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  • Asha Venkatarao

Journey though Silence and Laryngitis - Exploring Choices, Thoughts on Health




This week's Blogpost is about my ongoing experience with throat pain, laryngitis and having no voice :) As many of you know, I am having a severe bout of laryngitis since the past few days. My voice has become very feeble, I literally have no voice :) It's a strange experience for me since I rely so much on having a voice. I rely on it to teach classes everyday, but I have cancelled all classes till Wednesday. It's like being on a Retreat with Noble Silence, except my mind is churning at an alarmingly fast rate. In a Retreat, I would have chosen to sit in silence, chosen not to talk or interact with any fellow beings. But, right now, I am forced to do the same thing, but I really haven't enjoyed it. I miss not teaching, I miss the daily connections, the humor in the class etc.

And, underneath these thoughts lurk a deeper vein of thinking. How can I fall sick? I tell each student to practice Yoga Asanas and Pranayama for better health, better immunity, and less pain.  I have been asked too: "How can you fall sick, Asha?"

The list in my monkey mind goes on. Maybe, I talk too much, maybe I teach too much.  I realize I have to change the perception of the situation. I also understand that it's very easy to extend compassion to others, but very challenging to show oneself the same friendliness and concern.

So, now, what does one do? This is where we apply our learning, our knowledge, our spiritual faith. In Mindfulness Meditation, I have learnt a technique called RAIN (acronym for the 4 steps of the process) R - Recognize what is happening A - Acknowledge the issue I - Investigate the inner experience of it N- Non-identification with difficult thoughts

- Recognize that Life, by its very nature , is going to be a little always out of our fierce grip. We connect inward to all the sensations, feelings associated with the present experience. We recognize that this is our inner experience of the outward event. I can recognize that I might fall sick, inspite of my best efforts, best nutrition, because that is the nature of Life. I forgive myself for being Human, again & again.

- Acknowledge or Allow the present experience to unfold as is. It does not mean that I will love the moment, but I can drop my inner monologue of judgment and criticism against it.

- Investigate the current situation. I might need to understand how to take better care of my health, how to draw boundaries, how not to criticize myself harshly. But, the difference here is to understand the underlying causes and offer support to oneself without criticism. That's always a formidable task :) But, its doable and possible.

- Non-identification with the inner monologue. Here, We turn our attention to the simple realization that we are not just the mind, emotions; We are all the luminous awareness that is beneath every thought, emotion, and sense perception. This possibility unfolds to us in regular Meditation; we sit when we are happy; we sit when we are sad, angry, mad. As we do this again & again, we develop freedom from the emotional states which control us. We sit in Meditation in any state of the mind- that's Freedom from identification with the emotional and mental states. No matter how intense the emotional storm one is facing, we connect to the silent, still and untouched part of oneself.

This has been part of my journey the last few days, through silence; through spicy pepper rasam ; through encouraging words from so many of my students/friends; this too shall pass. I will be teaching this Mindfulness technique RAIN this Sunday, April 28th at 5pm. Do try to make time for Yourself; it's worth it!! Namaste.

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