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India- adventures of an enlightening kind

I am back in India for the third time.

My intention is to deepen my spiritual practices and to find a teacher that can help illuminate the way.

It has proved to be another soul searching adventure. Not easy. Facing doubts. Wondering if there is a better place to be. Watching my mind which constantly creates negative chatter, doubts, and senseless disturbance.
It has been an adventure of a different kind.

My partner Oliver and I have been asking for guidance, and have been led to many different spiritual teachers.
We were told by a spiritual Indian friend upon arriving here in Rishikesh that:

* we may not find one teacher that will guide us, but many along the way.

* Be open and you will receive

* get clear with why you are here and what you are asking for
* pray/ask for what you need, and what is for your highest and best good – you will get it

* dont judge or try and figure it out – remain in equanimity

* leave it to the universe and ask “help me move ahead from where i am now in the highest & best way”

* surrender

* you will get something from everyone, sometimes the journey is just that & it works within yourself
We have been led to many spiritual masters here, and have been hearing the same things.

Not only from them but also in the books I am reading.

Osho’s Yoga the Science of the Soul & rereading Ekhart Tolle’s The Power of Now for the tenth time.

* stay open and receptive
* you are devine light

* what are you dependent on? what are your attachments?

* we spend alot of time looking outside of us for that which is within us

* become aware of reality- of where you are within you

* enlightenment is like planting seeds- for a period of time they are in the dark mystery and need trust, patience and surrender because at a certain point seeds will sprout

* suddenly you are in the light
* it just happens. you dont control it
* it can happen at any moment
* with calm and tranquility it happens in its own time

Coming from an achievement orientated culture following this philosophy can be frustrating, and I have “thrown my toys” more than once already since being here.

Wishing I could be comfortable with life as it was before.

But I cant.

I know I am here for something more. Something deep down that I know in my truest self is real.

But has gotten covered up.

I am here uncovering what I know.

What I heard yesterday from Sadvi Bhagawati Saraswati, the teacher here that I resonate with the most, was just this.

That I am not this body, my achievements, my story, my past, my mistakes. This is not me.

Sadviji said this is what causes the anguish that I feel when I know there is more.

She said “we are the light, there is nothing separating us from the light.” “Just because we are in a body doesn’t mean we are separated from the light.” “It is our mind that creates the separation and illusion, the pain is coming from the mind telling us we are separate but this is a lie.”

Some how this made sense to me.

She said the anguish is good. Because it keeps us searching. Deep down your true self knows this.

She said work on seeing yourself from the light. Instead of being in you looking at the light – change your perspective. Be in the light looking at your body.

Something has changed in me since hearing this.

and I am so grateful that Sadviji was able to answer my deepest question in a way that I am able to understand and work with.

Rishikesh is pure Shiva energy.

Shiva is the power that comes through and destroys our concept of who we are. Destroying everything that is in the way of awakening and being in the light.

I know that is why we are here.

Clearing out all that is within me holding me back from embodying the light.

In 2 days we are going on another ten day Vipassana meditation course. It will be my third one, but first in India.

Guruji Shri K. Patabi Jois says that yoga is 99% practice and 1% theory.

So these ten days will be intensive practice of the theory I just learned.

Clearing the mental chatter, being the watcher, seeing reality as it is, and taking it to the extreme.

Thank you India for once again giving me what I need.

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Yoga, intentions, and how they changed my life

Two years ago I went to India for the first time.

Specifically to study yoga at the source of Ashtanga yoga, Mysore.

I went to Mysore feeling lost, and asking for my life purpose.

The answer I got was:

You know you are on purpose if what you are doing makes you thrive.

So I asked myself, what makes me thrive?

  • Different cultures
  • Being outside/ nature
  • Spiritual connection
  • Adventure
  • New experiences
  • Being of service

Suddenly I felt like I got the point. I realized that these are the things that make me happy, and settling down and doing what I saw everyone else doing around me wasn’t going to do it for me.

My three months in Mysore left me a changed person, and I knew I had to return to India.

Nine months later I was back.

The best advice I got about traveling in India is that India is like a magnifying glass. What ever you put out comes back to you MAGNIFIED.

This was so true.

I quickly put aside any fear about my trip and began setting my positive intentions:

  • I have a smooth and easy time in India
  • I meet amazing, friendly, nice people
  • I am always safe and protected
  • I deepen my spiritual connection
  • I have amazing adventures

I began reciting my intentions over and over in my head.

Guess what?

It worked!

The six months I spent this second time in India were truly magical. Every intention I set happened to the maximum degree.

