Today I find myself in Mumbai International airport yet again, 5 months and 1 week too early. I arrived here exactly 3 weeks ago with the intention of completing a 6 month Advanced Ayurveda & Yoga course at a reputable institution in Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu) and ofcourse lose myself in yoga and meditation bliss.
Things didn’t turn out quite as planned. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE India… this is my third visit, and every time I come I fall more in love with this intriguing country. It’s like nowehere I’ve ever been before and yet feels like home. This time would prove to be a completely different experience.
So, three weeks ago I arrived in Coimbatore, super excited and ready for my next adventure. I wasn’t expecting much from Coimbatore, it’s an industrial hub afterall and not the kind of place that attracts tourists. But I could handle that, I wanted traditional teachings passed down through direct lineage taught in an authentic environment – I had even prepared myself for the cold showers.
The grounds where the Centre and Clinic were located were just as described on the website… green, peaceful, perfect. Student housing however, was located 10 minutes away on the main, very busy and noisy street (It was so noisy that I think I meditated 3 times maximum in the whole 3 weeks. I had to sleep with my fan on full blast to try block out the noise.) I was shown to my room and the first thing I saw was pigeons. Anyone who knows me knows I have a major pigeon phobia. I don’t know what it is about them but they totally freak me out… perhaps a traumatic past life experience? So there’s my room with no window and just a mosquito net separating me from all the pigeons and their poop. Hmmm… that was the first sign I think.
Luckily I only had to stay there one night as I could move to a marginally better room because there were no students. Just me and a French guy who had been there for 5 months already. So much for communal living, having deep and personal experiences with like-minded people in a serene, inspiring environment. No… we were the only foreigners in the whole wide world of Coimbatore.
What I later found out is that students come when they want and lessons are flexible (one-on-one or group). Typical Indian style I guess, but not as advertised. A Japanese girl named Saya joined us and we ended up becoming great friends. Our mornings started at 7am with yoga, followed by 3 hours of theory practice (Ayurveda & sanskrit) and then 3 hours practical in the afternoon (think: getting naked in front of 5 indian girls & your classmates). I enjoyed some of the theory but I found the practical a bit monotonous.
What is interesting to me is what started happening to me physically. Over the 3 weeks my health declined rapidly.. it’s been hell. Firstly digestive issues.. from chronic constipation to rampant diahorrea (for 3 weeks solid).. I got to the point where I was so weak and emanciated that I nearly fainted on several occasions in the street. I think my body just wasn’t absorbing any nutrients. Ofcourse classes were tough because I was trying to do veggie juice fasts to ease my digestion and had absolutely no energy. On top of that I aggravated an old injury and suffered terrible sacroiliac pain, so morning yoga was out.
I decided it was time to leave, I was just getting worse and worse and more worried about my health and whether I’d make it home ok (being sick in India is not fun). Now I’m not one to give up easily and I can live through cold showers and difficult circumstances if need be, but I also know when it’s time to let go. Ofcourse I lost alot of money and it was a hard decion to make but I felt good once I’d commited. I guess that’s part of life, sometimes we make wrong decisions or things don’t turn out as planned and we are allowed to change our minds. I felt as though I’d be wasting six months of my life there, when there are bigger things that I could be doing.
So now I wonder, if this had been my first experience of India, if I would’ve felt different. Perhaps it’s another grand lesson about expectations… if only I didn’t have to go halfway across the world to learn it!
Or perhaps I wasn’t ready to accept the challenge. I could feel my body and mind resist from the start, which literally manifested as non-acceptance and ‘not letting go’.
Or maybe I just realized that as much as I love Ayurveda, its not something I’d like to make my career.
I like to think it’s the universe calling me home, telling me there’s bigger and better things on the horizon…
… lets’s see :)