Friday, November 20, 2009

Escape from Neyyar Dam / Reflection

Hmmm, how shall I explain this tactfully...
Chris and I planned to spend our final two weeks in India at the Sivananda ashram at Neyyar Dam, but we checked in on Monday, November 16, and checked out on Wednesday morning.
I think it boils down to...We just couldn't handle the chanting!
At my yoga teacher training in 2006, we sang kirtan (chanting the different names of God) on a daily basis, but for some reason, maybe because I had paid my tuition and was fully committed to being there for a month, I just accepted it and even enjoyed it by the end.
This time around I was not receptive to it and did not want to be receptive to it.
India's plethora of religions and rituals has not really incited spiritual feelings in me. I find myself becoming more and more cynical as I observe crippling poverty and so much unanswered need. Where is God? (Where are Hinduism's 36 million gods for that matter?) People put faith in gods to help them and/or they accept their lot in life and hope karma rewards them with a better next life, but in the meantime there is so much suffering...I can't wrap my head around it.
I feel spiritually vulnerable at the moment, and the ashram felt too risky. I've learned there are many fake priests and gurus out there who take advantage of people's longing for a meaningful connection. I don't mean to say anything negative about the Sivananda organization as I really didn't experience enough of it to pass judgment. The ashram just didn't feel right for me (or Chris) right now. I will continue to question and ponder in a more neutral environment. And I will spend the next week or so studying yoga asana in the many classes here in Varkala.

Here are a few pictures of the ashram...they had beautiful grounds as you can see...there is a picture of Chris' dorm bed and also a picture of the dining hall with all the plates set up (yes, on the floor which is where we ate - with our hands!)


  1. Chris, you look just like a monk!

  2. That's the look I was going for...although I don't know if monks are allowed to smile. That was probably 1 of about 3 smiles the entire time I was there...!!