October 2019 was a transformative month for me. Following a very spontaneous decision to travel out to India super last minute I decided to embark on a yoga teacher training course, 30 minutes outside of Rishikesh, at the Alakh Yog School of Yoga.
The training was less about becoming a yoga teacher for me, and more about taking a time out from London. What I found towards the end of the course, based on other people’s feedback, was that I was a natural teacher. Despite having a huge amount of fear that came up for me during the process, I had an opportunity to witness my tendency towards perfectionism first hand, allowing me to fully surrender and accept that part of my character. I found that to be quite a liberating experience.
To give you a bit of context. This year I decided to go full steam with my wellness business, focusing all my efforts on promoting my energy healing services, and then training as a Coach thanks to a very generous friend gifting a Life Coaching course to me. There are so many moments when I felt in flow, securing part time work at a meditation studio, and starting to host various circles with friends. And there were many other moments when It felt like I’d made completely the wrong choice.
A Number 8 Year
In numerology I have been having a number 8 year, which is all about power, material, and financial gain. Isn’t it ironic how we only really learn about something through having the complete opposite experience. There were so many moments in 2019 where I felt completely disempowered when it came to my finances. I’d got myself into quite a bit of debt, and my client base wasn’t growing at a rate to help me get on top of everything. In my eyes, the worst case had come through, I’d hit rock bottom.
The more I pushed forward with my business, the less progress I made. When I tried to revert back to freelance work, it was as if there was a block in the way. Despite my better judgement It appeared that I could only keep moving forward.
It was only through directly facing my fears of lack head on, that I was able to start witnessing the part I had to play in everything, and how I could find a way to navigate a way out.
I now realise that I created all of my experiences based on a subconscious belief that I didn’t deserve success, or wasn’t worthy of this new life, despite being shown quite clearly that this is the path I was meant to take. This belief ran deep, and was being mirrored in other areas of my life.
Was I good enough, capable enough, or talented enough to do this on my own? Why was I always trying to be perfect? Was this the right path after all?
I think there are many moments in life where things have to continually fall away, so that you can rebuild your life again with an even stronger foundation. This has happened several times in the last five years, though it certainly doesn’t make it any easier. What comforts me is how, looking back, I can always see how these ‘tower’ moments helped to steer me back on course.
This trip came at the right time for me.
As I drove in the taxi from the airport to the school, looking out at the River Ganges, at the foothills of the Himalayas I had this overwhelming feeling of coming home. Immediately a street sign flashed up in the taxi’s side window reading, ‘Better Late Than Never’. In that moment I knew that, despite all my fears and reservations about this trip, I had made the right decision, and that I was exactly where I needed to be.null
I chose this particular school based on their specialism in naturopathy and emotional blocking. They stood out to me as something different to the variety of other schools in Rishikesh. The reviews looked good, and they were located 30 minutes away from the hustle and bustle of central Tapovan.
I will treasure this experience for a very long time.
How do I best summarise my time at Alakh Yog? Intense, challenging and heart warming are the first words that come to mind.
The course was no joke. It was a full on yoga bootcamp! We were up at 6am every day, and had a jam packed schedule right through until dinner time at 8pm. Wednesdays were our only day off, and though many of us were completely shattered, or had heaps of studying to do, I always found myself sucked into the hustle and bustle of central Rishikesh exploring the array of shops and cafes, or having a little dip in the crisp cold mountain fresh water of the Ganges.
In addition to all the yoga and study we had a strict timetable of Naturopathy and Kriyas each week to help clear and rebalance our energy. From a mainly Sattvic diet at meal times, to early morning mud packs on the roof, warm water enemas, salt induced purges, and the my personal favourite Neti Pot which was a combined procedure of rinsing your nasal passages out with salt water, and then threading a rubber tube through your nostril passage and down through your throat and into your mouth to help release excess mucus and saliva.
Yoga helps to balance our Masculine and Feminine Energies. It is Union of body, mind and soul.
