Apologies; this post has been a few days a’coming. Had proactive intentions of getting it up in the break between anatomy and meditation/mantra chanting classes, but was a wee bit hindered by a somewhat severe case of Delhi belly (or should that be Rishikesh Running Rectum?).
I must admit, I feel like quite the knob. Total tosspot. I’ve been so smug about not once getting sick on the last Indian adventure (why, even last night on the way back from the shop with my fellow Irish student I was telling him how my gut can handle anything) that I didn’t even factor in that it may happen this time.
But my Lordy, has it happened.
1.15am. I jolted awake with my tummy wishing about like a washing machine on the highest spin cycle. Toilet, I told myself – but I couldn’t get up. Genuinely, I couldn’t get myself up from my bed. I put it down to intense DOMS and pretty much threw myself into the bathroom.
Then it happened, oh, another six times.
When my alarm went off at 5.30am I made the hesitant admission that my aching body wasn’t purely down to tired muscles. I went down to shatkarma (all these alien Hindu words will be defined as time goes on) and even though everyone told me I looked like shit (nicely, mind) (they said it nicely, I mean; I don’t think you can nicely look like shit) I was hellbent on doing the class.
I got 27 minutes into asana practice, ran outside to vomit and the lovely, lovely morning teacher gently suggested I go back to bed.
For someone as stubborn as me to relent and do so, I realised I must be rather unwell (especially when I fell down the stairs a bit because I couldn’t left my legs high enough to clear each step). I attempted anatomy class too, but that teacher also instructed me to go to my room and sleep it off.
So I did so for the next six-and-a-half hours, arising at 3.48pm and feeling eons back to my old self (the Indian boys charged me up with electrolytes, Beaver insisted I take charcoal pills, the Irish lad returned from the shop with a carton of mango juice for myself and I downed what felt like cauldrons of h20). And I even managed to get through the evening asana class and keep down a little pumpkin mash and some carrot sticks for dinner!
But anyway, back to the beginning; in this case, Tuesday.
So after a very theme-park-like drive into Tapovan, Rishikesh (a blaring “beeeeeep” and subsequent passing of the car in front is the go, even on corners and when another car is coming in the opposite direction), I arrived at Rishikesh Yog Dham, the school I chose to redo my 200 hours at. When I was here last time I visited the school and did a few classes, and vowed I would come back one day and do so under the guidance of Arvind, Yog Dham’s owner and principal teacher.
This time, I shall be undertaking the training with one Phillip Bevins, otherwise known as Beaver. My best friend since I started at Cambridge High School going on ten years ago, Beaver and I made a pact two years ago that we would come to India together to study yoga. (I shall elaborate on him at a later date).
And here we are.
I dumped my bags in my room and ran down to see him (floor below, one over the right). It was so surreal to think that we were in INDIA, not Cambridge or Hamilton or anywhere in NZ, but in INDIA. After a quick catch up as I quickly unpacked and showered, we decided a stroll into Laksman Jhula – the next door village – was to be had.
It was incredible how many faces I recognised. The man at the material shop, the convenience store, the yellow-clothed beggar man and the lady taking up vigil at the sloping road stall. It felt as though time had stood still, that all my memories were exact in reality – though then I saw a teenager selling sandalwood necklaces that ripped my friend Eva and I off last time, and I was astounded to see his transformation from boy hood.
I got my demure on, lowering my eyes and nodding respectfully as I passed people. For someone as forthright and direct as myself, I was quite amazed that I managed to slip back into the reverential ways of being. And the celebrity status started, us stopped every few hundred metres for selfies and group shots and to hold babies.
After a pitstop at Little Buddha Cafe (alas, my hot Nepalese boyfriend is no longer there) we headed back to rest up and meet the others on our course.
1. Dylan from Dublin. A high school teacher who was born and brought up in the Western village of Boyle, Dylan’s mother is a yoga teacher and has always encouraged him to do the course. Looking at price points, he worked out it was far cheaper to fly to India and undertake his 200 hours than it was to do so at the school in the country’s capital.
2. Christina from California. Having just given up her role as a mall developer, Christina is in a transitional stage of deciding what she wants to do. Yoga called, so she came.
3. Vanessa from Vienna. A professional piano player and singer studying in London, Vanessa’s reasoning for being here is to find her focus to translate it over to her music. A very reserved and somewhat serious soul, it is her – as well as Christina and Dylan’s – first time out of the western world and into a developing one.
(Admittance: Christina is actually from Florida via Hawaii and Vanessa is German – you know how the opportunity to alliterate sometimes gets in the way of accuracy for me).
And there’s Beavs. And then there’s me.
It’s funny, upon meeting them all and in line with me feeling super old of late, I assumed I may be the most senior. It was a bit of a shock (and I admit it, quite the joy) to discover the other three are 27, with Beavs 26 next week.
I’ll get into the schedule and what not in the next post, but one note to end on: in our first mantra chanting and meditation class, the teacher (a very cheeky lad named Vikhal) asked why each of us are here. Christina is for yoga as an exercise type call; Vanessa for her focus; Dylan for his wish to deepen his practice and be able to guide his high school students; Beavs to find health and put his body in harmony.
I considered it for a bit before my answer came lucidly limpid.
I’m here to quieten my “monkey mind”. I’m here to find my lightness. I’m here to find my peace within myself.
I’m here to start living yoga, instead of just doing it.
So here I am. And we begin.