The next stage

Once I healed from the fracture in the left knee and started moving again, I began to notice that my right leg was rotating externally every time I did a forward bend. Slowly I started experiencing pain in the joint as I practiced and fairly soon also when I walked. Having had an MRI it showed that the cartilage wear was substantial. The orthopedic surgeon talked me into having a shot of cortisone given straight into the joint using ultrasound. This was done in late september last year. It kept the pain away for almost two months. And I was happily walking and moving around. Practicing, although not with the same flexibility as before. Then the pain came back and the process was renewed a little before Christmas last year. This time the shot didn’t help. It actually made things worse. And since that time it’s been a long slide downhill.

I tried to maintain mobility in the joint through my yoga practice, the specific ones my teacher Aadil Palkhivala had recommended and other exercises designed to strengthen the muscles around the joint given to me by my daughter, the physiotherapist. I added supplements for joint health to my diet. I used Sunrider foods to support it and Young Living oils to ease the discomfort. I saw my wonderful osteopath Jonna regularly, had massages and acupuncture. And I used the Heartfull™ Meditation techniques recommended by my teacher Savitri to support the hip.

However whenever I did any kind of extension of the hip, external or internal rotation the pain was severe and the movement extremely limited.

Although in the end I wasn’t able to stop the progress of the osteoarthritis, I am ever so thankful that I did all of this! Why? You’ll see.

The images below are from Orthoinfo AAOS and picture a healthy hip joint and one with osteoarthritis, meaning that the cartilage that absorbes shocks and makes the movement of the joint smooth has worn down. In my case I was completely bone on bone.

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November 24, 2018

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WHEN OBSTACLES COME IN YOUR WAY

A little over a week ago I wrote the following post on my facebook page:

This morning I went through hip replacement surgery. And I would like to, once again, share with you the amazing power of the combination of Heartfull™️ Meditation and Young Living Essential Oils! 

Before going in I used White Angelica while cocooning – helping to connect deeper with my soul and to ward off negative energy.
On my chest and temples I put Valor for bravery and on my wrists I rolled Tranquil.
This combo worked like Magic! I was not nervous at all and felt trusting and confident.
In the evening before I used some other oils as well, and slept like a baby through the night! 

I would also like to thank my teachers Savitri: and Aadil Palkhivala for their love and support throughout the entire process and all the rest of you who have supported me in this, teachers and students and friends alike. 💖

Love and gratitude to you all! ❤️❤️❤️

Since then several friends and fellow yoga teachers have asked me to blog about my experience of the process. I was quite reluctant to the idea to start with but as I understood that it could be of use to others, I’ve decided to go along with the request. It was pointed out to me that mine might not be the typical experience, so if anything I’ve done can help either others in a similar situation or yoga teachers to take better care of students with hip replacements, I’m glad to be of help.

A bit of background:

It recently came to me that the very first time I felt that something was off in my right hip was three years ago. I had just come back on a long flight from a Therapeutic Teacher Training with my teacher Aadil Palkhivala at the Alive & Shine Center in Bellevue, Washington, USA. Only shortly thereafter as I was walking the streets of Stockholm a very sharp pain in the hip joint stopped me. The pain slowly faded after a few days, but from about then on the mobility in the hip started changing. Both X-rays and an MRI were taken and they showed that the cartilage was fairly worn. But the pain went away and I continued as before.

If I go even further back in time, some 25 years or so, while I was practicing Ashtanga Yoga six times per week, that same hip would sometimes feel as if it would dislocate.

My joints have always been extremely mobile and for years I did a very strong asana practice with very little awareness of alignment or anatomy. Maybe that’s when the physical process started. Who knows?

However, in February of 2017 I slipped on black ice and fractured my left kneecap. In a brace and on crutches for 6 or 7 weeks is what finally started the slide toward the surgery.

I’ll leave you with that for now and will tell you more about the stage after that in my next post.

Editing ‘When obstacles come in your way’

My new website

As of today the website www.tovepalmgren.com that has been in the making for a good while is live and up and running! It feels good and a bit nerve-racking to have it exposed to anyone and everyone to look at.

I am really grateful to Tiina Gaasedelen, who has been the co-creator of it and to Brad Waites for his valuable input!

With the new website I am moving my active (yes, I will be more active) blog there and if you want to continue reading what I’m sharing this is the link for you.Skärmavbild 2018-06-18 kl. 17.01.19

Where am I?

