It is my routine to collect some feedback from the participants of ‘the Feminine Way‘ after a few months. I am curious to know about the post effects of such a specialized yoga retreat for women. I want to know how they feel in general; if they managed to integrate their individual program of yoga, tantra and life style changes into their flow; if they are observing any changes in their lives and whatever they feel like sharing. I am not interested in a one-shot excitement, a mere peak experience during the retreat, rather go for creating a change in behaviour in the long run.  ‘The Feminine Way‘ transmits tools to use for embodying the best version of ourselves. I want to know if they really work on the recipient.

The Feminine Way

And beyond all that; we bond, we connect at a deep level and we are excited to hear from one another.

Yesterday a participant/friend wrote to me that since the retreat she is experiencing this euphoric state of joy and gratitude for no tangible reason. When she arrived at the retreat the dominant theme in her life was melancholy. While some domains of her life are harmonious there is a struggle around health rooted in an unfortunate accident in childhood. That among all the other pieces of baggage each one of us carries around since the moment of our conception coloured her life blue more often than she liked. Now she is dedicating her amazing mind to create a healthy and joyful life for herself. And I am thrilled to hear, with such good results.

I want to make a pause her to the previous train of thought and delve into our effort to fix all problems with the help of yoga and other holistic approaches. There is a very delicate balance there of doing whatever needs to be done and also letting go to allow ourselves to be. It is a shame if we don’t put the effort of applying all the amazing knowledge and technology that has been serving humanity for thousands of years. On the other hand how much can we really help ourselves if our mind becomes obsessed with fixing everything? What we want to achieve is a harmonious state of awareness and perseverance to take the right actions for our particular being at a given time as well as a deep surrender to the flow and surprises of life. The latter may also mean that at times we need to accept the vulnerability of our physical body.

It was a shock to me when my dear healer and teacher told me that she couldn’t tell if my body will ever be strong enough to heal all the little things I am struggling with. I didn’t want to accept such a notion. The fix-it, type A personality in me rebelled against the idea of having lose ends. However well-being requires an active surrender; which comes with not only taking action but also acceptance of less pleasant plays of life. Not an easy pill to swallow, I know. However the very healing that we ask for may be hidden in that acceptance as it alters our reactions to life situations.

Now connecting the two dots together; here are the two great ingredients of a healing regime: a positive mental state achieved through the yoga practice and a compassionate acceptance towards our body. A proven fact by scientist Candice Perth, the way we feel has a direct effect on our physical well-being as well as the other way around. (For more details on this topic have a look at my blog piece From Psyche to Soma.)

Now I want to invite you to reflect upon your inner journey. Are there areas in your life that require an active surrender; where you want to put effort to fix problems and at the same time you can also perceive a space needed for surrender and acceptance? Your experience may be the inspiration for another; so you are very welcome to drop a few lines in the comments section.

I just met a very kind and interesting Ayurveda doctor. I was already thinking that I couldn’t miss out on an ayurvedic consultation being the perfect spiritual tourist in Rishikesh. Our paths just crossed naturally and I went for it. According to Ayurveda; the healing sister of Yoga, our bodies are just perfect creations and there is no reason for any disease. However our life styles, thought patterns, past traumas cause some deviations in this perfect machine. Our body and soul is composed of the five elements creating the nature; earth, water, fire, air and ether. Ayurveda defines three main constitutions which are basically these elements combined acting upon us. Vatha constitution derives from air and ether, pitta from fire and kapha from earth and water. If all these elements are in balance we are doing great; whenever one or the other gets out of balance diseases and disharmony manifest. Actually we are all born with an imbalance, call it genetics or karma. Then along the life we develop another imbalance due to external conditions, our life styles and experiences. If a person is kapha dominated they enjoy a solid, strong body, calmness of the mind bordering laziness but suffer from annoying amounts of mucus production. Pitta constitution is typically fiery full of life, focus and willpower bordering aggression; whereas vatha are the airy fairies with lots of movement in the body and the mind.

Ayurveda in RishikeshWhen I was first introduced to these doshas I was certain with all that mucus production during a cold disproportional to my tiny nose I am of kapha constitution. However this doctor clarified the picture; I am born pitta suffering from kapha detoxification throughout the course of my life. That’s what I needed to purify to reach some balance in my system. When I think back of my childhood it actually made sense. I was different back then; very focused and even more fiery. I clearly remember questioning why grown-ups would walk instead of running; it was so much more fun and reasonable to run! However now I can stay in bed the whole day watching n-number of episodes of bad tv-series.

This medical science of ages value spirituality, metaphysics, emotions and thoughts big time. I cannot really take all comments about me from various experts/healers as facts but they still give me a fresh perspective; a new understanding of my life. I can generate more options about why I chose certain courses of actions, what is really happening in the bigger picture. This Ayurveda doctor provided me with some good insights. He suggested that I lived my life like an eagle in a chicken cage from 6 till 17 years old causing these kapha problems. It would probably make great sense as all my friends knowing that I basically escaped to a university in another city to get out of my cage. May that be my choice to be born into a situation like that as the followers of these though systems believe, I have no idea yet why I made that choice. Dr Ram suggested a special treatment called shirodhara during our next meeting. The treatment aims to balance the two main energy channels along the spine; ida and pingala representing the feminine and masculine aspects of our being. Practically I enjoyed lying on a heated bed after overexposure to the mean cold of Rishikesh for an hour listening to some recordings while the healer was pouring some oil on my forehead. The process took me into such a trance leading me all the way back to my birth when I was bombarded by every single sound in the room. These foreign sounds unlike the ones I was used in the womb of my mother were so frightening causing an immediate contraction in me. Spooky process indeed being born in to this world!

Following the session I got my zillion of ayurvedic pills from the doctor before heading home. Dr. Ram wanted to accompany me saying that he goes to visit his ‘lover’ every night. Apparently he is in love with Ganga! Feeling very comfortable with each other as if we were friends for a long time we walked together down the river. I couldn’t attend to his kind dinner invitation with his family some day that week as I was about to travel away from Rishikesh.

And concluding my first Rishikesh adventure; I finally celebrated the new year of 2013 exactly as I always wanted. Every year I have the same dilemma. Acting cool, self-suggesting that intelligent people don’t give a crap about new year, while questioning this attitude while millions of people obviously are in a celebration mood; wanting to do something special but ending up with nothing special at all! This year I was blessed with a soft transition to a fresh breath with Prem Baba, singing and meditating along with hundreds of people in the sangha (spiritual community). Yessss! Conclusion: New Year celebration matters!