Despite being pretty early for class this morning, it seems I’m still not keen enough. I only just managed to squeeze my mat inside the shala, right by the door. All was going fine until I jumped into bujapidasana and whacked my foot on the door in the process. Sharath’s sympathetic response?
“Don’t break the door!”
Luckily it sounded worse than it felt – and the door was fine… 😉
I have to say I’m not loving the led classes as much as the Mysore classes – I expect anyone with an established self-practice probably finds it more tricky to fit into someone else’s count, plus there’s no time to ease your way into the trickier postures, and there very little space to spread your limbs. But I do realise it’s an important part of the system. It fosters discipline, and it’s good to practise as a collective body now and then – the awesome omming this morning gave me goosebumps, a sensation that took me by surprise after four months of sweating in the Indian heat.
Afterwards, I arrived back home in a gorgeous pinkish light, just as the sun rose above the tree canopies that are level with our rooftop. Chris was out, at the gym (he must be the only westerner to come to Gokulum and join a gym to keep fit!). What a sickeningly virtuous pair we are today, I thought.
This afternoon I very spontaneously joined a course in Gokulum, entitled ‘Life in Balance’. It was run by an Indian lady who had worked very successfully in America for 20-odd years, hob-nobbing with the likes of Donald Trump and other perma-tanned gazillionaires, before crashing spectacularly into a nadir of bed-ridden illness and despair, for which no western doctor could find a cause or cure. This sparked a big change in her life. She used her small fortune to fund a quest for alternate healing that took her all round the world, into rainforests to meet tribal healers, into ashrams in India, meetings with pendulum dowsers in Europe – you name it, she tried it.
Eventually she settled back in her home-country, India, and studied the ancient Vedic scriptures, which cover all kinds of things including yoga and ayurveda for example. Through her studies she finally found complete healing – as she said, it just required that she take full responsibility for what she had done to herself, and also for getting herself out of the mess. A big part of her healing process in the end came from the system of ayurvedic healing, which she read about in the scriptures.
Ayurvedic healing is a holistic approach to healing body, mind and soul. It requires you firstly to identify your dosha(s) (kind of like personality types) by answering lots of questions about your physical health and personality. Then you use the dosha information to look at what you need to incorporate into your life to bring yourself into balance.
I learnt today that I am vata-pitta. This means my mind and body are naturally restless and I need grounding influences in my life. Definitely true! I learnt so many other things (and tasted some lovely ayurvedic food) but am a bit overwhelmed by all the information and too tired to process it all right now – I will be going to at least one more session, and learning to cook some ayuverdic recipes myself, so will no doubt return to the subject again soon.
But I will finish this post by saying that it felt very much like I had arrived in that lady’s house for a reason today. My last-minute decision to attend was very impulsive – I felt an intuitive pull to be there and meet this woman and I’m so glad I did. So much of what she said resonated with me and inspired me. She had a girl helping her on the course, who happened to be a world class singer of Indian sacred music. At one point, this girl sang a beautiful chant, which moved me to tears. Her voice was unearthly – too achingly beautiful to have been created by a human, surely? Something happened in the room afterwards, like it does when the sheer beauty of music and, not just that, of someone’s incredible talent, just takes your breath away. Energy rose, time stood still, a tear trickled down my cheek and I felt goosebumps for the second time that day. For that moment alone, my intuition had served me well… 🙂
Anyway, bed beckons now – more on my ayurvedic learnings soon!