Monday, May 9, 2011

Post Mysore Survival Tip: Mysore Debriefing

It's been a while since I've written. I suppose that is a symptom of the world outside of Mysore. Beyond the safe walls of Mysore's yoga bubble, life takes over. There's work, relationships, making a living, surviving. Time is no longer my own to dispense with as I see fit. Responsibilities and debts have to be paid. The real world is not a yoga vacation but a yoga trial, where the challenge of fitting it all in with a 6-day a week practice can nearly be insurmountable.

And life has been full--of everything!--since my return from Mysore. There has been confusion and heartache and sadness. There has also been discovery and joy and love. It has been totally and absolutely full on!

You hear stories around Gokulam. "The things that happen to people when they go to Mysore." People go nuts. They move half way across the world. The leave their jobs. They quit their marriages. They go buck wild or plain old fashioned crazy. And I remember listening to these stories bemused and confident, thinking to myself, that's not going to happen to me. I'm content with my life. I wouldn't change a thing. But change is not something we control, it is something that happens quite naturally, and with much speed if yoga has anything to do with it.

And what quite naturally happened to me was a healthy dose of Post-Mysore-traumatic disorder. Things that appeared fine from an old angle, appeared decidedly different. For me, it was how I was living and the choices I'd made. And from the moment I started to head home, the world as I knew it started to fall apart. Perhaps this world had seen that I was no longer the same, that the wheels of fortune had spun in a different direction, and things that used to fit would fit no longer.

I'm not good with confrontations. And no amount of yoga had changed that. Cowardly as it was, instead of going home to Boracay to deal with it, I did the opposite: I joined a yoga workshop in Manila. Govinda Kai was in town back in early Feb (at Bliss Yoga).

Things had come full circle. Claudia and I were together again. And were it not for Claudia, I would not have taken the bulk of the workshop.

Ironically enough, the workshop itself became a vehicle to cope with my shifting world. In a nutshell, it became my Mysore debriefing, helping me to understand the complete upheaval that I was going through, which according to Govinda is quite normal.

A year ago, when I asked Govinda (he was in Boracay for a workshop) for advice about going to Mysore. He said that I should go for 3 months. He said that the first month was for "getting used to it," the second was for "falling apart" and the third was for "coming back together again." When I reminded him of his advice, he quipped something like, "and then when you return everything falls apart again." He didn't include that vital piece of information a year ago. In any case, he couldn't have been more right.

Govinda listened as I explained the mess I was coming back to, how I was now afraid to return to my once so orderly life. But Govinda helped confirm what I felt in my bones, that the changes I'd personally felt were good. All he said was this, when comparing me to our first visit a year ago, "You are more present." And I could really feel it.

Coming back from Mysore, I really appreciated the intense practice that happens when Govinda holds space. But beyond that, the series of lectures that he shared with our group slowly debriefed me from my India experience, it gave me time to process all this new information, new programming, it organized my thoughts, and put words to what seemed like undefinable feelings.

He talked about love and relationships and how these can be wonderful vehicles of self discovery, he shared a deeper perspective on sex (but not SEX sex, rather the polarities between masculine and feminine), he talked about backbending as integration and arm balances as a means for creating space. (And boy, can Govinda talk! By the end of the week, he had no voice). His lectures clicked with many of us and I really related to all the themes in such a personal way. They shed light on so many things.

When time came to go home, I was steadied by my time with family and friends in Manila and with Govinda and his time-tested wisdom. I was ready for the storm--admittedly half of which was of my making--and rough winds were waiting.