I came to India to “do” yoga and to find me in the midst of this studying. Turns out my trip is not about asana, the postures we associate with yoga. In fact, asana is a very tiny part of what I am doing here. I stepped into a way of life. I am standing side by side with Indians at their temples, hoping for blessings and clarity. These people worship the Divine as part of their daily lives. Every part of their life is yoga. They get their cell phones blessed. The temples sit in the middle of their towns and they bow in gratitude as they walk by. Their practice is not just saved for one 75 minute yoga class. It is in the ritual of sweeping their steps, getting their children ready for school, weaving flowers through their braids. I walk around these dusty streets and wonder why they bother to sweep at all. They keep their space clean, scrubbing clothes and children’s heads in the morning. They walk through town in their jewel colored saris, sparkling like a parade of gems.
I walk through the markets filled with fresh vegetables, organic cotton pants and mala beads. Everything I see is colored with devotion. Their yoga is in every gesture, every flower, every color, every texture. The cows and goats, dogs and monkeys, buses and motorbikes, chants and clinging of an arms length of bangles are part of the same vibration. The honking and traffic, the noise and the dust all singing the same song. Bhagavad Gita – God’s song. It does not matter what God, what spirit, what I call it. To them, it is all the same. You are more than this body. Unity whispered in every cell.
I climbed Arunachula, Siva’s mountain. I was silently singing his mantra like a lullaby, breathing his breath in every step. It was over 95 degrees but I was practically running up the mountain barefoot, heart wide open. I got to a spot and looked out beyond the silence to the city below. The hum and color, the noise and dirt, the devotion and love all spread out below me like an ocean. I went into the place where Ramana Maharishi slept and I laid myself out on the cool stone floor. Offered myself and the tears flowed, not from my eyes, but from my heart. I came to India and I learned how to pray. This is my yoga.