A lot has happened over past few days here in Rishikesh. We hiked to Neer Waterfalls, attended a yoga classes with a local teacher and visited the Maharishi Mahesh Yoga Ashram, the ashram where the Beatles came to stay and study. The owners of the hotel where we are staying welcomed us over to their home for dinner and yesterday, we hiked 7.5 miles to see the Neelkanth Temple, a temple dedicated to honor Lord Shiva, the creator and destroyer of everything.
Days are going by quickly and we are experiencing a lot in this magical town.
I must admit, however, that I’m not sure I’m feeling much of the magic quite yet. I had to share this with the group the other day because I was concerned I was missing something. With the upmost respect for the people of India, their culture and Hinduism, I’d like to explain where I’m coming from.
I’ve never been a very religious person. I was raised Roman Catholic and even though I don’t practice this religion often or attend church, it feels a little strange to embrace Hinduism just because I’m visiting this holy land. And although I enjoy the stories of the deities like Hanuman, Ganesha and Ganapathi, I do believe that they are just parables and not necessarily the truth.
Keep in mind, I definitely value the messages of the Hindu gods and know they have valuable lessons to teach us. I was so grateful to be present in the temple honoring the gods in this special way but I’m not sure I’ve connected to the spiritual piece yet. I believe in what yoga can teach us, be it physically, mentally, emotionally, etc. I practice and teach yoga asana regularly but since I’ve been so immersed in western culture, I tend to speak more to the psychological and emotional aspects that I experience on my mat. I can only share my experience because that is my truth.
“Ong namo gurudev namo” Our leader, Valerie, shared this chant with us in class the other day. With this chant, we seek guidance and wisdom from some high vibrational being, whether that be Shiva, God, the Divine.
So today I am asking these higher vibrational beings to help me see and experience the magic that is happening all around me. Allow me to let my guard down and see the love, divinity and devotion of this magical place or if is already there and within, allow me to acknowledge that beauty within.