What made me decide to enroll in an intensive month long yoga course in Kerala, India’s beautiful southwest peninsular state?
If only I knew.
Six days a week, eight hours a day, while following a completely satvvic-vegetarian lifestyle, my efforts will yield an internationally recognized yoga instructor’s certification.
I do not, and never have entertained any aspirations of teaching yoga. The only context in which I see it happening is when I’m a broke-ass grad student, I may add gyms and yoga studios in addition to my usual haunts of restaurants and law offices when seeking part time employment. So why am I going through the trouble?
It’s just one of those things I decided to do for myself. I got a hold of Eat Pray Love a few months ago, and didn’t love it. My quest isn’t so much spiritual as it is fulfilling a long harbored curiosity about an ancient culture I’ve only seen through text books and the likes of Bend it Like Beckham and Slumdog Millionaire. Maybe I’ve been on the constant move for so long I was just ready for my last stop.
While it isn’t exactly Utopia, India has come a long way considering the Sati Ritual and untouchability were still in practice under 100 years ago.
As the world’s largest democracy, India has it’s share of problems. I got a firsthand look into some of them, when the second day of classes were cancelled when a citywide strike incited by the Communist Party shut down the local businesses and life as we know it. Crowds gathered by the capital building in protest of electrical shortages and unsanitary food conditions, which ended in a fatality as a member of the Communist Party was killed in a scuffle with suspected Muslim League workers, all while we huddled in our home stay.
Staying in a historic Indian home, the decadence of which inspires an attitude that makes me want to say something along the lines of “retreat to my chambers,” opposed to “go to my room,” the challenge has begun. With only one other westerner in the course, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to help bridge the communication gap by learning Malayalam, the local language, though several of our classmates actually demonstrate impressive English skills. Here’s one circumstance where Mandarin is not useful!
So far its been an incredibly exhausting (both mentally and physically), absolutely riveting (especially our theory sessions with renowned doctors on the satvic diet, and philosophy of yoga), completely worthwhile experience. With our second week starting tomorrow, the nature of our development as ‘yogis’ is anyone’s guess。
Updates to follow!
(pics from a recent venture out to the very well known Kovalam Beach)