It’s been a week here at Association for Yoga and Meditation and it’s been great. Last Sunday the ashram held an opening ceremony where we burned a fire on the roof of the school. We threw herbs and nuts into the fire as a way of giving back to mother earth. The fire provided good blessings and was a means ofgiving thanks. Mantras were chanted, flower necklaces were bestowed, and more herbs were burned; the slight breeze kept us cool next to the box of fire. At the end of the ceremony, we were officially welcomed into the school.
The next day and for everyday but Sundays, we start pranayama class at 6:30 with Raj. At 8 we practice ashtanga yoga for an hour and a half with Sachin. He only started yoga a year and a half ago but he’s already a great teacher and is teaching us how to be teachers– he pushes us hard and doesn’t let us turn the fan on. The six of us students are drenched by the end of class. At 10, we get our first meal made by the chef, Gobin. Usually, we get a big bowl of fresh watermelon, papaya, mango, and banana. After breakfast we have meditation class with Raj again who is sweet Indian lady– always smiling. We’ve learned a few mantras, but our voices don’t come close to being as beautiful as Raj’s voice when singing the prayers. After class, we chant the meal time mantra and have lunch which usually consists of chipati, rice, two curries, and a salad. For an hour we do karma yoga- help wash dishes, sweep the halls, or help Gobin make chapatis before eating lunch. We get a break after lunch to relax or sometimes go to town, but we have to walk quickly because town is a good 20 minutes away.
At 3:30 Yogi Mahesh teaches my favorite class– philosophy. Mahesh knows eveything about yoga and has meditated to the point of not breathing; he can become completely seperated from his body. The other day he said something I really liked, “happiness is a state of being and we have to look for it from within us.” Hatha class is also taught by Mahesh and is more relaxing than the morning ashtanga class. We stetch more and hold the poses for more breaths. Dinner is served at 7 and also consists of chapati, rice, two curries, and a salad; we also get fresh juice which is usually watermelon. At night, if we’re not too tired, well go to a cafe and sip on some fruit juices, teas, or coffee and enjoy the vibe. Then we wake up and do it all over agian the next day.