Ulpotha – The monsoon didn’t come last winter. This should be filled with water.
Of course there needs to be a buddha in this set.
The classical tourist pic.
Our water comes from an underground tank.
So unfortunately the surface dries out.
There is not enough water for everybody…
The dogs don’t care about the tourists.
Impressive. Every time I look at it.
A while back I pre posted about my trip to Sri Lanka to the eco village of Ulpotha for 2 weeks of disappearance from the “normal” world. It was a very special time as it is a special place, and a very interesting group. And well. Yoga. From morning till night.
Unbelievable but true the days felt somewhat packed. The day started at 7. Sunrise was a bit before 6 and honestly there is no way to sleep much longer than 6 anyway. First of all it gets light. Then there are the birds giving a huge concerto. Then there was this nasty squirrel that started always at 6 to rummage around in our roof. No idea what was so exciting about it. And it also always stopped about 6:30. And when the squirrel didn’t wake me then it was either the apes doing the ape thing or the constant scraping of a broom. Our caretaker started to clean the pathways always at that time. So here you go. No sleeping it.
Then again there was also no point of staying up late. After sunset – as there is no electricity – you have your flashlight and there are gas lamps all over the place, but well… its not like you want to do much stuff in that kind of lightening. That gave a peaceful rhythm to the days. Though I sometimes felt like a child. Somebody else decided when I get up and when I got to bed.
The whole area was connected by little pathways that are always clean. I practically ran around barefoot for 2 weeks. I felt like Mowgli from the jungle book. Also because you really live basic. You … well … stink a little. Water is rare, so you decide wisely when to shower (also the water is not heated. So you better do it in the afternoon sun.), and you live among the animals. More or less all respecting the other. When I showered I always had two bees, one big yellow and black flying thingie, and a salamander joining in. There is not much water. So of course if you turn some on there are guests. But against my usual panicky behavior I noticed pretty quickly is was definitely just about the water. They didn’t mind me at all. Just to get some water. Ok, maybe except the salamander. He just kept smiling at me. Maybe even winking.
Then there was the disconnectedness from the internet, and mostly cell reception. I have to admit that it gives a lot of peace in the sense of you really disconnect from home, just don’t bother about the stuff you usually bother. I wouldn’t want it for longer than 2 weeks, but for that time it was heaven.
My drug of choice put into pictures by the Wattbach Bildfabrik.
The first time that I practiced yoga with half a bottle of wine and a fat pastis in my system. Also the first time I did it without a yoga mat, and in front of a camera. And the first time I see what it looks like from the outside.
By all means, I don’t intend to write a yoga mat review, but still I’d like to blast a couple of remarks into the mighty internet.
There are tons of yoga mats out there. As a beginner I thought every mat is probably about the same. I mean it’s a mat. You need a bit of cushioning. Then you need it to be sticky enough so your down dog is somewhat bearable. We’re not talking rocket science. In truth it seems to be quite rocket scientish. And personal.
From my point of view there are two major brands around: Jade Yoga and Manduka. I tried Manduka first. Mainly because I liked their website. I tried an eKO Lite and a PROLite. Both suck. They are just not sticky. The PROLite is better, but with a little bit more sweat involved, it actually turns into a slippery slope.
Then I tried Jade Yoga. In yoga studios in Zurich definitely the favored one. I have two travel mats. Weirdly enough the red one slips on the ground while the purple doesn’t. But basically I really like it. Nice cushioning, non slippery, but even the travel mat (3 mm) is quite some material when you travel or even commute.
I wanted to get a real travel mat for ages, and found – thanks to Thomas – the Lululemon Un Mat. The thing is really thin (1.5 mm). It looks like anything else than sticky (especially the black one). It smells quite ugly in the beginning. Like new car mixed with the smell coming from melted rubber. But it is sticky as hell (and the smell wears off). There is no cushioning though. Hence they call it the Un Mat I guess.
