Yoga. Sound Healing. Angelic Reiki®. Well-being.
I have had a truly wonderful time this past month, staying in the Sivananda Ashram in Val-Morin.
I was quite nervous to be doing the Yoga Teacher Training Course- all the usual questions of will it be good, will I be able for it, am I capable, what if I’m not, will people judge me because I am not stick-thin, will I cry, will people think I am weak, do I have the stamina for the daily schedule….?!? The general roller-coaster of thoughts the mind likes to put forward- and I find there’s always more ‘reasons’ to worry when it’s something you KNOW will be amazing for you!!
So, I chose to detach from those thoughts: preparing myself mentally by continuing my meditation practice, and allowing myself to write down my ‘worst case scenarios’ and trying to find a solution to them- they all went away when my mind realised I have choice and could leave anytime I wanted!! I worked hard in my self-practice and with my amazing teacher, Federico, in Fuerteventura and worked on my stamina for the few months before arriving. Once I knew I was actioning practical steps to combat my mind’s worries, it was easy to get into the excitement of starting what felt like a new chapter (again!) on my spiritual journey.
Despite my preparation, I was nervous on the day of arrival. As soon as I walked through the gate though, I could feel the same energy I have experienced in Federico’s classes on the campus and felt excited and at home!
The Krishna Tree beautifully greets all on entering:
The gardens are absolutely stunning and I was delighted with my dorm- we all had our own private space within it. The name of my dorm was Ganga, which made me smile. My family and I used to call my granddad Ganga- he is someone I have felt very close to, so I felt like it was a little reassurance from his spirit, telling me all would be ok!
We all arrived on the Saturday but weren’t initiated to the course until the Sunday evening, so I spent those two days acclimatising, grounding and kind of keeping myself to myself- as were most of us. As the course went on, I appreciated how beautifully it is structured to the student’s needs and to enable them to have the easiest experience they can- giving people that time to settle and create their own space is a wonderful touch.
On the Monday, I got chatting to two wonderful ladies, Kathleen and Amy, and was absolutely thrilled to find a couple of people who weren’t taking themselves too seriously and could have a laugh as well as wanting to learn- my kind of people!! Here they are coming up beautifully into Sirshasana. We tended to be near each other in asana classes as time went on- always nice to have lovely energies nearby when doing your practice!
The Karma Yoga duties were handed out, and as I had been looking forward to not have to watch time or have any electronics on me, I of course got the position of bell-girl: time-keeper for the ashram!!
I think even two years ago if that had happened, I would have gone into a bit of a spin of ‘why me?’ but I managed to laugh at myself when I could feel my mind start to go there! And instead I asked, ‘why did I get this job- what is it I need to learn?’ and feel thankful for the opportunity to learn that lesson.
The beautiful bell I got to ring (seven times!!) every day:
Reflecting on the experience- although still very much in the experience as I just left yesterday- I know I have learnt a lot about time: how to be in perfect timing and trusting to that more. Also, how to handle the responsibility of having others’ time and schedule in my hands and how to not let that overwhelm me, as I did feel quite overwhelmed by that thought at first. And I think now I am opening up to the idea of relationship again, I need to relearn having responsibility for others.
Although I am a caretaker in my work, in my personal life I only have me to think about and that has become very alluring. I have shirked from the thought of being in a position of having responsibilities to someone else. I’ve been single and travelling alone for a while now and before that, I was living on my own. So I think that job has shown me how it can be a joyful thing to have such responsibilities. It doesn’t need to be a burden. And that’s a huge and exciting lesson for me to learn!
I am sure I was learning a lot more from that job which will dawn on me as I integrate the experience over the next while but those lessons alone are hugely rewarding!
A beautiful sunrise I got to witness because I was up and out of the dorm early mornings- blessings aplenty!
The rest of week one was all about acclimatising to the routine, the people, the teachers, and basically finding my niche.
The whole course of people gelled pretty well and pretty quickly- there were lots of little groups as there always are in these kinds of situations (I met an amazing group of friends that became my core group to hang out and have fun with too). But everyone seemed to be included and there was a lot of love between all of us which was lovely to see and feel.
I also met this beautiful man, Brent, who is someone I felt really bonded to from the first time we spoke. He is one of the most amazing human beings I have ever met. As I get older and learn more about the world and the nature of us humans, the more I realise good friends that you can be your true and total self with are so invaluable and quite uncommon. I feel very blessed to have met him and know I will see him again soon- whether he likes it or not! 😀
The teachers were all enthusiastic, knowledgeable about their subjects and very kind and compassionate.
Although in week one we may not have realised quite how amazing he was, our main teacher Prahlada, was just INCREDIBLE! A very talented teacher, and beautiful, kind-hearted, funny and giving person. He is a wonderful testament to Swami Vishnu-Devananda’s teachings. Every time he spoke of his guru, you could feel the love and affection he has for him. He really embraced us all in love too and made our time there so safe and secure.
I really enjoyed his philosophy classes and was so blown away by how he handled some of the questions people asked him- always extremely patient and he emphasised how his teaching is his experience of the Vedanta philosophy.
I have read and studied a lot of the yogic texts and philosophies over the years and not all of the specifics resonate with me. I find some of the approaches quite patriarchal and in truth, don’t believe some of the practices are needed for females. I think we, instead, need other things that aren’t spoken about in this arena. (It’s a rather large subject, so I will revisit in a future post!)
I know what my Truth is but I am also well aware I know absolutely nothing, so I was looking forward to seeing if there would be a new perspective given to any of the areas that hadn’t resonated for me before.
These points still feel the same for me- after all, I can only come from my experiences and from those experiences, some of the teachings are not real for me- but it was SO enriching to hear his talks and I really enjoyed hearing his Truth and feeling his conviction and knowing behind these. It is clearly his experience and Truth and he explained all of the knowledge quite beautifully. I look forward to realising just how much I gained from these lectures in the coming, probably years!
The week continued and my love for Satsangs did too! They were the thing I had been looking forward to most before arriving and I wasn’t disappointed with the experience! It was amazing how quickly we all knew Jaya Ganesha! And getting to do group meditating followed by singing and chanting every morning and evening was just beautiful.
On the Thursday evening, the Satsang was held around a bonfire.
It was so beautiful singing Kirtan in nature. At one point, they asked if people would like to sing any songs. I have been working on getting back into my singing life, so got up with a bit of prompting from Amy and Kathleen! I was really happy I did as the beautiful support from the crowd was really special and I instantly gained in confidence from that experience.
I will definitely miss the place. I woke up this morning thinking I had to go ring the bell to get everyone up for Satsang- it was very strange to realise I am in my friends’ place in New York, no bell in sight. Even stranger: after my morning meditation, I ended up singing Jaya Ganesha in my room on my own! Not quite the same but strangely, it worked!!
I will continue the tale of my amazing month at the ashram over the next week. For now, I just want to say, I am looking forward to catching up on all of your news and connecting with you again. I hope you are all happy, healthy and living your joy!
With love and light,