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Keeping the Peace

Neyyar Dam, Kerala

Today is the last day at the ashram. Originally, I wanted to stay here 1 week but I think I’ve stayed long enough for what I needed. Our stay was only 4 days (3 full with 2 half days). Alex was eager to leave and was happy I reduced his sentence at the ashram.

When I was doing my research the website claimed I would be able to:

  • Rest, relax and rejuvenate in a peaceful and beautiful natural setting.
  • Meet people who wish to give a new direction to their life through the teachings of yoga.
  • Have a full yoga experience.
  • Get guidance on implementing positive changes in your life.
  • Deepen your knowledge on topics such as the benefits of asana, vegetarian diet, stress management and meditation.

Did the Sivananda Ashram live up to these claims?

Rest, relax & rejuvenate in a peaceful & beautiful natural setting

Check! The Sivananda Ashram was super relaxing and beautiful. Being surrounded by natural beauty and hearing the sounds of nature made it a perfect place to practice yoga and meditation without distraction. I enjoyed a break from concrete, car horns, dust and rubbish.

Meet people who wish to give a new direction to their life through the teachings of yoga.

Check! At first being at the ashram made me feel like I was at cheerleading camp or a work retreat: surrounded by a bunch of brainwashed people eager to drink whatever Kool-aid is served. After a few days of meeting and getting to know people, it felt like a genuine community for like-minded souls. Before leaving Shruti, Angela & I exchanged contact information to keep in touch.

Have a full yoga experience.

Check! We covered all the 5 points of yoga: proper exercise, proper breathing, proper diet, proper relaxation and positive thinking and meditation. I was happy to have 4 hours of practicing asanas each day!

Get guidance on implementing positive changes in your life.

Check! Mainly being able to be in a peaceful environment allowed me to think. The lectures also provided good food for thought. One of the main things I plan to take with me is inner peace. I want to keep calm regardless of the situation and not allow negative people to poison my environment.

Deepen your knowledge about the benefits of asana, vegetarian diet, stress management & meditation

Check! Check! Check! and Check!

Overall, I enjoyed the experience. Alex & I once again put on our packs and set off for the next destination. I left the ashram grounds happy and relaxed. Alex was in a similar state. The true test is applying everything outside of a controlled environment. Will I be able to keep the peace within me is we continue with our travels?

The weather leaving the ashram was more pleasant than the arrival. Alex & I agreed to walk to the bus station since it was downhill. We talked in depth about the highlights of the past several days. Alex said my face looked 10 years younger. True, the absence of stress can do wonders for not only the mind but the body too.

The bus arrived to take us back to civilization. I was not eager to hop aboard. We took the windy road to Trivandrum. Once again, it started to rain.

One of the lectures talked about peace and happiness. “All happiness achieved through the mind is temporary and fleeting. To achieve that state of lasting happiness and absolute peace, we must first know how to calm the mind, to concentrate and go beyond the mind.”

Yes, peace and happiness is fleeting. By the dinner time, Alex was already trying to test my resolve for peace. When he is hungry he becomes mean, argumentative and irrational. I was not going to throw what I had achieved in the past 4 days away. Alex wanted to argue. I didn’t. To avoid conflict I turned around and found a place to eat dinner by myself. Did Alex get anything out of the experience at the ashram?

Alex was not at the hotel when I got back. I took the opportunity to practice some of the pranayama exercises and write in my journal. When Alex returned apparently so had his sanity. He apologized for his behavior. I forgave him. My mission is to keep the peace even when Alex does not.

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