I feel like the pace of my life has gone turbo since Nov. 30—a promotion at work, increased travel and several difficult moments I’ve moved through with loved ones over the winter holidays.
Since the last time I have really had space to write a new blog post, I celebrated a milestone birthday and journeyed to Israel for a 10-day trip of a lifetime. My heart is full but feels stretched in various directions as it hopes for many things—poised on the brink of opportunity.
It is at this point that I want to stop and reflect and honor where I am on my journey. First of all, how I finally got to this slow “breathing point” was with a friend last weekend, as we spoiled ourselves with a private Iyengar yoga class. This was my first time practicing the Iyengar style, and I thoroughly enjoyed it! I plan to continue this discovery at Unity Woods, if you’d like to try it, too—first class is always free.
After that wonderful hour, I realized that happiness in the midst of all the changes and stressful pressures of these last six months of my life is always within reach when I’m on my mat. I emailed my favorite yoga teacher, Janet, who has moved away from the DC area and shared with her where I was in my life. As it so happened, Janet had just returned from an ashram in India.
I asked her to tell me all about her experience, which I will highlight for you over two blog postings—as it captures the essence of what yoga is as a way of life, as a journey, as a grounding, and as a frame of mind and truly a frame of heart, as I’m discovering in my own life.
The ashram she chose was the Anand Prakash Ashram in Rishikesh (about a four-hour train ride out of New Delhi). She went alone and practiced yoga twice a day, in classes that tended to be more physically demanding with an element of the meditative in each.
When I inquired about the daily schedule, the rhythm of each day, she said this: “The days were incredibly predictable, which I really appreciated while I was there,” giving a peaceful serenity to the passing of time.
This was the daily schedule:
5 a.m. - Gong rings as a communal wake-up call
6 to 7:45 a.m. - Yoga
8 a.m. - Breakfast (after breakfast, there is a Agni Hotra, fire puja, where everyone chants around a ceremonial fire)
noon - Lunch
4 to 5:45 p.m. - Yoga
6 p.m. - Dinner
*9 p.m. until after breakfast: Silent time
**Sundays are self-practice only, with Karma yoga mid-morning, a break from normal routine
She recommends this experience to everyone—any type of yogi.
“Not only do you get to spend time in India and learning a new country, but I found my time full of revelations,” Janet said. “Every yogi or non-yogi can grow when they spend time out of their comfort zone, alone with their thoughts, away from most technology, and in the depths of a journey dedicated to self-growth.”
These thoughts to be continued in Part 2, later this week...stay tuned!