Trees : Cannons : Holiday : Paradox

Christmas tree with cannon at Amratty Green, Coorg, India

Christmas is so gentle in India. It's charmingly reinterpreted and is neither a national holiday nor an obsession. As I practice yoga as usual Christmas eve and day, I will celebrate the sweet ordinariness of the day in gratitude.

So here we are at the Amritty Green Resort enjoying Solstice/new moon rest days and getting in touch with our classist roots! Monday is a new moon day and no yoga - so we took a trip to the lushly cool nearby Coorg area for two nights. 

Aaaah India. The resort overlooks a golf course...with all the snootiness and rules of my parents' country club in California. The good news is Chuck is taking a lesson from the golf pro - a woman!! But he has to wear a collared shirt, etc. So he bought one and is  working on meeting the other rules so he can refresh his ability to hit a little ball with a stick. 

The lesson seemed like a fun thing to do...rather than whine about the oddity and feel of old India at this place. One odd  factor is the mosque just above this property which broadcasts prayers at invasively high volumes 5 times a day. 

 Love and am amazed by India’s paradoxes. Its underlying class/caste base when augmented by British-bred snobbiness seems atavistic and a little ridiculous to me. On the other hand, what golf course in the – oh, so democratic USA - would allow the jolt of screaming Islamic prayers all day long and have a female (God forbid) golf pro?

And this too is yoga!

Merry Christmas! Happy Solstice! Sending to all love and wishes for joy and abundance.




If you find yourself in some difficulty,
step aside and allow Buddha to take your place.
The Buddha is in you.
- Thich Nhat Hanh

Step aside. Allow. The Buddha is in us. 

To drop my heavy load, that ponderous shell - is such a joyous surprise and relief. The stream - I don't like that, this annoys me, I like that, I want that very much, this is too this or that. These judgements drain and  tie down so much energy.

Stepping aside, wow...the divine but unspectacular nothing (!) takes my place. Sitting, waiting for my turn to enter the practice room, during morning asana practice, walking down the street, going to sleep, small or large freedoms can happen at any time and any where.

It can even happen when lost in literal or metaphorical space.

Last week I got this idea that I wanted to rent a scooter and drive around Gokulum's (less) crazy traffic. As friend Anna said, "There are no rules driving in Indian traffic. The only one is to stay alive!" I did manage to cling to life on my first scooter try, but it was a disaster and the mission was aborted. So to my great consolation, lessons were given.

At my last lesson a few days ago, my teacher came by at dusk for our second outing to a quiet street, somewhat far from where I am staying.  He drove us there, and then let me drive with him sitting protectively behind me. We drove around the block a couple of times, and I was feeling good.

Then he got off the scooter and told me to drive. (I do love the Indian “you do!!” approach. It leaves no room for “I can’t.”) No problem! I zipped up the street and rounded the corner. By then, it had grown quite dark. Where was the short end of this block? I kept going, looking for a place to turn...and kept going... finally finding a street. Then I turned again.

Now where was the street where he was waiting for me? I drove back to what seemed to be beyond where I had started, but I wasn't sure. It was dark. I stopped, turned off the motor. Waited.

I could only see shadows of people around me. Each person who passed, I hoped (prayed really) would be my teacher, whose name I did not even know at the time! I did not have my phone. No money. 

And I had not the vaguest clue of how to get back to the Garden... Gokulum.

I waited in the black evening. And waited. What was my plan B? No idea. Throw myself at the kindness of one of the human shadows? Maybe.

Anxious but not freaked, I waited. At long last, One of the many passing shadows came closer and turned into my scooter teacher. Angels sang! He grinned. I laughed. He laughed, jumped on the scooter and drove back. I ate dinner and slept like a happy log…slightly smiling.

Joy! To have faced and been released from a fear different (but maybe similar) to what I experience in back bend. There I am out in the unknown - outer space/inner space…upside down and backwards literally or figuratively --and I just might not get back!

I like to think that my yoga/spiritual practice provided me with the equanimity to wait -  to step aside -  mostly in calm for either my teacher to arrive or a course of action to arise. 

We are stardust
We are golden
And we've got to get ourselves 
Back to the Garden.
-Joni Mitchell, “Woodstock”

Glory be! 



Form is not different from emptiness, emptiness not different from form. You will not find emptiness apart from form;nor form apart from emptiness.- Heart Sutra 

Just off the plane in Bangalore after over 30 hours of travel followed by two hour nap and the urge, the need arose. So, in late afternoon cool, near deserted hotel swimming pool, this weary one strung together first series poses intuitively. Such simple bliss!

In Goa Alexander Medin's** workshop* included chanting "Aum Gam" and pranayama until the mind was so focused it just quit and emptied. Walked out of the Shala with head in the sky, body in the stars.

Today the first practice was inspired by the energy, the Mysore Magic.

So all this is leading to an awareness: I know from experience I cannot perceive what is true in a state other than emptiness. What I think  (and project) taints perception. I can know neither simple reality nor Truth without a quiet mind. Is a rickshaw driver cheating me? Am I being treated differently because of my age; am I the object of ageism? Can I listen to another person completely, perceive what is happening around me, and accept it whether I like it or not - without interference from a chattering self? Can I perceive, accept, and allow both small and magnificent Truth?

 Can I know Truth/Form through Emptiness and experience the Emptiness in Truth/Form?





Day 2 in Mysore - 60ni Yogini with a scrambled happy brain/body and ready for an empty (teehee) nap!

*** More about Alexander Medin and his group Back in the Ring later.