28 Nov 2011

Involuntary Cleansing

Went to sleep early after a lovely little meditation at the end of yoga class on Friday’s new moon. Only to wake up at 5am feeling positively strange. Heavy, churning stomach, bowels on over-drive. Then it came. The intestinal cleanse from both ends….in other words a stomach virus. Not nice. Not nice at all. It was the first time in seven years I had to cancel a whole day’s work.
Drained of energy, I slept, sipped water and read, all day and night. Reflecting on my recent dietary misdemeanors, determined to keep it more sattvic (light and pure) upon recovery.

My reading for this day of viral induced purging was ‘Guruji’, I’d been reluctant to buy it. Not sure why, perhaps worried I’d be disappointed. However to my surprise I found it such a reassuring and inspirational read. To hear the thoughts of such long term practitioners congruent with mine. To see how different people express similar concepts, how Guruji’s teaching was imparted, received and understood differently by all, and yet fundamentally the same. To see which teachers I resonated with the most.

To relate their long experience with Guruji to my short three week stint. But I think I got it, I had a taste. It wasn’t all in my imagination. That power he had, the energy I felt in the room, the energy from him just standing next to me, assisting me, petrified as I was, with drop backs, the grandfatherly warmth and love yet with the power and discipline of a guru. Looking back at this photo, I truly am beaming. I have never beamed so much. I am still so glad I scraped together my unemployment benefit and ran off to India on a shoestring, knowing so strongly I HAD to meet this man, HAD to go to the source of this yoga. It was just enough to get the hug after dropping back and the big squeeze for this photo...awwwwww...memories.

I lost 3kg in a day, amazing what that did to my stamina. The next morning’s pratice was light as a feather and all my body seemed to want was standing poses, a little forward bending, a lot of back bending and a touch of shoulder-standing and head-standing. That was enough. So shall build it up again slowly. The interesting thing in this morning’s practice, was the knee that’s been bothering me for so long slipped nicely and totally pain free into lotus. One teacher in the book said how his knee problems were also energetically a sign of fear of taking the next step, fear of moving forward. Food for thought. Motto for the rest of the year: No Fear.

18 Nov 2011

Master Snowboarder and Ashtangi

Terje Haakonsen. In the snowboard world, he's the man. I love boarding, but don't follow the competitions or fashions or fame but when I saw the words 'for Terje' on the bottom of my board I looked him up. Japanese call him the god of boarding. Man is he good. When I found out he was also an Ashtangi he became a bit of a hero for me. Thinking how I would so like to meet him and talk yoga and boarding one day. For those of you who don't know him, check this out:

As they say on the video to do a run like this requires mental toughness, to overcome all your fears and doubt. Not an easy feat as we all know. So when I hear he is going to be in my neck of the woods I go to where he is hoping I might at least get to say hello...maybe a quick chat.

The first day I was too shy to even go near him, this is ridiculous I tell myself. I can usually talk to anyone, overcome my shyness, but I couldn't, just couldn't do it. He has a different aura, dare I say the aura of a master.

The second day I catch the bus over the mountains to the big city to meet some friends at the club where the Burton riders would be. Thinking I will probably be unable to even say hello, so no expectations except to hang with some friends I hadn't seen since the earthquake. Fun, music and drinks. Then my friends encourage me to go say hello. I did, blurted out god knows what in my drunken (bad yogi) nervous (worse yogi) state and he invites us into the back room with them...... We chatted, I was in awe, so much in fact I just chat and chat and chat with no mention of yoga or boarding once. What was that about, maybe I didn't want to bother him. Oh how I kicked myself all the way home.

However it did make me realise what separates the masters from the practitioners. It's the strength and clarity of mind. That equanimity, composure in any situation. I know in my meager riding experience how important it is to be totally relaxed, clear and in the moment. The minute nerves, fear or doubt creep in, wham, crash, bam! What could be better training for this than Ashtanga, both physically and mentally I can think or nothing better to prepare me and keep me going through the season.

So it's Firday and I practiced primary. I felt terrible while doing it, stiff and heavy, had to haul my ass through to the end. So many times I wanted to stop and have breakfast, but I didn't, and when I was done, I felt great. Ironed out some kinks, released a bit of negativity and lightened my step for the day.

Come on snow.