Friday, January 30, 2009

Yoga in the Jungle

Several months ago I learned my intolerable back pain was caused by the loss of a disc at L5-S1 and that surgery was a matter of not if but when. When it appeared that surgery was my only choice, I discovered that the pain was in fact tolerable and I was compelled to look for alternative ways to manage my pain. I tried yoga, and found that when I was consistent with yoga practice, I felt better and could be more active. I began going to a very intense power yoga class close to my work and have been addicted to the class ever since. My yoga instructor is Sid, his studio is donation based, and the yoga he teaches is tough and exhausting and I feel wonderful after a class. It is hot yoga, and the room starts out hot and with the sweating bodies the heat increases as the class progresses. After several months, I am still a beginner, but am impressed with what my body can do and how it improves each week. I am inspired by Sid, not only because of how he can coax my body to do unimaginable contortions, but also because of his calm and quirky imparting of basic truths. Everything feels possible in the hour and a half in that stifling room; world peace, joy, happiness, acceptance, laughter; one can be in the moment and nothing outside of the mat matters. I have brought Tara to the class and she has become a devoted fan. Maya comes with me on occasion and is truly an inspiration; her lithe young body can move so much more freely, or perhaps she is a yogi from her reincarnated past.

For six weeks, when I was just starting my yoga journey, I participated in a special program with Sid. We tried to practice yoga five or more times a week, we meditated daily, we tried to modify our diets and we met and talked about our lives once a week. I succeeded at my main goal, which was to intensify my yoga practice. My efforts at meditation were abysmal; that is my next goal....

I talked about my plan to leave my home and my work and my life in Baltimore and to move to Ecuador without much of a plan and limited purpose. I expressed my fears and my anticipation. I felt supported and encouraged by the group and was reassured that what I was doing was not entirely outrageous.

When I returned from Ecuador and told Sid about my experience in the jungle, we began to talk about setting up a yoga retreat in the Amazon. Eric and I discussed it when I got home, and suddenly everything was possible and I am excited about putting this together and returning to Sacha and bringing yoga to the jungle.

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