Most of us that practice yoga seriously know this is true: Yoga is first and foremost a spiritual practice. If we don't know it through our classes and our studies, we certainly may have experienced it during a yoga class; that feeling of wholeness, one-pointed focus, and vibrating awareness that happens when the pranic energy is flowing freely through the body and the mind is focused and calm.
This feeling is what keeps many students returning to their mats, even though their real interest is the physical benefits of the practice. But, there is something about yoga that transcends the physical freedom created.
Over the next few weeks I'll be visiting India to dive into the spiritual component of this ancient practice. Yes, I anticipate spending plenty of time on the mat at the Himalayan Institute "ashrams" where I'll be staying. But, the emphasis here will be highly spiritual, as myself and fellow students are embarking on a "pilgrimage" to the Maha Kumbha Mela in Allahabad.
"Maha" means great. "Kumbha" means container or vessel. This title refers to the vessel that holds the elixir of life. Ancient Indian legends tell that every 12 years at this time, this elixir of life pours down from the heavens to a point near Allahabad where three rivers meet: the Ganges, the Yamuna and the mystical Sarasvati. This creates a powerful vortex of strong spiritual intensity at this location, where millions of pilgrims, yogis, saints, and sages have joined to practice during this event for over 5000 years.
I'm excited to see the culture of India, to practice at the birthplace of yoga, to listen to lectures by esteemed teachers, sages and saints, and to be a part of this event. I'll be joined by my husband and two daughters. They are not practicing yogis, but they know down dog from plank and even can belt out a chant or two. Who knows? Maybe they'll feel the buzz??
I plan to blog as often as our schedule and internet access will allow, so keep an eye on the Focus Yoga studio blog here for updates, as that will be my primary posting point.
When I return the end of February, I'll be hard at work planning our next Focus Yoga Immersion and Teacher Training, so stay posted for news.