The decision to complete my 500 hours yoga teacher training certification in the foothills of the Himalayas, within chanting distance of the Dalai Lama’s home, happened very quickly.
India wasn’t even on my list of possibilities until my pilates/yoga friend, Michele, suggested it. When research produced nothing that really leapt off the screen, she looked at me and said, “You need something meaningful. You need to go to India.”
Okay, then. A week later, I’d found my yoga school, booked my flight, and started getting familiar with how many rupees there are to the dollar.
And I’ve been too busy with the blur of inoculations, Indian visa and flights, to create any grand expectations or desires of what it’s going to be like, or what I want it to be.
My usual modus operandi is to arrange everything in advance, expertly researched and organized and coordinated (did I hear anyone say perfectionist?) and then my next thing is to romanticize the hell out of it, so that the screen on my mind resembles peaceful scenes of yoga bliss and esoteric enlightenment, to the backdrop of kirtan chanting and Buddhist monks praying. This would be somewhat of a contrast to the stories of despair and poverty I hear from some people when I tell them my “I’m going to India” news.
But it still hasn’t sunk in, and now, as I sit at Heathrow airport in the club lounge (the happy air miles gift of a business class flight), waiting to board the flight to Delhi, it feels contradictory and incongruous. I’m enjoying my cappuccino and bacon butty (yes, I’m one of those yoginis who hasn’t made it to the vegan side) and the irony of my luxurious surroundings as a contrast to how I’ll be living for the next 6 weeks is not lost on me.
So, as I’ve not allowed myself to put this trip on a pedestal, or think in advance of everything I’d like it to be, or what it may reveal to me, I have few expectations beyond being safe and being open to everything presented to me.
All I know is that it will be the “something meaningful” my friend suggested. After years of learning asanas, reading yoga texts and scriptures, and attending workshops and classes with some of the most credentialed (whatever that means) yoga teachers in the US, I am actually going to The Source, the place where it all began, the reason all yoga activity should have a “Made in India” trademark on it. I’m going to be hanging with Patanjali’s peeps! Absorbing the legacy of the many yoga teachers who came before us! Excuse me, I need to go – they’ve called my flight and to me it sounds like someone reciting from the Bhagavad Gita 🙂