With Christmas just around the corner and my time in India winding down I have been really struggling with the intensity of the emotions I have been feeling here. While talking with a more senior student today about the challenges the last few days I was reminded that part of the reason I am unable to really process everything I am feeling is because the stimulation of this place is so extreme. Even as I write this very sentence my apartment is filled with the noise from outside. I live across from a local school and they are having their Christmas performances tonight, in India this means loud, musical, performances with precisely choreographed dances that go on for hours.
The event started around 6, it is not 9:30pm and they are still going strong. I fear my earbuds may be unable to drown out the noise. So even when I am alone, at least during the day, I am not alone, here I seem to never been alone. But what I find so ironic is that I FEEL so alone, so far removed from anything that seems recognizable or comfortable.
December 23rd marks a year since I was hospitalized with a Deep Vein Thrombosis blood clot in my right arm, fast forward to the present as I sit in my apartment in India listening to the pounding of children’s feet on an elaborate stage dancing to some high-energy tunes.
Last year at this time I was hooked up to more wires and cords than I could count, I think in my left hand alone I had 10, or something like that, not to mention the catheter in my right arm pumping medicine into my blood stream to break up the clot. That pain was more intense than any I felt during my subsequent surgery. I just remember being in such a daze because I have never had any significant health issues so the whole event was surreal, like I couldn’t believe it was me that was living it.
As I recall this event from a year ago I remember thinking will I be able to go back to my physical yoga practice? My doctor told me the next day as I was being given the ok to be released that I wasn’t to do anything too extreme, and no inversions since he was putting me on blood thinners for 3 months. I knew I was facing surgery or blood thinners for life when they wheeled me out of the hospital.
After about 10 days I found my way back to my mat doing gentle flows, yin postures and doing my best to stay active. Today in Mysore Sharath gave me the next 3 postures in Intermediate, all the way through Shalambasana. Last year at this time I would never have imagined I would be where I am in my physical practice, let alone doing it in India.
As I write this I think, wow…I really have come a long way in a year. Basically I didn’t have an intense practice for the first 5 months of this year, but slowly my strength and stamina came back and I have been more dedicated to my practice both the physical one and the one that occurs off the mat.
On Sunday of this past weekend a yogi friend I met here, Roni and I did a day-long tour to some sights around Mysore, our first adventure of the day was an hour long ascent up a rocky formation which resulted in an amazing 360 degree view of the surrounding rice and coconut fields.
I was so glad we were able to stay at the top for a while, I removed myself from the group for about 5 minutes, just to find a place to stop and meditate and be grateful for everything I have been able to experience, even the stuff that is really hard, it is all necessary and part of the deal. If it was all easy it would be boring, that’s how I feel about the physical practice, if I could do Kapotasana everyday, no problem, without the struggle and experience of working through the posture it wouldn’t hold the same value.
At the end of the night, amidst the fireworks of the Christmas show, which sounds like cannon fire and the music blaring from the schoolyard I am grateful I am here. Even on the days I cry until I can’t anymore because I feel so vulnerable and alone deep down I think I know this journey is important. For future me, past me, and the one that’s enduring every tiny emotion right now this was the right decision.