“That’s Some Strong Medicine.”

by Joanna D.

I am so God damned heart broken. Sitting in the Trivandrum International airport, waiting for a flight to Bangalore, my Indian friends call to say goodbye. “Ok, ok. You OK? Take care. Safe journey. See you soon.” Heart… breaking.

I have learned a lot on this trip about the invisible lines within the culture of Kerala and the culture of Kovalam. About traditions and rules and not rules. I’ve even started to somewhat understand some of them (though I’m not sure how I feel about that).


I’ve learned a few Malayalam words (two), worn a beautiful pink Sari, attended a traditional Indian wedding, sang songs with words I can’t pronounce, learned new rules to an old card game, broke in a pair of flip flops and had many cups of chai. I’ve watched rickshaws get repaired, bricks being delivered and undelivered, crows building nests, children playing in doorways, dogs sleeping on rock piles, women tending their households, men napping in the shade, flowers blooming in the middle of a field of garbage and ocean waves rhythmically caress the waiting shoreline. I’ve contemplated living with the sunrise over palm trees and quarries, enjoyed the sweetness of morning prayers, the smell of sandalwood incense, held a brand new baby girl and experienced true genuine kindness from the people of India.

How could I be so incredibly in love with this place, with my time here, with the people who’ve become my friends and treated me as family and still have this deep inner knowing that I do not belong in it? Heart breaking.


That’s some strong medicine.

I’m so God damned ready to kick some ass. In five weeks I’ve let go of my love affair with primary series, been given eight new asanas, a serious dose of humility and developed a deeper understanding of what I am asking myself to see – to learn – through this practice of ashtanga yoga.

I held a 9pm bedtime (for the most part) and a 5am wake-time. Morning preparations consisted of coffee for Suzanne, tea for me, asana review and a 35-minute walk to the shala. 2.5 hours of asana and pranayama practice. The first four weeks consisted of emotional break downs, complaints about physical limitations and a steady push against my abilities. Finally after some strong words, intense conversation, I remembered… all I have to do, is do it. Move through the practice with rhythm and intelligence. Silence the cowardice dialogue of self-doubt and ridicule, and listen to what I know to be true, that deep inner knowing – intuition. Watch the way my body responds to movement, how it has the ability to adjust into alignment like a melody of finely tuned musical instruments. I know it’s possible. My mind contains the ability to power through mental blocks that pause the growth I desire for myself in all aspects of my life. I’m ready to kick some ass. Some asana ass. Some mental blocking ass.