It seems as though time has flown by since our last blog entry. We have been fully occupied with our daily yoga practice and studies; absorbing knowledge, gaining strength and flexibility, and nourishing our spirits with ancient wisdom and chants.
There were 13 of us students, varying in age from 25 to 60 and all of us became family, sharing stories and supporting one another as we took a journey through our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual bodies. Doing yoga at an altitude of 3300 meters was another challenge that would come and go day by day as well. Sometimes out of breathe, but more often sometimes in the bathroom... We all became close pretty quick. Our teachers, Chaitanya and Samantha were simply the best; they had all the qualities one would want to find in a teacher. Perfect balance of yin and yang. Fun, inspiring, approachable, humble, wise, spiritual, and lots of smiles and laughter. Chaitanya always had meaningful stories to tell with each lesson and Samantha always had a way of putting profound teachings into tangible everyday situations. And guess what else...Samantha is a super acro yoga teacher!! We got to play and do acro partner yoga some days, so much fun! We have found our teachers, and when the time is right we will be back for our acro yoga teacher certification :)
The graduation ceremony was beautiful and we all received our 200 hour yoga teacher certifications...we did it!!! Joshua and I took the initiation into vegetarianism honouring the discipline of ahimsa- non violence and sensitivity to all living creatures. There were only 4 others who were non vegetarians before the yoga course and all of us are now on the path of being vegetarian, what a change!
I know from where else I can get the omegas and oils that my body needs. It's been almost a month since we had meat and it has been easy so far. We took it upon ourselves to become more informed about being vegetarian and decided it would be an empowering decision to make together. And so it is.
During the course I felt as though I was being reminded of my true essence and the components of life that make us more whole. As yoga teachers we are encouraged to live by these guiding principles, ill name a few of my favourites.
Satya- truth, being honest with ones limitations
Aparigraha- Not being attached to that which is no longer serving you. Through generosity we let go of possessiveness.
Sauca - Purity; total commitment to what we are doing in every aspect cultivates purity within our practice.
Samtosa - being content with where we are and what we have accomplished
Svadhyaya- self investigation and mindfulness
Ishvarapranidanah- Finding the connection with the supreme, opening to the power of grace. Connecting with others from the heart.
It became routine to go to the San blas market before class began each morning and meet up with our friend arco iris, (rainbow) to have a fresh jugo (juice). We would sit and visit as Betty made us our drink of choice..carrot, beet, apple, aloe, ginger, and chia seeds. Sooooooo good! Each day we had a 2 hour break for lunch, there were plenty of nourishing restaurants to choose from which offered a menu of the day for 7-12 soles, less than $5.00 and LOTS of food. Our last week of yoga came and went and we all got the chance to teach portions of class to each other and the public. On our last day we wrote our exam and had a beautiful ceremony and graduation..there may or may not have been some tears.
The next teacher training is in Columbia and we have been invited to teach yoga and stay at the ashram. It is an opportunity to develop our practice together and continue on our yogic path...we will be there! Our friend Maria, ( arco iris ) will also be there and maybe a few others will come visit. Life is flowing in harmony.
Our time in Bolivia before yoga training was full of sunshine. Crossing the border was as easy as changing socks, a few stamps and we were free to walk into Bolivia as we kept a close eye on where our bus was parking. Copacabana is the main Bolivian town on the shore of Lake Titicaca. The weather was hot and the beers were cold. The Main Street was the place to be, no need for taxis, this street had restaurants, hostels, clothing markets, art, and entertainment. We got our shopping fix and enjoyed sitting outside on the patios watching the locals and tourists go about their day. Each street had its own street dogs and when outside neighbouring dogs would come for a stroll down a street that wasn't theirs they would get barked at until they left. All local women wore their bowler hats protecting them from the sun and if it wasn't a baby wrapped up in a colourful blanket on their back it was a heavy load of food or water. Their silver front teeth filings were blinding in the sunlight when they smiled.
Our boat ride across Lake Titticaca to Isle del Sol (island of the sun) was......slow? We sat on the upper deck and watched as every other boat seemed to fly by us. It was very interesting to see the similarities in the rock formations sticking out of the water. They all had the same angle to their one side as if a huge glacier swept across the valley giving shape to these rock formations. We got dropped off on the south side of the island and greeted by a man named Walter. We spoke to him in broken Spanish and agreed to come look at his cabins to stay a few nights. It was a very, very, very, verrrrrryyyyyyy long walk up the mountain with our heavy backpacks, the donkeys were even passing us. When we got to the cabins we were in heaven at an altitude of 4010 meters, the view was spectacular and our cabin was cozy. The llamas, alpacas, sheep, donkeys, pigs, goats, and dogs brought charm to the island just as much as the people. There were no vehicles of any kind on the island. On the second day Walter took us by boat to the north end of the island and we did the 12 km hike back to the south side. A couple we made friends with from Jackson Hole decided to join us on our adventure. It was fascinating to be on an island up so high and see the snow capped cordilleras of Bolivia to the east and the Andean mountain range of Peru to the west. We managed to find a few different ruin sights; a sacred stone used for executions, la mesa ritual, (the ritual table made for human sacrifices,) and Chicana, a stone labyrinth with a beautiful view of the lake. At random places we would come to a "toll booth" and asked to pay a fee for entering into this part of the island.. I think we had 3 tickets each by the end of the day. When we arrived back to the north we found a pizza place and filled our bellies mmmmmmm. What a day. Our time spent on isle del sol was lovely and memorable. The sunsets and sunrises were absolutely breath taking. And.....I don't think we will ever forget watching Walters son, Carlos, waving at us excitedly as he hurried to catch up with his dad, and not paying attention to what was ahead of him he ran face first into the ass of a donkey. We all burst out in laughter. He was a cute kid and loved to play football with Josh. Isle del sol will have a special place in our hearts.
And now Christmas has come and gone. Our hearts grew one size bigger as we joined other travellers for a massive potluck at the healing house. It was a beautiful gathering of light beings, blessed food, christmas songs, a warm fire, and sharing magical stories. A feeling of family away from home.
Next stop...Machu Picchu!!
Love you, miss you, hugs and kisses xoxox