Friday, February 12, 2010

Winter 2010 Greetings & Ruah in Himalayan Yoga Olympics

Dear Friends,

I hope that this finds you well and experiencing a positive and peaceful beginning to the New Year!

This winter has already brought many new beginnings. As many of you know, I am in the midst of assisting my first Yoga Teacher Training, which has been an inspiring experience so far! What a joy to witness New Yorker Yogis deepening their love of Yoga.

It does not take a yoga teacher training to experience the gradual and yet profound transformation that yoga has to offer. Every step towards creating something positive and new for ourselves or others is the yoga.

May we all be inspired to incorporate positive change into our lives. As T.K.V. Desikachar says in his book, The Heart of Yoga, “something very personal and essential has to happen for us at the right time, and it has to touch us so deeply that we suddenly really want to pause, consider and change the course of our actions. After that happens we simply go forward step by step. The quality of our action begins to change.”

In gratitude, peace, joy, love and good health.



I arrived in Bangalore, India early in the morning and travelled directly to my grandmother-in-law’s home. After two days of catching up with some immediate family, my mother-in-law accompanied me on the two hour drive from the modern surroundings of Bangalore to the simple grounds of Swami Vivekananda University (SVYASA). I was thrilled to be attending a conference on therapeutic yoga and expected to be immersed in a very peaceful and calming daily yoga and meditation practice with the university community and other conference visitors.

The first few days were quiet and consistent. I woke up at 4am to meditate in my room while I waited for the hot water to come on and fill up my bucket in time. Someone had given me the insider tip that the hot water comes on sometime between 4 & 4:15am, but if you try at 4:30am it disappeared again as everyone tries to fill their buckets in time to make it to the 5am group OM meditation. The day continued with yoga practice, yoga dance fusion, lectures on yoga and health, walks in the wilderness, kirtan (chanting) in the evening and delicious yogi meals.

I was the only American, although there was a group of aspiring yoga teachers from Singapore visiting with their guru, a PhD. from SVYASA and now yoga teacher trainer. I attended the lectures and classes and was happy to make friends with other yogis of all ages eager to make my acquaintance and find out my story.

A few days later, I suddenly noticed large school buses arriving with boys and girls then young men and women, all wearing jump suits with a big sign across the back, “Team Rajasthan,” “Team Karnataka” etc. After some inquiry, I found out that nearly every state of India was represented by teams of 10-20 people to participate in the 11th Annual Himalayan Yoga Olympiad! At our morning meeting that day, the director of the university explained with a glowing and contagious smile that while yoga is non-competitive, this event is a way to share the joys and benefits of yoga to young people with a team spirit! Everyone is honored for their participation and winners are only awarded as part of their teams, to promote community spirit.

Before I knew it, later that day one of my new friends entered me in the competition and I was now a participant along with an international group from Singapore. The video link below is of the asanas that I was tested on by an old man in saffron robes with a beard down to his belly. After the video I was tested on pranayama and mudra breathing and energy lock techniques, followed by a written philosophy exam!

In the end, I won a first place trophy (along with some other winners from the “International Group”) and was invited to give a speech about my experience in front of the other 300 participants! I managed to remember words from the Bhagavad Geeta,” when our actions are put forward with Bhakti, love/devotion, only positive results occur. It is my honor to have been a part of a community of over 300 yogis of all ages practicing in the spirit of Bhakti and hope that we continue to inspire each other.” Everyone was happy and stood up to applaud; I blushed and turned my eyes to the ground in gratitude of the experience. It really was a reward of a lifetime to be a part of such a positive yoga community and event – I was truly inspired to take with me what I had learned and continue to share what I love.

The morning after the award ceremony I went for an early morning hike at dawn with the Singapore yogi group and some other local yogis. We took in the final moments of appreciating beautiful surroundings of misty warm breezes from the peak of a distant tall green mountain that could have been in the heart of Ireland.

Later that day I felt like a young girl being picked-up from summer camp and was so grateful to see my mother-in-law when she came down the bumpy dirt road. We exchanged heart-felt hugs and I shared exciting stories of getting to know strangers over our common love of yoga.

1 comment:

Rajesh Mishra said...

Inspiring writings and I greatly admired what you have to say , I hope you continue to provide new ideas for us all and greetings success always for you..Keep update more information..
Yoga teacher training Goa

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