17th March 2012

6.46 am – awake and a little bit groggy.  TODAY is induction day!  Well, at least that’s what I think it is.  All I know is that at 4pm 20 ashtanga students are going to meet in the restaurant of the Sanctuary and officially begin our month-long intensive.

It’s been incredibly difficult to maintain the discipline of self-practice over the past week, but I’m not going to be too hard on myself.  I’m recovering well from the cuts and grazes, bruising, jelly-fish stings and the cold is trickling to its end.   I’ve done three nights of deepening meditation, and the ego is seemingly under control.

Most importantly of all, is that excitement I feel about getting back on the mat.   Coming away, and committing myself to all this yoga, there was always that risk that I wouldn’t take to it.  That after a few weeks, I’d decide that I’d had enough, and want to just travel instead.  So waking up today and yearning for that feeling when you stand upright at the top of the mat, pull upwards and inwards, press your hands into prayer position in front of your heart space, breathe in, close your eyes….let the world disappear and think only of your breath, is not only a great relief – it’s a bit of revelation too.

Yinker, one of the meditation guys here, has led two of the sessions I’ve been to.  We get comfortable on a mat, rest our heads on a pillow, all facing inwards, in a circle, towards the centre of the room.  Eyes are closed, you wait in silence in the darkening room for his voice to begin.  Deep, slow, melodic, he takes us on a journey.  The story of his childhood, the wonder of our breath.  How everything we have in life is a gift.  Our hands and feet, our hips and heart space, eyes and throat, breathing into all of this, the top of our heads, temples, back of our heads, its ok, we’re all safe.  We’re all safe, here, in this space.  Breathing into everything we have.  A heavy blanket rests between myself and my imagination and immediately I sink, deeper and deeper, into this warm, blank space.  I can barely hear him anymore, just feel the vibrations of his African words rolling through the floorboards, the soft wooden chant of the didgeridoo.  He leaves us there, with the sounds of the birds and crickets.

7.41 am – the cafe is empty except for the bedraggled bodies of three American kids who haven’t gone to sleep.  It’s difficult to ignore their fight against their pending comedowns.  I’d forgotten about the Koh Phangang party scene.  Travellers arriving from Koh Samui, eyes ablaze, hearts racing.  “Are you coming to the party?” a French girl called out to me…God no, it’s 10 o’clock, I’d just left Sam, clutching onto his fasting pills and strict schedule, Gabriela sleep-walking back to her room.   Me – I had a pair of ear plugs at the ready – it’s a big day tomorrow.

9.21 am – back at the internet cafe.  Yoga clothes folded neatly, fresh from the laundry.  Still spaced out from last night’s meditation.  Amanda and Gabriela are too.    Yinker says that everything is a gift.   Waking up this morning, feeling excited about getting back on the mat…I totally get what he means.  Yoga’s a part of me now.   What a fabulous gift.

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