The Yoga Experiment Part 3 – Koh Phangan, Thailand

My third week was a bit of a blur. I was going through some serious emotional overload and it had to get worse before it got better. I started spending a bit more time with my classmates and bonding with them but I think this may have done more harm than good. Perhaps I would have been better off to have faced my fear that others would think I was anti-social.

Of course, there are the typical dramas that play out when you get a bunch of egos together. I was determined to stay far away from any cliques that were forming so I declined most invitations to socialize. However, I was curious to understand why certain people triggered me the way they did. Somehow I got it into my head that I should learn to accept and like all the people around me. After some light reflection I came to the conclusion that there are some personalities that just don’t mesh. This solidified my resolve to keep distance from those vexatious types.

I guess because we are supposedly “shifting” so much energy that issues are bound to come up. I found that I was much more aware of who was feeling what but had no idea why. Was everyone seeing the circus that was unfolding around us or was it just me? I found myself getting frustrated with petty annoyances and then got down on myself for being so judgmental. It was a vicious cycle.

I had to dig deep to find compassion for those who seemed to be oblivious they were imposing their negativity on others. At one point I stopped to consider that maybe if I am going to attempt sainthood, first and foremost I had better start practicing compassion with myself. Maybe in order to give it you must have it in abundance first. Nevertheless, this is a new idea for me and it takes constant effort to reprogram flawed habitual thinking such as this. Suffice to say, I spent a lot of the week very confused.

I found that most of the people who were at this course had traveled all the way here to Koh Phangan solely for this reason. Most of them seemed to be searching for something or running from something. I, on the other hand, just kind wandered in out of curiosity so my investment was much lower. I guess the fact that I have much lower expectations and had no preconceived notions set me apart from most of the others.

For a while I struggled with the subtle feeling of disconnect from the group but then I began to see it more as a gift. I have spent some quality moments with a select few but for the most part, I am content to be politely removed from the politics that seem to occur naturally in these types of environments. Still, it was a bit of a struggle for me as I am a social butterfly by nature.

The asanas started getting more difficult and my body was feeling it. Somehow the postures I used to loathe move up the ladder when each day they introduce something even more challenging. Infact, I find myself looking forward to the respite of poses that just last week used to push me to the edge. Funny thing how perspective works.

My will power is still going strong and I am able to keep my postures until instructed to come out. However, I observe serious bouts of anger when it feels like the teacher has completely forgotten she is teaching yoga leaving us hanging for what seems like eons.

I had to laugh once or twice with the bizarre thoughts that would lure me towards a mental tantrum. I continue to struggle with my focus and concentration. One hot afternoon when my legs were burning from salabasana (locust pose) I heard the happy tune blasting from the ice cream bike as he puttered by. My body was quivering from the exertion and beads of salty sweat dripped onto my mat. I tell you, it was all I could do to keep from running out of that room yelling “Wait for me Mr Ice Cream! Save me from this yoga hell!!!”

The lectures this week covered topics like vegetarianism, karma yoga, and the yamas and niyama. They keep introducing us to these purification techniques which I do admit are getting stranger and stranger. The theory is that the more pure we are, the less we will resonate with lower energies. Since I figured it couldn’t hurt to increase my odds, I attempted to step up my pure factor. I resolved to perform them all at least once as a good little investigative yogi should. Something that is good for me could really feel *that* bad, right? What could be worse than having to twist and squeeze into Garudasana for five minutes? But afterwards, my body was very clear (in more than one way) that I’d better be selective with which ones I will keep in my routine.

Now I am heading into my last week. I am kind of excited and also a little nervous. I sense that I am on the verge of a breakthrough of some sort. At the very least, we get a few very interesting lectures I am keen on such as lucid dreaming. We also get initiated into some new kind of meditation I haven’t heard of before. Hopefully my mind and my body start syncing up so I can absorb the final stretch.

Grateful for purity.

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