Take Off [my yoga teacher training: part one]

It doesn’t matter how much time I prepare, how many things I write down, or many days I give myself to pack. I always end up rushing around until 2am the night before a 9am flight. I have flown a lot, and been on many long term 'staycations' (moved across countries twice). You think by now I would have this thing down to a science.

I mean, naturally there’s always the obvious fear of forgetting to bring something. But this anxiety, coupled with my natural ability to misplace anything important and my less than ideal short term memory (or lack thereof), always make for a somewhat stressful departure. My copious lists read something like this: Things to do. Things to buy. Things to pack. Things to do STILL. Things you forgot to do, but have to do. Important things NOT to forget. Etc. etc.

Do you think I lose this fear upon leaving the house? Nah. At least when seated safely on the plane? Definitely not. Allow me to explain this neurosis using a small sample of my airline track record this past year:

  • London to Madrid: lost my passport ON the flight (luckily my boyfriend thought to ask me to check my things), and found it left behind in seat 5C.

  • London to Toronto: Lost my passport 3 weeks before flying. Almost finished the paper work for an expensive emergency replacement. Found it a week later in the printer (I had recently scanned it).

  • London to Genoa: Didn’t read the fine print and was denied boarding because I had less than 3 months left on my passport. This one especially hurt because Matt and I watched 10 of our friends board the plane for an amazing ski holiday (side note: my boyfriend is a gem).

This is only in the past year. So, no. I don’t lose this fear until I am safely at my arrival destination, with two feet firmly on the ground, or until which point I realise I have forgotten something, dealt with it and moved on.

This anxious behavior certainly isn’t the yogic way, so it’s definitely something I’m hoping to improve on throughout the next 5 weeks in Goa.

As I sit in seat safely in the aisle seat of this double-decker plane (BTW: Qatar Airlines is amazing), I can’t help but think about the things I am hoping to achieve on this trip. Aside from my RYT certification, and some obvious just-out-of-reach yoga poses I am hoping to nail, there are a few things internally I am hoping to work on.

For starters, I am nervous about meditating for an hour a day. I can happily do 5-10 minutes, seated comfortably in a quiet room… but, an hour, in the blazing heat, mosquitoes, foreign noises... it’s a whole different ballpark.

On top of the potential physical annoyances that an hour of meditation might bring, I can’t help but wonder what sort of feelings might be unleashed trying to reach nirvana. What is Nirvana? Will I be able to sit still long enough to find out? Will I be the only one fidgeting?... When I have ripped apart the layers of my thoughts piece by piece, will I like what I find? Will I still be confident in myself and my decisions? Can I learn to let it go?

If there is one thing I do know it’s that these constant internal ramblings are most definitely something I am hoping leave behind.

I am looking forward to walking alongside the beach with my bare feet in the hot sand. Escape the bustle of the city, take a beat, and have some quality “me” time, leaving everyone/everything I know behind for a little while. I am eager to see, smell and taste India for the first time and to experience something completely out of my depth. I am happy to be reminded of my fortunes and to not to take them for granted. Most importantly, I am looking forward to making beautiful connections with new people, to uncover something new about myself, and to hopefully leave some parts of me behind.

I am still not really not sure what to expect from the course, apart from delicious vegetarian curry and very sweaty classes, but I have a feeling it’s about to change me. As I sit here writing in seat 66H, descending into the unknown, it’s just dawned on me that I’m actually not that afraid at all.

Jaime Tully