Ashram experience.

”You have such nice colors!”

Thanks. I think. I actually didn’t know if he’s talking about my pants or something else, like my aura. Some people here have different interests 🙂 A guy from our neighbor country spent 11 weeks in Vipassana, the silent meditation. No speaking for almost 3 months. And looks like any other guy you meet on the street. I don’t think he engages in stupid conversations tough 🙂
We chose Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Meenakshi Ashram because of the program yoga vacation. We wanted to learn the techniques of meditation and brush up on our yoga. And we did! Now I actually have a forward bend 🙂 Meditation twice a day and yoga twice a day did the trick. It was a pretty tight schedule, too (I’ll post more about the general program and ashram in another post).
I’m really pleased with my yoga practice, meditation I’ll need to work on.

”Mind is like a drunken monkey stung by a scorpion. It can’t focus. Unless we try really hard for a long period of time.”

Said Ms. Swami in one of the evening Satsangs (meditation and chanting). But why would we want to do that if it’s so hard? The answer is quite simple. To rest the mind. To find proper relaxation. I’m sure all of us felt unsteady and insecure at one time or another. And if you think about it, mind never really rests. It’s filled with thoughts and jumps from one idea to another. Meditation helps.

After the meditation came the chanting, every day twice a day the same songs. Sometimes I was wondering how the Swamis don’t go mad, day after day, month after month, year after year. But they are Swamis. They can sit for 10 hours a day and meditate. They can eat one meal a day and sit have a round belly 🙂 It did seem strange at first, the chanting. All of us singing words in Sanskrit we don’t know to melody that was at first strange but after few days you couldn’t get out of your head. But then you start to sing louder, you have your favorite chants and the instruments make this experience more and more familiar. We’re still singing the songs now in Kerala 🙂

With meditation comes a lot of cross-legged sitting and straight back. And of course the famous chi mudra hands on the lap, where  thumb and pointer finger are connected). To keep the energy flowing  That was hard as my legs were falling asleep an my back hurt like hell. Mr.Swami said it’s all mental pain. Mind that doesn’t want to rest, the resistance of drunken monkey. And it creates obstacles which prevent the meditation. Mental pain or not, it still hurts. But with regular yoga practice, even sitting still on the floor for 5 hours a day becomes easier.

Ashram experience wasn’t easy, physically or mentally. Some people couldn’t take it and left. But if you overcome the limitations in your head, you see that it’s worth it.

We met some beautiful people here, had some enlightening conversations and we sure hope we’ll see them again somewhere. No matter how different we were, we all came here for the same reasons.
Oooooom shanti shanti shanti 🙂

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