Saturday, February 26, 2011

Mother Maya and 101

Nancy - Rishikesh India

The final week at Anand Prakash Ashram was a blast. We were blessed with visits from two amazingly inspiring people (who are in town for the International Yoga Conference). Tuesday morning our 6am class was taught by Swami Yogi Nand, a one hundred and one year old yogi and friend of Vishva's.  He was so hilarious and quite inspiring to see a man of this age with so much vitality, strength and humour.  I took some videos, remind me to show you.

Yesterday for graduation day we had a visit and talk with the amazingly empowering Mother Maya (Maya Tiwari) a spiritual leader, speaker and author. She is also a teacher of Ayurveda and founder of the Wise Earth School of Ayurveda in the US. Her story is unbelievable, she actually used to be a fashion designer in New York, and at the age of 23 she was diagnosed with terminal ovarian cancer which caused her to dramatically change her life. She healed herself from this life threatening disease with holistic remedies and by returning to the roots of her ancestry. She then began helping others find ways of living that would help them heal.

We all piled into the courtyard to listen to her speak about Ahimsa (non-harming through thoughts, words and action) She's currently on a world tour giving this lecture "The Living Ahimsa World tour is a sacred intent to make a priority out of peace within animals, thought, words and action." Her words were powerful yet so simple. We completed the talk by taking a vow of ahimsa ourselves, "I take this vow of ahimsa and I start with myself." Basically saying in order to be kind to the world we first need to be kind to ourselves with our thoughts and actions. The Path of Practice is the story of her life, I encourage any of you who are interested to check it out.

My final practicum was on Thursday at 10:40am. It was the first of my classes that were observed and marked by Yogi Vishva which made me a bit nervous but thankful to hear is feedback. We (my partner Kate and I) held the class on the rooftop and had all the mats facing out to the mountains. Thankfully it was a beautiful sunny day and we rocked it!!  I was so relieved and happy when it was done it was like a huge weight that has been sitting on my shoulders all month causing all this frustration was lifted! AHHHHH we're done!! The theme was "Your inner guide/guru" the 'students' seemed to love it and one of the Japanese girls even said "I really enjoyed your class I think you are not students anymore, you are teachers." it was so sweet I almost cried.

Thursday was a great day to have our last practicum because right after lunch we went on a group trip down to a small beach on the banks of the Ganga. Here we had a meditation and ritual of offering flowers to the Ganga (something about offerings to our ancestors) I threw my handful of flowers into the Ganga with thoughts for my Granny, Nona and Grandfathers who have all had a great influence on my life.  I also sent a thought out to Raymond (my old coworker who was from India and I had several conversations with him about India) His death really was too soon so being here in India made me think of him and send some good thoughts out for him. After the offering ritual we had a mini yoga photo shoot where we all took picts of ourselves doing random poses on the beach and in the water.

Yesterday was our graduation ceremony and final group dinner.  It's been a crazy month of ups and downs and all arounds. Yogi Vishva said it well "we've laughed together, we've cried together we've grown together."  I've become quite comfortable with my life here in India and the daily routine. I love having 35 supportive girls around at all times and  I love being immersed in this yogic life but I knew it had to come to an end. Home will not be the home I left behind because everything has changed since then and everything changes from this point forward. It's an all new adventure from here.

I'm so excited to jump right into teaching when I get back. Free Karma Yoga in my condo, at the office, on the beach (once in Australia). I just want to start practicing and applying all this new information and skills that I've learned.

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