Feeling: LIFE, REALLY.
I’m loving yogic life.
Knowing this place is my home for the next month does not instil the apprehension it did when I first arrived at the other place last time (did that make sense at all?). Here, it makes me feel calm.
My room is my room, walls adorned with coloured flags and notations to myself, my clothes sorted into sections on my table, vacuum bags for next destinations lined up in order under my shelf. My bed feels like mine to get into every night; hard mattress how I like it, pyjamas a’ready under my pillow, my blankets laid out how I prefer (my second one I requested after two nights of waking up freezing under only one my favourite; I kept thinking of my Nanna and couldn’t figure out why, then realised whatever fabric softener they use yields the exact same scent as the one she did). And as a group, we are remarkably apropos; although we are all significantly different, we just seem to fit (especially the new girl who arrived today – Marie from Denmark. In her second year of study to become a doctor, I took as instant liking to her when ten minutes into our conversation she said “fuck” and “shit”. My kind of girl).
The first few days of asana practice has been more introductory, conditioning our bodies for the extreme physical acts it is (very soonly) about to engage in. Our morning teacher – Manoj – is the most gentle of souls who shares his wisdom in benevolent instruction. And afternoons (4.15-6pm) sees Arvind, the master behind the whole of Rishikesh Yog Dham (meaning “yoga pilgrim place”) lead us into a fuckton of extending ourselves to our (currrent) limits.
He’s great. Already, he has us leading sun salutations (dynamic asana sequence said to honour the sun) (also a moon salutation for night time) for the whole class. He has this sort of quiet and humble superiority, where he doesn’t judge nor get frustrated, but guides us through with the uttermost equanimity.
He also eludes quite the Indian babeness.
Last night he taught us how to do the relaxation head massage on those in savasana, putting us in pairs to practise on. “You’re with me,” he said.
Apart from putting far too much pressure on his temples (“too much, too much!”) and lifting his neck along and up instead of up and along, there was a moment I was thinking how he is quite the attractive specimen (in a purely platonic, I-love-The-Pedaller-light, I will assert) when I was overcome with a horrid sensation that he could read my mind.
Blank it, blank it, I told myself. And luckily, I now kind of can.
I don’t know if that blanking of my mind and subsequent spacing out had anything to do with me accidentally upturning my tray and spilling my dinner all over my lap, but it took a bit of scrubbing of the crotch (my pants, and after taking them off) (in my room by myself later, I will clarify) to remove all traces of aloo goobi.
Today – Sunday, the day of rest – was ours to do with as we pleased. I arose at 6.30 for a spot of self-directed yoga, did two loads of washing and then went down to meet the other four for breakfast (Marie not yet arrived), ready to kickstart our day of exploration of the surrounds.
Quickly an aside to the washing front; upon asking if the establishment had washing facilities, our question was met with the standard bobbing-of-the-head and a, “but of course”. Justifyingly expecting to be shown a washing machine, we were instead gestured to a bucket in each of our bathrooms and a tap. Obviously, hand washing was to be the go.
With a laundro-whizz such as MummyDeb my whole life (if you’re ever in town with her and an unexpected drizzle starts to fall, you know her antsyness is down to washing out on the line at home) I’ve never really had to get too into doing my own. When living in Auckland I would sort of just save it up for whenever I went home, Australia I sort of chucked it all into the machine with no consideration of colours or fabrics or ideal temperature readings, and last time I was in India Eva and I would do it together (meaning she would usually take over and do mine as well). I mean, I know what I’m doing, I’ve just never really had to follow through with it myself.
Especially hand washing.
With my more delicates items of attire, MummyDeb has always been on at me that I need to learn to hand wash. Little does she know that I’ve always known how to do so (it’s not that hard) but I know that leaving it in the sink “soaking” will always lead to her finishing off the job and draping it across the line.
But alas, she was not here to do so today, so I had to do the entire process myself.
Quite therapeutic, really.
So the five of us went of to explore the shops and stalls. We got on barter on, exchanged rupees (and travel cards with ridiculous purchase charges) for trinkets and treasures, wandered the skinny roads bursting with people and cars and colour (and that constant “beep beep beeeeeeeeeeep”) and stopped every few hundred metres or so for selfies with the braver Indian locals and tourists (the whiteness and blondness just has them mesmerised).
The others trooped back to the school while Beaver and I stayed out for lunch and a spot more shopping (he was feeling garlic chilli noodles and I had mango juice calling my name). Then we ambled our way back also, me purposely not looking at the time or trying to rush, just taking how long it took in my stride (one goal I aim to conquer is the one of eradicating – or at least heavily reducing – such self rigid scheduling, especially on supposed “off” days).
I have to say, I was quite alarmed when unpacking all my purchases. When we arrived I told Beavs how I was steadfast that I wasn’t going to rush into buying stuff, rather taking time to contemplate and returning later to retrieve what I really wanted. Plus, in line with my aim to be more minimalistic, I don’t want to end this whole experience trying to stuff a whole lot of shit in my bag.
Well that lasted all of a day-and-a-half.
I got a stunning wall tapestry, a mandala-type print with elephants roaming amongst all the jewels and sparkles. I got two yoga mat holders (one for myself, one as a gift), hand crafted with flowers (fabric, not real) and coloured stitching and fully fledged zips (important aspect to check, you see). I got a white dress, a material yoga mat, a headband for The Pedaller (his mop needs a holdback in the Spanish heat), matching elephant pants for us each (he’s going to love me forcing him into those), a dong (in red), some om flags, a beautiful bag (a “school” one to carry around my books, but that also fits my laptop) and a further two more pairs of breezy pants – one for asana activities, one for lounging. (Lounging. Who the fuck says lounging? I feel like an ultimate twat using that term. Let’s go with wearing-when-not-doing-physical-yoga-poses).
Quite the haul. I’ve got my reasoning down; now I have all that I had written on my wish list (aside from my poof cushion) (I mean “poof” in the sense of light and springy, not some derogatory term) I do not have to worry about accumulating it over the next few weeks – it’s all already in my room.
So we returned to the school, I did my daily 30min of jogging laps around my little patch of dirt outside the gates (it’s amazing how you get used to the rubbish literally littering the sides of everything; I hardly batted an eyelid as I trotted next to an upside down sanitary pad) (unused one, to clarify), 80 upward-dog-to-downward-dog flows (the things we do for a more flexible lower back) (in breaks of 20, I’ll admit) then showered, met the others downstairs for dinner and to watch the rest of last night’s halfway-through movie (Wild with my girl Reese Witherspoon, a good watch; we were all too in need of slumber to watch it in full yesterday), and now here I am in my homely bedroom ready to devour some Eat, Pray, Love (Elizabeth Gilbert will never get old for me) and hit lights out at 9.15pm.
What a life, I tell you.
And tomorrow, the week takes spark with herbal tea at 6am.
I genuinely will be up with my 5.30 alarm.
(Though in this case, the “shine” is the constant sheen of sweat we all continuously wear).