Archive for the ‘Yoga’ Category

Week #4 in the Ashram: Escapes and Exams

Shortly after writing the week 3 post of my Ashram experiences, Dylan arrived at the Ashram and we escaped early Saturday morning to attend a dear friend’s wedding in Haliburton, Ontario.  Lots of driving, little sleep, a sip of wine, black tea and sugar (all things I had not been exposed to for 3 weeks) made for an interesting 24 hours out of the ashram.

Upon returning to the Ashram, everyone wanted to know “what it was like” (returning to what some call ‘reality’).  To be honest, it felt normal.  I didn’t feel like 3 weeks was long enough to get so used to Ashram life that outside life would feel strange.  It was the sugar, poor quality sleep, tea and driving that made me feel terribly hungover on Sunday….and every day since I have left the Ashram.

Our final week of our Yoga Teacher Training Course was pretty much our standard schedule of meditations, chanting, yoga and lectures, with some practice teaching and a few ceremonies.  I was initiated into a mantra so that I now have a designated mantra that I can repeat while meditating and also while walking, driving, cleaning etc.  On Saturday morning we wrote a 3 hour exam and then a bunch of us went to help prepare the evening Indian feast in the kitchen for 200 people.  Dylan and I were given the task of preparing the Sambar.  Well, we chopped the vegetables and stirred the pot as the chef tossed in the ingredients. 

Finally, on Saturday evening we all graduated.  There are now 26,000 Sivananda certified Yoga teachers in the world, I am number 25, 998.

Advertisements

Week 3 of Ashram Life

This week started off with a huge Hindhu festival called Kavadi.  We were expecting 20,000 people to attend, but we think the numbers were closer to 10,000 and it wasn’t as crazy as we thought it would be.  However, there was definitely still some crazy things, like the hooks in this man’s back:There are strings attached to the hooks which another man holds on to when they dance.  These men dance for 4-5 hours in a parade of a chariot around the temple.  The man have been preparing for this event in advance with meditations, fasting etc. so that they enter a trance on the day of Kavadi and do not feel pain and do not bleed when the hooks are inserted.  You can see them dancing in the photo below:

The festival was full of food, music, worship and pretty saris, so here are some more photos:

And while there is much more happening at the Ashram (not including 4 hours of yoga, 1 hour of meditation and 6 of chanting and lectures daily) and in my practice, I will just share a few more photos for now, perhaps some stories next post.

I will have better photos when my camera arrives this week, these are just from my phone.  Onto the final week of my life in the ashram, I can’t believe I’ve been here for 3 weeks and while one week seems short, I have a feeling some of the hours of these 7 days will feel like forever.  Bring on Scorpion pose.

Week #2 in the Ashram…

These are my lessons from the second week of life in an Ashram in the Sivananda Teacher Training Course in Val Morin, Quebec:

  • The World Cup squeezed it’s way through the gates of the Ashram and instead of our 2-4pm lecture on the 4 Paths of Yoga, we ate popcorn and watched the final game!
  • The scary rustling and sniffing around my tent at night is a stray black cat……that has stirred up emotions in meditation of when our old black cat died on my 18th birthday….xoxo Blacky.
  • My ego pops up everywhere, awakened everyday by another ego.
  • I was scolded for tossing my cutlery ‘disrepectfully’ into the dirty dish bucket by one of our lecturers and I cried and cleaned the floors for an hour after that.
  • “Kriya” day was Thursday.  Kriyas are purifying/cleansing practices and thus:
  1. I poured water in one nostril and out the other (Neti Pot) = fairly easy.
  2. I threaded a catheter through my nostrils and out of my mouth to floss and release mucous from the nasal passage = much gagging, many attempts, many thoughts of giving up because I could feel the thing at the back of the throat but couldn’t reach it, more gagging, tears, snot……success in left nostril! (later in breathing exercises, I could breath so clear from my left nostril and I felt suffocated by my right…..almost makes me want to do this more…)
  3. I drank 8 cups of warm salt water quickly and proceeded to vomit it out (you’re supposed to, it brings mucous from the esophagus out) = not terrible, no acid comes up so it feels pretty normal and you can see all the mucous.
  4. The last was to swallow a long piece of wet gauze and then slowly pull it out = very few of us could even watch this, nevermind attempt it.

Very excitingly, this Sunday is the festival of Swami Sivananda’s death and there are going to be 25,000 people here at the Ashram!  It is a huge celebration that we are helping to coordinate, should be crazy.

Om Namah Shivaya