Opportunities are abundant wherever we are. It is not luck that guides us towards fortuitious circumstance, rather manifestation and openness to the creative power of opportunity. Earlier this year a group of us at Ashram Yoga collectively partook in a 54-day mantra sadhana (spiritual practice). At the same time, daily over the course of 54 days we collectively chanted a chosen mantra (our choice was to remove obstacles in whatever capacity was relevant in our personal lives). The results were both profound and unexpected for all involved.
In my own experience the ‘blockages’ that were removed created unconscious space for new experience. This was by no means instantaneous, but the sadhana secured the commitment to patience and practice & acceptance of the unexpected revelation of circumstances. So when the opportunity was presented to me (by a friend and fellow Ashram Yoga trainee) to teach yoga and do bodywork (Shiatsu & Thai Yoga Massage) on board a private super yacht & island in Greece, random as it may have seemed I had the space in my life to be open to & accept the opportunity.
From the onset I was aware that there would be several challenges onboard. Privacy, space, balance (literally!) Being completely new to the boating industry as much as possible I wanted to observe the flow of things at sea and see in what ways what I had to offer could coincide and support how things were done, without being imposing. My role is a part of the ‘interior’ team. The stewards/stewardesses who take care of all of the guests’ needs onboard and things that happen inside the boat. When I am not engaged in massage or teaching, I contribute to service, cleaning and the general daily maintenance and care of the inside of the boat. The ‘exterior’ team is comprised of the boson & deckhands who take care of all of the external boat maintenance & set up, along with the facilitation of all the water sports and toys. We have 2 amazing chefs to cater to 16 crew and maximum 18 guests. Finally there are the engineers, captain and first mate that handle all of the technical issues and make the boat move!
The schedule when at sea is pretty erratic. You never really know where you are or when/where you are going next. You truly have to surrender and accept that you are where you are and are going wherever it is that you are taken! So the grounding really has to come from within. For me, this is achieved through my daily sadhana. Simultaneously this provides me with precious personal time & space. That said, I have had to let go privacy boundaries as often I have had to find whatever corner I can squeeze myself & my mat into and ignore the fact that people can and often are curiously watching me as they go about their daily duties! So to, from a teaching perspective timing can be tricky in regards to schedule and attendance. Sometimes it is crew, sometimes clients. As Shantimurti has always said, teaching yoga to just one person can create change! So it doesn’t matter who you’re teaching, but rather that you are sharing the experience of Yoga. However, the sea surroundings provide a natural stunning setting.
As time has transpired I have recognized that predominantly the “Yoga” or union comes from the interactions, reactions and choices that we make in dealing with each other in our various roles, cultures and capacities. Amongst a group of people from all walks of life and parts of the world (Greek, Philippino, Egyptian, British, Australian, & me the Canadian) there is a thread of connection. Despite our apparent cultural or socioeconomic differences, various backgrounds & experiences, there are opportunities to understand & connect with each other. Be it through conversation (although often non verbal), shared experiences, laughter or song. Our differences become less vast & our similarities more apparent with openness to share & aptitude towards understanding. Rather than a desire to impose ‘our’ ways or inflict our viewpoints onto those who’s may be different to our own. The beauty then, is in seeing what there is to be learned around you from these fateful interactions.
This change and being away from home has simultaneously provided the opportunity for reflection and to appreciate all that I have in my ‘normal’ daily life. My aptitude for gratitude has increased exponentially for all that I have, where I’m at, and those involved in and supporting me in my life in NZ. Although I am living and loving the opportunity to take and use my training abroad, the obstacles that were removed to create the space for this experience have also allowed me to more clearly appreciate what I have on the home front. I look forward to coming back to New Zealand in a couple of month’s time, having been able to share some of my knowledge & experience and undoubtedly accrued some in the process!
Written by Devananda (aka Dee)