When I booked my trip to India it was with one goal in mind: to complete a 300 hour yoga teacher training (in Ashtanga yoga, Vinyasa flow and Myo Fascia release) at Kranti Yoga in Goa. I knew that I had signed up for a challenge, and honestly that was exactly what I was looking for. I was hungry to learn more by diving deep into an immersive training experience. They say: be careful what you wish for because you might just get it… Well, now I know what they mean.
It was a journey like no other I’ve experienced before. I learned more in a month than I thought was possible, both on and off the yoga mat. We had long days with a structured schedule to keep us on track at all times, all day, every day. The air was filled with a blend of expectations, adventure and occasional curry. Alright then, mostly curry… Yet what most of us had in common was to keep our head held high and our bodies fully functioning aiming to get though everything that was included in our quest of learning.
Photo: Mindy Arnholt Photo
India is interesting. It is a culture full of life! Colourful clothes, curious people and loud honking horns from cars battling their way around the occasional cow on the corner. It is kinda crazy, yet such a relaxed way of living. It is so chill but also chaotic in ways I’ve never seen before, then again this was my first experience of Indian traffic. And let me tell you, the rules are definitely not to be followed by anyone… Or, there are no rules. Either way, it is all an experience worth it. When arriving in India my attitude was being overwhelmingly kind to everyone including the old lady totally ripping me off when buying flip-flops. Which I didn’t realise before the day after when my jet leg had settled and I was 4000 rupees short. Damn.
India is without doubt a flavour of its own, and for us westerners it might be overwhelming at first. I didn’t see India trough a tourist perspective, I saw the contrasts created by the tourists, us, and our ways of living compared to the locals. I noticed all the differences, good and bad, right and wrong – the judgement in my mind created a sense of “us and them”. While in reality it was only my own preferences that got in the way of pure experience. Only when I let go of that point of view a new way of living opened up. India is intense, so with a judgmental mind you will be dazzled by the differences, leaving you a little lost. Instead, there is always a choice to adapt, accept and embrace the experiences given. So I did, in the best way I could.
Photo: Mindy Arnholt Photo
Just to point out the obvious: 300 hours in a month is quite a lot of work. So my experience has been everything else than a holiday high. By the second week into it I was slowly suffocating myself while finding better ways to deal with the tasks given, the expectations felt and the long heating and humid days. Did I have a hard time? Yes and no. Everyone who has been in a similar setting knows how the yogi rollercoaster ride can feel like. We are on the mat practicing what we know while we’re learning about what is next to be understood. Off the mat we are dealing with deadlines and a talking body telling a story of occasional pains that there is no time to sort out right now. On the flip side: yoga is so goddam good for you!
Note to Self: when my yoga practice stops feeling like a healing practice I know I am diving too deep into waters that might be drowning me. That was exactly the sensation that my body was screaming out after many weeks with mostly Ashtanga yoga. Don’t get me wrong, I like the Ashtanga system. It has its perks of a steady progress as a result of the set practice that it is, which was exactly what I was keen to experience when deciding to go all in, and I did. I learned a lot from our course, our teachers and the daily duties we were indulging in. But most important of all, I learned a lot about myself as a result of having to deal with difficulties in a different way than before. Life lessons, laughter and love was all included in my immersion into Indian magic and madness.
Speaking off madness, this photo is from our Holy celebration. What an experience it was! Pink from top to toe, dancing the day away happy and high on colours, creativity and a few cups of Bang lassi (Google it)… That day of celebration lifted the energy in our little yoga village. The lightness of heart and colourful paint stuck with most of us for the next days to follow. Seeing the ways that Indians celebrated Holi inspired my slightly conservative Norwegian mind to embrace the craziness around me more, and to allow myself to “don’t give a fuck” more often. With other words: only caring about things that matters, and not giving a fuck about the rest. It makes our minds a little lighter and our hearts a little happier. It can also be said in the following way:
On that note, I will share a few magical moments worth mentioning…
Walks on the beach, barefoot, feeling the earth, sand and saltwater – Mother Nature ♥ Home.
Sunset swims at the end of a long day – cleansing, purifying and healing. Sunset gazing to soothe the soul – inner peace.
Good conversations and deep connections – soul food and satisfying for my happy heart.
A daily dose of puppy love – yeeees please!
Moving meditation on my mat – healing and happiness created. Playful practice on the beach – my inner child is cheering.
Rice pancakes for breakfast – I just couldn’t get enough of those yummy yellow ones.
Laughter and Love – always wanted and welcomed.
I am happy that I made the choice to travel to India to immerse myself in yoga, sunshine, saltwater and occasional curry. I am thankful for the truth given, the experiences shared and the tons of valuable lessons learned. The experience of something new – something different – something challenging, will always carry a value for those of us willing to welcome it.
Thank you India for teaching me what I needed to learn.
Thank you Kranti Yoga for your warm & welcoming community.
And to all of you beautiful beings that has shared this experience with me,
thanks for being so goddam awesome!
Photo: Mindy Arnholt Photo
Photo: Aspen Groen Media