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I just recently returned from a trip to India. Certainly, an act almost assumed of many yogis and yoginis around the globe; our glorification of this ancient culture and all things yoga almost make India a pre-requisite. Interestingly, there was no yogic reason for my trip, and although India has always been on my bucket list (something that was at the same time cliche but oh-so-desired as a lover of yoga, tantric philosophy, hinduism, and all the roots), it remains there even after my trip. On the scale of sattvic experiences, it lies up there with camping in Georgian Bay, sleeping on a Japanese beach in Wakayama, and snuggling with my true love on a rainy afternoon in April.

What I would like to bring to light in this post is a couple of things:

  1. Reconnection to your core is independent of the spirituality of your surroundings;
  2. You don’t have to go on vacation to be reconnected (although it helps matters when you cannot seem to remove yourself any other way); and,
  3. Reconnection is a much needed reminder for yogis and non-yogis alike.

I suppose I’ve left my reasons for my trip a bit of a mystery. As I said, although I’ve always wanted to see the birthplace of yoga, I needed more of an excuse to actually get there. Aside from a long and expensive plane trip, a vacation requires time-off from work, removal from daily comforts, escape from loved ones, explanations to loved ones (really? why India? there are some all-inclusives on sale right now…), and a whole lot of planning. I needed something else to get me there, to give me an excuse to overcome all these obstacles. And, in line with my work-focused state-of-mind as of recent, it needed to help me professionally in some way. So, 50 preceptor hours for an 8 day course in homeopathy was what it took to get me on a plane and overseas. And, since I was there, I may as well see some other sites. A whirlwind tour of Northern India before I cam back home. None of that seems to have spelled out spirituality… yet I come back feeling like I had a good 18-day-long yoga class. How is this possible?

Reconnection comes from many things, but it really comes in one form. You know it when you have it. Perhaps it’s in savasana, on your first day back to yoga after injury or a short hiatus (or every time, who knows). Perhaps it’s a moment sitting on a rock, under a big, blue, spring sky, listening to your favourite song on your iPod. It could be after sex, during your morning coffee, on a bus bench in the middle of the city. Wherever it is, you know, even for a fleeting moment: I’m here. You get a glimpse into your true self: the beauty of your soul, with all your flaws and virtues; the wonders of your physical body and all it’s senses; the awe-inspiring nature of life… crazy, sometimes chaotic, tragic yet real… life. It makes you take a deep breath. Maybe it makes you smile. Maybe it makes you think of freshly baked blueberry muffins. Maybe you smell vanilla. Maybe you taste blood. But it is real, and you are present. Even if just for a moment.

After experiencing the kindness of so many people, seeing organized chaos in person, recognizing poverty and wealth in so many senses of the words, ogling at ancient history and wisdom, getting besieged by sparkly scarves and snow globes and statues of Ganesh… suddenly but gradually, I’m living. I’m tasting, smelling, feeling, experiencing every moment. I am sitting on a bus simply staring – simply be-ing – for 4 hours at a time. Samtosha. Contentment. Contentment without an ashram.

Don’t get me wrong. An ashram could have done it. But maybe it wouldn’t have. The point is, I have the same feeling every year when preparing toast in the morning outdoors, camping in Georgian Bay. And wait- don’t think you have to be on vacation. I get the feeling about 2 hours into a piece of art that I’m working on. I’ve felt it at home, sitting on my favourite hill on a chilly spring day. I’ve felt it with my husband (yes, we got married recently… we eloped at City Hall on January 31). Of course I’ve felt it doing yoga or meditating: whether on the beach, in  a class, or in my living room. It sometimes takes time, though. You can’t expect it… the moment you expect it, it’s gone. Sometimes it can last for days, weeks… (I hope that I can hold it for longer someday). But all in all, reconnection to ourselves, to life, and to the earth is exactly what we are striving for. In seeking that perfect career, in planning a vacation, in finding a partner. In stretching a little further into Trikonasana. In sitting a little longer with silence. We are stretching a little further into our true selves, into the meaning of it all. Not necessarily bliss, but presence. That’s the point.

So, in summary:

  1. Reconnection to your core is independent of the spirituality of your surroundings… one does not need to travel to India, or go to a temple, or live at an ashram to feel connected. Although these things do help to give you an excuse to sow down and feel.
  2. You don’t have to go on vacation to be reconnected… But sometimes, you do have to remove yourself. Sometimes a vacation is what it takes to remove you from your one-pointedness, from goals and busy-ness, to give you a moment to just be. But maybe even a 2-hour vacation, in your on living room?
  3. Reconnection is a much needed reminder for yogis and non-yogis alike… It is what can bring us back, make us see the big picture. To me, it is THE goal.
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