This photo has nothing to do with anything, I just love this guy. He works here, and is probably around sixty years old. He is always wearing this colorful wooly hat despite the 100+ degree temperatures. He always has a huge smile on his face, and he makes me smile.
Having to do a lot of introspective work at this yoga teacher training is both a beautiful thing and a pain in the ass. Today we were lectured on the Niyamas, which is a set of individual guidelines for how to live a more full, yogic, peaceful life. When you read about them in traditional yogic texts, the language is so flowery and hard to get through, but our lecturer is pretty awesome and just talked about them in a straightforward way.
Last night I slept terribly. First, maybe because of the stimulating acro yoga we did before bed, I just couldn't quiet my mind. I tried so many different types of ways to calm down- I meditated, I read, I just turned off the lights and put my sleep mask on. Nothing. Finally, around midnight I think I fell asleep, only to wake at 2, and again at 3, and finally at 4:30 when I woke with a start because I heard something in my room. My initial reaction was that someone had broken INTO my room. My pepper spray is locked in my suitcase, and not easy accessible, so I just laid there, completely still, trying to find lucidity and figure out what in the world that noise was. It was moving around, like a scratching noise. I turned on my flashlight and pointed it in the direction of the noise (this ledge in the ceiling). I saw nothing. But it was there, as if it (probably a squirrel or a rat or something) was IN the room, not in the wall. I was so terrified and so annoyed, because honestly the yoga website says this place offers a 'luxury' accommodation for our training. This place is not in the least bit 'luxury' and when you pay an extraordinary amount of money to be here, you expect a certain kind of cleanliness. I have what looks like blood stains or make up stains on my sheets, the same stains on my mosquito net, ants on the counters, mosquitos and these little heart shaped flies in my bathroom. I have dirt in the cracks of the window sill, dust in the corners, a broken air conditioner, and now, an effing RODENT in my room.
A part of me is ashamed and embarrassed that I am so disgusted by this room. Like who am I to deserve something so wonderful, right? But the thing is, I do feel entitled because I paid a lot of money to be here, and I feel like not only is it dirty (ok, I could live with dirty window sills), but I feel it's unsanitary (blood stained sheets and mosquito net are disgusting). Anyway, I was in tears about it at 4:30am, laying there, unable to sleep because of the rodent noise. I was overtired and to be completely honest, this process is mentally and physically draining. My body aches, my mind aches.
So at 5:50am I was up, off to meditation, pranayama and a two hour asana practice. I felt weak and completely drained. But I did it, albeit with a few rests when needed. Then I tried to go back to my room and sleep during our breakfast break. It didn't happen. I couldn't quiet the mind.
Then we had this lecture on Niyamas. There are five, and they can be applied to anything in your life, and the following really spoke to me:
Shaucha- Purity or cleanliness. This really pertains to the mind. I need to clean my mind of whatever is going on inside so that I can find some inner peace and finally get some sleep. This means weeding out the negative in my life- whether they are toxic relationships, or getting a cleaner room (one without a rodent, preferably).
Santosha- contentment. This isn't to be confused with complacency, but rather, understanding that everything will eventually be okay because it is the nature of, well, everything, to come and go. So, just learning to be content with what you have- I'm looking at this room situation and thinking, 'Ok. It could be worse. I have stayed at worse places (like the cockroach infested hostel in Costa Rica), and really this is just for three more weeks....' And trying not to get wrapped up in your own thoughts.
Svadhyaya- self enlightenment. This niyama asks you to go inward, explore why you are feeling the way you are feeling. In my case, anger and annoyance, and feeling this way because of the filth and bugs and rodent, and then sitting with that feeling, acknowledging it, and letting it go. The most important part is letting is go, because when you sit and you stew and you victimize over and over and rehash it in your head and to others you're doing nothing but spreading ugliness and more misery. You sit with it, you let it go, and you move on. Only then will inner peace come to you.
Ishwar-Pranidhan- surrendering. This niyama just asks you to take whatever situation is going on in your life, whatever feeling you may be experiencing and surrendering to the idea that it will all be taken care of because there is a bigger picture. Sure, my room is not ideal. But in the end, it isn't life or death (unless that rat bites me and I catch the plague or something- haha, just kidding), but seriously, in the end, it isn't worth anyone's time (mine included) to sit and stew on the situational issues of our daily lives. We have to let go, understanding that it is as it should be. There are lessons to be learned.
So, my pep talk for the day, is to examine your life. It can be something as simple as getting frustrated in traffic, or something as sensitive and complex as a continued feud with a friend or family member, and see where this applies. Are you victimizing yourself? Are you stewing? Are you ignoring the lesson to be learned? Are you having expectations for things of which you have no control? My instructor said something very profound today: That all suffering is caused from expectations and reactions. We need to let go of expectations and be mindful of our reactions so that we can all live at peace, in the present moment.