Mmmm, yummy!! Haha…
We had a bed bug scare in our room but it turns out it was a false alarm. They had our room on lockdown pretty quick though and two exterminators come in. At the end of the day, the bites are likely just gnat bites. My roommate has a lot more than I do and likely because 1) the windows are open when we sleep and 2) they are attracted to the light and heat of laptops.
But in any case, things are well. The second week is just flying by and it’s amazing that my day off is just around the bend. But if this training is anything like the first training I did then the third week will be the week where everybody starts to crack and falter. As the walls begin to come down so that you can stand stripped (and vulnerable) so that you can rebuild yourself better emotionally.
Re-reading my journal entry of my last training, I know that this will all be worth it. My 22 sangha/kula is a beautiful group. There is a lot of meditation and chanting in this training and the voices are just so beautiful. We have come to this point where we sing in harmony and in unison… it truly is a beautiful thing to hear. Right after meditation this morning we started to close the ceremony off and the chanting was just so intense that the best I can describe it is like rain hitting the surface of a still pond. My skin felt like it was just JUMPING. I truly must record one of our sessions for you to listen to.
This group is the first one to come through this Ashram as the first teacher training group. The first ones to christen the Panini Annex that we use. And it’s just funny, everybody has a story of how / why they came. It’s like magic. Joan Suval (one of the teachers here) said that you may think that *you* came but in fact, you were brought back. Within the group, we have names that are so similar all over the place and relationships that feel familiar. Just the way you see somebody in their eyes… it’s a warm place. As frighteningly cheesy as that may sound. Almost every person has had an experience with Guruji (founder). One of the most startling stories was that one of our members had these dreams of this unknown man and upon coming to the ashram, he looked at a picture and it was the exact man in his dream. Guruji’s “guru in training”. Crazy, right?
Anyways, my time is running short as class begins again in about 8 minutes for three hours. Shizahs!! :O
I miss you all and can’t wait to come home to share all that I’m learning (of course, I’ll need to take some time to lounge by a beach beforehand… haha).
Week 1 has completed and it’s definitely going to just flash by if the last training is any indication of how quickly this one will go by.
It’s been a crazy week and already we’ve learned so much. David prefers to teach us entirely in with Sanskrit names for all the poses, it is definitely much harder that way but it certainly forces you to learn.
Right on Friday we started teaching the entire class. It was a bit of a surprise and he basically started calling us each out to start teaching the first bits of ashtanga… using their proper Sanskrit names. It was fun nonetheless and each one of my fellow trainees is just so great!! It’s true, if you teach from your heart (anything), then it can only be great!
I’ve been busy learning, meditating (and falling asleep), chanting, writing Sanskrit, going through posture clinics and of course eating. They feed you so well here that you really can’t complain at all. Today is my day off and although it’s tempting to eat some meat, I think I’ll hold off till the end of the month. I might as well see what a full month of being vegetarian will do. I reckon when I get home, I’ll cut meat out even more so… but man, the prep work towards making healthy meals seems to be a lot.
Each morning, we go through some practice teaching and then continue with a Mysore practice… which means approximately 37 vinyasas. ACK! Then in the afternoon when we teach each other again, we do some more. Needless to say, a nice warm bath full of epsom salts would be really nice at this point… or a day at Manyo spa (this amazing onsen, hot spring, I went to almost every month in Japan).
Anyways, dilly dallying with the thoughts… all is good here. For those who do not have facebook, here is a link to some pictures I took while I was in NYC and also of the ashram. Go ahead and follow the link here.
It’s been three days living ashram life and they’ve been swell
The days start early… 0500 (yikes) and the evening program goes till 2100. Needless to say, as I write this at 2115, I’ll be heading off to bed relatively quickly. Surprisingly, it’s not *that* bad getting up that early. It’s a nice change from the first training I did because food and accommodations are provided and on site. There’s really nothing to worry about except yoga.
Having been a meat eater my entire life, this is the FIRST time that I’ve gone vegetarian for a month. My initial concerns were that I would lack energy because of the lack of protein but I am feeling surprisingly great and they feed you well here. Fresh fruit / veggies (sometimes from their garden) and really healthy mindful meals. I may just have to cut back on my meat intake when I go back to Canada. My GI tract has never been so happy…….. Too much info?? Well, as you know kiddies, that’s just how I roll. Rolling like GI Jane.
I am learning SO much here. The teachers that we have are a sea of knowledge and I feel very privileged to be here and to be able to be in their presence as they pass off knowledge from decades upon decades of dedicated practice and selfless service to Guruji and his ashram.
One of the most exciting things is that I’m learning to take in Sanskrit. My teacher, Radma echoes the teaching of Guruji, don’t believe everything people tell you and find out for yourself. Learn Sanskrit and you can decipher, analyze and draw your own interpretation. ! Yes, of course!! Plus, it just looks incredibly beautiful. The alphabet, is known as Devanagari. Deva = Gods/Lights Nagari = city… within the alphabet the Gods/Lights reside within them. Each one, special.
