I am most attracted to the culture and spirituality as I travelled from one town to another village, by road, train, tuk tuk and boat. These 15 days in the land of India, I visited Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu, met people from all walks of life, tasted the local cuisine (spicy, very spicy, too spicy for me!), took pilgrimage to over a dozen temples, witnessed celebrations, grievances, good fortune, deprivation, luxury and hardship. Much of life's experiences unfolded in front of my eyes in a flash.
The undertone of the caste system is very much alive in India. Where in the west, equal opportunities and human rights are respected. Children as young as age 6 touting in tourist areas and on streets. Thousands from all parts of India make their pilgrimage to various temples each day. Spirituality is respected, practised and very much alive in every person I met. Everyday I would witness wedding celebration, grief and bereavement. Observing rituals performed by Brahmins by the river for the death in a family, to rituals for those hoping to bear a child in the temple. Over 74,000 birth and under 28,000 death per day on average. A meal would cost as little as 30 pence, and as much as over £40 shows the vast inequality in the distribution of wealth. There are those who never work a day in their lives, and those working few jobs to support and sustain another day.
Yoga as expressed and taught is very much a spiritual practice, which involves the discipline of physical practices. All yoga is therapeutic by nature, with very little importance placed on defining styles. It was an experience to have taken a yoga session at the KYM (Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram), where much emphasis is on the therapeutic relationship and one-to-one focused-practice for the individual. Many in India has not heard of the various styles of yoga as introduced internationally by the west, and that there is no interest in the distinction of YOGA. Having visited Sri Aurobindo Ashram, I felt humbled and inspired by his work, wisdom and courage. I am very touched by my journey to the east. I am grateful to have made this journey, and felt much more connected to myself now than ever.
I am writing this as a reflection of life as it is. Each of us are here on our own journey, not one person has the exact same conditions for living. Competition or comparison is a self-limiting belief with an external reference. I am learning to trust more of my internal references, living through self-reflection, using peace and joy as a measurement for each present moment.