  • I met amazing people.
  • I always felt safe.
  • I got amazing places to stay.
  • I accomplished all of my adventures. (Cycling from Manali to Leh, Cycling from Leh to Srinagar, kayaking the Zanskar Gorge and Upper Indus, Trekking the Marka Valley)
  • I deepened my spiritual practices
  • I made an amazing short film
  • I became a certified Ashtanga yoga teacher
  • I met a healer and did alot of personal growth work
  • I met my life partner
  • Doors opened.

Every single intention I set happened.

(Truth be told I didn’t want to leave, and can’t wait to go back.)

My whole life changed while I was there, and it felt like true transformation.

I deepened my commitment to yoga, healing, and meditation. And it is now the path I am pursuing.

I got the feeling while I was in India to come to Bali, and that Bali would be my new base.

I am now in Bali.

Never having been here before I am trusting the guidance and doors are opening.

My new intention is:

  • Thank you for the magnificent outcome in Bali

My heart feels like it is still in India, and sometimes I wonder why I am here and not there.

I am getting clear that my purpose in life is this journey of self discovery and where it brings me.

Bali is bringing:

  • healing
  • amazing connections with like minded people
  • fantastic yoga
  • lovely local people
  • calm, peace, and healthy living
  • continued personal growth

Everyday I am feeling grateful that I took the first step two years ago to go to India, and continue this journey of self discovery.

What led me there was yoga, faith, and following my heart.

A friend once told me that taking a leap of faith is like being on the flying trapeze. You can’t grab the next trapeze until you let go of the one you are on.

So I have let go of the old trapeze. I am asking for guidance everyday, and trusting that I am exactly where I am meant to be right now, and that the more I open, doors will open, and it is proving to be true.

Thank you!

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The lessons I have learned practicing yoga in Mysore, India

“I wanted to change the world. But I have found that the only thing one can be sure of changing is oneself.” ― Aldous Huxley

I have been here in Mysore, India almost 3 months and with my final week looming ahead I have been reflecting on my experience here and feel like it is beneficial to share it.

I came here hoping to find myself, feeling lost, and experiencing a creative block and possibly a “mid life crisis”, I was hoping Mysore would give me the jolt my life was needing.

I had a lot of fear about coming and even wanted to back out at one stage, even though coming here was something I had wanted to do for years. I was in a comfort zone at home and leaving that for the unknown and the unknown in India seemed scary and daunting.
Thank God (Ganesha, Krishna, and everyone else) that I made it here.

The first month was hard.
I was having exercising withdrawals, and realized that at home I had been living on endorphins and adrenalin. I was also having space issues. Here in India there are people everywhere at all times even at the crack of dawn and it was especially a challenge in the Shala. Practicing yoga packed in with 60 other people with sometimes only a centimeter or two between yoga mats, for a person who likes my space and wide open nature this was a true test.


I was coming face to face with my very judgemental mind and was judging everyone and everything.

I was chasing my tail about my creative block and life purpose hoping for inspiration and not getting it, and feeling restless, irritable and discontent.

I began doing psychic development classes and heart meditations with Angelika and David from Spirit of the Dove www.spiritofthedove.org and beginning to tap into my inner beliefs and was what holding me back. These classes were truly transformational and helped me to see that the biggest thing holding me back was myself. I also did several healing sessions with Angelika that helped create a major shift almost instantly afterwards, and which truly have changed me.

Things began happening in yoga as well.

I realized one day that I was holding myself back in yoga practice.

Even though to all outside appearances I probably looked like the committed yoga practitioner (coming to India, getting up at 3 am everyday to practice yoga by 4:15 am, not missing a day) I knew inside I wasn’t all in. I still didn’t “love” yoga. I had this realization that it was something I had done with everything my whole life. Not give 100%. I always was one foot in and one foot out. I had a good cry and got some amazing words of advice from a good friend who understood exactly what I was feeling and his words were “Polly you can change” “starting tomorrow give it your best”. “Everyday that is all you can do. Show up and give it your all, and at the end of the practice you will know and you will have that satisfaction of knowing you did all you could today, and… it doesn’t have to be a drama.”
That advice has transformed me and it sticks in my mind everyday.
It doesn’t matter what the person next to me is doing or not doing I can stay in me and focus on what I can do and that is amazing.

When I got here I was ruled by my mind, I felt withdrawn and not very happy.

Three months later I feel like a changed person. I am feeling fully in myself, patient, and just happy to be. I am not worried anymore about my “life purpose” having realized here that things take time and that as long as I do the next thing that inspires me I am on track.

I have gotten words of wisdom from the most unlikely people and it has taught me to take the time to truly listen.

