Feeling: LIKE A SNAKE
Just a cheeky six short stories for you.
1. So as the next step of the jala neti shatkarma (what a name right?) came the other AM when Manoj appeared with six bits of string. And when I say string, I don’t mean flimsy twine either; this was rather thick orange rubber.
“Sutra Neti,” he beamed – and I mean, beamed.
So, sutra neti? Well, in an epigrammatic eludication, it’s as follows; get the string, thread it up your nose, out through your mouth, grab the end, floss your face and then progressively prise it out your oral opening. A spraying of spit and mucus will follow.
Then do the other side.
This may not make sense to y’all, but the aim is to get pingala and ida in synchrony to get sushumna flowing. (Hindi yoga science speak you see).
The first day only Danish Marie and Dylan from Dublin managed it, one nosehole each. I watched Marie as she threaded the string out of her mouth with a big long, “Waaaaaaahhhhhhhhh!” and decided my attempts that morning would be heartily half hearted.
As would the next. (There’s just this point where it reached a block on the left, and on the right I start to sneeze).
But yesterday I awoke with resolve. I’m doing it today, I told myself, determinedly thrusting my (slightly less orange) feet into my Birkys. I headed downstairs and did the asana stretching with zeal (A very concerned Manoj asked if I was ok; my face must have looked a bit offly odd).
And then it began.
One, two, three fails. Dylan from Dublin got it in. Danish Marie seconded her success. I have to do this today, I self cheerleaded. And then I felt the thread tickle my tonsils.
A bit of a gag and a pull back through the nose (“Poppy you need to pull it out of your mouth!” Manoj said – my string had been starting to steer down my eosphagus) and I started again. This time I put two fingers in and pulled it out. I was in! (Sorry, a touch confuddling there; to clarify, my string was strung through my sinus).
After a bit of a to-and-fro, I threaded it out of my nostril, with a gallon of glop following. After a fist-pump-high-five with Manoj (my new best friend) I went for the other side and got it in one go.
It was like as it cleared my sinus, it cleared my mind. All the monkeys swinging about dispelled and it was this sense of utter one pointedness.
And it continued.
As we went upstairs for pranayama (shall elaborate soon), these frissons of electrical energy started radiating up from my toe tips. Just these currents of creativity – writings and words swirled about my cerebellum and I wanted a pen and pad of paper. Stay with it, I told myself. I felt like I had railed a deposit of MD (not that I’d know what that feels like…) and was on condensed vapour ten-point-oh.
You see, yogic philosophy has this idea that in every human being there is a prime energy, a sleeping spiritual force that lies coiled at the base of the spine. Once awakened (though asana, pranayama, meditation and so such) it rises through a series of centres (chakras), unites with ida, pingala and sushumna at the third eye (ajna chakra) and then all together they ascend to the crown of the head where one reaches absolute enlightenment and samadhi.
I know. A touch (ok, a far bit) esoteric, but bear with me (and when you hear the philosophy behind it, it really does make sense).
(Danish Marie was finding it a rather hard concept to grasp and I said, “Pretty much there’s a snake in a coma above your arsehole and you need to rouse it with med and shit to be reach ultimate consciousness). (I don’t think my explanation aided her understanding in the slightest).
These vibrations were going to the city centre in my body. “Come on Kundalini,” I rooted it on. “Rise in me.”
I visualised a snake stirring and elevating its little head; a bit like when Harry Potter was at the zoo with the Dursleys, before he knew he was “a wizard ‘Arry”.
And it was the undoing of me.
Obviously it ignited some samskara in me (past memory or impression) because I was suddenly transported back to two years ago when I was nannying in Auckland. The little boy had been complaining of an itchy bum and his mother and I found out to see if someone has worms, you take a torch to their – for want of a better word – anus, and shine it on the squigglers. We did just so, and his little boy’s bumhole was riddled with wrigglers.
My own snake (to clarify, I don’t have worms) settled down in his lair above my rectum as I collapsed in chortles.
I lost it. (Both the rising of my snake and my self composure).
But I got to the first step. And tomorrow is another day.
Plus it flicked the switch in my mental state and ever since I’ve been back to Ultra Pop.
I’m back bish.
2. The cows here really milk – sorry, a pun had to happen – their sacred status. You should see them! Roaming the roads, parking up on the pavement, couching on the concrete. Such docile creatures that have utmost trust that they know they’ll never be harmed.
And the other day there was a male one hanging out outside a trinket store. “A bull in a china shop,” I said. And just fell about in convulsions.
3. I think (actually, I know) I have absolutely awakened my metabolism Kundalini. For the past two years my neglected reptile has sat in a supine state, but these last three weeks have ignited the fucker to fruition and he is slithering about like a waterslide – literally. (I eat lunch and it’s out within an hour). Having breakfast at 9am, lunch at 12.30 and din at 6.30pm day in and day out has lit a match in me and I have that recognisable rumble of my belly bellowing for breakfast every morning.
“I’m hungry,” I declare. And for the first time in two years, I am actually in touch with my hunger cues.
I’m still not on the rice or the roti, and when we’re all at a cafe I feel slightly self conscious, but we’re getting there.
4. Once again I am indulging in some Eat, Pray, Love with my girl Elizabeth Gilbert (the wondrous Bible of the wandering woman). The other day I reread a quote that really set off my success spirit: “You gotta stop wearing your wishbone where your backbone oughtta be”. Such a succinct way to say a powerful statement. (Funnily enough, Google Baba attributes the assertion to Lizzie G herself, but in actuality it was, well, actually Richard from Texas who said it to her).
(Though it does remind me – yes, another samskura – of when I was about six years old and we lived in Wellington; we were saving up all the wishbones from our chicken dinners in a little China container on the window sill – don’t ask me why; maybe to have an afternoon of well wishing? – when one day the Brother Michael went and broke them all in bits. I think I can honestly say I have finally forgiven him).
5. Yesterday I went to cross the road and stumbled over a stone (well, a massive fuck-off rock but you know me and my penchant for same-letter-starting sequences). I almost went face first to the ground – just as a massive truck rumbled past. If I’d actually fallen, my head would’ve been under its wheel and I would’ve been dead.
It made me suddenly see how close to death we are each and every day. Why am I so het up on having extremely attenuated appendages when I could trip and end up deceased tonight?
Live and love yourself in the now.
6. And lastly, a bit of a fun fact; the Rosary Bead is considered a Christian conception. But did you know when the earliest European explorers first came to India, they acknowledged the people praying with their 108 beaded mala, well, beads, and adopted the idea for their own? (I can now also quite clearly see where Kelly Coe got her inspiration from for her accessories range).
Oh, and a cheeky 7.: for some unbeknownst and at first unnoticed reason, I have started doing the infamous Indian head waggle in response to a question.
When in Rome (or in this case, Rishikesh) right?
That’s all (for now) folks!