Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!


I can't believe another year has gone by… We began 2013 in Mysore last year, and it is here that we end the year again.  It's like coming home to yourself and discovering that indeed you have been changed by the course of time after all.  Personally, I've always found my time in India to somehow highlight the areas in which I've grown, and also make painfully obvious all areas that I still need to work on.

The New Moon at the start of this New Year brings with it an excellent time to reflect and reconnect to your purpose.  The New Moon symbolizes 'new beginnings' and so it is an opportunity to set an intention or goal, or even just take a glance at where you've been, how far you've come, and look ahead to where you are going.  How auspicious that it all happens as we pass from 2013 to 2014!

Some of you know our tradition of coming up with 2 words at the beginning of the New Year. One word reflects your feelings or thoughts about the year past and the other word reflects your intentions for the year to come.  These are Not two words that you should sit around and contemplate, they are simply the first words that come into your head when you think about 2013 & 2014.  We invite you to join us in this fun little game we started now a full decade ago!

So, maybe you're wondering what we've been up to for the last month here in Mysore…
Well, we've been going deeper into our practices, which is spiritually and mentally a wonderful experience, but physically we're feeling a lot of the "sweet pain" that Guruji would talk about.  Some old openings are 're-opening', as we delve deeper into the process of purification that always goes hand-in-hand with practice in Mysore. I'm not sure there are words that can describe the metaphysical process that goes on through the practice here in this place, but it is awe-inspiring.  I am both humbled and grateful to be a witness to it.

On a purely mundane level, we tried to see if Jediah would take to preschool with the other kids who are here, but after 3 failed attempts and his many angry statements like: "I will not go to school" we decided it was better not to traumatize him with a debauched "Indian preschool" experience, and so we have a fairly proud "preschool drop-out" to contend with, and that pretty much keeps us literally running around all day long.

On a typical day, we have a sitter who comes to our house at 4am, so we can leave before Jediah wakes up and has a massive melt-down that we're leaving, potentially waking our neighbours, and so if all goes well, we can peacefully leave for practice. Afterwards I come home and Jeff continues to assist Sharath for another 2.5 hours.  After that we're pretty much occupied with trying to keep our little man distracted and busy.  Breakfast, coconuts, parks, pools, more parks, walks, climbing, running, more coconuts, hopefully a late lunch in there somewhere or dinner,  a bucket bath, and finally bed.  Something like that.  I'm pretty sure Jeff and I can tell you all the best parks near Gokulum at this point.  Occasionally we get to chanting, and some days we might even get to study some Yoga Texts or have a nap - if our little man is napping, which seems to happen once or twice a week at this point!

Health wise we were all doing much better, that is until Jediah got an eye infection, and I got a lung infection, and both Jeff and I went down with a fever.  Hopefully we'll all be back to our "New" healthy selves by the end of the week!

That's my little New Year update.  Just wanted to stay in touch and keep you connected with where we're at and how we're doing over here in India.

Wishing you all the best in 2014! HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Back in the Arms of Mother India

OK - So I realize I'm horrible at writing this blog, considering the last entry was almost a year ago!
It's not that I don't have great intentions, it's just that we are so busy when living and teaching in Canada I honestly can barely find time to sleep, let alone write something intelligent or even remotely worth reading!

Now that we have returned to our home away from home, Mysore India, I am feeling the start of an indescribable release into a deep inner space where my heart and mind can once again come into synchronicity with each other.  I have only had three days of practice at the Shala with Sharath, but even in those three practices I feel that all the effort, energy, time, and expense of getting here is worth it.  Each breath, every vinyasa, I could feel an inner strength gathering and growing once again, the pain in my body starting to subsiding, my mind relaxing and moving inward while my spirit softens. 

However, any trip to India rarely comes without many other accompanying difficulties.  As you probably know, Jeff and I are here with our almost 3 year old son, Jediah.

We spent our first two weeks in Goa, at the beautiful Purple Valley Retreat Centre teaching a retreat. The centre itself is lovely, the staff there are incredible, and the students who came were all a delight.

We couldn't have imagined a better entry into India.  I am always amazed at the beauty and openness from most of the local Indian people.  There is something so honest about their attitudes and interactions.  It is such a gift.

That said, it was a bit of a rocky start in other ways, as both Jeff and our little Jediah have been struggling with tormenting health issues since our arrival.  Jeff had a terrible case of bronchitis, and Jediah has been plagued with bites and infections, as well as a cough and cold.  Luckily, Mysore has several very good physicians and specialists who live in Gokulum, so we have been able to get some really good care for him here.

However, just when we thought Jediah was on his way to fully restored health, he woke up extra early yesterday, (1:30am) and started vomiting by 4am, which made us quite nervous.  I postponed going to practice until Jeff returned from assisting Sharath in the Shala. Sharath is really understanding with parents and gives them a lot of compassion about coming to practice whenever they can, and understands that with kids, sometimes there are unforeseen circumstances that you have to attend to, which might mean you have to practice earlier or later or even in the afternoon.

Anyway, after a little nap Jediah's spirits were once again high and bright.  He is a real trooper, and always has such a happy and positive attitude, you would never guess he was feeling ill at all.  We are very fortunate he is such a good little traveler, and today he is back to his normal healthy self, minus a few skin rashes we are still treating.

Mysore with a child is a very different place… but it definitely doesn't take away from the magic of the practice here, or the depths you can go within yourself.  It maybe even adds a little bit of magic of a different sort - to see the world through the eyes of a child is an unspeakably beautiful gift, and one that I cherish every moment of!

To sum it all up, despite some of the health difficulties we've been dealing with, after only three days of practice in the Shala here, I am feeling so nourished and happy to be home.  It is such a blessing to have this time to once again dive into the sea of yoga;  and I cannot even guess what discoveries may await to be explored in its depths this time around.  

 Om Tat Sat…