So, bed time beckons… same cycle tomorrow… 0600 class practice, breakfast, morning meditation / fire ceremony, Sanskrit/sutras, lunch, class lecture, dinner, evening meditation / program.
Night all! Big love to you all.
Yesterday while walking around Park Slope, Brookyln… these kids were all hanging out on a stoop and conducting a survey… What’s your favourite colour? My favourite colour changes all the time but most currently, is grey. And upon walking away, I heard one kid ask imploringly, “grey?!?!”. Are there negative connotations to grey? It’s a grey day, it’s a grey area, they’re greying on top… I love grey! So many shades of grey for every kind of occasion.
Anyways, I arrived safely to New York on Saturday night. I flew into Newark which meant taking a train into the city. With the subsequent attempt at bombing Times Square… there was heightened security and increased sensitivity. This meant that I was stuck for about 1 hour on the train while chaos and lack of communication swirled around. No trains coming in, no trains coming out a huge build-up of people at the end of the line at Penn. Craziness!
But at the end of the day, we got moving and I made it into the city and there was my friend with cupcakes in tow! Good man that one. Headed back into Astoria to drop off my things and then had this delicious dinner at Favela (Brazilian BBQ) where I feasted on this pork chop with chorizo sausage (pictures to come). Later, went to the Beer Gardens… it was a pretty chill environment but at the same time, packed with people.
The next day, headed out to Queens Museum of Art where I got to see the globe featured in the World Expo and Men in Black. Also got to see the panorama of New York. The largest of its kind perhaps in the world (? I forget). Munched on eats and then made my way to Hacker Space with Sean so he could fix his guitar attachment that broke off while I was carrying it. Also, the evening I came in, I put a pen in my hair to hold it in place and ended up drawing all over his pillowcase cover! Ack!!
Went for eats in Park Slope area (Lobos… great food, drinks meh). Then made our way to Share which is this audio jam event where my friend would be playing. The night went late and then eats of course at Queens Square Court (a diner I found myself in randomly last year when I went to PS1).
My throat was bothering me all afternoon… and I know that I’m on the verge of getting sick. Boo!! So, I have to try to sleep early tonight and fight it off with Buckley’s. It will be no fun to do teacher training while sick. :(
The pictures will come soon… especially of the ashram. It’s really beautiful here.
It took about one hour of circling around and around and having the entire contents of my bag emptied and put back in. The kitten is off!!! Well, not quite yet… In about 1 hour and 20 minutes. Unlike a lot of people, I like to get to the airport early and this is certainly something that people make fun of me for.
Alas, I wasn’t able to get an airport Tim Horton’s breakfast sandwich. They are the best here! I think they put the biscuit through twice so it’s nice and crispy. My sister and I always get one if we have morning flights.
The airport is such an interesting smattering of people. The travellers to the people who work at various areas in the airport.
It doesn’t feel real despite the fact that I spent the entire evening packing away, unpacking, repacking… I haven’t slept yet and reckon that when I get seated in the plane, I will just pass out and wake up when I land. Either way, I need to start preparing my body to wake up at dawn… instead of 1000 (which is already very early for me).
In any case, it will be very real in only 1.5 days whether I am ready for it or not. I’m going to miss the peeps that make up the community. I see them all the time since the studio is like my second home. It will be strange to wake up for the next month seeing the same dozen or so faces.
Gosh… really can’t wait for the ZzzzZzzzzzzZzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
One of my favourite places to people watch is the airport (or train stations). Without needing to hear anything, you can experience the myriad of emotions of people reuniting or parting ways. If there are tears involved, I find myself getting caught up in it all and getting misty eyed myself. Isn’t it interesting how we are more open to showing emotions during these times more than any other times?
I love what airports represent to me… the gateway to new experiences whether they are positive or negative. The thrill in taking off never gets old and perhaps very surprising to learn… I actually love airplane food! I love the way it smells and tastes because there really isn’t anything quite like it. Once I catch the smallest sniff, it almost seems to reinforce the idea that I am going somewhere to make new memories, share in new laughs, befriend strangers and to gain perspective into living life.
In about two weeks time, I will be heading off to Catskills, New York to embark on a month intensive teacher training at Ananda Ashram. I am completely thrilled to go and of course scared… but always remembering that fear is simply excitement without breath! From there, I will be heading to Peru… the plans are not entirely clear yet but the flights are booked to go and to come back to Calgary. I usually have plans and so this will be the first time I will be flying by the seat of my pants. It will be great regardless.
So there we go… T-Minus ~1,209,600 seconds………………………. *beep beep beep*