me strength for the rest of the course. He encouraged me to challenge myself. He told me that if I managed to keep the silence and keep working on myself while everybody else is talking, that is exactly what I am going to find when I leave the ashram. Nobody will be in silence. And I will have learnt to be with myself and be able to work on myself regardless who is around me and how noisy my surroundings are.’
Today is exactly one month since I came back from India. The shift in me has been huge. You will know more about everything I went through on the next posts. ‘La crème de la crème’ will be happening in the next two weeks followed by a week of bliss and insights. What I can tell you for now is that my level of concentration and the ability to keep a meditative state through my day regardless how many people are around me and how noisy the environment is has improved 1000%. I will ever be grateful to Dr. K. Ashutosh for his advice that day and I know now that I would probably not have these tools today if everyone else had maintained silence.
Every situation in life teaches you something. We just need to be open to receive and empty ourselves first to give space for the new teachings to fill us up.
To be continued…