I suppose I came to India looking for a lot of the same things so many others come to India looking for: spirituality, yoga, a better understanding of myself and the world around me, and the unknown. My reasons for coming here were not particularly unique on this way, and like so many others I saw India as exotic, mysterious, and completely different from the West in every way.
I came here without a real plan, and with four months on my visa. Not planning is so unlike me, but I came here trying to let go of habits that do not serve me. Such as: my tendency to obsess over details, my fear of the unknown and consequent need to be prepared for all situations, my propensity for slouching, my addiction to the internet and devices and distractions in general, and my fear of my own mind (which I have yet learned how to control, or rather, how to relax into not needing to control it). I also came here in order to establish new patterns and habits that I find it hard to adopt in the pace and culture I grew up in: a daily meditation and yoga practice, eating mindfully and healthily, cultivating a calm and peaceful mind, and letting go of past events that are negative.
These were my goals, but I had no idea how I was going to acheive them. My resolve is weak and I am not yet disciplined enough to not go online when wifi is present, for example. So I haven’t made the strides I thought I would in the three months that I’ve been traveling. I thought that a simple change of scenery might be the answer to my problems, but when I arrived, I was still the same person with the same bad habits that have followed me. I realize that now.
This past week I stayed in a homestay in Fort Kochi, Kerala. An ice cold air-conditioned room in the hottest month of the year in India is a beautiful thing. I had mentioned to my host that I wanted to find a yoga class in the area, and she told me that her yoga-master could come and do private classes up on the veranda. So every morning he would come, and we would practice pranayama, chanting, and asana together surrounded by the sound of the parakeets downstairs. After not practicing yoga for about a month, it felt really good to be moving again. After one session the tightness in my upper back was gone, and I could stand up straight again.
One day he asked me if I had ever considered doing a teacher training course. I had, but not with the goal of teaching, really. I wanted to deepen my knowledge of yoga and yoga philosophy, and teacher training was a definite way of doing that. So he called his guru and yoga teacher friends he knew in India, and found out that there was a teacher training happening at an off-season rate, exactly in the location I had planned on going to next, at exactly the same time I would be there.
When I told this to one of my own yoga teachers and friends, she said to me, “Just keep stepping in and saying yes, and letting everything unfold. Trust the journey.” She was right. Some might say this is coincidence, some might say fate. I know that often when you don’t know wat you’re looking for, what you need finds you. That is how I have acquired everything good in my life: jobs, travels, and love. It is only when I let go of trying to force something to happen that it finds me.
So I am going to trust the process, trust that this is what I came to India to find. A month devoted to being a student and soaking in all I can, in a location that is calm and beautiful, surrounded by like-minded people. I look forward to the journey, to the difficulties that come with devoting ten hours a day to one thing, and to any potential outcomes it might bring.