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I’ve already been in the Bahamas for two weeks, many of you are wondering how, with whom and why. I already recounted the context of the experience in the last article.
Two years ago, I came to the Bahamas in order to take a Yoga Teacher Training Course (YTTC). That was my first trip somehow on my own, I came with a friend of my mother’s that I didn’t know at the time.
What is an ashram? A place away from everyday life, where Yoga philosophy is practiced and studied. The lifestyle inside the ashram is a very simple one and spiritual practice is a priority for everyone.
The course is very intense, which is why I only had the time to write more than a few lines in a notebook every day, a kind of diary that I will now share with you. Such an experience is not easy, neither physically, nor mentally and most certainly not emotionally – I’ve exceed my fears, my limits, I am totally outside my comfort zone, but I already feel how a beneficial change is happening inside of me.
And then, again for 30 days. Fun, fun, fun!! :)) And let’s not forget that I have to wear a horrible uniform. You can’t not change after such an experience. Now let’s look a little deeper at my emotional notes from the first week. In addition, I will tell you what idea impacted me every day, sometimes it’s something profound, other times it’s nonsense.
In the morning, introduction to the course and initiation. What have I gotten myself into? Why?
After initiation my head hurts and I feel like crying, maybe it’s because of the air conditioner … my headache :))
Where do I start? I came here with some clear tasks, self-discipline and self-love. But now they don’t seem so easy to accomplish. I can’t even remember what I have to do for my mind and my emotions. Self-love, forgiveness, letting go, observe my mind, stop thinking, feel the energies, observe the beauty, stay positive, I’M TIRED! Goodnight
The idea of the day: Perform action as duty, without any likes or dislikes.
I started the program at 6 am as it’s the first day of the class. A horrible alarm woke me up at 5:30.
During the morning Satsang, all the participants from the ATTC and TTC introduced themselves. What age they are, where they’re from, why they’re doing this. About 60 people between 20 and 70 years of age. But what has brought us all here is relatively common, a calling towards self-awareness and a desire to help as many people as possible to be happy.
Meditation, Kirtan, introduction, yoga, anatomy, I was already extremely sleepy at 12 am. At 2 pm I was asking myself how I will make it until 10 in the evening, not to mention the 29 remaining days. And today we didn’t even have a full schedule. As of tomorrow I will wake up an hour earlier.
Emotionally, I already feel a storm is approaching. But at 5 pm I was already grateful for being here.
At 9 pm, during evening Satsang, a cardiologist speaks about the importance of grounding, meaning to walk barefoot on the ground. If you are interested in the subject, more details HERE.
The idea of the day: At 6 o’clock in the morning I put some tea in the thermos. Now it’s 6 o’ clock in the evening and I still can’t touch it because it’s too hot! It may be a thermos, but it does its job “too well”. #ahasuperficial
I woke up at 4:45. Sleepy is an understatement. At 5 o’clock I was on the yoga platform trying to meditate. The class was pranayama, the practice of controlled breathing. But for me it was an exercise of self-control to not get up and push the teacher into the ocean. Probably wouldn’t have been good for my karma, but this is what my nerves were beckoning me to do. I was cold, sleepy and I couldn’t calm my mind down at all.
Up until 9 o ‘clock in the morning I had already had 3 classes and there were still 6 more to go. But at 11:00 I managed to sleep for an hour, then my day got a little brighter. I learned about the mind, emotions and the subconscious. Did you know that we rebuild our entire perception of reality every second? We constantly reconstruct our reality, through an extremely fast subconscious process.
Between 15:50 and 15:55 I managed to take a shower, wash my hair, change my clothes and arrive in time for yoga class. You have no idea what value time has for me in this course.
Towards the end of the day, I once again, felt in the right place at the right time.
The idea of the day: We constantly subconsciously reconstruct reality and identity. If we work with ourselves in a correct and profound way, we can change in order to become the ideal version of ourselves.
While I write these lines, I am listening to live Sufi music. Percussion, a sitar and the exceptional voice of a gentleman with a long white beard.
I’m getting more and more excited about this course, even if our mornings are extraordinarily difficult. I came to the conclusion that we can get used to almost anything as long as we know how to control our mind a bit.
Today, during the only break in which I could have taken a nap, I was held by a gorgeous Iranian woman. She noticed my olive skin tone and my green eyes and curiously asked me where I’m from. A very interesting discussion started from this point, quite funny for me, because I was seeing just how outraged she was. She went from a culture in which women covered most of their bodies, while she was a libertine spirit, a rather sensual girl, she went out into the wide world and became a dancer. Nevertheless, she arrived here in the Bahamas, here in this ashram, where everyone is asked to cover their shoulders and knees. She wouldn’t have it, so she confronted one of the Swami, a Hindu priest / monk. They have long renounced any pleasure of the material world, so they are not allowed to have relationships or possessions in this lifetime. Imagine this scene: one Swami, one Iranian woman saying: “If I tempt you because I reveal my shoulders, it means you’re not so far along the spiritual latter as you think.” Wow! I refrain, I don’t agree with her views, but it’s a fun addition to the ashram, she heats up the spirits whenever the Zen becomes too pressing.
The idea of the day: discipline is one’s ability to work with his / her own mind.
