A typical day at yoga school goes like this.
5:30 am wake up perform morning Kriyas – these consist of Neti, tongue cleansing and chicken clucking .
6:00 Breathing Kriyas – Now it doesn’t really take me 30 minutes to brush my teeth and complete the chicken clucking procedure, but this is the time when Mary, my roommate, and I indulge in our illegal contraband… Illy coffee made with our secret French press. Back to the breathing… I have about five of these Kriyas to do each morning, they range from rolling my stomach muscles, to roaring like a lion and sticking out my tongue to hissing like a snake. Mary and I are pretty sure our neighbors love waking up to lion roars at 6am
6:30 Meditation – this takes place with everyone at the yoga Shala, some days we sit, some days we walk, but always we are lead by Satya, the Columbian Guru whose infectious smile ensures that we are all happy to be there at that ungodly hour. Meditation is a serious struggle for me, if I am really lucky I manage a solid minute of actually having a completely quiet mind. Usually the process goes like this. Satya tells us to set our intention for the day… okay I think, today my intention is to be kind to myself. Then she says all of these really beautiful and peaceful things to help us start quieting our minds and tells us to focus on our intention and our breathing.
Right about here my mind starts along this path. Alright, be nice to yourself today… exhale… don’t judge yourself in the postures… inhale… you are beautiful… exhale… beautiful, yeah save for all the damn mosquito bites all over me… inhale… I wonder pattern it would create if I played connect the dots with all these infernal bites, why must there be mosquitoes… exhale… crap, that’s not very yogi of me, where was I… inhale… be kind to myself…exhale… I can do amazing things…
Then Satya (the Chilean Guru) will say something like, “think of our breath like waves in the ocean…”
Ocean, breath is like waves in the ocean… inhale … I have yet to even see the ocean… exhale … maybe Saturday I should go to the ocean… inhale … no Saturday I should find a place to live… exhale… wow, am I really going to live in Bali for three months?... inhale, crap… focus you idiot, oh damn it I’m supposed to be being nice to myself.. sorry self you are not an idiot…exhale.
Okay start again… inhale… look to your third eye…exhale… focus on the breath…inhale, and then sometimes it will happen, my mind stops churning and there is utter calm and a bright white light behind my eyelids and between my eyes. About 30 seconds later I think – sweet you are doing it! Followed immediately by… shit acknowledging that I was doing it means I am no longer doing it. It means I started thinking again... And usually right about here Satya taps together the prayer bells and we all come out of our trances and come back to reality. Of course some of us never managed to fully leave reality.
7:00 - 9:00 Mysore or Vinyasa Flow class. Some days we practice on our own completing the postures in the primary series of Ashtanga yoga, and some mornings we are led through Vinyasa Flow classes, which are my favorite. This week we are having our practical exams so the students are leading the classes.
9:00 Breakfast – breakfast here has become quite a ritual for me. It is the same buffet everyday and as a result of eating it for three weeks I may never again be able to ingest pancakes, peanut butter, corn flakes or papaya. Since the ingredients are always the same we are each becoming quite creative in the manner in which we combine them. My preference is to take two pancakes, slather one with peanut butter, place banana slices on that and then top it off with another pancake. For a girl whose normal breakfast for the last ten years consisted of one tall non-fat, vanilla latte and a bagel that I almost never finish, I must say I have really embraced this whole full-plate breakfast thing.
10:30 Morning Class – This is the time each day when I hit a wall. From 10:30-1:00 each morning we study either anatomy or yoga philosophy, but mostly I focus on keeping my eyes open. My body and mind are weary from 18 days of constant work. I have never felt so alternately energized and exhausted from hour to hour throughout the day as I do here. This is also the time of day I long for a chair, a good ‘ol four-legged, high-backed chair. We sit on the ground during all of our classes and some days I love this, other days I feel like I am sitting on a bed of nails and I cannot get comfortable, this help immensely in keeping my eyes open however.
1:00 Lunch – Again this is a buffet but it changes each day. There are some staple items, like there is always a soup and some kind of fried rice cracker concoction, also there is always tofu… I have nightmares now about tofu, in fact all soy based products haunt my dreams these days. But lunch is a fun time too, because the cooks always surprise us with something to look forward to. Around day 12 it was a salad with shredded mozzarella on it. After everyone had served themselves, there was plenty of lettuce left but not a single shred of cheese. This marked the very brief re-introduction of cheese into my world, it was a bright and sunny day.
Desert is a big deal here and it is enjoyed after both lunch and dinner. Prior to coming on this trip I was not really a desert kinda girl. I mean I’d have one on a rare or special occasion, but certainly not daily. Here, I am embracing this tradition wholeheartedly.
After lunch we have two hours of free/study time. This is when I write, or check emails or sometimes even study. On those occasions that I study, I find it helps my concentration if I do so in a bikini and poolside.
3:30 - 6:30 Afternoon Lessons – Again this time is filled with yoga philosophy, or Asana anatomy or learning to adjust, but unlike the morning class I am almost always super energized and engaged in the afternoon sessions. For the most part these three-hour classes fly by for me.
7:00 Dinner – and again with the chaffing dishes, soup, rice crackers, and the infernal tofu! Seriously… can’t a yogi live a life of Ahimsa – non-violence – and still have the occasional scallop?
Some nights, when we have no evening lecture we sneak out for a dinner somewhere else, but I must tell you that for 18 days now I have had no fish or meat of any kind, no alcohol, no sugar (honey yes, sugar no), hardly any cheese, and exactly four eggs. I have likely consumed my body-weight in rice and tofu however.
8:30 Evening Lecture – These classes are either philosophy classes or meditation. Usually by this point I am so tired that I have a hard time really fully engaging in the discussions, but it is nice to hear everyone’s point of view, so I generally like just sitting and listening.
9:30 Bedtime – Sometimes I whoop it up and stay up until around 9:42, but for the most part I lay down at 9:30 and wake up around 5:27, to be greeted 3 minutes later by our alarm clock and back to the bathroom for some chicken clucking.
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