All of us lead certain distinctive kinds of lifestyles. It begins when we are very young. We fall into categories, and usually just keep going deeper into them. Habits and patterns form. These turn into mechanical behaviour, more or less. Many don’t realise it. Those that do, find it difficult to reverse. Impossible, we say. “Nothing’s impossible!” our mind screams out in despair. That’s usually where 90% of the optimism gets drained.
A very few of us are fortunate enough to have a light thrown at us, and have somebody tell us that indeed, nothing’s impossible. Nothing. There are other ways to live. Better ways. Good people.
I am extremely honoured to say that I am one of those fortunate ones. I recently had a 7-day long experience that has definitively changed my life.
Starting at 8 AM on the 23rd of April to 2 PM on the 29th of April, I experienced what were probably the most relaxing, liberating and enlightening (roughly) 150 hours of my life so far. I’m being totally serious. Some of you who have read some of my previous posts, and especially the last one or two Coffee Updates, may have read about how I have enrolled in a two year long teacher training course on Yoga, at The Yoga Institute in Santacruz, Mumbai. Since it is an advanced course, it’s prerequisite is that all students must first complete the introductory 7-day camp. The 7-day camp is residential as well as non-residential, which means students can stay there at the hostel for the duration of the seven days, depending on the availability of beds, of course. It is meant to be done living there, to get the authentic experience. And that’s how I did it; I stayed there for 7 days.
It involves waking up early in the morning, doing exercises, or asanas, as Yoga calls it, and various other activities throughout the day, both physically and mentally stimulating, interspersed with wholesome, fresh, nutritious food at regular intervals. All of this not only rejuvenates your body, but it freshens your mind as well.
At this point, I have to admit that I was, at first, very apprehensive about doing this. Not in the ‘I-don’t-want-to-do-it’ way, because I knew I had to do it and I knew how good it would be for me if I let it. And that right there, is probably the thing. A part of me wasn’t letting the course be what it was meant to be. On the very first day itself, I was repeatedly reminded to open up my mind, let go, relax and enjoy. After what I learnt there, I realise that Yoga, as it is marketed in so many places around the world: loosening up your body, essentially becoming some sort of contortionist, is so badly interpreted. Yes, the physical side is an very important aspect, but to me at least, Yoga is more about the mind and being the master of it.
There were a few huge notions that I engineered into my mind while I was there, and these are the kind of notions that stick around.
The first one is of not judging people. There were about 57-58 of us taking part in the 7 Day Camp, out of which a good 30%-40% were from countries other than India. We’ve lived all our lives, being told to be wary of others, how the world’s a cruel place and whatnot. Some of the more skeptical people also tell us that the world’s become so shitty you can’t trust anybody. As we grow up, we also learn from experience and whenever we experience something of this kind, it sticks, because we’ve also been hearing so much of this kind from those close to us. Impressionable young minds. Classmates spreading rumours about you, having a fight with a friend about something you later realise was petty, having an experience of typically snobbish Government employees. This kind of stuff happens a lot in early life, and especially the first two. It all reaffirms our faith in what everybody tells us and how the world is basically a giant pisspot. What we don’t realise, though, is that it’s stuff like this that shapes our psyche, and ultimately our life.
Maybe the world is a giant pisspot. Depends on where you decide to stand. And that’s the second thing I learnt. I, and only I, have control over how I see things. If I see them from a negative light, then it’s only going to make me feel shittier about things. Not a single soul in the world would know. I control my state of mind, and Yoga is all about having a balanced state of mind.
I have always been a bit of a dumb perfectionist of sorts. I have wanted things to be a certain way, for them to turn out in a certain way. I have even wanted myself to be a certain kind of person. But that was a classical kind of punishing belief system that I had created. I even studied about it in Psychology class, but it never struck me. I guess epiphanies are like lightning in that way, they don’t strike unless there’s a thunderstorm. That brings me to the next thing I learnt. I have no box I need to fit into. There’s no hard-frame category I must be in, or a condition I must always be fulfilling. All I need to be doing is my duty, whatever it may be at that particular point in time. At 4 in the afternoon, for example, my duty is to go to the gym, because fitness is a duty to myself. Or at 6 AM three or four days a week, my duty is to go cycling with my sister. Once college begins, my duty would be to attend college from 7 AM to 12 PM 5 days a week. Every Wednesday though, I am allowed to watch The Flash for 45 minutes, since that constitutes recreation and that also is important.
That’s enough of me preaching, I guess. I’ll sign off while you guys are still tolerating me.
Just kidding, I’ve got some more epiphanies to rant on.
LOL, kidding. Again.
I’ll show myself out.