Sunday, October 2, 2011

Blossoming in the Fall

Maybe it’s because my Vedic astrology chart tells me I’m a double Libra, which began on the autumnal equinox. Maybe it’s because I grew up in the upstate New York where fall is glorious. Or, maybe it’s just a coincidence {but I believe there is no such thing}. 
Fall is the time of year during which I stretch my soul in a number of ways. Yoga and meditation are areas of my life where I see a pattern of change over the last few years.
October 2008 ... committed to a steady yoga practice 
I quit gym yoga {not that there’s anything wrong with that} and joined a space devoted to the practice. After a tumultuous year of wrestling with every manner of personal and professional challenge, I sought refuge on the mat. 
December 2009 ... started a daily meditation practice 
I’ve meditated on and off over the years yet never found a way to add it to my life consistently. It’s benefits were as fleeting as my effort.
Years ago I read about the work of Herbert Benson, MD, on stress reduction. Dr. Benson, Harvard Medical School, pioneered research of the Relation Response, based on the Transcendental Mediation technique. His research found meditation beneficial for stress relief. 
Scientific validation of an ancient practice calmed my mind as the pressures of my day job in corporate America ratcheted up. Plus the promise of consciousness and bliss awaited.
I found my way to the Arlington, Va. TM Center. Sarina taught me the technique that I use everyday, everywhere. jai guru dev.
btw, I was also named Yogi of the Month at the above mentioned yoga studio. Shortly thereafter, I enrolled in yoga teacher training level one.
November 2010 ... traveled solo to India for a yoga retreat
Two of my favorite yoga teachers teamed up to lead a yoga retreat to Rishikesh, India, the birthplace of yoga. Irresistible.
I’ve traveled solo many times before, so that part would be easy. India, I thought, might not be. The film Slum Dog Millionaire gave me nightmares for days. I braced myself for the noise, crowding, filth and poverty. 
What I found was a rich, vibrant culture of fascinating people and beautiful sounds, sights and smells. 
And I befriended some amazing individuals and forged relationships for which I am grateful.
October 2011 ... immersed myself in a 200-hour yoga teacher training
I’ve joined 11 other yogis to deepen our practice and learn more about asana, anatomy, physiology and philosophy. 
A beautiful friend from my India journey wrote these words of encouragement, which I hold dear, when she learned I was considering the program:
"What was important for me was the spiritual path of growth and the connection to other yogis. Training opened doors to deeper understanding and a life path of greater richness for which I am so grateful to have for the rest of my life. 

"I so wished I would have know to follow yoga at this deeper level years ago. I hope that you give yourself this lovely gift. You will survive the physical challenges and gain so much more."
My plan? Use the knowledge I gain to uplift others and myself.
Photo: Moi at Ma Ganga, with hands in lotus mudra at my heart.

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