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My Sankalpa: My Reason To Come To India

The Bow I Took

What the hell am I doing here..?

That is the question I hear Sunil repeat from time to time while giving us the philosophy lecture, and quite frankly, I have been asking that several times during the three weeks I have been in India. It started when I was at the New Delhi airport, waiting three hours for the guy who was supposed to pick me up, not wanting to leave the safety of the airport, which seemed like my final link to my comfort zone. But eight hours later, I was in the room that was supposed to be my home for the next three weeks, feeling cold and alone. I didn´t know the wifi password, so I didn´t have any connection to the world as I had before.

But I had made a commitment, which I later realized was my Sankalpa: I would have an open heart and mind and take whatever I was given with open arms. I would attend to everything 100 % even when I didn´t feel like it, and my legs would be tired of sitting on the floor meditatively and seeing where it would lead. I would let someone else decide when I wake up, what I eat when I do my intestinal cleansing, and even when I breathe in and out. And now, sitting in the same room three weeks later, I can reassure you it has been all worth it.

My Reason To Come To India

I came to India might be a western cliché: I got burnt out at my job, rehabilitated myself with yoga, and realized I wanted to do something more with my life than work for the Swedish state. I attended a TTC in Sweden, which only raised more questions about the union, which is supposed to happen in yoga. An alliance with what, and how do I reach that? Is it even possible? Can I teach yoga if I don´t understand the meaning of yoga? So I decided to make an effort to go closer to the source and found myself chanting mantras, doing pranayama, and practicing yoga Nidra, which I knew was ”yogic sleep,” but what the hell is that?

Things I Found Here

A week later, I was content with somewhat new: I didn´t miss anything. Chanting calmed me, and I enjoyed walking to the shala at 6 am to do the morning ashtanga yoga Rishikesh and pranayama practice. I was constantly busy, but I didn´t feel I needed more time, a washing machine, the internet, or even coffee.

Today I did the final exam and realized I was in a somewhat new situation: I don´t have to spend every free moment studying the Bhagavad Gita or the Hatha Yoga Pradipika (or memorizing asana names or practicing how to teach), and there is no evening meditation to attend.

So the next question is, what the hell am I going to do in Sweden? Will everything be the same? Am I going to stress about my job every morning, forget to breathe, drink too much coffee, and lose the feeling of contentment? Get caught up in all the so-called demands of having a title, an apartment, or as we say in Sweden: a Volvo, a dog, and a house?

Things I Am Doing Here

That is the real question. Sunil also says that during these three weeks, we invest, our bodies are aching, we are confused about everything, and we cleanse our bodies and minds. We do pranayama and meditation, but we only get the effects of it all later. And there is no use in cleansing unless we keep our body and mind clean even afterward. You don´t clean your home to throw some dirt in it later.

So the real sadhana begins after India, and it will not be easy. Combining our jobs with yoga, pranayama, and meditation is challenging. It is hard to apply the Yamas and niyamas in real life. But it would be stupid to do all of these things for a few weeks just so that I could go back to my old routines: after all, I was a snowball that needed to be shaken so some of the snowflakes would fall off and I would reach closer to the core and see things for what they are.

My Advice For Everyone

I would advise anyone who needs to be shaken a bit to come here. But I would also say that you need to know what the hell you are doing here and make it your Sankalpa to be open to whatever you´re thrown at and take it with open arms. Give cleansing a chance, and then you will know.

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