Make it count. Now is all we have.

What’s been going through my head today? Well - many things as usual. And considering it’s holiday Sunday, I’ve had a lot more free time to think, and possibly over think things (the way Jessica does!).

So. This is my final week of training (technically we finish Monday week, but you get the idea). In just 7 training days time I will be considered an advanced yoga teacher and practitioner. I will be qualified to not only train beginners, but also intermediate and advanced practitioners. (Assuming I pass my final exam on Thursday of course). I cannot believe I am finally saying this. To say I’m a qualified yoga teacher has been a dream for a long long time. I can’t help but think back to the Jessica who started writing this blog late last year - an uninspired, depressed woman trapped in an unfulfilling corporate job. And then look at me now. Loving life again, excited about the future, and looking at the beautiful world with a fresh set of eyes. At 29 years of age, I finally feel I am on the path that was meant for me. Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for all experiences up until this point, as without them I may never have made it here and they have shaped who I am today, but let’s just say I am quite happy to leave the path once followed well behind me.

This week I shall give it my all.  Every last bit of energy I have within I will be sure to take to my practice. I want to make this week really count. That includes taking some time to speak with Bharath privately about any final questions I may have before setting off to the Kerela. It’s incredible how we can all take things for granted, like time, but when time starts running out we rush to cram in what we could have done earlier (e.g. met with Bharath more often perhaps?). I guess this is the same as life. We all assume we have so much time, but then suddenly, out of the blue we will look in the mirror and see a different person to who we once were 1,2,3,20+ years ago. Time creeps away from us, so it’s important we notice each and every moment we have before it’s too late. This is why I’m here. I don’t want to have the horrible realisation one day that I missed my opportunity(ies) and then spend whatever time I have left trying to make up for that.

As everyone knows, I’m struggling with the idea of leaving here and returning to reality. Unfortunately this has led me to start thinking about the future - neglecting the here and now. I also told Bharath this as it’s disrupting my meditation. So, to try and minimise future thinking,  (although there are certain things I must sort out back home), I’m treating each moment as precious, consciously bringing myself back to the present. To the here and now.

Before leaving Australia I told Owen I can’t wait to return home to be with him again, but at the same time I don’t want to wish the trip away. This has been a real challenge for me, and it took a little time before I really started to appreciate this journey. But upon finding my groove, I really have managed to love every moment here.

So, with all that said - I guess what I’m getting at is the importance of remembering to be here, now. It’s all we have. Yes, I have 10 more days in Mysore, but in the blink of an eye I will be home in Australia, so I must work hard to be completely present.

I must appreciate the time I have, not the time I are not yet privy to, i.e. the future. Because this is it. This is life.

Namaste xx

The things we do! I really must love yoga.

Part of being advanced practitioners and teachers means we need to learn all the major Kriyas (cleansing techniques) and experience them all too. As we all know, and cannot forget, last week was Shankaprakshalana (explosive cleansing of the entire digestive tract) and this weekend will be: Jala Neti, Sutra Neti and Vamana Dhouti. Translation: Water in my nose and out my mouth, catheter in my nose and out my mouth, 3+ litres of my favourite saline water and then vomiting it all up again (and everything else in my stomach). Excellent!

To be honest, I love all these little experiments with the body. Yes, none of it is glamorous, but the benefits experienced are just amazing. After last weekends effort, I’ve never felt healthier - until I returned to eating certain foods which I now know my body is not friends with. The power of Kriyas is so wonderful. The danger, however, is becoming addicted to the Kriyas. The feeling of being healthy and amazingly energised can be so addictive that people then complete Kriyas regularly without a need to. This is when the opposite effects can happen - turn from help to harm.

Yoga really is so beautifully holistic in its approach. People commonly forget that yoga is not only about asana practice. There is pranayama, kriyas, bandhas, mudras etc. And nothing about yoga is religious. It’s a science, another reason why I respect it so much. But bringing it back to this weekend, it’s certainly going to be yet another whole new experience, but a great one no doubt. I’m not sure how we will all look vomiting on the street, but we’ll see!

Moving onto a completely different topic now. I’m beginning to become very aware that my course is nearing it’s end, and although I cannot wait to get home, I feel so terribly sad about leaving. Whilst in class tonight chanting with Bharath’s wife, with eyes closed and chanting quietly with the group I found myself crying. It was near uncontrollable. From before sunrise until well after sunset I am in that Shala with my classmates and teacher. My little India family. And I have been inspired so much that the thought of not learning from Bharath each day is terribly upsetting. Again, a true yogi does not get attached, but the Jessica deep down tends to get very attached to things. (I’m working on it!). For Bharath, I will become a distant memory as many more students have the good fortune to train with him, but for me - Bharath will always be my Guru. I was inspired by this man before I even met him (in France when I was taught by one of his students, which is why I came to him), but now I cannot even describe what a fundamental impact he has had on me which will stay with me for the rest of my life. How do you thank someone for that? What do you say? Do you say anything? How do you say goodbye to that person?

Don’t get me wrong - this has been the most challenging thing I have ever done in my life. Ever. Emotionally, physically. You name it, it’s been tough. But maybe it’s because of the many hurdles I’ve been jumping over all this time which is making the process so much more enjoyable. Rewarding. Hence, why I feel so much gratitude for the opportunity to have learned from this wonderful man. I dunno - something to meditate on.

Ok, enough about that. I will definately chat with Bharath as some point about how I’m feeling. He always has something wise to say which helps me to centre myself. How lucky I am.

Namaste xx


Why not? If cows can, why not a pony!