I have confronted my idea of “success” and when I asked my heart what my success looked like it was a big flower that truly touched a lot of people. It was calm, peaceful, fulfilled and happy. The feeling I got was that I could die content knowing I did what I came here to do.
My minds idea of success, on the other hand, was so insane I am embarrassed to even write it down.

I was told to come here with no expectations, which was great advice because the ones I did have have been exceeded ten fold. I feel like coming here to Mysore was the single most important thing I could have done in my life. I feel like anything is possible now and that nothing is in the way. I can be me and that is the biggest gift I could have ever gotten.

I can tell you now that I am already planning my return to India. I know I have to go North to the Ganges and the mountains and see what the North of India has in store and I am sure I will come back to Mysore.

India has been imprinted in my soul and has given me my life back.
I am feeling truly blessed and grateful for everyone who has helped me along in my journey here. You have all been gifts from Ganesha (the remover of obstacles)
From the bottom of my open heart THANK YOU!

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The 5 S’s

The five S’s of sports training are: stamina, speed, strength, skill, and spirit; but the greatest of these is spirit.”–Ken Doherty

Freedom

Freedom! by Polly Green

This quote sums things up really well. All 5 of the S’s are important, but I do think spirit is the most important.

My flat mate asked me the other day what is motivating me. When the alarm goes off at 5am. I have been thinking about this question and ultimately I think my reasons are..

  • It feels good even after a long hard day -it is a good tired
  • I am seeing progress – getting stronger and more stamina and more consistent
  • I like having a goal
  • Noticing the little things like when I do my flat water paddles the water lilies are closed when I leave and start opening when I finish my paddle. Like they are just waking up too.
  • Seeing just what my body is capable of if I treat it right
  • Enjoying everyday instead of being focused on my end goal

Water Lilies- Early morning flat water training - photo Polly Green

Someone told me they didn’t think I could be the World Champion because I have too many interests. Part of this statement is true. I do have alot of interests but what feels like is happening is they are all starting to feed off each other in an amazing balance which is actually making things better!

Take for example my art work, yoga and cycling, which you might not think directly relate to freestyle kayaking, but they really do. Through yoga I am learning total awareness of the present moment and body control. Cycling gives me the feeling of freedom and a great way to stay fit when my arms need a break, and through my art i get into the “artzone” so similar to being in “the kayaking zone” being in the present moment and totally absorbed in what I am doing. They are actually all complimenting each other and helping me to achieve the balance I am striving for.

The Road to Freedom! My Favorite Cycling Road

I have also been thinking alot about food lately. I just watched “The Future Of Food” a very enlightening film about what is in food and GE food, which I knew little about. After watching I am now more committed than ever to eating healthy. Mostly vegetables (organic if possible), fruit, nuts and protein (food that is closest to it’s original state). I am also making a commitment to avoid sugar which is my main nemesis. I also learned this week that the body treats breads, rice, and pasta as sugar so am avoiding those too, and read recently sugar is more addictive than cocaine! I have also given up artificial sweeteners and am instead using Stevia, which is a natural good for you sweetener.

I am on day 2 of my new plan and feel better already. I am feeling like this is a different approach. Before I was wanting to lose weight and it was actually backfiring because I would get down on myself when I didn’t or would fall of my eating plan. Now I am thinking more about what is the best fuel for my body, what will make it the happiest? And drinking more water!
I am leaving tomorrow for a 3 day Vipassana meditation course. More mental training and a good detox diet.
I am remembering to be grateful every day for the life I have been given, and to BE HAPPY 🙂

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Meditation/Yoga

Polly Reverse Triangle - Photo by Jo Tito

Lotus - Oil on Canvas - By Polly Green

Meditation and Yoga have become a foundation in my training and in my life. Yesterday I went on a one day meditation course designed for “old Students” of Vipassana Meditation. I have previously sat 2 ten day courses so am considered an old student. However this one day course was HARD. 8 hours of sitting in meditation. In my last ten day course in September I didn’t have nearly the struggle as I did on Sunday. Why? I have no idea. But the practice says that the whole point is to just be with what is. To crave a previous experience only creates misery. So I made it through. And felt fantastic afterwards. But during it I was constantly questioning myself…

1. Why am I doing this when I could be outside enjoying the sunshine?

2. Does this work?

3. Man this is Hard..why am I here again?

Well it does work. Someone afterwards asked me why I meditate and the answer I gave was that I think it makes me a better person. I am more aware, grounded, and it helps me remember I am not my thoughts and ego. Also after sitting for 8 hours it makes everything else seem easy.

When I went to Yoga this week, which was also very challenging. I was able to hold the postures for longer and tell myself I could and made me realize how much of everything we do is mental.

Meditation is my mental exercise. And altho it isn’t easy I am very glad to have found the practice.

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