06 Jan How To Surrender To The Magic Of Yoga In India
India. One of the magical yoga destinations for many yogis all over the world. Travelling to the birthplace of yoga, tapping into both its ancient roots and its living tradition is said to have life-changing powers. It’s a place that can feel daunting and magical at the same time. If you feel called to venture to India for a yoga retreat, but still a bit wary about what to expect, have a read below as we’ll give you a little insight on how to embrace India to the fullest.
India – the birthplace of yoga
Whether you feel called to journey to India, the motherland of yoga, for a long time already or are still new to the idea, the question of what path you should direct your journey stays the same. There are so many magical, mythical (and sometimes maddening) places in India to explore; the list is as diverse as the country itself.
You can seek out the locations of the mythic escapades of the gods and goddesses, mortals and monkeys of India’s epic stories. Or you can gaze upon awe-inspiring cultural sites, including ancient Hindu temples, the birthplaces of Buddhism, and the jewels of Islamic architecture. The journey can be an exploration of sacred rivers or hallowed mountains. Or it can be a yoga pilgrimage to the study centres of modern yoga’s founders — T. Krishnamacharya, B.K.S. Iyengar, Swami Vivekananda — the names alone evoking a legacy that has linked East and West for more than a century. Or you can also immerse yourself in a traditional Indian Ashram or attend a yoga retreat in many different locations – disconnect from the outer world and connect with your true self.
Whether you explore India on your own or join a yoga retreat immersion, the overarching question stays the same: What can you expect when travelling to this diverse country? Most importantly, approach India best with a sense of adventure and openness. Let go of your expectations and go with the flow. Let the magic of this beautiful country unravel on its own.
Surrender to the universe
Most important advice we can give you is that wherever you go in India, plan on surrender. Yes, travelling to India can be daunting even if you booked into a yoga retreat. The heat, the crowds, the unpredictable train schedules can overwhelm anyone. But the obstacles may also offer great lessons. India is often called “the Mother” and is true to her nickname. She fully embodies the qualities of a mother in that she is benevolent, fierce, and inspiring. She serves as a catalyst, asking you to engage, surrender, and transform your body, mind, and spirit. “India will teach you to surrender to the cycles of life,” says Eric Shaw, founder of Prasana Yoga. “In India, one goal of yoga is firmly in place: relying on the rhythms of the universe. These are so strong here. It will erode your ego more powerfully than any (modern) yoga practice can.”
International yoga teacher, Kino McGregor, has been travelling to India to study yoga for over 15 years and says that the most significant teacher in India itself. To her, India is all about patience and surrender, appreciating the small moments of happiness in the present moment. And for many people, India is a place where you are free to discover yourself on your terms. You travel to India and lose all the accoutrements of the Western world to see what’s underneath and just be yourself, whether that’s vulnerable, strong, happy, sad, anxious, or peaceful.
Lessons from Mother India
Rina Jakubowicz, an international yoga teacher, travelled to India to not only dive deeper into the spiritual and philosophical side of yoga but also on a path to uncover more. Below she shares the most powerful lessons that unrolling her mat in India have taught her.
1. Trust and surrender.
Somehow among all the chaos, a country that seems to be entire ‘out of order’ functions somehow. A lot of trust and surrender has to happen when you travel to India. Things don’t happen the way we are used to in the Western world. Nothing gets done the way we would expect it to — but somehow it gets done. You have to stick with it and let go all at the same time. Experiencing India alone is the yoga practice in real life. Staying in the present moment and letting go of any expectations of what might happen or not.
2. Richness comes from within.
Seeing the grave poverty of all kinds around me made me look deeper into each person. What I found was a beauty inside those many deep brown eyes filled with so much joy, love, and hope. There are a richness and a depth that you might miss in the Western world. With so little, there was still so much happiness, connection, and generous service. Yet with so many comforts and physical abundance in most of our home countries, there is so much depression and loneliness. We are often so concerned about our status, careers and material things that we sometimes forget how lucky we are to be alive — always seeking more than just being content with the now. India always brings you right back into the now.
3. Having gratitude every day.
When I came back from India the first time, I remember driving back from the airport on our highways and streets in Miami, and what did I see? No trash, no dogs, no cows, no scooters with women riding sideways, no people are risking their lives, no little kids begging, no dirt, nothing! The city was clean, there was fresh water from the tap, there was no honking on the streets, everyone was driving in their lanes, and where are the cows? India will teach you again to be grateful for what you have. It’s the small moments that we often take for granted and first world problems that seem so big at the time, but in hindsight are just what they are, first world problems. Gratitude is a reminder for us to re-fall in love with the life we already have. What are you grateful for today?
Travelling to India will be everything you hope for and so much more. It will not only mesmerise you and probably also daunt you at times while you are there, but most importantly the whole experience will never leave you. It doesn’t matter if you are there to explore the temples or locations of the mystic sagas. Or immersing yourself in a yoga retreat. In the beginning, it will take some adjustments to let go of your expectations and control mechanisms. But once you completely surrender and trust the process, you will fully reek in all the magic that is India. It will show you so many lessons on the way that your travels will enrich your life for the better. It is experiencing the practice of yoga in your everyday life. Stay present and go with the flow that comes to life in India. Are you ready to roll out your yoga mat and experience everything first hand? We have got a yoga retreat in India coming up in October.
Are you already planning your yoga retreat to India?
Original article by Yoga Journal