Growing More Flexible

This post is a little delayed. I wrote it on the train from Jaipur…

It’s hard to believe that I only have about one more week and two more cities left on this India journey. In my heart, I am still that type-A personality, but the lessons I have learned along the way have certainly served to shift my perspective a bit and there is a part of me that will never be the same.

Upon leaving the north of India, I ventured over to Varanasi where I could stroll along the ghats or wander into the city a bit and receive a blessing in one of the city’s thousands of temples – many of which one would pass on by should they not know a temple was within. I had the good fortune to stay at a lovely guest house and almost immediately befriend a Swiss solo traveler. As much as I looked forward to India on my own, I am grateful for her company and friendship along the way.

The next leg of my trip was chock full of lessons for me. Please know that I had meticulously planned this trip. Originally, I planned to depart Varanasi for a quick day trip to Agra and then pop up to Vrindavan for three days. However, upon arriving in Agra, I immediately knew the city was not for me. I jumped in a car (with a/c – it was boiling outside) and took a whirlwind tour of the sights. After all, I had a 2:15 train to catch. Ha! The train was delayed by about two hours and I was not able to get a seat in an a/c car. I made it two stations and jumped off the train, opting instead for a prepaid taxi to Vrindavan. Let’s just say that the hotel I booked there was less than expected and after a mini freak-out, I switched locations, changed my itinerary, and began preparing to leave for Jaipur two days early. This is not to say that I did not enjoy my time at the ISKCON temple, just that I trusted my gut and moved on.

Jaipur! In one word…LOVE! I had an incredible time in this city. I felt comfortable walking around on my own, arranged to have a fabulous guide show me the sights, avoided the touts, and shopped! And, now I can call the guide my friend. During transit, he shared stories of Hindu mythology, answered all my silly questions, and provided a wealth of knowledge about Rajasthan. On the second day, he invited me to dinner with his family. I accepted and had the best time with his mother, wife, children…

All of this to say that I am learning to trust my instincts. When I had my chakra healing done, I learned that my third and fifth chakras are blocked. Third governs self-confidence and fifth communication. Without actively working on opening these channels, it is happening. When I left home, I knew this would be both a physical and mental journey. I have been required to speak up, ask questions, ask for help, assert myself when approached by “guides” or folks who want to take pics or video of the foreigner. I am also developing the confidence to embrace new experiences and cultivate new friendships.

As for yoga, well, I’ve been doing my own asana practice daily so I have remained physically flexible. More importantly, I’m learning the importance of mental flexibility. Yes, I know, it’s about time. I must say that going with the flow has had its advantages. First of all, I’m less stressed and secondly, experiences, opportunities, and friendships arose that may not have otherwise. I believe there are no accidents and I was ready to get out of my own way and learn the lessons this journey presented.

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