Three days into my stay at the Sivananda Ashram. The chanting is all I can hear in my head, whenever I’m alone. The yoga is starting to wear on my body and muscles I’d forgotten I owned are aching. The meditation is sending me to some place other than the most southern part of India, which is where I am right now. I could be anywhere in the world really and I’d still feel as good as I do right now. Life is fantastic!
I’m surrounded by people from everywhere; Spain, America, Japan, Israel, Iran, England, Australia and of course a few Irish. It’s like we form one big community, of only 40 people, all with the same intention: Yoga. There are only 2 or 3 Indians, which makes me forget I’m in India. But the roars of the lions I hear in the middle of the night, coming from the nearby Lion Safari Park, remind me of where I am. How beautiful!
I’ve gone from having days full of planning lessons, stressing out about my performance as a teacher, evaluating my methods and forcing myself to focus on each and every English lesson I was giving, at Ebenezer, to now having my days full of everything that can provide me with quite the opposite, which is: peace, bliss, tranquility and awareness.
I didn’t have freedom at Ebenezer. Here I’m still being controlled, but differently. We have rules to abide by, we have a schedule to follow and I’m worn out. But the schedule is in aid of myself and not of others. It might sound strange and selfish but that’s how it is and it’s what I wanted.
This is how our days are filled:
5.30am wake up bell
6.00am meditation, chanting mantra’s(in Sanskrit), readings and talks
8.00am yoga class
10.00am Brunch (where we eat in silence, crossed legged, with our hands, sitting on the floor - after chanting for a short while).
11.00am Karma yoga. (This means we get given a chore to do in the ashram, to help out, such as cleaning).
12.30pm Optional coaching for meditation and yoga 01.30pm tea
03.30pm Afternoon yoga
08.00pm meditation, chanting and readings until 09.30pm
10.00 everyone is shattered!
10.30pm “lights out”
Did I realize that this was how it was going to be? Not really. I knew that I’d get the chance to do yoga and meditation. But I didn’t know it was all compulsory and If you don’t attend any of the classes, you are asked to leave.. But I don’t mind. I’m so happy here. It’s exactly what I need. The only thing I’m struggling with, is my body. It’s feeling the strain of suddenly doing nearly 4 hours of yoga a day and sitting with crossed legs for another 4 hours. The exhaustion is catching up on me.
When I look back over the past week I’ve just done what I do best I suppose: I abruptly changed my course in life: I tore myself away from a job, from “stability” and special people and have thrown myself into yet another chapter. This is an amazing one though, I can feel it! However I didn’t give myself the chance to wind-down after having put myself under so much pressure, at Ebenezer School. And now that I’ve “stopped” one thing and have “started” a different and very brief chapter, I’m finding it hard to grasp all that’s going on around me...