…until departure for India. Seat 27J will be my home for the behemoth 16.5 hour journey. Oh, and let’s not forget that we are arriving in Bangalore. It’ll be another 105 miles in a cab before reaching the final destination. I have no idea what time it will be when we arrive. What the air will smell like, how the roads will feel, or what noises and colors will affront my senses…
But, like a true Ashtangi, my mind has already traveled to…my bowels. Well, my bowels and back muscles. That’s right, I sincerely expect to arrive constipated, achey and tired.
But then: India!
Mysore. The place where Ashtanga Yoga originated. This thing which has entranced me; which keeps me motivated to wake up between the dark hours of 4:30 and 5am, 5 days a week. I move, breathe, sweat, and yes, sometimes even grunt, heave or loudly release expletives (if I happen to fall on my head that day). It has changed my life, and here I expect to find an even deeper understanding.
I think that is where my mind has traveled most often recently: expectations. There is so much buzz about the trip around me, “When are you leaving?!” and “Are you excited!?” are common (and very welcomed) questions. Yes, of course I am excited! Especially now, with the departure rapidly approaching and the ‘realness’ of it all finally clicking. It has been quite a process to get to this point: tickets ready, paperwork done, housing secured, packing lists made, funds raised, teaching subs acquired; only a few more loose ends remain. Finally, there is space to think about what all this work was for. What exactly am I excited about?
There are some obvious things: getting this month to live, breathe, and be Ashtanga sounds like a dream. Studying with Sharath and Co. will surely leave me with much to bring back to Boston, and, of course, the whole month off work is a plus! The weather will be warm and the free time plentiful. Sounds like a great vacation, eh? And in some ways, I see it that way, too. But more than anything else, I’m looking forward to just being a student. Waking up whenever they tell me to, doing whatever practice I can, and letting whatever happens, happen. I’m looking forward to getting worked in Mysore. Dealing with the unexpected and having to surrender to it all.
Studying Ashtanga has already allowed me to surrender and accept so much more about myself and what goes on around me. How it works is a bit ineffable, but I think it has something to do with the consistency, the challenge, the ego-busting, hey-sorry-things-can’t-change-just-because-you-want-them-to nature of it. Wow, I am realizing that I expect this trip to be a month-long, 24 hour practice. At times, I’ll be flying through it, feeling light and strong and ready for more. Other times, it’ll be more like those exhausted mornings on the mat; those ones when I barely finish my two rounds of Kapotasana, move through vinyasa, get almost ready for Supta Vajrasana and……….”Chandrika, you go back. Repeat!”
Surrender. Stay calm. Steady the breath and the mind.
It’s almost time to go. I’m looking forward to the adventure and the challenge. I will certainly miss working, teaching and learning with the wonderful group of Ashtangis at Back Bay. I’ll miss my boyfriend Chris, my cat(!!), my coffee; thankfully though, the Internet, that comes with me.
Let’s see what happens -