2013: Yoga in the World. Join me as I travel from India to Africa, the US, and other places around the world, to teach yoga, adapting the yoga practices to meet the needs of societies and communities I interact it, in order to use the philosophies to shine light on peace.
Through Yoga therapy, children have learned to verbalize sounds, balance on one foot, lift their arms up, or do things on their own that they could not do before!
Working with special needs children, primarily on the Autism Spectrum, by guiding them to use yoga therapy for their needs, has been a blessing. The kids have fun and get to work on issues such as fine and gross motor skills, balance, mobility and flexibility, creativity, and speech and expression. Through the children, I have had the opportunity to learn about the healing power of yoga and to watch the children blossom through yoga therapy.
Every week for the past one year, I have been teaching yoga at Tamahar Trust, an early intervention school and center for special needs children. I’ve also been working one-on-one with a handful of Autistic children throughout Bangalore.
I have found that parents with special needs children are quite accommodating to their child’s needs. Despite, or perhaps because of, their children’s unique challenges, they spend the entire day with their children, allowing the children to discover their own potential through a variety of unconventional means. Some children also attend traditional schools; in addition, many parents introduce their child to music, dance, art, horse-back riding, swimming, speech, behavior, and other therapies in the hopes that they will be able to interact in the world we live in. Parents are eager to try anything that will help their child.
I like the process that I’ve started. We’re working on “Cosmic Exercises”– 36 (or 38??) physical movements that stretch and loosen all the muscles and joints– to begin with. We do this in order to prepare the body for the rush of oxygen we intake when we move on to Breathing Exercises. It’s very nice to practice and learn on the 5th floor terrace of a building at 6:30 on Saturday mornings when the world of Frazer Town is calm and cool.
What is not peaceful– the statements of my teacher “you would have never used these muscles”; or the Guruji from Maharastra who spoke at his house last week saying “those poses and all are not yoga”. First, no one knows what muscles I have used. Second, unless we are self-realized, we don’t know what yoga is or isn’t. And anyway, isn’t Yogananda famous for saying “All life is yoga”? Plus, if yoga is about building awareness towards the real self, even building awareness on the bodily movements is useful. Besides, we are starting with cosmic physical exercises. BODY MOVEMENTS.
I like yoga for all that it offers to the entire universe and its population. Yoga wars though…. that’s not my cup of tea, when I’m trying to build peace.
My search for Kriya Yoga has finally ended…. Or maybe it’s just begun!
I’m teaching Yoga for Peace through Go Inspired later this year.
Join me for a contemplative curriculum in rural Rajasthan from September 2-11.
Yoga for Peace is a 10-day program where participants learn about yoga for peace. Each class is centered around a theme of life (Compassion, Strength, Balance).
Morning classes will be held in the sand or near the lake in the village-side and include lecture and discussion on peace, conflict, and yoga, practicing different forms of yoga. The course will include asana, pranayama, dhyana/ dharana, mudra, yama, and niyama.
This class is great for people studying or working in peacebuilding, international NGOs, military, and yoga.
For more information, visit the GoInspired website.
A few weeks ago, I stated in my post that you don’t need to come to India for your own personal spiritual search.
And yet, here I am, packing off to Kumbh Mela!
I was initially attracted to attend this festival– comparable to a Woodstock, in the Indian sense, and much, MUCH larger in participation. More than 100 million people are expected to attend the mela, or fair, this year during the 40-odd days, starting from Sankarathi.
I was also hoping to get some good physical exercise in! I thought that I’d be staying in Varanasi for a week, and biking in to Allahabad a few times. Boy, was I naive! It’s over 100 kilometers, and I have no bike! Besides, with millions of souls attending, there’s too much to do just in Kumbh Mela. I will be traveling with 2 other persons, Madeleine Sears and Nelson Moses. Maddie and I will perform our salute to the universe through sun and moon salutations, earth offerings, sky kisses; we will meet Swami BAP of the Hare Krishna Order, there to do eco activism!
Recently I came to know that this will be a deeply spiritual experience. Let’s see! I’m open to whatever comes my way, and have no expectations anymore. I hope to keep an equipoised (and ecopoised!) mind whatever I observe, within and without, remembering always that spirituality is personal, and needs only thy own self. The journey to samadhi is only stimulated by external experiences.
Read more about Kumbh Mela: