5 Ways my India Holiday has broadened my horizons
As a yoga teacher, I am constantly learning. Coming home from India, I always feel like I've become a slightly different person, with a new perspective on life and how to live it well.
Here are some experiences that have shifted something in me, and I hope by sharing them, they are food for thought for you...
1. Be a health-seeker - Speaking with an ayurvedic doctor and local swami, he referred to a 'patient' as a 'health seeker'. The term 'seeker' implies someone who is pro-active and open-minded to possible ways of healing, as opposed to a patient, someone who is not in control of their health, who is prescribed a medicine that will cure a symptom...or not. This helps me to notice ways of finding more 'ease' in my life physically, mentally and soulfully before the symptoms of a 'dis-ease' show up! It also helps me to approach enquiries about my yoga classes and courses - what are you seeking or hoping to receive through yoga?
2. A moment of realisation - We visited the birthplace of Adi Shankara, the great Indian philosopher who wrote that 'enlightenment' comes from inner reflection, not religious doctrine. Once the veil of illusion (maya) of being separate falls away, we discover our wholeness, our connection to all beings, a universal order that pieces everything together. I love the image of the veil that drops away. Have you experienced a moment of realisation, a piece of the jigsaw that fits into place to make sense of the whole? That as the veil of illusion drops away, you realise that things are as they're supposed to be?
3. Are you going through the motions? The local elephant festival felt like all my senses were buzzing like lemon sherbet - colours turned up, percussion a-frenzy, the taste of devotion and community, ancient animals flapping their ears...so vibrantly alive.
I am reminded to feel with my whole being, with all my senses, not only to think things through, analyse, and compartmentalise with my mind. How would it feel to be awake to each moment instead of stuck in your head?
4. When destruction is good - The yearly festival of Shiva Ratri came round again - the devotion to the God Shiva, the destroyer, and communion with Shakti, the pure female energy.
People often ask me why would pray to a god of destruction? There are infinite numbers of gods in Hinduism, representing all aspects of human experience. With destruction, if we can let go of something in our life that is clearly falling apart, decaying and dying, a crack is opened for something new to grow.
What kind of thinking would you like to destroy in your mind, or behaviour in your life?
5. How to be yourself - Lastly, my little 18 month-old niece and toddlers in general - I not only re-visited endless nursery rhymes, sung over and over again, but I was reminded of the capacity of the brain to learn new things, how easy it is to copy behaviour and be conditioned. I was reminded how important it is to make time for fun, for play, for freedom and new-ness. And most of all, I was reminded how to simply be myself without judgement.
My mind has been opened along with my hips, horizons have been broadened by the people I have encountered and the lessons I have learned which help me to create a better life for myself, and I hope, the people around me - I'll let you know but in the meantime, I've missed good chocolate!
MIND BLOWN. OVER AND OUT! Hope to see you soon,
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