Written By Veda, Latitudes ’19 Peru
Peru called me, that’s why I’m here. Peru called you, there’s a reason you’re here. That’s what I reminded myself through the hardest moments of my placement at the Eco Yoga Ashram in the sacred valley. And the hard times were some of the most difficult I’ve ever had to go through.
But it’s true, and so incredibly hard to deny—Peru wanted me here (at least that’s what I said before I realized it was God). I had plans to work on a farm in Guatemala, I decided that months ago, and was told last minute I couldn’t go and I would have to find another placement. When Peru was mentioned, an indescribable yet unforgettable feeling overwhelmed me; without knowing anything at all about Peru (or speaking any Spanish) I replied right away, “I want to go to Peru, please send me to Peru.” And that’s not all—the spiritual community here, the odd commonalities I shared with the Peruvian culture and people, and all the angels I met that guided me along every step of my arrival—they were all signs I was in the right place. This is what kept me here those first long weeks at the ashram when it was just me, a quiet Venezuelan couple, two cats (thank god), and two llamas. The solitude of those three weeks introduced me to parts of myself I had never faced and to pain I’d never let myself feel. However, I know that time was essential to my process. I was definitely humbled and as a byproduct so much closer to my true self because of my newfound awareness. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was breaking through layers of false ego, necessary to let go of in order to comprehend the teachings and to understand God. When people started showing up for the yoga teacher training, including Syam and Chaitanya (the owners, my teachers) I was so excited to have people around and so excited to learn.
The next chapter of my spiritual journey here in Peru was, on paper, intense. But with the former three weeks of working on nothing but myself and yoga, I was ready to be busy and ready to learn even more about myself (because you never truly know it all). And so began the 3 weeks of my training.
200 hr YTT Schedule (not including group hikes or trips)
- 7 AM: pranayama (breath work)
- 7:30 AM: kirtan (song meditation)
- 8 AM: breakfast (always oatmeal)
- 9 AM: philosophy class + alignments/postures
- 11 AM: yoga master class
- 1 PM: lunch (aka best part of the day)
- 3 PM: [yet another] philosophy + alignments/postures
- 5 PM: yoga class
- 7PM: dinner (always soup)
And if you’re lucky, you stay up past 9 PM but usually you’re knocked out. AND if you’re really on the yogic path you wake up at 6 AM for a cold shower:)
These 3 weeks were amazing; how much we managed to learn in such a short time was incredible! They say, not only that you should retake the course at least one more time to really integrate all of the information, but also that the 200 hour course is only the tippy top of yogic knowledge iceberg. “So good thing you’re starting at 18!”
I became so close to the people I shared my practices with and my teachers—saying goodbye (as always) was difficult and on top of that, I was terrified to be alone again.
I came to Peru seeking spirituality, once in the sacred valley it didn’t take long for ‘spirituality’ to turn into ‘God’. I wanted what Elizabeth Gilbert seeked going to India, “an everlasting experience with God.” But I’ve slowly come to realize that the more I intellectually focus on God, the harder it is to understand. Most of God’s work is revealed in the background, his influence in each twist of the path. I’m so thankful to have been introduced to a new way of loving God, but my journey with the higher power will expand throughout the entirety of my life—God was not the lesson here, he was the method. I so desperately wanted to understand God it frustrated me, and that’s because god needed me to understand myself first.
I have 5 weeks left in South America. About 3 will be taken up by a spur of the moment trip to Bolivia with a friend from the training (as spur of the moment as you can get when having to go through the Bolivian visa process). And the last 2 will be spent back in Peru, hitting all of the stops on the gringo trail, with my mom. I travel through this continent with fresh eyes and intentions to remain as true to myself and my faith as possible (so far, our hostel roommates have been more than gracious as a I chant my manta 432 times every morning:) I ask to be shown what I need to see, and for acceptance and love in every situation, moment and interaction I encounter throughout the rest of my time here. Ki Jai!
Haribol Carpe Diem!!