Monday, January 3, 2011

Flash of Enlightenment

When on a yogic journey through India, with dedication to practice with as many yoga elements that cross your path, you do whatever it takes to tap into all offered realms of yogic enlightenment. Whether it be on a dirty rooftop in the hot December sun, or in a blissed-out yoga studio above the crashing waves to a tone set by a beautiful Mumbai woman. Every practice is unique and worth the time, energy and rupees paid. But sometimes when opening yourself to all forthcoming elements, you can get yourself into a yogic-pickle that might even test your willingness to be enlightened in the first place...
While shopping for my yoga philosophy books in the tiny beach town in South Goa, I struck up in conversation with a tiny, old Indian man named Krishna. A native to the area with stories of his childhood and yoga studies from 12 years onward. We chatted about the push of Westerners whom come to the south in the winter and teach yoga for high prices, and all the tourists that show up for some fluffy, Eat Pray Love experience of a lifetime. In my quest to explore my journey and avoid that "fluff" I felt it was a worthy attempt to spend $4 the next morning on his 9 am drop-in yoga class.

At 8:30 am I had walked over from my strip of beach to the next, and at 9:10 Krishna had woken up, and arrived outside his house with a toothbrush in hand to greet his solo standing student of the day. the water tank on the rooftop had overflowed, thus a spare bedroom in his house would host as todays studio space instead of the normal rooftop space. A small mattress on the floor in the corner of the room was offered to me as a base for my yoga mat to lay on, I considered for a moment as I am currently open to all styles of unique practicing techniques.... but denied the offer and laid my mat across the cement floor. The mattress was cleared from the room, along with the cockroaches that nested beneath it. He checks his hair in the mirror and then a 15 minute "warm up" was instructed to me by Mr. Krishna- head to the right and left, feet to the right and left, hands to the right and left... and so on. And yes, for 15 minutes. We stumbled along into poses/asanas, all of which were randomly linked together and held for odd amounts of time. I was deep into my considerations of what the hell kind of Yoga is this...?? But in my quest to remain open, I let the confusion run off my back. A yawn slipped from my mouth (out of pure boredom) which lead dear Krishna into a 5 minute lecture on how yawning is an important release in the yoga world, and how we should not be ashamed of this, but embrace it and let it out..... ok, whatever. Om Shanti.

His phone rings, and he answers it.

Two more poses are instructed. Then he decides it's time for a break- lay down and rest. This corps pose was held halfway through the practice for a solid 10 minutes. I was too busy counting the splattered mosquitoes on the wall to properly relax into a tranquil state.

He gets up and goes to the kitchen to pass something on to his wife.

He returns with a kitten to show me.

We proceed into seated postures and spinal twists to near the completion of our... of so interesting... practice. While on our sits bones, facing one another, I mirror him by crossing my right leg over my bent left leg. I get myself situated in this familiar pose, Adha Matsyendrasana, stretched up and twisted my spine towards the center of the room. My gaze swept across my teacher who was in the same pose, facing away from me. His barely there shorts were hiked up to guide him into a deep spinal twist. And there before me, in my quest to expose myself to authentic Indian expression, was my FLASH... of Enlightenment. My gaze quickly ran from Krishna's escapee at the base of his shorts, up to the wall to find a blood-splattered mosquito and clear my mind from what I had just witnessed. While suppressing a laughter of tears, I packed up my mat, said goodbye to my momentary Guru, and left his impromptu Yoga Shala of Enlightenment.

Enlightenment Lesson #37 - Always focus your Drishti (focal point) on a spot on the floor, not a moving or live object of any kind..... and choose yoga classes with caution from now on.

Only thing left to do in order to cleanse my thoughts from this experience is to eat. 1 plate of 50 cent Masala fried rice from the toothless man in the red cart by the beach.... hold the eggs , please.

2011- And another year as a Gypsy! Om Namah Shivaya.


  1. ew ew ew ew ew ew EW! :) Love it. Don't find any more "yoga teachers"!

  2. I love you Ash. You make me laugh inside so very much.

  3. I was smiling as I read this post and thinking to myself that it is these very types of experiences that make life interesting-especially, when you re-tell the story.

    Awesome. Thanks for sharing.


  4. Ommmmigosh. I hardly know what to say about that. Thank you for sharing this fascinating tale with us! I hope you never ever have a flash of enlightenment again. Heh heh. :)