“If you are super flexible but cannot yet along with your neighbour, you have learned nothing… You want to be a source of inspiration, not someone people want to run from… Yoga is all about relationships” Roshan
Yoga is about building relationships. The poses are often named after animals and things in the natural world, like cobra, cat, cow, upward and downward facing dog, mountain pose, and tree to name a few. It seems that the natural names of poses are not just superficial but actually attempt to align our energies with the natural world – to better understand and build relationships with animals and nature, who are seen as natural yogis. The asana poses are also about building relationships with ourselves as well. Through breath, we connect to the life-force within us. Through poses, we connect to our muscle tissue, our nerves, our joints and deeper into our willpower and deeper yet into a sense of relaxation and inner peace. Through connecting with an inner peace within us and acknowledging that every person also has that deep well of bliss within them, there is also a connection with others.
In our yoga philosophy class today, we talked about some virtuous practices. These included non-violence, truth, non-stealing and balanced behaviour. Yoga is really about balance, I realized, and balance is equated to bliss and contentment. Because there is an understanding that there is a collective mind….
…and I realize here that I should give a little background to this idea…
Simply, we are all made from the same substance – atoms. These atoms are constructed from energy particles – protons, electrons and neutrons. What makes each atom different are not different substances (everything is made from protons, electrons and neutrons) but rather different positive or negative charges by different numbers of electrons. In essence, we are made from energy. It’s the E=MC² equation thought of as a philosophy. The idea of a “collective consciousness” is just the pool of energy as potentiality, and it becomes “mind” when it begins vibrating and the vibration manifests the reality around us. I might be wrong but it sounds kind of similar to some tenants of string theory in quantum physics.
“We are eternal energy… We are not human beings looking for a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings looking for a bodily experience… Once you realize you are here to experience, you can truly enjoy this most fantastic roller coaster called life,” said Roshan.
In other words, if all is one, why not be nice to others because others are actually us? Violence to others is actually doing violence to ourselves. You don’t need to steal things because it is all us. We are all inside the universe but the universe is also inside us; all is one.
With the maturity of a grade 3 school child, I lightly punch my friend Sarah beside me and say, “Stop hitting yourself.”
Giggling, I do this a few more times.
The world really is an interesting place though and there is a joy in going with the flow (while at the same time being attentive to inequality and holding true compassion to those in hard situations, though I’ll save this conversation for another day). It is amazing that I am laying here typing on my computer in Rishikesh, India listening to babbling family sounds of the home next door with the occasional moo of cows and the beep of motorbikes. The other people in the group are amazing, especially my sister. I realized I didn’t bring a clock – another girl in the group lent me their watch. I realized I brought the wrong cord to charge my e-reader, thus had over 400 books in hand but couldn’t access them, and one of our teachers gave me hers as she had broke her Kindle. I was looking for a make-up artist at a reasonable rate for my wedding without really any luck in Vancouver and found that one of the other students in the course is a make-up artist….and from Vancouver…and available on the date of the wedding!
Perhaps one of the most amazing things is hanging out with Kerissa. I met Kerissa in 2008 when Rigel, Keith, Bryan and I travelled Guatemala. Kerissa was a super cool solo female traveler who was looking for a Spanish course without much luck in finding one that she clicked with and ended up travelling with us for most of the two weeks we were there. We kept in loose touch through occasional Facebook stalks seeing where in the world we each were at and “liking” periodic travel photos. A month ago, I thought I recognized a picture…it was from India! It looked like Rishikesh! I quickly messaged her and no, she wasn’t in Rishikesh but she was in India and doing a yoga teacher training course in Dharmasala. A few days ago, I get another message that she is done her course, travelling and had arrived in Rishikesh. We met up today, had chai and ice mint lemon tea in a little rooftop café overlooking the Ganges River. There is something wonderfully crazy about meeting up with Kerissa 5 years later after really only hanging out with each other for under 2 weeks years ago and chatting like no time had passed since we were travelling together. It is also kind of crazy that we both connected in India due to doing yoga teacher training courses since in Guatemala, we had hiked up to the top of an extinct volcano in Lake Atitlan on my birthday and did yoga at the summit. It was awesome to see her again and also to meet her fiancé, Chad. They are really inspirational people.