February 12, 2010

Back Home in Harlem

February 12th, 2010

I've been home now for five days. It's always interesting returning home after a long trip... seeing how the journey has transformed you, and what has stayed the same. I've returned with a renewed sense of gratitude. India awakening the subtle "being-ness" that we often miss because we are so busy "doing".

The last week of my trip I was traveling solo through Southern India, spending most of my time in Mamallapuram and Pondicherry. I took the train, caught buses, ate my meals , and sat on the beach - alone. I have never felt more alone. I was definitely missing my friends and family, but the alone-ness was more than missing someone or something. It was experiencing being with myself and only myself for the first time in a long time.

To be with yourself and enjoy your own company is a gift. This trip to India reminded me of that... to just enjoy being me, being Sarita and living in this skin. It also proved to me that I don't need much to be happy... a good night's sleep, good food (maybe the most important thing) and hopefully a beach :)

Every morning I rose before sunrise, found a comfortable place outdoors and enjoyed practicing yoga by myself. Sometimes my practice was a simple meditation, sometimes it was asana (the physical postures), meditation and pranayam (breathwork)... it was up to me to deeply listen to what I needed in the moment and then be disciplined enough to practice in that way.

So now I'm back to things that are familiar. I am sleeping in my bed, seeing a ballet tonight with a dear friend, and already in the swing of working again. And I know my task is to remain open to that sense of "being" that I found when I was alone in India. I am not alone here... I am often surrounded by my roommates and co-workers or on the phone with one of my friends that lives far away. In the midst of that it is up to me to find the time to be with myself, to continue to deeply listen for what I need, and to be grateful for all the gifts I've been given.



An Adventure of the Spirit

January 30, 2010

Today I said my goodbyes to my teacher and the group as they all headed to the airport, off for more adventures. My adventure at the ashramam continues as a solo journey... I wanted to give myself time to process all of the work we've been doing.

Two days ago I was initiated into the Sri Vydia lineage of yoga; a system that focuses on the body as a sacred temple. I was bathed in milk and honey. The women I was with were in a constant state of prayer and for that time I was the focus of the divine feminine in all of us. I cannot tell you what it means to know that this lineage exists, and that is practice of Goddess worship is alive and well.

To know you are sacred is one thing, but to have another adorn you as a Goddess is another... all women, all men even, would be blessed to have this experience. The magnitude can't be expressed through words, just as you can't ever really describe a dance.

So I have two more days here; to sit in the temples, drink chai with my new friends and over eat when they bring us chipatis and coconut chutney! Then I am off to Mamallapuram and Ponducherry - more adventures and miracles await! And I am ready to meet them.



Awakening the Divine

January 23, 2010

Since arriving in India I've had this wonderful, relaxed smile on my face this entire time. I am with my teacher -a wild, mystic woman- and her humble guruji.

The temple here is dedicated to the divine feminine, all female deities. My hair is loose and I am barefoot.

Right now it's gorgeous daytime with this really lovely breeze. I can sit in a temple, or simply on a bench and look out into a jungly field filled with birds, a couple happy stray dogs, and cows grazing on whatever they can.

We spend most of our time together as a group in breathwork and investigation. My teacher's approach to yoga is such that you use a certain pranayam (breath control) or meditation and sit and observe what is happening. I'm loving absorbing the information, and it's bringing a lot of peace.

Everyday we wake up before sunrise and go to one of the temple rooftops and practice these different techniques for an hour. Then we have chai from the kitchen and gather again to either practice kalari (an Indian martial art) or dance (which I lead). Then there's a light breakfast and back to yoga, this time a more physical practice based on one of the chakras. By lunch we are free... To visit one of the temples, nap, read, write or just hang with each other.

In the evening before dinner we sit with guruji, a wonderful 76 year old man with shining eyes. This place he's built is utterly healing, peaceful and full of jyoti (light). I love it, and want to bring all of you back with me. It's good medicine.


Off To India

January 14th, 2010

I'm flying to India tonight. I'm meeting my teacher and her Guruji at the DeviPuram ashram. We will be there for two weeks delving into our spirits and letting loose of our egos through prayer and movement.

People are all so different in our expressions and unique gifts. One of my gifts is a profound enjoyment of the body; physicality has always held ecstasy. I was reliving the moment of my first steps with my parents the other day. Together they watched as at 81/2 months I ran, with shrieks of joy, from my father's arms, into my mother's. She turned me around and off I went again, flapping my arms for balance and moving as fast as I could.

Dance and yoga still have that exhilarating effect on me- and there aren't many feelings better than being surprised my your own body, and finding joy in it. So I travel to India knowing that my path to God is also through the body, that this joy of movement has chosen to express itself through me, and it is my calling, desire and duty to experience it. I am so thrilled to go, and equally as thrilled to come home and share my what I learn with all of you; my friends.