Heraclitus said “YOU CANNOT STEP INTO THE SAME RIVER TWICE”
This statement was constantly running through my head during the past 3 weeks as I returned to India, 14 years after my first trip for my Yoga Teacher Training in 2004.
The thing about India? You never really get what you think you are going for.
The first time? My YTT was nothing what I expected.
I remember being so annoyed at the instructors repeating ad nauseum “YOGA IS NOT EXERCISE” and making us sit and meditate for hours on end.
What the heck!! I was there to get my sweat on!
But you know what? I got what I needed.
I got pointed in the direction of the yogi and the yogic philosophy that eventually envelopes us.
I really pondered on the differences this time round.
This time, I am an example to some very important humans. I had little people back home that needed me, but loved me enough to let me fly …and a husband who supports me like crazy and too often shakes his head and smiles at my antics.
Why do we practice yoga?
We practice yoga for the connection.
The term yoga means the yoking or the joining.
Of body to mind.
Of mind to mind.
Of mind to Universe.
We practice yoga to know ourselves and through knowing ourselves, we see that we are not separate.
The practice of yoga is the practice of calming and quieting the mind. So that there may be peace and understanding and connection. But don’t be fooled by the long lean limbs as the goal. 😊 These are merely happy by-products of the entirety
TKV Desikachar said
“THE SUCCESS OF YOGA DOES NOT LIE IN THE ABILITY TO PERFORM POSTURES, BUT IN HOW IT POSITIVELY CHANGES THE WAY WE LIVE OUR LIFE AND OUR RELATIONSHIPS.”
I might have returned to India, expecting my “river” to be the same…. and the smells and the sights and the people did not disappoint.
But although the landscape was so similar and familiar… it was me who had changed so profoundly.
In those 14 years since I last stood on the ancient soil of the Indian saints, I had become a wife and mother of 2. I had quit drinking and smoking cigarettes and had faced my demons head on. I had come clean on my fears and insecurities and pain and I had FINALLY decided to stop destroying myself with words, thoughts and very poor eating decisions.
I had finally decided to choose ME. I had opened my eyes to see who and what was in front of me. The luckiest human on the planet. Who gets to live THIS life in this place with these people (and awesome dogs 😊) AND on top of that all… I get to share my joy with you all.
How can I NOT be different? How can I NOT be grateful?
I am not saying I don’t lose the plot at times and fall in a heap too, mind you …..I am still human afterall. I still have a husband who doesn’t notice when I cut my hair and kids who think my non-negotiable rules are mere guidelines and I still get left out from parties… but the difference is… I have stopped taking it all so personally. Its honestly not about me most of the time.
The river cannot be the same because its not the same water and I am not the same woman.
The only constant is change itself. And to keep in the flow, we must move forwards and believe in the next step. Believe that you are not a random mistake. Believe that you are here for a purpose beyond the mundane. Believe that you are one breath away from living the life we have never had the courage to believe we deserve.
In India, a greeting on the street is NAMASTE. The same word uttered at the end of a yoga class by teacher to students and repeated back.
“My soul honors your soul. I honor the place in you where the entire Universe resides. I honor the light, love, truth, beauty and peace within you, because it is also within me. In sharing these things we are united, we are the same, we are one.”