“When the body becomes weak and depleted,
your education will not save you.
Knowing for sure that all objects you come
into contact with are impermanent,
Do not get lost in them, instead,
Again and again resolve to be aware of the Eternal Self.
Where is the conflict when the Truth is known,
Where is the disease when the mind is clear,
Where is death when the mind is controlled,
Therefore, surrender to yoga.”
– Krishnamacharya (The Macdaddy of modern yoga)
WARNING: This post is a bit spiritual. I had other posts to publish about Iguazu Falls and Brazil but they were written on my 1st rate Paraguay tablet, which broke. So I’m procrastinating in rewriting them. In the meantime I’ve been studying yoga and experiencing an exciting shift in my mind so I wanted to share my thoughts on a different kind of journey..
When Steve and I decided to quit our jobs and embark on this epic trip it was because we both felt deeply unhappy working 40-50 hours each week for a huge corporation, knowing a handful of people were getting rich beyond imagination at the expense of the many. We were more than content with each other but something was still missing. Is it even possible to have a job you love? To be happy all the time? What is at the end of the eternal pursuit of happiness? We weren’t really sure where we would find the answers, but we were going to have fun looking!
We started our search in the jungle hoping that the grandmother ayahuasca would magically show us the way, but all we got was tangled in a cult and ripped off by a crazy greek businessman posing as a guru (that’s a story for another time). One message I recieved loud and clear was that we were not going to find our answer overnight by drinking a magic potion, and we sure as hell didn’t need a guru! I did however end up speaking at length with a lot of very inspiring people who had all worked through many demons, one of which is a great friend of mine who leant me his copy of Eckhart Tolles “A New Earth” and this was where my journey really began.
“The primary cause to unhappiness is never the situation but the thoughts you have about it” -Eckhart Tolle
So, first i needed to listen to my thoughts, then i needed to figure out if they were the helpful kind and if not how to change them. They say that when you are truely ready to learn, the teacher will appear then all you need to do is to trust. I didn’t even know what this meant until we started work with the Martins on their start up permaculture farm in Brazil. Ana and Caju bought the farm a year ago and have been working with helpx.com volunteers towards the dream of being self sufficient. In exchange for 23 hours work per week they offer a room as well as yoga and capoeira classes, we jumped at the opportunity because all of this was perfectly in line with the direction we wanted to be heading! After a week of chatting with Ana while cleaning out the horse barn we both realised I may be able to find the answers I was looking for in the deeper practice of yoga… and my teacher was revealed.
I’ve been practicing yoga for the last year or so, in my own way, by attending drop in classes and watching videos on youtube. I’m not sure about you but I’ve always associated yoga with lycra and stretchy babes, but this is a far cry from the Sanskrit roots imbedded in India and practiced by men in loincloths. In this past week I’ve learnt that yoga is far more than just the “poses” and that perhaps posting photos of yourself in tricky positions on the internet isn’t really conducive to developing a clear mind. I’ve also learnt that by following the fundamental principles you would lead a lifestyle of honesty and integrity, your body would be strong and supple, and your mind would be focussed and calm.
The principle purpose of yoga is to learn how to refine and adapt the mind for sustained direction without difficulty. To train your mind to become transparent, free from resistance and past impressions of any sort. But how can our mind be changed? “Everything that we perceive is subject to modification; moreover, everything can be modified in a certain way” -Krishnamacharya
Through sustained yogic practice using breath, the body and the mind, the Yoga Sutras teach that we can progressively extend our periods of sustained attention and gain control of our minds.
I’m excited, I’ve already learnt so much and I still have 2 weeks to go! The most important lesson I’ve gained so far is to be kind to yourself. Treat yourself as if you were your favourite child, be patient, loving and forgiving but make sure to implement ritual and routine to get the best out of yourself. Contrary to popular opinion, exercise doesn’t have to hurt. Practice self care regularly and take time to breathe while thinking positive nurturing thoughts.
You are beautiful, you are bountiful, you are bliss!
Details to follow 🙂