As I've mentioned before, the Goddess Durga shows up in my life over and over. On Tuesday evening she called me on the phone. Well....not literally. The call was from a very sweet Indian woman who teaches yoga at the Durga Temple not far from my home. She invited me to go to a special yoga class being taught by Dr. so and so who is visiting from India. "Tell your friends" she says before she hangs up.
All day yesterday I couldn't help thinking that I need to stay present and keep my mind clear. I felt like this little yoga adventure was being guided by Durga. ( the stories of how she has been ever present are too many to tell now) Finally, it was time to leave for class.
My friend, Rose and I arrive at the temple and there's lots of activity. We manage to figure out how and where to park the car. "Look for the sign directing you to the sunroom" were the directions I was given.
We follow the path to the back of the priest's quarters.
After a few minutes the sweet Indian woman and her little girl arrive to let us into the "sunroom". It's just an ordinary room, she quickly gets to work moving things out of the way and setting up mats. There's an alter set up in the corner. It wasn't very big and certainly wasn't the most beautiful space I've done yoga in but definitely more welcoming than most.
A few people arrive with their children, a couple of my yoga students arrive and soon the class begins. The coordinator mentions to Dr. so and so that I'm a yoga teacher. (I usually don't mention that when I'm taking a yoga class) He quickly decides that I'm not teaching "real" yoga. I am an American after all, what do I know about real yoga. He tells me/us that American yoga is only exercise. The real yoga is so much more. Yes, I nod in agreement.
He talked about Samkhya (the creation process), about how our bodies are made up of the elements, and chakras. He told us what yoga is. Union of our individual consciousness with the cosmic consciousness. Yoga stretching is to keep the body health and flexible but the goal of yoga is mediation and ultimately, Moksha (liberation from the cycles of birth and death). We did lots of pranayama exercises (breath work) while we practiced he explained the science behind each exercise. He said everything we do in yoga has a basis in science. We did little "yoga stretching", mostly pranayama and listened to his discourse. He instructed on the bandhas and demonstrated his very impressive nauli (stomach churning).
His last exercise was hardy laughter. I have to admit it was hilariously fun to just laugh uproariously. After class we were invited to join them for dinner. The temple was celebrating a festival for Ganesha's birthday!
As I sat at the table with some old friends and some new friends I got another call from Durga. This time in the form of a realization that I am already blessed with wonderful teachers who are teaching me the real yoga!
The whole yoga adventure was very sweet. I enjoyed it very much. For $5. I got an authentic yoga class, dinner, conversation with friends and confirmation from Durga that I am exactly where I'm suppose to be.
Oh.... and the ancient yogic secret to solve all my troubles.
"KEEP A CALM MIND, A SMILE ON YOUR FACE, AND SWEETNESS ON YOUR TONGUE AND ALL PROBLEMS ARE GONE"