When I first arrived here it was very confusing as to where the different locations are in relation to each other. But after a few days the picture started to get clear.

Whereas the Matrimandir is in Auroville, the Sri Aurobindo Ashram is in Pondicherry, the distance between the two being about 12 km. The Quiet Healing Centre, where I’m staying, lies pretty much right in the middle between the two.
Pondicherry was a French colony until 1954 and that is where Sri Aurobindo settled when he left the movement for independence from British rule for spiritual work. The actual city has about 650 000 inhabitants and the different Ashram departments are spread out through the center.

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The Main Building is situated close to the Bay of Bengal in the eastern part of town. The gates open at 4:30 am and close at 11 pm. Between those times anyone can go inside and sit around the Samadhi to meditate or just be still. Every day there is a constant flow of people coming to pay their respect, to meditate or just to sit and absorb the energy that is tangible there. I’ve been there at all times of the day and there are always people coming and going.  Samadhi is located in the inner courtyard of the Ashram Main Building and it is where the bodies of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother are kept in peace. The photo is from the Ashram website, since no cameras are allowed inside.

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Auroville again is centered around the Matrimandir. Auroville is not a town as we are used to them and I haven’t quite figured out the lay-out of it. The town has a master plan designed by the Mother and the Charter of it you will find in the photo below. For more information on Auroville click here.

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The Quiet Healing Centre is part of Auroville. The Mother had walked on the beach here some time in the 1960’s and noted that the energy of this place is very healing and would be good for a healing center, but it wasn’t until about 20 years ago that the Quiet was built.IMG_9472.jpg

It is a very special place and there are so many wonderful therapists of different modalities here. One who has helped me a lot with my hip is a Dutch man who speaks fluent Finnish after living in Finland for 27 years which is kind of funny!

The most amazing experience though has been Watsu; a technique that was developed in California in the 1980’s by a shiatsu therapist who started giving his treatments in a swimmingpool. The Watsu offered here has been developed from that. The original is only done on the surface of the water, whereas this also consists of an underwater part. The pool is heated to 35°C, so it’s really nice and warm. There’s a link here if you’re interested in watching a video about it from Quiet.

Watsu has been an incredible experience! The most profoundly relaxing thing I’ve ever done. It was as if flying through space while being in the womb. All the while the therapist works on your body using the water as a tool. It’s amazing!!  

I’m already looking forward to all the sessions I’m going to have next year…

Matrimandir

The internet connection has been very sporadic the past couple of days. I haven’t been able to go online with my laptop at all and only a few times on my phone.  But now it has worked again for a bit and I am ready to tell you about going to the Matrimandir for the first time.

It was Saturday and I was really ready to go! I was asked to be at the Visitors’ Centre at 8:45 to first watch a video and then get on the shuttle bus that would take us to the gate of the Matrimandir. There were lots of people there, who were all first timers. Once we were gathered at the gate a guide by the name of B (Bee?) came along to give us some background on Auroville, Matrimandir and information on how to proceed.

B is originally from the US, but has been an Aurovillian since 1974. He told us that when he first came here he had expected to come to a city and ended up in a desert, where there was practically nothing. He had been totally devastated, but pulled up his sleeves and started to work. He has worked here ever since. Two years ago he and his partner finished their own home, the Trash Mahal, made solely from recycled material. He told us his name had been Bill, but he decided to drop the ill and just B… 

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At 9:50 it was finally time for us to start moving toward the great Matrimandir and to enter through the West entrance. To say that I was in AWE as we entered would be to put it mildly. The Matrimandir is a 29 meter high spherical structure resting on four pillars, each of the pillars symbolizing the four aspects of The Mother. The sphere is covered with gold discs that reflect the sun and it contains the Inner Chamber which is the most beautiful and spectacular and indescribable place I’ve ever seen! Since you can’t take anything with you onto the grounds, I’ve had to rely on the internet to find you a photo, which in no way comes even close to conveying the amazing beauty of the space with its 12 white columns rising up to the domed ceiling high above. 

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In the center is a crystal, supported by four of Sri Aurobindo’s symbols. I’m told it’s 70 cm in diameter. Through an opening in the dome, way above, the light shines down and illuminates the crystal in different ways depending on the angle of the rays of the sun. It is absolutely breathtaking! 

