Monday, January 24, 2011
It is nearly two weeks since I left Mysore. And the place continues to work on me. As with asana practice, I try to relax, inhale and exhale deeply, allowing it to do its magic, resisting as little as possible. It is a challenge to remain flexible, especially back in the real world.
I quite ignorantly said, before I ever left home, that I would not change. Though in essence I am the same person, it was not a realistic promise (and I am sorry for making it). Change is constant. And if you spend a long enough time in Mysore, if you surrender to your yoga practice, if you willingly allow yourself to go down the rabbit hole, change will be inevitable. It might be subtle, drastic, physical, emotional, spiritual, or more likely a crazy combination of all the above--so wide is the scope of this deep yoga practice, so deep is its reach, so sneaky too--I barely noticed myself until wham! here I am.
Since Mysore, I continue to feel these "shifts." They are these little tremors, aftershocks that typically follow a big quake. Mysore was that for me, groundbreaking.
Physically, I see the changes. Having had no full-length mirror for the last one and a half months in Mysore (I bought a round little thing, 6 inches in diameter to braid my hair in the morning), I am totally amazed to see myself, whole self, so healthy. I feel some changes too in my stamina, flexibility and strength. Ursula told me that I would be surprised with my own practice after I returned from Mysore. That has yet to happen, but I believe it will. Everything in good time.
Mentally, there are shifts too. I feel like I am thinking with more clarity. I feel more aware of my own thought processes. I caught myself today thinking as I was being asked by the bank guard to move my car, I was already out in the rain, "Don't be upset, he's right, he's only doing his job, you'll only get a little wet." Within a second I'd got over the inconvenience. I've been driving in Manila for a week now and I've noted at least a half dozen moments that could have transformed into road rage, I thoughtfully let it pass along with the haphazard drivers of buses and jeepneys that dominate these streets.
Emotionally, I feel more FULL STOP. My friend Alena, once accused me of over using the word "surrender" while teaching yoga. And she's right. I love to say it. I know the importance of it in ashtanga and in life. And to some degree, here and there I have surrendered. But that whole-hearted surrender happened in Mysore, a little each day at practice (all this crazy back-bending perhaps?) and finally culminating around New Year's at the Shiva temple in Chamundi Hill. Since then, I can physically feel my cruddy little heart opening. Untold emotions have since eeked out and continues to do so. It is inconvenient and there seems to be no end to it. It is also incredibly beautiful to feel so...alive.
Some changes will take some getting used to like my renewed commitment to psuedo-vegetarianism. I've been eating fish post-Mysore. Though, I'll probably get used to it faster than my family will. I feel more sensitive to my environment and to the people around me. I quietly wigged out the two times my family and I went to the mall, which is a real shift because I usually love the mall. There was something unsettling about the energy, the bright artificial lights, the buzzing shoppers and excessive retail.
Then there are the changes that I choose to make. Changes that are motivated by both my newly-gotten mental clarity and this spooky heart-opening. These, I think, will be the hardest to go through because it will be me (not Mysore) who will have to be the master of change. They are pesky decisions that disrupt the status quo. They won't always be easy. They might hurt a little, sometimes a lot. But they are necessary and they are honest.
Everyday, I revel in the mystery of Mysore and it's transformative powers. Everyday, I remind myself that change is good.