Eight years ago a man from Fiji wrote me this: ‘Maybe to help, you can focus on the miracles of life..take for example breathing. It’s such a wonderful thing, however simple it may be. You breathe, inhale, air ventilates into your lungs, your heart dances, muscles twitch, and you smile…and we live. He wrote this not long before my first trip to Nepal in 2009, and now 8 years later I have had the chance to ‘live and breath’ for the past 26 days like I have never done before – on my second trip to Nepal.
The Tibetan monastery of Neydo offered a home and a dramatic environment, both in terms of the landscape, a beautiful view over Kathmandu valley with the peaks of the Himalayas sometimes making an appearance in the morning, a mere 100km away and the sound of the intense prayers starting usually around 5:15am. An excellent alarm, if you need to start your own meditation practice at 6am, right above the chanting monks. A mixture of men and young boys reciting prayers, banging on drums and horns which somehow seemed to miss an actual tune, yet form a harmony which after a while becomes familiar.
The meditation practice was followed by breathing exercises and yoga classes. Not only to enjoy the practice, but eventually to learn how to teach yoga. It was in many ways a humbling experience, perhaps I am a trainer/teacher in my regular profession, but a yoga teacher, well no.
Fortunately I was in good hands. Hands mostly waving around in the person of Doron Hanoch. If passion had a superieur expression, it would apply to Doron and his relation to the spiritual and physical practice of yoga. I was taught the DoronYoga system, which is based on the ashtanga tradition combined with Japanese Zen meditation practices. To summarise what I have learned would not do justice to the amount of information I have tried to process. Doron has a lot to share and at times I felt completely overwhelmed – taking me directly to the heart of a yoga practice, trying to control and overcome your own mind. Learning how to distinguish between what is real about your own thoughts – a philosophical yet practical question at the same time, because what is the mind? And once you control it, what is next? In yoga teaching there is the understanding to move to a state of bliss.
Whether I will succeed or not in attaining bliss at one point or another, I will walk out of this monastery with a package of tools which will serve my overall yoga practice, but most of all will help me in dealing with my own tricks of my mind and have given me confidence to even share this with others in the form of teaching. For which I can only feel one thing: gratitude. Gratitude for a wonderful teacher, which also at times may not have had the easiest ‘crowd’ in his class, as we all come with our own personalities and experiences, but I am sure that each and every one of us, will take home lessons which will serve us a life time.
My gratitude therefore, also extends to the incredible people who were here with me. Six other women, and our supporting rock, Lizzie from Mahalayayoga, made this an unforgettable experience. Whether you were in need of a cup of tea (ask Jacynta any time, also for the best hugs), a hilarious joke (Rooj, your free stand up comedian from Pakistan), intense infectious laughter (Vanessa, watch out for this teacher in Dubai or Beirut), a thoughtful comment (Anni, also good for Finnish sauna invitations), a supportive and listening ear (Reka, what better Hungarian roommate can you get?) and excellent company to climb up a hill (Aimee, now also a new neighbour to walk on the beach with in the Netherlands). They reminded me every day of the miracle of breathing, or even more so living ‘You breathe, inhale, air ventilates into your lungs, your heart dances, muscles twitch, and you smile…and we live.’
Thanks Doron and wonderful yoginis, you made my heart dance! I can only conclude, once again I have had the opportunity to experience another miracle of life: Meeting the Face of Kindness in breathtaking Nepal.