Sunday, January 20, 2013

Detox Flow

Downloaded Seane Corn's Detox Flow video and practiced to it today. I've done this sequence at a yoga conference before. It was really challenging at the time but I loved it. This time around it felt just as good, but less challenging/shocking for the body, which is a good thing I guess. Apparently even though I barely practice yoga now, my flexibility is still mostly intact... I'm even worried if I'm over-stretching a bit. Makes me wonder if I should be practicing yoga at all or should I work on weight-bearing / strength building exercises. The most challenging part today was actually the beginning where Seane asked students to hold a plank and then lift the knee to touch the forehead. I think my deep core muscles are lacking the strength/training and I couldn't do it at all. Also I could barely hold the dolphin plank. These are specific move/muscle groups I need to work on.

I kind of want to sign up for trial Ashtanga yoga classes in town but I'm too cheap to do it. None of the studios are close to home and I'm hesitant to sign up, fearing that I might not make it to more than 2 classes/week. Feeling so lazy. I was too spoiled in Vancouver with a studio 3 minutes walk from home and with a community of friends. I don't really know how to make friends here... people seem to keep to themselves. Or maybe I'm keeping to myself and am not trying hard enough.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Realizations

I was lucky that I got to have in-depth chats with a lot of people while in India, both the locals and European travellers. Coming back to cold cold Scandinavia, chats with colleagues are kept at a superficial level; making new friends is again difficult. I am grateful to have a roommate to socialize with, but at the exact same time, I wish I were living alone so I could get more quiet alone time with more personal freedom (my roommate doesn't quite get the concept that sharing accommodation with another person doesn't mean that we have to entertain/socialize with each other all the time).

I am still quite lost in terms of what to do about my future. I no longer have ambitious plans for achieving a great career. I just want a job that pays the bills and will let me living relatively comfortably. Compared to my Indian friends in South India, I am definitely fortunate in that I can travel the way I do, and my standard of living is very high. On the other hand, I am kind of jealous of their tight connections with their families and friends, then I remember that these are guys I had been interacting with. The women in India are tied to their housework and children and do not have nearly as much freedom as men. But still, I wish I had a tighter network of friends/community support. I guess that's why I went back - the servers on the beach were always happy to have a chat with the customer who's also a lone traveler.

On this trip I learned that I enjoy being over-dramatic about nothing; I act like a spoiled brat sometimes. I like excitements in life, but I act like the most boring person you'll ever meet at a party. I crave a lot of attention but I don't like to work to get it. I have a tendency to want to please other people at the expense of displeasing myself, and then I complain about being forced to do something I don't want to do. One of my Indian friends got really sick of this and told me, "If you want to do it, go do it. If you don't want to do it, don't go." It's so simple that this advice appears to tell nothing. Yet this sounded like a major wake up call for me. I realized that I cannot distinguish the times when life circumstances do not allow me to make this kind of call, versus situations where I do indeed have the freedom to follow my own desires. I have long chosen to give up my rights in choosing what I want in so many life situations in order to try to please other people, but end up failing regardless. In other words, I am often unhappy because I make myself unhappy. I let other people bully me and I get angry about it. It was a tough lesson for me to learn, but a lesson that made the expensive plane ticket worth its cost.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Major shifts in my internal mental state

I managed to accomplish what I set out to do over the holidays: actively work on letting my mind settle and relax. I did this by buying a way over-priced last-minute plane ticket to India... back to where I was last time. Did nothing but sat around, enjoyed the comfortable warm weather, the gorgeous beach, the healthy and delicious food; the cheap but great massages, the warmth of the local people. No multi-terabytes of data needed to be analyzed; no computer screens sucking my life energy out of me; no foreign Swedish or Japanese culture that I had to learn to conform to (the locals conform to the tourist cultures); no getting lost in traffic and foreign roads this time around. Many of the vendors and restaurant servers remembered me from the last time I was there. No ashtanga yoga this time, though I did sign up for some simple hatha yoga classes with the local teachers. Turned out I don't love the Sivananda yoga sequence, but it still had a effect on me in letting me notice my energy shifts in the body.

As I allowed myself to do next to nothing and just be, I could feel the turbulence within me - both the non-stop thoughts in my mind and the anxious energy in my body - slowly began to settle over the weeks. It didn't happen all at once. The first week was actually really chaotic as I was again in a foreign setting for the third month in a row, but by the third week I began to experience some equanimity within me, despite all the craziness happening around me that was very typical of India.

When I first arrived, it felt like I had traveled back in time to February 2012. I mean there were new hotels, ayurvedic centers and restaurants popping up in every corner of the beach, but the whole atmosphere was so familiar. After a few months of chaos, with all my moves and new jobs and new culture to adapt to, being back in Kerala made me feel like the past few months were only a dream. It was insane when people waved at me and said, "Hi! I remember you from last year! Did you just arrive today?" Even if I go back to Canada now, only my friends would say that, never restaurant servers.

Actually, a million things happened on this trip.. tons of drama, even some heart breaks and tears. But the peacefulness I felt briefly at times among all the craziness and the heart-felt openness / friendliness of the people... these were exactly the reasons why I recklessly threw away my hard earned money to travel back to where I was 10 months ago. I really think the yogis who travel all the way to India should take time to have a break from the yoga classes and try to just experience India for what it is.