Breathe, Work, Relax…

When I first arrived at the ashram, I felt like a tourist at a hotel. After settling in, getting my bearings, and figuring out the lay of the town, I now feel more like part of a big family that eats, sleeps, lives, and works together.

Our schedule is busy – up at 4:30 am to make our 5:20 am meditation, then yoga class at 6 am. Classes, lectures, reading, homework, practice, and weekly karma yoga to help clean the ashram…the days fill quickly. With small pockets of free time, we all scramble to the internet cafe for a chai and a quick email check-in with our loved ones. Our commitments and responsibilities as students are many but all in the name of self-discovery, growth, transformation and service. This is made possible in part by many unsung “heroes” behind the scenes that keep things running so smoothly so we can keep our focus.

Like the staff who arrive very early to ensure that we have hot water and fresh limes at 5 am. The kitchen crew who mindfully prepare our three daily meals with care and serve us in their own unique way (the older man with the white and orange hair who bangs on the pot to get our attention and overloads the second helping; the young guy with his colourful sweaters and skinny jeans; the tall fellow who offers two versions of tea – “sweet or no sweet”). The daily laundry man who returns our clothes washed and neatly folded for what amounts to less than 20 cents per item. The ashram manager who quietly roams the hallways ensuring all is well. Everyone has a job to do here, and they do so willingly and with pride, no matter how small.

This work ethic seems to extend beyond our walls to the whole town from the shopkeepers to the householders to the tuk-tuk drivers to the chai servers. I am in awe of the construction workers who literally build structures brick by brick with their hands, hauling materials up ladders with pulleys and muscle power. They balance huge bags of supplies on their heads. In flip-flops, button-up shirts, and with no hard hats or safety glasses, they work long hours day after day. Talk about effort, energy, discipline…

Yoga teaches a similar ethic called “TAPAS” and refers to the commitment and devotion to the work required on the spiritual path. To support growth and transformation, one needs to step up, be present, do their best, and balance their energy. Yoga has so many wonderful techniques and practices for this, many of which we have been experiencing daily. I sincerely hope these wonderful people in the background of our busy day have their own moments to sit back, breathe, and relax for they have so earned it. I’m very grateful they happily share their backyard with me..


  1. John (aka Grumps) said,

    November 11, 2013 at 8:29 am

    Your words tell me that a fine group energy is emerging in your class. All the best to you all. Thanks for letting us know how you are doing.

  2. yogatravels1 said,

    November 11, 2013 at 9:47 am

    what a wonderful reminder of the inner workings of the ashram – it is so easy to imagine that everything just happens – when in fact it takes sweet caring by so many to make the experience seem seamless.

  3. Glynis said,

    November 11, 2013 at 7:26 pm

    Once again, my friend I have to say how great you are at painting a picture, so real with your words. I feel your moment and thank you. I hope that you continue to experience many new things in a happy light and that we can again share in your joy. Looking forward to the next moment in your backyard and taking a reminder breath, xoxo G

    Allie, thinks you are so COOL to have been in the same place as the Grandpa Prince and of course for what you are doing,continuing on in education She told her O,T.all about you.
    Thank you 🙂 and love you.

  4. Debb said,

    November 17, 2013 at 7:31 am

    Anne, you make feel as though I am there with you.Traveling opens your world, I can’t imagine how moved you are this experience. hugs, Debb

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