Ninie Ahmad: Off her yoga mat.

Her affirmations of staying optimistic especially when she's (upside) down.

I Eat, Pray, Love. And Yoga. At least five times a day.

with 5 comments

I might be the last person in the world to have only started reading Elizabeth Gilbert‘s best-selling and much talked-about memoir Eat Pray Love last week (I got it for my birthday from the fabulous Joseph Teoh), but really – how did you guys manage to read it without wanting to pick up / start / do YOGA immediately as you flip the pages?

Eat Pray Love

I laughed so hard at the ninth page as I read this,

I am alone, I am all alone, I am completely alone.

Grasping this reality, I let go of my bag, drop to my knees and press my forehead against the floor. There, I offer up to the universe a fervent prayer of  thanks.

First in English.

Then in Italian.

And then – just to get the point across – in Sanskrit.

..until I teared up and had to stop reading for a good couple of minutes for my stomach hurts from laughing so hard.

For a yoga teacher who has been trying to grasp as much Sanskrit (albeit, mostly of yoga poses) as I can, how can anything else be funnier than that?

And this book got me, when I got to page 27 (can you imagine my excitement, PAGE 27 on the book I got and read on MY 27th BIRTHDAY?) and I don’t think I breathed blinked at all as I read this,

..the old man asked me in person what I really wanted, I found other, truer words.

“I want to have a lasting experience of God,” I told him. “Sometimes I feel like I understand the divinity of this world, but then I lose it because I get distracted by my petty desires and fears. I want to be with God all the time. But I don’t want to be a monk or totally give up worldly pleasures. I guess what I want to learn is how to live in this world and enjoy its delights but also devote myself to God.

Ketut said he could answer my question with a picture. He showed me a sketch he’d drawn once during meditation. It was an androgynous human figure, standing up, hands clasped in prayer. But this figure had four legs, and no head. Where the head should have been, there was only a wild foliage of ferns and flowers. There was a small, smiling face drawn over the heart.

“To find the balance you want,” Ketut spoke through his translator, “this is what you must become. You must keep your feet grounded so firmly on the earth that it’s like you have four legs, instead of two. That way, you can stay in the world. But you must stop looking at the world through your head. You must look through your heart instead. That way, you will know God.”

Within those lines in this Book, what I have been feeling all my life – is worded almost perfectly.

With this gift of Yoga, what I have been wanting in my life – is achieved closer everyday.

I eat generously, I pray wholeheartedly, I love honestly, I yoga purely to prolong my life and extend the happiness I get to experience and give others – for as long as I live.

Love and prayers.


Written by Ninie Ahmad

October 18, 2009 at 11:30 PM

5 Responses

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  1. I love, love, love that book. Read that last year (thanks to Oprah!) and it was one of things I look forward to, settle myself in bed and read her (humorous) memoir. Would love to re-read the book once I get it back from my sister. hehe. Really enjoyed her thoughts on mantras too. 🙂

    the lazy turtle

    October 19, 2009 at 11:17 AM

  2. I loved that book! I lent it to so many people who also loved it.
    She is a great writer and I love her brutal honesty. Its been a while now, so I may read it again.
    I love your website. I am here in Sydney Australia, and looking forward to my Yoga Teacher Training which starts on 31 Jan 2010! Yaye.
    Happy Birthday to you! Your amazing. I mean it.


    October 25, 2009 at 5:18 PM

  3. I recognise that copy of the Koran and its very short introduction! 😀

    Tom Hayton

    October 26, 2009 at 3:34 AM

  4. I am glad you found the yoga part of Eat Pray Love inspiring. I looked at it briefly. I was familiar with the ashram that Elizabeth was describing — I had lived there once for a year and a half and spent 10 years on full-time staff of the organization. I could see that Elizabeth’s view was very much that of a “tourist” — she saw only the very beautiful facade. There is much more to the story. If you are interested, please take a look at my memoir, The Guru Looked Good. with warm wishes, Marta

    Marta Szabo

    October 30, 2009 at 9:21 PM

  5. […] were exchanging stories about yoga retreats in India  from what I read in Eat, Love, Pray spiced with secondhand experience from my fellow yoga teachers and her firsthand experience of […]

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