India, Pt 2

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For Part 1, click here.

We walked down to the beach where we could watch the Ganges flow up close, even put our feet in. There was a young boy at the end of the stairs with a basket full of offerings to the River. They were beautiful individual handmade baskets woven from leaves and filled with vibrant flower petals. One person in our group bought them all and gave him some extra rupees. The young boy immediately went running to his family with such pride and excitement. In my gut, I anticipated what was going to happen next. A flood of children rushed to our side – pleading, begging, and crying. All I could hear was “please lady just one time, please lady rupees, please lady, please lady just one time.” Some in our group filled with tears. Hearts heavy with compassion; or was it pity? Immediately I questioned why I wasn’t moved to tears. Certainly this scene was a sad one; but sad for who? Sad because I, or the collective we, could not “fix” what our western minds perceived as a problem? I further committed to my state of observation. A state I have put into practice so often on the mat. Simply bearing witness to what is, as it is. No judgment. No story. I send my offering out to the Ganges; I offer humility, gratitude and a hope for lasting peace.

Later that afternoon we trek back across the bridge to our first yoga class in Rishikesh. The space we occupy is in a beautiful ashram that has been in existence for 100 years. Its essence is palpable. My body welcomes the practice although I opt out of the core work and repetitive bridge flow (because it is within my power to choose rest). I, instead, feel the energy of little “Yogi” inside my belly; kicking, turning, twisting. I can envision the act of yoga going on within me. As we near the end of practice, the room becomes dark. There is no electricity in here tonight. No candles to light our way. We have only the light of the streets outside and the light of the sky. My low back is grateful for the physical practice and as we near savasana I cannot resist but to make my way there sooner than the rest of the class. I roll to my side and absorb myself into the moment of space between this practice and the rest of my life. I awaken to a heightened sense of everything – sounds, smells, taste, touch, and sight. This heightened awareness would follow me throughout the rest of my journey in India, and beyond, as yoga continues to find me both on and off the mat.

It is now five years later and little “Yogi” is a vibrant 4-year old boy named Samuel. I am still so humbled and honored by my experiences in India for it was at this juncture that yoga revealed itself to be much more than the physical asana.

–Carissa

Yoga is not fancy poses.

It’s how you live your life, how you connect and how you react. It is the stuff you live off the mat, not how high you can get your feet off the ground or deep your back can bend.

Yoga is about healing, and learning and acceptance. It is about joy and struggle: both. It is about steps back, moving forward and the dance in between.

Yoga is the goal-less because there is no end to the practice. There is no goal. The practice is eternally evolving, as is your approach to it, your needs on and off the mat, and your body’s ability to do the physical stuff.

Yoga is not fancy poses.
Yoga is not fancy poses.
Yoga is not fancy poses.

The goal of yoga is to let go of the goal.

Flying Yogini

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