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Walking up to the Inner Chamber on white carpets, wearing white socks, first on stairs and then on a winding ramp leading higher and higher up, was in itself a huge experience. To then enter the Chamber, to sit down on a white cushion in complete silence with no movement anywhere was more than words can describe. 

However, that stillness was there only the following day when I went again, because among the first timers were many who, for whatever reason, weren’t able to observe the silence and stillness that was requested. Yet the first time was an awe filled experience and I just couldn’t take my eyes off the crystal in the center. 

The Matrimandir is surrounded by 12 petals, made in red sandstone. You see them in the first photo. In each of the petals there is a smaller meditation chamber. Space allowing, you can choose which petal to sit in to meditate, depending on what quality in you you want to work on. They each have their names, following the powers of The Mother, given her for her work, as they read in the outer petals of her symbol in the picture below.

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On my second day, I first meditated in a petal before it was time to go in to the Inner Chamber. 

On Tuesdays the Matrimandir is closed to the public because it is the day for children to be allowed. 

Tomorrow morning I will be there again and I’m so looking forward to filling my whole being with the power, beauty and pureness of the totally amazing Matrimandir.

My first experience of Pondicherry

It has long been a wish of mine to travel to Pondicherry to be where the yoga I love so much and teach was born; the yoga of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother.

After flying out of Helsinki to Delhi and onward to Chennai, the last leg of the journey was made by taxi. A taxi that came from a service that the Sri Aurobindo Ashram provides. My driver Victor had driven all the way from Pondi to Chennai and then back. For him that was more than an 8 hour day. For me it was an incredible luxury that cost me two thirds of what it does to take a cab from my home to the airport. As everyone who has ever been to India knows, traffic is right out crazy here. It is a miracle that not more accidents happen. Victor was an excellent driver and with The Mother and Sri Aurobindo on the dashboard I felt totally safe and relaxed so I was able to nap a bit on the three and a half hour long drive.

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My destination was the Quiet Healing Center, which is situated right on the beach where I arrived a little before dark on the 9th of January. The Quiet not only offers accommodation and the most spectacular meals, but it also offers a heap of different treatments. All rooms have names and my room is called Rose, which spiritually means “surrender”. The room has a circular bathroom in the middle and round outer walls. It is a very friendly and spacious room with a huge balcony.

IMG_9280It is here at the Quiet that Brad Waites and Jennifer Weinert are leading their 200-hour teacher training. I am so happy to have them around; them and their lovely little group of students. Staying here at the Quiet is also one of my classmates from the 2 000-hour program. Avantika has been here in Pondi since August and after a short visit to the US has decided to move here permanently.

What a blessing to have her here.

We’ve been to many places together already and yesterday, after we had meditated for a long while at the Samadhi at the Ashram she helped me to be allowed into Sri Aurobindo’s room for a meditation.

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Even though it wasn’t my birthday I was given these beautiful flowers and a birthday card for 2018. In the evening Avantika took me to an event at the amphitheater by the Matrimandir. There some of The Mother’s music was played and we could hear old recordings of her reading out of Savitri. It was such a beautiful event.

And there we bumped into Antonio and Miriam, who own the studio in Fondi, where we did our asana practices during the retreat with Savitri and Aadil in October. And as if that wasn’t already quite something, we still met one more person; Elisabetha, my friend and colleague from Bellevue, WA. It truly is a small world!!

But all that happened day two.

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Day one I first settled before going to the Visitor’s Centre in Auroville to go through the procedures required for one to be allowed into the Matrimandir to meditate. I ended up spending several hours at the centre and could get my first view of the mighty Matrimandir. On the path to the Viewing Point, there were stones raised. Each stone had a quality with a corresponding flower painted on them. I’ll come back to these more at a later time.

 

 

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Seeing the Matrimandir for the first time, even though it wasn’t very close, but that was all I was allowed to do that first day, brought tears to my eyes. I cannot find words to describe how it felt to be even at that distance from it. It holds an energy different from anything I’ve experienced before.

The golden globe holds the Inner Chamber, and the surrounding Petals each contain a smaller meditation room, named after the petals of The Mother’s symbol.

You can find more information on the Matrimandir here.IMG_9321

I cannot wait to be allowed in to the Inner Chamber of that spectacular place!!

It will happen tomorrow morning.