Mysore – a long lasting love?

Coming back to Mysore always brings up a lot of memories, feelings, smiles, tears, struggles and pure joy. The first trip is always special, everything is new and I fell in love with the whole experience pretty quick. The second year was different but oh so wonderful in it’s own way. Coming back was like coming home, this time I knew how things worked, where to find the best food, when to register and how to handle the crazy traffic. I got my own scooter and started to enjoy driving around and exploring on my own.

I didn’t feel the same excitement this year going back for my third trip. Not exactly sure why but I wasn’t dancing on clouds when I applied for another three months. It might have been a combination of being injured and not feeling that intense love you feel in the beginning of a relationship when everything is new and exiting.

Two weeks have passed since I arrived and when I’m writing this I’m sitting on my friend Pilar’s terrace, listening to music and the sound of India on the street below us, and thinking there is no other place I would rather be right now. I am exactly where I’m supposed to be.

I think I knew the first day we started to practice. When our teacher R. Sharath Jois opened up the first class for the season with the opening mantra I felt this warm energy inside me. With my palms in front of my heart, and the voices of almost a hundred of my fellow students, I knew I had made the right decision to come back.

So far the practice has been quite tough, especially this past week. After a week of primary series, we started out with a led intermediate on Monday and I was sore for the next few days. Feeling heavy, exhausted and struggling with the humid air inside the shala, I would be lying if I didn’t say it is intense. Today I felt like I was going to faint in there. Soaked in sweat and with a face red as a tomato I stumbled out to cool myself with coconuts. Twenty minutes later I passed out on my bed and slept for almost two hours.

Hopefully next week practice will feel a little lighter, but who knows. This whole trip might be a long struggle. Whatever happens I’m ready to do the work. Isn’t it beautiful how everything is constantly changing? The practice, the body, places, people and life in general. Nothing stays the same. This year I definitely have more sweat drops on my mat than last year.

Her lips painted in red

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Embraced by the dark and silence
I roll out my mat
I Inhale, I exhale
Body starts to move with the breath

A constant flow
Sweat drops on my mat
Mind is becoming still

Sometimes it is hard
Most time it is refilling

Nothing of that matters
I will do it again
And again
Day after day

Sometimes my mind wanders
Memories flash by

Colorful flower patterned skirts
Her curly brown hair
Her lips painted in red

I can hear her laughing
feel her fingers braiding my hair

I cant believe
She left this world

Pushing
Holding back
A fine line to not hurt myself

Maybe she is here to remind me
No fear
Let go
Surrender

I lay down in Shavasana
I close my eyes
She brought me to this world
It is my time to shine
For both of us

 

 

The magic of struggle

Every morning I wake up to the sound of silence. Even the birds are asleep when my alarm goes off. About an hour later, around the time I start my asana practice, they are singing. The rest of Uvita is still sleeping; just the sound of the ocean reaches my ears. Every exhale is another wave coming in to shore. Every inhale is another bird flying through the trees. I try to enjoy every single movement, but lately it hasn’t been all joyful and blissful. It’s been hard.

My practice has been a bit of a struggle since I came to Costa Rica, especially the last two weeks. The surfing made my body stiffer and I suddenly had a hard time doing postures I usually do with ease. I felt heavy, every jump back and jump trough was a struggle and I caught myself feeling frustrated a few times. Why couldn’t I bring the Mysore magic with me? Why was everything so much harder now?

Life cant always be the same, we have to go trough changes and transitions, and that’s how we grow. Imagine if I had a smooth and easy practice everyday. That would probably just increase my ego. It’s when I struggle that I really start to reflect and see things differently. It definitely makes me more humble and accepting. So, I lost some of my binds due to stiff shoulders, but that’s ok. The binds will come back. Those days in the water surfing, smiling and facing my fear of the waves, were definitely worth some days of stiffness.

There is something magical about being in Mysore, you have lots of time to focus on your practice and you are sharing your passion with so many beautiful souls. However, I do have to say, it’s very nice to be here now where people don’t really care about how my practice went this morning. Here, I’m still a bit weird waking up at 3 am every morning to start practicing at 4. No one cares how my Eka Pada or Dvi Pada is going, and no one asks either. I don’t have to tell people about pains and injuries, I can just keep on practicing and keep that information to myself. No matter how it goes, if I’m flying or dragging myself through the practice, it will keep me grounded and that’s all I ask for.

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I feel very grateful for the opportunity to do this practice and to be able to share it. But I also know, if someday something happens and I can’t practice asanas anymore, I will be ok. I’ll find another tool to keep myself grounded. Just listening to the birds and the ocean every morning might have a similar effect? Who knows? I’m not really interested in finding out at the moment. For now I’m going to stick to my morning routine with almost two hours of asana practice. It feeds my soul, especially when I struggle.

Breathe, surf, smile – repeat

I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn. After my first week of surfing I came to this conclusion; you need a lot of patience.

It’s a mind blowing and beautiful experience, hard to compare to anything else. After taking 5 lessons I do have to say, it’s very similar to yoga. Surf and yoga goes hand in hand and I’m getting more and more convinced that this is an excellent combination. Surf is also about controlling your body and breath, having patience with the process and teaching your body to memorize the movements.

The second day of my first surf week was the high and happy point. I couldn’t stop smiling and was catching wave after wave, small white water waves that is. The ocean was calm, the tide was quite low and I remember thinking; Wow, this is actually gonna be quite easy.

The next day my ego got tossed around in those waves. The ocean was rough, lots of waves were coming in straight after each other and suddenly it wasn’t as easy as the day before. The fourth day was the same, with the high tide and powerful waves, I wasn’t really enjoying it as much anymore. I was falling of the board a lot more and I felt like I had lost it. (Like if they were anything to really loose, I had just been surfing for a few days).

