Sivananda Blues and Beyond
Trivandrum Travel Blog› entry 19 of 37 › view all entries
Its 10:30 at night, Iām laying in a Lungi in a single bed,
surrounded by a blue mosquito net in a small town named Neyyar Dyer Dam, partly
questioning my decision to commit to an 8 day intensive yoga and meditation
retreat at the Sivananda Ashram. I came
for yoga, but the meditation and chanting of devotion to Ganehs, Vishnu, and
Shiva makes me uneasy, and on this Shabbat, I miss my family and āmyā
faith. Sitting in Ā½ lotus and chanting
tonight, I felt a renewed calling to go to
Getting here, as always, was a bit of a mess. I was told yesterday to take the bus direct to Neyyar Dam. Yesterday I successfully did a dry run, and confirmed that there was a direct bus every hour. However, today I arrived at the bus dept, in the heat of the 11:00 sun, and was told the only direct bus was 1:30, and that instead I should take another bus and transfer. No one was particularly friendly or helpful, except one gentleman who walked me to the bus going the āwrongā way and told me to get on. I declined, wandered aimlessly trying to get someoneās help, then relented and took the bus going to some unknown town ā hoping it would guide me to where I needed to be. Once aboard, things were much smoother, though Iād sweat through my shirt by that point.
Last night was a sleepless night. Mosquitoes literally swarmed my budget hotel room. My friend, who I met on the train, had bedbugs in her room. I complained in the morning, and the reception guy simply said, āOh, you didnāt have mosquito coils, you should have asked.ā Like I should have known to askā¦ So today, laying in sivasana between poses, I fell deeply asleep.
In the few days here, Iāve met some amazing people, psychologists, journalists, writers, and teachers.
The Ashram itself is tucked away in the palm trees. The crickets and frogs fill the evening and mosquitoes land all over my mosquito net, unsuccessfully attempting to feed on me. I sleep in a dorm with about 20 others. I practice yoga twice a day in an open auditorium. On the walls are illustrations of Hindu deities and Jesus.
Unlike my Vipassana retreat, Sivananda is quite social, and adjusting to meeting and talking to others while in the ashram environment is a lot like going away to school and meeting new classmates. This is good for me and I try to assertive without judging myself. And itās very different suddenly being without Dan. Amazing how everything can change in a day.
12/25/07: Christmas at the Ashram
Its funny how the same situation replay themselves, ringing on nerves like nails on a chalkboard.
In spite of the Holiday Blues ā I did have fun at the Christmas party, which may be the first time I ever sang Christmas carols.
I skipped 6:00 a.m. meditation and chanting this morning and
opted to sleep-in an extra hour. I woke
at 6:30 to the sounds of everyone chanting.
Laying there in a single bed listening to the crickets and the sounds of
100 or so people chanting, I was struck by what a unique experience I was
having. Yoga twice a day in
Lately Iāve been struggling with the question that Iāve always tried to figure out; āWhat am āIā.ā Iām starting to feel like I identified myself by my job ~ Iām a lawyer. Leaving my job, my 6-year relationship, and my home has disrupted my āidentity.ā I feel uncomfortable in my skin and socially awkward; like there is a camera on me. I want to meet people, but I get nervous and quickly run out of conversation. I listen as people converse in multiple languages and laugh during their long conversations. I watch, feeling relatively mute.
Amazingly, after a slight 2 day depression, life springs back and the lesson of impermanence is relearned. Astonishingly, the next day brings āhellosā and smiles from people that never said Hi before. Why the universe sometimes feels receptive to me I donāt know, but I will honor it.
On the 26th, in honor of the lives lost during
the 2003 tsunami, I attended a prayer ceremony with several Sivananda
friends. The speeches, few in English,
were quite boring. The mere 50 or so
people that attended did not warrant the PA system which blasted sound for at
least a few blocks.
Following the speeches was our turn to do a puja. Though I couldnāt hear the instructions, a sweet and beautiful young Indian woman guided me. She smiled at me as I clumsily tossed fragrant flowers in the oil and wood fueled fire; the smell of incense mixing with smoke and the temple behind.
One piece of
I woke this morning with a horrible pain down the left side of my back.
That night we attended a puja atop a nearby mountain at a
That evening I packed up and began to think about what I should ask for. According to āHoly Cowā one may ask the universe for something during the hug. There the author, in disbelief and impulse, asked for bigger breasts, and got them (at least temporarily). But in āEat Pray Love,ā Richard asked God to open his heart and let him know when it happened. He underwent open heart surgery. He concluded he should choose his words more carefully. Now I was faced with the question of what I āreally want.