Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Certificate

"If we practice the science of yoga, which is useful to the entire human community and which yields happiness both here and hereafter - if we practice it without fail, we will then attain physical, mental, and spiritual happiness, and our minds will flood towards the Self."

Sri K. Pattabhi Jois

It is Sunday morning and I have just finished my last led class of this trip. A couple of days ago I went to visit Sharath (my teacher) to remind him that I am leaving on Wednesday to be home in time for an important wedding. At that time he informed me that I will get my certificate. I, in turn, informed my family and close friends.

But what is a certificate and why has everyone been asking me if I will get this paper? After fielding many inquiries about the document, I too began to talk to friends and family of its importance. But what does this paper prove? To many, unfortunately, I think it signifies an ending, a completion. To me, it is a beginning.

I return home to teach with my teacher's blessing, an Authorized Ashtanga teacher. But my learning continues. My teachers, my students, and the One Ultimate Guru, will guide me, and India has her lessons as well. I look forward to returning to her as a student instead of as a teacher, and surrendering to her timely trials.

To those who have supported me in this leg of my journey I give my deepest gratitude. Please reach out to me, especially for yoga therapy, for those who are sick or have pain physically or mentally. I am here for you and I pray you will take the benefit of my learnings.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

I'm only happy when it rains.

It's about to rain. The storm clouds are ominous and the crows are sweeping overhead. It's the first time I noticed them in India. They were unavoidable in Rwanda. This time there is a warning, but often there is none. One moment it is bright with promise and the next, westerners are running to their clotheslines to save what is savable. I must admit, I have more than once left clothes on the line through two or three rainfalls. The sun is always so deceiving here in its magnificent brightness. And running seems unfairly difficult in our culture here of afternoon laziness.

It's my fifth visit to Mysore, India and I'm staying in an apartment referred to fondly as "the bird perch". It's like a little dollhouse studio plopped on top of an apartment building roof. I have a clear view of all the clotheslines, and treelines, and skylines in the distance.

Perched in my perch waiting for rain I imagine the girl I might have been had I been born in Seattle. I see myself brooding and poetic. I like this version, this slice of me. I can play her very well. She strums one or two chords on an old guitar. She writes lines on scraps thrown carelessly across the bed.

So much has been said about travel, but one of my favorite aspects is the fantastic opportunity to play out the dormant slivers of myself. I've been here a hand full of times now and my Mysore self is beginning to mold. She has her own separate wardrobe which I store here for her in an old tin trunk. She has a special diet and a unique way of sleeping and eating and doing all the things a human does. More and more people know her now and slowly she's being expected to be somebody. And even though that somebody is so very fun and different from the the New York somebody I frequently embody, I am still so divinely grateful for the anonymity left to me here. In a place where new students come and go, some never to return, I am hopeful that I'll always have some space to play out the way I might have been. And today, I'm only happy when it rains.