I feel increasingly better. Even waking up in the morning at 4:45 is no longer such a horror. Somehow, I do it without thinking if I want to, if I like it or if I feel well. I wake up, wash myself, I put on many scarves (mornings are cooler than I thought) and start practicing. Even my back has gotten used with the 8 hours of sitting in meditation pose.
This idea may seem trivial at first, but I urge you to reflect a little upon it. It is at the foundation of all things great, all dreams and extraordinary ideas which have materialized in this world. I’m not a disciplined person, I only do what I feel like, whenever I feel like it. Though the schedule here forces me to develop this feature so useful for the spiritual and material life. It is normal that my mind screams, though I ignore it and turn it towards something useful. Focus!
Tomorrow I thought we will have a day off (a free day still means we have 5 mandatory classes) but to our dismay, it was postponed. A general state of panic and disappointment was set but it passed by the first Sun Salutation (series of moves). Today, one of my girlfriends taking the beginners course, wanted to go home, but the feeling passed. I found it normal since I know this mechanism of the mind which panics in such a situation, everything is new, the discipline is at a maximum and you cannot escape change.
I will finish this story now because I am at the Sufi music concert again and I want to enjoy these Oriental vibes. Goodnight!
The idea of the day: this reality is designed to be experienced, and we are the ones who decide the majority of the stories we live.
Today I skipped class! I feel guilty but I also feel so good because I slept 40 extra minutes. Don’t think that skipped all day, I just left one hour earlier from the morning Satsang. It seems that no one noticed but I expect to get a note from the person in charge with group discipline.
Therefore, I was well rested today, I even sunbathed at lunch, 15 minutes on one side, 15 on the other, a 10-minute shower and 15 minutes for rest. How many things you can do in so little time! I love the asana class (yoga poses) more and more. I feel my body increasingly better and I am unifying my mind, my emotional side and my physique through breathing and conscious movements. It is a subtle level which can be accessed only through practice. That’s why I was drawn to the Sivananda system, it has not lost its authentic and spiritual side of Yoga. In addition, most of the classes are about philosophy, sacred texts and Sanskrit.
Something funny for today? Ah yes 🙂 we were invited at a full moon ritual on the beach by two very nice American ladies of about 70 years old. I accepted because they are so serene and joyful that you can’t refuse. So did 15 other people out of the 170 present in the ashram. Imagine 17 people, a gorgeous sunset, a campfire, notes with inspirational ideas and a song called “shine your light”. New Age much?! Yup! But it was relaxing and very funny. Now, at 21:25, I am listening to a lecture about Ayurveda. At 22:00 I plan to already be dreaming. Good night!
The idea of the day: we suffer because of Ego. All we do in order to be happy, but the whole perspective is wrong. By doing things for others, you might have more success in understanding who and what we really are.
Today I had that day off that I was expecting from the beginning of the course. I don’t think that I could do who knows what, I still had to wake up at all 4:30, I still went to Satsang from 6 to 8 am and I still did karma yoga from 1 pm.
In the morning I attended a purification ritual, and then I slept for an hour, after which I ate and I went to my “job” in the ashram. I help out in the ashram boutique and every day I do something different, I put prices, arrange items or wash the floor. Today I cleaned the kitchen where they make the organic products sold at the counter. While I was washing the dishes quietly, I hear someone from the boutique staff saying: “We’re closing for 10 minutes! You need to clean the area, it is not possible to receive customers like this! “I look at the floor and looked clean, but then I realize that I am in an Indian ashram in the Bahamas, so everything is deeper than it seems. They were referring to the fact that it was “dirty” in a spiritual meaning, because everyone was tensed and stressed due to lack of personnel and the wave of new customers coming to celebrate Jewish Passover that evening. So the store closed, and we all gathered in a circle, lit incense sticks and we sang a few mantras. We gave thanks and returned to our chores a little more serene. How would it be if this were to happen in corporations in large cities? It would definitely be something interesting to see.
In our spare time I ran down to Atlantis, the huge resort located 400 meters from the ashram. A total opposite from all points of view. We ate French fries and watched the yachts. I needed some normalcy.
In the evening, everyone was dressed in their finest clothes and we gather to celebrate the much anticipated Passover holiday. You may be wondering why we celebrated a Jewish holiday in a Hindu ashram. Since most Swamis here are Jewish and the ashram embraces all religions of the world anyway. So all of 200 people sat nicely at dinner tables as if from a wedding and we ate immensely, only vegetarian food, of course. Originally, this celebration is a great opportunity for fun because on its ritualistic side, several glasses of red wine are drank. But we drank grape juice. The program lasted 5 hours, with songs, prayers, drinking, eating and a little dancing. We were spared of waking up at 4 am. At 00:00 I was in the ocean, bathing under the full moon. Goodnight!
The idea of the day: Mind attitudes can be easily changed through practice.
I still have three weeks of classes left, three weeks of waking up early, a lot of practice and emotional, mental and physical detox. I regret that I don’t have more time for pictures and writing but I hope to recover when I get home. I will keep this diary and I will update you with what’s going on here at the Bahamas ashram. Until then, perhaps the ideas that I learn here can be of use to you and perhaps you can already begin to put them into practice.
PS: If you’re curious and want to know more about this place: