Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Love The One Your With

Angry little food stealer on top of the roof of the German bakery where we were having tea.

Hanuman, the Monkey God, opening his chest to show that Rama lives inside his heart.

Me in front of the Ganges after a rigorous Ashtanga Vinyasa class.  I was smiling because I didn't realize that I was soon to be in severe pain.  It felt so right when we were in the class....

First week and a half down, four and a half more to go.  

Right off, let me say that the program has been all that I hoped for and more - amazing classes and teachers, wonderful students, and extraordinary growth in my yoga practice.  Folks have been asking about the program so here are a couple of links to my school: and

Over the past few years, my mind has been filled with resistance to what is.  I constantly replayed the same negative thoughts: I don't want to be at work right now; I’m too fat; Why is this happening to me; This should be going better; I need to push harder; I can’t believe I said that; I'm so angry that he did that; and on and on and on.  

Just one week into Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) has taught me that the best way to be happy is to love what is rather than constantly focusing on what I'd rather have, or be, or be doing.

Example 1: My three-month old computer was broken due to an aggressive lack of knowledge of how to get it to accept a wireless password that it was ostensibly rejecting. I was upset and annoyed.  My new computer!  The guy didn’t know what he was doing?  Why’d I let him make the change instead of trying myself?  Why’d I even bring my computer?  How am I going to get my blog posts up?  I lost so many business files and pictures!

Once I pulled myself together, I realized a few things: (1) my thoughts were making me angrier, so I needed to stop them before they drove me crazy; (2) the computer is still under warranty so it’s fixable but not until I get back to Amsterdam; and (3) life is like a box of chocolates – you never know what you’re going to get.  My computer breaking was a reminder that I came here to relax and unplug…and the universe helped me (against my will) to do just that.  I can no longer sit on my computer in my room, I have to use the public computers.  As a result, I leave my room more and am much more social than I probably would have been.  In addition, when I am in my room I am able to focus on more important things than whether Anthony Weiner really sent a pic of his manhood to a 21 year-old via twitter.  So loving the one you’re with means radically accepting the things you cannot change (thanks, Anne!).

Example 2: Yoga is also teaching me to love the body I’m with.  Before beginning this program, I was constantly pushing my body to do things that it had no desire to do.  My old goal was to beat my body into submission.  Here, we are taught to do each asana “with love.”  This means that instead of pushing my leg into some ungodly position that it’d rather not be in and likely pulling a muscle, I take my time with each pose and I work my body only as far as it is willing to go.  After a week, I’ve seen more progress with love than I’ve seen with years of aggression.  Training my body with love means that I respect and appreciate it for all that it has gotten me through, that I care about it enough to take the time to make it even better, and most importantly, that I listen to what it tells me.  What a difference from where I was.

Next time I'm dealing with a situation that I can't change, I hope that I'm able to see the positive and realize that "what is" is probably greater than anything I could have imagined.  And next time I find myself in a situation I can change, I hope that I employ my new understanding: namely that: negative energy does not and cannot lead to positive results.   Good luck on your personal journeys!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Part 2 of “Get That Gecko Out Of My Room”

The sunrise from the car my first morning

Holy Cows outside of a market in Rishikesh

So far so good!!!!  It took about 20 hours to get from Amsterdam to Rishikesh, which included a 7 hour drive from the Delhi airport to Rishikesh Yog Peeth immediately after getting off the plane.  Upon arrival in my room, I was keenly aware that it was time for some Karma Yoga (in the form of cleaning).  So out into the wonderful world of shops, rich Indian culture, cow poop and flies to purchase the supplies I needed.  Good times.

Feeling some relief after cleaning, I started unpacking and thought to myself, wouldn’t it be great to plug up my laptop so I can listen to music…well that resulted in two unfortunate events: one, I blew the electricity in my room; and two, on my way out of my door to admit my ridiculousness, a freakin’ gecko ran into my room (it turned white to match the white marble floors except for its little black eyes – you’re not fooling anyone, little gecko) and then it turned around and said to me: “Nice to meet you, we’ll be roommates for the next six weeks, chump.”  So, I now had two issues to discuss with the fine folks downstairs.  Getting the lights back on was a snap…getting the gecko out of the room turned into a small ordeal ending in me screaming (at a hushed level of course) and doing the “Please don’t crawl up my yoga pants” dance outside of my door (what is the point of that little flair at the bottom of yoga pants anyway?)  In any event, it was a lovely sight.
Why is this Part 2 of “Get That Gecko Out Of My Room?”  Well, last year my mom and I stayed in an amazing, old hotel outside of Jaipur and there was a gecko in the room when we arrived.  I was fine with it (so I said at the time) because the room was huge so I figured he’d go to his space and we’d go to ours.  My mother was having none of that and so began the first saga of GTGOOMR (I’ll spare you those hilarious details).  In retrospect, I was probably fine with it because my mother was there…. Part one of “Where’s My Mommy?”  We shall see.

Classes start tomorrow at 5:00am (not 6:00am) and with good reason - it is about 105 degrees here during the day!

Interesting aside if you have some extra time:

For those of you who have flown into the New Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport before, you’ve probably come to expect the hectic scene one encounters upon exiting the airport.  Hundreds of cars (so it seems) coming to pick up family members, panhandlers looking to take your luggage to your taxi or at least help you get it in the trunk, and myriad taxi drivers looking for fares and picking up fares.  Although this can understandably be very overwhelming for some, I found it to be a fun, super-sensory experience.  Well imagine my surprise when I walked out of the terminal on Friday night and found a quiet, pristine setting of, what is in my memory: white marble, palm trees, and beautiful lighting.  Taxi drivers were lined up in a very orderly fashion, chatting it up - many of them in white uniforms, and most of them holding signs with the names of their fares…WTF happened!  I was just in Delhi last year.  Are you kidding me?  So it goes….