The last day was slightly better but the ocean was still rough and I wasn’t so brave anymore. My right hip was aching and my arms were tired. I just wanted the control and happiness that I felt the second day back. It didn’t really happen. But I’m not giving up, I have my whole life to practice.

Although my yoga practice suffered with stiff shoulders and soreness, I still want to go out there again. Get tossed around, paddle out and try to catch those waves. I’m hoping the stiffness won’t be such a problem when I get more relaxed in the water. If that day ever comes.

If not, I guess that’s fine too. Sometimes its just good to be a beginner again, to be reminded of the struggle of starting from square one and how much patience you actually need.

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I haven’t been surfing for a few days now, but I will get out there again. Very soon. Practice and all is coming. There are no shortcuts in life, that’s for sure.

Luckily, Melissa was around the second day to capture some of my first surfing moments. Thank you for the pictures love!

New beginnings disguised in painful endings

Leaving Mysore wasn’t easy. It was quite emotional. Did I get attached? Probably. You make strong bonds in a short time, you connect with people on a level you didn’t think was possible. Basically, you make friends for life. You see them almost everyday for three months and then you have to leave. Or they have to leave you. It doesn’t matter that I am going to see them in less then a year, it’s still emotional. There is a fine line between love and attachment sometimes.

India sure is a vibrant place and it makes you feel things a bit deeper. Combining that with doing a practice that brings everything up to the surface is quite intense. Intense and beautiful. I’m not the same person I were when I came to Mysore in the end of October last year. Nothing really happened and yet so much happened.

But those tears of sadness and saying goodbye to people I love turned in to happy tears when I landed in Costa Rica. It just felt right. This is a magical place in many different ways and I feel inspired to write again. To express myself, be personal, go deep or get silly and just share what I experience both on the mat and off the mat.

The other day I was making space for new things in my phone, cleaning out some old pictures, deleting and remembering. I love taking pictures, to capture moments. My phone is always full because I have a hard time deleting them. As I was going trough my pictures I realized I have a few I would like to share. Mysore trough my eyes. These are the pictures that never made it to Instagram. Just a glimpse of my three months in incredible India.

 

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Have you loved you today?

Sometimes I get lost, I really do.

I loose my ground and a tiny breeze can just take me away. My body feels light and soft. Something keeps pulling me from place to place, from feeling to feeling. When I bump into fluffy clouds and colorful rainbows it suddenly hits me. I look down and I see myself. I recognize that woman with her feet on the ground and I miss her.

Sometimes I forget why I go to Mysore, why I am committed to come every year. Then something brings me back and I see it very clear. Parampara. Devotion. Passion. Going deeper. Letting things go. Transformation. Reconnecting. Learning. Sharing. Growing.

I can easily get caught up in things that don’t really matter. Maybe we all do sometimes. We get attached to certain feelings or moments and its not always easy to break free. I have to work on that daily, it’s a practice in itself. I came to Mysore for a reason and the last weeks of my stay was all about reconnecting with that reason again. Finding solid ground and remind myself of what actually matters.

I think I realized, once again, that one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself is to sit in silence with your thoughts and learn to love yourself from the inside out.

Treat yourself with that gift, remember who you are. Love yourself so much it spills over on people around you. And don’t let silly things disturb your peace.

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Today, love YOU.

 

 

 

Letting go is sometimes the hardest asana

I held the braid in my hand, moved it around, looked at it and tried to understand what just happened. Not knowing if I should feel terrified or calm. I looked at myself in the mirror; my hair was still long, just a bit thinner. I looked at the braid in my hand again. Then it hit me, I just lost all lot of hair. Gone. Could I put it back? No.

A few seconds later I felt something strange in my mouth. I tried to talk but I couldn’t. I put my hand in front of my mouth, opened it slowly and touched my teeth with my fingers. They were all loose. I tried to stick a few back in their places and picked out two or three that I thought I didn’t need. I put them down in front of me, beside my braid of hair. I just lost my hair and my teeth. The strangest thing about it was that I was calm. I didn’t panic, I just observed my loss.

When I woke up I felt a bit dizzy. I told Frida about my dream and she said she had similar ones when she went through a process of letting something go. Then everything just fell into place. Somehow I knew exactly what I was letting go of.

A few days ago I had a really emotional practice and when I was lying down afterwards to take rest someone from my past appeared and found his way into my most vulnerable parts. I started to cry and my body was shaking. I didn’t know it by then but this was just a part of the whole letting go process. I wrote to him the next evening and when I woke up in the middle of the night I read his answer. It was just after that, when I fell a sleep again, that I lost my hair and my teeth. I was loosing it without really needing or wanting it. It just left my body and so did he. The same morning I got my period after one and a half month of waiting. My body was cleaning out old stuff, preparing for new things to come.

It feels like I am starting a new chapter. I just got moved up to do led intermediate and to be honest I wasn’t so happy about it at first. I didn’t see it coming so soon and I didn’t feel ready at all. Then I realized this is probably exactly what I need. Sharath wouldn’t have put me there if I wasn’t ready, he is probably seeing something in me that I couldn’t see myself. I needed that push, I needed to let go and I needed to open up for something new to start. Not just in my practice, but in my life as well.

Isn’t it funny how everything is so connected? Everything I do on the mat, every struggle, every breath and every single drop of sweat that comes out is a reflection of my whole life. It’s tough going deep, especially when you have been holding so much inside you for so long. Of course it’s going to be painful to let it out but the feeling of relief and freedom makes every moment of pain worth it.

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