Graduation day of my first 10 days straight with Pooja Gupta guiding me in my asanas and meditations. I remember my first yoga class about 15 years ago in Bayswater, London. I crawled out after 30minutes with my cousin behind me, the way a baby elephant follows her mum. It was a 90 minute class and probably 89 minutes too long for me! So at the beginning of 2018 I used my classpass, pass to book some yoga!
I went to some great classes, some awful classes and some fake classes, meaning that they exist because ClassPass exists. Cramming as many people in as possible to a floor space designed for a bathroom in a one bed apartment, insuring there is an arsehole or armpit through the viewing point of your mountain 🏔 pose or up ward facing 🐕 dog!!!
I started Indabo a studio in Marylebone, london where the classes were inspiring, the teachers were yoga advocates, living and breathing an Ayurvedic life. It was my ambition to be insanely good at yoga because I was so impressed with these teachers I wanted to be like them. I was going to have to up my once a week class effort! I tried to replicate my love for a hard hitting, sympathetic workout 🏋️♀️ at Tri yoga in camden, London with hot power yoga classes, but I’d always clock watch, I’d tell myself anything less was a waste of time and it was such a good sweat I was helping my liver! Its funny how we gradated to the very exercise that burns us out!
I did classes where the teachers just didn’t resonant with me, one girl got us rolling around like Pooh bear and spoke like a 5 year old until shavasana and everything slowed down (enforced meditation). I would have crawled out of that class too except I was surrounded by closely packed arseholes and armpits, it was safer to run through my weekly check list and stay still and let this charade run it’s course. I did a one on one yoga at my gym - ( I was the only person in the class) and I cried in Shavassana. The teacher hugged me and told me she cried for 11 years in shavassana! It was time to get out, hit the weights again this was not for me, and I had tried.
I knew there was something I needed from yoga. I knew my inability to enjoy or find peace in a class without my mind wandering, being woken up or moved into the correct posture were all the reasons I needed to persist. Hence my 100 day challenge.
Pooja would remind me daily ‘stomach must be 4 hours clear of food’ As soon as the session would finish I would be looking forward to breakfast! What made things worse was that Pooja is a Vegan and doing some intermittent fasting thing so can only eat at 12 pm! Sometimes being british is an affliction as I found my self waiting for her to break - fast and eat like a Vegan! I was now ‘double venting’ and I was supposed to be calm and serene, patient and insightful!
So whilst I have found out lots of things about my self during these last 10 days, patience has been the most acute. I would consider myself to have a lot of patience and I am sure others would say the same. I feel that I need to tune into my internal patience with myself, which has been easier out in India, where there is a light, an energy, a giving of kindness and patience, one that is not innate in the west. There is no judgement, and the patience that Pooja had with me was not one I would have returned to her, except I can say that I am now more aware of some of my internal traits and triggers that do not work. Yoga and meditation have stared my awakening which is actually the best therapy you can do!
On the last day I was going to do another Yoga class with a chap called Cyril! It was 8 am- 10 am- not normally a challenge I would ever consider. However I had done it a few days before in need of really moving my day, sweating and puffing! Cyril pushed you into poises that you had no idea your body could put up with. After 84 asanas in break neck speed I felt the biggest natural high I’d ever felt coupled with an entirely new body. Yoga, chiropractic, osteopathy and physio all rolled into 2 hrs of the cyril show!
I didn’t go however (it also felt like cheating) the truth is I have a bad left toe (must get sorted when back in london) So Pooja came over for a session at 10 am. We went through the routine, took some videos for her sight and then breakfast! Mr Topo who was looking after me was making some chicken I had bought (dying for some meat) and I was savilating like a stray dog in anticipation of eating it.
‘‘Its only 11.20 am let’s do a deep meditation?’’
No, I can’t do that, no I cant’’ I was actually now stressed at the idea of 30 mins meditation when all I want to do was eat chicken. This was torture but I knew not meditating was cheating or failure or being week or a baby so naturally I sat down and put a veto in place.
‘‘I’m only doing 10 minutes’ Ok 20 Mins, quips Pooja!
We meditated for 35 mins, until the smell of breakfast hypnotised me over to breakfast. Enough was enough!
I had graduated, I had put up with the fasting, the veeganisim and now my reward was chicken tamarind and chilli for breakfast with, yellow courgettes in lime and papaya.
Don’t talk to me I’m eating!
Datta, Dayadhvam, Damyata…..