In this series of posts, YJ contributors share their experiences of yoga in its birthplace. If you’ve considered traveling to India to practice, to find your teacher, or to find yourself, learn more here weekly about what you can—and can’t—expect.
A pilgrimage to India promises an adventure like no other. India is a beautiful, colorful, loud, sacred, magnificent, and dirty country. India is yoga incarnate, it is the unification of opposing forces in every way. The amount of grit is equal to the amount of grace and the poverty of pocket is no match for the abundance of spirit. India is often called ‘the Mother’ and is true to her nickname. She fully embodies the qualities of a mother in that she is benevolent, fierce, and inspiring. She serves as a catalyst, asking you to engage, surrender, and transform your body, mind, and spirit.
The asana practice that we know and love in the west is not nearly as popular in India. However it isn’t the asana practice that lures the western seekers of spiritual evolution and personal development. India’s vibrantly rich culture can be an absolute assault on the senses, but it permeates the heart and the mind with its devotion to ritual, tradition, and worship of the divine. India is saturated with history, philosophy, and mythology, all of which are painted on the walls of the temples and the faces of her people.
There is truly something for everyone, whether it be trekking the highest mountain range in the world, river rafting, on or bathing in the holy river Ganga, Indian dance and cooking classes or simply sitting still and witnessing the Self in relation to the dynamic environment.
India not only teaches us to be present and grateful, she insists that we release ourselves from the clutches of expectation, control, and attachment. She shows us how to live yoga, to be yoga, not just how to do yoga.
India has offered me many valuable lessons over the years. Some of my most meaningful and transformational experiences have taken place in India. Although some of them have been quite difficult, they have shown me the magnificent power and potential of yoga.
YOGA JOURNAL, MAR 2015