As long as we are mere humans, we are also prone to self-deception, doubt and pride. This is precisely why we all need a teacher, someone to check in with from time to time. This summer I have been lucky enough to (re-) connect with two wonderful teachers, both people of great integrity and experience. This has hopefully helped me weeding out some of my bad habits and presumptions:
Returning to Norway, I didn’t have many expectations thinking I had probably been off the grid for too long, - as in “too long to have any cred in the Norwegian yoga society.” Moreover, two years of solid back pain, which even two months in Mysore could not heal, had left my practice at “maintainance level” rather than being the fun and empowering practice it used to be! But what the heat of Mysore could not heal, Norway could, and practicing in the steamy heat at Puro Yoga under the guidance of Alexander Medin, having my friends and colleagues around, I slowly regained my practice asana by asana, series by series…
We were just about to finish class, sitting cross-legged and going into yogamudrasana. I thought of saying a few concluding words about gratitude, about the wonder of being alive, about thankfulness - when the ground started to shake and that awful sound of thunder, which as if coming from within the earth itself - filled the room. “oh no!” one of my students exclaimed as we crawled, rushed, staggered, -I don’t know how - exactly, - to the door and sat in the doorframe holding on to each other for the painfully long time it took for the earthquake to finish its thing.
I have been living in Kathmandu Nepal for the last four years. I sometimes think of Kathmandu as a combination of a post apocalyptic Mad Max-like world and a heavenly realm. Together they form one of the most spiritually vibrant places on earth: Here, people have to scorch for resources like gas, electricity and clean water, walk through pollution and garbage- and yet, this seems to be the last place on earth where the ancient wisdom traditions are still alive and kicking. It seem like quite a contradiction that a place, squeezed from the outside, between two political superpowers and eaten from the inside by corruption and environmental disasters, can house something as beautiful and potent as its spiritual tradition.
I left Norway on a kind of spiritual quest. I had been teaching and practicing yoga for a decade, and although yoga always felt deeply spiritual to me, -as did dancing, my first career,- it felt as if the body was perfectly prepared through practice but had “nowhere to go.”