Revisiting India, the Land of Beautiful Intensity

Just over a year ago, I spent a month by myself in India, traveling to different cities, meditating, and seeking as much cultural, historical and spiritual experience as possible. It was, without a doubt, one of the most difficult things I have ever done… being alone in a place of such diverse intensity. And yet, from the moment I got home I knew it was simply a matter of time before I would return.

And sure enough, here I am 15 months later, on my way back for another month.

Yoga is, of course, one of the main draws for me. But I must be clear in my definition of yoga here. The history and origins of yoga philosophy are so rich and full of depth and inspiration, and by definition looks nothing like what we know of yoga in the West. Today, yoga has morphed to meet our needs, which are admittedly very different than the needs of people thousands of years ago at the time of yoga’s birth. At least on the external level.

Evening Prayers on the Sacred Ganges River

Life today is over-complicated and we have, by and large, lost ourselves in the chaos. The roots of yoga are not about complicated postures, hot studios, cool playlists or cute yoga pants. They are about peeling back the layers of who we really are and what we are really made of underneath all the gloss and glam of modern day life… and that process is largely about cultivating awareness, finding inner stillness and a doing a whole lot of self inquiry.

The beautiful thing about yoga however, is that it will always “meet you where you are” and in relating modern day yoga to ancient yoga, this could not be closer to the truth. The yoga of today has met us in our busy, disconnected lives, and provides a path for us to look inward, same as it ever did. So while today’s path looks very different than it did thousands of years ago, the destination remains the same.

The more time I spend teaching and practicing, watching the years pass and the layers shed, I see this truth clearer than ever. The never-ending depth that yoga provides is something I find inspiring. No matter how much I learn, there is always more knowledge, understanding and inspiration waiting to be found. And yoga continues to meet me wherever I am…. over and over again.

This is what now draws me back to India. The deeper teachings and subtler understandings. This combined with the faith and devotion that is manifest everywhere. The diversity, the beauty and yes, even the intensity. My aim remains to experience as much as possible on every level and to take my understanding of yoga deeper still.

On this trip, I will be revisiting certain places as well as exploring new terrain. Waiting to depart, inspiration is already ignited… and I look forward to sharing the journey again this second time around!

 

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