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From India With Love: Excerpts from Anna’s Journey

Anna at the Ganges

Red Light Sangha

We all have been in traffic where one of the drivers just has to go faster then others – zig zaging in and out of lanes—just at the end, comes to stop at the red light and all others catch up with him.

Sitting at the red light one time I felt oneness with all the drivers, pausing in traffic. I felt that we are Red Light Sangha. This thought brought a broader picture—traffic of life, the stop and go, the interrapted or uninterrapted ebb and flow of reality around us, the Sangha, the union, the community of people we live with.

So now, I was travelling from West to East, leaving the Red Light Sangha behind for a while—as there would be no driving for me for 6 weeks. I was travelling to immerce myself into a different traffic of life, a different sangha.

Life Is A Puzzle

When you start a new project you are excited about it—opening yourself to a new experince. Life is exciting as every day presents itself as a piece of puzzle that you are yet to place correctly to see the big picture.

The same goes for my Yoga practice. Excited about being on the mat everyday, discovering something new about my outer and inner existence. Just as the approach to puzzle of a thousand pieces—you work your way from outer to inner. Practice (abhyasa) is the key for me in the Yoga Science—on one hand the repetition of well known or new, building new habits and muscle memory. On the other hand – putting vast theoretical  knowledge to practical use and experince.

Just like in putting puzzle together—there is no rush. There is an order. It is a journey.

Return To Spiritual Spring

Leaving the comfort zone of home and convenience of the familier way of things, for the third time India, I was welcomed with a powerful intrusion into all 5 senses—vibrant colors, not very familiar smells, an ocean of traffic sounds, heat that hangs in the air day and night and tastes of local cuisine (starting from the airplane food).

As soon as you cross the portal of time, you arrive in a different dimention—which surprisingly quick gives you a sense of home as well. I don‘t have to limit myself to one home—I have a birth place, my first home. I have place where my family is—my second home. I have a spiritual shelter—my third home. And then again—I feel comfortable and at home everywhere I go… I guess it is not only the place that makes me feel comfortable, it is the comfort that I bring with me wherever I go….

As The Days Go By

It is hot! The temperature stays in low 100F….. You‘re constantly sweating out of each pore of your body… Yes—there are  ceiling fans and No – there are no air conditioners. Plus the power goes in and out……Observation of body movement and comfort/discomfort level acquires a new meaning….. Getting through the day, finishing each block of schedule feels like a great life achievement. Perception of the world goes through the prism of tolerance—from heat, to tiredness, to change, to choices, to words and thoughts.

Taking It All In Each Minute

Each day I open my eyes between 4 and 5 am and try to really absorb the sense of reality—where I am, what I am doing, and I try to witness my emotional state. I know I am doing something very special—I want to deepen the understanding of my practice and teaching, I want to improve myself and the world around me, I want to share the answeres to the questions…

The practice of Yoga allows you to learn through experience and that is what I am doing here—I am experiencing first hand new ways of grounding my feet in Tadasana, new ways of lengthening my torso in Trikonasana and new ways and with new awareness of bringing my big toes closer and out in Dandasana.

I am experiencing chanting OM with the background sounds of cows in the street, bells in the temple, street dogs barking and monkeys jumping on the roof…

Once in a lifetime, each and every experience—each and every day……

Working on eliminating impurities in the body, mind and breath to move all the unnesessary clutter out of the way to open the depth of Universal knowledge that is dormant and already inside—just waiting to be awakened.

Love To The World

You never know what is waiting for you around the corner, the next day, the next minute.

Meeting people is the most amazing opportunity to realize oneness…  Eyes meet eyes, smile responds to smile—you are connected. No words needed.  Everybody has a story and you are now a part of it.

Time Is A River….

In week 3 and 4, I still have moments when I close my eyes and the amazing realization fills my whole being—I am in India! It is amazing on so many different levels….I am thoroughly  enjoying moving forward with my views on the Yoga practice as a student and as a teacher. Studying Asana, Pranayama, Mudras, Chanting, Kriya in such a deapth really awakens you to the fact of the true meaning of Yoga—what it intended to be at the very early stages, what it evolved into in modern India and what form it took after it was introduced in the West.

Only now I start grasping the meaning of Full-time Yogi and Part-time Yogi. Now, studying the ancient texts with the guidance of the Indian teacher, who recites verses in Sanskrit from the Bhagavad Gita, the Yoga Sutras  and the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, and then explains the  meaning of passages with reference to culture, traditions, religion and experience—now it makes more sense then ever that this science is vast and infinite.

Starting class in Sukhasana, eyes closed. Gentle smile touches the lips.

Savoring the moment. I am in India!

Contemplation Time

One day off allows us to regroup and rest physically, mentally and energetically….

Mind is in the game at all times—contemplating about the team work, energy, different styles of teaching from our faculty. Comfortable and easy comprehension of certain things and emotional struggle with others….. Sharing our own experience and results of them, I shared that till my mid 20s I was strongly competitive person. As my focus shifted, while at  University, competitiveness or the extremes of the opposites (black or white, do or die) changed into the acceptance of grey areas sometimes….As life was challenging me with different experiences and then arriving at the Yoga practice, I realised that grey areas are not grey at all—it  can be very colorful. Learning all the magical disciplines of the Yamas and Niyamas, I arrived at the complete acceptance of oneness, which takes away the burden of competitive mind and gives you the joy and pleasure of realization that we are all – ONE. Each and every one contributes to balance and importance, beauty and magnificence of the Present Moment.

What Is  Your Comfort Food For Thought

After dinner each night, at 8:30, we have a 30 minute meditation session.

Sometimes we recite OM, sometimes we chant beautiful mantras, sometimes we have full body awareness meditation, sometimes it is Trataka—gazing at candle light.

One night in full body awareness, tightness in my right knee was so painful that I was not sure if it would be possible to sit for 30 minutes in Sukhasana. But, mind over matter—the experience of letting go mentally allowed me to let go of sensations in my knee and I was

undisterbed for 30 minutes for a pleasurable stillness. Food for thought that guided me with ease was the mantra So Ham. Mananat triat iti mantraha. Mantra is the one that Protects you from thinking. It took my mind off analyses of comfort/discomfort and I realized how I can control my body with my mind. It also helped me to connect to the light of awareness—that I AM—SO HAM!


Filled with gratitude for ALL my teachers, who are contributing to my happiness in my Yoga Journey! The feeling  of Ananda  is beyond words! Will be saying Good bye to India in a few days…

With love, joy and happiness I will continue on this path. This chapter is coming to an end, but the script of my journey is far from being over….