From the first couple of times that I heard about Yoga I was curious about it. I think that was during my studies, because I began my first couple of lessons at the university. I went quite irregularly because it was at the outskirts of town and not at the most convenient time. And I felt like it doesn’t do enough anger management for me. But I liked the teacher.
I went to India on holidays to do an ayurvedic treatment and also hoped for yoga lessons. My ayurvedic doctor decided that I wasn’t ready yet. I think he might have been right.
After the university I was mostly into jogging or even still a bit of swimming. I kept searching for yoga lessons and went to several places, but mostly I found it way to “easy”, boring, slow, …
3 years after the university I went through a breakup and found yoga lessons close to my home and went regularly during the hardest recovery time. After I recovered I quit.
5 years later, almost a year before my next big break up, I started again. First bikram yoga because I felt like searching for some sort of workout yoga. After 4 months I had enough off being yelled at and no real alignment advice. I went to the biggest yoga studio in town. Hatha and vinyasa yoga. It took another half year until I met my current teacher. So when this break up came I was at least on the save side with my teacher.
And here I am still. 2 years with my teacher.
Its almost december and I sit here in a 35 degrees environment. Everyday it’s sunny and I hang at least 2 hours in a pool. Could life be any better? I guess there are certain aspects that could need some adjustment. Otherwise its heaven.
Even after a week no diarrhea yet #knocking on wood# (which isn’t that surprising since I haven’t spent much time in the “normal” world outside of Satsanga Retreat. One quick trip to the beach and to a nearby super hip cafe. Otherwise it was this oasis here. Feels a little bit like the world is standing still. Don’t even feel like checking any newspapers.
Days start at 6 when the sun isn’t even up yet. A quick tea and then quite some prayayama. 20 mins break. Then asanas. At 10 there is an extensive breakfast/lunch (and you’re supposed to take 2 spoon full of ghee). And a break up until 4pm. Time to hit the pool, sleep, read, or – if you manage the outside world – take a bike an drive around. From 4 til 6 there is yoga philosophy or any of the above. And at 7 there is supper, and chitchat.
Life couldn’t be simpler.
Today was the first time in what feels like ages that I managed again to go to a yoga lesson at my new local Gemeinschaftszentrum.
Even though there are plenty of yoga teachers giving yoga lessons everywhere, I find it incredibly hard to find a suitable one. And when you find one, it’s usually very well visited…
This time it seems like I found a good one right from the start, 10 mins from my home. What could you want more? The teacher also gives workshops ….
Yesterday night I was discussing what spirituality is. I had actually no clue what an official definition would be and started to babble about my ideas. As this is a very emotional and personal topic by nature, the discussion ended in a rather strange way.
This morning I was still thinking about it and went to have a look at what the wikipedia has to say about spirituality.
I was quite surprised to find an explanation that suits very much to my ideas (no, I didn’t write it myself :)). As I have no clue if their community might change it some time or other, I copied it:
One of my funky, totally senseless magazines, asks if I love those things:
Moroccan touch leather sandals
The Prophet by Khalil Gibran
green tea out of oriental glasses
Michelle Yeoh in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
/me checking leather sandal cupboard: positive
/me checking book cupboard: positive
/me checking tea cupboard: positive
/me checking female heroine cupboard: positive
Therefore they state I’m a Bohemian:
There’s nothing that inspires you more than trips around the world, where you discover new yoga techniques, and get new leather sandals and sitar cds. You don’t give a s*** about trends, like to wear comfortable clothes. You drank green tea when Hollywood still believed in the power of gin and tonic. Therefore you like oriental scents like Black Cashmere by Donna Karan.
A Bohemian with a laptop??? Hehe!
Well, most of it is true, but I find it always highly amusing how these article writers of chick magazines come up with that stuff. Is there a brainstorm meeting where they all smoke a joint? Or do they surf the net to figure out stuff? Or is there really something like the Carrie Bradshaw approach?