It was basically over…6 days a week, 8 AM Ayurvedic massage (which meant you had to be up even earlier to get ready and have breakfast), then a 3 HR morning asana practice, a few hours in a lecture, group discussion, or a lesson in Ayurveda, a little less than that for a lunch break right after, another 3 HR asana practice in the afternoon, a dinner break and an evening lecture that went til 10 PM….all for a month.
Phew! I just got tired all over again thinking about those days in the heat and how hard I would crash at the end of the night. The days were long, grueling yet extremely self-reflective…physically, mentally and emotionally. I remember the day they announced “Okay now we’re going to break off into groups of three and you all are going to instruct a class…” I wish I could see how wide my eyes were…I was beyond nervous. Growing up, I hated getting in front of my class for a presentation, but got better with it over time. (Even took some courses in college!) So it immediately took me back to my younger days, when I was shy and didn’t really want to talk. We all taught different sections, and that continued for a week or so, until we all realized…’hey, this sequence is actually a lot easier to remember than I thought it was going to be.’ And it was because of those 6 hours of yoga a day! The asanas were being ingrained in our subconscious…it was already in our minds by that time and we didn’t even realize it! We got Miyagi’d.
I couldn’t believe I had just taught my first class…it was like everything had changed. I knew what I came to India for, I was just surprised I had actually accomplished something I said I had wanted to do for a few years. I smiled and with that smile…I was thanking myself. The person I went with gave me a look and smiled…I said ‘what?’….he said “You just look different, now. Now that you’ve teached….” And truth was, I felt different…I felt I had even more purpose on this Earth. I felt I had more to share…and essentially teach, through yoga. I’ve still got lots to learn in my own yoga practice, but I am so excited to see where the journey will take me, in both my internal and external world.
The month at Shri Kali Ashram had come to and end, we didn’t quite want to ditch the beach just yet so we jumped on the train and took a small trip further south to Om Beach, Gokarna, Karnataka, India. The beach gets it’s name because the shore itself, is in the shape of an Om, we stayed at the very last guest house at the end of the beach and was on an incline and where you could actually see the shape! The sunset there was breath taking. What was even better, was that since we were there a little late in the season, we had just missed the crowds, so not only was the beach in general, pretty empty, but the guest house we stayed in was completely EMPTY! We were the only ones there and it was heaven. The guest house was called the Dolphin Shanti Cafe/Guesthouse, and it had a spectacular view. (Can you see the Om??)
A short rickshaw/tuk tuk ride away, was the main market area in Gokarna, we walked around, did a little shopping, and we walked by an alley that was so narrow, you just couldn’t quite figure out how anyone got through on their vehicles. And the walls in that alley way caught my eye, I saw some of the most beautiful street art I had ever seen, and as a street art aficionado (Fun fact: I’m huge fan of Banksy!), I had to get pictures, no matter how tight of a squeeze it was to let people drive through the alley….with me in it……
The trip to Om Beach was a vacation from a vacation, in a way, even though it was a physically taxing one. We were SO happy to just be able to sit around, relax, and do nothing, but hang and share a smoke out of a chillum. We even shared a chillum with the owner of the Guest House, Jimmy (not his given name). He was such a sweet, dark skinned, thin yet strong man, who lived on site with his wife and kids. Every night he made sure to come and say good evening, have a chat about life with us as we smoked out of our chillum. There was significance behind this ritual, you always shared a chillum with friends and loved ones, and with a long exhale you say “Boommmmmm, Shivaaaaaa.” My heart longs for all the warm, Indian summer nights I shared with the people I was surrounded by….I remember saying to myself one evening, ‘Man I’m gonna miss this’…but these memories will live on forever, I thought, and brought myself back to the present. Because in the end, you can long for something….someone….a certain time…but doing that will do nothing for you but steal your peace of mind and happiness in that moment. There is only now.
And then I started to wonder what I would see the remainder of those 2 months. I was over joyed and could barely contain myself. I was restless, almost, and nothing could bring me down…not even the 34 hour train ride from hell up the west coast……we were Jaipur bound!….Or at least we thought…..