I arrived earlier this week at my yoga school in Indore. While I am less than impressed with some of the instruction, I'm holding my tongue and keeping positive. The education I am receiving is still very valuable, if not exactly what I expected. If nothing else the meditation guidance we have been receiving has been very helpful and has shown me some new gateways into We just had a fascinating and fantastic meditation session with Om ji. First he lead us through the usual opening breathing exercises of full, complete and yet very fast breathing which floods the brain with oxygen and gets the whole body tingling and awake. After several rounds of this breathing he then told us that now was the time for us to release all of our past sorrows and suffering through sound. We were to shout, and create as much noise with our vocal chords as possible to let out all that pain we have stuffed down and repressed all these years. Of course there was the expected silence after he says this while everyone is trying to get up the nerve to make even just a peep. Even I took a moment to conjure up my sorrows and some sound to express them. I was still feeling elated from the breathing exercises and all I could see behind my eyes was beauty and the incredible miracle of my existence.
But that silence opened itself to me, a tantalizing invitation, so after a few loud exhales I emitted a loud singing wail that traveled around to several notes, and actually managed to land squarely on a few which was nice considering I normally can’t carry a tune to save my life. My wail rose and filled the room and in my head the colors of peachy orange and soft coral burst like fireworks. Soon I heard Massimo, a tall and very kind Italian man in my class, join me, his voice a bold baritone filling the room with its rich vibrations. Together we harmonized in wordless singing exaltations for several minutes. Finally others began to join in, some quite softly, others with gathering gusto. We can hear Om ji urging us onward, calling for us to shout louder and to let go.
Now we are really starting to go mad. We are cackling, and calling like animals. We are wailing our sorrows, weaving a verbal tapestry of our pain and letting it fall all around us like a curtain. We are screaming our indignation, testing the decibel capacity of our vocal chords and lungs. Our sound is like a tidal wave, rising, rising, rising ever higher. We edge each onward, each new call and invitation for a louder call to trumpet higher, stronger. I feel a drop roll down my cheek which surprises me. I reach my hand up to my eyes and sure enough I feel tears. I’m crying. This discovery inspires me to push myself even farther and I give the loudest wail I can without tearing my vocal chords. I feel my face contort with anguish, my mouth open wide, as the sound comes spilling out of me, thick with forgotten sadness, with buried pain. In the wake of my wail I can hear Cheyenne, a powerhouse of a girl from Oregon, crying, sobbing in fact, as her sorrows seep through the cracks in walls of her mind, and begin to burst forth through the barriers.
This is our practice, our work tonight: taking our voice like a sledge hammer and beating down the walls within us, allowing us the freedom to be angry, sad, and upset. This is for all the times we did not let ourselves feel these emotions and instead built a brick house in our hearts in which to keep them, deep below the surface and away from our conscious mind, away from where we must think about them, process and express them. Now we are processing and expressing these emotions, now we are beginning to dismantle this compartment in our hearts. Now we are beginning to let ourselves feel the sadness and really steep ourselves in it; let it run through us and then out of us, leeching out of us on the rising waves of our exclamations.
After perhaps 15 minutes of this exercise, I am spent. My body is vibrating wonderfully and my mind is like the surface of a still lake, with only a few ripples here and there from a soft breeze, the occasional slowly floating thought. But no, we are not done. Om ji asks us to stand up, keeping our eyes closed, and begin the next phase of this experience, this wild unleashing of our voice, our power, our pain. We are to exhale forcefully and repeatedly while exclaiming “HU” with each exhalation. In addition we are to raise our hands above our heads and bring them down forcibly while exhaling, increasing the power of the exhalation and the volume of our vocalization. After several round of everyone beginning this exercise, Om then demands that we move about in every direction, releasing our body in addition to our voice. Now we are a band of frantic monkeys, flapping our arms, calling “HU!” like mad, and bouncing up and down, squatting with each exclamation of “HU!” and jumping up again. Our eyes are closed but at times my eyes open ever so slightly as I jump and hop about, just so I know I’m not running into anyone. At these times I can see other classmates, some of whom are going just as monkey crazy as me and others which are sticking to their mat but still “Hu Huing” loudly and flapping their arms, and it takes my full effort not to laugh hysterically and the beautiful insanity of it all.
I’m running out of steam soon, and my movements slow, my “Hu” calls weaken, and at last I stand still on my mat, breathing slowly and deeply. There is only so much insanity one can muster at one time. But other members of my class who were a bit more economical with their energy are still going at it, and it doesn’t take long for the energy of the room to rise once more, picking me up in the tide. Once again I am pumping my arms and calling “HU!” like my life depended on it. Now my rhythm is more tribal, as are my movements. I am undulating my body back and forth like an African dancer, pumping my hands toward my chest or down toward the ground with each forceful “HU” exhalation. At just the right rhythm my calls increase in intensity and build like an orgasm. I feel the energy travel up my spine and finally erupt out of my head as I throw my body back, arms wide, and give a wild HOoooowwwwwl to the night. Ooh that felt good, a small, still human, portion of my mind thinks. So I go again, building the energy in my core, feeling it rise up my spine and finally burst forth from my mouth in another window rattling HOOOOoooooooowwwwl. But the authentic effect gets harder as I reach for it, and so I let it go. I let it all go. I let the energy in me simmer and cool. I let my vocalizations soften to a sigh.
Om ji finally calls for us to quiet ourselves, sit upon our mats, and prepare ourselves for meditation. So I stagger to a sitting posture, my body weak, completely spent and a little shaky from the whole ordeal. As I sit and let my attention scan my body, I feel as if I am a pulsating condensed body of light, crammed into a tiny vibrating package of tissues and fluids. I let my attention follow my breath and I feel the boundaries which define me being to blur and expand, especially in the moments between each exhalation and inhalation. I watch as thoughts arise and I watch as my determination to concentrate pops each one like a balloon, or waves each off as if it was a mosquito.
The moments of expansive stillness stretch across several breaths but are often punctuated by the occasional errant thought. Still I feel myself smile somewhere inside, as my determination brushes these thoughts aside and my breath continues to guide me to that place of stillness, of vast emptiness. In and out of stillness, I oscillate like the wind pushing leaves to and fro and I relax into this constantly shifting mental space. I accept that I will not be able to hold onto that stillness just yet. I require many more days, many more sittings, to fully sit in stillness, but I’m OK with that.
A fiery fairy who has set off to explore Asia and discover new things about the world and herself. The journey is one to fully realize her strength and an unwaivering faith in her personal power.