Throughout this process we learned that either nostril represents either our masculine or feminine energies. I found it fascinating to see which energy channel (or Nadi) was blocked at any given time. The left or Ida channel is our feminine energy, and the right Pingala is our masculine. If the right was blocked it was usually a sign we were low on energy, or feeling tired. If the left was blocked we usually were having a restless night’s sleep, but had lots of physical energy. Ida represents the Moon, and Pingala the Sun. It was very uncomfortable at first, but after several days I was able to thread the tube up and down my throat, and into my mouth with ease.
Balance can take years of practise to maintain.
I began to witness firsthand how our energies are very rarely in balance, but throughout the practise of Yoga, Breathwork, and also the Kriyas we can find our centre, if only for a moment.
The emotional blocking classes were by far the most intense experience throughout the month. I have never experienced pain like it. We learned that many of us store frustration and anger in various parts of our bodies. Namely our calf muscles, hamstrings, and hips. For me the calf muscles were the worst. I was worried about the hamstrings as they are a tight area for me, but it was the calf muscles that were the most sensitive area by a long way.
Similar to a massage, but way more painful. The practitioners press firmly into the muscle to release pockets of air that have built up around the muscle. When the pressure is applied the air is released which can cause quite a bit of discomfort. Let’s just say most of us were screaming the roof down during the sessions. There were tears, laughter and a lot of bruises. Not something I’d actively choose to do again in a hurry! After four days of this technique and after many more tears it did feel as if something had shifted. Though tender, we all felt lighter. The transformation is a gradual process I think. A lot cleared for many people in different ways in the days and weeks that followed.
We purged, and cried and laughed together.
And through all of our shared experiences, we created bonds with one another that were in many ways closer than with some of our life long friends.
There were over 40 of us in the school, so slightly too many people to connect with everyone on a deep level. However I found that amazing synchronicities would happen to lead me to connect with different people more deeply at significant times.
One example was after a sunset walk to the Ganges. On the way back I connected with one of the girls in Group A (I was in Group B) who I hadn’t spoken to before. We ended up hitting it off so well we went to a local cafe for a bite to eat, and had a wonderful chat which was so helpful for us both at the time.
Then on my last morning I woke up really early and decided to head up to the roof to watch the sunrise, and was joined shortly after by another girl from the other group. I ended up having quite a profound experience after we chatted for what felt like hours. There were so many amazing subtle moments like this. As if we were all playing a part, however insignificant, in each others stories. Some people fell in love, others went travelling together afterwards. It was all as it needed to be.
Life is a dance. A never-ending movement and flow of energies, coming into contact, and then moving away.
From the first day I arrived in India, it felt like I had been divinely guided to this school to mix and mingle with these beautiful people for this moment in time.
Even if many of us never get to meet in the physical again, I know we were all meant to share in this experience together. This planet feels that little bit smaller having met, and shared so many special moments with such incredible people from all over the world.
The path ahead
I have no idea what awaits me next on my yoga journey. This trip was always all about my own personal experience and growth. I am pretty sure I’ll be integrating all of the insights and lessons for quite some time. The yoga we know in the West is only a tiny facet of the whole spectrum. Yoga truly is a lifestyle. It’s about making a life long commitment to both one’s place in society, and the relationship one has with themselves. This is the yoga that I connected to, it wasn’t so much about the asana’s for me.
Don’t get me wrong, to now have my own personal daily asana practice is such a gift. I get to feel into what my body is telling me as I rise each morning, bringing awareness to the subtle changes that each new day brings. Yoga is helping me to have presence in both thoughts, words and deeds.
If I am ever in the position to share in some of what I have learnt in India with others in the future then great. I trust the Universe to guide me where I am meant to be.
My next event is a collaboration with dear friend Neil Greenwood, In East London on December the 5th. We will guiding you in a series of Breathwork and Energy Healing techniques helping you ground and re-centre, and find a state of calm . You can apply for tickets here.