Reality is beginning to set in

As of Wednesday this week, it will be 2 weeks until I leave Mysore and begin my travels in India. It’s quite a surreal feeling to be honest. I came here knowing it would be such a long time until I went home, and now the end is suddenly creeping up on me. In one month and two days I will be back in Australia. Wow - time is flying.

This place has become home. I’ve developed a routine living here and I can’t imagine not having the routine anymore. The 4.00am alarm clock, my muesli for breakfast, back to class, my vegan thali at lunch, back to class… I also can’t imagine not being in the Shala anymore. That place really has become like a home for me. The surroundings are so comforting every time I’m in the room. And then of course there is Bharath. I’m not sure how I will say goodbye to this wonderful teacher, this wonderful man. He has been such an inspiration for me that it’s going to be a sad moment when we part ways. I have loved hearing his stories, being challenged by him, and just being in his presence. He is so calm, so focused and so committed to yoga and his students that one can’t help but be inspired by such a person.

I actually chatted with Bharath about this last week. He told me to begin preparing myself for the lead up to when I have to go as this will make it easier. I’m not really sure how to prepare myself to be honest. I just know it’s coming! I guess one way of not feeling so upset about leaving, is the knowledge that I will then go forth and pass on what I have learned. It’s my time to now share this gift I have received from Bharath with others in the world. I am so very excited about that. Bharath has also agreed to come to Australia when I open my own Shala one day! That will be a wonderful reunion indeed.

Yes, class is intense, and yes everything hurts - but I wouldn’t change one bit of what I have been, and am still going through. This has been the most eye opening journey I have ever taken in my life and I will forever be a stronger, more aware and confident person for it. That is priceless.

So rather than be sad about the upcoming goodbye, I will work hard at focusing on all of those positives I’ve just mentioned. Yes my teacher may not be with me physically, but he will always be with me in spirit. Plus, he’s only a Facebook post away! Get a grip Jessica :)

Namaste xx


Beauty really is everywhere here

Side walk steps

Because it’s normal to burn your garbage, This is just outside my apartment.

That bike is going nowhere!

Life in Mysore

Feel it don't force it

Physically, today has probably been my most challenging day. From the moment i sat on my mat at 5am this morning and felt pain in my backside, I knew I was in for a rough day. Emotionally too - when I woke and looked at a picture of my Owen at home, I felt quite sad and lonely. So I think the combination of heightened emotions plus physical and mental exhaustion has made today a more difficult day than normal. Our teacher is always reminding us that we will experience fluctuations in emotions, health, strength etc whilst training, so no doubt this also has something to do with it also - but mostly I just miss him.

I have just come from a really trying practice (what’s new). Some time ago I gave myself a goal to successfully move into and hold Kakasana. Well - I’m still not there and I keep beating myself up about it. I’m aware I shouldn’t do this, but sometimes you cant help but feel like a failure when you try and try and still can’t find the strength and focus the posture requires. What I have learned since being here, is that these postures often have nothing to do with strength. Any fit, strong person can possibly move into it postures like Kakasana. But it’s when you move into the posture with a conscious awareness of all the parts of the body which are activated and working in duality to get you up that you have successfully achieved it. I’m clearly not at that point yet!

My teacher is very encouraging but that only makes me feel worse as i can’t help but feel I am disappointing him. I know this is untrue and need to get a hold on these unhelpful thoughts. (Again, aware its an overly emotional, and therefore irrational day for me). I guess that’s just what’s real for me at the moment is all.

My entire body hasn’t stopped shaking today. A combination of squatting against a wall with knees bent and hands overhead for 5 or more minutes, legs raises, single leg balancing asanas and sitting for hours, has left my legs weak. Basic balancing postures like Garudasana (eagle) and Vrksasana (tree) have been extremely difficult for me. Normally these are fine however upon reflection I am aware I have never pushed myself the way i have been pushed here - hence my legs have had reserve strength for when I move into these asanas. Tonight I could feel the sweat dripping down my back as I did by best to keep my body uplifted and strong. Never before has my body been worked so hard. No gym class, PT class, jogging or weights session has ever come close to the level of work and effort you put into holding your own weight. it’s phenominal what can be achieved.

Tonight, when class ended, our teacher spoke to the group in a way which left me feeling truly inspired. Firstly, he  said “if your entire body is in pain, then the training is working”. That made me feel a little better! He told us that a mountain looks beautiful from afar, but it can be difficult to climb, however once at the top, the view is magnificent. This is what we are going through now. We are climbing that mountain - Everest!

Our teacher is very gentle in how he speaks. He assures we are not to force ourselves into a posture, but to feel it. I love this and will be sure to remember this when teaching others. Our teacher also made it very clear that he is there for us. Should we have any questions or concerns, he is available. He told us that through making mistakes and asking questions we can learn. If we know everything, then he cannot teach us as there is nothing to teach - so it is expected that we come with many questions. I have a book full ready to go! I may need to block out an hour or so ;)

Finally, our teacher talked about why we need to study so intensely everyday - to know the asanas inside and out. The Sanskrit name, the limitations and benefits, technique, common mistakes and variations. He explained that we are no longer beginners, We are training to become teachers and in doing so it is our responsibility to educate others, to share our knowledge. So we must know these things. I find it really exciting when he refers to us as teachers. Not only am I thrilled my own practice is deepening so much, but i am thrilled that I will be able to share this experience with many others to come.

Well - i need to fall into a state of unconsciousness now before my heart stopping alarm goes off at 4am in the morning again. Then i can repeat this all again!

Namaste xx