Day twentythree: Asana

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I got my first mos­qui­to bite of the day on my left ankle dur­ing sat­sang. I’m sure there’ll be many more to come over the next 24 hours and I’m excit­ed to see in what con­stel­la­tion they arrange them­selves on my body today.

At chai time, Sofia, Galaad (doc­u­men­tary film­mak­er from France), and Daniel (from Budapest) inform me that they’ve decid­ed to leave today to Varkala. “I’ll miss you,” says my musi­cal friend. And with that anoth­er one of my favorite peo­ple goes hejdå.

Om tat sat.

Daniel waits for Sofia at the Reception.

Also at teatime Nami spills chai all over her­self when she over­fills her bot­tle (which some­one found and returned to her). The mis­ad­ven­tures of her favorite pink ther­mos con­tin­ue…

The morn­ing asana class went well — hold­ing the head­stand stead­ier and longer but still only for a few sec­onds — but the mike did not work for the first few min­utes, so I could bare­ly hear the instruc­tor Sadasiva. However I avoid­ed doing an impres­sion of him because yes­ter­day when I did it before class a woman asked me not to say­ing that I sound­ed so much like him that she was fol­low­ing my ridicu­lous out-of-sequence instruc­tions.

A French girl told me that since January, if you exit India you have to wait two months before you’re allowed re-entry, even with a mul­ti­ple-entry visa. Ils ont changé les regles du jeu.

So from 11 to 12 was good­byes to Sofia, Galaad, Daniel et al, but unlike pre­vi­ous good­byes this was bright and cheer­ful and did not even fea­ture the word itself.

This is Varkala, where Sofia and Co. were head­ed.

Sadasiva does Sofia’s paper­work at the Reception.

Nichole also left today.

Sofia is off.

Health Hut now with my new best friend Salman Rushdie and his con­tin­u­ing tale of how the fate of “Saleem Sinai, lat­er var­i­ous­ly called Snotnose, Stainface, Baldy, Sniffer, Buddha and even Piece of the Moon” amal­ga­mat­ed with that of his coun­try.

On Brahmacharya (celiba­cy), Janaki told the sto­ry of two monks who while cross­ing a riv­er come upon a young woman strug­gling to car­ry her things. The old­er monk takes her up on his shoul­ders, car­ries her across the riv­er, and drops her off on the oth­er side. Several hours lat­er, the younger monk admits that he was both­ered by the inci­dent: “We monks are not sup­posed to touch a woman and yet we dared car­ry her on your shoul­ders across the riv­er.” So the old­er monk replies: “You’re still car­ry­ing her? I left her at the riv­er bank hours ago.”

Line of the Day:

You don’t win over sick­ness by fight­ing it. You win by tak­ing respon­si­bil­i­ty and accept­ing it.

– Janaki

Earlier at the Health Hut I had a chat about Ashram expe­ri­ence with Manuela (from Berlin) and we likened it to one long asana which you have to get into, hold com­fort­ably, and release. If, as yoga sutras say, to con­quer an asana is to hold is for three hours, then I think I’ve done quite well hold­ing my Ashram expe­ri­ence for 23 days now.

Afternoon asana class with Udayan at the lake­side was fun — and he sug­gest­ed we all jump into the lake after­wards. As we swam, one of the Japanese girls ran out to get her cam­era, so I asked her to explain to Udayan how to use my iPhone to take pho­tos of us.

Hearing that, Eric sug­gest­ed I speak to Mariko, an Australian girl (whom I had not met), who’s appar­ent­ly inter­est­ed in mov­ing to Japan.

At din­ner (Tuesday lentils yum!) I was won­der­ing out loud with Corinne what the cous­cous-like stuff they serve with it was, so a girl sit­ting to my right said twas was ground corn. We got to talk­ing about books (Midnight’s Children and The God of Small Things, which we agreed to swap if we fin­ished them before leav­ing the Ashram). As I left, I asked her name and it turned out she was none oth­er than Mariko from Australia. Instant Karma!

We’re at Daventry Hall killing time before sat­sang and Corinne just did the plough! Woohoo!!

Meditation this evening was weird and won­der­ful — and a lit­tle fright­en­ing. It was sim­i­lar to an expe­ri­ence I had reg­u­lar­ly as a child, but only when I slept. I felt detached from my phys­i­cal body and thought, and felt light as air. It was the first time I have an out-of-body expe­ri­ence as an adult, and it end­ed with pan­ic and an acute­ly jar­ring “snap” back, which trans­lat­ed into very real pain in my low­er spine. I should learn to give in to this sen­sa­tion more, maybe that would ease my fear.

At Satsang we watched a video about Swami Vishnu-Devenadna’s final years, chron­i­cling his pil­grim­age along the Ganges. Prasad was yum­my. Om, out.

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