Happy belated New Year! May you all be well and happy and peaceful in 2013!
This is my first post of 2013 which is amazing to me since I started writing this blog in 2005 before my first trip to India. But it is also my last post for a while because I will step onto Indian soil for the 7th time on January 29. I’m blessed and oh so grateful to be able to have traveled to Ma India all these years. That realization is never lost on me because India is truly my soul’s home. As someone told me, my trips are not just to study yoga, they are pilgrimages. Jai Ma.
This trip will be very different as a group of 7 intrepid travelers and yoga practitioners will be meeting me in Chennai for my first attempt at a group trip. Kali help me. I could never be a full-time travel agent because the details of organizing this trip have given me more than a few migraines. And I am quite accustomed to being alone in India which is how I like to be. Now I will be with 7 other people for a full 16 days. It surely will be a test but I expect nothing less from Ma.
I start the trip with taking Module 4 of Ganesh Mohan’s yoga therapy training and then I am off to Calcutta and Varanasi and Sarnath, where Buddha did his first dharma teaching after his Enlightenment. In Sarnath I will attend a dharma gathering led by Christopher Titmuss. After that, off to Varkala, Kerala for a week to see the preparations for my first ever retreat then back to Chennai to wait for the arrivals of 7 first-time travelers to India.
One thing that is VERY COOL is that I finally get to meet my long-time blog reader and cyber-friend Svasti! How exciting is that? Since we are both sisters of Kali we thought meeting up in Kali’s city of Calcutta would be auspicious.
Back to Chennai for a few days after the retreat then off to Goa and Mumbai, both for the first time. I was invited to Mumbai by Sharell who writes Diary of a White Indian Housewife and I said “why not?” because life is too short and I have a lot more years behind me than I have ahead of me. I found out about this yoga place in Mumbai and contacted them about whether they would be interested in hosting me for a workshop before I leave India. They said yes, so maybe I will bring Yin Yoga to Mumbai….we shall see!
After all that, I will start plans to an October 2014 yoga retreat to this place in the Himalayas….interested? Two of my students already are thinking about going.
As for me and my yoga, 2012 was a year of santosha once I returned home from India. It’s hard to explain but I’ll try.
Although I cut two weeks off my trip last year, I surely did not want to come home because I was content where I was and how I was. I realized in India what a freak I am in my local yoga scene of hot yoga and acro-yoga and yoga with weights and yoga with such names that I can’t even figure out what it is. People feel bad when I call myself a yoga freak but I don’t hold any bad connotations on that word just like my hippie friends and I were proud to call ourselves freaks back in the day. So yeah, I consider myself a yoga freak and I let my freak flag fly. You either dig it or not.
My yoga practice is more meditation than asana now and an epiphany came up and bit me in the ass as it usually does: santosha. I used to get bent out of shape about not having a load of students. Frantic as a matter of fact and I almost quit teaching. Since I no longer teach in studios (other than workshops), the only regular students I have come to my house. A friend told me that we are true sangha because it is yoga the old school way. My students are 150% supportive of me even though I will be gone 10 weeks — they know I need to get back to India to re-nourish myself and they know I bring back more yoga for them. My students are empowered enough to do their own practice at home when I’m gone.
I almost canceled my group trip because of the Kausthub mess, but only one person backed out; the rest trusted my judgment about continuing the trip and studying at KYM and the majority of those coming have never met me. That speaks volumes.
I get a ton of hits on my website but my phone does not ring off the hook — in fact, it does not ring at all — for yoga inquiries. I get no calls for private yoga, trauma sensitive or otherwise. I’ve been told that with my training and experience I could make $100,000 a year in New York City teaching private classes. I worked with one woman all last summer who was a survivor of sexual assault and she got to the point where she reunited with her husband and was able to move out of town, a story of transformation. But other than that, nada.
Do I care? I can honestly say no. I’m detached from the fruit of my actions. Sometimes it’s scary how detached I am. My gut is telling me that the detachment will open me up for something much greater than I can imagine. Those who want my style of yoga will find me, those that don’t, won’t. And I am finally content with that. And that’s liberating. My own practice has gone so inward that I’ve turned myself inside out. Last year I had planned to go to Varanasi but while meditating I heard a voice tell me “everything you are seeking you already are.” That’s why it’s called insight meditation.
Yes, I still do workshops and I’m creating a Yoga for Inner Healing training that will utilize yin yoga and trauma sensitive yoga. I’ve been asked to teach twice monthly next year and a place where I taught once a month. I will work on “Freedom Style” Yoga workshops in the style of Erich Schiffmann. I should say, in MY Freedom Style as Erich suggested. Because that’s what yoga is to me: freedom. Once you silent mind, once you shut up, that’s when the knowledge flows in. That’s freedom.
I realized not too long ago that I’ve developed siddhis. Of course I am not talking about levitating or turning water into wine or developing the ability to drink poison unscathed. I am talking about the ability to watch a negativity come up and then burst like a balloon or disappear like a rising bubble in champagne. POP. GONE. Over and over again. That’s real magic. My reactions to things in the not too distant past that would have been loud and immediate just aren’t there anymore. POP. GONE. Those are the siddhis of transformation and I don’t quite have the words for it. But that’s OK because I don’t think about it, it just is. It’s this low-grade almost imperceptible constant buzz of santosha. Silent mind it and shut up and do your practice. Thinking less, feeling more.
I’ve done few yoga trainings this year but felt called to learn more energy work which I did in the form of Emotional Freedom Technique and Quantum Touch Healing. This is work I rarely talk about because when I talk about it someone invariably wants to label it and put it in a box, and that’s not what my energy work is about. People here are dazzled by “master” this or that and how many letters you have after your name on your business card. My friend in India just tells me “bring your healing.” No one asks me what it is, what it does, etc. etc. etc. because it’s understood as being a part of life. Something tells me to combine it with yoga but not here, there. I just can’t bring myself to name it Blah Blah Blah Quantum Reconnective Reiki Blah Blah Blah Yoga Blah Blah — as I saw a class similarily named today. It’s just yoga. It’s just healing. Life is yoga and life is transformation. That’s it.
There is always a morphing, a changing, a moving on inside me. I’ve always known my real home is the world and not where I live. I knew that when I was living by myself eating government cheese and using food stamps when I was in college. Maybe my niche is yoga travel to India and beyond. Maybe my teaching niche is to small, select groups who can see beyond mainstream.