The first day -- orientation day. It's pretty low key, just a meeting and then a ceremony.
I met most everyone in the group. There are 24 of us. It is almost inspiring to be surrounded by such a diverse group. And I'm so lucky English is the common ground. I mentioned in my last post where a few are from but there so many more i'll list it again, we have people from: Finland, Thailand, Australia, Mexico, Ecuador, Belgium, Hungary, Germany, Sweden, Brazil, Spain, Italy, UK, Vietnam and the United States. What a group! And a few places like Germany Brazil and the United States have more than one person. From the states we have some from California to Virginia to South Carolina to Indiana!
We introduced ourselves and everyone is on a different level of their practice. Some have never stepped foot on a mat. I am the only one who is already certified to teach but I wouldn't doubt to be the least experienced with the mediation part.
That is a part of the yoga practice where I am lacking so my goal is become a well rounded teacher able to assist in the knowledge of anatomy, philosophy and mediation.
After the orientation I got excited. Although the schedule is rigorous and strict it will help time pass and I can't wait to see what I will learn!
If you are found drinking alcohol or have a male in your room you are kicked out of the program ... Sounds intense, ay?
What a thrilling detox, and we obviously have a day filled with yoga, classes of anatomy and philosophy, meditation, and so on. And next Monday we have the day off to go on a hike... I am all about it.
It's absolutely beautiful up here. The weather is perfect it is no longer hot because we are so north and the breeze is enough to cool your face.
The ceremony just wrapped up and it was quite an experience. It starts with everyone surrounding two men who sit in front of a tiny, not lit fire. They mix together some ingredients to make a yellow paint like texture. As they start chanting in Hindu a woman comes around to each of us and uses her ring and middle finger to make a mark on the center of our forehead. And another woman comes around and measures our wrist as she puts red string around our left one.
They continue chanting as one starts to light the fire. The whole ceremony lasts about an hour and thirty minutes.
After awhile they stop and the head guy puts a necklace of beads on us. As a welcoming to our new journey. I was excited but patient so I was the last one to receive it.
After some more chanting or singing, not sure what to call it, he mixes something together in a container that looks like a coconut and we put it to our forward and make a wish.
My wish: "to have absolute happiness".
It took me a few moments to think what I wanted to wish for. I normally don't believe in things of such nature but it was a serious vibe and a new thrill I figured I mine as well give it a shot.
I thought about stability, since I've been living a life of change and been bouncing around the world. But I thought no shame in that, stability can come when I can no longer do the physical things I can now.
I then thought to wish for an absolute of what path I should lead. I have been hesitate about my future endeavor to go to Israel because I am not sure if I want the career path it will lead me to. Although it is an experience of a lifetime, will it lead me to happiness? Sure it could very well take me to success but in a field I want? I decided that a wish for success may not lead to what I want. And a wish for an absolute seems to concrete.
What I truly want is happiness. Wherever that may be. So in those few quick moments I wished for the utter most happiness.
I closed my eyes, pressed this coconut shaped thing to my forward, whispered to myself those words, smiled, and passed it on.
Happiness is key. And I think rules over everything because if you are happy everything else must be in some order you enjoy.
After that we did some tossing of debris into the fire, chanting some words, I cannot remember.
After it was all said and done we had an Indian dish I forget the name... But it was good it tasted like sweet cake but it was some type of flour or something.
Once we finished, people stayed to chat but being the introvert that I am I escaped to my room to write and be alone. I am not much for chatting unless it's interesting -- not to say they aren't, but there's so many people it's hard to remember everyone's name and it's just day one.
The ceremony was held outside my room so I can still here the chatter of people and I am so glad I resigned to my room. After all, I'll see them in an hour for dinner, another vegan meal.
I will admit today before the ceremony I was able to sneak away to a cafe far away.. But worth it for wifi to post my previous blog and I couldn't help but stop at this vendor on the side street as I saw snickers and chocolate bars ... It's already pre wrapped so I'm in the clear.
I bought six bars, three chocolate three snickers. I hear my Abuela "moderation is key. You can eat anything but in moderation." I hear one of my best friends Valentina, "chocolate is good for your diet."
I got back to my place and they were starring at me! I ate four.. I have two chocolate bars left. I am not going to buy more than two next time I venture up there because when I'm reading my book or writing like I am now my mouth waters and I am beyond tempted.
Anyway, there's no way I'm getting street food from the personal stories the foreign teachers told us about, so I will be on this vegan diet with the occasional pre wrapped chocolate bar. And I'm okay with that.
Well, 6 o'clock on the dot we start Mantra, Pranayama & Meditation. So I mine as well get to sleep! Fortunately this jet lag has me up at 5 ... So I'm hoping I can keep it going.