Friday, December 17, 2010

Vaccinations & Transformation

I have to get some vaccines before I leave for India; TDap, Typhoid, a Polio booster, and several shots of Hepatitis A & B.  After my first round of shots I'm not feeling very good, and I think the TDap gave me symptoms of a head cold.  It's lead me to consider a topic that's been on my mind lately about how yoga purifies the mind and body.  I used to think this would provide a certain amount of invincible resiliency, but maybe its the opposite...  Because my body is so "clean" I feel super sensitive and highly aware of all that goes on in the body-mind on a physical and emotional level.  Like nothing slips by unchecked, and there's no place for negativity to get stored and stashed away. 

My body is extremely sensitive of any toxins or objects I put into it whether it be bad food, alcohol, whatever.  Like now for instance, I've just been inoculated with bits of foreign bacteria and virus, and my body feels crappy when most people would probably feel nothing.  If I stay out late with friends and have a few drinks, it takes me days to recover.  So I started thinking maybe its NOT so great to have such a purified system, and maybe it just makes life more fun and enjoyable to NOT be so sensitive. From an evolutionary standpoint, maybe the body has more resilience if its not so "clean" and we don't feel everything so clearly (from toxins to emotions).  I was beginning to feel down and out about the sensitivity factor, like I'd been given a bum deal, and was seriously reconsidering the beneficial aspects of yoga.

Just when I was about to convert back to the other side it dawned on me-- since my body-mind is so pure and in alignment, I can transform very easily with an intentional conscious shift because there is nothing to get in the way of the change I want to make.  By transform I mean move into a better, more beneficial version of myself in any context whether it be a in yoga posture, my attitude at work or my outlook on life.  Once I recognize a habitual bad pattern, with a slight shift it's gone.  No drama, no attachment.  Bad patterns may include negative thought processes or limiting beliefs, dysfunctional movement patterns, or self-defeating habits that limit me from living at my fullest potential.  It's that simple-- I just recognize it then let it go.  I must say this ability to transform was not so simple and only came after years of dedicated practice.

Yoga is the perfect accompaniment on any path because it clears the way of anything that may be blocking us from living at our fullest potential.  It does this by first clearing any impurities in the body on a very gross and physical level and then works on more subtle levels to clear any impurities in the mind or energetic body.  Along with regular yoga practice comes heightened levels of awareness which means we're more conscious of whatever is going on in the body and mind-- be it good or bad.  This means we're more likely to feel pain when it arises forcing us to recognize it, but then it passes rather quickly and doesn't get pushed into some deep dark corner of the subconscious because there's nowhere for it to hide.  Yoga cleans and clears out all the nukes and crannies on a conscious and subconscious level.  This purifying process is not always pretty or glamorous, but I concur the benefits are well worth the work.

I may not be able to stay out late and party anymore, but I can manifest amazing things to happen in my life by simply releasing bad habits and shifting my consciousness.  There's always a sacrifice I guess but I have no regrets and no doubts about which path I should be on.   

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Intention

I was planning to start this blog while I was traveling in India to write about my experiences.  I leave in about 3 weeks (yeah!) and feel I'm in the final stage of preparation for a long journey that I've been planning for quit a while. I've got the major logistics taken care of (passport, visa, plane ticket) and now I'm focused on the details like what to pack.  It feels like planning for a trip like this is a journey in and of itself.  My life is feels like its in fast forward until the time I leave so I've decided to get the blog rolling by writing about what its like preparing for a trip to India for the first time for 3 1/2 months... by myself.  It's very exciting, and a little scary, to be a blond western woman traveling alone in a huge country like India where the culture is so different, and there's a good chance I'll get really sick.
I wasn't sure that I'd ever go to India because I didn't think the risk of getting sick was worth the experience.  Now I just think I need to be really careful. I've been practicing yoga for about 14 years but haven't felt the pull to go to India to study yoga until about a year ago. Once I began to feel the pull, it felt like everything else in my life began shifting to accommodate and prepare me for this journey I'm about to embark on.  It feels like the mother-ship is calling me and it's the time in my life when I need to make the pilgrimage to the motherland to connect with yoga at it's source. 

I've got a basic itinerary lined up; 6 weeks in Mysore, 2-3 weeks in Goa, then 5 weeks of travel to some of the northern cities and a trek in the Himalayas.  In Mysore I'll have morning practice at the Yoga shala and plan to take some other classes like Sanskrit and chanting during the day.  It's not an ashram- I'll need to find an apartment upon arrival.  In Goa I'll be staying at a retreat center taking a 2 week ashtanga yoga workshop.  I've been doing lots of research and have many ideas about what to see and where to go for the rest of the trip.  I will feel it out then and see what makes the most sense after I've been in the country for a while.  Mostly I want to trek to the Gangotri Glacier in the Himalayas, which is the source of the Ganges River, and stay in monasteries along the way which takes about 5 days.  

It feels like I'm about to embark on a huge adventure.  I don't know exactly what will happen as much of the trip is left open to decide as I go.  Whatever happens it feels like its going to be big and have a profound impact on my personal growth and development, how I view life and the reality of this world we live in.  I hope to use this blog to express and communicate some of the experiences I have along the way.  Namaste.